I had a great time skiing in Colorado before I headed south and have to give a big shout out to Phillip Dutton Eventing for keeping Syd Kent and my new French mare for the three weeks I couldn’t ride them. It was a pleasure to get back on them after their stay at Phillip’s!
We have a lot of nice horses here in Aiken with us, and a great team of people all ready to start the season. We’re continuing to work on the basics and yesterday I texted everyone the training scale and reminded them that you can’t have one component without the others. I also reminded them to keep their riding simple, the importance of transitions, transitions, transitions, and the need to have a thoughtful plan for each horse. We did some team drills to work on teamwork and discipline. Also, for each group of horses we jumped, we made it into a competition of who did the best job—not just who got the best distances, but who followed the plan the best and had a thoughtful reaction if something didn’t go right.
I believe it’s not always the most talented rider, but the most thoughtful or smartest rider, that is the most successful. Knowing the plan for each horse and reacting in the moment is key. I love to win and I’m happy to say I won four out of five of our jump sets, but have to congratulate Caitlin Calder, who won the hardest set we had. Healthy competition to raise your own bar is always good for your riding and helps you learn to deal with pressure and just get on with your riding.
I'll check back after this weekend and keep you apprised of how all the horses are going and who’s winning the healthy competitions at my barn!