What’s on with ARP Equestrian Coaching this Spring?

By | Equestrian, Sports coaching

After two years of struggle (and no clear end in sight) Covid has made life difficult, sad, frustrating and exhausting for just about everyone.  In a spirit of New Year Optimism and in line with the energy with which I see people getting out and about with their horses, I have put together a comprehensive programme of equestrian events for Spring 2022.

We will have:

  • Dressage test riding (how do I get an extra few percent in my test);
  • Polework to develop strength, suppleness and horse-rider coordination;
  • Coaching focus on the rider (how you can ride to get the best ‘conversation with your horse);
  • Coachng focus on the horse (what sort of exercises will most help my horse in his work?);
  • Jumping for nervous or novice horses / riders and a progressive session working on jumping technique.
  • Zoom chats

My aim throughout is for you to be enjoying what you are doing with your horse and helping you to see how you can keep improving even if you have nobody on the ground watching.

Jan 19thFeb 2ndFeb 16thMar 2ndMar 16thMar 30th
Ground poles for suppleness, strength,coordination5pm7pm5pm7pm5pm5pm
Building confidence over fences
Ground poles  building to small fences focusing on confidence and technique for horse and rider6pm6pm6pm6pm6pm6pm
Jumping gym
Small courses, grids and other exercises (up to about 90cm)7pm5pm7pm5pm7pm7pm


Monday Mojos – informal equestrian conversations over Zoom

By | Coaching and Mentoring, Equestrian

In lockdown last year we started up a ‘Mojo Monday’ get together over Zoom.  We discovered quite a few interesting things including:

  • We have quite many equestrian acquaintances but not so many people that we felt we could pick up the phone and talk to.
  • As a group we had a lot of experience, knowledge and equestrian understanding that was well worth sharing.
  • We had a variety of reasons for going out to competitions, but one of this top ones was the social effect.
  • Pivo cameras aren’t an easy ‘self-schooling’ option!
  • Having a coach with you helps with confidence and focus (even when we actually have a good idea of what we are doing).
  • Zoom means we are not restricted by geography!

…and that’s just for starters.

I was recently asked if we were going to do the Monday Mojos again to help each other to get through these miserable dark evenings.  It seems like a good idea: I don’t know about you, but once we pass the shortest day, get through Christmas and emerge into a new year, it always feels as if things should improve.  Our New Year resolutions, the lighter evenings, the weather…. And, as I sit here writing this at 4pm on 6th January 2022 it is almost dark, the rain is hammering against the window and I’ve had to warm up a bean bag to keep my toes from getting frostbite.  The horses will be out in the rain with their backs to the wind and probably sulking even when I head down to see them in the next hour. So, the disappointment of the new year hits soon and it hits hard (So here is a nice warm looking picture!)

We will be getting together for some more informal chats over Zoom on Monday 24th January at 7pm (BD rules and regs and when is a dressage 7 not a 7?!); Monday 21st February (7pm again, ‘Why is suppleness so important and how do we get it?) and finally Monday 21st March when we’ll have a quiz.  Everyone submits a couple of questions and then we all answer all but our own!

I am there to be admin and facilitator but I’m not going to provide lectures!  It would be lovely to see what everyone brings to the table this time.

See you there!


Dressage test riding

By | Equestrian, Sports coaching

It can be easy to up your marks in dressage by doing a few straightforward things.

For example, in Prelim 19 each mark is worth 0.34% so just adding half a mark for the test movements could shift you from 61% to a super-looking 67%.  Simply riding

Long Arena Test riding flier

Long Arena Test riding dates

round circles in the right place with an even rhythm could add between 2.5 and 5 marks (or 1-2%).  In elementary 59 we are still looking at about 0.3% so an extra half mark on even only half the movements and the collectives will bring you an added 2%.  (Doesn’t sound much but compare how pleased you be with 66% over 63.9 or 64%.

We all know that things are usually easier in practice but a trip inside the white boards can change all that in an instant. Suddenly everything has to happen at a marker (unlike the warm-up); there are flower pots in odd places (or so your horse thinks); the judge’s car has the windscreen wipers going; there might be a banner that could flap at the edge of the arena.

You know only too well that the instant you feel any nerves your horse is going to pick up on it and think ‘ uh oh, my rider is worried about something.  There must be something I need be looking out for….what is it?…Is this a dangerous place?’

And then you, the rider, think ‘uh oh, horse is upset about something.  Wonder what he’s seen?… Is he going to spook?’

This is when getting the basic things right in the test can help because you can automatically ride a round circle, you know how far ahead of E you need to start preparing for a transition, you know that you can focus on keeping the right rhythm.

Our test riding sessions help to identify the

Short test flier

Short arena test riding

things that you can do well to gain extra marks, so you can go into the arena with something positive to work on.  We’ll look at what the judge is seeing that can make a 6 into a 7 or a 7 into an 8.  We can look at why centrelines are so important and why the underlying training is so crucial to get a good ‘way of going’.

I don’t have stats for it, but the most likely place that you’ll get a 10 is probably your halt.  How can you do that? How do we decide on that all important doubled mark for a free or extended walk?

This Spring I’m running Zoom chat sessions as well as test-riding in both long and short arenas so why not come and see for yourself where all those dressage marks are currently hiding?