NZCDS Training Weekend Series
Training Weekend #1 - Waikato
Recently, the WHDVS hosted the first training weekend at Lloyd and Yvonne Weals property near Te Awamutu. The weather for the weekend was, in typical Waikato fashion, sunny with a cool breeze (at times a little cooler then cool but still perfect driving weather). In attendance where a handful of very eager drivers and a much larger handful of fence sitters who on many an occasion said they were kicking themselves for not bringing their ponies. The first day saw the drivers mastering the basics. Forward, straight, soft and bending. All ponies, horses and drivers relished the opportunity to school with Yvonne who hopped into the carriages and worked one on one with everyone. In the afternoon, Lloyd issued the challenge to the group to put up a couple of obstacles, learning how to flag these obstacles to give lots of options. This also included a discussion on how to remember the obstacles, where Jennifer discussed the power of visualisation.
That night we shared a pot luck dinner and chatted more about events and what to expect at the various events. It was great to hear all the great questions that everyone had and how eager everyone was to learn.
The next day (Saturday), everyone had individual lessons again, with a few more questions asked of both horses and drivers. Going straight and working into the outside rein being a challenge that all improved on tremendously. Following each lesson in the arena was a lesson in the marathon obstacles that had been set up the night before, with the aim being to translate the excellent work that had been seen in the arena into the marathon obstacles. It was a pleasure to see horses and ponies being driven confidently and calmly though what were two challenging obstacles, with the same grace and flow that they had achieved in the dressage arena. It was great to see the huge smiles and drivers faces when they realised that, for many, they had successfully driven their first ever obstacle, and not got lost!
That afternoon Lloyd held a 'classroom' session on what to expect at a CDT, right from arrival to departure. This was a very well received session, with lots and lots of questions. Lloyd also supplied everyone with marathon sheets for attendees to laminate and pop onto their carriages as well as a copy of the speeds table from the rule book to have on hand. I think this group of novice drivers will all be very well prepared for their first CDT.
That night we enjoyed a dinner of takeaways and afterwards covered the basics of showing; what to expect and what to be expected of. Showing is always an interesting one because the format and type of events vary so greatly throughout New Zealand. However, great conversation and lots of questions.
The last day, Sunday, was a day of 'putting it all together'. All drivers had the opportunity to walk a cone course, and then everyone harnessed up together. This was a chance for drivers to driver their pony around other harnessed up turnouts and see how their ponies and horses would react. All drivers drove the cone course at least twice, with the message to keep working on those basic dressage aspects that they had established over the previous two days, along with the message of "Put the Saddle in the middle of the cones" being loudly reinforced by Yvonne. All drivers had improved so much over the course of the weekend that they were hardly recognisable by the time they did the cones the second time. Following the cones, everyone had another crack at the obstacles after which, most were smiling and laughing with delight as to how happy they were with their ponies and horses.
A quick lunch and goodbye and off everyone went, full of enthusiasm to either get home and continue working on what they had started, or for the fence sitters, to put into practice what they had listened to over the weekend.
All in all, Im really pleased with how the weekend went, pleased with the feedback, absolutely stunned at the progress everyone made, and excited for their upcoming season. Well done to everyone who came along, well done to Libby, Leanne and Shirley for obtaining their Level 1 achievement Certificates and the biggest thank you to Yvonne for the hours and hours of instruction that she did, and also to Lloyd for all the instruction in marathon obstacles, cones, dressage and 'classroom' discussions, and of course for tirelessly setting up and taking down all the equipment.