On New Years day rather than staying home and watching more Only Fools and Horses reruns we instead headed into London to meet the AQHA UK riders who were taking part in the New Years Day parade. We walked from Oxford Circus down to Green Park where they were getting ready. On the way every side street had participants of the parade getting reading, steel bands, dancers, mini steam engines, marching bands and giant inflatables. The noises were loud and varied, not conditions I would like to ride in!
No matter what task we set them, it is of paramount importance that our horses are able to work for us (at any level), whilst maintaining their natural disposition. This is the fundamental principle I believe should be at the heart of all our interactions with horses. A well-trained horse should respond to a rider's communication rather than be forced into compliance by restriction and control.
I define the art of horsemanship in 3 ways:
It is not simply riding - it is a holistic approach to understanding and working with horses that takes into consideration all aspects of their being.
It is a language - rather than taking a restrictive direct control of our horses, via pressure and release we endeavour to slowly teach them there is meaning behind every interaction.
The horse must maintain it's natural disposition - If we make sure our horses are both mentally and physically comfortable in their work - this produces both a superior athlete, as well as a far more rewarding relationship.
As a child heavily involved in pony club life, I gained riding confidence, competitiveness and team-spirit in playing polo for Rutland, show jumping for Lincolnshire and participating in The Prince Phillip Cup Mounted Games Team. My dedication to my horses went with me to Germany and the USA, where I participated in equestrian pursuits in adulthood.
In 2007, I switched to western style riding and still train regularly with an International Reining Champion. Having travelled abroad and witnessed ‘the rodeo’, barrel racing gave me new aspirations. In 2016, I became a regional organiser for the UKBHA. In 2017, I competed at the NBHA Open World Show in Atlanta, Georgia.
As a UKCC level 3 Coach, I now dedicate many hours to providing training clinics and competitions to further the interests of the barrel racing community and sport in the East Midlands and N.E. Anglia.
The World Equestrian Games is held every four years, in order to bring together all the disciplines that are recognized by the FEI, in one event. There are 8 equestrian sports that are held under the FEI umbrella; 3 Olympic, Show Jumping, Eventing and Dressage, one Para Olympic, Para Dressage. There are 4 NOD (Non-Olympic Disciplines) comprising of Reining, Vaulting, Driving and Endurance. Each one of these disciplines compete to award the coveted FEI World Champion titles to their teams and to their individuals, as well as the top 5 nations in the Olympic Disciplines gaining qualification for the next Olympic Games, that will be held two years later. It is the one time every four years, that all the disciplines are on the same site vying for the same podium positions, and the very best equine athletes in the world (both two legged and four) are there, representing their country. There just isn’t another equestrian event like it and the atmosphere is amazing!