To encourage your horse move fully through his body, as well as giving him the confidence to truly think forward, you must make sure your hips and lower back are 100% moving with his motion. The bigger your horse moves, themoreyou must move your hips.
Don't make the mistake of "skipping" rising trot just because your horse is comfortable with you sitting the trot. Rising trot can be a great way to encourage more back movement and swing within the trot, for horses at any level.
Gridwork and gymnastic lines are meant to teach the horse to better solve problems when jumping. They develop the horse's "eye" for jumping, as well as his mental focusing skills, timing, and judgement. And of course to be more clever with his footwork. Make sure you leave your horse alone through the gymnastic lines as much as possible, to let him learn from the specific exercises you have set up. Your job is to get into the grid correctly - straight and balanced, with the right amount of impulsion for the specific question. And then leave him alone to let him do his job!
Feel your horse's rhythm with your whole body when riding. Whether you are doing Dressage, jumping, galloping cross country, or just enjoying a relaxing trail ride, the more you can be in sync with your horse's rhythm, the more harmony you will find.
Let your aids breathe. By that I mean two things. While giving any aid, keep breathing. And for the aid itself, make sure you are able to keep it supple so that it can go with the horse's motion while being applied. Aids of any kind always work best when given within the rhythm of the horse's stride as well.
A guy came down my center line some years ago all decked out in his top hat on a Friesian exuding cadence and displaying a high, arched Second Level frame. He then proceeded to ride a very elegant Intro test which garnered something like 80%.
My obvious question after his final salute was, "So what are you doing in this class anyway?"
He replied, "Well his canter isn’t quite perfect yet."
"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 & magnificent, proud & remarkable for having been ridden." ~ Xenophon
From Facebook fan Jennifer Stankiewicz ~ "To move the back end faster, move your hips faster. To do changes in dressage, you need to move your hips faster than the change, not with the changes or they get too slow and you end up behind the horse instead of with the horse (for 3's and 4's and tempis)"
If you live in the Pacific Northwest or maybe London, you might as well stop reading right here. My suggestion will not translate to your world. If you live in a land where the sun shines at least occasionally, however, take advantage of it in the following manner... (Click on Blog Title above to read full entry)
I love to look for an area in a field where I can do a big circle on the side of a hill, where on that circle the horse has to go down into a little dip in the ground and back up again. This can really help the horse to let go in their backs. The canter in particular usually feels loose and free when they come out of it.
"The warm-up should lead each horse to a physical, emotional, and psychological state of balance and relaxation. The phlegmatic horse has to become alert and responsive to the rider. The timid, nervous horse has to become calm and confident in his rider as well as himself. The hot, overly reactive horse has to become relaxed and more tolerant. The distracted, spooky horse has to become attentive and focused on the work." ~ Thomas Ritter
"It is important that you do a variety of things when you are training an eventer, that means you never do two training sessions the same in a row. Maybe you will do two dressage sessions in a row, but then you might start the session by working your horse over cavaletti. Once or twice a week you jump – either you do gymnastics or cavaletti work or you do some jumping exercises from the cross-country course, like training over narrow jumps in the arena. Make sure you work always on getting your horse supple and loose." ~ Ingrid Klimke
Your rein connection is a line of communication that connects your brain to your horse's brain. When done correctly, your horse should feel every nuance of your seat through the reins as well as his back.
Excessive bend in the neck, whether lateral (most often to the inside), or longitudinal (behind the vertical) disconnects the haunches from the rein aids and allows the horse to remain locked up in other parts of the body, such as the poll and hips.
This cross country complex asks a question that riders will commonly see in some form on course from Training to Advanced levels. The question is, can you jump this big wide spread fence, and still have enough control to jump the accuracy question that makes the next element?
In this case, the next element is a nice, inviting, and only somewhat skinny log. Sometimes that B element is a corner jump, an angled line, or a super skinny chevron. Course designers like to ask this question quite often at the upper levels. So if you are moving up the levels, this is something that you want to be good at!
Who can tell us how we can train at home for complexes like this?
What speed would you use to approach this particular complex? What part of the A element would you jump? At what point should you be looking at the B element?
There is a very common pitfall that many riders fall into when being asked the question of jumping a big, wide fence followed by a turn to an accuracy question. One that can easily cause a refusal or a weak jump at the A element. Can anyone tell us what it is?? (Click on Discussion Title above to read or join in on this educational discussion)
Soften the reins too much at the beginning of a lengthening, and you may find that you lose your stored energy. Which will likely cause your horse to quicken his stride rather than giving you a true lengthening.
Dressage is natural for horses, but that does not mean it is always easy for them. Since we cannot explain to them why we are asking them to do things that require increased effort, and go against their natural instincts to try to do things in the easiest way possible - we must handle any inevitable resistances that might show up with patience in a quietly persistent manner.
This simple exercise is suitable for all levels of horse and rider. It is particularly useful for young or green horses that need to be more educated about the rider's outside turning aids. But it is also a great reminder for horses at any level who do not respond to the outside aids as well as their rider would like them to! Read on to learn all about it! (Click on Article Title above to read full article)
Gustav Steinbrecht on the French school of Baucher ~ "The greatest example of such quackery is Mr Baucher, who with the audacity of his claims and the enormity of his promises, has brought the entire equestrian world into uproar and confusion. His method consists in gradually and cunningly robbing the horse of its natural power, which Mr Baucher considers to be the enemy, and to thus make it subservient. He renders his horses so wilted and limp by unnatural bending and twisting in place and so thoroughly robs their natural forward action, that the poor creatures lose all support and are no longer good for any practical purpose."
The more spirit a horse has, the more difficult he may be to train. But once you have developed a good partnership with the horse, this same spirit will make him a tremendous competitor who will fight for you when things get difficult.
It is wise to remain at least slightly seated on the takeoff of an open ditch jump, and to look for the feeling that your horse jumps out in front of you. If you are too far forward, and/or are ahead of your horse's motion as he begins to take off, he can easily lose heart and jump weakly (and therefore losing confidence). Or he can even change his mind completely and stop, in which case you would then likely become a victim of the laws of physics. ;)