Tips and Tricks (What Id Teach Your Horse Book 2)

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The focus has always been on the big slide and the exceptional horse that could do it.

It works on any horse, on any ground and will have no negative effect for any future application. Roll moves are part of a well-trained horse and rider team. The roll back is the most useful and commonly the only roll maneuver taught in all the other systems. Learn how to do the three basic roll moves plus combinations.

Examples of beginner through advanced training procedures, plus flexing and backing techniques. The few bits I use daily to train horses are explained and demonstrated in this thirty minute DVD. Anyone who wants a well-trained, all-around horse needs this basic bit information. Practical Guide to Leads and Lead Selection A progressive explanation of how the horse balances at the gallop and why the rider must be aware of leads. This knowledge makes the horse safer and dramatically improves his agility. Years ago, very little was known about leads until Monte Foreman documented in slow-motion film, the three practical ways a horse and rider can learn to change leads.

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This DVD is the only one that actually teaches how and why lead changes can be selected and controlled in easy, progressive steps. This new DVD explains why the training methods I have developed work so well. Never before have the fundamentals of training been so thoroughly tied to all advanced work. Understanding why will motivate you to learn these critical skills. It is an established fact that you can learn precise physical skills by using your powers of observation and imitation, that is, visualize you are riding the horse. The volumes of slow motion in these DVDs make learning this feel possible.

Plum full of information from start to finish. You will want to watch it time and time again. An old technique with a new twist. Until recently horse training skills have been handed down from generation to generation. I have recorded on DVD much of what I have learned from vast experience and from older generations of horse trainers.


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Fore says to think of an airplane. I would like my horses to be like a well-flown plane, so the rider must learn to be a good pilot. When training transitions in this way, the horse will become more horizontal in his outline. From there he can learn how to bend behind the saddle in the loin and sink through the joints, allowing the hind legs to bear weight and not just cover ground. In the future, this will lead to lightness of the forehand and self-carriage. Engagement will begin, which can develop into collection and a degree of cadence.

Credit: SusanJStickle. Is the horse ridden to the contact? Does he maintain rhythm and regularity in all gaits? Does he show a degree of suppleness appropriate for his level? Does the rider keep a tempo that facilitates balance? Make the arena your friend—corners and circles are not the enemy! Impulsion and connection should always be maintained even when bend is needed for an upcoming corner, circle or lateral movement.

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The letters of the arena, the distance between them and the circle points must be understood by the rider in order to train the horse correctly. Riding accurately will help to teach acceptance of the aids and the contact. Without that we have nothing. So when you practice your test, do more than just ride the movement. Ride the movement and answer all the questions, meet the requirements of that movement as stated in the directives.

Only then can you have the horse really through and even on both reins. From there you must ride the horse boldly forward within his tempo. You see some lower-level riders ride the whole test practically in a long and low frame. Stretching is a really good exercise for developing suppleness in the back, but it should be done in moderation, as it can encourage the horse to travel on the forehand. Eventually the horse must be on the bit and ridden uphill.

I often see lower-level riders try to develop the uphill balance by pulling back. They are more worried about the headset than truly riding the horse through from the hind legs. It is only by strengthening the hind end and developing pushing power that a horse can be connected and uphill. This is why riding properly forward is so incredibly important. One mistake that our judges often see in regard to the quality of the gaits is riders sacrificing the suspension in the canter.

The most important thing is to hear the rhythm of the canter. There is a fourth, silent moment that indicates suspension.

Beginner’s Guide To Horse Training: Part 2

When a horse becomes tense, that moment is lost and the tempo is a hurried one—two—three, one—two—three. Practice lengthening the strides, shortening the strides, doing transitions involving walk, and educate! Let the horse stretch in the walk, then shorten the reins into medium walk and try a few shorter steps toward collection, then back to the medium walk.

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Walk over poles to train the horse to lift his legs. There is nothing wrong with training the walk. Most problems in the walk occur because the rider allows the gait to get too slow and the frame gets short but the strides are not shortened or lengthened. The horse must be just as honest in the contact at the walk as he is in the trot and canter. The important thing is to never lose the forward desire when working in any gait. This is the first thing that the judges see, and it will make an impression.

Credit: Arnd Bronkhorst - arnd. Our judges unanimously agree that corners are an underutilized part of every dressage test. Otherwise, you will not understand why—although your changes were brilliant and your extension outstanding—you did not win. Gribbons feels that riding corners is a habit that must be made at home. And if you do this in every corner it will become second nature.

As you move up the levels, your success will be determined by how well you use the space and time you are given in the test.

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Gurney brings up the important subject of refining the aids. I think when aids are really loud and disruptive to the horse it does not make for a harmonious picture. It often happens that when riders practice at home they feel confident making corrections, but in the ring they sometimes freeze and feel the need to hold the horse together.

Gurney thinks that this often happens because riders do not insist on their horse being responsive to the aids. It is a vicious cycle in which the rider often ends up sacrificing her position, preventing her from riding effectively. This is what makes dressage different from reining or jumping. A reiner or a jumper must respond instantly. Therefore, he has to keep his feet on the ground.

Training Methods

If a horse knows that he must respond to a turn at any moment, he is not going to give you as much of a suspension period because he needs to be pushing off the ground to respond. He stays low to the ground and takes small, quick steps. You must teach him to respond within the tempo like a ballet dancer who must move in time to the music. The rein-back is a movement that riders have trouble with all the way up through Grand Prix. I think a lot of this confusion comes from how horses are taught. I personally believe that the rein-back is not a natural movement for a horse and that it can be a little frightening for them.

Horses do not feel comfortable going back like that because it sets them up as prey. So if the horse is taught in a forceful way with the rider pulling on the reins, it is likely he will panic and freeze up or run backward. This is why I train the rein-back in a very specific way.

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Movements like the rein-back are the real point-getters. Most horses today can do the exciting movements: the extended trot, half passes and changes. So what separates a great pair from an average pair is being able to do both! One mistake that judges often see in regard to the quality of the gaits is riders sacrificing the suspension in the canter. Gurney says that the most important thing in the canter is to try to keep that jump because a lot of riders, in trying to collect the canter, make the canter flat or, in trying to build power, will often rush the tempo.

A good example of suspension in the canter can be seen in this photo of Marlies van Baalen riding Miciano. Gribbons feels that riders often overlook walk pirouettes. But then I sit and judge the Prix St. Georges and I look at the half pirouettes at the walk, which very often look as if the horse is not quite sure about what the rider wants. A thousand things can go wrong with this half pirouette at the walk: The horse can plant his hind legs, spin around too quickly, come above the bit or become lateral. So now you get a 5 for the half pirouettes at the walk. You do not get paid more for that whole line of changes than for the half pirouette, and the pirouette is not so difficult to get right.

Fore also finds that riders do not understand the difference between turn on the haunches and pirouettes. The circle that the hind legs travel on in the turn on the haunches is up to 2 feet in diameter and is ridden from a medium walk, which is then slightly shortened.