You're never too old or too young to 'Enjoy the Ride' Read more
Learning to Canter and Trot Read more
Jumping for joy! and a not so memorable exam! Read more
Perseverance and belief
Richards's failure at not achieving his goal in BHS stage 1 riding wasn't his finest moment, and although he was left feeling a little down he soon set things in motion to move his riding forward again.' I didn't take up riding just to give up at the first hurdle' says Richard.
'Kelly Marks often talks about being stagnated and how she believes that when a student is really ready to learn a teacher will present them selves, it was a chance meeting with Monty Roberts at a petrol station in France that became a special moment in her riding career'
After reading Enlightened Equitation by classical dressage trainer Heather Moffett, Richard books himself in to watch one of her demonstrations at Smelting's Farm Riding Center in Sheffield and was amazed how quickly Heather's work got positive results from the horse and rider. It was at the end of this demonstration that Richard got the opportunity to have a one to one conversation with Heather.
After the demonstration I decided to hang around, and despite it being a really cold evening and Heather being tied after a long journey and demonstration, the opportunity arose to approach her - I was amazed, Heather didn't know me from Adam and yet she was so open and friendly. I told her briefly about my riding and that I had recently failed the ridden part of my BHS stage 1 which made me question how I was going to move forward and I was stuck as to what to do next. We spent some time discussing my situation before Heather recommended I book some lessons with Damian Stenton, an instructor at Smelting's Farm who she had trained and believed would be able to help me in moving my riding forward.
My first lesson with Damian was nothing like any other I had before. I told him where I believed things were going wrong and how I had never been 100% confident controlling in canter. It didn't take Damian long to spot that it was my foot position and wearing cheap rubber riding boots that was causing some of my problems. I wasn't placing my weight evenly on the stirrup.
His level of detail and instruction just in this one area was incredible and we spent most of the lesson working on correcting my foot position, I had too much weight on the inside of my foot, which in turn meant the stirrup moved about under my foot due to there being an inconsistent contact with the stirrup. This was leading to my lower leg moving about too much due to having poor contact with the horse. It also meant that my knee was coming away from the saddle making me feel less stable.
Even before the lesson was over it soon became apparent that I had previously been getting a stable lower leg by riding with my stirrups too short, this in turn had been pushing my lower leg up and forwards, leading my upper body to lean forwards making my whole body unstable and a less than perfect riding position.
What a result!! It is amazing that by identifying and correcting the one small area of my body that was causing so many of my riding problems would make me feel excited about being able to move my riding forward, something I don't believe I would have got from a group riding lesson instructor, who would never have had the individual time to spend with me to identify the problem and correct it.
FIVE TIPS TO HELP YOU MOVE YOUR RIDING FORWARDS
1. Don't be afraid to talk to professional riders and trainers and ask their advice
2. Correcting small things can have a big impact on you and your riding
3. Go and watch clinics given by professional trainers and take notes
4. If you are not moving forwards don't be afraid to find a new riding school or instructor
5. Footwear is key! - Don't wear cheap rubber riding boots
Read more great riding tips
Read more great riding tips