The British Dressage National Convention 2014, held at the fabulous Hartpury College and this year hosted by Helen Langehanenberg was quite simply amazing!
I attended on the second day (Sunday) and went with my friend and client who was also amazed at the day.
Having attended a few of these conventions it was refreshing to see on the programme that Helen was going to be riding, a first for the convention.
Before that though the morning consisted of watching Helen train horses from a gorgeous 4yr old stallion through to the GP horse.
The emphasis was ensuring the horse enjoyed its work, was given frequent walk breaks and was always being encouraged to work from behind into the contact.
Each horse showed an improvement within the 30mins allowed for each session and Helens approach to each horse was one of patience and understanding but with great results.
A thoroughly inspiring morning!
After lunch we hit the trade stands, oops! A good selection of items to peruse and a chance to speak with some of the manufacturers.
The afternoon began with a lecture demo about the health of the horse, talking about subjects ranging from conformation, what the vet looks for in pre purchase X-rays, to stem cell surgery and kissing spines operations. All very in depth and interesting.
Gillian from horses inside out discussed muscles and ligaments, with the horse painted to show these parts, what an amazing piece of work this was to see, so enlightening to see the horse moving from the "inside"!
We the. Saw the same horse ridden through basic moves to some of the GP work, which showed up just how much pressure the horses hind legs go through in movements such as the pirouettes etc.. Again, very interesting.
Finally Helen came in riding a horse she has only sat on for 10 minutes previously, showing how she uses her position to encourage the horse to listen and react to her weight aid, how to improve the half pass and put more energy into the work.
I felt this ridden section was very informative as it showed that all the mornings work was now being ridden and again getting results.
Both my friend and I came away thoroughly inspired, full of praise for Helen and her methods, immersed in knowledge and had plenty to discuss on our drive home.
In my opinion, one of the best National Conventions I have attended yet.