Monday, 8 May 2017

Ben Hobday Demonstration

A couple of weeks ago I went to see Ben Hobday doing a demonstration at a nearby college.  I first saw Ben at Your Horse Live in 2015 when he was recovering  from cancer and he was joined by Paul Tapner.  They were brilliant then and Ben is just as entertaining on his own.  I definitely took lots away from the demo :)  

If you don't know who Ben Hobday is he is a British 3 day eventer.  He spent time working for Hannah Bate and William Funnell .  He has been around Badminton, Burghley, Bramham, Blenhiem and many more.  I saw him go around Badminton last year with a cuddly toy (Willberry Wonder Pony) attached to his body protector to support Bone cancer research.

He brought 4 horses to the demonstration including one nicknamed Fidget (as you can imagine I liked him!) as well as Heidi and Mr Mulry who is half Clydesdale and half Thoroughbred.  I was really sad that Ben and Mr Mulry aka 'the flying cob' didn't make it to Badminton this year:(

As you know, I don't compete Basil but still found it really interesting and there were ideas that I can use at home.

Ben had a few jumps set up in the indoor arena and jumped each of the 4 horses around, varying the order and height, it was interesting to see how different each of the horses were.  He had a line of jumps, a double, a skinny and a water tray.  We were really impressed when he put a plastic barrel on its end and jumped it .... now that IS a skinny fence.

One of the things I really took away from the evening was that everyone makes mistakes!!!! and it is how you learn from them and get back on and do better next time that counts.

As with most of the riders you watch and listen to they all say you have to have the 'engine' running properly to achieve anything - so impulsion, not speed - is important.  Rhythm, and if you are approaching a jump and can't see a stride, wait, don't kick to go faster because then you are giving your horse less time to figure it out.  As long as you have the impulsion they will jump it.  It is our job to set it up and their job to jump it.

Ben talked a lot about building trust between you and your horse, they have to know that you are there for them, so if they are unsure make sure you have your legs on and they can feel you have hold of the reins - don't drop the reins as they think 'where have you gone'.  If your horse trusts you then when something does go wrong out on course they are more likely to help you out.

The biggest thing that I will be remembering is not to get frustrated when trying something new or  trying to improve things.  To remember that to start with you (and your horse) will get it wrong 10 out of 10 times, then 9 out of 10 ..... then 8 out of 10 .... until eventually you get it right 9 out of 10.  I have been trying to concentrate on this idea when riding Basil in the last couple of weeks, I always try not to let my frustration show but as horses are so intuitive I expect Basil picks up on it anyway.  So, if it isn't quite right I think about what Ben was saying and try again!

I have got out of the habit of going to demo's but must try harder because I do enjoy them and always learn something.

Sorry, I didn't take any photos - these ones are better anyway.

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Until next time!

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