On the 19th January Leonie and Sara held a ride and drive.  The aim was to school your driving pony/horse under saddle and then transfer the schooling methods to your pony when driving.  The use of ridden schooling is to help improve our driving skills and to highlight some of the problems we may incur when we are schooling when driving.
We were able to watch through the day and had the opportunity to discuss with each other the different problems we all had.
My first schooling session was with Leonie.  I was asked to warm Josie up whilst she observed how the pony and I were going and to see what needed improving.  Leonie suggested we needed to work more uphill and then very gently and encouragingly helped us to work on a 15 to 20 metre ciricle slowing the tempo and rhythm and creating more elevation by asking Josie to move away from the inside leg, keeping her balanced into my outside hand and trying for a few steps of leg yield.  Once the trot work was established we started asking for a little shoulder in to encourage the hind legs to engage more.  Josie produced some good paces and self carriage.  I was delighted with the results.
We then had a lunch break for which Barry kindly supplied two lovely large pots of soup with rolls.  Duly refueled we got ready for the afternoon session with Sara.
Once again I did a quick warm up trying to put into practice what I had learnt with Leonie.  Sara asked me what we did in the ridden part.  We discussed the different aids between the disciplines for example whip replaces the leg aid, also the problem of the pony/horse pulling on the forehand when in the carriage.
The lesson continued with further schooling and we worked on improving the trot asking Josie to work from behind so increasing the elevation without losing the tempo and rhythm and without Josie running on.  I found this more challenging sitting behind on the carriage with Josie then when riding her.  Sara then showed me how to ask for leg yield using the hand and whip aid, which is used instead of the leg.  When we finished I was so pleased with Josie's progress she got a well deserved pat.  Both lessons have given me such a lot to think about.
The whole day was great and a big thank you to Leonie and Sara for a very helpful and interesting clinic which had a fun and relaxed atmosphere.  I am very much looking forward to the next one
Kathryn Crombie.