After another great weekend away at a Belinda Bolsenbroek clinic, I thought I would touch on my thoughts about training and my own journey.

I grew up in the UK and started riding at a young age, I attended a local riding school every week and in school holidays would spend as much time as possible at the riding school helping muck out and tack up in the meer hope of getting a ride as payment, which they were always good enough to do. The reality though was just being around the horses and smelling them was actually enough for me.

When I finished school I went to college and studied a BTEC National Diploma in Equine Science Health and Feeding, Business and Finance. Incorporated in this, was my BHSAI which is training to be a riding instructor under the British Horse Society, this was back in the days of hairnets, headscarves and hacking jackets, im showing my age here, but what i’m trying to explain is the system which I trained under, though there are alot of things I now don’t agree with from my training, I feel it gave me a great foundation for my riding and that there is a lot to be said for the old ways of training. For instance I learnt to ride in the age of lunge lessons, you spent months on the lunge without stirrups and reins learning to engage your core, and this was back in the days before knee rolls and blocks, you learnt to sit back then or you fell off. This was carried through into my instructor training, with us still being put on the lunge.

Anyhow jump forward 30 years!! And here I am wishing I still had a weekly lunge lesson and being grateful for all those hours of sitting trot with Joanna P, even if at the time it nearly killed me.

So after I had my children I pulled my horse in and got back to riding quite quickly but just trails, I knew I wanted to dabble in dressage but at the time the horse I had wasn’t up to it and I had no float to go anywhere, so it got put on the backburner.

Then Seth came along my first real purchase, an Andulusian 2yr old, my dressage horse. I broke him in and have spent the last few years on this journey. I have had many lessons over the years and they have all been great and have taught me something, even if it was that that particular system wasn’t for me or my horse.

In 2019 I was lucky enough to get a place on a Belinda Bolsenbroek clinic and everything just fell into place, on my first lesson Belinda entered the arena to show me how to do something with Seth and when she took the reins off me, Seth put his nose up to her hair and blew through it, I must say I felt he was a bit forward, but thats teenage boys for you.  Then he looked her fair in the eyes as if to say “ thank god, can you show her how the hell to do this”. and so it all began.

My reason for training under Belinda is simple, she makes sense. Everything we do is for the better of the horse, it’s done with the understanding of how the horse moves and why it responds to our aids in certain ways, and most importantly it is done at the horse’s own speed. There’s no deadline, no rush. Seth has blossomed under this way of training, he is enjoying his work, which in turn makes it fun for me. Really isn’t that what it’s all about.

We all have different roads to take and I believe no one road is right for everyone, and it is important to remember everyone has a right to train in whatever way they want, we can make a choice to either join them or find our own people, but that doesn’t mean there methods or particular journey is not what’s right for them.  Right now this is my journey and I am loving it.

Anna Ford | Epona Equine Massage

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