These past few weeks it has been very crowded at Anky’s…

Two ladies came from Italy and Estonia and another from Sweden. It’s been really interesting watching all the different lessons and it’s even better because Anky has to teach in English so I can understand. I’ve really learned a lot just watching. Everyone is at similar levels, all working on the Grand Prix. Each horse is so different though, some Piaff side to side, others get too slow, some have trouble with the changes, and others just do “normal” basic work. It’s been really interesting to see how Anky adapts to everyones different training difficulties and how she solves their problems. But the most common factor still remains speed control. If you have speed control, meaning having the horses on your aids and keeping their rhythm and balance in check, all the exercises are easier. Everything stems from the basic work, simple transitions forward and back and bend and suppleness. These are your key ingredients in the recipe of movements I.E. the test.

Recently, I have had to go back to basic work on my changes. Since we have introduced the 1 tempi’s, Vitall has gotten over excited and his basic changes have become difficult. So I have taken a few steps back and I’m just making sure that he reacts to my aids for the changes without taking over and running. The problem has been that when I go to do the 1 tempi’s after 3 he starts to run and ignore my leg aids. He also started to do the same thing in normal tempi’s 2, 3’s.  To solve the problem, we have been working on the second track just doing a single change canter a few strides then make another single change with no count in between, just that he makes a nice calm collected change without jumping and running through my hand. Sometimes taking a few steps back is a good thing. I never see it as a bad thing  or discouraging.  Since I have taken these steps back, his changes have improved immensely.  Other than his changes, the Piaff Passage has really improved. Vitall is getting much stronger and we have started to introduce the turns across the ring and the transitions into Piaff across the center line.  I’m really happy how well Vitall gets it, he makes the feeling effortless. It’s been really fun and I always end my ride with a big smile the past few rides :).

This weekend I am going to a show with a fellow Young Rider who trains with Anky and has been on the Dutch team for many years. On Saturday it is a qualification show for the Dutch Championships next year. So I am going to play groom and watch. Hopefully I don’t freeze to death as it’s been really, really cold and extremely windy here. Poor little Oslo rolled in something and got a skin infection so now he is on antibiotics which make him a bit sick… He should have a speedy recovery though!