Category Archives: Training/Clinics

Motivation from Moshi, by Jane Savoie

Lots of people talk to their horses, but not many actually listen in return. Have you noticed that?

I have a way I talk to my farrier. When the leg I’m standing on gets tired, I asked him to give back the one he’s held up. I tug the foot a little bit against his hands to let him know. He’s smart enough to listen to me, and he gives me my leg so I can put it down and rest. I’m not being belligerent or stubborn. I’m simply talking to him in the only language I have. I’m grateful that he listens.

Has your horse ever tried to tell you something, but you didn’t listen? Has your horse ever told you he or she was tired, or hurt, or scared, but you decided it was defiance or laziness? Do you tend to use force when your horse says no?

Figuring out what your horse is trying to tell you is part intuition, part observation, and part faith. If you’ve struggled with this, try taking a step back and using a different part of your brain than usual. If you normally go by your gut feeling, try looking at the situation through intense and unbiased observation of the physical evidence. If you normally use only your logical mind and five senses, try using your feelings and intuition to assess the situation.

You can expand your skills by acknowledging what you normally do, and then adding something else. You have the time. You have the ability. Why not give it a bit of practice?

Jane reads me pretty well. She usually knows when I don’t feel good and when I’m just being lazy. She doesn’t just assume that I’m being belligerent, and knows that to push me when I’m not feeling my best would be counter-productive.

Give yourself and your horse a break now and then. Remember, all living creatures have good days and bad days. Sometimes we just need a little respect for how we are feeling in the moment. Of course, if your horse really does become belligerent or stubborn for no reason, a little pushing may be just want he needs. The key is learning to recognize the difference.

Love, Moshi

Jane Savoie
1174 Hill St ext.
Berlin, VT 05602
Jane’s Website
DressageMentor.com

Motivation from Moshi, by Jane Savoie

There is a lot of water around here, where we live. Lots of Jane’s friends have boats. One day a couple of people walked by my stall talking about sailing. I heard one of them say to her friend: “Smooth seas do not make skillful sailors…”

I pondered that idea, and realized she was right. If you had a horse who never challenged you, always did whatever you asked, could read your mind, and would perform perfectly every time, how good a rider would you become? Not very good, I would think…

Sometimes the challenges we face are the things that bring out the best in us. It’s our judgement that these challenges are “wrong” that causes us a problem, not the problem itself.

Think about the thing that’s bothering you the most right now. How could you use that situation to learn and to grow? How could you make that a positive event in your life?

Perhaps I’ll challenge Jane a little bit today, just to see what she’ll do. It’s my job to keep her skills sharp!

Love, Moshi

From Indy:

Today, I met a two-legged person who is just my size. I could look right into her eyes and see the joy she felt at my presence. She smiled at me like she really meant it. It made me feel so good inside. I really like her!

Did you know that animals can read your mood, your attitude, and your intention? We KNOW if you’re upset or pretending to be okay when you’re not. We sense the incongruence when you’re smiling but the rest of you wants to cry or is afraid. We’re not easily fooled.

Do you have permission to feel your feelings? Did you know that resisting uncomfortable feelings can make them even stronger? Let yourself FEEL what you honestly feel! If you really allow it, really experience it, that icky feeling will shift. Then you can replace it with something that feels good!

My new little friend, Paz, is a very happy girl. She is such a joy to be with! So today I’m going to allow myself to feel joy.

How about you?

Love, Indy

Jane Savoie
1174 Hill St ext.
Berlin, VT 05602
Jane’s Website
DressageMentor.com

Motivation from Moshi, by Jane Savoie

I’m a dreamer. People say I look “dreamy,” but that’s not what I’m talking about. I dream about things. I imagine winning a gold medal in the Olympics. I dream about sugar cubes in my food every morning. I dream about being massaged by Jane after a long ride.

Okay… I realize I’m probably not going to the Olympics, but that doesn’t mean I can’t do the very best I can, right now, where I am. I can decide to do whatever it takes to achieve the goals Jane sets for us. It doesn’t have to be the Olympics. It can be the next small schooling show. It only matters that I do my BEST. I dream about doing my best, and that puts me on the path of doing my best. It all starts in my mind!

What kinds of things are important to you? Do you do your best? Can you see yourself in your mind, achieving the things you dream about? Do you make that little bit of extra effort to be the very best you can be?

Think about it. Then pick one thing in your life that means a lot to you, and decide to give it your best. Visualize your best outcome. Hold that vision, and see what happens. You may be surprised at your success!

Love, Moshi

From Indy:

I found it! I found the ball I left in Florida last year! I had lost it in the deep grass right before we left for Vermont, and now I have it back! I’ve been worrying about it all summer long, wondering if another dog or an alligator found it and ate it. But no… it was right there, where I’d been visualizing myself finding it!

Do you ever worry about things? Do worries about money or a relationship or a health concerns keep you up at night? Did you ever stop and wonder if worrying actually helped?

I’ve discovered that you can only think one thought at a time. Because of this, you can replace worry with another thought.

So, the next time you find yourself worrying about something, create a story in your mind with the BEST possible outcome of the thing you’re worrying about. Or, if that’s too hard, replay a happy event in your life. Consciously distract yourself with something positive, and let the thing you’re worried about take care of itself for the moment. The issue will still be there when you’re ready to take action, so there’s no need to worry about it now.

I’m sorry I wasted so much energy worrying about that ball. But now I’ve learned to enjoy what I have in the moment.

What would you like to think about that would make you happy right now?

Let’s go play catch with my ball! That makes ME happy!

Love, Indy

Jane Savoie
1174 Hill St ext.
Berlin, VT 05602
Jane’s Website
DressageMentor.com

What Do Medium Trot and Canter Feel Like? by Jane Savoie

Here’s what you should feel in a medium trot and canter:

  1. The SAME tempo as collection (although it might “feel” slower than the collected gaits because the strides are longer). Try counting it out loud.
  2. An uphill balance like an airplane taking off.

The success of your medium gait totally depends on how much you collect and engage the hind legs on the short side.

So give connecting aids and keep them on for most of the short side. Then just soften your hands a bit forward when you start the medium.

During the connecting aids, you’re coiling the spring of the hind legs and getting your horse “bubbling over” with compressed energy so he can express that power over the ground in the medium.

To apply connecting aids, close both calves as if asking for a lengthening. Close your outside hand to recycle that power. Vibrate the inside rein to keep the neck straight. The connecting aids can last for a couple of seconds or even for the entire short side.

If your horse goes wide behind in the trot, it shows a lack of engagement. Use a long set of connecting aids and also as an exercise, do the following:

Ride a few steps of shoulder-in. Then do a few strides of medium. Then collect the trot after the medium by stepping back into shoulder-in.

The shoulder-in engages the hind legs. Stepping into shoulder-in BEFORE he gets wide behind teaches him to keep the hind legs stepping under and not start pushing backwards.

Stepping into shoulder-in to collect AFTER the medium insures that you don’t rely too much on your hands, which would stop the hind legs.

Jane Savoie
1174 Hill St ext.
Berlin, VT 05602
Jane’s Website
DressageMentor.com

Motivation from Moshi, by Jane Savoie

We’re all different. You know that already, right? I’m a cold blooded Friesian. My next-stall neighbor is a hot blooded Thoroughbred. We think differently, react to things differently, and like different things. Does that make one of us “wrong” and one of us “right”?

It’s a very basic instinct to be attracted to things that are like you. The old “birds of a feather flock together” idea. But many of us have advanced beyond such basic programming. Advanced beings learn to appreciate things that are different from what we’re used to.

This can be a very powerful thing when applied to working with horses. We get used to a certain way of doing things, of feeding, of training, etc., and don’t even notice that we’ve developed a habit that might benefit from a bit of tweaking. That’s why we read books, watch DVDs, hire a trainer: so we can learn from the collective knowledge of others.

Dressage riders tend to be very traditional. Sometimes new ways of doing things are frowned upon. But applying new technologies and scientific discoveries just might make dressage an even better, kinder sport for us horses. New ideas in hoof care, chiropractic, massage, new saddle fit techniques… All of those things help make us horses more comfortable and better able to perform at our highest ability. Being open to new ideas and new information helps us stay on the cutting edge of our sport.

Are you open to new things? Are you willing to look at a problem or situation from a different angle? Are you willing to ask for help?

My suggestion is: if you have a situation you want to change but don’t know where to start, ask someone for help. No matter what it is, just ASK. Find someone you think might have the answer and let him or her know that you’re searching. Most people are happy to help if you simply take the time to ask.

Love, Moshi

From Indy:

It’s time to go to the pond! Or is it time to sleep? I’m not sure. My life is all about running and sleeping and playing and sleeping and eating and, well… sleeping. Sometimes I forget what time of day it is.

Do you run a lot? I know Jane often says she has running around to do, but that’s a different thing than actually going outside and running. She is very busy with her various projects, writing, and training, among other things.

One of my jobs is to remind her to slow down and enjoy life. She can’t resist my fuzzy face when I ask for a pat or a scratch, and she almost always stops and gives me attention when I ask. I can feel her heart slow down when she is petting me. I’m her personal tranquilizer.

Are you really busy? Are you enjoying life? Take a moment to pet your dog or your horse, and enjoy their company. Really be present for them. It will be good for both of you.

Or, let’s go to the pond! I want to swim! See you there!

Love, Indy

Jane Savoie
1174 Hill St ext.
Berlin, VT 05602
Jane’s Website
DressageMentor.com

Motivation from Moshi, by Jane Savoie

Did you hear the one about the fellow who stopped by his neighbor’s place to see the new Shetland pony? He went into the barn and found the cute little fellow in a stall. He was petting the pony when his friend came in and asked, “How are you today?” He responded, “I’m feelin’ a little hoarse.”

HAHAHAHA!

But, seriously… Humor can be one of the most powerful tools you have to deal with the ups and downs of life. All it takes is a willingness to look at the situation through a different lens. You can choose to release the tension of a bad or uncomfortable situation through laughter or through anger. The release of energy is similar, but one feels good and the other feels bad. Just know that the goal, releasing energy, is the same for both. YOU CHOOSE which way to do it!

For those of you who are not used to using humor to release pent up energy, it’ll take some practice. If you normally lose your temper or get irritated when something you don’t like happens, then it’s time to retrain your brain. The next time something happens that makes you mad, stop for a second and look for the humor in the situation. Allow yourself to giggle. You’ll be amazed at the shift in your body and your mind. It will also put the people around you at ease. Like Jonatan Mortenssen says, “Feelings are much like waves. We can’t stop them from coming, but we can choose which one to surf. ”

Jane dropped a whole bucket of my favorite horse treats the other day. They bounced around like little mice, rolling all over the floor, making a huge mess. Indy was so excited that he ran from one little chunk to another, trying to catch them as they rolled. Jane felt a twinge of angry frustration at the mishap. But she didn’t take her frustration out on Indy, She reminded herself that it’s not what happens, it’s how you react to it that determines the quality of your life. She noticed how funny Indy looked running from treat to treat, and she started to laugh. She quickly decided she was not going to waste even a second being upset. It wouldn’t hurt Indy to eat them, and the mess could easily be cleaned up. Getting upset was not going to help.

“I bet I can get more than you!” she shouted to Indy, as they turned it into a fun game. They raced around trying to beat each other to each treat. Jane was laughing with joy and Indy was bouncing with giddy excitement. It made me smile inside too.

Indy won the game, and Jane won a smile. We all won!

Love, Moshi

From Indy:

Life is risky. Just ask any rabbit. If I see one peeking out of the grass, I chase it. I’ve never actually caught one, but if I did, well, I suppose the wolf in me would know what to do.

Riding a horse can be risky. So is driving down the street. Heck, just about everything you do has some element of risk. Falling in love, taking the new job, trying out that new hairdo… Risky.

Children and dogs rarely analyze a situation for risk. We just jump in and do. We live life in the moment, with our emotions and enthusiasm unchecked. It’s much easier for dogs to maintain that lighthearted and honest reaction to life because we naturally live in the moment. Children have such incredible memories that their minds get trained to expect what they’ve experienced before. Sometimes the memory of past things that didn’t go as planned hold you back.

Are you living your life through your past? Are you waiting to be sure everything is perfect? Are you waiting for just the right moment to take that big leap?

What if that moment never comes? Are you okay with never trying?

People who try and fail are miles ahead of people who never try. Unfortunate are those who are always waiting for the time to be right and never set out to follow their dreams. Take a risk. There is no time like RIGHT NOW! Your dreams are waiting for you to start! But, YOU have to START!

I’m going rabbit hunting today. Would you like to go? We don’t have to catch one to have fun. Let’s just DO IT!

Love, Indy

Jane Savoie
1174 Hill St ext.
Berlin, VT 05602
Jane’s Website
DressageMentor.com

Motivation from Moshi, by Jane Savoie

Balance.

It’s the nature of all living beings to always work toward balance. Finding balance is much like driving a truck. I can feel Jane turning and adjusting the steering wheel of the truck all the time from my stall in the trailer. She doesn’t just point in the direction she wants to go and then become passive. She constantly makes tiny corrections to keep the truck and trailer going straight when the road is straight, turning when the road requires that she turns, but always heading in the general direction of our destination until we actually get there.

Finding balance in your life is the same thing. You don’t just say: from here on my life is going to be balanced. You constantly have to make tiny (and sometimes large) corrections, tweak and change your behavior, your direction, your actions, until you get to your goal or destination. And of course, once you get to your destination, there’s always another destination waiting.

When Jane rides, I can feel her body move in harmony with my movement. She is very balanced because she DOES allow herself to move as she sits on my back. If she was still and unmoving, she’d disturb my balance. And that would make it hard for me to do the things she asks me to do. It would also make us both very uncomfortable.

Where in your life are you stuck and stiff? Are there areas in your life where you’ve stopped moving with the flow and become unbalanced? Where are you too passive and without a sense of what needs to be tweaked or changed? Where are you too rigid? Can you look at the areas of your life you’d like to be different and create a new map for how you want to get to where you want to be? Are you willing to make the small and large corrections necessary so you can get there?

Go to the barn, get on your horse, close your eyes, and allow your body to move in balance and harmony with the movement of your horse’s body. Allow yourself to flow with the sway of your horse’s back. Now imagine your whole life flowing in this way. This is one of the gifts horses give you. It’s an incredible metaphor for life. This is where that special magic happens.

Love, Moshi

From Indy:

I love to run. I really do. I love to swim, to chase things, and run as fast as I can through the grass. My body is fit and strong because I get lots of wonderful exercise.

I’ve noticed that I really do feel differently when I’m running with one of my friends. We challenge each other in a very fun way. Somehow, I always seem to run a bit faster and jump a bit higher when I have a friend nearby. We challenge and support each other without saying a thing. Just being together changes our focus, and naturally inspires us to give what we’re doing a touch more effort.

Do you need to get more exercise? Would you like to be a bit more fit? I hear being fit really helps your riding abilities. Jane is constantly exercising to keep her body strong and healthy. She has a couple of good friends she meets with when she exercises because it is much more fun to do it with someone, and it keeps her inspired to try just a bit harder.

If there is something you know would be good for you to do, like exercise or ride more (or both!), find someone to do it with you. You’ll be surprised how much difference having a friend along will make! It helps you stay on track and keeps you inspired when you get tired.

My friend Scruggs and I are going to go swimming today. We’re going to run all the way to the pond! Would you like to go with us? We’ll race you there.

Love, Indy

Jane Savoie
1174 Hill St ext.
Berlin, VT 05602
Jane’s Website
DressageMentor.com

Teaching Flying Changes with Laura Graves

Watch Laura Graves, a member of the U.S. Olympic Dressage Team that won a bronze medal at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games, talk you through step-by-step instructions to teach your horse a flying change. Graves demonstrates the exercises, from simple transitions to flying changes to the more advanced tempi changes, aboard Fizau, owned by Susan Shattuck-Fryett, and on her 2016 Olympic mount Verdades. This week, cheer Graves on as she competes on The Dutta Corp. U.S. Dressage Team at FEI Nations Cup CDIO5* Aachen aboard Verdades.

© 2017 US Equestrian Federation

Motivation from Moshi, by Jane Savoie

When I see the new foals running around, I realize that I’m not a baby anymore. But that doesn’t mean I can’t take baby steps now and then.

Sometimes a job is just too big and overwhelming to figure out exactly how to get it all done. When that’s the case, baby steps is the way to go. It’s like when my stall gets dirty. Someone has to clean it out one scoop at a time. You may not notice one scoop being removed. But when you remove ten scoops, it really makes a big difference!

What do you have to do, or want to accomplish, that seems too big for you to achieve right now? Can you break it down into little parts? Can you take baby steps? Can you accept slow progress over no progress at all?

Yesterday I heard someone joking with Jane, and asked if she knew how to eat an elephant. Jane answered, “Sure… One bite at a time.”

What’s YOUR “elephant”?

I’m still working on that ton of new hay that came in last month. I’m halfway through the stack already, one delicious mouthful at a time!

Love, Moshi

From Indy:

I’ve finally become an adult. I heard Rhett say so. Both Jane and Rhett are so happy that I’ve stopped chewing up their shoes and doing other puppyish behaviors. Of course I still like to chew on my lobster toy and the occasional bone, but I’m not as wild as I used to be. I’m becoming a grown up.

There’s a child-like quality that people tend to lose as they get older and more serious about life. But growing up doesn’t mean you have to grow old. You can still be young at heart even when life gets complicated.

That’s what I’m here for. I teach by example. My number one job is to love Rhett and Jane and to remind them to take time to enjoy whatever they’re doing. Even when it’s serious, keeping a young, child-like attitude, expecting the best and enjoying every moment, keeps them happy, balanced, and sane. I’m very good at having child-like enthusiasm, and I remind them of that when they watch me.

Are you able to learn from your dog? He or she is there to teach you how to live if you’re open to their messages. Let your dog show you how to have a happy life. It’s as simple as taking a nap when you’re tired, eating good healthy food, getting regular exercise, and sharing lots and lots of unconditional love.

Love, Indy

Jane Savoie
1174 Hill St ext.
Berlin, VT 05602
Jane’s Website
DressageMentor.com

US Equestrian Names Eventing High Performance Summer Training Lists for 2017

Lexington, Ky. – The US Equestrian Eventing High Performance Program is designed to achieve Olympic qualification and medals in the current Games cycle, in addition to building a sustainable foundation for the success of future championships. The Eventing High Performance Program consists of the Elite, Development, and Emerging Athlete Programs. For the 2017 Summer Training Lists, a two-tiered system was introduced for the Development Program, and no changes have been made to the Emerging Athlete Program list of participants. The following combinations have been named to the 2017 Summer Training Lists for the Elite Program and Tier 1 and Tier 2 Development.

Elite Program

These are athlete/horse combinations that have established themselves as having met the criteria, or demonstrated potential to meet the criteria, required to be competitive at CCI3* and CCI4* events and championships.

Hannah Sue Burnett (The Plains, Va.) with Jacqueline Mars’s Harbour Pilot and Mary Ann Ghadban’s Under Suspection

Matt Brown (Cochranville, Pa.) with Blossom Creek Foundation’s Super Socks BCF

Phillip Dutton (West Grove, Pa.) with Kristine and John Norton’s I’m Sew Ready, HnD Group’s Mighty Nice, and Thomas Tierney, Simon Roosevelt, Suzanne Lacy, Ann Jones, and Caroline Moran’s Z

Lauren Kieffer (Middleburg, Va.) with Team Rebecca, LLC’s Veronica and Marie Le Menestrel’s Meadowbrook’s Scarlett

Marilyn Little (Frederick, Md.) with Jacqueline Mars, Robin Parsky, and Phoebe and Michael Manders’s RF Scandalous

Boyd Martin (Cochranville, Pa.) with the Blackfoot Mystery Syndicate’s Blackfoot Mystery

Tier 1 Development

Tier 1 is designed to support experienced international athletes who have horses that are on a trajectory to reach the Elite criteria in the next four years and experienced international athletes who have horses that do not meet the Elite criteria but remain in contention for selection for the next World or Olympic Games.

Will Coleman (Charlottesville, Va.) with The Conair Syndicate’s Tight Lines and Four Star Eventing Group’s OBOS O’Reilly

Buck Davidson (Unionville, Pa.) with Carlevo LLC’s Carlevo

Phillip Dutton with the Revelation Group’s Fernhill Revelation

Lauren Kieffer with Debbie Adams and Jacqueline Mars’s D.A. Duras

Boyd Martin with Lucy Boynton Lie’s Cracker Jack

Doug Payne (Aiken, S.C.) with Debi Crowley and Doug and Jessica Payne’s Vandiver

Lynn Symansky (Middleburg, Va.) with The Donner Syndicate, LLC’s Donner

Sharon White (Summit Point, W.Va.) with her own Cooley on Show

Tier 2 Development

Tier 2 is designed for athletes who have not previously attained team selection or Elite criteria that are on a trajectory to achieve Elite status in this or the next four-year period.

Katherine Coleman (New Orleans, La.) with Kalai, LLC’s Back to Business

Lillian Heard (Hamilton, Va.) with her own LCC Barnaby

Kurt Martin (Middleburg, Va.) with his and Carol and William Martin’s DeLux Z

It is important to note that inclusion or exclusion on a Training List has no impact on selection for Games and championships. These lists will be reviewed in November of 2017.

Learn more about US Equestrian’s Eventing High Performance Program.

From the US Equestrian Communications Department