British Young Drivers On-foot training
22 October 2017

by Alice Rutherford


British Carriagedriving
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It's not everyday you get to long rein your mother! But that is just one of the activities I got involved in at the recent British Young Drivers training session at the Unicorn Trust on the 22nd of October!

I had been to the very impressive Unicorn Trust before for a couple of the junior Easter Camps, but as this was a few years ago, I was a bit unsure about what to expect on this training day.

Mum and I had left home early and arrived at Stow on the Wold in time for coffee and cake and a lovely welcome.

Mum was quickly introduced to some other parents, some of whom we recognised from the Easter Camps, and Emily came over for a chat and put as at our ease.

My group started the day with a bitting session run by Roger Campbell one of the team GBR pony drivers.

He was supposed to be there with some of his ponies but storm Brian had left them stuck in Calais!

Luckily mum had her phone on Google images, when we were all asked what bits we use to drive our ponies. As someone who drives a mini Shetland with a small mouth I was able to discuss the merits of the strangely named ?Pee Wee? bit.

Our second session was the long reining. With Roger's ponies in France, we made do with long reining each other - including navigating some poles with our eyes shut.

It was a really interesting exercise and taught us a lot, including how little pressure you need on your reins to guide your pony, how a consistent feel on the reins makes a lot of difference, that being tense really does travel down the reins, and how we must give a command and wait sufficient time for our pony to respond ? especially when asking for a halt and rein back.

Rosanna Walters-Symons, another team GBR member then gave a talk about Sport Psychology with lots of relevant examples and some fun exercises. It was really interesting, and gave us lots of practical tips and ideas we can put into use ourselves.

I thought it was good idea to concentrate on the things I can control at a competition such as my own warm up, my pony and my support team but not to waste time worrying about things like how my fellow competitors are doing and the weather, as there really is nothing I can do about them!

After a nice lunch (food at the Unicorn is always good!) we had a talk about plans for 2018 including the European Youth Driving champs and how you might be able to work towards qualifying for that.

And to finish off we went outside where Roger and Rosanna had us running round the obstacles to work out the best routes. Thanks for everyone involved for a fun and interesting day and hope to see some of you again at Easter!

Alice Rutherford