On a weekly basis I receive requests for me to give coaching clinics or master classes at various venues worldwide. Unfortunately I don't often get the opportunity to partake as my commitments to my horses, owners and clients must come first.
Jenny Richardson who runs the magnificent equestrian centre in the grounds of Castle Leslie was persistent in her request and got me nailed down to give both a riding demonstration and a coaching clinic last weekend at their magnificent venue!
I was thrilled how the two days went and with the excellent help of both the staff at the equestrian centre and my own Karlswood Team, everything ran like a well oiled machine.
In addition I brought in the expert services of International course designer Tom Holden who was on hand to oversee the lines and exercises were built correctly and the man who undoubtedly made the evening a roaring success was Brendan McArdle from The Irish field newspaper who acted as master of ceremonies for the evening.
On Friday evening the action got underway with Brendan warming up the crowd and I rode in to music on Carpe Diem to a rapturous welcome from the Monaghan crowd. We worked on the flat and then included canter poles, showing the ease with which an experienced grand prix horse could lengthen and shorten. Following that I moved to a horse that was a bit less easy and showed how I train the horses to listen and wait on landing after a jump using a pole on a related distance before and after a wide oxer.
Ross Mulholland then showed off the very promising 6 year old gelding Heartache. We did a grid exercise with him, and the crowd appreciated his classical technique and carefulness. Finally I finished up the evening by jumping a little taller with Carpe Diem and showing the importance of a good leg position over the fence and the need to sit as still as possible to let the horse do his job.
The evening ended with questions and answers and I gave my Olympic medal to the crowd to pass around.
The following day I coached 20 people on their own horses in groups of 4 and all seemed to improve and enjoy themselves.I have to admit I was exhausted after the two days but enjoyed it immensely!!