The hot or anxious type of horse can be very challenging to ride and train! But if well managed and patiently handled, they can be the very best competitors! These are often the horses that have the heart to give you 110% once you have formed a good bond with them. And although the training process with this type of horse can be frustratingly slow, it is often especially rewarding once you get there!
Hot or nervous horses aren't for everyone. Some riders just do not have the patience required. And unfortunately many of the riders who DO have the patience for this type of horse, are still not getting the best results with them, because of the specific methods they are using.This exercise will help! And it is so simple, that you will wonder why you haven't been regularly using this little trick! (Click on Article Title above to read full article)
When people speak of weight aids, they are referring to something that your seat does, but don’t think of your "seat" as just those two little protuberances on the bottom of your pelvis. I prefer to think of my seat as beginning somewhere in the back of my neck (my withers) and going nearly to my knees. (Click on Blog Title above to read full entry)
On selecting a horse for Dressage: "It’s always with each horse the first view: it’s elasticity, the basic movement, the trot, the canter, the walk, then you have to think how it could look after a while, after the gymnastic – how can I build up the muscles?" ~ Isabell Werth
For a good rein connection, the wrist should be part of the straight line that extends down the rider's arm. So the knuckles should point towards the bit as well as the rider's arm. Only if it follows that line exactly will the connection be perfect.
"I have struggled with my right leg/side since I broke my ankle. My trainer had me working on my hip position and my leg got better. It's not always where you think you have the issue that fixes it." ~ Mikki Schattilly
If a horse doesn't want to stretch down at the end of a workout when the rider offers, that almost always means that the horse was not working properly through its body, and the rein connection wasn't true.
Unequivocal, irrevocable trust is hard to earn and easy to lose. Once lost, it’s even harder to gain back. Having said that, we need to stop and define exactly what we’re looking for from our horses. I am the first to admit that, while I believe I relate well to the horses I work with, none of them are about to jump off the Steel Pier at Atlantic City with me nor am I about to go galloping (or even walking down the road) with them with no bridle or halter and lead rope for control. A few people can do that with their horses and more power to them, but that’s not particularly my interest, and I’m happily frying other fish.
First of all, recognize that horses are individuals with a great range of temperaments. What one horse will trustingly permit, another may think is the craziest, most threatening thing he’s ever seen. Before you can realistically expect your horse to believe in you, you have to make an accurate assessment of how he’s reacting or relating to the task or the situation you’ve put him in. Figure out how to think as he does. (Click on Blog Title above to read full entry)
If you are nervous right before you enter the show ring, take a moment to talk to and pet your horse. And make it genuine, no matter how your warm up went! It will relax both of you, and help you to focus.
What does it mean for a rider to be truly balanced independently of their horse?? That the rider does not need to grip the reins with their hands, or the horse with their legs, to stay on when riding at all gaits and speeds, and through changes of gait and speed.
Don't let the fear of an overreaction make you not reinforce an aid. I would much rather have the horse overreact to an aid than ignore it. Just stay calm if your horse overreacts, and if you have been clear and timely on your correction, the horse will likely respond to the lighter aid next time.
I have always been fascinated and excited when I discover similarities or commonalities in different systems. Whether that is a repeated pattern in different people, or a commonality across species, or an identifiable dynamic in different systems. My eyes light up when I notice these connections. Perhaps this is because, by my very nature as a human, I am desperate to notice patterns and predict what is going to happen in order to survive in this world. However, I like to think it is more a result of my curiosity and my interest in helping people. You see, it is my experience that the awareness and understanding of patterns and similarities that exist across species and relational systems are often the key in helping people progress toward their goals. (Click on Blog Title above to read full entry)
When asking for a canter lengthening, medium canter, or extended canter (especially on a hot horse or one that is prone to tension), it can be helpful to initiate the upward transition with a bigger "scoop" of your seat rather than your leg, so that the horse understands that you want a bigger stride, rather than simply more speed. Too much leg at the beginning of the lengthening can cause a horse to get tense, and can cause the horse to quicken rather than lengthen.
If you are looking to improve your posture when in the saddle, it can be a good idea to make yourself think about also improving your posture in all other situations besides riding. Create a habit of good posture.
"What we want to start creating in the horse is an engine that is always running, where we don’t shift gears until we want to. It’s like revving your RPMs and waiting a moment before you shift up into that higher gear. But if you don’t have that energy in the lower gear, you might stall when you go to send them forward." ~ Laura Graves
Self carriage of the horse is one of the most important goals in dressage. When the horse is in self carriage it is balanced independently of its rider, not using the rider's hand or leg for support in any way. How do you KNOW if your horse is in self carriage?? You should betestinghim often throughout your work! (Read all about the traditional test for self carriage here.)
In this article, you will find an exercise to make sure that your horse is in lateral self carriage, which is a very important (yet rarely discussed) aspect of self carriage. This exercise is suitable for horses and riders at all levels. But lower level riders need it the most, as they are often unknowingly struggling with this very issue! Read on to learn all about it! (Click on Article Title above to read full article)
"I do not ask the rider to alter the horse’s step in front of the pole because I want to awaken the horse’s initiative. Whether he takes a slightly long step or adds a step before the pole, I am equally satisfied. If he steps on the pole, the chances are good that he will learn from the experience and not do it again. If he continues to step on the poles on the ground, I suggest that the rider find another prospect, as this one is probably too dumb to improve over obstacles." ~ Jimmy Wofford
Even the stiffest horse can reach around and bite at a fly on its rump. The neck is already one of the most supple areas of the horse's body, and does not need any further suppling. Horses are also naturally supple in the poll and jaw.
What we perceive as stiffness in these areas is simply tension and resistance to our aids. We must encourage the horse to relax in those areas, but should not attempt to "work" those areas to force suppleness. The horse primarily needs to become supple in the mid section of the body, between the withers and the croup. So that is the area you should focus on in your suppling work.
Always keep in mind which fences are "towards home" and which are "away from home" when walking your courses. Especially in regards to the in gate in the show jumping arena. But even on cross country the difference can be felt in some horses, especially when they have to leave their buddies behind in the warm up area! Many horses need a much more positive, encouraging ride when being asked to jump strange fences going away from home, the in gate, or their friends. This may sound pretty obvious, but I think many riders forget about it until they run into trouble!