After Ros Canter’s fantastic performance, leaving her in the best Brit (and top female) placing at Badminton last week, I felt quite motivated to step-up my riding ‘game’ and learn from the best.
The most important thing to do is to watch how they ride, especially when they’re having a problem. For example, if their horse runs out cross country, or becomes unsettled in the arena, how do they prevent this from happening next time? Pay special attention to very small details, like where they’re looking and how their hands are positioned. If you ever get the chance to talk to a professional rider, try to take the opportunity to ask how they would deal with a situation like yours.
Have the right equipment. In order to produce the same results, you might need to upgrade some of your tools. For example, in order to get your horse looking as smart as Valegro, you’re going to want the same grooming kit as Alan Davies, Charlotte’s professional groom (luckily you can buy this from Eqclusive)! Keep an eye out for horses that have similar problems to yours and look at which tack the riders use to limit the problem. For example, if you had a horse that was very sensitive, check to see whether they use any specialist kit (like ‘Freedom bridles’ or sheepskin numnahs) so the horse can perform at its best.
Watch behind the scenes – it may look stunning on the day, but how to they get there? If you can, try to attend some demonstrations and clinics with some top riders, ensuring you note down any exercises and top tips that they use, so you can replicate it at home. There was a great video of Ingrid Klimke warming up at Badminton the day before her dressage test (on TwitterEventing Facebook), which showed her using poles. It’s a good idea to try and replicate things like this at home. If you can, try to find demonstration videos and read books written by professionals so you can understand the reasons behind their methods. Below is a great video of Gemma Tattersall training her young horse over grids:
Do you have any other ways you learn from others? Let me know!