At the beginning of the month, three of us took to the road and visited the Verden Hannovarian sales. It was fun to go again after having not been for a few years. Much has changed, in that the good facilities are bigger and grander than ever, and my breeder and trainer friends are all looking a bit older.

The programme has also changed. There is no longer a Friday night gala, but now the foal auction takes place with a couple of small displays for the entertainment. This is fine if you want to buy one of the 63 that were presented. The retail has also been cut to three clothes and two saddlery shops.

Saturday started with the whole collection being shown, mixing the jumpers with the dressage horses. The jumpers were shown over 3 fences. There were also 26, two year old stallions being trotted up. The auction started with a laser show, followed by a quadrille of the Landgestut stallions, two from each station and the riders in their colourful uniforms. It was good to see several women now riding. The sale was as normal with a handful of very expensive young horses. One pricey jumper was sold to Great Britain. There were not as many people there as in former times and when talking to a breeder, he said that less people came to the sales now because all the sale horses are live streamed on the internet and bought on the telephone. It did take away some of the atmosphere, but it was fun to see so many quality young horses in one place even if some were fairly stressed.

Exercises
I am passing on three good exercises to improve your balance.

1 In walk on a loose rein, turn your shoulders to the left 180 degrees so you are looking back behind you and eventually your horse will turn and go in that direction. Exaggerate it if necessary. Then repeat this on the right side.

Ride serpentines and loops without touching the reins.

2 Stand on your left stirrup putting all your weight on the iron until the horse goes left. Repeat this on the right stirrup. Really feel you are standing on the iron.

3 In working trot rising, encourage your horse to slow down to almost a walk. Then quicken your rising to quicken the trot again. This should be done without touching the reins or using the legs. This is especially good for horses that rush.