Hana Drahošová, from the Czech Republic is currently working as an IT Consultant but hopes to become a professional saddle fitter in the near future. When she bought her own Czech warmblood mare Safira, in 2016, she realized that she needed to make a lot of decisions that she had never had to deal with rented horses. She started to look for information abroad, because of the lack of reliable sources in the Czech Republic. She soon realized how much useful information was unavailable to many Czech horse-people, so she decided to set up her own website at: http://www.konecesky.cz/ (translation: HorsesInCzechLanguage ) where, with her translation team, she translates foreign videos and articles that she believes are worth sharing.
Hana has attended one of Equitopia’s basic six-day training courses and has documented her experience from a participant’s perspective through a 4-part blog.
BASIC TRAINING COURSE: DAY 1
On my arrival at Equitopia’s European Center for Learning in Abcoude for the training course. run by Equitopia in the Netherlands, I met the other five participants from Germany, US, UK, and Holland – all there to seek answers on how to best train a horse with their welfare being a priority.
At 9am the first lesson began with Tessa Roos, who specializes in rider seat and balance. We began with a very interesting lesson on Feldenkraise exercises. Tessa coached us on experimenting with our own balance on balls and chairs. I had never experienced anything like this and I felt it really helped me become aware of things going on in my own body that I hadn’t noticed before.
We then played a game of “rider and the horse” where we worked in pairs – one of us was a horse (we put our hands on a chair) and the other was simulating pressure of the rider on the horse’s back. It was interesting to feel the “horse’s point of view”.
We then tried different seats (leaning forward/backwards etc). I found these lessons incredibly stimulating and they were already getting me thinking about things in a different way.
After a delicious lunch, and lots of chat with the other participants and the trainers, there were lessons in the saddle. These lessons were also unusual for me. I was used to being just a spectator when I wasn’t sitting on a horse, but not here! We were divided into two groups, and while one of us was sitting on a horse, the others had to watch the rider and tell them how to correct their seat according to what we had learnt in the morning. Tessa was there all the time and while she was coaching whoever was on a horse in that moment, she also consulted with the people on the ground and explained the importance of every movement. AWESOME! So much information.
In my riding lesson, under the supervision of Tessa and my “other coaches” I was sitting in a really stable seat. I was so glad, I did feel stable and balanced and the whole lesson felt really good and just right.
After the afternoon lessons, we spent some time discussing with Tessa and Esther and also with each other. The people and the atmosphere were just great. At the end of a packed and thoroughly enjoyable day, we went to get some rest so we would be ready for next day’s lesson.