Do you want to improve your riding, relationship and confidence with your horse? The River Tiger podcast aims to explore how we can develop and nurture our unique relationship with these wonderful animals. Join us as we engage in curious unscripted conversations with great practitioners and researchers in the fields learning, skill acquisition and all things equestrian. Our mission is to bring evidence based research and theory to life in a way that is engaging, fun and practical.
Planning for performance; being adaptive within performance: A conversation with Craig Morris and Richard Seals.
In this conversation we explore the performance demands of sports where each competition course is unique and is viewed from a position other than by practicing. By walking the course in Showjumping or walking along the banks to view the course in Canoe Slalom.
Other than identifying the best route through the course, what other information could be attended to that would support a successful performance? Craig and Richard discuss and compare the performance demands of the two sports.
The need to have a plan to reduce the number possible actions and identify the best routes or lines though a course. This is an education of 'intention.'Having a plan that helps to constrain the focus of attention of the performer. Guiding their attention toward the information that will support them to realise their performance goals. This could be described as an education of 'attention.'Flexible enough to allow them to remain open to what is happening in the performance and be adaptive. Ongoing calibration of perception and action.I hope you enjoy listening to this conversation as much as I did!
About my guests:
Richard Seals is a Professional Show Jumper and like many others in this sport he continues to compete as well as coach and bring on horses. Richard is a British Show Jumping UKCC level 3 coach and has just started his Level 4 at Gloucester University. He has also completed National development program for coaching excellence and a Pony Club Accredited Coach.
Richard has also been active as a representative on many committees including British Show Jumping Area 21 (Derbyshire), the Rider representative on the British Show Jumping National Sport committee, and a representative/ consultant on the Sport Horse Research Foundation.
Richard can be contacted via facebook or his website.
Craig Morris is an Olympic Canoe Slalom Coach and High Performance Coach consultant with over 17 years of experience in performance coaching.
A person-centred, inspirational leader, Craig has gained recognition both nationally and internationally for his ability to develop individual athletes and teams through a trans-disciplinary approach to development transcending pathway to podium.
Personal coach to 1 individual senior Olympic, World and European podiums and over 30 World Cup podiums, across multiple athletes and 4 Olympic disciplines, Craig is regarded as one of the World’s leading Canoe Slalom coaches and skill acquisition specialists.
More recently Craig has become a Director and Performance Coach for Cultured Coaching Ltd, offering high performance bespoke development and executive coaching and mentoring to individuals and teams across a myriad of domains.
Wherever Craig goes he aims to be innovative in his coaching practice and is increasingly engaged worldwide in fields including leadership, coach development, skill acquisition, mentoring and ecological approaches to performance coaching.
Committed to facilitating others to shine, he is well known for being highly skilled in building and evolving relationships across performance teams.
Recognised for committing significant time to building a coaching chain, both within Canoeing and across other sports, Craig’s passion and skill to support other coaches and engage on a mutual learning journey through dyadic mentoring is growing rapidly.
Craig can be contacted via
email at email@example.com
On Twitter @MorrisCraig_
LinkedIn Craig Morris
What is representative learning design (RLD) and why is it important? A conversation with Dr Alex Lascu and Jane Randall.
In this episode we delve into the concept of representative learning design, what it is and why it matters.
As always, the conversation is unscripted and only has a topic as a start point for a genuine curious conversation. Alex, Jane and I pull on the representative practice thread and go on a few off-piste explorations too.
Topics including in this conversation:
- Understanding the relationship of the task and performer (of any level).
- Who is making the decisions and what information is being attended to?
- What is the rider paying attention to? What information is the horse paying attention to?
- What is specifying information and how can practice design help to guide attention toward it?
- What are affordances and shared-affordances?
Link to representative learning design tool for equestrian sports.
Links to my guests:
Jane Randall is now following her passion for all things equestrian as a coach and mentor. She is a British Equestrian Level 4 Coach, British Dressage Accredited Coach, MSc professional Practice in Sports Coaching , Mentor Coach with a keen interest in developing coaching science in equestrian sports.
When I first met Jane, she was exploring skill acquisition and coaching pedagogy as part of her British Equestrian Level 4 coach award at Gloucester University in the UK. We had many wonderful conversations about understanding and applying theories of learning and development with horses, humans and horse-human partnerships.
Jane can be contacted at https://www.jrdressage.co.uk/
Jane is also active on Instagram @janerandalldressagecoach and on Twitter @janerandall111
Dr Alex Lascu is a skill acquisition specialist by trade and currently lectures at the University of Canberra. Her passion for talent development and community sport is contagious, and she enjoys existing in the gap between research and practice in the hopes of bringing these two worlds together.
Find Alex on Twitter at @skillacqlascu
At her website https://skillacqlascu.wixsite.com/whisperer/about
Or LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/alascule/?originalSubdomain=au
Representative learning design academic paper Train how you play.
Improve your coaching and practice design for jumping with Katie Williams and Mia Palles-Clark.
Two very experienced coaches join me to chat about coaching behaviours and practice design for improving jumping. You'll find this episode is filled with practical tips and ideas to support your coaching and get the most out of your practice.
My guests this week are:
Katie Williams is a former international event rider, having ridden successfully to 4* level and produced many horses through the grades. Nowadays Katie is a full-time coach and has helped clients achieve success at every level up to international 4* eventing and including GB Junior, YR and Pony team trials and National Championships, BE Regional Youth Championships and Badminton Grassroots Championships.
Katie is a BECC Level 4 Eventing Coach, and in 2021 graduated as an MSc in Professional Sports Coaching with Distinction. In 2018 she was one of only four eventing coaches to be selected for the BEF cross discipline Youth Pathway Coaching Programme, designed for coaches working with talented young riders within performance pathways. Katie has also completed the Centre 10 Gold level Applied Psychology for Equestrian Coaches Programme, is a BHS Senior Coach in Complete Horsemanship (Reg) and is on the national list of Pony Club Recommended Specialist Eventing Coaches. Katie holds private coaching sessions and regular training clinics both at home in Monmouthshire and across the country.
Find Katie on her FaceBook page.
Mia Palles-Clarke can be found on Instagram @miapallesclark. Mia is a level 4 coach and coach educator with British Showjumping and runs her own coaching business Coach Mia Empowering Equestrians, Mia Palles-Clark International Showjumping Coach.
In addition to coaching individual riders, Mia has been the England Home Pony Chef d’Equipe since 2017. Bringing home numerous gold medals and developing the young riders to cope with the stresses and complexities that arise from these competitions and selection processes. She also coaches the British Army showjumping team, developing ability, strategy and team ethos.
You can also find Mia on FaceBook.
Mia has just been selected as part of the British team for the European championships for veterans (as a rider) and we wish her the best of luck!
Embracing uncertainty and a response-ability to the experiences of others (human and non-human). A conversation with Dr Carl Woods.
Carl Woods is a Senior Research Fellow within the Institute for Health and Sport at Victoria University. His research interests reside at the intersection of ecological psychology, social anthropology, and sport science, where he explores concepts of knowing, skill, learning and education. He has an extensive background in both academia and the industry, having held various positions within multiple Australian Universities and the Australian Football League.
In this conversation we explore what is is to learn, become skilful and to have expertise. Particularly the notion of being comfortable with embracing uncertainty, and through dwelling with uncertainty becoming open to the experiences of others (human and non-human).
It's a long and fascinating conversation that touches on many topics including the difference between cues and affordances, why it matters to ensure agency in those we coach and interact with, and what it is to interact though curiosity, care and hope.
This is a fascinating conversation that might need a few sessions to listen to, or a long drive :)
Contacting Carl -
Carl is on Twitter - @CarlWoods25
Here are a few of Carl's recent papers -
Wayfinding: How Ecological Perspectives of Navigating Dynamic Environments Can Enrich Our Understanding of the Learner and the Learning Process in Sport
Sport Practitioners as Sport Ecology Designers: How Ecological Dynamics Has Progressively Changed Perceptions of Skill “Acquisition” in the Sporting Habitat
Joining with the Conversation: Research as a Sustainable Practice in the Sport Sciences.
Journal Club #1 How can 'performance analysis' support our riding and coaching? Researcher Dr Jane Williams discusses the practical implications with showjumper and coach Emma Slater.
Welcome to our first journal club episode where I choose a research paper from a journal that I think would be great to unpick and explore the practical 'so what' with one of the research team and a coach/rider.
The paper I have chosen for this episode is called 'Faults in international showjumping are not random' by David Marlin and Jane Williams (Comparative Exercise Physiology: 16 (3)- Pages: 235 - 241. 2020).
Jane Williams introduces her research, including the why, what, when and how of the study before Emma and I ask some questions and the three (well mostly my two brilliant guests) discuss the implications of the research and findings to everyday riding, coaching, horse and rider welfare, and competition performance.
Emma has competed and trained at the highest level of Showjumping in the UK and around the world. She is a British Showjumping UKCC Level 3 Coach and Excel Talent Coach who supports national development and coaching programmes including the DiSE (diploma in sporting excellence) programme. Emma is also a level 2 and 3 Assessor and the lead coach from British Showjumping Gloucester.
Emma Slater is an experienced and respected showjumping competitor and still competes at an elite level. As a coach she specialises in the performance management of showjumping and eventing riders from grass roots to the International level. “I really enjoy working with people to develop their long-term goals and to help them achieve success”. Emma has excellent technical knowledge and is used to working in high pressured environments, maintaining a calm, confident manner. In her coaching as well as life Emma is empathetic, honest, motivated and a fair person.
Developing potential in horses and riders, it’s all about the partnership, growing confidence through knowledge and seeing them succeed – I love it!
FB: Emma Slater Showjumping Page
Dr Jane Williams
Jane is an Associate Professor and Head of Research at Hartpury University. She is an experienced researcher, with a passion for enhancing equine performance and wellbeing through industry-informed, real-world research that generates change. Jane qualified as a Veterinary Nurse then gained her Masters in Equine Science before completing her doctorate exploring the application of surface electromyography as a tool to assess muscle adaptation during training in racehorses and sport horses.
Jane's main areas of professional interest include scientific evaluation of equestrian performance, training and wellbeing, rider impacts on equitation, reliability assessment across equestrian science and veterinary physiotherapy, and human-animal interaction. Jane co-edited and authored ‘Training for Equestrian Performance’ with Dr David Evans, to showcase how science and research can be applied practically to improve performance for horses and their riders, and has published over 100 research articles as well as regularly presenting at international equine conferences. She is also Honorary President for the International Society of Equitation Science, which promotes the application of objective research and advanced practice, to improve the welfare of horses in their associations with humans. Jane is also a founding member of the Sport horse Welfare Foundation.
Jane’s research outputs can be accessed here.
Developments in gait analysis that help identify pain related asymmetry could support your training and coaching, with Eva Marunova.
In this fascinating conversation Eva shares the main themes and findings from her PhD research. Eva helps to unpack the complexity of equine movement systems and and how gait analysis research is bringing new insights to our understanding of what is healthy or normal gait variability, and what movement strategies may be an indication of pain adaptations.
We discuss how research findings from gait analysis of horses could one day become much easier and cheaper to access and the implications of being able to pick up changes in in movement strategies used by your horses. Finally we explore how findings from research with and without riders can be used to inform coaching and training practice design.
Eva is an equestrian coach, a university lecturer and a researcher. She is a British Horse Society Accredited Professional Coach with diverse teaching experience from grassroots to expert riders. As a coach, her main interest lies in developing a horse-rider relationship based on biomechanics principles and equitation science. Eva is currently completing a PhD programme at The Royal Veterinary College - her research focuses on the quantification and evaluation of movement asymmetries in horses and the associated movement adaptation strategies horses might utilise under different conditions. This is an exciting area of research which is quickly gaining momentum in the veterinary circles as well as in the wider equestrian community.
Eva's social media links:
Blog posts mentioned in the podcast: Rider position Exercises to improve your rising trot
Eva's research article (open access): Smartphone-Based Pelvic Movement Asymmetry Measures for Clinical Decision Making in Equine Lameness Assessment