“Be careful what you wish for” a saying that has come so true for us equestrian professionals who are forever wishing we had a bit more time in the day with a little less to do! Its’s a pity we have what we wanted because of these unprecedented circumstances.
It’s well known that trainers, riders and other professionals in the equestrian industry don’t know what a weekend or bank holiday feels like, let alone a 9-5 working day, but all of a sudden COVID-19 has put the handbrake on all sports, specifically Dressage for me.
Stoic rural attitudes about our robust immune systems and anti-social distance lifestyles count for nothing during the collective effort to protect our health services and the vulnerable.
A large proportion of my job involves travelling up and down the country either competing or holding clinics and demonstrations at equestrian centres. With neither of these outlets available I’ve been able to spend much more time at my yard with the horses I train daily. A blessing for me and I feel so fortunate to be able to have that to keep me sane, although I’m not sure everyone on the yard relishes the thought of more Levi time!
As a rider I have been able to concentrate on the subjects and issues with my horses without the upcoming pressure of impending competitions.
Dressage is a demonstration of your training but with each test requiring certain movements in a particular place and order, you tend to tailor your training at home to your next test.
Without tests to prepare for I have been able to invest even more time into other beneficial training exercises such as pole work, in-hand work and who would have ever thought I’d be saying this … hacking.
Also, I feel for once, it’s socially acceptable to let my stubble reach day 5 which is a rare treat as beards and riding hats just don’t match!
But with so many coaching and travelling hours now free, my attention had gone online. The thing us technologically challenged country folk fear the most …THE INTERNET.
With many clients in need of training but unable to access it in person I put an invitation out for anyone (client or not) to submit videos or questions and I would give feedback and set goals for the following week.
This has opened my eyes to the amount of riders out there who can’t access trainers even without the presence of a global pandemic. With more trainers helping online via facetime calls it feels like a step into the 21st century for sure.
My final bit of help that I thrust on everyone through social media was a series of training videos and picture examples. From ground work for those who could not / did not want to ride during the initial 5 weeks of lockdown and riding tips for those who were still in the saddle. The biggest thing I appreciated about doing these was just how painful editing videos are. If you’re reading this and edit for a living … I salute you!
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