As 2014 comes rushing to a close, Richard gets an opportunity to take Tommy to another clinic run by Team GB and Olympic eventer Nicola Wilson. He tells us how they got on.

Richard continues:
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It was two years ago that I took a very young Tommy to a clinic run by Nicola Wilson, so was amazed that as I led him in to the school that Nicola remembered us. This time Tommy was so much calmer in the warm up, which was very much appreciated by me and my two fellow riders.

Immediately Nicola had us warming up in a group, both in walk and trot adding in 10m circles. After that we took turns in cantering on each rein where I was advised by Nicola to use half halts to re-balance Tommy in canter, especially on the left rein.
Once we were all warmed up we started jumping with a figure 8 with a jump on the long diagonal. Tommy was going well until someone started grooming a horse in a stable that opened on to the school. He got quite disturbed and it took us a while to get his mind back on the job. Nicola was so accommodating of his behavior and soon sorted us out in her very calm way.

But old habits die hard as I still found myself making the mistake of not riding Tommy forwards when his attention is not on the job. I know I have to get over this issue, as it is far too easy to stop riding the way I know I should when my horse is not going in the way I want.

We finished the session with a 5 jump course which Tommy jumped well, the only fault being mine. I made the mistake of not riding on after the last jump in a course. I must remember that the last jump is not the end!

Our lesson was fantastic and although Tommy and I made mistakes,  It  was Nicola’s calm and confident instruction that enabled me to take so many learning’s from the lesson that I can immediately start applying to improve our riding even further.

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Tommy will be having a week off over Christmas and I will be making plans for 2015 including some of the many tips and techniques taken from my lesson with Nicola.

I would like to send huge thanks to Nicola Wilson for the lesson, Snowdon Farm in Sheffield for hosting the clinic and to Alison Garner of Brooks Barn Equestrian for transporting me there and taking the photos.

A great end to 2014 and a great start to 2015.Next time my New Year goals. - Supply Richard with his riding clothing and footwear - Supply Richard with his riding protection

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