Meet Suzanne. An endlessly jolly character who absolutely loves having lessons and learning new things. Suzanne helps out at a riding school by managing the whole operation on Sundays. She pretty much does everything from mucking out to meet & greet, open and close, feeding the ponies and hacking out with clients. In return, she gets the lessons, mostly on a Cleveland Bay mare, Rosie.
Photo: Suzanne also has a very non-horsey job in London but here is what Rosie thinks about it!
Suzanne introduces herself I am from Zimbabwe where I was introduced to horses at an early age, plodding around a farm on a horse that was way too big for me. I started lessons when I was about 6 and pestered my parents for my own pony but to no avail. I was lucky enough to have a friend with horses so my teenage years were spent on crazy hacks and hanging around shows being my friend’s “groom”. For a couple of decades I barely rode. However, the bug returned and I started riding again at a local riding school. I have always loved horses; they are huge and majestic but so trusting and generous. Being outside, riding a horse you love, what better thing is there? Horses She Rides: I ride at a small riding school where I generally ride the same horse in my lessons, Rosie, a Cleveland Bay mare. Rosie is in her teens, a bit stiff (like me) and sometimes finds things a little tricky. However, if I get something right, she tells me and we float off on cloud 9. I also hack some friends’ horses, a gentle giant called Thomas (also a Cleveland Bay), the handsome Phagan (an Irish Draught x TB) and Clarissa (the most comfy cob). Suzanne also comes for Intensive Training Days at Hall-Place Equestrian Centre a few times a year.
Easy and effective exercise to become more aware of what each side of your body does. Suzanne tends to collapse her waist in the saddle so here she is stretching each side to trigger her awarness of being symmetrical. Suzanne BEFORE the Academy training started:
Why does she like having lessons? I enjoy hacking, being out and about and taking in the surroundings. But I LOVE lessons. I need to be pushed to try to achieve those things that I don’t think I can do, I like to be challenged by the technicalities that lessons bring even if it takes time for me to get there. Most of all, I want to ride quietly and effectively, respecting and in harmony with the horse, and for that lessons are vital. What are your riding ambitions? Would you like to compete or do you prefer training at home? I’m happiest training at home, progressing slowly. I don’t have ambitions to compete although I might eventually be persuaded to try something like Interdressage or
Photo: Suzanne on Bella on one of her Intensive Training Days. Hacking is a great addition to lessons especially when you have instructor on another horse next to you who drills you now and then ;)
Did you enjoy participating in the Academy’s Case Study? I was honoured to be asked to be a Case Study. I’ve learnt that it’s all the little things being knitted together that make a difference. The Academy’s training is holistic, structured and fine-tuned to suit the individual. All aspects are interlinked and I enjoyed the whole experience. 1) Intensive Training Day(s) - Riding different horses at a larger yard. Riding one I had ridden before and finding the feel more quickly. Hours in the saddle at one time and being given the luxury of learning something and then being able to try it again a bit later on that same day. 2) Video Feedback - Invaluable, really instils what one is trying to learn and connects the image of how one imagines one rides with reality. 3) Written homework and links to articles on the theory chosen to help with particular element of training - Widens all round knowledge. Exposure to alternative methods. 4) Fitness programme/Stretch Exercises/Chiropractic assessment - The stretching exercises make a huge difference (I just need to remember to do them!). 5) Was taking the programme motivating? Did you feel like you were more/less focused on tasks & training? - Highly motivating and very addictive. The way the programme is organised certainly concentrated my mind and helped me to see the progress I was achieving.
Considering what Academy’s Programme is all about would you consider purchasing the Training Plans? If yes, why? If not, why?