Tag Archives: Horse Training

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

…and many more!

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

Link to FREE DRESSAGE ARENA DIAGRAMS:

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

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

Counter-Flexing in Canter, by Jane Savoie

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Always strive to keep your horse’s neck long.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jane Savoie
1174 Hill St ext.
Berlin, VT 05602