Tamsin reaches her riding goals for 2012 - helped by some great tips from Ben Maher

PART 1 Tamsin returns to riding and
PART 2 Tamsin finds her perfect horse


I was very lucky to get tickets for both the Eventing Dressage second day and Eventing Show Jumping at Greenwich Park and be part of the amazing atmosphere and excitement, I have never seen or felt anything like it - it was incredible and came to a crescendo in the medal ceremony with team GBR picking up the silver - I still cant believe I was actually part of it, something that will stay with me forever.
My excitement continued for the Show Jumping and although I didn't manage to get tickets I was glued to the TV and was thrilled to witness team GBR get the Gold and to see Ben Maher up on the podium as part of the team - I am proud and very lucky to be able to reminisce on my private lesson in association with Your Horse magazine with Ben earlier this year.
Ben only lives ten minutes from my home and I felt privileged to be able to have a full hour's lesson on Captain and a grand tour of his beautiful yard.

So what was Ben like?
Tamsin and_Ben2 
On meeting Ben, he was very down to earth and chatty, His open and relaxed approach put me at ease straight away and all my nerves disappeared. Throughout both the lesson and yard tour Ben provided me with an insight into the world of top Show Jumping - He spends a lot of time away from home, living in hotels, his commitment to hard work and his career was clearly evident - and although the Olympics was only a few months away I was amazed how relaxed Ben was, especially as the morning of my lesson he had returned from competing abroad - I couldn't believe it - He didn't look tied at all, it just reinforced  how much self discipline and energy you have to have to compete at this level. -  I certainly would have been on my knees just fulfilling all the traveling requirements.

Ben's yard?

Bens yard was stunning, not a piece of hay out of place, I was surprised as to how quiet it was especially with so many beautiful and well looking  horses at home.
The stables were as you would expect -  large and spacious with thick bedding and the biggest shaving banks I have ever seen - they came up to my knees. His top horses had lovely snug duvet bandages for night time and I remembered thinking that I will definitely be spoiling Captain by buying him some duvet legs too.
If that wasn't enough of a WOW factor, I then walked into the indoor school for my lesson on Captain, WOW again, the course jumps were like those that you would see at Olympia - they were huge and I could have quite easily walked underneath them!!! 
What tips and advice did Ben give you ?  TAMSIN jumping_white_fence2 
The lesson with Ben will stay with me forever and is one of the best I have had to date. You know when you have a lesson that benefits you and your horse because not only do you see and feel an immediate effect in the lesson, but you are able benefit from the advice and tips to help you reach your ongoing goals.
Ben gave me some excellent tips which I constantly use today in my schooling of Captain at home or when warming up for a Show jumping phase of a Horse Trial. 
Prior to my lesson with Ben I didn't feel Captain was listening to me and I used speed for power and wondered why I met fences too long or way too deep, or found one stride doubles too long. I would rush at fences and my Show Jumping rounds were lucky but messy.
Bens tips have really helped me transform my Show Jumping rounds and I am now achieving clears and although I'm still not Show Jumping perfect quite yet   - I would like to share some of my learning's.
> A pretty outline, is just a pretty outline, it looks good but isn't effective when it comes to jumping.
> Getting a good jump over a fence is all about the approach and the type of canter.
> Ensure that when you warm up for Show Jumping that the horse is off your leg and is actually listening to your instruction.
> By asking for a bigger canter followed by a shorter canter on the short side of the arena will help your horse become more responsive.
> Use plenty of transitions through the passes.
> The quality of a canter is about power and balance not speed
> Think about the canter before the corners and don't rush at the fences, wait for the fence to come to you

So what's next?
My good placing at Shelford Manor a couple of weeks ago (finishing 5th on our dressage score) qualified Captain and me for Osberton CCI 1*. It has been a big dream of mine since returning to riding after fourteen years out of the saddle to get to a 3 day event, so I am thrilled to have achieved my goal that I set myself when I purchased Captain.
With only 4 weeks to go! I will be increasing Captains fitness and cantering, in addition to practicing my test lots. I have got my first practice test with British Dressage judge Kathryn Brace this week and will be having a few more prior to Osberton. We will also be focusing more a bigger medium trot and canter which we are not great on at the moment!! And doing more on perfecting areas we are good at like halts, rein back and extended walk - ensuring we gain those extra marks.
Prior to leaving for Osberton I've got two more Horse Trials and of course my annual shopping trip to Burghley Horse Trials.