We’ve all had those lessons when you are ‘on top of the clouds’ and everything works! You are travelling together fantastically…then, you go home and try to recreate it.
Hitting the jackpot – want to develop re-callable aids with known responses? Help!
It just doesn’t seem to be the same flow, the timing and feel are ‘off’ and it turns into a hit and miss scenario?
Time to slow down, regroup and work on your communication skills with your horse.
Working on getting your timing right and rewarding the (any) response to your teaching the aid, remember to do your best to use any aid consistently.
This is a bit of ‘Yay’ or ‘Nay’….. and it goes a little bit back and forth, until it becomes ….Yes, Yes, Yes Awesome!
You are both on the same page in time and sequence.
Try to avoid random reactions and escalations, out of control reactions from you, frustrated- where your aids becoming louder rather than clearer.
Have a mutual ‘Time Out’.
The cue needs to be clearly communicated with your horse and the response well-rehearsed, so you can use the aid for a specific response in any location under any circumstances, it is a trained, understandable, clear communication with your horse.
Your job is to teach cues in an understandable and clear manner
Be creative as well as consistent.
Reward the correct response the first time in the right direction.
So you slow down to speed things up…
Slow movement can help your ability to pay attention to exactly what you are doing too, when you are doing it… Reward your horse often, give it time to sink in and soak it up.
So a lot of my lessons I start in the walk.
When/IF you don’t know what you are doing in the walk, you have no hope in hell to maintain it in the canter!
It then it becomes an intense roller coaster ride, with tension and bracing- often leading to reactions and escalations.
But once you have mastered it in the walk and your timing is spot on, your horse is tuned in to your aids and the responses are well rehearsed- the canter is a walk in the park.
Most of the time with a huge grin on your face, as you are relaxed and feel safe.
Start developing a feeling for hind leg placement, pushing and carrying power, as well as the movement patterns.
Allowing your horse to stand still on a long rein and both of you having a slouch in the middle of a lesson is nice and relaxing – and for a lot of very busy horses, very challenging, as they often have the feeling they need to do something, anything. …. Some riders are the same- doing nothing, just being able to “chill” is very challenging!
Think and feel, place the horse in a position where it can walk/ trot/ canter on easily.
Shift the weight in the standstill into the right position, make your horse think about all four of it’s legs.
Some horses have a good idea where their legs are, others… mmm not so much! Seriously, some horses are quite disconnected from their legs and have no clue, they have to learn the feel and what a healthy, even, well maintainable balance actually IS.
And here is why I teach lateral movements early on, so you get a feeling for shoulder and hindquarter placements.
As well as opening the shoulder, feel for the hind-legs,engagement of the back and feeling for lifted withers.
I teach this in a walk, as this gives you time to process and think about it.
Focus on which part of the horse’s body you would like to shift, lift, turn or engage.
It gives you a good feeling for timing and coordination from leg, hand and seat.
These are by no means only competition ready movements!
These movements are there to learn, feel, timing and coordination, rotation of ribs, alternation of the hind legs, opening and closing shoulders.
Smaller and bigger circles, staying in alignment,building suppleness and strength.
Lifting the back and the withers and engaging the core.
The flare and ‘flamboyance’ is added when the horse is ready and strong enough ….and the rider has the balance and poise to carry it through in a sequence of patterns.
If you want to know more about how I can help you, send me a PM or call me on 0408 882 730, and let’s find out what your goals are!