It's the winter that's always the hardest in this job. It's not even the cold and the rain and short dark days, it's the tiredness that comes with it. I feel shattered and organising everything so it runs more or less smoothly seems like a grand effort. It's even worse when one or two things crop up unexpected which means whatever managed to be painstakingly planned ends up upside down and inside out.
I spent last evening in Hampshire on a first in a series of lecture-talks with Andrew Murphy, senior instructor at TTTTrust (Training The Teachers of Tomorrow Trust)
The lectures are to be loosely based on training/bio-mechanics subjects as well as being driven by whatever the participants want to focus on which is great. Andrew shared his view on training horses and riders from beginners to Grand Prix level and is mostly focusing on Dressage
He advocates a medical approach to teaching where problems are diagnosed and found cure for and where pinpointing and treating the cause is more important than patching up the symptoms. The other thing he mentioned was the importance of understanding and being able to explain why, as a rider/trainer do we correct this thing not the other and why do we do it this way and not the other.
Bad riding is born out of frustration and frustration is born out of bad education.
When training the horse we should first see an animal with its instincts, needs and impulses. Then, we see the horse. And only after that we see our pet, The CutiePie. Not the other way round.
Andrew went even further stating that horse trainers should understand that horses have predominately two states: Pain and No Pain. All problems we have with training stem from the horse either being in pain, remembering the pain or anticipating pain.
However, subscribing to this thought would also mean acknowledging there is no such thing as a happy horse...Not sure if I want to burst my bubble.
The next meeting is in January and I will definitely put myself down for it.
My attending those various courses and talks is not only to gain as much knowledge as possible but also to learn about...all the different ways of learning.
Straight from Hampshire I went down to teach in London till late evening and I am now writing this drinking super sweet tea, alike one my gran always makes. It's way too sweet and you wouldn't be able to tell what variety of tea you are drinking but that's how I like it on those cold, muddy winter evenings - hot,no milk and lots of brown sugar :) While I am drifting somewhere in between where I am and where I would like to see myself being, this super sweet tea tastes comforting.
Here are little insights into my week ahead: Wed/Thu regular teaching in Berks, then roll on Friday - I have some super training arranged for in Bucks and Hertfordshire. Sat - running Training Day in Berks for a fab beginner rider which should be lots of fun. She will then drive me back to London and I will have an hour or so to scrub up to to an annual RDA ball organised by one of the riding schools in Surrey. Sunday - will try my best not to fall asleep in the arena!