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  • Well what a great start to 2014

    I was very pleased to be invited to Cheltenham this weekend, by the Retraining of Racehorses coordinator Clare Poole.

    What a fantastic job she did of pulling it all together whilst fighting the floods on her own doorstep (now there's dedication for you)

    I setoff to fight my way through the tempest,and you could have believed the whole country was deep in water the view from the motorways as I travelled was lakes as far as the eye could see!

    But what a relief to reach the warm dry and welcoming facilities of Summerhouse Equestrian,just outside Cheltenham,a lovely large,well lit indoor school with super viewing facilities.Our spectators were not disappointed,what lovely and varied dancing companions were there to gret me!

    All of the horses were out competing at dressage,from Prelim/Novice up to Elem/Med,

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    You are all welcome to come and see what we do at The Preston Farm Open Day.

    Little Bookham,Surrey,July 14th 2013

    the day is designed to be fun and informative,a chance to meet

    Ex racers,Warmbloods,Lusitanos,youngsters.

    Chat to the trainers

    Bring a picnic,and a smile.


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    The pleasure of riding to music doesn't just belong to those of us that want to ride a competativeKur.

    Admitedly it is an amazing feeling.

    Who of us that watched Charlotte Dujardins winning her gold medal at the 2012 Olympics didn't ride every stride of that test with her?

    It doesn't matter what level you ride at either,you still get that tingles down your spine feeling when it all comes together,waiting to enter the arena your music begins and you are lifted.


    But apart from that,why ride to music?

    I meet many riders who say' I don't think this will work for me,I don't have a sense of rhythm'

    We all have a sense of rhythm,when to get up,when to eat,summer becoming autmn,the tick of a clock,clapping along to a band.

    If you didn't have a sense of rhythm you would never manage rising trot!


    Music just makes it easier to understand when the rhythm is correct,it is a great way to recognise an underlying lameness 1,2,3,4 =sound horse 1,2,3,.....4, =lame horse believe me you will hear that gap when you ride to music,and the same goes for the exact moment the horse begins to rush on to it's forehand


    Modern sport psychology advocates excercising to music,it can divert our attention away from the monotony of schooling, how boring for you and the horse to spend fifteen minutes in a silent arena going round and round in circles,turn it into a dance and you will be much more inventive with your patterns and want to stick at it for longer.


    Tense horses can be relaxed,lazy horses energised,young horses started on the scales of training,the foundation of which is RHYTHM.


    I hope that I have at least encouraged you to try riding to music,and if I haven't just give it a go and see if you can prove me wrong.


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    Some tips on selecting music for a Kur



    Selecting the right piece of music isn’t necessarily about choosing something you enjoy whilst sitting in your lounge at home.

    It has to really inspire both you and your horse, it is a big component in developing a greater sense of synergy and harmony.


    The right choice gets the judge and the crowd on your side from the start.


    Choose the right music and I can guarantee you will get tingles down your spine, and your horse will seem to grow underneath you as you enter at A.


    Some things are obvious, if your horse is nervous or spooky then a big brass band complete with cymbals, bass drums and a cannon blast are a bad idea.

    But you may find that certain instruments or genres will work better than others.


    Folk, rock, new world, jigs, accordion bands, orchestras, string quartets, the list is endless and you can try them all to find the one that really suits.


    The right music allows you to show the judge exactly what you are doing, so use it to highlight the movements.

    For example use the more powerful part of your track to highlight the medium and extended work.

    All music contains natural transitions so use these to illustrate your transitions when they happen.

    This is freestyle, the judge does not know how you intend the test to look, you can lose many marks if they become confused with your floor plan, if you are smart with your musical choice your ‘soundtrack’ tells them what to expect and they will mark accordingly.

    Good or bad you will get a mark rather than 0 for ‘Not seen’


    Always have intro music, you are not judged until the first footfall from the halt

    But it tells everyone you are coming in and you are going to be worth watching!

    A good musical intro gets all eyes firmly focused on you; the judge may still be writing notes so grab their attention from the start.


    Select pieces of music that go together using similar instruments, and musical styles, it is always good to have a theme in mind rather than a random selection of tunes that makes the test feel disjointed.


    Allow the test to develop rising up from the walk section to a big finish, it is acceptable to have exit music too, just to end the whole thing with a flourish,to the enthralled applause of you audience.

    See what you can come up with, and if you need any help you know where to find me.

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