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18.3.18

Dodson & Horell Performance Masterclass 2018


Yesterday I attended the Dodson and Horrell Perfomance Masterclass at Arena UK, battling gale force winds and snowstorms to take my place in the audience. The event showcased the formula for success across all three disciplines, dressage, eventing and showjumping. Stressing the importance of equine nutritional needs and a riders mental wellbeing.

Dressage

Richard Davison; spoke about the importance of being a horseman/woman first, dressage rider later. As he warmed up his fresh, powerful and athletic horse that clearly had dressage in it's blood, he came off of his back in the canter. Not precious that his seat was not one typically associated with the discipline. Richard then demonstrated the basics; the reaction to the aids and how it should be, the fundamentals of making the right thing easy for the horse by way of pressure and release. A pleasure to watch and reminder how essential good foundations are.


Sophie Wells MBE then taught Event Rider; Julia Dungworth for 30 minutes. Julia's horse Gala was one we could all relate to, loves his jumping, yet gets easily distracted in the dressage...ohh did someone just sneeze, we should go check they're OK? Sophie asked Julia to work on a 20 metre circle, in the middle of the arena. As far away from any distractions as possible. Sophie asked Julia to spiral down to 10 metres, and leg yield back out to 20. Engaging her horses hind quarters and to not worry about his head. To improve the fluency of Gala's transitions, Sophie asked Julia to ride forwards to a movement by changing the 'gear' or 'tempo', a game of 'how slow can you go' before seamlessly transitioning from trot to walk. Inside leg trot, outside leg canter. 
Sophie's mantra, look up, sit up, ride like a winner, look towards your next movement and ride forwards into it. 

Feed To Win
Cathertin Rudenko, Dodson & Horrells Head of Nutrition spoke about their latest developments in performance and recovery mixes. Dodson & Horrell have developed a range for success and included samples of their Elite Sport Muesli and Ultimate Balancer in our goody bags; the latter Oscar can't wait to try...


Eventing
Piggy French bought Red to the party; Quarrycrest Echo a beautiful 11 year old chestnut horse who was very excited to see us all. Piggy spoke about the importance of physical fitness in her introduction, sharing her personal experience of becoming a mum, that lead her to train her body off a horse for the first time. Piggy stressed how important it is to be safe when eventing, the extra strength and stamina is not to be underestimated. Piggy once warmed up with Red demonstrated how XC schooling can be practised at home with a little creativity. Gradually shortening the widths of fences to extreme skinnies and jumping them on different angles and strides, explaining when out on the course you can gallop to an inviting steeplechase fence but then have to quickly collect to turn a corner and jump a tricky combination.


Julia and Gala then came back into the arena with Dr Karl Steptoe CPSychol a Sports and Performance Psychology Lead at Loughborough University. Karl spoke about pre competition nerves, developing self-belief and learning to cope with the pressures of the sport. Julia talked through her routine and the importance of keeping things 'normal' on competition days. Julia likes to drive the lorry and have the dressage test read to her. Julia then rode a series of jumps with live commentary. Gala knocked a pole, Julia was unaffected by this, jumped another fence and calmly re-approached and Gala cleared it. Karl praised Julia's positivity and her ability to continually think about her next move. 

Showjumping
Geoff Billington, what a finale! The audience laughed from start to finish and were in awe of his horsemanship. Geoff rode two horses and jumped gigantic fences, he spoke about their tack and feed, listening to the horse and not being afraid to try new things, one of his jumped for the first time in a hackamore. Geoff demonstrated control and how his horses have to be ridable and able to cope with atmosphere, never afraid of being too loud and building up cheers from the audience with his younger horse. Cool, calm and collected with an awesome sense of humour, what more is needed in the saddle?


My ticket cost £20 and all ticket sale profit proceeds went to the Brooke Charity and I would like to thank Dodson & Horrell for hosting such a fantastic and informative event. Can I book my seat for 2019...?

Thank you for reading,
Jessica & Oscar