I had the privilege of watching Markus Bauer doing some work with Merlyn yesterday at a visiting clinic at Carolyn's school, Hazelbank House. A while back Ali's friend had mentioned they had a top class dressage coach coming to give lessons and would I like to book in for a lesson...'Umm, eh, I'm not really in that league' I said 'More of a novice to be honest....'
So along we went yesterday, not to ride Merlyn, but to watch his owner Ali ride for Markus. My friend Jane and I sat and watched three consecutive lessons, the last of which was Merlyn's.
It was really worthwhile and do you know what, I think I could have gone right in there with my 'novice' had firmly on my head and he would have been just as helpful and personable as he was with more experienced riders.
He re-enforced the basics with all his riders, from eradicating piano hands to keeping elbows at the waist, and little things like putting your leg on without raising you knee.....and WHY these things matter, explaining what happens when you dont get it right with your seat bones, for instance.
What was really interesting to see was the investment of time in getting the communication right, before pushing on with your training. Lots and lots of transition work, halts, sitting trot to steady pace, asking for bend, straightness and over tracking. Only once everything was right, and staying that way did they move on.
Whenever the horse stopped listening or got above the bit, it was back to halt and start again....he said riding on once the horse is in that place is like riding with the 'handbrake on', much better to take it back and start again from the right place. The horses were moving so well, it was a delight to watch, especially the pointers on Merlyn.
My video footage was terribly poor and did it no justice whatsoever, so I won't post, but if you ever get the chance to watch him or ride with him do...even if you are a novice!!