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Columnist William Micklem

February 19, 2014

Too Busy Being Fabulous

“Coaching is not a popularity contest,” barked the senior coach, justifying both his style of teaching and somewhat unsavory private life. But is this true? Can you be a top coach and be unpopular?

Success is the No. 1 thing that makes a coach popular, and therefore, in theory, a coach might be popular despite the fact that he or she is bad mannered, bad tempered and has a different lover in every town! But in practice, this type of personality will not get the best from students and will not be popular.

February 21, 2013

The Advanced Work Starts Today

“I don’t have any students or horses able to begin lateral work,” said the coach looking downcast.

Without knowing anything about this coach’s students and horses, I knew the coach was 100 percent wrong. With any rider it’s both possible and necessary to start the road to advanced work from the beginning, working with the end in mind.

February 6, 2012

Why We Need To Breed Event Horses

Today’s breeding trends toward ever more specialized animals, but columnist William Micklem believes the best horses can excel in any discipline.

The event horse is the ultimate sport horse: the paces and temperament to do a dressage test at advanced level; the gallop, jump and courage to go across country; and the scope, carefulness and soundness to come out again and jump clear in the show jumping.

November 28, 2011

The Smile Says It All

Unless the person in front of you is naked or wearing a particularly outrageous outfit, you look at the face first. In this respect, the smile says it all. Not all animals can smile, but humans do it beautifully. Without a single accompanying word a smile can say: ‘Welcome, come on in,” “Keep going, you’re doing OK,” or, probably the most valuable of all, “This is fun. I’m enjoying this and enjoying doing this with you.”

November 8, 2011

It's Not All About You, Coach

So how famous is your coach? Are you in awe of him as he arrives in the arena? Does her gold-medal CV precede her and add value to the lesson? Or is it a barrier to learning?

June 4, 2011

Triple Triumph For Fox-Pitt At Tattersalls

The extraordinary William Fox-Pitt made headlines with his triple triumph at Tattersalls International Horse Trials in Ireland in the one-, two- and three star competitions held the weekend of May 26-29. With Ollie Townend second to him in both the three- and two-star competitions and also winning the CIC three-star class, the other elite riders were left with slim pickings. 

May 20, 2011

Tattersalls’ New Cross-Country Track Should Set An Example For Modern Course Design

The Tattersalls International Horse Trials, set to take place May 26-29 in Ireland, has set the standard to which others aspire in many ways. The permanent facility opposite Fairyhouse Racecourse is outstanding, and this year they’ve also invested heavily in a new cross-country track that is destined to mark a new direction for modern courses.

February 8, 2011

"Risky Business" International Eventing Forum Delivers Training Advice And Good Sense

The provocative title of this year’s International Eventing Forum, “Risky Business,” may not have been quite to everyone’s liking, but the day itself delivered a whole sequence of subtle training treasures for the 350 delegates on Feb. 7 at Hartpury College in Gloucester, England.

Run in partnership by former Olympic eventing judge Jean Mitchell, international coach and judge Eric Smiley and Hartpury College, this annual gathering deserves to be a success with outstanding speakers, facilities and organization.

February 4, 2011

Horses Provide New Legs For Old And New Moments To Seize

Sparks of possibility. Chinks of opportunity. Inch by inch.

Such small talents, such small moments and such small steps are the essence of making something meaningful of our lives. Can we find those “sparks of possibility” in our lives? Can we seize those chinks of opportunity? Can we take those small steps today and tomorrow? Our lives rush by, and for many, lives are cut cruelly short. So every day is important, even if it is a wonderful day of sheer pleasure that a day off can become.

The Payoff

January 2, 2011

The Recipe For A Top Event Horse Calls For Brain, Brawn, Beauty And Breeding

Our columnist shares the tale of breeding Karen O’Connor’s WEG mount Mandiba and the lessons he’s learned along the way.

There were just two of us at the bar. The barman facilitated an introduction after discovering I was at the hotel for a meeting about developing an equestrian facility. Minutes later I was headed down a country road outside Ennis in County Clare, in the west of Ireland. We were off to see a mare “worth seeing, just five minutes down the road.”

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