Learning to ride is an apprenticeship of feel.
Inspired by the works of the great Masters of the past and the present, I apply their methods and principles to myself, my horses, my students and their horses. Listening to my horses and observing my students and their horses, I am always looking for feedback, searching for ways to improve knowledge and understanding.
For me, work on the ground, riding and teaching is a continual learning process. I am a forever student and researcher of the art of classical dressage.
As a student of Sylvia Loch, I began my own apprenticeship of feel, a path I had been searching for my entire riding life. With Sylvia’s guidance through her books and lessons on her own stallion Prazer, my own body awareness and balance improved greatly for the benefit of both my horses and myself. I want to share this with my students. I am able to successfully teach through my own experiences. I endeavour to try to connect with my student, to understand their way of thinking so I can adapt my teaching to their individual needs.
Groundwork, Lungeing and Work In Hand
Relaxation is the essence of training. Without relaxation we have a horse that is working with tension. Through work on the ground we can help to establish relaxation, improving balance and suppleness in preparation for the rider. This can be applied to any horse from a young horse beginning their education, rehabilitation or an older horse needing to maintain suppleness. Everything you expect in the saddle should also be expected on the ground too.
Lungeing is an art in itself and should be considered more than just ‘letting off steam’. Whilst lungeing, we are able to access the whole horse, to begin to develop relaxation, suppleness, rhythm and balance in preparation for further work. Work in hand is effective in furthering gymnastic development through basic school movements and lateral work, helping the horse to better understand the aids as well as the various movements while maintaining relaxation. It can also help the rider/trainer feel any stiffness and tension that may be present in the horse’s body and to understand why their horse is struggling with a particular movement that they may not be able to work through under saddle.
This is an essential part of the horse’s education, especially in the younger years and should be done with care and consideration to the horse’s well being physically and mentally and for his future career.
Classical Riding Lessons on your own horse
Relaxation is key. Once the horse is relaxed, we are in a better position to gymnastically develop the correct muscle groups, to establish rhythm and improve the horse’s balance for the weight of the rider. For the horse, I like to ensure that the basics are instilled as the training progresses. I aim for a horse that enjoys his work, is supple, light in hand and works from the hindquarters. There is no place for force when training the horse.
Working with various exercises I aim to help develop and improve the rider’s balance, suppleness and overall position in the saddle. This in turn will improve their aids and overall relationship with their horse, producing harmony between horse and rider. I also aim to further the student’s knowledge of the how’s and why’s. Classical dressage has been tried and tested for thousands of years, confirming that it is the ideal way to work with your horse, without force but with love and understanding.
There is nothing more rewarding then watching a relationship between horse and rider grow as they start to work together in a partnership and in harmony.
Cavaletti has become an influential part of my training programme. Cavaletti is beneficial in many respects but rather importantly encourages relaxation and suppleness of the horses back so he is able to work through from the hind quarters towards the contact. Cavaletti teaches the horse to step further underneath his body, towards his centre of gravity with his hind leg. This improves engagement whilst gymnastically developing the power of the hind quarters. Horses enjoy working over cavaletti which brings variety to the horse’s training as well as many other benefits such as establishing rhythm, suppleness, developing suspension and improving the horse’s focus but to also get the horse thinking a little more for himself what he is doing with his hooves!
Sylvia Loch’s Balance and Bodywork Workshops
This is an unmounted workshop enabling riders to focus on themselves, improve their posture, position and suppleness all the time developing awareness of your own body and how we naturally balance on the ground.
I am able to offer private or group Weight Aids workshops. For more information, click the link below.
I am willing to travel. I am based in the Northwest (Lancashire/Greater Manchester) and currently have students in Lancashire, Derbyshire, Cheshire, West Yorkshire and the Wirral. Alternatively, you are able to hire the arena where my horse’s are based. This is a large outdoor school with mirrors.
If you are interested in lessons, please feel free to contact me via the link below.