January 30, 2011

Training weekend

Wiola with Fame and me

We have had a lovely training weekend with Wiola and Kari from Aspire Equestrian Riding Academy.
Wiola is a BHS Intermediate teacher, I suppose many of you know her already from her blog, Riding Instructor's Diary.
Kari is a human chiropractor, and together they had set up a very interesting schedule for the weekend.

In advance each rider sent in a form about themselves and their horse, what their plans were, and what they wanted help with.
We started out with filmed assessment sessions on Friday evening, followed by some pizza and going through the videos, planning the training ahead.

On Saturday the riders had a filmed riding session with Wiola and also a session with Kari where each rider's specific problems were addressed.
Again, a round-up in the afternoon, watching the videos and commenting.
Another short session with Kari on Sunday morning, followed by a private riding session with Wiola.

I have always been struggling with my seat and position, and been very envious of all those riders that just "sit there".
Some of my problems I have managed to solve, and some of them I still struggle with, after 40 years.
Very irritating.
Your bad habits kind of become good friends with your body over time. (Can't really remember inviting them?) Or rather like house occupants.
I needed some help to evict them.
In my form I had asked for help with my shoulders, as I round them.
I also feel that I lack strength in my core muscles.

Berit on Charlie, who found a new friend in Wiola 

I got some very good help from Kari with some exercises both to correct my shoulders (NOT by pushing my breast forward as that creates tension, did you hear that all riding teachers out there?) and to strengthen my abdominal muscles. Kari told me I had rather strong abdominal muscles, which really made my day, wohooo!...but of course they can get stronger. And the stronger they get, the better I will ride.

Wiola in action

So with all those new tips, I set out for my riding lesson.
It was very interesting, and I had several aha-moments in the interaction between me and Fame.
It was hard to keep my new body posture all the time, but now I felt I had the correct tools to adjust my body properly.
And we discovered a hole in the flexing of Fame which was a highlight for me, and something I believe will be a great help in my riding. Thanks Wiola!

The perception of a riding instructor might vary from rider to rider, but the ultimate proof lies with the horse. Horses don't lie.
It was so good to see the response of the horses during this weekend, as everyone was working better.

Barbara and Mazda

Barbara bought her horse Mazda this autumn.
Mazda is a former riding school horse imported from one of the Baltic countries, with unknown history.
She has some issues, and has an inverted shape of her body with a large belly and a weak back.

She either likes to work with a too high head position, or ducking behind the vertical.
Wiola did some very nice work with her on Saturday, and on Sunday Barbara did the best work ever on her horse. Mazda was relaxed, and much of the time she worked with a correct contact and position.

Wiola is working on flexion with Hjalmar and Tarzan

My favourite rascal Tarzan was also participating, with his owner Hjalmar.
I should not say "rascal" anymore, because Tarzan has produced some very nice dressage work together with Hjalmar the last year. After getting some extra help with a softer contact and improving the balance, the work was better than ever.
Hjalmar had the best comment of the day when Tarzan started to work those hindlegs: "Hey, there's something back there"...we all cracked with laughter!

Apart from the training, we had a very good time with interesting discussions and a lot of laughs.
We rounded up on Sunday in the club house with some food and discussions, and there was a strong wish for a repeat session end of May/beginning of June.
When I drove Kari and Wiola back to the airport, I believe they were happy but quite exhausted both of them!

I have made two new friends for real, not just blog friends, for which I am very happy!
Thanks once again Kari and Wiola for a wonderful weekend training!


Anonymous said...

That's wonderful! Wish they could come visit me.

Anne i Hannover said...

Hahaha, I think we all have some uninvited "friends"!
Sounds like a great weekend!

Wolfie said...

Fantastic! Congratulations to you, Wiola and Kari on a successful event. And how cool is that that you have made good friends through blogging!!

Grey Horse Matters said...

That does sound like a wonderful weekend of training. So glad you made some new friends and had a great time.

trudi said...

What a great weekend!

Wiola said...

Hello Maria! After a long way back home I walked in, had a cup of tea and then lied down and slept for 12 hours straight ;)
It was a wonderful weekend and I am just about to write a round up on my blog. I am also preparing the sum up for each rider with some video stills to illustrate the points.

We had the most fabulous time with you guys and for everybody's knowledge - Maria is one of the best hosts ever!

Kari and I are looking forward to visiting you again :) xx

Kristen Eleni Shellenbarger said...

WOW..what great access to training! I would have LOVED to even just watched this.

SallymetHarryHorse said...

beautiful setting for training, also wish i could have watched! and what cute names the horses have!

HorseOfCourse said...

Thanks for your comments all!

Yes, it was a very good training weekend.
Fame and I had a super session on Monday, working on our homework from the weekend.

Wolfie, I agree - it is very cool to get new friends through the blog, isn't it?

mugwump said...

I would love a session like that one. What a fun week end.

Rising Rainbow said...

Sounds like it was a great clinic. I love the fact you had sit down discussions with every one joining in and not just lessons on the horse. Very Cool!

HorseOfCourse said...

Mugs - you should come over here and teach us some western, you know!

RR - welcome!
Yes, it was. It was quite a hectic schedule, but very nice to be able to sit down and sum up and also to see some of the other riders' session on video.

Shanster said...

Oh such a wonderful weekend - love it! Thanks for sharing!