Steph talks teaching flying changes and gearing up for the regionals

Steph Croxford talks about teaching youngsters flying changes, dealing with some very fresh horses and looking forward to the regionals in this month's blog...

"Mr P is feeling just a bit fresh having been all geared up and ready to go to the High Profile Show at Addington before it was cancelled due to the snow - just as well though as we couldn't have got the wagon out anywawy! Clyde managed to get his outing to Swallowfields EC just before the white stuff arrived, where he was very sharp! It was quite tough to ride a horse that was saying 'don't touch me' in an Advanced Medium and a PSG - however we did manage to score over 65% (just) in the PSG so have qualified for the regionals. We got home that evening and then the snow came - so it was two weeks off for the horses!"

"I was a little concerned about getting back on board the horses after their break! I always hack them first and give them a good long trot up a hill to take the edge off them. I got a bit carried away with Freddie and decided to teach him changes, which resulted in handstands - however he picked them up well -  in fact a little too well as now when I ask for counter canter he is giving me changes! It is always the way, you have to go through this with all of them - they take a while to get the changes then once they have them they anticipate so you then have to go on to do miles and miles of counter canter until they learn to only change when asked. It is better to teach them changes when they are still a little unbalanced I find because they naturally want to change legs to regain their balance."

"Next week I have a lesson with Richard (Davison) and then it is the build up to the Regionals at Myerscough with Mr Hyde on 20th and 21st February. My preparation is... trying to stay on! Generally I play around as normal until a week before, and then just before the competition I will work on the movements in the test and work on relaxation in the walk - basically a week de-programming! Straight after the regionals we are off to Barleyfield unaffiliated with Freddie to do an elementary with him - back down to earth!"