A riding lesson with Nicola Wilson Olympic silver medallist - An experience that will last a life time

nicola wilsonSnowdon Farm Riding School near Sheffield promoted on their face book page that Nicola Wilson would be running clinics for several weeks starting in November.
 
Richard knew this would be an amazing opportunity, but he also had some reservations, the summer weather had been bad and he feared that this would not give him enough time to prepare himself to get the best from a lesson with Nicola….Olympic Silver Medalist - an experience he knew would stay with him forever - and he wanted to make sure it was a positive one.
After a restless night wondering what planet he was on, Richard books himself and a lesson with Nicola Wilson was confirmed for December the 18th.
Nervous and excited Richard arrives early, he wanted to watch and get a feel for what he was about to experience. Almost immediately he relaxed and confidence levels grew as he watched Nicola work with three riders, her encouraging and friendly approach was not only getting good results but all riders and horses were relaxed - He knew he had made the right decision.  
The lesson with Nicola
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Richard shares his experience….
I mounted my horse and began to warm up. At first Nicola just wanted to watch us in walk and trot so she could get a feel for how we rode before she started the lesson.
Nicola then asked for walk and trot transitions and although my downward transitions were good, my upward transitions needed some work, after a couple of attempts and  some clear instruction and encouragement from Nicola, I was soon riding my upward transitions well. Only once Nicola was happy with my transitions did she move on to canter - patience is a virtue and Nicola certainly has it in bucket loads.
 
The horse I was riding had quite a forward going canter so I was only achieving eight strides down the long side, Nicola was aiming for us to achieve ten in preparation for our first jumps, with much encouragement Nicola requested I collect my horse more and again within minuets we were achieving the required ten strides -  I was feeling immediate results - Nicola's style of motivating and encouraging  both horse and rider was working miracles - would it continue?

 I soon to find out as we were straight into the jumps, I was pleased to see that we started nice and low, however I soon realized that the height was irrelevant to the lesson as Nicola was watching for a good approach in a nice and even canter and a controlled ride out in readiness for the next jump. 
 
The horse I was riding loves jumping and approached the jumps full of excitement and enthusiasm - not quite the approach Nicola was looking for - The lesson progressed and with much encouragement and some clear instruction from Nicola on how I should sit up and take control as soon after the jump as possible, it wasn't long before I was taking control of the horse and my jumping had improved. - My confidence levels were boosted and I was elated as to how much I had learned and progressed.  
At the end of the lesson we had compiled a list of things that I should continue to work on;
1. Make sure I always look at the next jump well in advance
2. Keep my canter nice and collected and well controlled
3. Always look forwards as I jump
4. Sit up after the jump and take control so I am ready to look up and focus on the next jump
I am sure all these points I have been told before, but Nicola had an incredibly encouraging way of presenting instruction that was personalized to just me and the way I was riding - she was able to clearly identify with my issues and limitations and  was able to advise me on the solution that would benefit me best. I didn't feel rushed or silly, Nicola took her time and motivated and encouraged me all the way through.
I only have one regret - that I can't have a lesson with Nicola every week, however she has left me with an aim to compete in my first BE event in 2013 - not just a dream any more -Thank you Nicola 
My advice to all is if you ever get the opportunity to have a lesson with NICOLA WILSON Olympic Silver medalist, grab it with both hands!  

Joanne Fieldhouse (also in Ricahrds group) said:
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I've been riding since I was about 5 years old, and can still remember my first ever riding lesson I received for my birthday. For many years I was that typical one lesson a week kid as my family are all non horsey, however as I have got older I've been lucky to able to afford my own horses.
 
Unfortunately I totally lost my confidence following a bad fall from my old mare, Polly, and for a while chose to work with project ponies instead. Over time the pain of that fall has gone and the need to get back in the saddle took over. I bought 'HippoHead'  a four year old who was very lightly backed just under two years ago with a long term ambition to go hunting. It has taken us a year to reach a point where we trust and are confident with each other- and what a year it has been!! We have spent a lot of time out and about performing lots of little confidence tests, slowly building on from one session to the next, we have had regular lessons from a variety of local coaches of which I had under estimated their usefulness until recently.
 
When I booked my lesson with Nicola I thought it was possibly going to be an aim too far, but it all worked out perfectly. I never thought for one moment that we would be jumping in the lesson, to be honest I had no idea what to expect, but embraced the experience and really enjoyed it. 
HippoHead behaved impeccably and I came away thinking "we could have perhaps gone higher" My confidence levels are at an all time high and I can't wait to get out and do some winter shows and practice what we learnt in the lesson with Nicola.
Who knows, maybe this time next year we'll be out hunting and I'll have achieved my life-long ambition?!
Emily Cotterill of Snowdon Farm Riding School  said:
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Nicola was booked in for a day of teaching well before the Olympic selection and when she was needed from the reserve list we were delighted. We had been very excited about meeting her and having her come to teach. We expected she would be a great instructor, which indeed she was, giving us all many useful tips on how to improve, but we also loved her enthusiasm and positive attitude towards everyone, giving us all confidence in our riding. We can't thank her enough! We are hoping to arrange another day of teaching in 2013.
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