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Training, Training, Training

We’ve made it to March and it really feels like the countdown is on until the lockdown restrictions are lifted. I can’t wait to get out training and coaching again.

Bridle fit is important for maximum comfort

Despite the restrictions February has been a surprisingly busy month with lots of Pony Club Badge training. With the Wokingham Pony Club, I’ve covered a wide range of topics including Lorinery, Road Safety and Perfect Paddocks. The Pony Club has a wide range of Achievement Badges and they are so useful for looking at a topic in detail and training towards tests. I get very enthusiastic about Pony Care, so I was impressed that I only overran on the Lorinery Badge where I got carried away talking about the importance of bridle fit taking into account the location of nerves on the horse’s face. I also created some half term activities to keep the members busy, they had one a day and included things like polework, a quiz and a scavenger hunt. There was so much creativity with all their submissions, it was amazing to see what they came up with.

It's so important to know what's in your first aid kit

Away from Pony Club, I ran my first online training session this month. We covered Essential First Aid and looked at when you need to call the vet, what you need in your first aid kit and how to treat different ailments while you’re waiting for your vet. It was a bit nerve racking to teach a whole new group of people over Zoom, but it was really well received. Everyone found it interesting and enjoyable as well as giving me lots of good suggestions for the next ones. There are more coming up in March, we will be covering Fitness and I will be hosting a Live Q&A to help with any training problems or horse queries. Check out the Online Training tab to book on.

In addition to teaching, I’ve also been taking this opportunity to update my CPD. As a BHS Accredited Professional Coach I have to do 6 hours of Continuous Professional Development each year, but there are always so many things I want to go to, I usually end up doing more! I updated my Safeguarding and although I renew it every 3 years, I couldn’t believe how much has changed, especially with increased social media use. On the 5th I attended the Pony Club Coaching Conference, I always try to attend this one every year as the speakers are incredible and there is always a really poignant take home message. This year, the topic was ‘Safeguarding the Future of Equestrianism’. It sounded like a huge topic to be tackled in a couple of hours, but it was really well put together with an emphasis being placed on educating members to improve the perception of our sport and to remember that our jobs as coaches don’t just stop when we finish our lesson, we need to be on hand to provide guidance when needed. The stand out quote for me was from Corrine Bracken who said that if something goes wrong at a show, “no one ever goes into to ring trying to do badly and no matter how disappointed you are, they will always be more disappointed”. It is so important to remember that it isn’t our job as coaches to manufacture results, but to develop riders who can think for themselves and use any disappointments constructively to improve in the future.

Using this time well to get set up for the season

In my own riding I’ve been using this time to improve my fitness. I’ve been taking part in more pilates classes, which has really helped to improve my symmetry. Doing more paperwork has meant spending more hours sitting at a desk, which has not been great for my posture, but luckily the pilates sessions run by Hannah from Rider Focus Physio get me moving and stretched out. I have also been running more and was working up to running 10k until I tweaked my Achilles tendon. Luckily we caught it early and Hannah is pleased with how it’s healing, but no running until the middle of March, so I’m feeling a bit like a horse on box rest! Not much to report with Maria she's ticking along and working on movements and skills so we'll be ready when we can get out.

I think that’s everything, hopefully I’ll have more to update you on next time as we get closer to being able to compete.

Alex x


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