• Training

    Train for the best to be the best

    Often when talking to people about trainers and instructors and I say that Im still looking for some more local trainer to train for. But that I have a hard time finding one, and people keep saying “well I can understand that at YOUR level”. And for me that is such an odd way to look at it. Im not even at my level, or the level they think I am, I think. If that makes sense.

    If I want to be at the top, why should I train for anything less? It may sound smug, and its not that I dont train for instructors that is not at a certain level. But why should one think that “Im not an elite rider so it doesnt matter” or “Im not an elite rider so Im not good enough to be a student for that person”. Its such a weird thought for me.

    As I said, I dont choose trainers after merit, I dont look at dressage scores or what they do. I look at what type of shape they teach, and then when I ride for them I assess how far I think they can take me. Do their teaching makes sense to me? Am me and the horse having fun? Am I getting pushed? Because I want a trainer that sees our potential and get us their and can see how much both me and the horse can be pushed. Because if I know I can just be given a direction and a push in the right moment me and the horse can do things we only dream about.

    So dont put yourselves down people. Go and train for the best, that is how you become the best!

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  • Training

    Shoving

    I think Talhoffer may have been beaten or had some very poor experience with people in his past, as he reacts very strongly if you make sudden moves towards him, or sometimes its enough just walking with a bit to much energy. And especially if you have something stick-looking in your hand and is coming toward his rear. This is nothing you want in a warhorse, and also its not very pleasant for him to react so strongly and being on edge.

    To work trough this I started with an excercise where I press against him, but the thing is, i want him to push back, and not yield. In the beginning I was just putting my hand on his shoulder and rewarding when he didn’t yield. When he understood that I started to press a little and rewarding when he pushed back. Eventually I started adding to back up and add to move towards him. I have been doing this a little before, just rewarding that he doesnt flinch, but now it went so much better. Because now I had rewarded the impact, the pushing back, so he wanted me to come close so he could make his little shoulder push and get his cookie.

    I like to think that its like when you let a kid win over you when wrestling. The kid nows that you are bigger and could easily bet him, but still get the feeling of being invincible and gets a confidence boost. This excercise gives the same feeling to the horse.

    As with all things that can be potentially dangerous for the human, like rearing, kicking, shoving, its not suitable for all horses. Some horses will find this a little TOO fun to be shoving people around, so one need to take into consideration the type of horse one has.

     

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  • Training

    Rossfechten with non-riders

    I am of the device that if you want something done; you have to do it yourself. And there are very few (read as: none) to train rossfechten with in Gothenburg and the knowledge and understanding of rossfechten among regular fencers are very limited. So I checked with my fencing group if there where any takers on a small practical and theoretical introduction. And 4 people said yes!

    Its a bit weird that it is easier to get fencers who have never been on a horse before to try it, then get non-fencing riders to ride with a sword. Even though swords and lances can be very good tools to improve your “normal” riding, but oh well.

    Said and done, on Sunday we met up in the stable and I tried to convey the concept and how fencing and riding is connected. Since this was a crash course in riding, with people whos experience with riding extended to pony rides as children, I tried to relate it to the fencing, in hope of it to be easier for the fencers to understand.
    Riding wise my main focus was turning, cause that a fast lane to understanding the hip aid, and its also the fundamental in rossfechten. So first task was to ride in an eight around poles, mainly using hip and leg aid, which they managed surprisingly good for being first time and on Mod who is not that happy to move forward at all.
    When body was somewhat tuned into the horse we continued to a swords and also some lancing. The thought was never that to get them good at the various plays, but to get a grasp on how timing, dynamic and distance is very different on horse back but doing so using real plays from the manuscripts. In the very end I got Talhoffer and they got at least to see and get some feel of two horses together.

    All in all it was a fun day. I wanted to show that rossfechten is NOT about rushing towards each others just bashing swords, that real rossfechten is about control and being in-sync with horse, using the horse movement in the fencing. And I think I managed that.
    The guys seemed happy and did not looked to overwhelmed leaving, so hopefully it will be at least four less people I wont be hearing saying things like “You only do cuts from horseback”.

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  • Training

    Talhoffers first cavalry training

    I just cant believe what golden gem I have! He is unbelievable!

    Sunday is cavalry training, and I brought Talhoffer to participate in the first, beginners, session and my helper Camilla took Mod. First session is only formation in walk, and sometimes trot and maybe canter depending on the horses participating. For most part a totally new horse will not really go close together with the others, but will slowly move closer and closer. When I started with Mod, it took several times until he walked at ease in the middle or in the first row. Granted, I was not as knowledgeable as I am now, but still. Talhoffer, sure he thought it was a bit weird, and he shyed a few times, but in all, he walked in the formation. We could both be on the inside, outside and in a line, and in the end we even did it in trot, and could hold our position fairly well. I am just, speechless!

    What I am also so happy with is that I really worked with his shoulders to calm him down. When he gets nervous he speeds up, and to calm him down I am working on moving his shoulders and crossing his legs, in very small shoulder- in an travers, cause I dont want or need to pull the reins. In the end we really found each other, and I could sit with literally nothing in my hands and still calm him down.

    Second session we had training on the field, where we was practicing a new scenario where we are attacking a tent camp. I let Talhoffer sit out that one, and I rode Mod, and then another had an extra horse, so Camilla got to ride a western horse. It was such a great afternoon. We charged over the field back and forth, and Mod was cantering with the others. Then we got to stab down the tents, and in the end on of the tents was burning! It was just so much fun.
    Unfortunately we will miss that performance as me and Talhoffer is going to Germany then, but it was still great practise!

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  • Training

    Lichtenauer lance plays

    I got some food for thought the other day when in a forum it was asked if people did or wanted to do rossfechten. Most people said they wanted to start, but I kind of felt, but I do rossfechten. I ride and I stab things, that what I do?
    But then I got a little self conscious, cause Im not very good at it, but is rossfechten just at a certain level? I dont think so, you do HEMA, even if just is at your beginning. If you read and try to do the stuff from manuscripts, dont you do rossfechten then? Even if your really bad at it? I think so, anyway.

    But then I thought, I practise my fencing on foot, to be good, and get better understanding for rossfechten. Everything I do with my horse, is to get the movement for rossfechten. But actual real rossfechten I kind of only train with others, which is sometimes several weekends a month, or it could be several month in between.
    And then I thought, I should do more rossfechten training even without other people. So said and done I decided that at least once a week will be lance work. Not only just to train the technics, but also to get the strength, and familiarity with the lance.

    Here is some video from my first try. It is with plays from lichtenauers teaching and the Van danzing interpetations. Its about that when you are being pursued on the left, you turn right, and if you getting pursued on the right you turn left.

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  • Training

    First cavalry training of the year

    Finally the first cavalry training of the year! Since I couldn’t bring Mod, my amazing friend Matilda lent me her lusitano stallion, Vappe. I had never ridden him before, but he is such a sweetheart, one would never think he was a stallion, and he is like 10th of Mod in with so was a very different experience.

    In the first session we just practiced the usual formations in walk and trot, and also turning on the hunches in line, so all horses turn with the same distance between them. It was very fun to ride a different horse, and what a difference it was from been riding Mod for 2 years.  On Vappe I could actually raise the wither to stop and move him, or use the hips, just the slightest, to move the hind legs. On Mod I can never do that, I have to like mold him to do things, and use so much strength to even get a reaction. Turning on the hunches was just like turning myself around, sure it had alot of things I could improve, but it was more about me and the horse getting to know each other.  Vappe was very nice to me, and tried to understand even though I must have been very unclear to him. I am used to have such a wide and huge horse that I must use my lower leg in a position very far back, which I dont need to on a normal horse, but I keep doing it as that is what I have in my muscle memory.

    In the second session we did environmental training, putting out all sorts of things in the manage, tarpaulins,  cardboard figures, wooden boards, obstacles and so on. Vappe couldn’t care less, so I tried to do some canter, which failed miserable. I think I was a bit stiff in my hip, and he thought it was very strange with everything AND me on the back. So me and Matilda swished horses and I got to ride her lusitano Eco for a while. He is such a nice horse to. Canter with him was much easier, and I actually did beginning of a canter piroutte.

    In the third session we went out to the paddock and practiced with smoke, and as before Vappe seemed not even to notice all the smoke. He was more annoyed over the bad ground, which was just iced snow.

    Im so happy I got to lend Vappe for today, it is so much fun getting the feel for another horse and he is such a asweetheart!

     

     

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