From Facebook fan Karen Wolstenholme ~ "A previous employer used to scatter about 20 poles randomly in a 20 by 40 arena when we were backing and working young horses. His reasoning was that they were too busy looking where they put their feet to think about trying to throw us off! Seemed to work too.......they only ever bucked when we rode them outside!"
"When a young horse is only ridden in one way, he does not develop balanced musculature. In this case, too much is demanded of some muscle groups, which damages the still-growing body. With a versatile basic training plan that includes riding out in the open, work with cavalletti and gymnastic jumping, the demand on muscles, tendons, and joints is more evenly distributed." ~ Ingrid Klimke
"I start by stretching the horse and trying to make him relaxed and supple. It’s a bit like gymnastics with a horse, dressage is. You wouldn’t expect a gymnastics person to just go and start their workout; they do a nice stretch in the warm-up first." ~ Charlotte Dujardin
If you want to develop a nicely shaped crest (the muscling on the top of the neck) on your horse, you have to make sure your horse is truly seeking the connection - reaching into the bit, rather than backing away from it by "giving" to your hand.
"Sometimes you need to just lightly guide the horse, the way you would gently take your grandmother’s hand to help her across the street. At other times, your horse is like a toddler; how firmly would you hold their hand to get them safely across the street? For a horse that likes to get heavy, we want to get to a place where you can drop the reins and they stay on your aids. For a horse that gets too light, and above or behind the bit, we want them to be confidently taking the contact and carrying you forward. The horse has to be as light or as heavy in the contact as YOU want them to be. You get to decide, not them." ~ Robert Dover
"Frame talks about how high or low [the horse] is, how long she is or how short she is. Think about a frame for a picture. A frame can be for a square picture or a rectangular picture. And then think about what kinds of walks and canters and trots there are. There are collected walks and extended walks, collected trots and extended trots." ~ Robert Dover
"The better my dressage transitions are, the better the thoroughness, it means the horse can go from very fast, to very balanced and collected on the hindquarters, energy from behind, through – no argument with the bit – because the transition is through and fine, the horse can focus on the jump." ~ Ingrid Klimke
Horses point their nose at what they wants to see infocus. This is why we want our horses' head and nose UP on the approach to their fences, and why we need to allow them to lower their heads andlookat the takeoff of an open ditch or a drop fence.
Don't wait until the horse is doing something perfectly to reward. You must reward the horse when he begins to go in the right direction of the correct response, however slightly that may be. How else will the horse know that he has the right idea??
Always look for the feeling that there is amediumgait contained within your collected gait. If you don't feel that you could simplyreleaseyour collected trot or canter into a medium gait, then you do not have true collection - You merely have a horse that is going slowly.
Similar to the way the horse is "in front of your leg" when he is responsive to a light forward aid and thinking forward on his own, he also needs to be "in front of" your inside leg to be responsive and bending properly.
Gymnastic jumping is meant to teach the horse to better solve problems over fences. They teach the horse to think about their timing, develop their eye and accurate judgement, and to teach them to be clever with their footwork. To then go out and squelch the horse's initiative at fences by picking each spot for them in training is like throwing all that gymnastic work right out the window.
When jumping fences with a related distance between them, make any needed adjustment early on in the line, and then focus on riding the rhythm and quality of the canter, while patiently waiting for the jump to come to you.
"The freedom of the shoulders in all gaits is always only the result of elevation, and this in turn is the result of the hindquarters carrying the correct weight." Gustav Steinbrecht It is never about trying to "lift" the horse's shoulders! It is about increasing hind end engagement and lowering the quarters. Only then can the front end elevate.
"If the rider encounters a problem, he must first look for the cause in himself. Most of the time, the rider is the cause of the problem. Only someone who looks at his own riding critically and is willing to improve constantly and learn more will be a good rider." ~ Ernst Hoyos
"The motto of instructor and rider must always be forward. Forward in the movement of the horse instructed to his care. Forward in order to achieve his aim in the art of training. Forward whenever difficulties appear." ~ Alois Podhajsky
"Leg yielding is a loosening exercise for the horse – they pull up the leg, fold the joints, push the leg to one side. It is far easier for the horse to leg yield from the centre line to the wall. He wants to go to the wall for help, but never let a young horse go all the way to the wall. The wall is like a magnet, stop him short of the wall." ~ Kyra Kyrklund