"There is one principle that should never be abandoned when training a horse, namely, that the rider must learn to control himself before he can control his horse. This is the basic, most important principle to be preserved in equitation." ~ Alois Podhajsky
"Flexibility and self-carriage are the source of the horse's agility. Good turns, which develop its agility, are obtained only by making the horse flexible, putting it into balance, and thus giving it self-carriage. This involves not merely the lateral flexion of the entire spinal column but more so the flexibility of the hind legs. Only the latter enables the horse to perform quick and reliable turns under the rider, since the forehand is able to turn and change direction easily without danger for the health of its limbs only from the always secure support of the hindquarters." ~ Gustav Steinbrecht
"A major consideration concerning the horse’s posture in all lateral movements is the bend in the rib cage behind the withers. For achieving this bend is the foundation for the suppleness of the entire horse. One will never achieve this bend if one rides the lateral movements on four tracks too early, or if one tries to force these movements with crude aids, and if one forgets to reposition one’s legs in the transitions from one lateral movement to another." ~ Borries von Oeynhausen
"The volte is one of the most important movements you can ride. It is teaching the horse to bend in his ribcage, within his body, and then to maintain a rhythm – in the future this movement will become a half pass. We are working on control over the balance of the horse so that it is learning to maintain a rhythm." ~ Ernst Hoyos
"I try and have the feeling when I sit on a horse that I sit in the saddle, and my legs aren’t gripping around the horse — they just hang. At the sitting trot everyone wants to stop themselves from bouncing. What you have to do is let yourself go with the flow of the horse." ~ Charlotte Dujardin
"I try to ask the hind leg behind me, then transport with my own body, with my head, and with my position, this power into my hands and into the mouth. Then I have a light connection from behind to the mouth, and I think that’s the point, not going back with the reins, but riding from the hind legs into the mouth." ~ Dorothee Schneider
Always use both reins together to steer, especially when jumping. Using one rein only turns the horse's nose. Using both reins turn the horse at the shoulders, which means his body will more accurately follow your chosen line.
"Given all that we ask of [our horses], the least we can do as riders is look after them well and make sure they're as happy as possible. Mine spend a lot of time out in the fields at home. I try to vary their work and not dominate them, to keep them enthusiastic and thinking for themselves." ~ Mary King
If your horse is heavy on one rein, and empty in the other - fight your instincts to take back on the heavier rein. It won't help. Instead focus on engaging the hind leg on the heavier side to put the horse more up into the opposite rein.
"A good horseman must be a good psychologist. Horses are young, childish individuals. When you train them, they respond to the environment you create. You are the parent, manager and educator. You can be tender or brutal. But the goal is to develop the horse's confidence in you to the point he'd think he could clear a building if you headed him for it." ~ Bill Steinkraus
"A major consideration concerning the horse's posture in all lateral movements is the bend in the rib cage behind the withers. For achieving this bend is the foundation for the suppleness of the entire horse. One will never achieve this bend if one rides the lateral movements on four tracks too early, or if one tries to force these movements with crude aids, and if one forgets to reposition one's legs in the transitions from one lateral movement to another." ~ Borries von Oeynhausen
Just as the tail shows the state of the horse's back under saddle, the mouth shows the state of the horse's jaw. Don't stifle that feedback by clamping your horse's mouth tightly shut. Your noseband (and flash, if you use one) should always have at least room for one finger underneath to allow for swallowing and relaxation of the jaw.
"The basic techniques, or what they call the basics, are more difficult than what comes later, this is the Trap of Dressage. Correct basics are more difficult than the piaffe and passage." ~ Conrad Schumacher
"The relaxation of the mouth alone is not enough. It can be deceptive, because it does not necessarily lead to lightness. It has to be accompanied by the relaxation of the entire horse. When he relaxes the back, it will definitely have repercussions in the mouth." ~ Nuno Oliveira
"The most repeated mistake is the riders' weight taking off before the horse and often with catastrophic results - The rider that learns to look after the Engine, Line and Balance of his horse on the Approach and allows his horse to make the decisions about where he takes off, repeatedly puts in a smooth and confident performance." ~ Lucinda Green
"The better the movement of the horse, the better rider you have to be. If you think all you have to do is buy a horse in Europe with wonderful movement, and you won’t have to learn to ride it, you are wrong. Big gaits are more difficult to ride." ~ Christoph Hess
"The purpose of dressage is to enhance our ability to control our horses; hopefully, after a long period of consistent training, our horses will calmly and generously place their forces at our disposal." ~ Jimmy Wofford
"Through the energy of impulsion mobilized from within himself, the horse is now prepared, in his physique and emotional attentiveness, to respond instantly to the slightest indications to change his tempo, posture, direction or gait." ~ Waldemar Seunig
"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
A horse's energy flowing through a turn is similar to water flowing through a turn in a pipe or tunnel. Just as the outside wall of the tunnel is paramount to cause the water to move through the turn, a good connection on the outside rein is crucial to a successful turn when riding.
Great advice for professional instructors: "You will teach and sometimes you will hate it. You will be tired, you will be disappointed, and you will be hot, cold, bored, and sometimes scared out of your wits by horses and riders experiencing "learning opportunities." New parents to the sport will question every move you make, and loyal clients on Saturday afternoon will leave your barn on Sunday night, and they will leave with their bill unpaid. Of course you will be greatly rewarded with more positive and immensely gratifying moments than you can ever imagine, and your life will be spent enjoying the fact that you do make a difference and you are around horses. Please stick with it. It is a noble and valuable profession." ~ Brian Sabo
"Infinite repetitions of one and the same problematic movement are usually a sign of insecurity in the rider and serve no purpose other than self-satisfaction. The horse doesn't gain anything from it. It leads to an overwrought horse and causes muscle fatigue and nervousness. Here, a trainer must intervene and go back to easier exercises rider and horse have already mastered." ~ Klaus Balkenhol