Coral Herbert: Building Confidence Again

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In the latest blog with brand ambassador Coral Herbert, she tells us about training at home and how she has been building confidence again after a fall earlier in the season…

It feels like so much has happened since my last blog!

After my fall at Lincoln back in March, I am not too proud to say that I lost some confidence in the showjumping with Saph. I felt like my riding wasn’t doing him any justice at all and therefore we weren’t performing at our best. I took it all really quite hard and blamed myself, so decided that I needed to get some regular help.

I absolutely love my lessons with my usual coach, Tiny. She has helped me so much over the years but unfortunately she doesn’t live that close to me, and I team up with a couple of other local riders to make it worthwhile for Tiny to come over. My riding school commitments and having a yard full of horses here at home mean that I can’t travel too far during the week/Saturdays, meaning that weekly sessions with Tiny just wouldn’t be feasible.

Stuck in a rut and feeling like I wasn’t progressing, I took Saph to Emily Lochore who is much more local to me. I’ve been able to get over to Emily’s weekly. She has a fantastic base to teach from and we do a different jumping exercise in every session. She has helped make several improvements to Saph and me in the short time we have been going for training with her and given me back some positivity.

As well as working away at the showjumping, we took Saph for a XC lesson at Burnham Market the week before last and I’ve just been for a flatwork lesson. Last week I was very lucky, Emily had a sit on Saph for me and Sophie happened to be at the yard at the right time – another very important lady in my world, she has treated my horse’s backs for 12 years now! She was able to come down to the arena to watch Saph being ridden by Emily. I am really enjoying my sessions!

I have also taken Frank to the BE Training event at HorseHeath. It was just what I needed! Frank usually produces a good test and showjumps well but he can lose his concentration out on the XC. Being a training event, it was run like a BE event but with just the showjumping and XC phases. You could also pick which size XC fences you wanted to take as you went round. I decided it would be a good opportunity to step Frank up to the 100cm jumps.

He jumped a lovely round in the showjumping and armed with a new XC bit, I decided to give the BE100 fences a go and just see how we would fair, knowing I could drop down a size if needed. We ended up jumping all of the 100cm fences apart from the saw bench where we took the 90 option. We did however, have a few stops in the second half of the course. Frank felt like he lacked stamina and tired as we went round!

With this in mind, I decided to start doing some more interval training at home and build up his canters. I also put him on an energy supplement, hidden in his Fibre-Beet of course, to help increase stamina. Mum and I built two brightly coloured XC houses to practice over at home, as all of our little XC fences that we have at home are very rustic.

I also bought him some Flair nasal strips and we headed to Houghton for the 90cm unaffiliated ODE. My DC swivel bit that I usually ride him in on the flat isn’t dressage legal anymore, so we changed to a similar bit with only one rotation. We’ve scored better in the past but he rode a reasonably ok test for 33.5 and he went clear in the showjumping. I don’t think Frank is keen on the hard ground so he coped well. We had a small blip coming out of the start box where he thought it would be funny to bunny hop back towards the start, which cost us an unnecessary 20 penalties. He then jumped round the course nicely and even better… finished without feeling exhausted!

Frank is off for a dressage lesson for his next outing and then out showjumping schooling while I plan another event for him to compete at!

I’ll continue to train hard and catch up soon,

Coral x