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Ros Canter and Caroline Moore Demo

Posted: 12 Oct 2019 - Comments (0)

During our Yorkshire break we managed to get down to Bishop Burton for the demo with Ros and Caroline. I did some live feedback on Facebook and using this to form this post. Hopefully it will make sense but if it isn't quite the usual format that is why!

Demo in 3 section concentrating on each discipline. Heidi Coy and Ros Canter demo riders. Allstar B (Albe) in the dressage section. Albe v lazy in dressage she to be careful not to carry him with leg. Warms up in self carriage as long and low means he would never come up again. Interesting doesn’t look special on flat all. His laziness means he is trainable and easy to ride on test day.

1Heidi on 5 year old so other end of spectrum for dressage section. Quite tense with crowds and tight in frame to start. Using dressage boards (pic) in corner to trot over and be balanced to go round outside. Helps the horse think about where their feet are, keep the horse interested in work and using his core.

Ros has to hot Albe up but from her seat rather than leg. Using steps of medium. Must think forwards out of collection. This helps keep downwards transitions fresh. Uses an exercise good for riders and young horses. 4 collected strides in canter 4 working and 4 medium can be tailored to level of education. Need discipline and quick thinking.

Now onto square exercise to practice corners and arena use. Albe doing a 16m square with two poles at each corner and a wing to push you out. Makes rider look ahead. 3 strides round corner and then straight, one in one around and one out. Ros reiterated how important it is to look ahead to next movement in dressage tests and look proud to give a great impression.

Flying changes. Important learn to do properly from 5 or when canter has self carriage. Must be able to have a balanced counter canter. A little leg yield in counter canter to move withers. Mistake to attempt to change before self balance in canter. They spend 70% of time in counter canter to balance horses as go up levels. Bend over leading leg and over other leg for balance.

Ros showing changes on Albe. Must be forward in change to be clean behind. Albe being a bit naughty and clearly he would rather be jumping. A few grunts of annoyance at being made to work properly. Albe gets so excited about xc they can’t warm up over a fence. Yet dressage he can be given a day off to save energy for dressage test.

Heidi and 5 year old just starting. Good to play with changes for 2 or 3 days then leave it and come back to it. Sometimes helps to ride them slightly off and above bit in early stages. Ros playing with tempo changes, warming up in medium. Need an 8-9 in energy levels for a good change. Takes 3 years to go from basic change to 8-9 in an advanced test.

Now looking at half pass. V important to teach quarters in v early just in basic form. Heidi’s horse more relaxed now. Doing this on diagonal so v early half pass. Important at this stage to keep rhythm.

When warming up focus on pace horse finds easiest to give confidence. Ros does much of Albee’s work in canter as this inspires him. Ros - dressage retests all about riding test in day. Get best out of horse and most important be accurate and practice this. Ros shows how use of seat can make walk look and be more active. Practice test technique riding. Preparation point for movements more important than movement itself.

Ros would know how many strides of medium she would have between markers. Generally know the number of strides for most movements, that precise at higher levels. Great interaction and flow between Ros and Caroline who are both miked up.

Horses are changed and onto SJ section.

Ros now on Nadia long 2 star at Osberton last week. She is 7 years old Heidi on 6 year old mare at Novice level. Horses need great balance and good landing when jumping. Use different profiles to help improve the jump. Horses must enjoy work.

Ros mare lovely v compact with good attitude. A bit behind in training for age. V scopey evidently but struggles on landing with balance.

Starting using cavalettis 19 yards apart in straight line.

Looking for 5 even strides. This can be changed up or down. Important for rides to pick up something in distance to look up. Body tall and stays up and controls canter. Reins longer.

Now showing 4 stride canter. Mustn’t be flat. Both do really well with level strides. Then in and 4 and out on 5. Both did well without going to hand. Want horses to be jumping with nose poked and head out. (Need to talk to Fliss re this). V important this for XC later that horse can alter stride length. Need to be forward and come in bigger to compress than to come in steady.

Moving on now going to use one fence to warm up as if at competition. Heidi first. Generally start with little oxer. Encourages rider to jump forward and horse make shape. Don’t waste jumps. 6 or 7 jumps should be ready to go in. Oxer about 3ft then made wider to get in air. Now putting back rail up as mare careful. Encourage stretch and height. Now decent oxer ground rail out. Jump one or 2 vertices before goes in.

If she wants to tap fence ground rail taken out to make horse aware not if you want to keep confident.

Ros being warmed up next. Using a pole in front a stride out. Helps get horse to base of fence. Can use this at FEI events. Stops the mare taking over. Ros talks about how her position is quite upright over fence helped by longer rein and gives horse time to get shoulders up. Fence going up keeping fence square to help keep her shape.

Now jumping round a track. Need to focus on times and clear. Must reduce strides taken to shorten time. Start oxer to oxer needs to sit up and land in balance. Turn square to upright but don’t waste space. School is enormous! Chris Bartle ‘one stride is one second’ so cut out strides where you can.Tighter turns means challenges horses. As speed increases up levels you have less straight strides in front of fence. 5 for novice, 4 intermediate and 3 advanced.

Practice the track jumping as you need in competition. Keep them straight.

Final section XC, swap of horses again. Heidi on grey 7 year old who is off to Le Lion. Ros on bay, exciting prospect. Ros says bling an 8 year old had since 6 year old. Did le lion last year. Been campaigned by Tom McKewan this season. Ros got him for first time again yesterday. He has big jump v important to have long rein otherwise gets dragged forward.

Focusing on corners. If horses can be confident with this they can be confident with anything. Relaxing horses letting them lob round the arena with rider off back.

Warming over the two overs jumped in SJ section. Riders need to be looking where they are going. Need to look for turn and look for fence an eye for each.

Starting on corners. Caroline taken back rail off so angled rail. Reiterated the importance of keeping horses confidence high. Oxer to angled rails. Horses confident and ready for back rails. Then rails on so proper corner. Once line established to oxer focus on corner.

Caroline now using wider corners for more experienced horses particularly since Burghley when so many combinations struggled.

Now moving on to skinny, corner, skinny. Again to keep confidence takes back rail off first time. Skinnies give horses confidence going through narrow set of flags. Ros’s horse first time changed leads two strides out. This shows lack of balance so needs to be corrected.

Ros talking about single bridge rein to stop widening hand and then keep hands together. Eyes get direction body straight and nose out. Hands low and together, stops her checking on one rein and distracting him. Move the withers before the nose.

Ros struggles with exercises. They go back and practice brushes on own to keep straighter and get him listening. Ros nails corner exercise after some schooling. Heidi spot on first time in both directions. Focusing on looking well ahead to jumps.

Mare ran at Osberton this weekend this therefore ideal to cement confidence.

Finally a double of angled shoulder brushes. Very important to be straight and hold line. These more difficult than skinny fence. Use these a lot. Ros jumps it but horse went slightly left with angle so came back and did with leg yield feel.

Heidi criticised for focusing on first brush and therefore losing line. Needs to be more responsible for keeping line. (video)

Let horses learn to draw back on shorter distances and don’t do everything for them.

Demo reflections

If anyone has a chance to go to one of the remaining dates I would highly recommend so many little tips and interesting watching them educate the different horses.

The format worked really well and was very polished with great input from Caroline Moore Event Coach and Ros Canter. An interesting blend of horses that didn't always do everything perfectly which actually was great to see.

There were lots of little learning points for me even though I have had some lessons with Caroline. I think for me the thing I will go away with most (as well as doing more counter canter) is the importance of attention to detail. It is not just about completing the exercise but doing it in such a way that you are eliminating any future problems and being very clear about straightness and the horse taking a certain amount of responsibility.

I loved the way that the whole time it is about building the horses confidence and the importance of the riders eye and preparation even in the dressage looking ahead to the next movement.

Lots to work on for us and looking forward to sessions with Caroline in November and December.

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Season wrap

Posted: 2 Oct 2019 - Comments (0)

With the increasing wet weather limiting the work I can do at home, a weeks holiday next week and a conference in London I have decided to bring our season event season to a close. We had been debating Bovington and Bicton, however Bovington has never been a particular favourite and having lost Rosie there in the spring it holds certain negative feelings! Bicton is a fabulous event but equally they will need to be fit and I don't want to feel I enter underprepared.

The girls will have a 10 days or so off before having an easy time hacking with less schooling and competition. With no school at home winters are never that high pressure. We do have some training planned with sponsor Stef Eardley and have booked another Owen Moore clinic at the end of the month. There are also some exciting plans for the whole Shoestring operation but more on that when things are a bit further progressed.

Looking back at our eventing season it has not been that busy but the quality of the runs and the progression made has been amazing.


Last season she ran just the twice with a run at 80 and 90. This year we started at 100 with a double clear at Bovington (marred by losing Rosie) and a double clear and 4th at Bicton. We were then quite bold and progressed to Novice where Fliss again proved her prowess with double clears at Howick and West Wilts followed by her first placing with a 5th at Launceston. We finished the season a few weeks ago with a good double clear at Gatcombe including her first competitive jump into water.

So to date 8 career runs and 8 double clears with 5 points. A very exciting base to progress from next year.


Ellie meanwhile through a combination of reason has done even less eventing with only 2 runs both at Launceston. Both times lovely double clears in competitive classes for 5th place.

Very exciting times and looking forward to new challenges next year.

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Rain stops play

Posted: 26 Sep 2019 - Comments (0)

After a busy few weeks with Fliss she is having a little easier time and it was Ellie's turn to shine. Well it should have been with a run at Bricky in the BE100 on Saturday. Sadly with the rain fallen this week and that still forecast they have today abandoned the competition. Gutted for the organisers and Ellie has gone into a massive sulk as she feel she is missing out on all the fun. Really appreciate the organisers being able to make the decision early particularly for those of us that have to travel a long way to get there.

I really feel for the organisers and volunteers at Bricky as it is a special event. They buck the entries system only opening a few weeks before the event, no balloting no fussing first come first served which makes life a lot easier. The dressage is championship tests in a long arena which is great for a change. They run 6 cross country tracks including 1.05 and an increased technical track for intermediate novice class. Tracks are all maximum length with changes every year. Well organize, welcoming and great local prizes if you haven’t looked at entering Bricky before I would highly recommend it.

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Blenheim Eventers Challenge

Posted: 23 Sep 2019 - Comments (0)

Just for a change I have done something a little different and have done an audio blog with a few pictures and video. Feedback on whether you like this or not (for an occasional change) would be very welcome.

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10 Years apart

Posted: 16 Sep 2019 - Comments (0)

Two special mares. The picture is taken at more or less exactly the same place by Nick Perry.

In 2009 Sarnie (left) was in the Intermediate and and in 2019 Fliss in the novice.

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Gatcombe BE

Posted: 15 Sep 2019 - Comments (0)

Sadly this was the last Gatcombe (Little Gatcombe) that runs on the other side of the park to the main International event. I have many happy memories of competing here some highs including my first CIC** (now ***) and also missing out a fence in a subsequent CIC** eliminating myself! It has been 6 years since our last visit and I was desperate to get back for the last one. However for me there was always going to be a concern in that it would be the first time I ask Fliss to jump directly into water. Coming from a starting point 18 months ago when she had to be led into her first pond we have come a long way and with Owen Moore's training still fresh I felt we were very ready to tackle the event.

Perhaps the main thing we noticed coming back to Gatcombe was the standard, it is a different class of event to many others we attend with the majority of entranents professionals on a variety of smart horses. Perhaps this was shown up most clearly in the dressage, we did the same test as at Launceston last week and I was over the moon as she improved hugely, tried very hard and made no major mistake. We scored a 35 which left us middle of the bottom half not out of touch but never going to be in touch with the leaders. Luckily I know there is still huge progress to be made in this phase and another year we can be far more competitive.

We had a 3 hour break between dressage and show jumping which gave me a chance to walk the course and watch a bit of show jumping. The course at Gatcombe has changed very little over the years and always asks questions but is generally a forward and galloping course rather than anything too technical. My main worry was the water but it did look quite a friendly log into the water.

Show jumping was causing a few poles to fly and unusually Fliss was a bit lackadaisical in the warm up and took a pole in front when she was distracted by someone walking past. Actually I knew having done this once it was unlikely she would touch a pole again and this proved the case! The arena at Gatcombe would have been one of the most atmospheric she has jumped in with tradestands all around and spectators watching. She ignored this and jumped a super round one of our best at BE not breathing on a pole.

So a quick change and onto cross country where we had a fair wait to go. Fliss is certainly getting the idea of what is involved as rather than practice the in front the leg and forwardness it was more appropriate to line the brakes and just ask her to come back to a halt after the fence.

We set off over the simple fences before coming to the first combination at 4,5 and 6. An upright fence on the turn to a hedge and then another turn to a spread. The pics show the first two jumps and you pick us up on the video landing over the hedge to the spread and then onto the corner.

She jumped this series of fences very well before a wall out the woods, a steeplechase fence and then a log to a wall into the woods. This should have ridden on two forward strides but with the light into dark we chipped a stride in and made a slightly awkward jump into the wood. We then came out over a rail in the hedge to ditch and another hedge which she jumped brilliantly a simple fence followed before we approached the water. I got her into the bridle and off the leg, I certainly had a feeling I was that committed I was certainly going to fly in the water and I rather hoped it was with her! I needn't have worried as she flew in, although I then rather got my reins in a knot and I did wonder if we would make the skinny out, luckily she locked on and we were away!

A palisade to drop and log up the hill before we finished over a ditch to roll top and a brush, the video catches us coming over the last 3. Very pleased to be a mere 4 seconds over the time and finish on 36.6 our PB at novice to date. In a hot section of 40 competitors we finished 14th which was very pleasing just need to work on our dressage now!

Unfortunately delays on the M5 made the 5 hour journey home even longer but all back in one piece and delighted with progress. Huge thanks to Nick Perry for the pictures and Jane for her help.

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