Sunday, August 26, 2012

Coming Home

     After a big, important show, it's always good to reflect on what has just happened.  I like to look back and see if I would have changed anything.  Were my final presentations good?  Were my riders well prepared?  Were they confident (very important!)?  Did I keep everything orderly and running smoothly (equally important!)??  How about the little details like did everyone get enough sleep and get to eat sometime reasonable?  How about the trip itself - was it without mishap (yes!)??
     I believe all these factors make for a  successful show.  I can't control the judges' decisions or a child jumping up and down in the stands, and I certainly can't control the weather, but I can make darn sure I cover all my bases before the trip and during the show and then get everyone home safe and sound.
   And yes, Canadian Nationals was a very good show for us again this year!  I am proud of my riders, my horses and frankly of my work as a trainer and coach.  It's an honor to show and compete with such great trainers and horses - I can't wait to do it again next year!  See you next week, JD

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Keep on Advancing

     If your training doesn't continue to advance and you don't see improvements then you are stuck in a rut so to speak.  Horses should continually improve, even when they're old campaigners, because there is no such thing as a static condition, in other words, there's no such thing as "done".  If you don't improve you will only go backwards.  Not to mention that every year things get tougher out there as some others do improve and new competitors hit the scene.
     Opera singers, dancers, musicians; they all practice all the time and are continually improving but often I see riders who are satisfied to just continue along happily without looking for ways to improve.  No horse is perfect and left on their own, horses will start taking short cuts or the easier way to do things, not the correct way.  So, in being vigilant you will find it's easy to also improve.  Many times these are just small things but the small things add up and soon you'll find your overall performance is better.
     Many riders just aren't conscious that training is a constant, evolving process.  It's part of what makes training horses so interesting to me.  I also always have an image in mind of what I want a horse to become, I think this is important. 
     I was riding Joanne Salisbury's gelding "Ex" the other day and realized he was giving me the ride I had always visualized.  Boy was that a thrill!  We got there by never staying static, never saying "this is good enough".  Let me be clear here though:  I'm not talking about individual rides, I'm talking about looking at the long view.  Looking at the top of a steep mountain and saying "I want to go there", so that day by day you get a little closer to your goal.  You and your horse will be challenged and you will become a better horseman for it!  See you next week, JD.