Category Archives: Training/Clinics

Learn to Feel When Your Horse’s Hind Legs Are on the Ground, by Jane Savoie

ezine22_img2Can you feel when your horse’s hind legs are on the ground? This is an important skill to develop because you want to time your leg aid so that you give it when your horse’s corresponding hind leg is on the ground.

In fact, the exact moment to influence a particular hind leg is just as it’s getting ready to push off the ground.

You can learn to feel where the hind legs are by feeling your horse’s hips. When a particular hind foot is on the ground, your horse’s hip is higher on that side. It feels like your corresponding seatbone is being pushed forward.

You can start developing your sense of feel by doing some transitions from walk to halt. Read more> http://www.horsesinthesouth.com/article/article_detail.aspx?id=9808

Program Your Position – A Review by Johnny Robb

ProgramYourPositionMy New Years resolution is to improve my riding.  If you share a similar goal or resolution, I can recommend an incredible tool that I have been using, Program Your Position.  This is an amazingly effective “program”, and I can honestly say it has helped my position immensely.

The program, developed by Ruth Hogan-Poulsen and Jane Savoie, has three components. These include 5 DVDs, 3 audio CDs and an illustrated pocket guide.

No matter how you absorb information most effectively, Program Your Position has you covered. Personally, I like all the audios and illustrated pocket guide the best. But I must add that the DVD segments are like attending a clinic.

For me, Program Your Position is better than a clinic because the series teaches you to use a simple set of buzz words to “program” your position corrections.  I ride around saying the buzzwords and correct my riding position almost effortlessly. The buzzwords are easy to remember and effective and the program also encourages you to add your personal buzzwords too. Read more> http://www.horsesinthesouth.com/article/article_detail.aspx?id=9632

How to Memorize a Dressage Test, by Ruth Hogan-Poulsen

Hi everyone. A lot of you have been asking me about how I begin to diagram a pattern or how I start to memorize a test.

I start with these blank arena diagrams. I find them useful for a number of things.
1. Memorizing regulation tests.
2. Learning the exact geometry of the arena.
3. Learning my exact tangent points for movements such as circles and serpentines.
4. Drawing my tests from beginning to end.
5. Drawing each movement according to where the judges are judging (this way I know when the judge begins judging a new movement).
6. Showing a student where a movement begins and ends exactly.
7. Mapping out individual movements when I start to create choreography for a freestyle.
8. Looking at the pattern from beginning to end of a new freestyle, to see if I have used the arena wisely.
9. Checking to see if I have included all required movements for a competitive freestyle.
10. Mapping out each movement of a new freestyle so my clients and students have something to study that is very visual.
11. Checking to see if I have been inventive with the pattern.
12. Checking to see if my movements are equally used from the left and the right.

…and many more!

So I though I would give these diagrams to you guys for your use. Feel free to print them off and use them any time you want, and while you are on my site, sign up for the newsletter if you have not already! You will automatically get the link for the diagrams in the welcome letter of my newsletter, so you don’t have to go looking for it!
Ruth

Link to FREE DRESSAGE ARENA DIAGRAMS:

http://www.ruthhoganpoulsen.com/downloads.html

www.ruthhoganpoulsen.com
www.mobilehorsemonitor.com
www.dressagefreestyles.com

Counter-Flexing in Canter, by Jane Savoie

Several of you have asked me if there’s any value in counter-flexing your horse while in true canter so I’d like to discuss that here.

1. Generally, you want to flex your horse in the direction of the canter lead he’s on. That goes for true canter as well as counter canter. So if you’re cantering on left lead, position his head so you just barely see his left eye and/or nostril.

2. I do often ask students to counter-flex their horses while cantering. For example, they’d just barely see the right eye or nostril when they’re in left canter. I do this to help riders feel if their horses are straight. Read more> http://www.horsesinthesouth.com/article/article_detail.aspx?id=8812

FEI Launches Investigation into Odense Dressage Warm-Up & FEI Position on Hyperflexion

This is the modern version of Dressage showing the 'competition trot' with the front leg overextended and not parallel with the hind leg, plus the horse's head is behind the vertical. Notice the horse's rump high and not rounded - the horse is on his forehand and cannot make use of his backend for thrust. He is being ridden from front to back instead of back to front as in Classical Dressage. He may have been trained using hyperflexion (roll kur) techniques.
This is the modern version of Dressage showing the 'competition trot' with the front leg overextended and not parallel with the hind leg, plus the horse's head is behind the vertical. Notice the horse's rump high and not rounded - the horse is on his forehand and cannot make use of his backend for thrust. He is being ridden from front to back instead of back to front as in Classical Dressage. He may have been trained using hyperflexion (roll kur) techniques.

October 26, 2009 – The FEI is aware of the video filmed at the FEI World Cup Dressage qualifier at Odense (DEN) and posted on YouTube by Epona TV at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8hIXGiV4N4k. FEI’s main concern has always been and will always be the welfare of the horse. We are taking the issues raised in the video and in the comments made by members of the public on social media and by email very seriously and have opened a full investigation. The conclusions of this investigation will be made public in due course.

Please read Dr. Gerd Heushmann’s book “Tug of War” and see his DVD “If  Horses Could Speak” about the dangers of using this method of training and the long term effects of forcing horses to be hand ridden, ridden incorrectly from front to back which is is SUPPOSED TO BE as in Classical Dressage – from back to front, and pushing young horses into doing Dressage levels at too young an age before they have completely developed. I had posted that I interviewed him last week and will be posting more on this in the very near future. Click below to purhcase his book and DVD.

See previous blog post: http://horsesinthesouth.com/blog/index.php/2009/10/28/dr-gerd-heuschmann-author-of-tug-of-war-dvd-if-horses-could-speak-lecture-clinic/ . Click on this link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TahYWzsCdQM to watch a YouTube excerpt from his DVD which you can purchase from the Amazon.com link above. This should be ‘required reading’ for all of those who compete and for judges, if you do not know the true form of Classical Dressage or riding the horse from back to front to have a happy horse!

FEI POSITION ON HYPERFLEXION – updated 17.11.08

 “The FEI held a successful seminar on Hyperflexion in 2006. There has been no change in the scientific evidence since that review. There are no known clinical side effects specifically arising from the use of Hyperflexion. However, there are concerns for the horses’ well-being if the technique is not practised correctly. The FEI does not permit excessive or prolonged Hyperflexion in any equestrian sport, and has a strict stewarding program to protect the performance horse in all disciplines.”

 “The FEI regulates international competition principally. Also through its work it seeks to educate riders, trainers and judges thru their NFs how to deal with issues which have a bearing on the welfare of the horse.  Where there is a specific training issue which brings the welfare of the horse into question it is for the NF to legislate at National level.  At international competition level it is for the FEI to act.  Through the ongoing training of stewards and all officials we seek to develop peoples understanding of what is acceptable and unacceptable training techniques.”

 David Holmes, Executive Sports Director

Associated info at HorseandHound.co.uk: http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/news/397/291211.html

British Horse Society chairman Patrick Print has since written to HRH Princess Haya requesting the FEI launch a second investigation into the practise of hyperflexion.

Print’s letter reads: “The concerns so widely expressed are reasonable and therefore deserving of an urgent two-part investigation: first, an inquiry into the treatment of this particular horse on this particular occasion; and, second, a broader inquiry into the ethics and consequences of hyperflexion. In this second aspect The British Horse Society stands ready to assist the FEI in any way it can.”

Forums are rife with angered comment on the topic and several facebook groups have been set up in condemnation of rollkur.

The Classical Riding Club have also written to the FEI and are urging all members to sign their petition to the FEI to ban all hyperflexion in competition. 

Another YouTube video showing hyperflexion used in show jumpers and western riders: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T7o-Ref-owE

More to come on this important issue!!

Dr Gerd Heuschmann, author of ‘Tug of War’ & DVD ‘If Horses Could Speak’ Lecture & Clinic

heuschmann-horseDr Gerd Heuschmann, (www.gerdheuschmann.com) a veterinarian and well known dressage rider/trainer, author of the book “Tug of War” and the DVD “If Horses Could Speak” is coming to St Augustine for a book signing, lecture and two day riding clinic, October 29 through November 1st, 2009.

No charge for being a guest at the book signing, lecture is $50, riding (which includes Dr Heuschmann riding your horse) is $250, and auditing both days and lecture $125. If you wish to audit only the cost will be $80 for both days, $45 for one day.

Dr. Heuschmann was trained as a Bereiter (master rider) in Germany before qualifying for veterinary study at Munich University. There he specialized in equine orthopedics for two years before accepting a post as the head of the breeding department at the German Equestrian Federation. Dr. Heuschmann is a founding member of “Xenophon”, an organization dedicated to “fighting hard against serious mistakes in equestrian sports”. He is the author of the “Tug of War” and the DVD “If Horses Could Speak” which is the basis for his world-wide lectures.

By describing the basic anatomy and physiology of the horse, Dr. Heuschmann identifies widely-used incorrect training methods- especially in dressage- that can undermine a horse’s health and well being and offers the rider solutions that do not cause pain or fail to respect the mental habits and physiological needs of the horse. His dynamic teaching on the biomechanics of correct riding and proper training result in the horse’s improved mental and physical condition.

BOOK SIGNING
Thursday October 29, 2009
5pm-7pm

The Gift Horse
716 Orange Ave N
Green Cove Springs, FL 32043
(904) 529-8225
www.thegifthorse.us

LECTURE
Friday October 30, 2009
7pm
Comfort Suites at the World Golf Village�
475 Commerce Lake Dr.
Saint Augustine, FL, US, 32095
Phone: (904) 940-9500  

RIDING CLINIC
Saturday October 31 and Sunday November 1, 2009
8:30 am – 5:00 pm
Two Son Farm
8050 CR-208
St. Augustine, Florida 32092
Phone: (904) 759-4390
www.twosonfarm.com  

Contact: Sandy Mooney
904-463-2908
housedoctorinc@comcast.net

Isabel Werth’s Gigolo FRH has died at 26

gigolo-werth-dies
Atlanta Olympics in 1996 - Team gold and Individual Silver.

Olympic gold medal winner Gigolo FRH, horse of renowned equestrian Isabella Werth, has died at the age of Twenty-Six.

On September 23rd, Isabella Weth’s top level dressage horse was put down after declining health resulting from an injury. Winner of four Olympic gold medals, two Olympic silver medals, four World Championships, eight European Championships and four German titles, Gigolo proudly served as Isabella’s friend, teacher and sport partner for many years.

Bred by Horst Klussman (Pursau) (Graditz x Bunett by Busoni xx), Gigolo was discovered by Dr Schulten-Baumer. Although a plain horse to look at, but he thrilled spectators with his precision and charisma. Born in 1983, he was ridden by Werth for twenty years.

Werth and Gigolo won both team and individual gold at the European Championships at Donaueschingen in 1991. They repeated the double in 1993 at Lipica, in 1995 at Mondorf, and in 1997 at Verden. At the 1994 World Equestrian Games in The Netherlands and in 1998 in Rome the pair also won two gold medals each time.

Gigolo’s four Olympic gold medals were won in 1996 in Atlanta (individual and team gold), 1992 in Barcelona, and 2000 in Sydney (team gold). The two individual Olympic silver medals were in Barcelona and Sydney.

Youtube Video:

AHorse Blog – 3 Tips for the Correct Length and Height of Your Horse’s Neck, by Jane Savoie

Lots of you tell me you’re confused about the correct length and height of your horse’s neck so I thought I’d address that in this article.

1.     Neck too high: The height of the neck is determined by the degree of engagement of the hindquarters. So, the height of the neck changes as you go up through the levels and your horse becomes more collected.

Always keep in mind, however, that if you ride with the neck too high and short and the angle of the throatlatch too closed, there can’t be any bridge from the back end to the front end.

The neck has to be in line with the power train of the hindquarters-not above it. When the neck is too high, the hind end is disconnected from the front end.

2.     Neck too short: I like to say the length of the neck is proportional to the length of the stride taken by the hind legs. So, if you crank the neck in and it gets too short, the hind legs take shorter steps.

Always strive to keep your horse’s neck long.

Even though you want more and more of an uphill balance as you go up through the levels, you still want to see a long neck blooming out in front of you.

This is an exaggeration, but I like to pretend that I have 1/3 of the horse out behind me, and 2/3 of the horse blooming out in front of me. The last thing I want to see is a short neck with 1/3 of the horse out in front of me and 2/3 trailing out behind.

Now, it’s really not 1/3 behind and 2/3 in front, but that gives you a good visual for always having a long neck blooming out in front of you. And that’s the case whether you’re in the horizontal balance of Training Level or the uphill balance of Grand Prix.

One of the mistakes you see at the FEI levels is that riders think they’re collecting their horses, but all they’re doing is shortening their necks.

This creates all kinds of problems because the hind legs are blocked. For example, in a canter pirouette, a horse might switch leads behind or break to the trot. In piaffe, the diagonal pairs might break up, and the piaffe is no longer a real 2-beat trot.

3.     Rules of thumb for your horse’s balance: At Training Level, the horse has approximately 60% of his weight on the front legs and 40% of his weight on the hind legs.

That’s the same balance that a horse has in nature because a horse is built like a table with a head and neck on one end. By virtue of the weight of the head and neck, horses naturally have more weight on the front legs than the back legs.

So, at Training Level, with 60% of his weight on the front legs and 40% of his weight on the hind legs, the horse is in what I call “horizontal balance”. His topline looks pretty much parallel to the ground.

At First Level, exercises and movements like smaller circles, leg yields and a little bit of counter canter, cause a slight shift in the center of gravity back to the hind legs. That’s because those exercises create an increase in the bending of the joints of the hind legs. The horse’s croup goes down a little bit, and the forehand goes up proportionately. So at First Level, you might have approximately 55% of the weight on the front legs and 45% behind.

At Second Level, you begin “modest” collection. More weight shifts toward the hindquarters by virtue of the exercises such as shoulder-in, haunches-in, renvers, and simple changes of lead. So you end up with about 50% of the weight on the hind legs and 50% of the weight on the front legs.

At Third Level, you have the beginning of real collection with more weight on the hind legs than on the front legs.

As you go up through the levels there’s a progressive increase in the loading of the hind legs. As a result, the horse, like a seesaw, gradually sits more behind and comes more “up” in front.

Jane Savoie
1174 Hill St ext.
Berlin, VT 05602