Tag Archives: Horse Training

Motivation from Moshi, by Jane Savoie

Dressage riders tend to be perfectionists. I’ve noticed that dressage riders are often very tough on themselves if things aren’t exactly right.

What if your ride today was just a tiny bit better than it was yesterday? Would that be enough?

Jane tells people to invent reasons to celebrate. She knows that those “little bit betters” very quickly add up to a whole lot better!

When you go to the barn today, pick something to work on and notice if, at the end of your ride, it’s just a little bit better. Then celebrate!

Life is not a destination; it’s a journey.

Love, Moshi

From Indy:

Going for a walk with Jane is one of my favorite things to do. We can walk for miles, just looking at new things and taking in the interesting smells.

Jane likes to think when we walk. She comes up with some of her best ideas for her books and DVDs while quietly strolling down the long paths around where we live.

Walking is a great way to help your mind and your body. It helps strengthen your heart and your legs, and it helps calm your mind. When you’re stressed or upset, a nice long walk can really make a difference in how you feel.

Besides, your dog loves it. Be sure and take him with you.

See you on the path!

Love, Indy

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

Motivation from Moshi, by Jane Savoie

Horses think in pictures. Jane says that all super-achievers have developed the ability to clearly see what they want, in great detail, before they actually achieve it.

I found learning the tempi changes very difficult. But Jane pictured what she wanted very clearly, and then I pictured what she wanted me to do very clearly, and we got it! Now I can do lots of tempi changes without making a mistake!

What are you working on today? Picture the perfect result over and over in your mind, before you go to the barn, and again before you get on your horse. Fill in all the details. Involve all five or your senses. Then add emotion to your “mental movies”.

You’ll be amazed at what you can do!

See you at the barn!

Love, Moshi

From Indy:

I want to be a Veterinarian. I hear that is a great job. I’ve met lots of horse doctors at the barn, and think they are a nice bunch of folks.

indyI heard someone say that horses tend to colic, and sometimes they need surgery. So I got my favorite lobster toy and performed colic surgery the best way I knew how. Unfortunately, I didn’t know how to put the lobster back together.

Sometimes you need someone with skills you don’t have to help you. So I took my lobster to Jane. She put his stuffing back in and sewed him up. He is fine now.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help. You don’t have to do it alone.

Love, Indy

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

Shoulder-In, by Jane Savoie

Shoulder-in is the father of all the advanced lateral exercises. What I mean by advanced lateral exercises are exercises like shoulder-in, haunches-in, half pass, walk pirouettes, and canter pirouettes.

Shoulder-in does a lot of different things. It is a straightening exercise, a strengthening of the inside hind leg exercise, and a collecting exercise. The quality that makes shoulder-in a collecting exercise is that your horse must bend while he goes sideways. If your horse isn’t bending from poll to tail then your shoulder-in becomes a leg yield. That’s fine if you want to do a leg yield. But if you want to collect your horse–meaning you want to load the hind legs, shift the center of gravity back toward the hind legs so that the forehand is lighter and freer – then your horse must bend.

The two tips that I’m going to give you today are rider tips because you want to be sure that you’re part of the solution – not part of the problem. Next month, I’ll go over some of the things you can do to help your horse become more bendable.

  1. Keep your inside leg forward on the girth. I find that it is very common for riders to come into shoulder-in and draw their inside legs behind the girth. If you draw your inside leg behind the girth, it displaces the hindquarters out toward the rail, and your horse has no option but to leg yield. Remember, if your horse is truly bending in shoulder-in, the hindquarters stay parallel to the rail as the forehand comes in on an inside track.

You want to be sure that you aren’t drawing your inside leg behind the girth and pushing the hindquarters out. As you think about stepping into shoulder-in, exaggerate your correction by thinking about putting your inside leg a little bit forward and tucking it right up behind your horse’s elbow. It’s not really going to be behind the elbow. You just want it to be on the girth in an engaging position. But if your tendency is to draw your leg behind the girth, thinking about putting your inner leg up by the horse’s elbow will prevent you from drawing it too far back.

  1. Keep your outside leg behind the girth. The other common mistake that I see is that the rider’s outside leg is either too far forward or it is completely off the horse’s side.

Remember, it takes two legs to bend your horse – one on the girth and one behind the girth. So if your outer leg is too far forward or is away from the horse’s body, there is no way you can bend your horse around your inside leg.

One of the best rider exercises that you can do in order to make sure your outside leg is behind the girth and on your horse’s barrel is to start your shoulder-in from a haunches-in. Come through the second corner of the short side, and don’t let the hindquarters finish the corner. Keep your horse in haunches-in as you start down the long side.

In haunches-in, your bending aids are the same as they are for shoulder-in. You have a little flexion to the inside, you keep the horse’s neck from over bending his neck to the inside with the outside rein, your weight is on the inside seat bone, your inside leg is on the girth, and your outside leg is behind the girth.

Shoulder-in is the first step of a 10-meter circle continued on a straight line, and haunches-in is the last step of a 10-meter circle continued on a straight line so you should be able to slide your way from haunches-in to a shoulder-in and then back into haunches-in. This exercise will help you learn the feeling of enveloping your horse with your two legs – inside leg on the girth, and outside leg behind the girth.

To start the haunches-in, slightly increase the influence of your outside aids. Close your outside hand in a fist, and press with your outside leg behind the girth. Focus on the feeling of your outside leg pressing against your horse’s barrel.

Then keep your aids in exactly the same position as you advance forward into a shoulder-in position. To do this, relax your outside rein so that your horse can advance forward onto what is essentially the first step of a 10-meter circle. As he advances onto the circle, close your inside leg and look straight down the long side.

Do two or three strides of shoulder-in, and then go back to two or three strides of haunches-in. Then do two or three strides of shoulder-in and go back to two or three strides of haunches-in again. You should feel that your bending aids stay exactly the same as you swivel from haunches-in to shoulder-in to haunches-in to shoulder-in.

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

Horse-Training Methods for Desensitization

Journal photo.

The head is a very delicate area, and many horses show confidence problems when touched here.

By desensitizing this zone, you will make life considerably easier for you and your horse. You will be able to treat his eyes, administer deworming paste, and have him examined by the dentist without any problems. Grooming the mane or clipping the poll and ears will not result in a head-butt, and you will be able to bridle the horse without him becoming defensive.

Once you can stroke all parts of his head, ears, eyes and mouth, you will be able to deal with him much more easily.

Ears: With the horse’s head lowered, run your hand slowly along his neck toward the ears. Then withdraw your hand just before he reacts.

Eyes: To pass your hand across his eyes, start from an area where he accepts your touch. Using a circular movement, gradually approach his eye, taking care to withdraw your hand before he reacts and move it to an area where he appreciates being touched.

Mouth: To touch his mouth, you must start by touching his lips. Gradually insert your finger into his mouth in the gap between his teeth where the bit lies. Bear in mind that you should reward absence of reaction with relaxation and that you must patiently persist if the horse reacts. Make sure the horse has understood that as soon as he accepts something which is in principle unpleasant, it will stop. If he knows he can find your “off switch,” he will accept you more easily.

Horsemanship Concepts:

  • The difference between sensitization and desensitization in horses just depends on the moment at which you stop.
  • Your horse’s reactions are not personal; they are just natural.
  • Do it for the horse, not to him.

Head to AQHA Daily to continue reading about desensitizing your horse.

American Quarter Horse Association
1600 Quarter Horse Drive
Amarillo, TX 79104

Motivation from Moshi, by Jane Savoie

QUESTIONS

Jane talks a lot about high quality questions. To understand what that means, you have to be able to know the difference between a low quality question and a high quality question.

A low quality question can only give you a low quality answer and tends to create more of what you DON’T want. A low quality question usually starts with “Why?” or “How come?”

Such as, if you say “Why did I pull on the left rein in that transition…” your mind will search for an answer and probably tell you “…because you’re uncoordinated and not a very good rider.”

So, instead of saying, “Why did I forget the ten meter circle at E?” you could say, “What’s the best way for me to remember to do a ten meter circle at E?” Another example might be “How come my horse is so resistant to stretching into the bit?” rephrased into “What’s the best way for me to learn how to teach my horse to stretch into the contact?”

One way looks for problems, which programs you for more problems and destroys your self-confidence. The other way looks for solutions, which programs your mind for solutions. It may seem like a small difference, but it really isn’t small at all. It’s HUGE!

Your horse is very excited to know you’re going to be at the barn soon!

Love, Moshi

From Indy:

Rhett and I have a lot of fun playing together. He’s very good at throwing the ball. He can throw FAR! Sometimes I bring the ball back, and sometimes I like to keep it. Rhett doesn’t like it when I won’t return the ball. He chases me and makes loud noises. It is great fun!

Jane asked Rhett one day why I don’t always bring back the ball. Rhett said he didn’t know, but decided to watch what happens if he doesn’t make a big fuss over me not retrieving the ball.

indyThe next time we played I decided I’d keep the ball for myself. Rhett didn’t get mad. He just turned away and went to do something else. He left me with nothing to do! That was no fun at all. It was much more fun when he chased me and tried to get me to give it back.

So, I took the ball to him, dropped it at his feet, and asked him to throw it for me. He did!

I caught it and considered keeping it. But I realized that I wouldn’t get any attention if I didn’t take the ball right back to him. When I did, Rhett praised me and gave me a good pat. Then he threw the ball again. That was wonderful! I decided that I like attention I get doing the right thing more than I like keeping the ball and being ignored. I decided that from now on I’m going to take the ball right back to him.

Many training issues are like that. If you don’t give them attention or energy, they dissipate. If you give them lots of attention, they fester and grow.

Positive reinforcement for doing the right thing is much better than a correction for doing the wrong thing.

Let’s go play ball! I promise I’ll bring it back.

Love, Indy

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

Motivation from Moshi, by Jane Savoie

What inspires you? A beautiful painting? Lovely music? Gorgeous scenery? A perfectly performed dressage test?

I’m inspired by physical comforts. I enjoy being brushed, eating carrots, and napping in deep, soft shavings. I’m also inspired by a job well done. Jane lets me know with her tone of voice and stroke down my long neck when I’ve performed well. That makes me warm and satisfied inside.

Finding inspiration can be difficult if you’re in a rut. Being in a rut means you’re stuck, and you can’t see out. So if you’re lacking vision to see out, perhaps it’s time to look within. Look inside and remind yourself of times in your past when you were excited about something. Is that emotional charge still there? What was it about that time that inspired you? What was going on in your life?

Once you’ve rekindled the feeling within, then it’s time to look outside of yourself and discover new ways to inspire that same excitement. Perhaps you need a new hobby or a new career. It could be time for a change of scenery. Whatever it is, know that inspiration is everywhere. You just need to look for it.

I’m enjoying the cool weather of Vermont. That inspires me to be playful in my turnout. Would you like to join me? I’ll chase you, and then you chase me! Then we’ll eat carrots. I promise to share.

Love, Moshi

From Indy:

I caught a ball midair today, right over the pond! When I went into the water, I held tight onto the ball. I got water up my nose, but I didn’t let go! Rhett was proud of me. He laughed when I snorted the pond water out my nose. I took the ball back to him and then shook hard, getting him really wet. Then it was my turn to laugh.

IndyJane heard the noise and came down to investigate. I guess seeing both Rhett and me soaked with water was pretty funny because she started to laugh too. Rhett stepped into the pond and splashed water at Jane with his hand. She squealed as the cool water hit her. The three of us were giggling so hard we didn’t hear Ruth sneaking up behind us. Ruth had a bucket of water and tossed it on all three of us! I started barking while Jane and Rhett chased Ruth down the hill to the barn. That got Ruth’s corgis excited, so they started chasing us, too. It was a noisy party!

We all got to the barn, panting. It was great fun. I could feel my blood rushing through my veins as I sucked down the warm air. That powerful life force moving through my body felt so good! Jane was still laughing through her gasps for oxygen, leaning on her knees to open her lungs. My friends’ faces were flushed with energy and color. I could tell they felt good.

Exercise is one of the fastest ways to help yourself feel better. No matter what your mood, a good run or a deep, long laugh will lift your spirits like nothing else. Science has proven that regular aerobic exercise is more powerful than antidepressant drugs for anxiety and depression. And it’s cheaper, too!

So, the next time you feel sad or depressed, come on over! I’ll chase you around the pond and ask Ruth to sneak up and throw a bucket of water on you. You’ll feel better in no time!

Love, Indy

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

Motivation from Moshi, by Jane Savoie

Praise. It’s an interesting concept. At first blush it seems simple enough: do a good job, get praised. But what if the job you did didn’t feel particularly good to YOU? Have you ever been praised for something that you were not particularly proud of? Made the praise uncomfortable, didn’t it?

Horses don’t over-think things the way people do. Our favorite kind of praise is when you STOP ASKING and get quiet. Oh, and carrots. I’ll do just about anything for a carrot.

Praising someone too much can make the praise meaningless. Even worse, when the praise doesn’t feel real to the praisee, it makes a person stop trying. They don’t want the praiser to realize the praise is not deserved, so they become hesitant to try. They become LESS confident, not more.

So how do you praise someone and have it affect them in a positive way? It’s actually very simple. Just ACKNOWLEDGE WHAT THEY DID without any qualifying statements. Instead of saying “you rode great today!” be specific and say “you did several correct canter departs today!” The difference is subtle, but powerful.

Just for today, praise those around you by simply acknowledging what they did, without any qualifying praise statements. Watch their faces and notice how they react to your words. Of course, you can bring ME carrots!

Love, Moshi

From Indy:

The neighbor’s cat was teasing me again today. She said I was a flea riddled, flop eared, rabbit chaser. Jane and Rhett keep me brushed and bathed, so I know I don’t have fleas. I have floppy ears, but that’s normal for my breed. And yes, I do chase rabbits. I’m a dog. That’s what we do! What’s wrong with that?

I know the cat was trying to get a reaction out of me. She was trying to hurt my feelings. What I don’t understand is, WHY? Why does the cat want me to feel bad? What does she get out of causing me to question myself?

IndyI talked to Moshi about it. He said there are folks in the world who feel really badly about themselves, so they project those bad feelings onto others. Rarely will a secure, happy person try to cause another person distress. He told me that what the cat says about me, actually says much more about the cat than it does about me. He suggested that I not engage in the discussion and let the cat know that I’m not interested in playing this unfriendly game. By not engaging, the cat will have to take her need for negative drama elsewhere.

Sometimes you just have to step out of a negative situation. Let the mean girls go. Engaging gets you nowhere. If you’ve done nothing you need to correct or make amends for, let it go. Perpetuating the drama will just continue to hurt your feelings. It’s a no-win situation. Instead, find something positive to put your full attention on. Directing your energies toward upbeat goals is a great way to establish personal boundaries while maintaining your inner peace.

I know I’m a good dog. Jane and Rhett love me a lot. That’s enough for me.

Love, Indy

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

Favorite Mustang Trainer, Jimbo Albritton, Embarks on Next Wild Horse Training Journey

Photo courtesy of SDPhotography.

Jacksonville, FL (July 14, 2016) – It’s been over two months since the Extreme Mustang Makeover drew crowds to the Jacksonville Equestrian Center to watch recently tamed Mustangs perform impressive feats before being auctioned off to permanent homes. Local Jacksonville trainer and Extreme Mustang Makeover entry Jimbo Albritton, though, has still not gotten his chance to exhibit his Mustang in the competition due to a last-minute injury. So after spending time this summer training at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center, Albritton will be heading to the next Extreme Mustang Makeover with the support of the Jacksonville community behind him.

It was a perfect example that things don’t always go as planned – especially in the horse world – when Jimbo Albritton’s assigned Mustang mare, Penney, tore a suspensory before the Extreme Mustang Makeover at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center in May. Albritton opted to pull her out of the competition rather than have her endure any unnecessary pain. Although the rules of the competition still stood for Penney – the Mustangs must be auctioned off after spending 100 days working with a trainer – there proved to be luck in store for Albritton and the Mustang mare.

Albritton’s “lucky Penney” has had her fair share of luck (especially since landing in Albritton’s care). Instead of her going to a new home, one of Albritton’s sponsors purchased Penney for him so that he could continue to give her the care she needs to heal.

“Penney is now doing much better than expected and is healing great,” Albritton said. “She is now getting some monitored turn out in a small paddock. She has not been lame at all. She will have a re-check with her vet most likely in the beginning of August, and then hopefully we can start riding her again. It may be a far stretch, but we do have a ranch horse show at the end of September that I think she would be very successful in. If the vet clears her to work, I may try conditioning her back for that. If not, we will wait to do those shows next year and, in the meantime, she will be my go-to horse at the ranch for working the new colts and cow work. She will also be ridden by my two-year-old little girl Kendall, because that is who she really belongs to!”

While Penney rehabilitates, Albritton is keeping busy with many other endeavors, including signing up for the next Extreme Mustang Makeover competition that will be held in Fort Worth, Texas, on September 15-17. For this competition, he was assigned a new Mustang called Cassius. The 100 days that Albritton spends transforming Cassius from a wild horse to a trained horse will include riding and clinics at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center. The 80-acre facility features an enormous indoor arena for all all-weather riding, several outdoor arenas, more than 400 stalls, and accessibility to miles of trails.

Albritton and Cassius will be at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center for the Double Up Horsemanship Clinic on July 16-17, a clinic that Albritton is co-instructing with Mike Woodard. While Cassius isn’t quite ready to participate in the clinic, Albritton plans to trailer him out to get him exposure to a new setting and the stimulus that horses experience at an event.

The Jacksonville Equestrian Center is proud to be a part of helping the area’s favorite Mustang trainer with his newest project, and also stands behind Albritton in his efforts outside of the arena. Albritton is currently dedicating time to helping two local residents overcome tragedies. On July 9, he held a benefit barrel race for Jacee Beth Thomas at Albritton’s facility in Green Coves Springs. Barrel racer Thomas was injured in an accident when a train struck her car, and she is now on the long and costly road to recovery. Albritton hopes that the proceeds from the event will help provide Thomas and her family with some financial support.

Albritton is also working with the organization Dreaming of Three to help brighten the life of Kasen, a young cancer patient. Albritton plans to host an event that will let the young boy experience the animals on Albritton’s ranch amidst friends, family, and supporters in Jacksonville. Albritton also hopes to have a blood donation bus at the event, as Kasen is in need of blood donations. For more information on how to contribute to these efforts, contact Albritton at james.albritton@rocketmail.com.

Meanwhile at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center, other events open to the public will immediately follow the Double Up Horsemanship Clinic. Next up will be Community Night Schooling on July 19, and then the #GetLikeHeather Car Show on July 30. For more information, visit www.jaxequestriancenter.com or call Penny Gorton at (904) 255-4227.

For more information, contact:
Jacksonville Equestrian Center
Penny Gorton 904-255-4227
PGorton@coj.net
13611 Normandy Blvd, Jacksonville, FL 32221

Motivation from Moshi, by Jane Savoie

There are strong leaders, passive leaders, dictators, feckless guides, and bullies. What kind of leader are you?

Horses appreciate a good leader. We may challenge you now and then, but we hope you’re strong enough to stand up to our testing. There are very few of us who really want to be the leader. We want YOU to lead and be in charge of keeping us safe. We relax when we’re confident that you’re taking responsibility for the both of us.

Being the leader can be tough for some people. Some humans think it’s “mean” to take charge. They think they’re being kind by letting us make our own decisions. This isn’t how horses think. If we have confidence in your strong leadership, we allow ourselves to relax. If you don’t take charge, most of us will. We’ll look for things to be wary of, which often results in spooking. If we’re the ones left in charge, we expect you to be nothing but a passenger. We may still like you, but we also lose respect for you.

One of the ways you let us know that you’re in charge is by moving our feet. In horse language, he who moves the other guy’s feet is the boss. It’s that simple. Just by taking the leadrope and asking us to step sideways a few steps, take a few steps backward, and then move out forward, you let us know that you’re in charge. Just remember that you have to be in charge when you get on our backs, too!

Are you a good leader for your horse? Do you have the tools you need to remind your horse that he is safe with you in charge? Be fair, but be firm. Be a good, clear guide. Your horse won’t resent your leadership. In fact, he craves it.

Love, Moshi

From Indy:

I have big teeth and strong jaws. I could tear a person apart if I wanted to. But I would never do that. Why? Because I also have a big, loving heart. I would never hurt my people. We’re a pack. We are family.

IndyBeing a predator, I have a different kind of mind from Moshi. Jane and Rhett are predators, too. That’s one of the reasons dogs and humans get along so well. We have an established family that depends on each other for our survival. Jane and Rhett provide food and shelter, and I provide protection and love. It’s a cooperative agreement.

Moshi is a prey animal, but he’s learned to trust some predators. He’s not afraid of me or of Jane. His experience with us gives him confidence in his safety. He’s been around humans and dogs since birth, so we’re not a big deal to him. I’ve been around Moshi all my life, so even though he’s more than ten times my size, I’m not afraid of him either.

Are there things you’re afraid of? Having someone you trust to help you can be the key to changing fear into fortune. It’s one of the reasons why it’s a great idea to have a trainer help you with your riding. Someone who’s been there can help you get there, too. Confidence is something you earn by being successful. You can’t just will confidence into being.

Are you confident that you’re going to reach your goals? If not, find someone you trust who can help you get there. A little support can make all the difference.

Love, Indy

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

Motivation from Moshi, by Jane Savoie

I ran into an old friend at a horse show last week. He was showing at fourth level and was struggling with consistent, clean flying lead changes. He was embarrassed about it but asked for advice anyway. I was flattered that he’d ask me for help.

I explained that timing was everything in lead changes and in life. The key was making sure he listened to his rider’s commands and changing his hind legs at the moment he felt the cue. If he or his rider waited too long, or started too soon, he’d miss his chance to do the change correctly. He thought about it and realized he was hesitant to change because his rider’s command was a bit wishy-washy and unclear. That moment of hesitation made it impossible for him to do a clean change.

How often do we hesitate to do things we want to do? Sometimes we’re not sure what action to take. Occasionally we wait for someone else to tell us what to do. Sometimes we’re afraid of failing. Often it’s the scary unknown consequences of our actions that make us pause.

There is power in boldness. Charging ahead in spite of being unsure is one way to create a very satisfying life. Of course, there’s always the chance you might make a mistake or fail, but failure is not always a bad thing. Learn from the failure and move on. The only time you’ve truly failed is if you don’t even try.

What would you do today if you knew you couldn’t fail? What would happen if you did fail? Is it worth the risk?

Love, Moshi

From Indy:

Dogs and cats aren’t supposed to get along. I suppose in the wild we’d be competing for food, and that might make us enemies. But I love cats. Some of my best friends are cats.

IndyMy dog friend Stubbs told me I was stupid for liking cats. That really hurt my feelings. For a couple of days I stopped saying “Hi” to the barn kitties, trying to be more like other dogs. I even chased the old gray tabby across the driveway and up a tree. Tabby was surprised and hurt that I would do that. I was secretly ashamed, but I wanted Stubbs to think I was as tough as he was.

Jane took me aside and asked what was going on. She knew I liked cats and couldn’t figure out why my behavior toward them had changed. I put on a mean face and told her I was a wolf that ate cats for lunch. Then I growled my deepest wolf-growl. She paused, staring me in the eyes, and then started to laugh. That made me laugh too. I realized I was being ridiculous. Jane told me I could pretend to be a wolf if I wanted to but asked me not to lose who I really was. She loved me for ME, not who Stubbs thought I should be.

Laughter is a great way to defuse a tense situation. If you can find the humor in a conflict or upsetting event, you’ll completely change the energy around it. Laughing releases tension in your body as well as your mind. Laughter truly is the best medicine, especially if you can laugh at yourself. Give it a try!

Love, Indy

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