Sunday, 29 April 2012

Busy Bee

Just a quick post to say I haven't gone anywhere, I am just very busy at the moment with University work! I might get time to write a few posts over upcoming weeks but I will be getting back to normals at the start of the summer. Trooper is doing well still!

Love Laura

Sunday, 22 April 2012

GB Rider Profile; Laura Bechtolsheimer

I wanted to get back into my weekly Sunday posts on Great British riders so I chosen Laura Bechtolsheimer for this week! Laura Bechtolsheimer is one of our countries youngest and most talented dressage riders.

She has been riding most of her life and competed from a young age. In 2005 she became the youngest British Dressage National Champion at the age of 20 riding Douglas Dorsey. Laura is currently ranked third in the world on her horse Mistral Hojris. This is also the same horse on which she competed in the 2008 Olympic games gaining 18th place overall in the individual Grand Prix and 6th place in the time event. She was also given the title of Britain's Dressage Rider Of The Year. At the 2012 World Equestrian games she gained three British International Grand Prix records getting 85.35% in the Grand Prix Freestyle, unfortunately she was beaten by Edward Gal and Moorlands Totilas.

Although I can't find a website of her own, she makes videos for These feature her demonstrating training techniques and interviews.

 Below is a video with an interview of her thoughts on the 2012 Olympics.

Laura Bechtolsheimer surely has to be one of Britain's top hopes for a gold medal at London 2012! It seems we have a lot to look forward to with such a promising young dressage rider competing for Great Britain.

Love Laura

Friday, 20 April 2012

Out For An Early Morning Hack

Here are some photos from a hack out around the roads near where I keep Trooper. It is a really nice area to hack out in and it looks even prettier as it is spring! Trooper is really well behaved when we hack out and I think he enjoys it.

Love Laura

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Team GB

I found this website yesterday which was quite interesting with all the riders on team GB for the Olympics. It also has extra bits of information!

Yesterday it was the start of the 100 day count down until the Olympics!

Love Laura

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Blue Skies

A few days ago it was perfect weather to take some photos so my Mum kindly took some of me riding! I have just written a post on Laura Bechtolsheimer for this Sunday's GB Rider post. Then I came to edit the photos of me riding for this post and somehow they didn't look as good as I thought they did before! I have got a fluorescent thing on my hat because I went round the roads afterwards (more photos to follow!)


I have recently started schooling him a bit more than I was because his tendon seems to be doing really well.  I was riding shallow loops in trot and picking up true canter in the corner and making him stay in canter for a full lap of the arena. I thought he wasn't very fit but after I had done it a few times I walked him and he wasn't out of breath.

I have also been riding 20 metre circles in walk and trot and getting him to bend to the outside then back to the inside again. This has been helping him to soften.

Yesterday I also started doing some leg yielding in walk. I started just off the track just doing a few steps until he was back onto the track again. He was also fine doing this so I think he can start building up to a bit

He does seem much calmer to ride after coming back into work after his injury. I think this is because we are not putting too much pressure onto him. He still needs to be a bit more collected but I am very happy with the way he is going at the moment. Definitely not bad for a 23 year old horse!

Trooper has been going out in the field during the day without a rug on as he hasn't been clipped. It was raining yesterday during the morning so I put a rug on him. It then stopped raining and was a nice day so I wished I hadn't put it on. However, he came in with a big, bald, swollen kick mark on his shoulder and it even had ripped the rug! It doesn't look too bad but I think it would have been much worse without the rug on.

Trooper always "snarles" when we stand still, he used to do it when I was riding a lot too when he was getting stressed. We used to ride him in a flash noseband but he just stretched the flash and still did it. I don't really know why he does it, he just always has!

I have got a big list of posts I want to write but I am really busy at the moment as I have assignments and exams are approaching! I really enjoyed the Ben Maher show jumping clinic and want to write a post on that. I also want to make a time-line of Trooper's tendon injury linking to all the different posts along the way!

Love Laura

Friday, 13 April 2012

Black and White!

I should be writing out information from a behaviour book at the moment but instead I have been turning some new photographs I have taken into black and white! Here are some of them! I have also added some to my Facebook page!

Trooper's star is getting bigger as he is getting more grey!

He doesn't need much editing to become black and white!

Joe and Bobby Mac

Love Laura

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Just A Little Update!

Trooper is doing really well at the moment when I ride him. I am still wary of his tendon and don't want to put it under too much pressure but he is not feeling stiff at all. I have been doing a lot of bending work by riding small circles, figures of eights and serpentines. I feel like this is putting some pressure on his leg but not quite as much as collection or lateral work.

I was bringing him out of the field the other day when he dragged me across to a bucket. There was a small step in front of it and he tripped onto his knees. Either on the way down or the way back up he trod on my foot and it really hurt! I had to go and sit down for a while and there was a mark there straight away.I couldn't walk properly for a while. I did it on Thursday and it is still bruised but it has stopped hurting now.

I have also got a new pair of riding gloves recently! They were the ones I wrote about in a post a while ago. Click here to see the post. It took me a while to get round to buying them but I have got them now. They are a perfect fit as they come in lots of sizes. I got them in the colour caramel. I originally wanted the khaki ones but they were out of stock. My first impressions are that they are really nice to ride in. Hopefully they will be durable but they are quite thin so I will have to wait and see. Watch this space for a review!

I am busy with university work as usual but I also need to write some more of my posts on some of GB's top riders as I was meant to be doing this every Sunday but I have forgotten to do it the last two week.

We have booked our journeys to and from the Olympics now. It was a bit of a shock to see the train was going to cost around £500 return for the 3 of us for the Cross Country day. This was also including a 20 minute walk and various tube rides. . I went to look for a bus we could catch from London Euston Train Station to Greenwich Park and I ended up finding a coach that went from Crewe (which is reasonably near by) to Greenwich Park and was £120 for the 3 of us. Unfortunately the coach is only going to Greenwich Park for the Cross Country day so we have had to make other travel arrangements for the dressage.
I would definitely recommend having a good look around before you book your travel for the Olympics because some of the prices seem extortionate! Some of the train tickets haven't been released yet as it is not close enough to the time. The train tickets we were looking at were "Olympic" ones, in which you needed an Olympic ticket to buy one. I would guess that some cheaper ones will be available when the normal ones are released but I am sure they will sell out quickly. It also doesn't help that to get to many of the events on time you need to travel in rush hour. I did find the Olympic website quite useful with regards to finding ways to travel and this is where I found the coach. Click here to go to the website.

I am going to watch a show jumping clinic with Ben Maher this evening. I am really looking forward to it as his horses always look amazing when he enters the arena. Hopefully I will be able to write a post on the evening.

Love Laura

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Parelli and the Learning Theory

As part of my behaviour module I have been asked to look further into Parelli and the learning theory behind it along with the habituation of the horse. I thought I would write a blog post into this as I research it!

Parelli is a type of training developed by Pat Parelli. It is a form of natural horsemanship and on their website it says "The Parelli approach is not to train horses, but to teach each horse owner to become his or her own horse trainer, and to succeed by building a relationship of trust with each horse". It seven different "games" that you carry out with your horse whilst training them. A long stick is often used during the training process.  I have never tried to use Parelli but it does look like an interesting way of training horses. Click here to go to their website.

Below is a video of what Parelli is like. This shows some of the in hand work along with a horse being ridden without a bridle and saddle (this is how they are often ridden in Parelli).

Learning theories look at how information is absorbed, processed and retained. Positive reinforcement is when a reward is given when the horse gives the desired response, giving a treat is an example of this. Negative reinforcement is when a negative stimuli such as pressure is removed when the horse gives the desired response. An example of this would be applying pressure to the hind quarters of a horse in order to move them around then releasing the pressure as they move around. Negative reinforcement is often used when training horses to be ridden. Punishment may also be given as feedback in some cases in order to try to prevent a horse performing that behaviour again.

Habituation is when there is a decrease in a behaviour that is seen as a response to a repeated encounter with a stimulus. Therefore this is the horse "getting used to" things such as wearing a head collar or becoming less spooked by objects it sees on the yard on a day to day basis.

When applying these things to how Parelli works the following things can be noted;

  • Parelli say that the do not use reward or punishment. They do however say they use positive and negative reinforcement. Their positive reinforcement is rubbing the horse and their negative reinforcement is applying pressure. There seems to be a fine line between positive reinforcement and reward. On the Parelli website it states that a reward comes after the event whereas positive reinforcement is more immediate.
  • Parelli uses habituation a lot, for example, game 1 is the friendly game and during this, the stick is used to stroke all over the horse so they become used to being touched all over their body. 

Have any of you any experience with Parelli and would you recommend it?

Love Laura
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