When One Door Closes, Another Door Opens

We’ve had some beautiful early Spring weather here in Cheshire and the land is shaking off its winter coat.  It’s been a fitting backdrop to my first visitor from Sweden – my friend Ulrika Malm.  For reasons I’m sure you’ll be able to see, I’m having to take a short break from riding my horses at the moment. Ulrika has been helping me with the work here and has taken some lovely photographs that I want to share with you.

Photo taken by Ulrika Malm.

Photo by Ulrika Malm.

Since moving to the UK there have been big changes for me and of course for my two horses. But they have adapted very well. And since I took the decision not to mount my horses for a while, I’ve still been able to continue their developmental programmes from the ground and with the help of others, such as Nathalie Mitchell – a young rider who has been working with me on my horses’ jumping skills.

Photo taken by Ulrika Malm

Photo by Ulrika Malm

It is sometimes difficult to keep up the training of our horses while our life takes its various twists and turns. But we can often use these challenges to our advantage, by stepping outside of our familiar patterns and introducing variety into the programme. And it’s not only our horses who can benefit from an introduction to new ideas and techniques – when we’re forced to consider novel ways of achieving our goals, it can often serve to break down some self-imposed or unconscious restrictions. In my case, not being able to spend hours on the backs of my horses has meant blending a lot of work from the ground with some jumping training and some mounted work on the lunge rope (thanks to help from some friends able to get up on the horses for me). And Equador continues to flourish with this varied programme – it’s physically beneficial and mentally stimulating.  So even when I’m back in the saddle, I’ll keep looking for these ways to extend the possibilities for our training sessions.

Photo taken by Ulrika Malm

Photo by Ulrika Malm

Photo taken by Ulrika Malm

Photo by Ulrika Malm

Photo taken by Ulrika Malm.

Photo by Ulrika Malm.

Equador da Encosta is 5 years old and has a lovely character. He has done a lot of jumping recently and I think you can see that he loves it.  In fact I think he shows some talent with jumping – Lusitanos really have a lot to offer in that field of horsemanship, I think.

Photo taken by Ulrika Malm.

Photo by Ulrika Malm.

In other news I’m really enjoying building new working relationships here in Cheshire. Much of my teaching recently has been with Eventers, Showjumpers and in fields I’m not usually involved with, which is really interesting for me. Slowly but surely existing clients are making plans to come and visit me here and new clients are seeking me out.  We’re able to accommodate clients’ horses for short courses of training (clients can stay very close by in one of the many hotels and guest houses), so I look forward to welcoming clients new and old.

Castor in training

This is Castor, a young stallion. A client brought him to me for training in April this year and – although he is still young and inexperienced – has shown very good qualities. While making this video, a mare and foal were free in the adjacent field, but Castor has a good mind and enjoys his work – he stayed focussed and calm. I have been very pleased with his progress.