I had a very enjoyable and informative two days on the UK Young Horse Training Program at Hickstead last week. This group took over from the BS run Young Horse Pathway and is run by Brett and Donna Callaghan. My group was coached by Matt Lanni. The first day we concentrated on getting the horses into a longer outline and more forward, and then practiced related distances, dog legs and turns (I did hit the deck once when I didn't make enough of a plan on Askeaton!).
On the second day we warmed up with our coaches and jumped a course in Ring 3, all part of a team competition where every score counted. It is years since I rode as part of a team, and as it came down to the wire for the last group, I was amazed how much it really mattered to leave every fence up. Our team won by a distance and Askeaton was man of the match, showing how constructive learning from your mistakes can be.
As as coach myself I very rarely get the benefit of being coached round a course at a proper venue, so for me this was invaluable. I found Matt an excellent and very encouraging coach, and it gave me a good appreciation of a) practicing what I preach and b) just how difficult that can be. Many thanks to Brett Callaghan, Donna Callaghan and to April whose invaluable help facilitated having two horses in consecutive groups.
I had noticed at my own coaching clinic the value of the support members of each group gave one another, and this was confirmed in the clinic. Don't shy away from good quality clinics, I don't think they replace one to one coaching, but can be a valuable forum for evaluating your progress and realising that we all have a peer group.