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'MERLIN' The Mechanical Horse : September Report

Four intrepid people went to Shardeloes on Monday 30 September to try to master riding ‘Merlin’ (the liver chestnut mechanical horse).

Each rider had a hard working lunge session of about 15 minutes on a general purpose saddle under the watchful eye of Gemma who is an excellent instructor.  This session was designed to improve the riders’ position and balance in relation to the horse’s paces and through the transitions.  It also highlighted the difficulties that can arise when the rider’s position is compromised by the type of saddle used during flat work.  

The saddle was then changed to a dressage one and ‘Merlin’ was put into interactive mode, and each rider then endeavoured to ride him in the virtual field, again for about 15 minutes.  The art here was to remember the tips from the lunge lesson and also apply the correct aids so the horse would walk, trot, medium trot and canter or medium canter as requested.  In addition the riders could try leg yield, shoulder in and flying changes. This can be easier said than done as a degree of finesse is required and the riders attention can be drawn to the graphics at the bottom of the screen showing where and when the leg and rein aids are being used, as a result some people ran into steering difficulties!

Everyone felt it was a worthwhile exercise and thoroughly enjoyed their evening.  They all had a good work out on the long suffering ‘Merlin’, and our thanks go to ‘Merlin’ and Gemma.

Please let us know if you would like us to arrange another session.