Im writing this from my hotel while on the show in Lons le Saunier, France..... Its been a good show so far, Bella was double clear yesterday in the 150 class. He qualified for the GP after jumping double clear in the 150 class on Friday (the round is up on You Tube & Facebook so have a look)...so today he has the day off. I worked him this afternoon and felt fit and strong for tomorrows class. The rain is holding off so fingers crossed for a great GP!

This year is all about planning & preparation toward London 2012 & so far ive had some great shows this season..Starting in Arezzo we brought out some of his feisty attitude which I am learning is a trait that is welcome (but must be managed!!) in all "special" top level horses.

Pretty much all talented and special horses have that little bit of bastard in them that can work for you or against you. The key is getting them on your side and depending on their character you have to understand how to do that in the best way. For example with Bella, he is a very sensitive stallion, one look at a whip and he freaks out...it is only in the last year have i been able to carry one, although its only a foot long so i dont think he can see it! But typically if i do find myself in a situation where i need to use it, the sensitivity of his mind causes the use of the whip to work against me..he gets crazy strong and stops thinking about anything else. Working with Michelle we find that the best way to correct any 'stallion moments' is a very strong proactive disciplining action. A severe lateral movement, making what i want very clear and obvious and giving him no other option.. ok so when I'm in the ring its alittle difficult because I'm not doing a dressage test but essentially i try to bring out these movements before i get in the ring. Continuously asking questions and disciplining him on his flat work. Its actually works, some movements he gets shitty and wants to argue or rebel and in that moment i can correct him, very clear and obvious so he learns that he must obey & be disciplined...that it is easier to behave.... I have never asked Chuggy but I am sure this is the reason that the canter pirouettes evolved...to achieve the same outcome being total discipline with Vivant.

After Arezzo was Lummen. This was our first time representing Australia in a team & I loved it. Bella jumped amazing in both the Nations Cup and the GP. There is such a wonderful feeling to jump well as an individual but the excitement is multiplied when you jump as a team for your country. The next was Linz...again a CSIO4* but Australia did not have enough riders for a team.... & as it turned out it was not a good show for me..... i had a rein break in the QP Qualifier so that was one of those shows you just have to walk away from forget about! Well at least until next year where i think it will be one of the selectors shows..

Copenhagen CSIO again was a great show, clear in Nations Cup and GP two down. The water jump gives me grief sometimes...i am still not quite judging them correctly all of the time ...i musnt let Bella get to relaxed over them & so have a frustrating heel on the tape. No problem...i just have to ride it perfect to give him the best jump!

After Copenhagen was a little break..three weeks at home before the next start being Lons le Saunier, a nice 3* in France this weekend. After Lons it is straight onto Fontainebleau 4* also in France.....

I just found out i got a wild card to San Patrignano (Italy) CSI 5*. This is so exciting...our first 5* start together & at a show judged by the riders to be one of the best in Europe. I am so very fortunate to be granted a wildcard by the FEI as they only grant 1 for the show!!!. I will jump Ascona (Switzerland) CSI 3* the week before as preparation.

After San Pat, Hachenburg (Germany) CSI 3* and Dijon (Spain) CSIO 5* after Lanaken (Belgium) World Breeding Championships..and the list goes on..

I am sure that all athletes find that mental & physical discipline is essential. I find the weekend when I am not on show difficult.... I keep busy at home ofcourse with the 12 young horses(having this many between 2 & 5yo makes for an interesting time during the week...have a look on my You Tube for some that are ready for sale)...in addition I am now also working with a personal trainer... just having even 1 weekend not on show makes me crazy so the extra workout is good not only physically but mentally for me. I know that eventually I will have additional international horses but it is very hard at the moment. Bella is an amazing horse but he is my only one at the international level, so he needs to be managed very carefully or i may find myself at home much longer then a couple of weekends....

To have just three more international horses would be a dream come true.....ok so my dreams have come true already yes...;) but you never stop dreaming!

Ive been thinking lately about the mental side of the sport. Being on a show with only one horse gives me alot of time to think! Im sure its the same in all sports but the psychology in this sport is so important. Its incredible that there is not more support available for us to understand this side of the preparation. I can prepare Bella physically and mentally for his job, with the help and advice from my support team. Ofcourse he will throw a curve ball at me from time to time and as time goes on i will gain more experience at preparing this type of horse...but i believe I am becoming better & better at that part all the time. I can think through a situation related to his training or fitness, I can discuss it with Michelle or with my vet or nutrition specialist.... the support for the "practical/physical" is there.... But once we are ring side, about to go inside the arena its up to me no? I have to be mentally fit enough to ride in a way that creates the best results..to have the belief, confidence and strength to pull it off....against all the possible variables, all the voices that say you cant, the circumstances etc ect and then when it does and or doesnt work...you have to be able to deal with that. Learn from the experience whether it be negative or positive, put it in its own little file, store it away and start preparing for the next time. Im sure the more often you are in the ring it becomes easier to deal with each round. I guess thats my biggest problem at the moment with only Bella on each show and not being able to go to a show every week..oneday that will change though im sure (positve thoughts...;))

So anyway, just a fews things that are happening at the moment...

 

Amy

 

Lons le Saunier France...

18 June 2011

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