April 2019

We’ve had Midget for just over 8 weeks now, and when you take a step back and look at the bigger picture it’s amazing how much progress we have all made in such a short space of time as a whole team.

If you’ve read the last couple of blogs, then you will know the main area of focus in training for me and Jade has been teaching Midget to accept the contact on the bar rein, and improve his forward thinking and reactiveness.

I’m so impressed with how much Midget has come on in the past month alone, but I’m also conscious that because of how quickly he’s improved, my expectations are liable to be higher than what he’s actually capable of at this stage.

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I’m sure you can relate that when you’ve had a few exceptional training sessions, it leads to frustration when you have a day that’s not quite so good, as you automatically expect the session to be as good as the last, if not better than the last, regardless of having all good intentions not to have that unrealistic expectation.

It goes without saying that the main purpose of training is  to improve, which means that no training session is going to be the same day in day out. If it was, you’d never make any progress.

It’s a fact that the hardest sessions are also the most productive, especially for a new horse and rider combination, as it’s the best time to get to know each other and find out what the boundaries are.

Whilst the hardest sessions are the most frustrating, it’s actually quite exciting that I’m starting to feel frustration whilst I’m riding again in a positive way, as it shows I’ve had a taste of how well he can go, and that I’m fully engaged with what we want to achieve for our short, medium and long term plan, which is great to have goals set in place to measure our performance levels again.

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If I’m being completely honest, up until the past couple of weeks where I’ve really started to open up and allow myself to actually like Midget, I’ve had huge issues with having any form of expectation or goals to achieve, due to the amount of disappointment over the past year and feeling abandoned by people I thought would help me through the tough times, which has meant that I’ve been in the mindset that if I don’t allow myself to have expectations or goals, there’s no way I can get disappointed or upset when it goes wrong.

In addition, I also felt like I’d betray Prince to an extent if I allowed myself to start to grow a special relationship with Midget, because I’ve always said he’s my once in a lifetime horse.

However, since Midget has come out of his shell more, and showed how much of a hard work ethic he has, I’ve developed a great level of respect for him, which in turn has allowed us to bond with each other, and I’m now starting to feel like I can have goals and expectations because he tries so much, and he won’t let me down, so maybe I’m lucky enough to get a second horse of a lifetime.

Now the contact and forward ness has been established, Jade and I have been picking apart various movements from my tests, such as centre lines, circles, leg yields and those dreaded turn on the haunches.

Whilst there’s still a lot of work to do so we can get each and every movement accurate enough so we can ride the whole test through and get the scores we know we’d be capable of, we could quite easily run through a test roughly to get a feel for the sequence.

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So for that reason, we decided to do roles reverse on the 25th April and get Jade to do a test run to see what he’s like during competition at Solihull to make sure he’d be fine for when I go out. Needless to say, Midget was golden,  I was even quite jealous of Jade and resentful of being the camera man until it started raining, then I was grateful I could just abandon to scene and retreat to the car to stay dry,

Everything is going so well at the moment, and next month will be focused more on test movements and putting it into a smooth sequence so we can start thinking about going out to start the qualifiers for Winter Championships, so watch this space!

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