Tag Archives: Horse Training

Dressage4Kids Tips

Here is one of my favorite teaching tools off the horse. Your ability to follow the motion of your horse’s head and neck and to separate your arms from whatever your body is doing is extremely important. You can do this with a bridle as I did here or just with lead ropes or even twine. The “horse” (me in the photo) holds the reins on one end and the rider hold the reins in the normal fashion – as if she were riding with elbows bent and very slightly in front of her waist. The “horse” moves the reins forward and back both together and then each independently. If the rider has that teeny, tiny pull that enables her to keep the rein from ever becoming loose, but never tight, just taut, she can keep the same feel throughout. Then the rider walks in place, trots, and canters while the “horse” keeps moving the reins back and forth a bit. We do this on the trampoline for even more difficulty, but it can certainly be done on solid ground. Keep a soft fist. You will find it nearly impossible to do with a tight, hard fist.

A quick thought for those riding

Those of you lucky enough to be riding – first try the exercise above on the ground. Now get on your horse and just walk with long, not loose reins – can you stay with the horse’s mouth with exactly the same pressure throughout the stride? Does your rein get looser and tighter? Can you maintain exactly the same amount of pressure on both reins, so the bit is exactly centered in the horse’s mouth? It doesn’t matter at this moment where your horse’s head is. Just see if you can become part of him without ANY communication with him. Your arm and hand are an extension of his mouth and neck (and back). Some of you may find it very difficult to “do nothing” not fussing with the bit in some way.

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

Dressage4Kids News

Thank you, D4K family, for being patient concerning our upcoming activities. We will keep you posted as decisions are made. In the meantime, stay well and let’s all help each other get through this challenging time.

We have already cancelled the first three TEAM clinics of 2020. I know we must be careful keeping each other safe and healthy, but that many of you are still able to ride your horse in your back yard or are at a stable where you can keep six feet away from all humans at the stable. Best of all we can still hug our horses. One of the parts I’m sad about is that many of you were looking forward to getting some instruction. So I thought I would regularly send out some very simple ideas of things that riders of all levels could check on in their own riding. Nothing deep in theory — just little check-ups that any rider can do that will improve your riding.

  1. In one way the easiest, but we know bad habits are hard to break and this is a VERY bad habit for many. Keep your head up at all times. Have anyone watch you (they don’t need to know anything about riding). Can you have your head up and your eyes up no matter what you are doing (picking up your reins, transitions, looking at the spot you want to reach in a leg-yield or a half pass)? We know this has a big effect on your upper body and your ability to develop a strong back.
  2. Keep a soft fist – if your fist is tight your arm will be tight and it will be extremely difficult to keep an elastic arm and to follow the motion of the horse’s neck. Your rein is stabilized by your thumb and top finger and your other fingers should be able to open and close slightly to speak to your horse – to give an aid. Remember the idea of holding a child’s hand? Don’t let the child run out in traffic (with an open hand) but he’ll be screaming if you squish his hand too tightly.

I would love to hear from you with other suggestions I can share with everyone. Those of you who have used my goal sheets know my favorite questions: “What have you worked on all year that you should have fixed by now? Why haven’t you fixed it?” Share with me what that is and go out and fix it.

Stay well and happy riding.

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

USET Foundation and US Equestrian Mourn Loss of Patrick “Packy” McGaughan

Patrick McGaughan and Tanzer at the 1987 Pan American Games. Photo by Margaret Kaiser/USEA Archives Photo.

In addition to McGaughan’s competitive achievements, he was an esteemed coach and trainer in Area II, advancing horses and riders to the highest level of the sport. McGaughan ran Banbury Cross Farm in Clarksburg, Maryland, which grew into a leading training, breeding, and boarding facility for eventing, dressage, hunter, and equitation riders. One could often spot him at numerous events across the East Coast, instructing athletes across all levels of the sport.

The USET Foundation and US Equestrian extend their condolences to McGaughan’s family, friends, and students, who were touched by his love, humor, and teaching. His presence will be greatly missed.

www.uset.org

Contact: Emily Randolph
emily@jumpmediallc.com
www.jumpmediallc.com

Motivation from Moshi, by Jane Savoie

Being different can be tough. While on one hand we all want to stand out and be unique, we also are programmed by our very nature to want to fit in. We want to belong. If you’re different than the crowd, sometimes you can feel left out or “wrong.”

I have a good friend in Tennessee who shared his experience in being different. You see, Chester was a very accomplished hunter/jumper. He is very brave and has springs for legs. He is also a leopard Appaloosa, so he has spots all over his body. Some of the fancier European warmbloods he met at the horse shows used to tease him about his spots, calling them “zits.” It hurt his feelings.

Chester admitted that being made fun of caused him to withdraw. He became a bit of a loner. He expected other horses to make fun of him, so to stop any unkind, snarky comments, he’d attack first. When he met a new horse, he’d immediately look for something wrong with THEM to use as an emotional barrier. Sometimes he’d make fun of anything different he could find, so the focus was on them, and not on him.

As Chester matured, he realized that this kind of behavior was not effective. All it did was give him the reputation for being a grump, and caused him to be very isolated and lonely. It took him years to realize that the spots on his coat did not define who he was. He was so much more. His natural talent for jumping, his ability to grasp and follow his rider’s subtle requests, his bravery in new situations… THESE were the things that made him a great horse.

With determination, Chester made the decision to focus on the things that made him special. He refused to listen to those who criticized what he looked like, and put all his mental energy on his talents and successes. Since he naturally got more of what he thought about, he carried his rider with great pride and confidence, and won many blue ribbons.

When Chester stopped looking at the world through the lens of being a victim of his differences, he discovered that most people and horses didn’t dislike his spots at all. In fact, his spots were one of the things about him that many found interesting and intriguing. Chester discovered that the problem was in his OWN MIND, not in the minds of others.

When Chester retired from jumping, he got a job at a therapeutic riding center. At first, he was really nervous, because it was all new to him. He withdrew inside himself and refused to interact. He quickly got labeled a “loner.” But he stayed observant. It didn’t take long for him to see that the young humans he was working with had many of the same issues he had. He saw himself in these kids, noticing that many were in a state of protective withdrawal or a state of “attack first to prevent hurt.” He could feel their fear and pain, and knew that they felt the same way he had when he felt “different.”

Chester had an idea. He realized that he could help these kids by recognizing them as perfect beings and accepting them exactly how they are. He knows they may be different from most others, but that doesn’t make them wrong or less-than, any more than his spots make him bad or less-than. Concentrating on what these kids CAN do, allows Chester to acknowledge and support more of their successes. And he found a new strength in himself. He became a favorite and most beloved mount.

I remembered how I felt about being teased about my leg feathers. Being a draft breed with hairy legs made me feel different. I didn’t like the feeling. But when I embraced my differences and took joy in my unique appearance, I felt good about myself. No one else’s opinion mattered.

Are you different in some way? How does that make you feel? Can you concentrate on the wonderful things you like best about yourself? Give it a try. How you feel starts inside of YOU.

Love, Moshi

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

A Masterclass with Isabell Werth

London, U.K. – Feb. 24, 2020 – Horse & Country (H&C) is proud to bring their subscribers an exclusive new series featuring German Grand Prix dressage legend and five-time Olympian Isabell Werth. The series, “A Masterclass with Isabell Werth,” will boast four half-hour educational episodes during which Werth will provide unique insight into her training philosophy and what has propelled her to the very top of equestrian sport.

Raised on her parents’ farm in Germany, Werth was exposed to horses from an early age. She competed in showjumping and eventing before being exposed to dressage by her neighbor, renowned dressage expert Dr. Uwe Schulten-Baumer, at age 17. Werth and her mentor worked together for 14 years before Werth established her own training facility near her home village of Rheinberg, Germany. Her career took off and now, with six Olympic gold medals and numerous world championship wins under her belt, Werth is the most decorated equestrian athlete of all time.

Even more impressively, Werth currently can be found three times in the top ten FEI World Dressage Ranking List as she holds the top spot with Bella Rose 2, second place with Weihegold OLD, and ninth place with Emilio 107.

“I love what I do. To go out into the stable and to go out and work with different horses and improve horses – in the end, it brings me great emotions. There is no question of motivation. I really enjoy being competitive,” says Werth of the sport.

Don’t miss the opportunity to watch and learn from the queen of dressage! The first three episodes are available on demand now for your viewing pleasure, while the final episode will be broadcast Feb. 26 at 3:00 p.m. EST.

Subscribe now to watch ‘A Masterclass with Isabell Werth’.

H&C TV broadcasts in Europe, Australia, and in the United States on cable, satellite, and broadband television, including Roku, and online at www.horseandcountrytv.us.

Motivation from Moshi, by Jane Savoie

I was watching someone work with a frightened young pony today. The pony had never been handled before and was terrified. The person was using a clicker and treats to help him get over his fear, and was teaching him how to think before he reacted out of his natural fight or flight instincts. The scared little pony learned fast and made a great deal of progress in just one day! The trainer was training the pony how to learn and helped build his desire to be with people.

Jane’s friend, Shawna Karrasch, teaches how to do this with her clicker training programs (www.On-Target-Training.com). She learned this method at Sea World in San Diego while training seals and killer whales (also known as Orcas). When Shawna got into horses, people told her clicker training wouldn’t work with her equine friends because we’re not “food oriented.” Shawna not only proved them wrong, she created a whole industry around horse clicker training! She found that we horses are actually much easier to clicker train than the wild sea creatures she was used to. Her work has made a huge difference for many people, dogs, and horses. It’s a good thing she didn’t listen to the neigh-sayers (lol), or Jane might never have learned this terrific way to communicate with her four-legged friends!

Jane made a decision long ago to always keep an open mind. While she has decades of horse experience and is viewed as an accomplished trainer and rider, it’s her continual desire to learn that’s helped her stay at the top of her game. She expects the same from me. Even though we’ve reached Grand Prix in our dressage training, there’s still a lot I can improve on and learn.

How about you? Are you still a student? What would you like to learn today? Grab a book or a DVD, and feed your mind today. It’s as important as feeding your body.

Love, Moshi

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

Double H Farm and Quentin Judge Host Clinic for a Cause to Benefit JDRF

Photo: Elaine Wessel/ Phelps Media Group.

Wellington, Fla. – Jan. 8, 2020 – Double H Farm opened its Wellington facility to the local community on Friday, Jan. 3, to host a clinic to benefit JDRF, the leading global organization funding type 1 diabetes research. Taught by Double H Farm’s head trainer Quentin Judge, the clinic featured various horse-and-rider pairs, each of whom were able to benefit from the international athlete’s experience while also contributing to the cause thanks to their participation. Additionally, proceeds from a raffle and silent auction were also donated to further add to the day’s generosity. The organizers of the day and Double H Farm’s close friends and vets, Dr. Leah Patipa and Dr. Axel Beccar Varela, orchestrated the day to support an organization that is close to their heart as their son was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes one year ago at only three years old.

“My son was diagnosed almost one year ago, January 22, 2019, with type 1 diabetes,” Dr. Patipa explained. “Obviously my area of connection is in the horse world, but I wanted to figure out what I could do on my own to try and raise money towards research for a cure. Money shouldn’t be an inhibiting factor in having access to new technology. Two or three months ago, I called Quentin and asked him what he thought about doing a clinic to raise money for JDRF, and he said, ‘That’s a great idea, let’s do it.'”

Founded in 1970, JDRF is a non-profit organization focused on gaining funding for type 1 diabetes research in an effort to help eradicate the disease. This funding allows JDRF to not only conduct research, but also help advocate for government advancement for their research and new therapies. To date, JDRF has funded more than $2 billion in research projects. With these efforts, JDRF is working to help improve the lives of people living with type 1 diabetes, with a mission centered on finding a way to cure, prevent and treat the disease and its complications. By accelerating life-changing breakthroughs to cure, prevent and treat type 1 diabetes and its complications, JDRF is improving lives today and tomorrow.

Dr. Patipa added, “I was very impressed with the event and we raised a ton of money in just a few hours. Everyone thought that Quentin was an amazing clinician and I received compliment after compliment. All of the vendors donated a percentage of their proceeds to JDRF as well, and we also hosted an online auction. We want to make it an annual event and make it even better next year! I cannot thank everyone enough that came together in support of the clinic, especially Quentin and Cayce. My son is only four years old, and I hope that in his lifetime they have some advancements that make his life as normal as possible.”

Judge’s clinic was divided into two different sessions based on height preferences. The morning session jumped .90m-1.0m in height, while the afternoon session jumped 1.10m-1.20m in height. For both groups, Judge catered to each horse and rider’s individual needs. Concepts like connecting with the horse for better control as well as the importance of straightness and rhythm were emphasized to each pair. With a keen eye for each horse-and-rider pair’s personal strength and weaknesses, Judge was able to provide useful advice and feedback to each rider to help better their skill sets. Emphasizing that the mastery of foundations is key to success, Judge implemented cavaletti, trot pole, and crossrail exercises before advancing to jump courses that challenged the participants to incorporate everything they had practiced.

“I have to thank everyone that contributed to our successful clinic, whether they rode, audited, or worked it. The day was a huge success and we had such a great time for a wonderful cause,” commented Judge. “JDRF is an organization that means a lot to my family, so we were proud to be able to help raise funds in our own way to further their mission and support their important work. I hope that the riders gained a lot from their experience and I looked forward to seeing each of them continue to progress in their abilities!”

For more information about JDRF, visit www.jdrf.org.

Motivation from Moshi, by Jane Savoie

All those things make you feel good right? I used to think so. I used to compliment all the other horses in the barn, thinking I would be helping their self-esteem by reminding them how great they are. But new studies indicate that this may not be the case.

An article by Po Bronson, posted in New York Magazine, states that certain types of praise can have a negative effect on the behavior of people. (For the entire article, go here: http://nymag.com/news/features/27840/.)

A study was done that indicated that if children are constantly told they are “smart” or “talented” or “the best,” it can create a situation in their minds that makes them “risk averse.” They become so sensitive to any task that isn’t immediately easy, that they stop trying. They won’t take risks that might prove to their parents or teachers that they don’t have the natural talent or brains with which they’ve been labeled. In equestrian terms, it takes away their “try.”

So, what should you do instead? Acknowledgement is important and you still want to acknowledge success and effort. However, you can change the way you “praise” by simply stating (with a positive tone in your voice) what action was actually completed, without the qualitative words like “good,” “best,” “smart,” or “talented.”

What’s the difference? Instead of saying something like “You’re really good at lead changes,” you simply state with a happy voice, “You did three lead changes!” It may sound like the same thing, but it’s NOT! To say “good lead changes” makes the statement qualitative and about YOU, the observer, and what the observer has just observed… indicating that the action has now been judged as “good.” But to say “you did three lead changes” acknowledges a FACT about what the person (or horse) factually DID. It’s only about the person who just completed the task. There is no judgement, no opinion, just the facts about what was done. And such a statement will automatically cause the subject to look back at his or herself, and say inside with pride, “Yes! I did three lead changes!” It feels so good to acknowledge the self without first seeing it through the observer’s point of view, that the behavior will most likely be repeated!

This subtle difference is very powerful. And it’s a bit confusing at first. Practice acknowledging your students, children (if you have them), and friends (both two and four legged), and see if you can just state the FACTS in a happy, appreciative voice. Then watch how they react. You may be able to see their attention switching to their inner self with a smile and a straightening of their posture. It’s very interesting to observe.

It is important that you acknowledge yourself this way, too. Rather than saying “I rode well today,” say “I rode my horse today, and we ran through First Level, test two, four times.” Or, “I went to the barn and brushed my horse today.” State what you DID, without a qualifying or judgment word. Notice how acknowledging the FACTS about what you did, changes how you feel inside.

I completed eleven one tempis in a row today! I practiced pirouettes for ten minutes today. I slept in the sun for two hours this afternoon. I dictated this message to you today. Acknowledging these facts gives me a great sense of accomplishment!

What have YOU done today? Just the facts, ma’am. Just the FACTS….

Love, Moshi

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

Motivation from Moshi, by Jane Savoie

A friend of mine in Australia wrote to me this week, expressing her excitement about learning dressage after a career on the race track. She had been a bit discouraged at her progress because she was used to being successful on the track mostly by her strong will and a strong hand. Neither are very conducive to an artful picture of riding. Once she realized that she could break dressage down into small, understandable pieces that fit together like an elegant puzzle, her sense of self-worth soared. She didn’t have to force her way into success; she could gently finesse her way to success!

The level of worthiness we feel makes a huge difference in how we live our lives. It’s true that we can never rise above nor outperform our own self-image. So if you want to improve your life, the first order of business is to improve your view of yourself.

This is easy to say, but is much harder to do. Are you open to a suggestion? Find a couple of friends you trust and feel safe with, and ask them to write down all the things about you that they LIKE. No negatives here – just the things they LIKE about you. Then do the same about yourself. Write down all the things about you that YOU like. Read these lists three times a day for 21 days. Then watch what shows up in your life!

I like my long flowing mane and tail, my shiny black coat, and my ability to do terrific pirouettes. Jane said she is most proud of my one tempis and my strong work ethic. I’m going to concentrate on these things for the next 21 days and see what happens!

In the meantime, I’m going to help the young mare who just moved into the barn with her confidence. She’s a diamond in the rough, and I want to be there with the polish! How about you? Is there someone you could help today?

Love, Moshi

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

Motivation from Moshi, by Jane Savoie

Focus. It’s the most driving force in anyone’s success. Oh sure, occasionally there are successes that just fall into your lap. But that is incredibly rare. Focus is one of those things that creates opportunity. It creates a vibration of success. The energy of the Universe aligns with your vision, and you become unstoppable.

I decided I wanted to beat Indy in a race. He’d already beat me once, so I had some history to overcome. I could have wallowed in my failure, I could have given up and just accepted that he’s the faster fellow, or I could focus on a goal and not stop until I reached it. My desire to win wasn’t about Indy at all, it was about proving that I could change my experience though my own focus and will.

So I started dreaming. That’s right: dreaming. I imagined Indy and myself running the circle around my turnout with me in the lead the entire time. I imagined “that winning feeling” of joy I was going to feel when I reached the finish line first. I did the physical work of challenging myself each time I was turned out or ridden, pushing myself a little bit farther than I thought I could go, but always added the mental emotions of joy in success and winning with each workout.

And yes, the next time Indy and I raced, I was the winner! Indy was a good sport about it, but he informed me that he’s going to work on it and beat ME next time. We’ll see!

Love, Moshi

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