Blog – Day Two Piggy French Training Camp

Vicky riding Jason

Wow, what a weekend! Thank you to our brand ambassador Piggy French for being such a fantastic host for our Training Camp. The prize winners thoroughly enjoyed themselves and have learnt lots of training tips to take away with them.

We kicked started day two with our prize winners being put through their paces in the BE100 Championship Dressage test. Piggy filmed and critiqued the test, providing feedback and areas for improvement before riding through the test again.

First up was Vicky and the wonderful Jason, where Piggy commented that he was lovely and consistent to the contact. “If he goes a bit lazy, try and give him one kick reminder then release the leg rather than constantly gripping,” said Piggy.

Piggy had them working on getting the trot more active so that he was more in front of Vicky’s leg so Jason didn’t jump into the canter in the transitions as it won’t be such a big effort. Piggy said, “Doing lots of transitions is the perfect way to get him to stand on his own four legs and help his engine and brain as he will always be with you and thinking forward.”

Christie riding Galaxy

On a finishing note Piggy advised “Jason has a good contact, a great outline. You just need to think active, tempo and transitions!”

Next up was Annieka and Arty who was looking much more settled and relaxed this morning. Annieka explained to Piggy that usually in dressage tests Arty can get lazy and behind the leg and she finds getting the balance in the warm up arena tricky.

Annieka started warming Arty up and Piggy advised “The higher we have our hands the more likely the horse is to curl. So, bring the contact up and then relax and lower the arm. It is important to keep your core strength throughout your body and seat and not just through your hands and arms”

Following Annieka test Piggy explained the importance of the walk mark “Never underestimate how important the walk is. It’s great to practice whilst out hacking, always thinking forward and out with the nose. Never undervalue opportunities where you can practice the walk”

Last up was Christie and the lovely Galaxy, where she explained the difficulties she has with the medium trot. Piggy advised “I would work on the medium canters first, come out of the corners and really extend the canter in an uphill way, really off the leg and go but not long and flat.”

“Straightness is really important for this. I would then try this process in the trot. Practise in rising to give her that ‘go’ feel as we ca grip and come out of balance in sitting” explained Piggy.

Following Christie’s test, they worked on the straightness of the centre lines and halt practicing keeping Galaxy straight and not putting her quarters in.

Then it was time for lunch and to regroup before Cross Country time!

Christie riding Galaxy

First up was Vicky and Jason followed by Annieka on Arty and Christie on Galaxy. Piggy set up a course of cross country style fences in the arena, including a couple of corners and two angled uprights.

These fences where chosen to help the riders with their accuracy and straightness. It was important they didn’t break the fences up and they rode straight on the line. “Let them know where they have to go, always support them and keep them on the line. Don’t motorbike, find your line and support them,” said Piggy.

When riding cross country you want to feel you can get your weight down in the heel and ensure your leg position stays the same whether in or out of the saddle.

Following the exercises in the arena the riders where then allowed to treat the horses with a splash through the water to end the day.

Thank you again Piggy for a fabulous weekend.