Handy tips & tricks
On a regular basis I will share some handy tips and tricks with you.
Please find some below. Enjoy!
Don't give constant aids to keep your horse in a certain speed. Realise that every aid you give you want a response to it, and not just "maintaining the same". So if you give a leg aid, expect the horse to go faster. If it does, take your legaid away immediately and reward. If it doesn't, give it a second quick tap with your leg until it goes fast forward, take your legaid away and reward then.
Is your horse very sensitive and stressful? Usually these horses obey your body language much better than you think, so try and keep control over your thoughts and muscles and when you want to slow down, think about walking on a long rein, breathe out slow and deep and stay relaxed when you make a half halt.
With a horse like that, if you brace yourself because you think the horse will try to push on, the muscle tension is enough to push the horse through your hands and it becomes a selffulfilling prophecy!
If your horse spooks easily and wants to throw himself to the inside, do not solve it with a circle! Think about it, your horse already wants to come in without you asking and then you will allow him to come in even more on a circle?
Try with tempocontrol to regain control of the situation, go to walk or halt if necessary, put the horse back on the track where you were riding in the first place and wait until it relaxes a bit, then ask for a few strides forward and halt and relax again, until the horse obeys you again.
Does your horse not understand your aid? Then repeat the aid several times at the exact same spot in the exact same way and reward him if he starts to do better. Sometimes it can be helpful to use voice commands as well, the ones you use for lunging e.g.
When you combine this it leads to better communication and understanding.
Make a little plan in your head what you want to train and how you want to train it each day.
If things go better than expected, sometimes it can be really beneficial to stop even after ten minutes, and give the horse a reward by getting of. It will make the horse more clear what you really want and will improve your communication.
Choose wisely who you bring to the showground!
Some people will make you feel relaxed, others will make your nerves even worse than they are! So make sure you think about who you want to bring to competition to do the best preparation possible.
It will influence your results in a positive way.
Do you find it difficult to teach your horse to collect in canter? Then first teach the walk- canter transition. Because the speed to start with from walk is low, the horse will soon realise it can actually canter more collected as well.
If your horse slows down in the turn around the haunches, make a bigger circle and while asking for travers, start to trot. Keep opening and closing the circle like that and make the horse respond to your trot-aid every time.
The horse will no longer come behind the leg in the turn and respond forward when you ask forward, you make it think of trot.
Make a plan!
There are a number of conditions that need to be fulfilled for a fantastic dressagecarreer.
Try to work on each single one of them.
- Rider: ask yourself if you are fit enough, if you have an independent seat and if you are physically and emotionally ready for competitions. If there are points that need work, find solutions and help.
- Horse: confer with your veterinarian, blacksmith and instructor if your horse is fully capable of competing and if there are flaws, work together with them to a solution.
- Equipment: make sure your saddle and bridle fits well and suits the horse.
- Instructor: find an instructor you trust, who can motivate you and someone that is capable to guide you towards the level you desire to reach.
Does your horse not like its head rinsed off? Try not to go slowly upward on the horses head with the hose, but aim the water straight at the forehead just above the eyes in one quick movement. The horse can't see where the water comes from and will not be as inclined to put its head up.
When you buy a horse, think about your own character too! Which horse suits you? Do you have a lot of ambition and will you ride every day, or would you rather be able to take a few days off without a problem?
If you want to ride every day, choose a high energy horse that will thrive on all the work. If you want to take a few days off now and then choose the less energetic horse that will happily go back to work after a short break.
Do you want to make a great start in the new year? Then set SMART goals and pursue your dreams!