Tag Archives: Jane Savoie

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

We’re all different. You know that already, right? I’m a cold blooded Friesian. My next-stall neighbor is a hot blooded Thoroughbred. We think differently, react to things differently, and like different things. Does that make one of us “wrong” and one of us “right”?

It’s a very basic instinct to be attracted to things that are like you. The old “birds of a feather flock together” idea. But many of us have advanced beyond such basic programming. Advanced beings learn to appreciate things that are different from what we’re used to.

This can be a very powerful thing when applied to working with horses. We get used to a certain way of doing things, of feeding, of training, etc., and don’t even notice that we’ve developed a habit that might benefit from a bit of tweaking. That’s why we read books, watch DVDs, hire a trainer: so we can learn from the collective knowledge of others.

Dressage riders tend to be very traditional. Sometimes new ways of doing things are frowned upon. But applying new technologies and scientific discoveries just might make dressage an even better, kinder sport for us horses. New ideas in hoof care, chiropractic, massage, new saddle fit techniques… All of those things help make us horses more comfortable and better able to perform at our highest ability. Being open to new ideas and new information helps us stay on the cutting edge of our sport.

Are you open to new things? Are you willing to look at a problem or situation from a different angle? Are you willing to ask for help?

My suggestion is: if you have a situation you want to change but don’t know where to start, ask someone for help. No matter what it is, just ASK. Find someone you think might have the answer and let him or her know that you’re searching. Most people are happy to help if you simply take the time to ask.

Love, Moshi

From Indy:

It’s time to go to the pond! Or is it time to sleep? I’m not sure. My life is all about running and sleeping and playing and sleeping and eating and, well… sleeping. Sometimes I forget what time of day it is.

Do you run a lot? I know Jane often says she has running around to do, but that’s a different thing than actually going outside and running. She is very busy with her various projects, writing, and training, among other things.

One of my jobs is to remind her to slow down and enjoy life. She can’t resist my fuzzy face when I ask for a pat or a scratch, and she almost always stops and gives me attention when I ask. I can feel her heart slow down when she is petting me. I’m her personal tranquilizer.

Are you really busy? Are you enjoying life? Take a moment to pet your dog or your horse, and enjoy their company. Really be present for them. It will be good for both of you.

Or, let’s go to the pond! I want to swim! See you there!

Love, Indy

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

Motivation from Moshi, by Jane Savoie

Did you hear the one about the fellow who stopped by his neighbor’s place to see the new Shetland pony? He went into the barn and found the cute little fellow in a stall. He was petting the pony when his friend came in and asked, “How are you today?” He responded, “I’m feelin’ a little hoarse.”

HAHAHAHA!

But, seriously… Humor can be one of the most powerful tools you have to deal with the ups and downs of life. All it takes is a willingness to look at the situation through a different lens. You can choose to release the tension of a bad or uncomfortable situation through laughter or through anger. The release of energy is similar, but one feels good and the other feels bad. Just know that the goal, releasing energy, is the same for both. YOU CHOOSE which way to do it!

For those of you who are not used to using humor to release pent up energy, it’ll take some practice. If you normally lose your temper or get irritated when something you don’t like happens, then it’s time to retrain your brain. The next time something happens that makes you mad, stop for a second and look for the humor in the situation. Allow yourself to giggle. You’ll be amazed at the shift in your body and your mind. It will also put the people around you at ease. Like Jonatan Mortenssen says, “Feelings are much like waves. We can’t stop them from coming, but we can choose which one to surf. ”

Jane dropped a whole bucket of my favorite horse treats the other day. They bounced around like little mice, rolling all over the floor, making a huge mess. Indy was so excited that he ran from one little chunk to another, trying to catch them as they rolled. Jane felt a twinge of angry frustration at the mishap. But she didn’t take her frustration out on Indy, She reminded herself that it’s not what happens, it’s how you react to it that determines the quality of your life. She noticed how funny Indy looked running from treat to treat, and she started to laugh. She quickly decided she was not going to waste even a second being upset. It wouldn’t hurt Indy to eat them, and the mess could easily be cleaned up. Getting upset was not going to help.

“I bet I can get more than you!” she shouted to Indy, as they turned it into a fun game. They raced around trying to beat each other to each treat. Jane was laughing with joy and Indy was bouncing with giddy excitement. It made me smile inside too.

Indy won the game, and Jane won a smile. We all won!

Love, Moshi

From Indy:

Life is risky. Just ask any rabbit. If I see one peeking out of the grass, I chase it. I’ve never actually caught one, but if I did, well, I suppose the wolf in me would know what to do.

Riding a horse can be risky. So is driving down the street. Heck, just about everything you do has some element of risk. Falling in love, taking the new job, trying out that new hairdo… Risky.

Children and dogs rarely analyze a situation for risk. We just jump in and do. We live life in the moment, with our emotions and enthusiasm unchecked. It’s much easier for dogs to maintain that lighthearted and honest reaction to life because we naturally live in the moment. Children have such incredible memories that their minds get trained to expect what they’ve experienced before. Sometimes the memory of past things that didn’t go as planned hold you back.

Are you living your life through your past? Are you waiting to be sure everything is perfect? Are you waiting for just the right moment to take that big leap?

What if that moment never comes? Are you okay with never trying?

People who try and fail are miles ahead of people who never try. Unfortunate are those who are always waiting for the time to be right and never set out to follow their dreams. Take a risk. There is no time like RIGHT NOW! Your dreams are waiting for you to start! But, YOU have to START!

I’m going rabbit hunting today. Would you like to go? We don’t have to catch one to have fun. Let’s just DO IT!

Love, Indy

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

Motivation from Moshi, by Jane Savoie

When I see the new foals running around, I realize that I’m not a baby anymore. But that doesn’t mean I can’t take baby steps now and then.

Sometimes a job is just too big and overwhelming to figure out exactly how to get it all done. When that’s the case, baby steps is the way to go. It’s like when my stall gets dirty. Someone has to clean it out one scoop at a time. You may not notice one scoop being removed. But when you remove ten scoops, it really makes a big difference!

What do you have to do, or want to accomplish, that seems too big for you to achieve right now? Can you break it down into little parts? Can you take baby steps? Can you accept slow progress over no progress at all?

Yesterday I heard someone joking with Jane, and asked if she knew how to eat an elephant. Jane answered, “Sure… One bite at a time.”

What’s YOUR “elephant”?

I’m still working on that ton of new hay that came in last month. I’m halfway through the stack already, one delicious mouthful at a time!

Love, Moshi

From Indy:

I’ve finally become an adult. I heard Rhett say so. Both Jane and Rhett are so happy that I’ve stopped chewing up their shoes and doing other puppyish behaviors. Of course I still like to chew on my lobster toy and the occasional bone, but I’m not as wild as I used to be. I’m becoming a grown up.

There’s a child-like quality that people tend to lose as they get older and more serious about life. But growing up doesn’t mean you have to grow old. You can still be young at heart even when life gets complicated.

That’s what I’m here for. I teach by example. My number one job is to love Rhett and Jane and to remind them to take time to enjoy whatever they’re doing. Even when it’s serious, keeping a young, child-like attitude, expecting the best and enjoying every moment, keeps them happy, balanced, and sane. I’m very good at having child-like enthusiasm, and I remind them of that when they watch me.

Are you able to learn from your dog? He or she is there to teach you how to live if you’re open to their messages. Let your dog show you how to have a happy life. It’s as simple as taking a nap when you’re tired, eating good healthy food, getting regular exercise, and sharing lots and lots of unconditional love.

Love, Indy

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

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

Motivation from Moshi, by Jane Savoie

I got mad this morning. I mean, I was really angry. My neighbor tried to steal my breakfast, a big fat fly bit me hard on the rump, and it started getting hot really early. I was so irritated I wanted to reach out and bite someone. HARD.

Have you ever had a day like that? Why is it that we sometimes want to hurt others when we’re hurting?

It’s a natural thing. We act this way when we’re looking for a way to release the uncomfortable pent up energy we have in our bodies. Dumping it on someone else works a little, but it’s not the best way to release your negative feelings. Plus, it causes problems for someone else. That’s just not fair.

So, what can you do instead? Well, if you’re a horse, you RUN. You spend that energy running as fast as you can. Throw in a few bucks and kicks too! Of course you need some turnout to do that, so hopefully you’re either in a pasture or your person turns you out where you can stretch your legs freely for a few minutes each day.

If you’re a person, get up and MOVE. Take a long walk and add in a few fast sprints now and then. If you’re in an office, find a reason to visit the farthest part of the building. Or take a break and walk with energy and purpose outdoors. Figure out a way to just MOVE!

We all need exercise, but we need it as much for our minds as our bodies.

Can you come out to the barn? We can move and release our pent up energy together!

Love, Moshi

From Indy:

I got a sharp thorn in my paw this morning. It hurt. A lot! I tried to pull it out with my teeth, but it was broken off at the skin and I couldn’t get hold of it. OUCH!

I’m so grateful that Rhett has thumbs. He had no trouble pulling the thorn out of my foot. He’s my hero! I licked his hand, and would have licked his face, if he’d have let me. He understood that I was thanking him for helping me, and I noticed that it made him smile.

Who in your life has helped you? Do you make a point of letting them know you appreciate them? Do you tell them how much of a difference they’ve made in your life? It’s so important that you do. It’s another way we share positive energy with those around us.

Moshi and I have received some wonderful e-mail from folks on Jane’s list, thanking us for sharing our motivational thoughts and ideas. It makes us feel good inside to know that Jane’s friends like to hear from us.

So, from both Moshi and me, THANK YOU for your kind words and wonderful feedback! We really appreciate it that so many of you take the time to write and let us know that you enjoy receiving our musings. Your positive energy inspires us to write more!

Now, let’s go chase a rabbit before it gets too hot!

Love, Indy

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

Motivation from Moshi, by Jane Savoie

I love to run. I love to feel the wind in my mane and the deep thrum of the earth when my big feet make contact at each powerful stride. My friends Flint and Bradley love to run too. Someday those two young fellows are going to be faster than I am, but not yet! I can still beat both of them to the barn at feeding time.

Running away from things has a bad rap. People usually believe they should stand and fight. Why is that? Sometimes this is true that you need to stand up to fight for something you believe in, but sometimes it is just as true that you will do better to stop giving the issue your energy and simply run away. Why waste your energy on things such as negative people, bad attitudes, and discouraging past events? Let them go. Allow yourself to fill your life with positive people, upbeat attitudes, and encouraging memories.

YOU get to choose who you entangle yourself with. Give your time and life energy to ideas and people who support you, uplift you, and inspire you. Let go of people, memories, or things that drain you of your precious life energy. Life is short! Don’t waste it!

Flint and I are going to have a race to the barn this afternoon. Maybe this is the day he will finally beat me. If he does, I’m going to focus on his success, be the encouraging friend, and congratulate him on improving his speed. I want to win, but I’m also a good sport and a good friend. I’ll just have to work harder and get faster too, and maybe next time I’ll win and he will congratulate me.

Meet us at the barn for the big race! And don’t forget to bring a carrot for the winner! Bring one for second place, too…

Love, Moshi

From Indy:

Good dog. Bad dog. Good and bad dog. What kind of dog am I?

There are good dogs and bad dogs, even to us dogs. I love Geoffrey because he is my best friend, and a good dog. But I’ve known some bad dogs too… dogs that wanted me to run away with them and create our own wild pack. It sounded very exciting but I knew in my heart that it was a bad thing to do.

I didn’t do it. I know right from wrong, and I’m not going to give in to the bad dogs. I stood my ground and told them that I was a good dog. My family came first. I would not run away from Jane and Rhett, and I would not join the bad dog’s wild pack. The other dogs got mad and called me names. They said it was people who were bad and we should leave them. They were very negative thinkers, and wanted me to be a negative thinker too.

Geoffrey stayed with me and didn’t run with the bad dogs. I realized he would probably have gone with me to be part of the wild pack if I had done so. It dawned on me that I was a good influence for Geoffrey. I was a good leader and a good friend. That made ME feel good. I knew my positive thinking was good for me, and also good for Geoffrey.

So instead of giving into temptation, Geoffrey and I decided to run home and away from the negative thinkers. We left those bad dogs in the dust! We ran so fast they didn’t even try to follow.

I like being a good dog. I like being a good friend. And I love my family. We’re a happy bunch and help each other focus on the good things. That’s why we get more good things!

Do you want more good things? If you were absolutely certain you’d get more of whatever you thought about, what would you think about?

Love, Indy

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

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

I hate being on a diet! Jane says I’ve eaten too much green grass this spring, and now I have to cut back. So instead of my usual long turn out in the lush pasture, I get just some hand grazing each day. The rest of the time I have to eat hay. It’s terrible! I want to eat the yummy green grass!

Sometimes you don’t get what you want. Sometimes you just have to deal with what life presents to you. It doesn’t mean you have to like it. But if it’s something you don’t have the power to change, stop resisting and accept it. Find a way to live with whatever it may be, and move on. Dwelling on things you can’t change only wastes your energy and makes you more unhappy.

There is a great poem I overheard at the barn:
“God, grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The Courage to change the things I can,
and the Wisdom to know the difference.”

I can’t convince Jane to let me eat all the grass I want, so I guess I’ll just have to learn to enjoy my hay. At least I’m not starving! If you come to the barn today, will you bring me a carrot? But don’t tell Jane. It will be our little secret!

Your Friend, Moshi

From Indy:

I got to ride in a boat today! It was scary at first, but exhilarating too. The boat went very fast. The wind felt good in my fur and in my ears. I stayed close to Jane because I didn’t want to fall out, and I knew she’d protect me. I protect her and Rhett by barking at danger and letting them know something is going on. We take care of each other.

It’s great to have someone to trust like I trust Jane and Rhett. It helps make you feel safe. Moshi trusts Jane that way too. He may be big, but he can be a scaredy cat. He’s learned that if he feels scared that he should look to Jane for reassurance. She does a great job of helping us both feel safe.

If you get scared, who do you look to for help? Do you have a friend or a spouse whom you can trust to be there for you? Do you have a dog who warns you and protects you?

Are you there for your horse when he or she gets nervous? Being the leader and taking charge is especially important when it comes to your horse. He needs your calm assurance to know he’s safe. That’s why you do leadership exercises, such as ground work and/or clicker training. It helps your horse feel safer, which makes you feel safer. Everybody wins.

I promise to scare the bad guys away from the house with my barking, if you’ll promise to scare away that big mean dog down the street! Deal?

Love, Indy

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