A super inspiring Summer Academy it was this year in Denmark!
We started with a Selected Trainers meeting followed by the public evening in which Bent Branderup showed the training and progression of his own horses. I was surprised when in the morning, Bent asked me if I could show Valentino in the longe work during the public evening. Quite a happening to show our work! Valentino is a horse with physical as well as mental issues. Lately, the mental part has improved tremendously, with him staying in much more relaxed focus with me. Therefore, we have only now been able to really start dressing his physical challenges; stiff hind legs and weak knees. During our longe work at the public evening, Valentino was very relaxed. Even though he is not spectacular on the longe, the fact that he stayed calm and remained focus on me was spectacular enough! And that with such an audience! The applause at the end did not bother him at all. Who knows, maybe he will become a show horse some day after all!
The next days, we had very interesting lectures and discussions on the topics of feeding and shoulder-in, and we had fantastic exchange going on between the trainers. I was honoured to teach both Katrin and Kathrin :-) on the seat using Centered Riding techniques, and received very nice insights from Pia Haas on my body language in ground work.
During the round table, my dear student Eef Nibbelink was taken into the book as a new squire and my colleague Marion vd Klundert received the knight status, Congratulations to both and to all others for updating, ring tests etcetera!
It was such a pleasure this year to be present and to be there with my horse was even more special.
Below, you can watch an impression of the 2015 Summer Academy.
Thanks to all for making it a great experience!
After the summer academy, we travelled another day up to Sweden, to the home of Christofer and Rebecca Dahlgren. It is beautiful up here in Hallekis, and I am glad my family is here too to enjoy a little vacation time at the same time.
Yesterday and today, I had lessons with both trainers in the AAoR and the liberty work with Valentino.
My main goal was to discuss with Christofer how to address the issue with Valentino's hind legs (they are stiff and weak and need to become more bendable to make riding comfortable for the both of us, but how do I bend them without straining his knees?). With Rebecca, I want to confirm the liberty ground work and make a start in the riding without bridle.
In the first lesson with Christofer we focussed on getting Valentino off the outside shoulder by making the circle smaller in travers on the longe. Important is with Valentino to keep the tempo very slow so he doesn't start to push. The second pointer I got is to make V. more responsible for his own gaits: working on a bigger circle on which he can keep the canter in a relaxed 3beat.
The collected work we have been doing along the wall was OK and we will continue to develop it into piaffe and into transitions more forwards.
Rebecca finally convinced me to go for a stick with a string attached. The 2nd day and lesson, Valentino started to respond instead of react to the string and I experienced the calming effect the string can have on the horse. In this lesson, we added another new exercise for me and Valentino; to sling the string around his chest to catch the shoulder. I feel like a true cowgirl doing it, but we both enjoy it!
The 2nd lessons with Christofer went already much easier with getting V. off the outside shoulder. Along the wall we focussed on making transitions from collected walk to a fwd trot and back without V. falling into my hand. The goal is to release his energy by increasing my own and not by using a stick to activate his hind legs. The aim is not to get maximum bending of his haunches, as this is very difficult with his hind legs, but to keep the roundness in his upper line in all gaits and transitions.
We look fwd to tomorrow!
Is an accomplished rider, clinician and published author who combines her extensive knowledge in classical dressage, biomechanics, ethology, human anatomy and zen principles to guide riders on their journey to self-improvement. The goal: harmony & lightness in the cooperation between human and horse.