Longden Learning

Why Longden Learning

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 At Longden Learning our philosophy is to show riders that whatever standard they are, and wherever they live in the world, they can improve their riding and build up a feeling of well-being, confidence and enjoyment.

Mary is an International Level 3 coach, A Level dressage judge, FEI ‘I’ Level Eventing judge (until 2009), FEI ‘O’ Level Para-Equestrian judge, and an International Para-Equestrian coach and consultant.

With an international reputation for developing horse/rider combinations at all levels – WEG, Olympics, Paralympics, Adult Riders and Pony Clubs – and across all disciplines – Dressage, Show Jumping, Eventing, Therapeutic Riding and those just wanting to have a safe and relaxing hack out on the weekend – Mary’s clear, practical, considered and solution focused approach has made the difference for thousands of horses and riders across the world.

With current international coaching and training commitments in 5 countries on 4 continents Mary cannot be everywhere that she or others would like her to be at the same time, try as she might.

LongdenLearning Resource Centre is Mary’s response to the huge number of requests she receives weekly but cannot satisfy and is her way of sharing her insights with a much broader audience than has been possible before now.

LongdenLearning Resource Centre
The LongdenLearning Resource Centre contains a library of written articles and multimedia content designed to assist riders and coaches at all levels:

These features will be progressively introduced from October 2010.

You can register for access to the LongdenLearning Resource Centre using our online registration form.

Through the effective use of Training DVDs, Distance coaching and targeted Group/Individual coaching sessions, particularly for up and coming coaches and trainers, Mary hopes to assist a far greater number of riders across a more broadly distributed base than ever before.

As the first step along this path Mary has made the initial three DVDs in what will eventually be a nine DVD series titled ‘Ride Towards Excellence’.

These first DVDs will start riders on their way to understanding the effects of rider position, how the horse goes and how to school effectively.

In the coming months Mary will introduce a comprehensive Distance coaching program, available through her website, as the next step in the process of making this knowledge easily accessible and affordable to riders worldwide.

Mary’s Philosophy: Everyone who wants to ride well can
Every horse and rider combination is unique. This means that riding is never boring and is always a personal challenge. It is a journey with your horse that you both want to enjoy. Together you grow.

It does not matter what standard a rider you are. When everything is correct you have the feeling of being a part of your horse. It is a beautiful feeling. It is riding ‘with’ your horse rather than ‘on’ your horse.

Whilst not everyone has the balance, ability and determination to participate at international levels, everyone can ride a horse to a level where they can experience this ‘oneness’ between horse and rider. If you need proof of this or simply inspiration then take a look at the Therapeutic riding section in the Mary L Longden background slideshow!

Too many people miss out on this feeling because they think they cannot become good riders. Often the problem is that they do not know where they want to go and if they do not know where they want to go, how can they get there?

So plan to succeed. Turn your dream into reality. It’s far more fun doing something well than badly! When you look at the top riders or just at the friend who seems at home on her horse remember that they all started as beginners. They are at the top of their sport or competent in their pastime because they made a conscious decision that that is where they want to be.

One can learn the theory of riding and develop an effective position but it is the ability to get the feel of sitting on a horse and the analysis of what it is doing and is about to do that makes a good rider.

And it is not just the feeling of sitting on a horse that is addictive. It is the interactions of your senses – feel, sight, smell and hearing mixed with your emotions, a dash of adrenalin and that feeling of ‘oneness’, that is so addictive.

And then we add another layer which is the thinking side of riding; analyzing every stride, making subtle adjustments to keep the horse ‘just right’, and the addiction grows.

Riding as an art form
Riding well is an art form but the ‘art’ is at the top of the pyramid! Everything underneath has to be in place first.

Riding forward at the correct tempo and straight is the first level that leads to self-carriage, which is where the horse is carrying itself in whatever outline the rider wants. This is your base. The bigger the base the more potential you have given yourself to ‘reach for the sky’.

The basic paces are also always being worked on. One is either developing them with young horses or maintaining them with older ones. The quality of movements such as lateral work and flying changes is dependent on the quality of the paces.

Competitive riding is certainly addictive to riders of all levels and in all disciplines. One can enjoy the thrill of competing whether you are interested in your individual progress or where you measure yourself against the others in the competition.

Schooling at home to build the pyramid through to ‘art’ level gives you the time necessary to develop and consolidate new skills and work on fitness for both yourself and your horse. When that all comes together as ‘art’ you can step up to the highest levels where ‘risk’ is a key element of the performance.

As a competitor one has to learn ‘arena craft’. However once all this is established you can ride a test and ‘risk’. The German Dr. Reiner Klimke was the best at knowing exactly when to risk and when to play it safe. His horse Alherich could ‘explode’ at any time, and he played the highest form of ‘art’. And he won lots of gold medals!

It is Mary’s hope that through LongdenLearning she can encourage, support and assist all those riders wishing to travel down the path towards excellence and that many more non riders may be encouraged to enrich their lives through building great horse/rider partnerships.