If your horse’s shoulders are stuck, it’s like having a kink in a water hose. The energy can’t flow from behind, over the back, into your hands where it can then be recycled back to the hind legs.
Here are two shoulder suppling exercises for you to try with your stiff horse.
1. Make a 20-meter box with 4 corners in the walk.
To give you more control of your horse’s shoulders, do the exercise in counter flexion. (That is, you’ll just barely see his outside eye or nostril.)
If you’re going to the left, ask for right counter flexion with your right wrist. Stay in counter flexion during the entire exercise.
At the first corner, bring both hands to the left to swivel your horse’s shoulders around the corner.
Then, soften the contact without letting the reins get loopy.
After the corner, walk straight ahead in counter-flexion.
At the next corner, bring both hands to the left again.
Do this in all four corners.
As your horse’s shoulders become more supple, it’ll get easier to spin his shoulders around the turn without meeting resistance.
You can tell there’s no resistance when the weight in your hands stays the same as you swivel your horse’s shoulders around the corner.
2. Ride down the long side of the ring, and move your horse’s shoulders slightly to the left and right.
Walk down the long side of arena.
Flex your horse at the poll opposite the direction you’ll be moving his shoulders. For example, when riding to the left, ask for a counter flexion to the right by turning your right wrist. Then, take both hands to left to slide your horse’s shoulders over. Move the shoulders over only 1-2 inches.
Now change to correct flexion by turning your left wrist.
Move both arms to the right to pop the shoulders back out to the track.
Smoothly and fluidly move the shoulders back and forth as you work your way down the long side.
11 May 2010 – The new Annex (XIII) created by the Working Group that produced a revised FEI Stewards Manual on warm-up techniques for Dressage has now been completed, following the production of three diagrams to illustrate permitted positions of the horse’s head and neck during pre- and post-competition training.
One of the key stipulations in the Working Group’s report was that all unacceptable training methods and techniques must be stopped immediately. The Working Group was also insistent that abuse of the horse must be avoided and, in particular, stressing the horse, aggressive riding and inflicting pain and/or discomfort on the horse must be prevented.
12 May 2010 – British-based riders have their first chance to earn points in the valuable HSBC FEI World Cup Eventing series at Chatsworth (GBR) this weekend (May 15-16), and five nations are represented in the entry of 33.
Paul Tapner (AUS), fresh from his thrilling Badminton success, is two-handed with Kilfinnie ll and Tiger Flynne, and is joined by fellow Australians Bill Levett with Sea Oro and Sam Griffiths, having his first major international competition this year with Happy Times, third at Badminton and Burghley last year.
The Chatsworth CIC***-W has often proved a pointer to future international success, and Clayton Fredericks (AUS), who won this class in 2006 on Ben Along Time, is riding his smart new acquisition Bendigo lll, a German-bred horse proven in Grand Prix Dressage and Jumping which has been taking the national season by storm.
Wellington, FL – May 10, 2010 – Based in Coatesville, PA, and Wellington, FL, Todd Flettrich has had a successful dressage career and is well on his way to qualifying for this year’s Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games (WEG). Anne Gribbons, a renowned rider and trainer who has known Flettrich since the start of his career, has watched Flettrich as a young rider, has competed with him and against him, and has judged him in competition for years. Now the United States Dressage Team Chef D’Equipe, Gribbons watched Flettrich and his Grand Prix mount Otto very closely this season and thinks that it looks promising for the talented duo to qualify for the U.S. Team that will compete at the WEG in the fall.
Cherry Knoll Farm purchased Otto, a 13-year-old Danish Warmblood gelding (Rambo X Rampal), in 2009 and he and Flettrich have since formed an excellent partnership and have earned several top placings throughout the country. Gribbons watched Flettrich and Otto ride in educational clinics put on by the United States Equestrian Federation in the fall and has followed every qualifier for the WEG that the pair has shown in. “I must say that Todd is blessed with a confident and experienced horse that is very ambitious and can do all of the movements very well,” Gribbons noted. “We have lovely horses coming along, but some of them at this point are still green and that is not Todd’s horse, his horse is very competent and confident, so that is great.”
Wellington, FL (May 10, 2010) – It was standing room only at Sho Clothes dressage boutique’s recent “Shop Talk,” thanks to an energetic crowd eager to hear six-time Olympic Dressage rider Robert Dover speak. Dover, the new coach for the Canadian Dressage team, has earned more honors than any other US Dressage rider, competing in six consecutive Olympics as well as representing the United States in four World Championships and seven World Cups.
Dover, who served as the Captain for the US Equestrian Team during all six of his Olympic experiences, charmed the audience during “Shop Talk.” The monthly get together for equestrians is presented by Sho Clothes at their Wellington boutique in association with the Gold Coast Dressage Association.
“This was our final ‘Shop Talk’ until the fall and having Robert speak was a great way to end our season. In addition to being one of the best dressage riders of our generation, Robert is a wonderful speaker and it was a treat for everyone,” said Betsy Rebar Sell, who co-owns Sho Clothes with Michele Hundt.
May 7, 2010 – LEXINGTON, KY – The World Games 2010 Foundation is pleased to announce that 60 National Federations have submitted entries in principle for the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games. They are:
6 May 2010 – HSBC FEI World Cup Eventing takes place at opposite ends of the globe this weekend (7-9 May), with the third and fourth events in the 2010 series taking place at Sydney (AUS) and Marbach (GER).
A new reciprocal arrangement between the organisers of last month’s Kihikihi CIC***-W (NZL) and Sydney has meant that Australian and New Zealand riders have received funding to travel across the Tasman Sea to compete in these events.
As a result, two New Zealanders, Clarke Johnstone, currently lying equal fifth in the HSBC FEI World Cup Eventing standings, and Jenna Mahoney, ninth, will be contesting Sydney. Blair Richardson, the third Kiwi entered, already lives in Australia.
Ocala, FL (May 4, 2010) – Four-In-Hand Combined Driver Deb Laderoute, who will represent Canada in the 2010 World Equestrian Games, drove away with Arenus’s EQUILITE Performance & Conditioning Award during the recent Live Oak International Competition in Ocala, Florida. Laderoute and her team were awarded EQUILITE brand products from award sponsor Arenus, makers of animal health products and supplement blends including STEADFAST joint health, ASSURE digestive aid and SORE NO-MORE liniment.
“All of the teams competing at Live Oak were amazing, but our team of judges picked Deb because they thought her team was exceptional,” said Arenus representative Stacey Small, creator of the EQUILITE line of products. “It was a very exciting competition, and awarding Deb with a tote bag filled with our award-winning natural animal health and herbal blend products was just the icing on the cake.”
Wellington, FL – May 3, 2010 – Robert Ross, in conjunction with his office, Keller Williams Realty, hosted a grand gala on the property of his latest listing at 3410 Old Hampton Drive in Wellington. The amazing facility was open to the public for one evening and featured cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, tours of the breathtaking facility and a very special Musical Freestyle performance by the one and only Robert Dover. Over 200 people attended the End of Season Celebration, which was a huge success, raising over $20,000 to benefit the Equestrian Aid Foundation (EAF) as well as injured riders Charlie Weaver and Courtney King-Dye.
Delicious hors d’oeuvres and cocktails were provided at every turn as guests toured the amazing barn and living quarters on this 15,366 sq. ft. property. Volunteers displayed silent auction items to raise money for the Equestrian Aid Foundation, and Robert Dover’s freestyle was the grand finale to an amazing evening to raise money for fellow equestrians.
1 May 2010 – Kai Rüder (GER) and his powerful stallion Le Prince des Bois held an appropriately regal lead at the close of Dressage at the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials (GBR), the second leg of the HSBC FEI Classics.
Rüder, 39 and making his Badminton debut after a 20-year quest, has a 5.8-penalty lead over first day leader Ruth Edge (GBR) on Two Thyme ahead of what is predicted to be an influential Cross Country day due to the forecast heavy rain.
The leading duo finished 10th at Burghley (GBR) last year – when Rüder won the HSBC Training Bursary for the best 4-star debut – and have spent the last month based in England with German team trainer Christopher Bartle (GBR).
Le Prince des Bois, who performs a reliably expressive Dressage test, is by Yarlands Summer Song, the stallion ridden with such panache at Badminton in the 1990s by France’s Marie-Christine Duroy.