trudi dempsey creative equine training

Welcome to the Spring 2014 Newsletter

There is a distinct hint of Spring in the air as I write; the boys are rugless in the sunshine (no doubt filthy dirty too) and the sky is blue with no hint of a breeze. This winter has to be the wettest I've endured in England or France and I'm mightily glad to see the mud finally drying and the grass perking up with intent! I feel very lucky to have suffered only a muddy field when so many have had floods and major damage from the storms, I hope you have all safely come through this winter. Of course it's only April and there may be more to come but we are headed in the right direction and hopefully even those without indoor riding facilities will be back to work soon.

If you need a kick start for the new season then don't forget my online assessments, if you have any niggles then we can formulate a plan to help you move forwards in balance. Many issues that we have with our horses can easily be overcome with a personal plan of action so get inspired to be the trainer you and your horse deserve.

This newsletter's article is all about contact, something I feel is misunderstood and often badly taught. If this article raises any queries then don't hesitate to pose questions via my contact page and I can respond in full through the next newsletter.

I am available for clinics and workshops around the UK and further afield depending on numbers and travelling costs, individual sessions can start from as little as £15.

Happy training, Trudi

Contact- what's in a definition?

In this next article I examine………….

Contact is something that I imagine we all have very personal feelings about. To help me get started I asked for some help from my friends on the A Matter of Horse (AMOH) forum. Everyone had a pretty good idea of what they felt contact was and what they did and didn't like about the contact that they saw in the competition arena. In line with what I regularly read, in magazines and on the net, most advocated a sensitive contact that evolves from the horse working correctly from behind into an accepting hand.

This quote from Mark Rashid (thanks to Ben Moxon for providing it) came up in discussion "Contact is the space between you pulling on the horse and the horse pulling on you." and leads me to my first question, just what is contact?

The way I train horses eliminates the concept of pulling by either party but Mark Rashid highlights for us surely that contact is the point of balance between horse and rider, it's the point at which we can both release ourselves and become one.

If I take this back to the simplest form then contact is something that primarily exists between our hand and the mouth of the horse; in the same way that in an electrical circuit a contact is something that allows current to flow. This is just the start as the current flowing to all elements of a circuit will allow all individual parts of that circuit to work; just so in our contact with the horse, the act of two things touching in a physical and emotional/communication sense allows us to connect to the whole of the horse.

Contact from the horse to our hand is given and is not something we can take for ourselves. So why do we often misinterpret our own ideas on contact, do we get frustrated by the enormity of the task once in the saddle? I feel certain that it is many things and perhaps different things for different people. When I describe riding without a contact I'm only describing the work that I must do to achieve true contact; true connection between all parts of horse and human are what will result in a perfect contact NOT the holding of the rein and waiting!…………..


If you would like to read the full article, click on this link.

Some great websites - Wescott Farm, Exmoor, holiday cottages offering OnBalance training - bring your horse on holiday. - Interdressage on line dressage competitions






Spring Newsletter

Rider's Recipe-Savoury Bread Bake

This really is a tasty dish, easily customised to suit personal taste and quick and easy too. Serve it for brunch with baked beans or with a salad for lunch or dinner.

250g leftover bread

4 eggs

400ml milk

1 onion


Grated cheddar

Choice of additional fillings; mushrooms, spinach, leeks, sweetcorn, cherry tomatoes, courgette, broccoli.....or for those who eat meat bacon, sausage, tuna....this is a dish to use up all the 'bits' you have in the fridge!

The bread is best a little on the dry side, not rock hard but not too fresh. Break the bread roughly into 1cm pieces and cover the bottom of an oiled oven proof dish. Cover the bread with a layer of fried onions and any other of the fillings you fancy, I'll use mushrooms for mine. Cover the veggie layer with some grated cheddar and then start again with another layer of bread, then onion, filling and cheese. Beat the eggs and add the milk and seasoning (mustard, salt, pepper) to taste before pouring over the bread and allowing it to soak in for about 30 mins or more. You can add some halved cherry tomatoes to give some colour to the top and then pop in the oven (about 180 c or 160 c for fan oven) until the egg mix is set and the bake is golden and bubbling.

Reader’s Question

“Hi Trudi, my horse falls in on a left circle.....what can I do to help improve this?”

Trudi’s Response

“Horses, like us, are handed (or hoofed) which means it is easier for them to bend to one side or the other (lateral bend); often we hear this described as being ‘hollow’ on one rein and ‘stiff/strong’ on the other. All this really means is that to one side the outer muscles are longer and allow better lateral bend and on the other the outside muscles are shorter thus allowing less lateral bend.

Gymnastic training aims to release tension and straighten the horse so that movements like circles ride the same on both reins. Riders often find the stiffer rein easier to deal with as it is usually a case of gradually asking for a little more bend to that side. The hollow side is a little trickier and in your case this is the left rein, as shown by the falling in on the circle.

To improve this first check your tack is correctly fitting and that no teeth, back or soft tissue problems are an issue before considering the following points:

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Imagine four quarter points to your circle,

focus on each point as you ride towards it (rebalancing/half halting at each) ,

Create the correct inside bend for your circle size as you ride from point to point.

Fig. 1.