I realise that, yes horses have a limit but it is strange that all of them were struggling with similar movements and or were at a plateau in training where I felt I couldn’t go any further with the skills I had and perhaps I needed some training and exercises to increase my suppleness, flexibility, straightness and core strength (the areas in which we focus on when training our horses!). Thanks to a friend I was referred to Lindsay whom with her expertise within classical training methods of the horse and Pilates targeted at the rider I really found the whole package! How can you train your horse to be straight if you are not? How can your horse perform well if he cannot understand your training methods?
As a classical trainer Lindsay ensures that the training methods and techniques she teaches are simple for both horse and rider but effective- it takes patience and time as a rider when learning new methods but I can honestly say that my horses have been much happier and relaxes in their work thus gaining higher marks in the dressage arena and I also believe it has helped them become better jumpers.
In 2014 I kicked off the eventing season with two of the best horses I have owned, Moo (Footstepsinthesnow) in which I have trained with Lindsay since the day she came to me to begin her retraining after finishing her racing career and Rosie (Quassyrose) previously a ride of Olympic Event rider Sharon Hunt. Through the hours of training and patience from Lindsay and myself, Moo has gone from an inverted unschooled racehorse to winning her first BE event and qualifying for the Badminton Horse Trials Grassroot Finals in 2015. Rosie has become much more happy, relaxed and supple after following Lindsays training regime over the past year- when she came to me she would get extremely tense and occasionally rear to evade work, I believe some of this may have been through pain due to some unsympathetic training methods and also that she could not always mentally cope with the pressures of the work after the amount of training she had been under to get to the top level of eventing. I now hope due to the vast mental and physically changes in both horses that they will go on to qualify for a FEI CCI1* 3 day event in 2015.
It just shows no matter what end of the scale of training your horse is at time, patience and correct sympathetic training from a trainer you really believe in can make or break your partnership with your horse.
They always say horses know how to keep you ‘grounded’- well you would hope not literally but unfortunately the best season of my competive riding life was cut short by a serious accident at home when I fell off another horse whilst jumping in which I fractured 3 vertabrae in my spine, I was hopitalised and my future was uncertain as no doctor was sure if it would leave me parylysed. Fortunately the keyhole surgery performed where screws and rods were fitted to stabilise my spine was a success. Learning to sit, stand and walk again was extremely difficult and to be told I may not be able to ride for a year ‘crushed’ me however I am a very positive, determined and lively person who normally cant keep still for a second so I was not going to let it get me down and I soon started to turn my thoughts to who apart from the NHS can help me get back in the saddle ASAP. I didn’t want to go to any clinic, I wanted to see somebody that could tailor a program to my suits my needs and understand how my body needed help to regain the relevent strength and flexibility as a horse rider. I thought about Oaksey house in Lambourne who have helped many injured jockeys and top riders such as Jonty Evans whom also suffered the same injury as myself this season however I thought my bank balance wont let me go there! So I called Lindsay to see if she could help, and I am so glad that she could.
We spoke about my injury, she studied all of my case notes from the doctors and got a plan ready for my first assesment appointment in which she assessed my range of movement and biomechanics both visually by taking videos and manually through a range of exercises and sketches of my feet to see where my centre of balance was at! Following the assesment Lindsay gave a number of anti spasm exercises which at first I did 4 times a day with the aim of releasing and stretching muscles in my legs, hips and back- areas in which all horse riders need to be supple and aim to have the optimum range of movement as possible in order to be at one woth the horse. Over the weeks of doing these exercises I began to feel more supple, balanced, straighter and stronger thus reducing back pain. I continued to visit Lindsay over a number of weeks, she was pleased at the improvement I was making and varied the exercises accordingly along with introducing exercises with increased difficulty to challenge my balance and strength.
I firmly believe that following Lindsay’s Equipilates training program enabled me to be back in the saddle within 3 months. I went back out to my first show with Rosie after being back in the saddle for under a month in which we won at a BSJA show at Vale View and then went to Arena UK’s BSJA Halloween Spooktacular in which we came 4th out of 70 and qualified for the National Amateur Championship. I could not have asked for a better come back it is just incredible the buzz I get from doing so well in the show jumping arena or out on the cross country course when eventing. I am very passionate about what I do and at times horses can make or break my day but I will never give up and will do whatever it takes to keep me in the saddle and improving my own, my horses and my clients performance.
Personally I would recommlend anyone of any, age and ability who wants to improve themselves and their horse to contact Lindsay in the first instance where her expertise, patience and bubbly personality will get you back/keep you on track no matter what your aims may be, I thank her very much for the skills she has given me as I am not sure where my riding would be at this stage without her!
Hilary Boss, Riding Instructor (Risley)