Friday, 19 February 2010

Vaulting Training Day

Monday morning bright and early and we were off to Moulton College in Northamptonshire for a vaulting training day. Becca and I have been attending a coaching course, which so far has mostly been theoretical. However, as it was half term this week the organisers had planned for each of the participating coaches to bring two members of their club to join in a training day with the British Team, which meant both the vaulters and coaches would gain more practical and hands on experience. We had also decided to take Navvy (Becca's youngster) for him to get some more vaulting practice in a different environment. So it was Becca, myself, Navvy, Gemma and Livvy that set off in the lorry on Monday morning. The journey was going really well until we were about twelve miles away from the college, whizzing along the dual carriageway, when BANG! We had a blow out. Now, this is the fourth time we've had a blow out, but the very first time it's happened when Becca's been driving. I'm so glad she was because now she can't blame them happening on my driving! The three other times have been at Wolsingham, Dumfries, and the CLA Gamefair, so we're very well practised with them! Thankfully it was one of the rear tyres, and as there are two on each side we were able to carry on steadily until we got to the college. As we'd limped on I'd rung the breakdown people (Hello, it's Jive Pony again...), so it was all arranged for the tyre man to come and sort us out during the day.

So, having arrived it was down to business. We were first of all due to do a forty-five minute warm up with a visiting German trainer, Steffi Burkhart. Steffi is a former rhythmic gymnast and has been training the British Team for the past two months, and she really worked us! The exercises were all very straightforward, but they completely reduced my legs to jelly! (Stairs have been agony all week as a result!) Anyway, just as we were about to start the warm up the tyre man arrived, so sneaky Becca managed to get out of the majority of it! Both Gemma and Livvy did really well, although I'm hoping for their sakes they didn't feel the after effects as much as I did!

After the warm up Livvy, Gemma and I stayed working in the gym, whilst Rebecca went with the horse group and worked Navvy. By all accounts he was really good, but after lunch he had to do it all over again! Having swapped the groups around in the afternoon all four of us, plus Navvy, were working in the school. Navvy did fantastically well, as it was only the third time he'd been lunged for vaulting. Not only did he have two up in canter doing baby freestyle moves, but he had different people lunging him and another horse working near him throughout. We managed to take quite a few photos of him, just click here to see them and others from the day. I also managed to take a little video of him, have a look below to see him in action.

The highlight of the day for me was having a little vault on Go Fast, the British Team horse. She's a lovely big girl, all 18hh of her, and it was just fantastic to be able to vault on a big horse again and as she was being lunged not have to worry about her at all (as we vault at liberty on our boys we have to be constantly aware of what both ourselves and they are doing). I did find her very different to Tinker though, as I'm so used to him anything else just feels a bit strange! I couldn't get my balance on her in stand properly, but I did do some good big swings - she certainly gives you plenty of lift! Having said all of that I wouldn't swap my Tink for the world, even if he is smaller with less lift! Both Livvy and Gemma also got to have a go on Go Fast, which was really good as both of them have only been vaulting since the beginning of January and the biggest horse they've been on so far is Tink. They both did well and managed bench, flare leg, and leg over the neck, all in canter - so both Becca and I were really pleased with them. Have a look at the video below to see Gemma in action.

At the end of the day we were shown the full British Team freestyle. Although only on the barrel you could see how well it will work on the horse. All the transitions were smooth and it was put beautifully to some Tango music. The team have got until October to perfect it when they're flying out to Kentucky to represent Britain at the World Equestrian Games. You can read more about the team and their WEG aspirations in a previously written post.

I did take a little video of Livvy vaulting on Go Fast too, and that's up on our facebook group. Anyone can join the group - just log in to facebook and search for Jive Pony. We've got about 200 members at the moment - but the more the merrier! I'm trying to keep the page quite up to date, and you can also comment on things, ask us questions etc etc - we always do our best to answer!

We've got the vaulting group again tomorrow, and this week I'm going to take Casper. He's very good on the lunge and I've spent a fair bit of time working on the transition commands with him, but he does have a bit of an issue with being approached, especially at the canter, so I'm hoping having ten girls in a row approach him will make him realise that it's not so bad after all! It will also be really good fitness work for all the girls, as I think he might be quite quick!! I'll take the camera with me and let you know how we get on!

Lots of love

Rosie xx