Tag Archives: Horse Training

M & R Equestrian’s Training Days Return to Jim Brandon in November

Photo by Jacquie Porcaro Photos.

September 3, 2020 — Wellington, FL’s most unique training opportunity returns to the Jim Brandon Equestrian Center as M & R Equestrian’s 24-week season kicks off Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020.

Founded by Olympic veterans Alberto Michan (ISR) and Juan Andrés Rodriguez (GUA), M & R Equestrian’s Training Days, held weekly from November through April, offer riders of all levels an unprecedented opportunity to school over a full course of show quality jumps, set by FEI course designers.

Every Tuesday, three arenas — two jumper rings and an arena with hunter courses — will be available and set at varying heights throughout the day to accommodate horses and riders of all ages and levels. Training Days are a great way to prepare a young horse for its first horse show experience; to create the perfect video for a sales horse; to scout young horses and sale prospects; practice horse show elements like the open water; and to enjoy a relaxing, confidence-building experience at a top quality horse show venue — at an affordable price.

“We are really looking forward to kicking off our second season of Training Days,” Michan said. “We began this journey last year, because we felt it filled a void in our industry, and the response we got was incredible. Some of the top names in our sport became regular participants. We hope even more riders — of all levels — will come take advantage of this unique opportunity in Wellington.”

Among the many exemplary amenities at Jim Brandon is its superior lighting. Training Days will expand to its two-day schedule for 12 weeks beginning January 2021, with Mondays featuring a one-of-a-kind opportunity to school under the lights.

Each entry awards a horse and rider combination two minutes and 30 seconds in the arena, allowing them to jump as many fences or courses as they’d like in that time and providing the perfect horse show dress rehearsal.

“We believe that our Training Days season is the perfect complement to the winter circuit in Wellington,” Rodriguez said. “There are virtually no opportunities to school a horse under the lights before going into the show ring for a major event like a Saturday night grand prix, but Jim Brandon affords us the ability to offer that and so much more. We are very excited to get underway with our season and build upon what we started last year.”

© 2020 Catie Staszak Media, Inc.

Creating the Channel of Energy, by Ruth Hogan Poulsen Dressage

Photo: Sue Weakley.

In Program Your Position, a program released in collaboration with Jane Savoie, we use key buzzwords to trigger the brain to become more self-aware while riding. We talk about the energy you create in your horse from your legs, and then how and where to channel or recycle the energy with your seat and reins.

The original Program Your Position drawing (above) shows how your aligned and square torso (head, shoulders, knees, and toes) should aim like laser beams to direct the energy of the horse (isn’t that a song?).

For example, let’s talk about shoulder-in. The shoulder-in is a lateral movement that is the foundation of all lateral work. Shoulder-in is performed on three tracks and has bend and flexion around the inside leg. The shoulders are displaced to the inside over the inside hind leg. The outer shoulder and fore leg should be placed over the inside hind leg to create three tracks. The hind legs in a shoulder-in should maintain their straight forward position along the original path.

OK. So how do we do THAT? Your shoulders and reins control the direction of your horse’s shoulders. Your hips and legs control the hips and hindquarters of the horse.

For this article, we are only going to talk about the rein aids, as I am using the shoulder-in as my example for the “laser” or “butt end of the whip” directions.

Your hands for a shoulder-in to the right:

  • Keep both hands low and equidistant from your body as you move them to the right.
  • Move them to the right enough to place the outside front leg in front of the inside hind leg.
  • Use your inside rein as an opening rein.
  • Bring your outside hand very close to the withers, but never let that hand cross over the withers.

The direction of the butt end of the whip is heading in the same direction as your arm and horse’s energy. So, if your whips are crossed, then there is an X or blocking of energy at that point. If you only point one whip where you want to go, the horse will fall out the other side.

FEI Joins Forces with Black Horse One and SAP to Create Online Dressage Training Platform

The FEI has launched the FEI eDressage™ Online platform in partnership with Black Horse One (BHO) and SAP, to provide a unique environment for FEI registered Dressage and Para Dressage athletes to boost their training and development.

FEI registered athletes can upload videos to the FEI eDressage™ Online platform every week for their FEI Dressage tests to be judged anonymously by a pool of FEI 5* level Dressage and Para Dressage judges. In the first phase, a number of videos will be randomly selected and athletes will then be provided with feedback on their performance and given pointers for improvement.

“This new platform is yet another example of the ways in which technology can be introduced into equestrian sport to transform training techniques,” FEI Commercial Director Ralph Straus said.

“Athletes now have the opportunity to have their tests remotely evaluated by a group of top level judges and to receive key insights that could benefit their performances.

“While the current pandemic highlights the value of a platform like this to athlete training when travel and competition restrictions exist, it can also be particularly useful to athletes residing in remote regions of the world, who would otherwise be unable to avail of the international expertise provided through this platform.”

Although the platform has been designed primarily with the horse and athlete in mind, it has the potential to become a valuable source of content for training FEI Officials in close collaboration with the FEI’s online e-learning platform, FEI Campus. The user-generated content would allow the FEI to improve the video material used in training programmes for FEI Dressage and Para Dressage judges.

The FEI eDressage™ Online platform is not the first time software development company Black Horse One, and the market leader in enterprise application software SAP, have come together with the FEI to create unique technological solutions for the sport.

While previous initiatives have been created to enrich the competition experience for live audiences and judges, the FEI eDressage™ Online platform has been specifically created for a non-competitive environment. Tests will not be judged and no rankings will be provided, but performances will be critiqued by an elite group of judges purely for training purposes.

“It is an absolute pleasure for us to launch the FEI eDressage Online platform together with the FEI and SAP, our close partner for many years now,” CEO of Black Horse One Daniel Göhlen said.

“We at Black Horse One provide innovative, high-performance software solutions specialised in equestrian sports and see this new platform as a fantastic technological development to support athletes all over the world, especially during these current uncertain times. The FEI eDressage Online platform is built on the basis of our paperless judging solution eDressage and benefits from several of our other innovations which have been supported by SAP and established by the FEI.”

SAP Director of Strategic Partnerships in Equestrian, Henrike Paetz, also welcomed the initiative. “The launch of the new FEI eDressage Online platform is another milestone in our partnership with the FEI and long-standing cooperation with Black Horse One,” she said.

“Providing a virtual training and feedback environment for international athletes is an innovative way to stay connected and up-to-speed during these challenging times and beyond and reflects our ambition as the Official Analytics Sponsor of the FEI Dressage World Cup series. We are proud to once more help reinvent the athlete experience based on our SAP Cloud Platform technology.”

Previously, the two companies combined their expert knowledge in technology and fan engagement to create the award-winning Spectator Judging® app in 2017.

The app enables audiences at FEI Dressage World Cup™ events to get into the judge’s seat, with audience scores and rankings created in real-time during the competitions and then placed side-by-side with official results on the arena scoreboards. It’s a dynamic way for live audiences to participate more actively in the sporting action provided by the world’s top Dressage athletes and their horses.

A further collaboration between SAP and Black Horse One in 2018 led to the development of the Dressage Paperless Judging software, a system allowing FEI Dressage and Para Dressage competitions to be scored without a scribe having to write down each mark on an FEI Dressage score sheet. The Paperless Judging system was designed to deliver finished and signed scores and comments to athletes immediately after each test, and also maintain fan engagement by reducing the time between the end of a competition and the awards ceremony.

“The beauty of the FEI eDressage Online platform is that it has the potential to grow and develop over time and become something larger than we initially imagined,” FEI Director Information & Sports Technology Gaspard Dufour explained. “For developments like these to really impact a sport, it is necessary that our technological partners understand equestrian and the needs of our stakeholders. Long-term collaborations like ours show that having the time to grow and develop together can impact the industry in a meaningful way.”

Media contacts:

Grania Willis
Director, Communications
grania.willis@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 42

Vanessa Martin Randin
Senior Manager, Media Relations & Communications
vanessa.randin@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 73

Dressage4Kids Tips, by Lendon Gray

Here is a simple exercise for everyone as long as you have started asking your horse for simple bends (including those doing Grand Prix).  At all gaits and with no fuss, using an easy inside rein that does NOT go toward the horse’s withers (an indirect rein), can you bend him a little left for four or five strides and then within one stride bend him a little right for four or five strides? He doesn’t turn because your inside leg prevents that. You should be able to do this ANYTIME – walking along the track, doing a leg yield or a half pass, or a canter pirouette. This should be easy and it is NOT wagging the head, but just a simple change of bend of the neck.

Dressage4Kids | graydressage@gmail.com | https://dressage4kids.org

Boyd Martin Brings Training to You with New Virtual Clinic

Boyd Martin and Long Island T.

Middleburg, Va. – June 17, 2020 – Rutledge Farm is thrilled to announce a new online training opportunity. Despite restrictions in place due to the recent COVID-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak, Rutledge Farm is pleased to offer a socially distanced solution to training with the world’s leading equestrians. To kick off this new series, enjoy a personalized training experience with Olympian and eventing champion Boyd Martin from the comfort of your home no matter where you are in the world.

Registration is open now for riders of all levels, from beginner novice to advanced, and video submissions will be accepted through June 24. As feedback, Martin will be providing personalized recordings as he reviews training and competition footage to offer training advice that will give an added edge the next time you head to compete.

Aleco Bravo-Greenberg, owner of Rutledge Farm, said, “It is a challenging time in our world right now, but we wanted to find a way to continue offering training opportunities for those that can’t access them. I am looking forward to bringing back Boyd Martin as a clinician in a new and unique way, as well as the opportunity to make our clinics available to an even broader audience.”

Click here for a list of video guidelines and to submit your footage for review.

Motivation from Moshi, by Jane Savoie

Motivation is an interesting topic. I’m very motivated when food is involved. Just shake a can of pellets, and I’ll sing and dance for you! Okay, okay. I nicker and stomp. But you know what I mean.

If Jane corrects me, she always follows up by “retesting” me with the same question. The retest gives me the opportunity to be rewarded for doing things right. And that inspires me to do them right the next time. I guess you can say I’m motivated by reward.

If you know what motivates you, you can set yourself up for success. Think about whether you’re a “move away from pain” or a “move toward pleasure” kind of person. Pay attention to your choices. Then use that knowledge to plan the path to your next important goal.

I’m really motivated by carrots. If you’re coming over, would you bring me some? I’ll sing and dance for you! Just watch your toes!

Love, Moshi

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

Motivation from Moshi, by Jane Savoie

I stepped on a little rock yesterday and bruised my foot. Ouch! It didn’t hurt for very long, but it made me grumpy. Then I got bit on the neck by a big fly. It hurt! I snapped at it and bumped my nose on the fence. I was having a really bad day.

I stood in the corner of my turnout feeling agitated and unhappy. Then I remembered Jane saying that attitude is a choice. I could choose to be grumpy, or choose to be happy. But I was so grumpy that I was having a hard time finding even a hint of “happy” in my mind. I was stuck.

Then Indy stopped by to say hello. He looked up at me with that funny, fuzzy face and grinned. One look at his big, smiling mug and I suddenly found that little tickle of happiness swell in my mind. I thought of all the times we’d played chase and the way he’d laugh with his funny dog laugh as we raced around my turnout. I remembered watching him jump sideways when he spotted the little alligator in the grass and the joyful way he splashed in the pond while chasing a ball.

Within minutes I was feeling happy and content. All it took was changing my focus! I concentrated on the thoughts that made me feel good inside, and that good feeling spread to my outside. By the time Jane had me tacked up and ready to ride, I was feeling terrific! It was a great day.

Do you realize that your attitude is a choice? It does take some effort sometimes, but you can change a bad day into a terrific day just by deciding to concentrate on the good stuff. And there is always good stuff if you look for it. If you have trouble finding it, just take a good look into your dog’s sweet face. I’ll bet that tickles the “happy” in you!

Love, Moshi

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

Dressage4Kids Tips, by Lendon Gray

I taught my first lessons in a month recently and the lesson I found myself repeating often, and I hear other instructors repeating a lot, is the importance of the outside rein. This is a huge subject, but in brief… The concept of inside leg to outside rein is mega important. BUT that doesn’t mean one hangs on the outside rein or allows the horse to lean on the outside rein. If you were to give the outside so it goes loose for a stride, nothing should fall apart. On the other side is the importance of the use of the outside rein in general. The inside rein is generally the suppling rein as needed and also turns the horse’s head and neck. But the outside rein connects the horse’s body to his neck. (Many of you have been in the situation of trying to turn the horse where he doesn’t want to go and you pull his head practically to your knee and the horse continues to go in the opposite direction – just because his head turns doesn’t mean his body goes in the same direction.) So your most important turning aids are the outside rein and leg and the most important bending aids are the inside rein and leg. This is mega important on circles and corners to ensure that when you are bending the horse his shoulder doesn’t fall out.

Excerpt from Cavalletti for Dressage and Jumping (4th edition) by Ingrid and Reiner Klimke

Thank you to Martha Cook and Trafalgar Square Book for providing the below excerpt!

Cavalletti for Dressage and Jumping (4th edition) is available at Trafalgar Square Books.  D4K friends can use the code D4K2020 and receive 25% off.

Cavalletti Work on Circles

Riding over cavalletti on circles and half circles makes a welcome change for young riders. The horse should already have a sound basic training and be used to working over cavalletti on straight lines. When working on both straight and curved lines, the horse must be straight. This means the hind feet must follow the tracks of the front feet. On circles, the horse is not straight if he makes the common fault of lifting his hind legs and moving them out to the side rather than stepping forward under the center of gravity. In order to avoid this, he must be flexed to the inside.

Cavalletti work on circles and half circles helps to loosen the horse, and can rectify stiffness on one side or the other, so the horse bends and flexes equally in both directions. If a horse is not straight, he will often lose rhythm – this is where cavalletti work can help by restoring elasticity and encouraging the placing of the hind feet under the center of gravity.

Over poles, the horse does not have the chance to step out to the side with the hind legs. The length of stride and pacing of the feet is so precise that the horse maintains his rhythm by himself. It takes very little practice before the hind feet step into the tracks of the front feet.

A figure of eight works the horse equally on both reins. Each circle requires four cavalletti set in a fan near the short side of the school. It is important to leave the track free so you can ride around the whole school on the track. In trot, this exercise is known as “changing direction through the circle.” It is not as useful in walk as it is in trot, but it is best to ride it in walk to start with, and you can revert to walk if you have problems.

Riding over cavalletti on circles is especially beneficial for training the horse’s inside hind leg to take weight. Because of this it can be quite strenuous, so avoid doing it for too long. Always tailor schooling sessions to the stage of training the horse has reached.

Dressage4Kids | graydressage@gmail.com | dressage4kidsorg.presencehost.net

Rutledge Farm Sessions with Phillip Dutton

Phillip Dutton with Aleco Bravo-Greenberg at Rutledge Farm.

Middleburg, Va. – May 15, 2020 – Rutledge Farm is pleased to announce a partnership with EQUITANA USA to present a clinic with Olympic eventing gold medalist Phillip Dutton as a part of the Rutledge Farm Sessions clinic series. EQUITANA, the world’s largest equestrian trade fair and exhibition, is coming to the United States this fall at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Kentucky from September 25-27. Historically hosted in Middleburg, Virginia, the team at Rutledge Farm is looking forward to expanding the successful Rutledge Farm Sessions clinic series to offer this unique learning opportunity to a new audience of equestrians in Kentucky.

EQUITANA has been the leading international equestrian exhibition for over 35 years. Since its inception in 1972 and its continuously growing popularity in Essen, Germany, EQUITANA also offers exhibitions in Australia and New Zealand. The new EQUITANA USA will take place in Lexington, Kentucky this year, showcasing a variety of popular equestrian personalities, professional performers, authors, veterinarians, and other top professionals sharing their expertise on a wide range of disciplines and topics. Each day will feature a trade fair, showcasing equestrian related products and services, along with special demonstrations and performances.

Aleco Bravo-Greenberg, owner of Rutledge Farm, commented, “I am really excited about bringing the Rutledge Farm Sessions to Lexington, Kentucky. I am proud of the series we have established at my farm in Middleburg, and I can’t wait to offer these exclusive opportunities in a new part of the country. Our Middleburg community has enjoyed having Phillip [Dutton] teach at Rutledge Farm over the past two years, but I am looking forward to a new group of riders having the opportunity to learn from his vast experience.”

Olympic eventing gold medalist Phillip Dutton has been a staple clinician for the Rutledge Farm Sessions clinic series since 2018 where he has taught beginner novice riders up through advanced athletes. Dutton earned back-to-back Olympic gold medals for Australia’s eventing team in 1996 during the Games in Atlanta, Georgia and again in 2000 in Sydney, Australia. After changing his competitive nationality to the United States in 2006, he was a member of the gold medal eventing team at the 2007 Pan-American Games in Rio De Janeiro and rode to the individual silver medal. In 2016, he was awarded the individual bronze medal for the U.S. Eventing Team at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics riding Mighty Nice.

EQUITANA USA Event Director Meghan Margewicz said, “EQUITANA USA is thrilled to be working alongside Rutledge Farm for this year’s clinic series. Rutledge Farm and EQUITANA USA have an ideal synergy, together providing the equestrian community new and exciting opportunities to learn, grow, and excel in equestrian sport. Aleco [Bravo-Greenberg] has created such a unique and beautiful equestrian community within Rutledge. Held in such high regard throughout the industry, and the clinic series – with such impressive names – is another extension of the fabulous opportunities Rutledge Farm offers equestrians of all disciplines. It is with honor that EQUITANA USA and the Kentucky Horse Park will be home to one of the Rutledge Farm Series clinics this fall, and we look forward to a successful and continuing relationship.”

To learn more, visit www.equitanausa.com.

Dressage4Kids Tips: Ride Better with Christoph Hess

Straightness – A Challenge

Practically every horse has a natural asymmetry. Eliminating this asymmetry and thus straightening the horse is a central task of basic training.

Every rider must realize there is no such thing as an “absolutely” straight horse. This means that all riders, regardless of discipline or level, must rise daily to the challenge of straightening their horses.

The Corner – A Bending Line

It sounds counterintuitive, but what really helps is riding correctly through the corners. Every corner that the rider travels helps her straighten the horse. A corner is a quarter-volte, provided that it is ridden through correctly. How deeply you ride into the corners will depend on your horse’s age and, above all, level of training.

This means you won’t ride quite as deeply into the corners with a five-year-old (picture a 10-meter volte) as you would with an older and/or more highly trained horse. In this case, you could imagine a volte with a six-meter radius. What does experience tell us? Perhaps you are not riding the corners as quarter-voltes. The horse is not being positioned and bent through the corner. Often, the corners are ridden very flat and the horse does not come through with his hindquarters in the direction of his forehand. Often, the hindquarters fall out.

Therefore, you must give the task of riding bend through the corners special attention. When you can get successful “straight bending work” in the corners, it helps you correct the horse’s asymmetry and improve his straightness. At the same time, you are improving the horse’s obedience to your leg aids, which is especially important for the horse’s durchlässigkeit. This should apply regardless of how deeply you are riding through the corners.

If the rider goes large around the whole arena and rides through every single corner correctly – that is, her inside leg is driving the horse to the outside rein and she has the feeling that the horse is bending around this leg – she is on the correct path. Every time she rides through a corner, she must be able to feel forward with her inside rein, without this changing the horse’s connection and balance.

Thank you to Martha Cook and Trafalgar Square Books for providing this excerpt. Ride Better with Christoph Hess is available at Trafalgar Square Books. D4K friends can use the code D4K2020 and receive 25% off.

Dressage4Kids | graydressage@gmail.com | dressage4kidsorg.presencehost.net