It’s been a long and very wet winter for all that simply love being out on their horses. Hopefully the weather is turning and its time for us to remember all the reasons why we love this sport so much. The nights are staying lighter for longer and the weather is slowly improving which always puts a smile on the faces of those about to start their competition season. For all of you who have maintained a level of exercise during the winter and hacked out, ridden through the rain, wind and cold, all your work is about to pay off. Katy has mentioned in her previous articles, the importance of keeping your horse fit and "sane" through the winter by doing lots of fun schooling exercises and hacking out.
As a coach Katy tells us why this is so important:
If you managed to maintain a level of schooling and exercise during the winter months then you will be slightly ahead of everyone else with your horse being fitter than those that haven’t and ultimately be better prepared for the season ahead!
This said I would still highly recommend for anyone wanting to achieve a successful competition season that you find a coach that you are confident and comfortable with and who can enhance and give you the right advice on your riding, your horse’s fitness and your competition level and schedule. Whether it be Dressage, Show Jumping or Eventing, expert eyes on the ground are incredibly important and a one hour lesson a week (or as much as you can afford) can make a huge difference to every rider and horse’s outcome.
It’s always great to remember that all eyes are on the UK at the moment being the worlds ‘Number One’ at Show Jumping and Dressage and number two iin Eventing. We have so many riders to be proud of and watch and learn from, so what ever your level always strive to be the best you can, knowing that you have access to many great coaches, instructors, associations and riding clubs that can help you grow your ability and confidence at a pace you are totally comfortable with –
So start your search now and never be frightened of asking questions of the people that can help. (UK riders, Trailblazers, British Show Jumping and British Eventing).
Being a Show Jumping coach myself, I know how important it is to immediately put at ease all riders especially those at grass roots level. There is nothing more pleasurable than inspiring and motivating riders to simply be the best they can be at what ever level they start competing at…
At the end of the day the more enjoyable it is for them, the better chance they have of improving ability and confidence, in readiness of moving on to another level.
As a coach I feel it is crucial at the stage a rider is ready to move up a level that you stay with their development guiding them through by ensuring that they are ready and are totally prepared emotionally and in ability for that next level. I believe that you should never allow anyone to try and put you down and that ‘Reaching for the Stars’ is possible when you have the correct educational riding support system in place and are willing to put in lots of hard work.
Many of the riders at Newfield Livery started out on their first ponies in 2012 when I took the yard on. Some had only ever ridden at riding school and still had a lot to learn about their riding needs and ability. As a first step I introduced and supported them at the local riding club, and now they come home with lots of ribbons.
Two years on and many have grown into confident young riders who are moving up onto bigger and better horses and bigger and better venues. Later on this year we have a big team of riders at Newfield who are looking towards the UK Riders National Championships as their end of year goal which they still have to work hard for, but is totally attainable and as their coach I know this will be a great accomplishment for all their efforts throughout 2014. I look forward to working and supporting their progression towards achieving individual success and watching them grow as a team that supports each other and celebrates success together.
As a rider that also coaches I know that success comes from being on a constant learning journey. I still have lessons with my coach all the time and know how important it is to have that experience and second pair of eyes to guide you along the right path. My coach’s opinion counts and I will always listen to their trusted advice on correcting and improving elements of my riding that will make a big difference to the outcome for me and my horse’s. There advice on what direction and what level I should be going with my Show Jumping is key to my ongoing success.
Whatever goals you have this year, remember to have fun and enjoy, stay focused work hard, listen to your coach and you will succeed!
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