The latest news from Shoestring Eventing

Categories: None | Tags: British Eventing, British Showjumping, British Dressage

It has been a good couple months although maybe not the most exciting blog wise. We have been active on all affiliated fronts and Ellie has been showing great progress, however, frilly wise there seem to have been a few too many just out the placings! For a very competitive person this has been a source of frustration but then again drives us to improve me.

DSC_0058XX.JPGSince our fall at Pontispool we have now established ourselves at BE90 level with some nice clear rounds, the odd pole show jumping has cost us dear though. As Ellie is ony 14.2 I find my position influences her far more than it would on a bigger horse so I have to be careful not to get in front of the movement. Equally I can struggle by overthinking her slightly shorter stride in related distances.

So we have completed West Wilts, Treborough, Bicton and Launcestion with finishing scores ranging from 33.7-43.7 which is pretty pleasing. Currently debating moving up to a 100 level at the end of August.

We have also had the chance to do some affiliated dressage at Tall Trees where working at Novice she produced the best tests to date with two scores of 66% winning her 8 BD points and a 3rd and 4th place. Dressage is certainly not my favourite phase but more a necessary evil that has to be endured! Competitions are only entered when all jumping options have been eliminated! Saying that we do work hard at home and have had some really good lessons with Stef Eardley to help improve things. With Ellie her main problem is that she will often curl behind the vertical particularly when she is tense, Stef gave us some really good tips to help this. I was trying to stop this by giving her the rein whereas a lot of the time she actually needed support from the hand.

Show jumping wise we have progressed to jumping British Novice and Discovery, I can assure you on a 14.2 pony a Discovery jump off 1.05 – 1.10 looks pretty big! She is very scopey though and I just need to learn to adapt to her size and stride.

This last week I organised a Biomechanics clinic with Russel Guire from Centaur Biomechanics who is one of the top people in his field working with the British Equestrian Teams. Considering my past injuries and wonkiness I have always been keen to have a session so the only way to do so was organise a clinic in Cornwall. I had no shortage of people keen to take part.

I watched a few sessions and couldn't help but be extremely impressed how Russel helped a wide variety of riders of different ages and abilities. He started by assessing each rider on a centre line from both directions and then riding a circle in each direction around him while recording the footage on a slow motion camera. When this was done riders came back to the 'office' as pictured to review the footage. Here he could point out any positional issues and discuss reasons it may be happening. He then asked riders to do a centre lie in walk with their eyes closed and it was amazing without the correction ability of the eyes the horses quickly veared in the direction their riders body was taking them.

What impressed me most was not only could he recognise the problems but he could put a plan in with the riders to help correct the issues, this was a variety of exercises or simple corrections that quickly made huge differences in the horses way of going. The feedback from all the riders was very positive.

Typically my session was not as straightforward he quickly identified from the video that one side of my pelvis / hip was doing more work than the other giving almost a rolling motion.

I told him about my old injuries and accidents that mean my hip and ankle are pinned and that also I ride in low grade pain most of the time. This also precludes we from riding some big moving horses. To compensate I ride with quite unlevel stirrups up to 3 holes different.

He also assessed me over a jump and although not as clear the tendency was the same.

In some ways he was complimentary that my riding ability made me cover up the problems very well but I should not be riding with such uneven stirrups and that in itself is causing me problems and is likely to cause more problems. If I had a significant leg length difference then I can ride slightly uneven but mine is not that significant therefore by doing so it may not be helping me physically. However at this time he was unwilling to give me exercises to correct until my physical disability and how much it can be corrected is understood. He has referred me to a physio near Taunton to assess this, the physio in question regularly works with all types of riders including para riders and can assess what can be improved so maybe working with them both we can improve things. It would need a lot of additional strength and conditioning work as well.

I went away feeling slightly deflated on one hand but very positive on another as the possibility is there that I can improve another level. However to do that it sounds like a lot of hard work ahead. My biggest regret is that I didn't meet Russel and the people he has access to 5 or 6 years ago.

Watch this space for progress!

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July 31, 2017  |   Share: