Watch this page daily for quick handy tips and quotes, some of which are from our loyal members and fans! If you would like to contribute, email your tip to: email@example.comClick on each Tip/Quote Title (in blue) to make comments.
"Every pull and resistance in the horse's neck originates in the back." ~ Stefan Wolff
"A tense horse's lateral suppleness can be improved by very forward canter leg yields." ~ Carl Hester
"Long term goals keep you from being frustrated by short term failures...pause....breathe...sigh..repeat...." ~ Carrie Allen
"Lesson quote of the day (in reference to her horse being crooked) - He feels like two men in a horse suit who aren't speaking to each other! (identity of student being protected :)" ~ Carrie Wehle
The quieter you become with your aids, the more detail you can hear and feel.
"Many riders in the name of impulsion, put too much tension in their horses. Others in the name of lightness, have their horse 'abandoned' (without a sufficient connection). The truth of equitation is in between those two extremes." ~ Nuno Oliveira
When trying to improve the activity and engagement of your horse's hind legs in downward transitions, think of a trot in place and dancing your way to the walk or halt.
When you have a good contact, your horse can feel your thoughts transmitted through the reins.
"One of the goals of dressage is to recreate the natural beauty of the horse’s gaits under the rider, so that the horse moves as beautifully under the weight of the rider as he does at liberty. In order to achieve this, the swinging of the horse’s back has to pass through the seat of the rider undiminished. The back has to be able to rise and fall with the same ease, regardless of the rider’s presence. If the rider merely sits passively, his weight alone can sometimes be enough to diminish the freedom of movement of the horse’s back. In these moments, the rider has to enhance the upswing of the horse’s back with an active contraction of his abdominal muscles, which helps the rider’s pelvis to swing more forward-upward, without tilting forward, however." ~ Thomas Ritter
You have to push YOURSELF to get better, because no one is going to do it for you.
The difference between good riding and bad riding is that good riding is difficult to see.
A rider's hands can only be as good as the arms they belong to.
"The half halt is essential to change the horse’s balance because it creates engagement. Engagement has two parts. First, the horse carries more weight behind by shifting back onto the hind end. Then, because he activates his core muscles, he is able to lift the forehand." ~ Kathy Connelly
"The harder you work, the better you get... if you remember to work harder at getting better." ~ Jimmy Wofford
A rider's rigid elbows will cause the horse's back to become correspondingly rigid.
"You’re not going to get a quicker reaction by digging in your spur. If you’re standing on one foot and someone comes behind you and scares you, you’re not going to put your foot higher in the air. You’re going to put it on the ground." ~ Robert Dover
"We all experience struggles, but your attitude is what makes you a winner, not the trophies or ribbons." ~ Mellisa Davis Warden
"Do I still get butterflies? You bet! Adrenaline is an important part of the deal." ~ William Fox Pitt
Many horses need to be in true self carriage to regularly jump cleanly in the show jumping phase. Meaning that you have to be able to soften the reins in front of each jump without the horse changing their canter.
The worse a person rides, the more likely they are to blame it on the horse when things go wrong.
"The engine has got to be revving, and then you put your pedal to the floor and it will go. Sometimes you have to get the engine screaming." ~ Chris Bartle
It's not a half halt if you don't release all of your aids at the end of it.
"A horse doesn’t get collected through hand and spurs, but through exercises." —Georg Theodorescu
An anxious horse will tend to not hear your aids very well, as his nerves will override them. Your first goal needs to be to get him to relax.
When you feel the adrenaline beginning to boil in your horse while schooling, go back to something easy, or it will likely only get worse.
The horse shows improved self carriage and more expression and cadence in his gaits, not as a result of the rider doing more, but by the horse doing more and the rider less and less.
In no way does holding a horses neck in a position build up correct muscle. The topline muscles that you are looking for are only developed by the horse using his whole body correctly. Which will not be achieved by using the reins, or a gadget like draw reins, to hold the horse's head down.
The most difficult horses are almost always the best ones in the end. Often because they are so darned SMART.
Don't confuse being left behind over a jump with a defensive seat on cross country. They are very different. The rider who is in a defensive position on cross country is a nickel behind the motion, while still not interfering with the horse in any way. The rider who is left behind is catching the horse in the mouth and slamming their backs on landing, both the ultimate punishment for the horse jumping the fence. If you are getting left behind often, it may be time to move down a level and work on your basics.
A major key to success lies in the rider's ability to differentiate between resisting and pulling on the reins.
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