Ready To Ride Blog

Baz – The Horse Of A Lifetime

Baz – The Horse Of A Lifetime

Nearly 3 weeks ago we had to say goodbye to Baz. Having been very happy – albeit a bit stiff and unfit – he suddenly deteriorated and appeared to develop neurological symptoms. Whilst we could have investigated, after discussing at length with the Vet we felt it would...

Change Is Afoot

Change Is Afoot

It seems crazy that we are already half way through July, summer finally in full swing, and over 2 months since I started the Facebook Pilates group. Where does the time go? However, I never keep still – physically and mentally – and I’m always looking at ways to...

Another Saddle Check

Another Saddle Check

Well thank you Covid…..Lizzie was due a saddle check several months ago, but of course Lockdown 3 and then a rather long waiting list meant she finally got reviewed last week! It had got very frustrating because really from the end of April I knew things weren’t...

Introducing: The Ready To Ride Pilates Class!

Introducing: The Ready To Ride Pilates Class!

Yes, you read this correctly – I am so excited that I am now able to bring my Pilates classes to the wider public! This is something that I have wanted to do for a while, but just couldn’t find a way to fit it in and deliver in a way that would be satisfactory. In the...

Having A Go At A Podcast!

Having A Go At A Podcast!

A few months ago I did my 1st podcast interview for the Off The Lead Rein Podcast. This is the brainchild of a lovely lady called Jade Leahy, and is part of her mission to raise money for the RDA, along with a book she has written – The Adventures of Molly & Odin...

2 Weeks To Go…

2 Weeks To Go…

I can’t quite believe we are half way through February. Despite the misery of ongoing lockdown and the freezing weather, somehow 2021 is whizzing by. Well I hope this isn’t just me, and that you aren’t feeling that it is crawling by. February meant moving into the 2nd...

Keeping It Positive

Keeping It Positive

Who is feeling a bit rubbish right now? Certainly in the Northern hemisphere January is usually a pretty miserable month, and with Covid and all that goes with it, for many of us this year it is worse than ever. Somehow I’ve managed to compound this by breaking my...

Introducing: The Ready To Ride Masterclass

Introducing: The Ready To Ride Masterclass

This blog is going to be a little ‘light’ on content for a couple of months because I am very busy preparing for the incredibly exciting – if rather daunting – development that is the Ready to Masterclass! This is a monthly subscription group linked to my existing...

Does Your Brain Let You Down?

Does Your Brain Let You Down?

A few weeks ago I did one of the scariest things I’ve ever done, and did a ‘Live’ on Instagram. For someone who hates public speaking – Pilates is ok because I have a lesson plan and know exactly what I’m going to say – and is hopeless at thinking on the spot, this...

Are You Fit Enough?

Are You Fit Enough?

When I started Ready to Ride, a large part of my ‘mission’ if you like, was to share my own experiences and also my learning. We are learning all the time, and certainly I am developing my approach to helping riders all the time too. Early on, I realised that I hadn’t...

Self Carriage For The Rider

Self Carriage For The Rider

The other week in Horse and Hound I read a great article by Carl Hester. To be fair, all of Carl’s articles are great, but this one really struck a cord with me because he identified a concept that I think sums up so much of what I am aiming to achieve through Ready...

Tension

Tension

Who watched any of the London 2012 Olympics Dressage? Of course I was biased and wanted Charlotte and Valegro to win regardless, but when comparing their test to that of Adelinde Cornelisson and Parzival, for me there was no contest. Charlotte and Valegro were soft,...

Cross Training

Cross Training

Whatever discipline you follow, it is hugely beneficial – actually even essential – that you include cross training in your routine. This might sound counter intuitive, because obviously if you are training in a specific skill, surely you want to improve in that area...

Riding Whilst Injured

Riding Whilst Injured

Let’s start with 2 questions. 1) Do you work your horse when it is injured? 2) Do you work your horse when you are injured? I can be almost 100% certain that the answer to question 1) is NO, and to question 2) is YES! My response to that is ‘WHAT ARE YOU DOING?’,...

Exercising Through The Lockdown

Exercising Through The Lockdown

We are living through challenging times right now. Life as we know it has changed beyond all recognition, and for many of us we have no idea how long the situation will last. One of the challenges we face is that our regular exercise has been curtailed, and whilst...

Hydration – The Forgotten Factor In Your Performance?

Hydration – The Forgotten Factor In Your Performance?

If you are like me, you spend a lot of time and effort – and possibly money – on making sure your horse has the best diet, especially if you are competing. Hydration comes into this; how much, when, do you add electrolytes etc etc. Magazines like Horse and Hound are...

Injury! A Personal Account…

Injury! A Personal Account…

I have come up with a new phrase, which is ‘Quality then Quantity’. This is partly a reflection of my whole training ethos, but also because I have manged to injure myself by NOT following this advice! So what have I done? Through a combination of an increase in...

The Saddle Issue Again!

The Saddle Issue Again!

Do you get your saddle checked regularly? Looking back I think we were really lucky with Baz, because once we had got the right saddle for him, and although he did obviously change shape massively through his life, he did well with an annual check up. There are 2...

Resistance Training Doesn’t Have To Be Painful

Resistance Training Doesn’t Have To Be Painful

When you hear the words ‘Resistance Training’, you probably think of the gym, weights, sweat, running against a thick rubber band until it nearly pings you backwards….generally speaking, hard work and painful. Like trudging through the snow as the horses found in the...

Have You Tried A Flexi Bar?

Have You Tried A Flexi Bar?

Ok well not a branch still attached to a tree as Lizzie is expertly demonstrating above. But the man-made kind as I am demonstrating below (please ignore the grimace)-   A flexi bar is basically a long bar with small weights on the end and a handle in the middle....

A Tip For Working In The Heat

A Tip For Working In The Heat

Lizzie and I had our 1st lesson since last autumn with Pammy this week. Of course, not only were we very rusty when it comes to being put through our paces, and a bit unfit after our enforced saddle-related quiet spell, but it was a touch hotter than we are used to....

Eyes On The Ground

Eyes On The Ground

As I mentioned in the previous entry, last week I had my 1st lesson in months with Pammy. It was the 1st time I had tried the new (well on loan) saddle in public, and the results exceeded expectations. Lizzie behaved beautifully, Pammy was pleased with our progress...

Getting To Grips With Lower Leg Position

Getting To Grips With Lower Leg Position

First off I have to apologise for some of the photos in this post; Lizzie and I had just come back from a hot ride on the moor and she was not pleased to have to be a model. We also really struggles to find decent lighting… I have plenty of photos of myself in my...

What Is The Lumbar Spine & Why Does It Matter?

What Is The Lumbar Spine & Why Does It Matter?

The spine in humans is comprised of 4 sections: the Cervical spine is the neck, the Thoracic spine is the mid back, the Lumbar spine is the low back, and the sacrum forms part of the pelvis. All these different areas have different roles to play in terms of function,...

Tapering: Do You Know?

Tapering: Do You Know?

The concept of tapering is a very obvious one, but one that is often seriously overlooked to the detriment of horse and rider. If you are unsure, tapering is basically increasing and decreasing the intensity/volume of work over a period of time. Through this method,...

Developing Your Contact

Developing Your Contact

Have you ever been given any tips on how to ‘measure’ your contact? The best one I’ve been told is to imagine that you have a small bird in each hand. I strive for that daily, but if I’m honest I rarely achieve that unless we are slopping along with the reins on the...

Symmetry Challenges – An Update

Symmetry Challenges – An Update

I am a bit odd perhaps, but I like to set myself challenges from time to time. I also try to make sure I can do whatever I advise my clients to do. So, this summer I decided to work on my symmetry a bit more. To say that I am one sided would be a massive...

Choosing Exercises That Work For You

Choosing Exercises That Work For You

A couple of times recently during my Pilates classes, we have discussed how different exercises work different class members in different ways. This comes about for example when we are working the gluteals, and one person will find that the clam really targets the...

Time For Some Self Analysis

Time For Some Self Analysis

Being self-analytical is hard. I don’t have a ‘proper’ school at home, and rarely have anyone observing me working either. So if I get the chance to work with mirrors, or have photos/filming done then I jump at the chance. A friend of my Mum’s – Della – lives about 30...

Some Difficult Truths

Some Difficult Truths

This entry is going to be a little off on a tangent, so I hope you don’t mind not getting any riding tips this time. Instead I feel compelled to share the mixed thoughts I have had for quite some time about the whole riding thing, and which have been at the forefront...

Practice Makes Perfect; Using Visualisation

Practice Makes Perfect; Using Visualisation

You are probably familiar with the phrase ‘Practise makes perfect’. It isn’t always exactly true, especially when it comes to riding, because of the subjectivity involved when it comes to competition. However, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t strive for perfection in...

Coping With Setbacks

Coping With Setbacks

A brief entry this week whilst I am writing a rather longer and more detailed one; it will be a dose of anatomy education and I am taking my time over it. In the meantime, I thought it would be good to give a quick reminder of how it is important to take stock when...

The Shoulder Complex Of The Rider

The Shoulder Complex Of The Rider

Or is it the complex shoulder?! I say that because shoulders are complex, and as a physio, shoulder pain comes a close 2nd to groin pain in my least favourite part of the body to treat. There are so many component parts to the area that forms the shoulder – often...

Using Equipment To Enhance Your Off-Horse Training

Using Equipment To Enhance Your Off-Horse Training

Ok, so The photo at the top is of Baz, demonstrating how to wear both Kinesiotape (K Tape) and TheraBand to increase the intensity and specificity of his training. But we humans can also use all manner of different equipment to modify how our bodies work during...

Saddles; They Can Make Or Break You

Saddles; They Can Make Or Break You

In a little deviation from my planned equipment themed run of posts, I am going to talk about saddles. These are pretty essential piece of kit, and most riders are conscientious about having them checked regularly. We focus predominantly on how well they fit the...

Spiky Balls – Versatile But Challenging

Spiky Balls – Versatile But Challenging

Spiky balls are rather like Lizzie – very versatile but at times quite a challenge to work with! I use them in several different ways, and have one lurking near to hand all the time. The most frequent use I have for them is dealing with trigger points. Before I...

Saddle Update

Saddle Update

I’m not quite sure what is going on with the above picture of Lizzie as she looks like she has no neck development whatsoever and resembles more of a yak than a dressage horse in training….we had just come back from a quick whiz on the moor so possibly she was a...

Balance Training With Foam Rollers

Balance Training With Foam Rollers

I love my foam roller sessions, although I’m not sure all of my class attendees always agree. Using a foam roller is an excellent way of working on balance in a way that can mimic being on a horse, but it is seriously hard to get to grips with. In many ways balancing...

The Art Of Multitasking

The Art Of Multitasking

One thing that is certain is that riding a horse in any capacity requires multitasking. I can vividly remember a lesson a few years ago with Charlie Hutton at Talland, where we were working on improving the canter for pirouettes. Charlie is a very technical teacher,...

A Word Of Caution

A Word Of Caution

Generally I try to ride in all weathers; it helps keep the horses used to anything life throws at them plus I feel better for not having wimped out. Baz got quite used to schooling in the snow when we had a run of bad winters a few years ago. However, strong winds are...

… And Breathe

… And Breathe

How many times in a lesson have you been told to breathe? Or when warming up before a test or jumping round, do you realise that you are holding your breath? It is an ‘issue’ that crops up for me before competing, especially if I’m nervous. It also gets a mention...

Do You Need To Make Yourself Ready To Ride?

Do You Need To Make Yourself Ready To Ride?

Simply put, yes! There are a number of reasons why, physical and mental, and in this blog I will try to get through them all. Horses were domesticated by humans for our own benefit – you know that of course – but how often do you think about the physical aspects of...

Little & Often To Get Results

Little & Often To Get Results

In our heads we probably all think we look better on a horse than we actually do – I’m sure I’m not the only one who thinks I must look set to go down the centre line at WEG or the Olympics. Then I see myself in the mirror (not that this happens often as schooling in...

Rider Fatigue

Rider Fatigue

To many non riders, riding is a passive sport where we just sit there and the rider doesn’t do anything whilst the horse or pony carries us around. That is until the non rider has a go, and hurts in places they never thought it possible to hurt, and realises how much...

To Stretch Or Not To Stretch

To Stretch Or Not To Stretch

Do you stretch? Should you stretch? How do you stretch? Why do you stretch? These are all very important questions to ask yourself in relation to you and your horse if either or both of you ‘do stretches’. We all stretch naturally, usually after periods of prolonged...

Symmetry Challenges

Symmetry Challenges

We all get quite hooked on symmetry when it comes to riding, both for ourselves and horses. Rightly so, as it is obvious even if you have never experienced major asymmetry – or possibly if you are in denial which let’s face it most of us are to a degree – that...

Balance Training For The Rider

Balance Training For The Rider

I have stashed away, a dressage test sheet from when I was about 15. I was riding a young horse called Tidy; an Irish thoroughbred chestnut mare. Not the textbook horse for a scrawny teenage girl, but we started affiliated eventing when she was 6 and I was 16. We did...

The Foundations

The Foundations

Welcome to Ready to Ride, where I hope to provide advice and support to riders of all abilities. You might well wonder why I can help, so here is a brief (ish) outline of my background, and what has brought me to where we are now. I have been a Chartered...