Hayley Gilbert is a talented and keen Dressage rider who has worked very hard to realise the potential of her wonderful imported mare Odiana K and the Australian bred Cynara. Claire Ballantyne is a UK based trainer with a strong and long standing client base here in Australia where she comes regularly and gives clinics. As an attendee I can personally vouch for Claire's understanding of the correct principals and her unique way of getting the message across.
Hayley attended Claire's early 2008 clinic and share her experiences.
Hayley and her mum Lyn are well known and popular identities in the Victorian Dressage world through their involvement with the exclusive riding boutique - The Riders' Shoppe which carries the beautiful Kyra K range and the wonderfully comfortable Sommer Saddles which they import from Germany .
Hayley has agreed to share her clinic experience with Cyberhorse readers .....
For me, Claire Ballantyne (pictured right) has been such an influential trainer formyself in recent years. When Claire came down to Australia recently, we once again moved forward significantly. I had some lessons on both of my horses, the first was Odiana, who is my chestnut mare who is currently competing at Prix St George,Inter 1, and my other mare Cynara, who was just recently broken in.
When Claire saw Odiana, she thought that there was an improvement from last time she saw her, which as you probably know, it is always a great relief when instructors say that. As Odi and I are ultimately aiming for grand prix, we predominately focussed on piaffe and passage, which always makes for a fun lesson. Odi has in the past become very tense when we would venture into such training but is slowly getting better. She can sometimes lose rhythm and her steps can become very quick. However, Claire had some very good techniques to help reduce the tension. When asking for piaffe, Claire suggested that we walk in shoulder fore in a small circle. This was able to establish a calm, steady rhythm, whilst keeping her listening to me and prevented her from taking over, which she can sometimes do. Then when I was ready to ask for piaffe, I simply first applied my outside aids, to stop the side ways motion, then asked for piaffe by alternating left and right aids. These were probably the best piaffe steps I have got, she stayed in rhythm and it felt fantastic. I think the piaffe came so easily because the side ways momentum was then transferred into the energy of the piaffe, without getting confused with tension from anticipation. When we did lose the regularity, we just went back into the shoulder fore steps and continued the exercise. We re-visited this exercise throughout the lesson, but went on to canter work in between, to keep her thinking forward and to prevent any tension from such a demanding exercise.
Hayley Gilbert on Odiana K
Claire saw my young horse for the first time and at the time Cynara didn't have much top line and a bit of a hay belly. The good thing about Claire is that it doesn't matter if she knows the horse or not, she is able to see what is going on straight away. She was able to see that Cynara's canter was not quite connected. In other words, Cynara had a very exuberant canter and she found it difficult for her hind legs to always be in tune with her front legs. So basically, we worked on a nice forward canter, and I just mentally focused on swinging my seat to encourage forward momentum and for her back to soften and raise, as opposed to kicking or slowing or collecting etc. She said that for Cynara, it was simply a strengthening issue. I also concentrated on allowing her to stretch her neck lower and longer. This is because in her slightly unbalanced canter, she tended to hollow her back and shorten in her neck. So by encouraging her neck to stretch out, this in turn encouraged her to raise and soften her back. Therefore, this work helped her to use the correct muscles to hopefully strengthen her back for the future.
The work we did with Cynara is probably true for many young horses and I was able to go home and keep concentrating on sitting back and swinging with her to encourage her swing through the back more consistently. It was great to know that with the canter, it isn't always about shortening, or kicking it forward or changing it, but instead, just to encourage and over time the canter will come. I guess the follow on effect from this way of riding, was that in recent weeks, Cynara has become very sensitive to the seat. Even in transitions from walk to trot and vice versa. She just seems to listen to more subtle movements as opposed to more blatant aids such as whips and spurs (not that I am game enough to wear spurs yet).
Claire's clinics are always valuable and influential. She can immediately assess the horse and rider's weakness and there is no chance of hiding any problems from her. She gives exercises that are relevant and might be slightly different from what you have tried in the past, which is always refreshing and it keeps the horses guessing. Next time Claire is down, I would recommend anyone going to her, especially if you want an honest assessment of where you are currently with your horse. And it is always helpful when the exercises given can be used on all your other horses and in your teachings.
Good luck for future riding, Hayley Gilbert.
Contact Judy Gronn 0409 351 149 or mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org for information about Claire's clinics in Australia .
ACHIEVEMENTS AND RESULTS FOR 2010
Horses won and placed in British Dressage competitions up to and including Grand Prix level.
Multiple horses qualified for Summer Regional Championships.
Horses placed Summer Regional Championships.
Horses won and placed young dressage horses classes.
Qualified Badminton Young Dressage Horse of the Future Finals.
Heart of England Sport Club Dressage Team second in team competition at Badminton International Dressage Championships.
Event horses won and placed up to CCI** Level.
Horses won Area Festivals at Advanced Medium and Prix St Georges.
Horses placed Area Festivals at Preliminary, Novice and Medium.
Multiple Horses qualified NAF***** Winter Dressage Championships, Hartpury 2011.
Qualified Winter Regional Championships 2011.
Horses qualified Dressage Masters Hickstead CDIO.
Horses won Cricklands Dressage Championships of Great Britain, David Broome Event Centre
Multiple places at National Championships of Australia, Sydney.
Multiple places State Championships of Victoria.
Horse placed Melbourne CDI ***
Resident Dressage Horses at the Heart of England Equestrian have amassed over 1150 BD dressage points – a great achievement for all concerned!
Congratulations to all riders and owners.
We will continue to support you and wish you further success during 2012
2009 Heart of England 's Clients Training Achievements
Wins and placings from Prelim to Grand Prix
Horses qualified for NW Winter Regional Championships 2010
Horses qualified for NW Summer Regional Championships 2009
Horses qualified for Pet Plan Area Festivals from Prelim to PSG 2009
Horses qualified for Pet Plan Finals at the Winter Championships Hartpury 2010
H of E E Sport Club team achieved 2 nd place at Badminton Dressage Team Championships
H of E E Sport Club member was 5 th in the Individual Championship Ride - Off.
Preliminary and Novice winners at Chricklands Championships at the David Broome Event Centre
Horses qualified for the Badminton Young Horse of the Future Finals
Horses qualified for the Shearwater Potential International Dressage Championships at the Deluxe National Championships
Numerous horses won and placed up to Intermediate British Eventing
Horses qualified and placed at the Trailblazer Championships
Clients placed at State Championships of Victoria, Australia
Grand Prix winner at Australia 's CDN National Championships in Sydney
Numerous placings Novice to PSG Australian National Championships
British Equestrian Federation Futurity winner
Numerous wins and placings in Unaffiliated Dressage
Congratulations to all Riders and Owners
2008 Heart of England 's Training Clients Achievements
Placings at Intermediaire 11
Multiple horses qualified for the NW Winter Regional Championships2009.
Horses qualified for Regional Championships from Preliminary to PSG level.2009
Multiple horses qualified for Winter Championships, Hartpury 2009
Multiple horses placed at the NW Winter Regional Championships 2008.
Multiple wins at Small Tour level (PSG & Intermediaire 1 ). 2008
Horse qualified for Dressage Masters at Hickstead CDIO
Horses placed at NW Regional Championships M-PSG Music.
Young Horses qualified for 2008 Blue Waters National Championships.
Winners at BD Area Festivals, MR to PSG.
Winner at Blair Castle International Horse Trials CCI* 2008.
Multiple wins BE Horse Trials up to & including Intermediate.
Horses placed CCI**.
Multiple horses qualified for NW Summer Regional Championships.
Horses qualified Midland Regional Summer Championships.2008
Horses placed at NW Summer Championships. 2008
Ponies qualified for NW Winter Regional Championships 2008 at N. E & M. Level.
Multiple horses qualified for Pet Plan Championships. 2008
Horses placed Trailblazers National Championships at Stoneleigh. 2008
Combinations placed at Victoria State National Championships up to Intermediare 11. 08
Riders placed for National Dressage Championships of Australia. Sydney 2008
Many wins and placings in both Affiliated and Unaffiliated dressage. 2008
Resident horses have accumulated over 1100 BD points
Client Training Competition Results during 2007
- Multiple horses qualified for the NW Winter Regional Championships.
- Multiple horses placed at the NW Winter Regional Championships.
- Horses qualified for Regional Championships from Preliminary to PSG level.
- Multiple wins at Small Tour level (PSG & Intermediaire 1).
- Horse qualified for Dressage Masters at Hickstead CDIO
- Horse placed CCI**.
- Runner Up at National Riding Club Horse Trials Championship.
- Multiple horses qualified for NW Summer Regional Championships.
- Horses qualified Midland Regional Championships.
- Horses placed placed at NW Summer Championships.
- Ponies qualified for NW Winter Regional Championships 2008 at Novice & El. Level.
- HofEE Official training base for the Australian World Dressage Para team.
- Australian Para dressage riders win individual Silver and Bronze medals in World Championships at Hartpury, Gloucestershire.
- Horses placed Trailblazers National Championships at Stoneleigh.
- A winner of British Dressage Steele Salver Award.
- Riders placed at Victoria State National Championships at Advanced Level.
- Riders qualified for National Dressage Championships of Australia.
- Many wins and placings in both Affiliated and Unaffiliated dressage.
- Resident horses have notched up over 1000BD points in the past six years.
Congratulations to all riders and owners.
of England Client Training Results 2006
Multiple horses qualified for N.W. Winter Regional Championships.
• Multiple horses qualified Horse & Hound Winter Championships.
• Multiple horses won & placed at FEI Levels.
• Horses won at Badminton International Dressage Championships.
• Multiple horses qualified N. W. Summer regional Championships.
• Multiple horses placed at N.W. Regional Championships.
• Multiple horses qualified Midlands Regional Championships.
• Multiple horses qualified Blue Waters National Dressage Championships.
• Multiple horses qualified for the N. W.Winter Regional Championships
• Multiple horses qualified for the N.W.Summer Regional Championships
• Over 60 British Dressage firsts in Open & Restricted Preliminary
to FEI level.
• Numerous horses have upgraded competition levels with success.
• Horse qualifies Sheepgate Tack & Togs PSG Championships.
• Horses won & placed at FEI levels State of Victoria Australia.
• Horses won & placed National Dressage Championships of
• Horses placed at Scottish Regional Championships.
• 2 teams placed at Badminton Team Championships.
• Horses placed at Weston Park CCI**
• Horse won Riding Club Regional Horse Trial Championship.
• Runner up Riding Club Horse Trials National Championships.
• Numerous wins in unaffiliated dressage.
• Numerous excellent results in other disciplines.
to all riders and owners.
We will continue tosupport you and wish you further success during