Tag Archives: Horse Training

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

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

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

Motivation from Moshi, by Jane Savoie

One of the hardest things I’ve ever learned to do is the one-tempi changes. It’s like a whole new gait I didn’t know I could do. I was confused and a little bit frustrated when Jane started teaching me to do them. There was a point when felt exasperated, and I wanted to give up. But I know that life’s challenges are not supposed to paralyze you. They’re supposed to help teach you what you’re really made of. These challenges help you discover who you really are.

I’m an athlete. I know that. I made the decision that I wasn’t going to accept failure. So after a deep breath, I calmed my mind and really concentrated on what Jane was asking. Suddenly I was doing multiple one-tempis down the long side of the arena! Jane was so thrilled, she stopped, jumped out of the saddle, and hugged me around the neck! I knew I’d finally done it!

Today the one-tempis are easy for me. But it’s taken a lot of practice to get to this point. The key has been that we never even considered giving up. We accepted the challenge, took it one day at a time, and spent a lot of time visualizing, breathing, and practicing each piece of the puzzle. And now I’m showing at Grand Prix!

I’ve heard people around the barn say that life is hard. You can simply accept that and be upset about it if you want to. Or, you can take that negative idea as a positive challenge to see what you’re made of. The only wrong answer to the question “Can I do it?” is: “I’m not going to try.”

Come to the barn and watch me skip down the long side! I’m really good at it now!

Love, Moshi

From Indy:

There’s nothing I love more than to spend the day in the water. I get so excited when Rhett and Jane throw sticks in the pond for me to retrieve. The sticks keep moving as they float away in the waves, so it’s a challenge to grab them. I love a challenge.

I decided I would see if I could catch the stick before it hit the water. I would jump as far as I could into the pond, just as Rhett threw the stick. Occasionally I caught it in the air, before I even got wet! It was great fun.

Yesterday I jumped into the water just as Rhett let go of the stick, and it landed on my head instead of in the pond. It really hurt! I cried. Rhett felt bad and decided to take me home. But in a few moments the pain subsided, and I was ready to go again! I wasn’t going to let a little setback stop our fun! I let him know that I was okay and ready to try again.

I could have concentrated on the bump on my head and had a bad day for the rest of the day. I probably could have stretched it out for a week if I really wanted to. But I decided to put my attention on what I wanted, which was to have fun, instead of what I didn’t want, which was the sore bump on my head.

Do you ever think more about the bumps and bruises of life than the good places where you’d rather be headed? Just being aware of that tendency, is the first and most powerful step in changing it.

Are you good at throwing sticks? Let’s go to the pond and see how far you can throw one! I’ll bring it back to you.

Love, Indy

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

Register for the FREE USHJA Zone 4 Clinic with Tony Sgarlata

Photo: Alison Hartwell Photography.

Have you registered yet for the free USHJA Zone 4 Riding Clinic with Tony Sgarlata? Scheduled for Monday, June 19th at the Georgia International Horse Park during the Atlanta Summer Classics, the clinic will focus on General Horsemanship including flat work and jumping techniques that will improve your show ring performance for the Hunters, Jumpers and Ponies.

Clinician Tony Sgarlata is a well-known and respected USEF “R” Judge, Rider, Trainer and Coach. The clinic is FREE for Zone 4 Riders and is filled on a first-come, first-served basis.  In the Pony section, besides teaching flat work and jumping, Tony will also instruct participants on how to properly model their ponies. The Hunter and Equitation section will address flat work, jumping skills and include Handy Hunter, Equitation and Hunter Classic strategies to win. The Jumpers will focus on winning techniques. Tony looks forward to giving back to the sport, interacting with riders and providing insight into what is expected when showing and how the USEF judges score riding skills. The Riding Clinic is FREE for all USHJA Zone 4 Members and is filled on a first-come, first-served basis. Contact Janet McCarroll at gcclassic@aol.com to register and for more information.

ClassicCompany.com
GulfCoastClassicCompany.com
Phone/Fax: (843) 768-5503
Post Office Box 1311, Johns Island, SC 29457

Hanneke Gerritsen Para Dressage/Dressage Symposium and Schooling Show June 2-4

Lyman, Maine – May 22, 2017 – Carlisle Academy Integrative Equine Therapy & Sports, recognized as a USEF/USPEA National Para-Equestrian Dressage Center of Excellence, will host a Para Dressage/Dressage Symposium and Evaluation Ride Schooling Show June 2-4, with Hanneke Gerritsen. Hanneke Gerritsen is a FEI 5* Paralympic Dressage Judge and Deputy Chair of the FEI Technical Committee. Gerritsen will offer an educational and interactive symposium packed with information and training for riders and coaches. The symposium will be held at the Carlisle Academy located in Lyman, Maine. Friday & Saturday, June 2-3, 2017, includes the Dressage & Para-Dressage Symposium, followed by Sunday, June 4, Dressage & Para-Dressage Schooling Show. Para-dressage athletes, dressage riders, and interested veterans are encouraged to attend. For more information about dates, activities, or biographies, please visit http://carlisleacademymaine.com/programs/sports-education/para-dressage-education-training/ or contact Sarah Armentrout, Head of School, at sarmentrout@carlisleacademymaine.com or 207-985-0374.

This will be Hanneke Gerritsen’s fifth visit to Carlisle Academy. During the symposium riders will have 45-minute private mounted sessions each day along with lecture-based education. Trained program horses are available. PATH Instructors and Dressage Coaches are encouraged to audit lessons and participate in coach development sessions. A USEF National Classifier will be available for classification. A Sports Medicine Veterinarian will lecture and utilize horses for demonstrations. Veterans may participate free of charge and are encouraged to audit to learn more about the sport, in collaboration with to an Adaptive Sports Grant provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Participants will receive a bound manual on a variety of topics with accompanying lectures on Para-Dressage Classification Process, Introduction to Para-Dressage Competition, A Judge’s Perspective on Winning Rides/Video Analysis, Musical Freestyle Tips, Adaptive Equipment & Compensation Aids, Paralympic Military Program, and Common Equine Athlete Soft Tissue Injuries. Sunday’s schooling show is open to symposium participants, but is managed under a separate registration.

For more information about the USPEA, please visit www.USPEA.org or contact USPEA President Hope Hand by e-mail: hope@uspea.org or by phone: (610)356-6481.

Motivation from Moshi, by Jane Savoie

What is excellence to you? Is it finding a specific purpose for your life? Or perhaps it’s getting over 70 percent on a dressage test? Or maybe it’s as simple as getting the right canter lead every time you ask.

We all have different ideas of excellence. And there’s nothing quite like the amazing feeling of knowing that you did your very best, and it all came together perfectly in that moment.

Excellence doesn’t happen by accident. It’s a decision. It’s hours and hours of practice, coupled with a burning desire to be the best you can be. It’s doing everything you can to learn, improve, and achieve; while not accepting less than your very best. If excellence is your goal, you must give it your all and not settle for anything less.

When I first arrived at Jane’s barn, she was very excited but was also a little bit concerned. She could see that I was young, strong, and beautiful, but she had no way of knowing if I had it in me to give her everything I had hidden inside. She needed a partner who was willing to work hard and strive for the very best. She needed a horse for whom excellence was important.

We made a deal that day. She promised she’d take good care of me, treat me with respect and kindness, and teach me all she knew. In return she asked if I’d promise to do all I could to learn what she could teach me, and give her 100% every time we were together. I agreed. And so our journey began.

Is excellence part of your goals? Does it matter to you that you’re the best you can be? If it is, then set a clearly defined goal of what excellence looks like to you. And then do whatever it takes to achieve that goal. Start small if that’s more comfortable for you, but start. Just START. And don’t accept less than your defined vision of excellence.

Jane and I strive for excellence today. Do you?

Love, Moshi

From Indy:

It’s so much fun to go out in the yard and catch the sticks and balls Rhett and Jane throw for me! As I get older, I get better and better at catching things mid-air.

My eye-mouth coordination continues to improve with practice. And I’m willing to practice all day! Unfortunately, Rhett and Jane don’t have all day to throw things for me, but they do make sure I get to practice playing catch every single day.

Being really good at something makes me feel warm inside. I’m proud of how high I can jump to catch a ball in the air. I feel good about my ability to run really fast. It’s not arrogant to be proud of your accomplishments. On the contrary, it’s good for you to acknowledge what you can do! It’s only arrogant if you use your successes to belittle others or try to make them feel small.

We’re all on this trek through life together. No man (or woman, or dog) is an island. What affects one of us, affects all of us in some way. How can your goal of being good at what you do help someone else? Perhaps you can set a good example. Or perhaps you can teach someone what you did to achieve your goal. Be generous, and it will come back to you in a good way.

Let’s go play catch! I want to show you how high I can jump!

Your Friend, Indy

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

Motivation from Moshi, by Jane Savoie

A new horse came to the barn today. She is very young. I was in the arena with Jane when she arrived. She saw us practicing some upper level movements, and it embarrassed her. She told a friend of mine that she was ashamed that she didn’t know very much, and was afraid to talk to me since I obviously know a great deal.

That surprised me, and made me sad. She is young and hasn’t had much training. Why should she be shy about what she can or can’t do? I’ve been around awhile and have lots of experience. She’s just starting out. I don’t like it that she’s intimidated by me.

I heard Jane tell someone that you don’t have to be an advanced rider to be a really GOOD rider. Just be the best at what you’re doing now! My friends who are working at their training level foundations are just as hard working and dedicated as I am at Grand Prix. I’ve just been at it longer.

If you get a twinge of self-doubt when you meet someone who is more advanced than you, remember: he or she was once were where you are now. There is no reason to be shy or embarrassed. Just do the best that you can do, right where you are at this moment. If you chose to grow and improve, give it your energy and do so. If you’re happy with what you’re doing and don’t want to move to the next level, acknowledge that fact and allow yourself to be satisfied.

I’m going to go ask that young mare if she’d like to play with me today. I’m going to do my best to let her know that she’s okay, just the way she is. If she’s open to it, perhaps I’ll show her something new. And perhaps she has new things to show me as well!

Who at your barn could use your kind support today?

Your friend, Moshi

From Indy:

I’m a water dog! When I’m not in the woods chasing lions and tigers and bears, I’m swimming in the creeks and ponds looking for sharks! I’ve never found any, but that’s okay. I just love to swim! I especially like it when Rhett throws sticks in the pond for me to retrieve. I am a Retriever, after all!

My friend Geoffrey doesn’t like the water as much as I do. It makes his hair so curly that he thinks he looks silly. But I don’t care if Geoffrey looks silly. I love him just the way he is. I don’t tease him about his curly hair because I know it hurts his feelings, and I never want Geoffrey to feel bad. He’s my friend, after all. I would never want to hurt my friend.

Whomever you love, it doesn’t matter what they look like, smell like, whether they are rich or poor, or if they can swim as good as you. You just accept them for who and what they are. You see beyond the outside stuff, and feel them all warm and cozy in your heart.

Can you feel your friends in your heart? Close your eyes and notice. And remember what a gift it is to have friends in your life. Be kind to them. Remember that hurting them also hurts you. Think before you gossip or criticize. You’ll be happier in your own heart when you treat your friendships with trust and respect.

It’s hot today. Let’s get Geoffrey and go swimming! But don’t tease him about his curly hair, okay?

Love, Indy

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

Use Leg Yielding to Help Pick Up the Correct Canter Lead, by Jane Savoie

Somewhere in most horses’ training, usually when they are still green, they have trouble picking up one or both canter leads. If that happens to you, try using leg-yielding to increase the size of a circle to solve this problem.

This exercise works because it increases the flexion and bend, and horses will pick up whatever lead they’re bent and flexed toward. If you’re tracking to the left and your horse keeps picking up the right lead, chances just before the canter depart, he throws himself into right bend and right flexion.

To ask for the leg-yield to increase the circle size, first spiral onto a smaller circle – 10 or 15 meters.

Then to start the leg yield, shift your body weight from your inside seatbone to your outside seatbone if you’re sitting the trot, or from your inside stirrup to your outside stirrup if you’re in posting trot. That difference in your body weight tells him, “go sideways,” as opposed to just staying on the circle.

Also, be sure to look where you’re going as you leg-yield out to increase the size of the circle.

While you’re still go sideways, sit the trot for a stride or two while blending in the aid for the canter by brushing your outside leg back once like a windshield wiper-like action while you’re still going sideways.

Keep your inside leg on the girth to support the bend. If you’ve kept the bend while going sideways, he should pick up the correct lead.

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