Ingenious training techniques | An Eventful Life

Ingenious training techniques


The last few months have been as full as ever!

Things have slowed down considerably horse wise for me, yet I still seem to be as busy as ever. We were lucky enough to be able to have Prue Barrett down to coach at our state squad clinic and thankfully I was able to get a few weeks work in beforehand on Smash so I was able to participate.

It was wonderful to get her insight on different schooling techniques that she uses and to hear her wonderful experiences as coach for the Australian Eventing team, a post she held for six years

Her focus for Smash and I was rideability, due to Smash being a big strong 17hh+ Warmblood with plenty of ‘opinions’ on how hard he has to work, and myself having quite a severely injured shoulder (so very little strength).

Despite this sounding like it’s a very bad idea, the way Prue approached the issue was ingenious. The techniques she gave me, I will use even when I am fully well again to help avoid falling back into bad habits, like trying to lift Smash’s entire front end myself!

The exercises that we used involved using bend and lateral movement on the circle at first, which encouraged softness and engagement and acceptance of the leg. We then moved onto doing this exercise on the long side in leg yield and half pass in the trot and then canter.

This was a great exercise for Smash because we were not only schooling a movement that he struggles with (unsteady in the contact and gets a bit explosive), but we were also working on his engagement and relaxation. I constantly battle with over all those issues on this horse so it was brilliant to be able to use the very exercise that causes the problems to fix them! What a win!



I also managed to have a sneaky jump lesson which Smashy greatly enjoyed and we worked along the same lines as the flat, but this time it was simply rideability in front, in between and after fences.

Now we all know that nothing about that is simple in practice, but for me it was the perfect lesson to have after my fall a few months ago, and not get stuck over controlling. We also schooled my lovely new triple brush that Dad and I built and we practiced rideability in a XC setting, so moving forward and balancing correctly as to minimize time wasted but still maintaining control and being safe.

It was an invaluable clinic and I am greatly looking forward to the next one



Then it was time to go under the knife!  An MRI revealed that I had done a little more damage than first thought with a fracture and a big dent in the humeral head!

It was decided that I was to have a shoulder ‘stabilisation’ which involves a few more bits of metal being added to the collection, and everything being tightened and stapled back where it should be!

While it certainly isn’t as sore as expected I will be stuck in a sling for a solid six weeks which not even a week in I am struggling with... however there is the benefit of having a bit more time on my hands to behave a bit more like ‘normal’ person and catch up with friends a bit more than I usually would!


        Time for being a 'normal' person


Will has made what is nothing short of a miraculous recovery from our accident and is fat and happy, sound as a bell and playing with his friends! It is such a massive relief after what was a terrible month of uncertainty but it looks as if a full recovery is on the cards, which is the best possible thing I could have dared hope for

So what’s next? Well hopefully in three months, I will have the all clear to begin some light riding so I plan to become a dressage queen for that remaining three months of rehab.

Fingers crossed I recover quicker than expected I will be able to take advantage of the new date for Lakes and Craters CCI !  How exciting!

So until next time,


Alice smiley