TIPS FROM THE TRAINER ARCHIVE

EMERGENCY STOP   CANTER OR LOPE DEPARTURE   FOOTFALL OF LOPE (CANTER)
  LOPE AND CANTER   PERFECT RIDING WORLD    DRESSAGE   LUNGING   NERVOUSNESS  SHARING THE ARENA   NOT ALL HORSES ARE EQUAL    FOOT CARE   KEY TO MOVEMENT   BEING SAFE AROUND HORSES   THE KEY TO COLLECTION    CINCHING UP  BATHING HORSES   CORRECT UPPER BODY, SEAT AND LEG POSITION   TRAINING & LESSONS   CHOOSING A RIDING INSTRUCTOR   FEEL & TIMING   HORSES & THEIR SURROUNDINGS,   PURCHASING YOUR FIRST HORSE   EQUESTRIAN COURTESY



An emergency stop is an abrupt stop. For your safety and your horse's safety you should be able to stop your horse as close to instantly as possible. Pulling on the reins aggressively achieves this stop. Pulling on the reins aggressively is only used in the emergency stop.
*it is very important to release the rein pressure as soon as the horse stops .



The rider’s hand, or hands, elevate the shoulder and maintain the head and neck position while the rider’s outside leg places and holds the outside rear leg of the horse in the correct position for the 1st beat of the departure. When this is accomplished, the rider’s seat, assisted by the leg or legs if needed, creates impulsion while at the same time the rider’s hand, or hands, maintain the head and neck position and allow the horse to move forward into the 3 beat gait.


3 beat gait
2 Leads (left or right)

Example: For the LEFT LEAD
For the 1st beat, the horse places weight on his right rear foot. For the 2nd beat, the horse moves his left rear and right front foot forward, simultaneously, placing weight on both feet at the same time. For the 3rd beat, the horse moves his left front foot forward and places weight on it. After this the horse totally suspends himself and the gait starts over from the 1st beat.

---For the right lead = 1st beat is the left rear, 2nd beat is the right rear and left front, 3rd beat is the right front.


The lope and canter are the same gait. Lope, is the Western word for the 3 beat gait. Canter, is the English word for the 3 beat gait

The words LEFT LEAD or RIGHT LEAD are used to describe what feet are LEADING (forward) while in this gait.

For balance the horse should be in the LEFT LEAD when going left and the RIGHT LEAD when going right.

If you are watching a horse ( in this gait) and he is on the CORRECT LEAD, his inside front and inside rear will appear to be leading, or striking the ground in front of the outside legs.


In the PERFECT RIDING WORLD, as soon as we applied the correct aid the horse would immediately, willingly, and softly respond to that aid.

In reality horses have their own way of doing things and sometimes the human way makes no sense to them so we have to teach the front, middle and rear of the horse to respond to our aids. The goal is to have control of each piece so the horse is balanced and collected.

While riding we must not only get the correct response to the part we are working on but also be aware of what the other parts are doing.


Dressage is a French word that is defined as “The art or method of training a horse in obedience and in precision of movement”

The fundamental purpose of dressage is to develop through standardized progressive training methods, a horse's natural athletic ability and willingness to perform, thereby maximizing it potential as a riding horse.

All good trainers and instructors , no matter what discipline, have this in mind.


Lunging can be a valuable tool but if done incorrectly it can have a negative impact on the training of the horse.

While lunging, you should be just as concerned about the alignment of the horse's body parts as you are while riding.
(The most common problem I see is allowing the horse to turn their head to the outside and dropping the inside shoulder.)

Allowing the horse to carry themselves wrong on the lunge line and then asking the horse to carry themselves correctly while riding them can be very confusing and frustrating to the horse.

 


No matter how well trained our horses are, they will become nervous when we ask them to do something that they are not familiar with. Their nervousness and anticipation is more noticeable in speed events. Roping, cutting, jumping, barrel racing, eventing, etc.

As good equestrians we not only have to keep our horses soft and supple but we also have to be patient and calm to teach our horses to be patient and calm.
DON’T MAKE SOMETHING NEW A BAD EXPERIENCE FOR YOUR HORSE, GIVE THEM TIME TO THINK


When sharing the arena, it will be LESS FRUSTRATING and SAFER if EVERYONE follows these guidelines:

RAIL WORK
(When riders are going the same direction)
Slower horses should stay next to the rail, faster horses pass on the inside.

RAIL WORK
(When riders are going the opposite direction)
Riders should approach and pass each other left shoulder to left shoulder.

CIRCLE WORK
(When riding or lunging)
Leave enough space for the rider to use the rail.

Everyone following the same guidelines should make sharing the arena safer and less frustrating, but always ride defensively.



If a horse is WELL TRAINED, the aids are all the same. But the horse may be more sensitive or less sensitive to those aids. (The less sensitive the horse is to the aid the harder the rider has to work) The temperament and breed of the horse have a lot to do with how sensitive these aids can be but the temperament of the rider can also affect the aids.

To have an enjoyable and long lasting relationship with a horse you need to consider these points when purchasing a horse.


The growth of a horse’s foot can be effected by diet, exercise, moisture, dryness, injury, etc. 6 weeks between trims or shoeing is a general rule. If you feel your horses feet are getting to long or are out of balance before the 6 week period, discuss it with your farrier.  By maintaining a level and balanced foot the horse not only has a better chance of performing well but it also lessons the chance of injury.


The KEY to any movement is obtaining the correct body position of the horse, PRIOR to asking for the movement. Before this KEY can be used the RIDER must be taught to use their hands, seat or legs, as aids, to control different parts of the horse.


“Horses are big, powerful, graceful and beautiful animals, but do not let that fool you. Because of their size alone they can be dangerous. Biting and kicking are not the only ways that can cause serious injury. For example, their 150 pound head and neck, accidentally swinging into your head can also cause serious injury. By teaching your horse good ground manners and also teaching yourself how to avoid possible dangerous situations, we can become better horsemen.”


Horses should be ridden from the REAR to the FRONT not vice versa. The
Key to Collection is to teach your horse to be soft and flexible in the front end while asking them to raise their back and engage their rear end.


When cinching up the girth, be sensitive to the horse. The cinch should just be tight enough to get on without it slipping. After a little warm up check your cinch again and retighten if needed.


Horses in a thunderstorm will turn their tails to the wind and rain to avoid the rain blowing in their face. When bathing a horse do not spray their heads. Besides not enjoying it the spray might do damage to their eyes and ears. If you need to wash their heads use a sponge or towel.


While sitting on your horse with a straight upper body, visualize (from the side) a straight line drawn through the middle of your shoulder through the middle of your hip and touching the back of your heel. This position will give a good foundation for both Western and English riders.


Having your horse trained by a professional does not mean the horse will perform correctly for you unless you are as skilled as the professional who you hired to train your horse. Horses are trained with consistent repetitive riding aids. It would be beneficial for you and your horse, if you would take riding lessons so you could continue using the same consistent riding aids.


Riding skill level can be compared to building a House. (If you skimp on the foundation, the house may remain standing during the calm but it will start to falter during the storm.). To have the best chance of being successful, in Western or English, find an instructor that teaches correct, fundamental riding skills before you pick a specific event.


Good riders not only know the correct aids but also have good feel and timing. In any movement you have to know the aids for the movement. You also have to hold the aids long enough to finish the movement but not so long as to disrupt the flow of the movement. Without the feel and timing, the movement becomes mechanical and hesitant.

 


Horses are always aware of their surroundings, and you need to be too!

The following is a true story and is an example of why we must stay aware

As the daughter led her horse down the alley, between stalled horses, her mother noticed a leg strap unhooked on the blanket of the horse being led. As the daughter stopped the horse the mother knew the horse was gentle and would not kick her so she approached the horse to hook the leg strap.

(Here’s the rest of the story)
Even though the stalled horse could not physically get to the horse in the alley he lunged at him bearing his teeth. Out of instinct the horse in the alley kicked at the stalled horse and ended up kicking poor mom! Thankfully she was not hurt seriously.


The biggest mistake people make is buying to young of a horse for their riding ability. Almost every professional horseman will agree that green riders and green horses do not mix well. If you can, have an experienced horseman help in your search. Try to find a well broke, older, seasoned horse that can help you advance your riding skills.


Just because your horse is accustomed to the cracking of the lunge whip, plastic bags waved in his face, yelling, screaming etc., doesn’t mean that every other horse sharing the arena is accustomed to it. If you feel like you have to do these things, have the courtesy to ask other riders if these things bother their horses or better yet wait until you are alone before doing things that may upset other horses.