Just over a week ago, I spent an interesting day watching the second day of a clinic given by the portugese trainer Miguel Ralao, who had last year been invited to present at the British Dressage Convention with Carl Hester and Richard Davidson.
I was pleased to be completely on the same “wave length” even a lot of the phraseology being similar. He emphasised the importance of a good upright posture in the middle of the horse with the rider’s legs under the hips, the waist up, and the rider’s hands and hips “sitting in a box” from which they should not move.
The horse must be in the middle of the aids, with the connection through the reins remaining constant, whether it be the inside or outside rein. The horse should bend around the inside leg and the outside leg, holds the whole length of the body, therefore not depending on the outside rein. He used the whip by the heel or occasionally on the shoulder to keep the horse active.
There was plenty of lateral work to warm up, especially in the walk and small circles were used to set up many of the exercises. Miguel also emphasised that every horse was different to ride and train so the rider must be aware that different approaches were often needed to achieve the result.
I had a fun day out at the Surrey Union Point to Point. It was very well supported and the weather was kind. I was not lucky with the bookies, but enjoyed judging the best turnout, which rewarded the hardworking grooms that had made a big effort.