We asked #TeamBombers eventer Lydia Heywood to share a favourite flatwork exercise, and also asked her ten burning equestrian questions, from riding goals to words of wisdom.
Here’s a riding exercise that Lydia recommends:
“If the trot is lacking impulsion, it can be tempting to keep pushing with seat and leg,” Lydia explains. “But ‘nagging’ only makes the horse’s reactions duller, so they’re less motivated and less willing to go forward. It’s not our job to constantly work to maintain the gait; the responsibility for forward motion is the horse’s, once you’ve given the aid. This exercise can help us to stop ‘nagging’, which can be habitual and even unconscious – it involves going forward into a working trot and standing up in the stirrups.
Try to remain elevated and in balance during the trot, whilst allowing the horse to move forward underneath you. Work on keeping soft hands that are elevated up above the wither. Remember to praise and pat the horse when the trot feels supple and is going independently forward,” Lydia continues. “Your horse will find it’s own balance, and should feel quiet and happy in the mouth; if the contact is ‘jolty’, I’d reach out to Claire Lund at Bombers to see if the bit needs re-considering: email@example.com,” Lydia adds.
Six burning questions
1.Which is your most memorable horse and why?
Riversdale Sundew, my first competition pony! He was fiery, and a big step up for me, but I was able to gain solid foundations competing at Junior BS shows and get competitive. Together we qualified for the British Showjumping National Championships, which was a big achievement.
We spent time based at Deer Park in Gloucestershire and developed passion for XC on their fantastic course. River would have been a super Eventing pony!
2.What’s your best piece of advice and why?
“Every horse will teach you something…”
Lydia Heywood eventer Ride as many horses as possible in the early stages of your riding career. I believe every horse will teach you something, and we all know there’s plenty to learn in equestrian sport!
3.What’s your ultimate riding or training goal?
My ultimate riding goal is to become a world class rider, and win Jamaica’s first equestrian medal.
4.What would you tell your younger/teenage self?
You reap what you sow; and it will all be worth it. Since a young age, I have been in pursuit of sponsorship and support to reach the top of the sport.
I have faith that I can achieve my goals by training hard and networking
5.What’s the horse you would like to have ridden, or to ride?
Max Warbourton’s Jamaica’s Pride. The horse’s name pricked my ears when we attended the same events; he looked a million dollars, and achieved lots with Max.
6.What do you think you’ll be doing in 20 years’ time?
In 20 years’ time we will have an array of riders representing developing nations, and I will be playing my part to ensure there’s a Jamaican team in my lifetime!
Lydia is a 22 year old eventer based in the UK – her top rides are Greannanstown My O My Trend (a promising 5yo by Future Tend that will make his BE debut in 2021), Tullaher Lottie, pictured left, and Bonmahon JD, with whom Lydia competed up to BE Intermediate. Lydia and Tullaher Lottie, or Mink, won the four year old class at Tweseldown on their last outing. She has dual British and Jamaica citizenship, and is eligible to represent Jamaica on the international stage. In 2016, Lydia was awarded the Sarah Staples memorial cup, by Zara Tindall (nee Phillips), for best regional rider.
“2021 is set to be a very exciting year for me – I’m looking to take on rides that will enable me to fulfil my goals, and welcome enquires from horse owners that are excited by my journey, as well as anyone interested in joining my growing team through purchasing shares in my current rides,” Lydia concludes.
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