Monday, 24 August 2009

Danni's dressage clinic with PMG

Stepping into shoulder in around the circle under Peter's gaze

Danni again attended a clinic with Peter Madison Greenwell, his regular trainer, over this weekend in Cornwall, the weather was fitful but we had so much fun even though we both had to work very hard.

The first day

The first day could be drawn a line under! For some unknown reason it did not go as well as we had hoped. Danni did not engage from behind or lift his back and of course without those two things we did not have lift off!! and so Peter had a private chat with Danni and I watched feeling rather foolish from a garden bench beside the school. We always hope for Peter to ride him on each clinic and Danni was soon motivated back to his usual self. Peter felt his (that's Danni's) covering duties had effected his muscular timing and usage.

The second day

I hacked down to the village determined to raise my energy levels and started the warm up with shoulder in around the circle which has proved a good routine for Dani lately. Peter continued with the start of the lesson correcting and cajoling for so much greater accuracy, control and focus. As Danni stiffened through the poll in left shoulder in peter pointed out that I had let my left shoulder creep forward and outside hand "against the neck, against the neck against the neck." Finally we progressed in that exercise to changing the rein on to the adjacent twenty metre circle still in shoulder in and then back again effectively changing shoulder in direction ,each time at x. By this time Danni was truly between hand and leg, soft and relaxed yet elevated and responsive and we were ready to move on. The canter exercises concentrated on keeping Danni moving forward with a big rhythmic stride with frequent simple changes across the centre line, counter canter and bounding lengthening. I found that I really had to focus on Danni's balance to extend the canter and then ride an admittedly "soft" corner in counter canter before lengthening again. Peter was only warming up by this time as the rain started to slat down and i had to discipline myself to frequently relax the inside rein to reward Danni and keep the contact soft, as the reins turned to ice in my fingers. A Three loop serpentine firstly with counter canter and then with a simple change on the centre line "Don't indicate the new leg simply by flexing him, use your seat and legs" A shallow loop either side of the centre line and finally, turning my shoulders to make tighter and tighter loops to change legs and we finished by striking to canter on either leg whilst going large around the school. Again sit centrally use my legs don't really on the reflexions. And lastly a relaxed lobing canter around the school that by now felt so good and I realised how much I had been enjoying myself. I looked about from my little world of the horse and realised that the only spectators left were my husband and friend sitting huddled under their hats, gently dripping and Peter of course!

The third day

Back to shoulder in around the circle but continuing this time in trot and canter..........well i didn't do too well at canter even with Peter gamely sprinting across the arena towards me claiming to be a bull that Danni the bullfighting horse had to dodge. We were very soon comprehensively "dead" but still managed a few steps. The idea of to apply more pressure and thus to invite a greater effort from Danni therefore engaging and lifting his back for greater athletic strength. Peter also had a few words to say about the variations of leg and touch of spur to keep the aids light and the horse forward as well as nano managing my position that always was ready to slip astray.

A lot of the session was spent in canter, using the previous days exercises and also using leg yielding from the quarter line to the track for instance and then half passing back across. The extra moment of suspension of the canter helped the half pass as the leg yield helped the lateral bend.

We have so much to work on before the next course - to break each exercise down into small sections and secure them before presenting them back to Peter again in six weeks. And I must say although seriously pooped ( that is the polite term) i enjoyed the course immensely, Peters encouragement and enthusiasm combined with Danni's rhythmic powerful movements that sometimes he almost seemed to float around the school as if by magic. Thanks Danni and Peter.

Friday, 14 August 2009

Dani and friends

Danilon at Ednovean Farm

Dani has a perfect position just at the entrance to the little stable yard beside the house. All comings and goings must pass his close daily scrutiny and each day Charles likes to pause with Dani's first colt foal son and the pair gaze at each other until the imperious whinnying of April summons little Archie to bed at her side.

Archie meets Dani

"My word" he could be saying
p.s i did have hold of the brood mare in the other hand when taking this picture

Dani is working towards his August Dressage clinic with Peter Madison Greenwell - his trot is getting bigger, his engagement through his downward transitions is improving..........and i am getting distinctly nervous as usual at the prospect of Peter's scrutiny!

Saturday, 8 August 2009

A visit to the BAPSH

The ridden mares lining up before their individual shows - we sponsored the mare class so I was delighted to arrive in time to watch it

An invitation from a friend for a lift to the annual Spanish Horse show proved to tempting to resist last weekend and so at twenty five past four i crept from the house and past the stables where the horses were already stirring sleepily as her car headlights flicked over the outline of our five bar gate.
The roads were rewardingly empty at that time on a Sunday morning and we made good time to Hartbury to glide onto the show ground at 8.30a.m. We knew there was a show by the collection of lorries and colony of tents and caravans but know one lept out to charge us for car parking and so we made our way towards the nearest sighting of a horse. Eventually i remembered that the secretary hired the end stable and sure enough there was a lady ambidextrously handing our numbers checking entries taking back keys and selling programmes with remarkable good humour.
The mare class was warming up in the collecting ring in a peaceful sort of a way which serendipitously was the one that we had sponsored to do our little bit for the Spanish horse and so we settled down to watch for a while and bask in the sunshine on the permanent stands.
My eye was taken by the rhythmic canter of a Bay mare and i was surprised to see the big S brand of Suseata stud on her hind quarters that matched Danni's and thrillingly she was the eventual winner too !
I'm afraid the lure of the Stallions was too much for us to watch the entire class though and the rest of the day was spent in contemplation of the Stallion judging in the magnificent indoor school and wondering how Danni would like to attend the show. The stallions lined up in turn just below where we were sitting to wait patiently to go forward to the judge and the two pictures on here are the ones I thought particularly characterful as they contemplated their fate. (also not many more came out!!).........and the champion of course.
Stallions lining up just below where we were sitting to go forward to the judge
The immaculate Champion
My day finished back in Cornwall as it had begun by nine o' clock and Danni and Sootty were waiting by their doors for a visit along with Lizzie and April and their foals neatly trained satellites lining up beside their mums to say good night - it was nice to be home.
Diva was covered again this week for the last attempt of the season and this time she ovulated well with minimal fluid but our vet took no chances and prescribed an injection regime four times a day to help her uterus contract together with a wash out. Poor Diva has now concluded her stud season for this year and will either rest this year and possible be hacked out over the winter or take a year off next to bring her to an earlier covering date