Ride your horse like you just know he is going to do everything right. He will feel your positive vibes.
"Beware of the modern day notion that a person can 'invent' a new horse training method. There are no quick and easy ways. Truth is that the training of a horse is a study, a craft, an art. Training takes patience and the knowledge develops over many years. Many of the principals by the horse-masters are principals that are not ready to be understood until they have been experienced. The experience takes many years to acquire and many different horses to acquire it from. The principals can be built upon and expanded and explained with different nuances of the language, but it cannot be reinvented." ~ Xenophon
It is SO easy to let bad habits creep into your riding. This is why you must have eyes on the ground - no matter what level you ride at!
Be wary of trainers who encourage you to do things to artificially "lift" the horse in front. True elevation comes only from lowering the quarters.
With horses that like to curl their neck and become over bent, the rider needs to be careful not to get their reins too short. This will cause the horse to stay too short in the neck. Think of having longer arms that are always reaching towards the horse’s mouth.
"You can learn to take the best from different trainers, but first you have to have a 'skeleton,' a theoretical framework to hang it all on, and that takes time and some consistency of training, I think. Once you have a system you can add to it/alter it, but with no system it's just a jumble of random techniques." ~ Andrea Monsarrat Waldo
"I never really work a horse for longer than four or five minutes [at a time.] I want to take a quick break, and then we go again. Any of you who’ve worked out know how much a break of 30 seconds can help. It gets some oxygen back into the muscles." ~ Steffen Peters
A double bridle is meant for refinement of the aids, it is NOT meant to be a tool to hold your horse together when you can't do it in a snaffle.
"Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves." ~ Unknown
Train amongst distractions if you want to be able to perform with them.
We all know that horses can't learn when they are scared... but horses don't learn very much when they are bored either. They have to be mentally engaged to learn. So to make sure your horse can learn, you have to find the right balance between keeping calm and relaxed yet alert and interested.
Whenever you are facing any type of jump with a ditch in front of it, think of it as a "free" front rail. Watch the back rail, and ride forward!
"The blood runs hot in the Thoroughbred and the courage runs deep.In the best of them, pride is limitless. This is their heritage and they carry it like a banner. What they have, they use." ~ C.W. Anderson
Just putting in the time does not guarantee success. You have to be practicing correctly to actually improve. Make sure you have eyes on the ground often enough to ensure that you are on the right track, and are not ingraining bad habits in you or your horse. Eyes on the ground can be in the form of lessons, an experienced & educated friend that is watching you, or having someone video you, so you can send it in to My Virtual Eventing Coach!
We want a flexible, supple, and adjustable horse. And how do you achieve that? Transitions, transitions, transitions!
"Have you reminded yourself lately that horses are wonderful? No matter how haphazard or awkward our efforts, horses seem to figure out what we want them to do and happily do it." ~ Jimmy Wofford
"The nature of the sport across the hunters, jumpers, eventers and equitation today is precision. If you don’t practice precision, you’re out." ~ George Morris
"When I finally quit all the fidgeting with my hands and concentrate on my core & legs .... Magic Happens." ~ Joan Dunlap
I hate to hear instructors who just yell, "Push, push, push!" to the riders on lazy horses who need more energy in their gait. To me, this shows a huge lack of experience on the trainer’s part - as this is NOT a productive way to produce forward in a horse, and only makes them more and more dead to the rider’s aids.
Don't assume that just because a Dressage trainer has ridden through the upper levels, that they are riding and teaching correctly. There is a lot of incorrect, "front to back" riding going on out there, even at the top levels. Look for an instructor who rides and teaches in a true "back to front" manner - with quiet hands that receive the energy, instead of being used in a "busy" way to keep the horse's head down and nose in.
"Horses have taught us that progress in learning takes place in an environment of contentment. Fear and tension block success. Boundaries must exist, be clear, and be consistent. Within those boundaries our horses are encouraged to express themselves." ~ Steuart Pittman
Forward and speed are two different things. And balanced speed is not inherently dangerous. But if there is a fundamental problem, speed will make it more apparent.
"If one induces the horse to assume that carriage which it would adopt of its own accord when displaying its beauty, then, one directs the horse to appear joyous and magnificent, proud and remarkable for having been ridden." ~ Xenophon
Grimm's second lesson is one that I will be learning for the rest of my life -- and it was such a hard lesson at the beginning that he needed back-up. That's where Heather came in. With Heather acting as a sort of Rosetta Stone to bridge the gap between us, I learned that, first, I will never be done learning to listen. Second, Grimm has taught me so much more than just how to be a good partner for him; he's taught me to really, truly strive to understand. Every horse I've worked with since meeting Grimm has given me something new to listen to and try to figure out, something about what they need, what they fear, where it hurts, how they think, what they want me to tell their rider. (Click on Blog Title above to read full entry)
Since most horses are more narrow in their shoulders than in their hips, you need to be thinking about a slight shoulder fore positioning whenever along the rail or wall. If you allow their left shoulder and their left hip to be the same distance away from the wall on your left, for example, the horse would be traveling with his right hind leg further towards the center of the ring than his right front.
"You cant do anything else until you can get your horse straight and forward." ~ Wendy Evans Harrison
"It’s normal to lose momentum when pursuing goals. Sometimes this happens because we’re not truly committed to our goals. Other times, it’s because we struggle to hold ourselves accountable for doing the necessary work… but it’s time to re-focus, re-energize, and re-align with your goals and dreams so you can achieve greater success and finish off the year strong!" ~ Jack Canfield
Focus on the horse's hind legs in upward transitions. Look for the feeling that your horse begins to step into the new gait with the hind feet first.
If you want your horse to stay awake, alert, on the aids, and thinking forward in the halt, you have to train him to think that way. And if you have not yet achieved this, don't be surprised if you lose some of these qualities, and the quality of your connection, after every halt.
Think of your leg, seat, and rein aids as communication with your horse. You don't physically push or pull him anywhere, you give him subtle signals. And if he doesn't initially respond to your subtle signals, you need to teach him to - EVERY horse can learn to respond to light cues, if taught properly.
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