Tag Archives: Jane Savoie

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

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

Motivation from Moshi, by Jane Savoie

Moshi: Liz Ritz Photography.

Dressage riders tend to be a very driven group of folks. It’s such a demanding sport, it’s natural that it attracts Type A personalities. It takes a real work ethic to be good at something this challenging, so those who get into the competitive part of the sport tend to overdo much more than underdo. Jane and most of her friends and students work very hard and have a difficult time taking time to just RELAX!

I’m not like that at all. Being a Friesian, it is natural for me to be fairly laid back. Sure, I get excited sometimes, but for the most part being quiet and easy going is natural for me. My gift to Jane is reminding her that someone can be relaxed and go with the flow of life, and still be very successful.

There is a time for work, and there is a time for play. There is a time to be driven and give it all you have, and there is the time for rest and recharging.

If you’re feeling tired or burned out, perhaps it’s time to do something different. Maybe today is the day to go to bed early, and perhaps even sleep in. Or maybe just sitting on the back patio and watching the sun go down while listening to some soothing music is the best thing to help you to recharge.

Remember, if you try to cut down a tree with a dull saw, it will take forever. If you stop and sharpen the saw, you will cut it down in no time. Rest is the same as sharpening your own personal saw. Stop. Take a break. You’ll be better at what you do, and happier doing it, for spending the time to recharge.

I’m going to go rest in the warm sun. Would you like to join me?

Love, Moshi

From Indy:

It was hot today. I’m not nearly as energetic in the heat as I am when it is cold.

So today I slept in. I lounged in the warm sun and let it bake my bones. It felt so good! When it got too hot, I came inside to sleep in my soft bed. It was wonderful.

Figuring out what you want sometimes requires that you pay attention to the opposite. It’s called contrast. If I realize I’m too hot lying in the sun, I go inside. I don’t focus on the heat and complain about how hot it is; I simply recognize that I want something different and make it so.

When I go into the house, I let myself feel grateful for how good the nice cool air feels. I don’t leave my attention out in the hot sun. I enjoy what I have NOW.

Do you ever leave your attention on what you don’t want? Does it serve you in any way?

If you don’t like your NOW, change something. If you do like your now, don’t think about what you didn’t like in your past. Be NOW!

(Yawn!) Right now, I want a NAP!

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

Dressage Coach and Ballroom Dancer Jane Savoie to Compete during AEGT Week IX

Jane Savoie and Clifton Sepulveda. Photo by Phelps Media Group.

Wellington, Fla. – March 6, 2017 – American Equestrians Got Talent (AEGT) Week IX, sponsored by On Course Consignment, is scheduled for Wednesday, March 8, at 6 p.m. at the Grande Ballroom at 12150 Forest Hill Boulevard, directly behind the town hall. Week IX will include a number of dance performances, including ballroom, ballet, tap and precision dance teams.

Jane Savoie has been a member of the United States Dressage Team and competed internationally. She was the reserve rider for the Bronze medal winning Olympic Dressage Team in Barcelona, Spain and has won nine Horse of the Year awards and three National Freestyle Championships. Savoie was the 1996 and 2004 dressage coach for the Canadian Eventing Team at the Atlanta and Athens Games. She also coached several top dressage and eventing riders in their preparations for the 2000 Games and helped rider Susan Blinks secure a bronze medal for the U.S. Dressage Team. Savoie is also a best-selling author.

Ballroom dancing and dressage have similarities. Both pursuits require athleticism and precision Savoie began ballroom dancing five years ago and now competes. She says that each dance has a particular character and that it is like acting. “Waltz is very dreamy, and foxtrot is kind of cheeky, and rhumba is very sexy and sensual,” she said. “Every dance has a character, so you not only have to connect with your partner but you have to connect with the audience while showing the character of the dance with your attitude and your face.”

The AEGT audience will get a treat as Savoie and her partner and other dance acts vie for a spot at the AEGT Finale scheduled for March 19 at the Global Dressage stadium. That talented contestant will earn the grand prize of $10,000. Robert Dover, chef d’equipe of the U.S. Dressage Team, created AEGT as a way to raise funds for U.S. Equestrian High Performance Programs. AEGT showcases the talents of anyone associated with the equestrian community in South Florida and raises much-needed funds for the international equestrian disciplines. This will be the final AEGT audition event and all the finalists will be announced, including Dover’s two wild card picks.

“This night of dance will make your heart feel good and your toes start tapping,” Dover said.

For AEGT Week IX, sponsored by On Course Consignment, the celebrity judges include Ben Schultz, Sherry Tautiva, Chris and Rob Desino and P. J. Rizvi.

Ben Schultz is a principal dancer with the Martha Graham Dance Company, the world’s most important contemporary dance company. Martha Graham and her company forever altered the scope of the art form and inspired generations of choreographers. Schultz joined the Company in 2009 and dances leading roles including King Hades in Clytemnestra and Jason in Cave of the Heart. He premiered Martha Graham’s work in Russia performing Errand into the Maze with prima ballerina Diana Vishneva. Earlier dance credits include the Tony Award® winning Blast, the Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble, and Hannah Kahn Contemporary Dance. Schultz has served as faculty and resident choreographer for the Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities. Schultz recently starred in the world premiere of AXE, a work created by Mats Ek for the Company.

Sherry Tautiva is a ballroom dancer, coach and choreographer. Tautiva won a number of dance competitions, including the Eastern United States, the Middle United States, and the California Star Ball Championships and the title of Ohio Star Ball Champion (of PBS television’s Championship Ballroom Series). She reached the finals of both the USBC (US Open to the World Dancesport Championships) and La Classique du Quebec (Canadian Open Championships). Culminating her career, she won the title of North American Latin Dance Champion. She also performed as lead dancer for Kenny Vance Videos shown on MTV.

Tautiva coached and choreographed for Olympic and World Figure Skaters, including the National Champions of France, Poland, Russia and the United States, to name a few. Many of her dance students have gone on to perform on Broadway, TV and to compete and teach all over the world.

Chris and Rob Desino are real estate professionals and founders of Ocala Horse Properties and Wellington Equestrian Realty. They competed in the hunters and rowing during their youth and were U.S. National Rowing champions and members of the U.S. National Rowing Team. They owned a successful chain of restaurants in New York and later pursued their passion of riding and horse property real estate in Florida. The Desino twins compete in the jumpers and are notable sponsors of the Winter Equestrian Festival, Adequan® Global Dressage Festival and other shows around the country.

P. J. Rizvi is a Grand Prix dressage rider and AEGT’s honorary chair.

For tickets to the AEGT Finale, go to AEGTFinale.com or contact Patty Scott at (917) 318-0425 or pjscott@mac.com.

Contestants contact Robert Dover at Rdover2@aol.com for your moment in the spotlight.

Motivation from Moshi, by Jane Savoie

I heard one of the horses at our barn say that the grass is always greener at the barn across the road. I’ve heard people say that the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence, but I think the grass here at home is just right. YUMM!

Sometimes people think if they buy a new horse, get a new trainer, order a new saddle, or move to a different barn, that things are going to be “greener,” or better for them. But remember this: changing things on the outside is much easier than changing things on the inside. What if changing things on the inside was the only way to really CHANGE?

If you’re one of those people who thinks the grass is greener somewhere else, I challenge you to stop for a moment and direct your attention to what is going on INSIDE YOU. Because if you move, buy a new horse, change trainers, or get a new piece of tack, you’ll still have YOU in the equation. YOU are the common denominator. Is there anything you’re doing that you need to change first?

Change is inevitable, but growth is optional. Change is rarely easy. But if you really want things to be different, start from the inside. Growing strong from within is the foundation of everything you wish to achieve.

Let’s go work on our canter departs today!

Love, Moshi

From Indy:

I am the King of the Forest! Okay, maybe I’m just the King of the Pasture. But it’s fun to pretend. I can imagine all the other animals being in awe of me as I sneak around in the bush, ready to pounce.

When I was a puppy, I wasn’t afraid of anything. I had never been hurt, and everything I needed had always been provided for me. I was fearless as I prowled the thick grass around my home and chased anything that moved.

Then one day a horse stepped on my foot. I don’t think the horse meant to do it, but it HURT! Now when I visit the horses, I’m more careful. I’m not really afraid of them, especially my friend Moshi, but I’m cautious like I never was before I got hurt.

I’ve listened to Jane as she helps people with their fear of riding horses. Often these people are terrific riders who had been hurt by a horse accident and found that they lost their nerve. I know just how they feel.

It takes willingness and dedication to let go of our mental monsters. But the kind of people who seek Jane’s help are the kind who love horses so much that they’re willing to do whatever it takes to move on from the fear. Their love of horses is stronger than their natural desire to avoid anything that might cause them injury or pain.

I’m so glad Jane and Rhett took me back to the barn and helped me overcome my fear of being stepped on. I’d feel very badly if I didn’t get to visit my friend Moshi anymore. My love for Moshi is stronger than my fear of being stepped on. So I was willing to do the work to let go of my fear. And I’m glad I’ve learned how to be safer when I’m around those giant feet!

What are you afraid of? Is it worth the risk to overcome your mental monsters? Are you willing to do whatever it takes?

Meet me at the barn and we’ll see if you need some help with fear! I’ll be the one pouncing on monsters in the grass.

Love, Indy

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

Motivation from Moshi, by Jane Savoie

When I was a baby, I used to love to run around the pasture as fast as I could go, then launch myself in the air, kick out behind, land with a thud, then do a sliding stop into my mom’s side. It was great fun. I would play fight with my friends, rearing up and striking at each other with our little hooves as we shook our heads in mock anger. We were preparing for the day we’d have to fight for our own band of mares, but we were also just having fun.

Of course, being a domesticated fellow, I never had to fight for a band of my own. My “family” became Jane, Rhett, and Indy. I have horse friends too, but I’ve never had to compete for company or food. That’s the nice thing about being cared for by human friends.

But that playful colt is still in there. Sometimes, when I’m turned out, I run as fast as I can and launch myself in the air. It’s not as easy as it was when I was a baby, but it’s still fun. It’s exhilarating.

What fun things have you stopped doing? What could you do, today, that would put a smile on your face or rekindle the enthusiasm you had as a youngster?

I heard Jane say once, “We don’t stop playing because we get old; we get old because we stop playing.”

I hope you’re going to go to the barn today! Your horse wants to PLAY with you!

Love, Moshi

From Indy:

In dog years, I’m a teenager. I’m at the prime of my life. I can run as fast as a car (well, at least a car going down the driveway), I can jump as high as a deer, I can wrestle my friend Geoffrey to the ground in three seconds or less, and I can catch a fast moving ball in mid-air.

I don’t intend to grow up. You know what? I don’t have to! I’ve heard Rhett tell Jane how much he enjoys my child-like enthusiasm in everything we do together. He says I remind him to “play full-out.”

Play isn’t just something for kids. The sense of play is what keeps you going when things get tough. It is the inspiration to keep you from stopping when you’re tired. It’s the difference between quitting and giving everything you’ve got.

It’s easy to change your mental focus from serious to playful – just remind yourself of a time when you had a whole lot of fun doing something you love to do. Remind yourself what that feels like. Own it. Feel it. Let your imagination rekindle that sense of fun and excitement! Then apply it to the thing you’re doing now.

My body may look all grown up, but my enthusiasm for life is very puppy-ish. I don’t intend to ever lose that. And I intend to remind both Rhett and Jane how to maintain that sense of play, no matter how serious the task may be. That’s a very serious job, but I do it with joy and playfulness.

Come on! Grab the ball and let’s go outside! Let’s go PLAY!

Love, Indy

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

The Warm-Up, by Jane Savoie

Many riders get confused about how to warm up their dressage horses so they can have a productive schooling session. As a rider and trainer, your goal in the warm-up is to take the restrictions away from your horse’s body. Depending on the day, your warm-up could be as short as ten minutes, or it could end up being your entire ride.

Here are 9 tips to help you with your warm-ups:

  1. Since your horse has probably been standing in the stall, spend the first five to ten minutes walking around on a loose rein.
  2. After walking around “on the buckle” for several minutes, pick up a contact with his mouth so you can begin your warm-up.
  3. Focus on the first three ingredients of the Training Scale: rhythm, suppleness, and connection. I always start my work with those first three ingredients on a large circle. Then, if all goes well, I’ll go large around the arena.
  4. Rhythm: As you walk, trot, and canter, check that the rhythm is always regular and that the tempo is neither too fast nor too slow.
  5. Suppleness: Spend as little or as much time as you need to supple and relax your horse both mentally and physically. Work done in tension is a waste of time. When you supple your horse, you’ll relax him physically. Once he’s physically relaxed, he’ll relax mentally.

In a nutshell, to supple your horse, bend his neck seven inches to the inside of a neutral position (neutral is when his nose is in line with the crease in the middle of his chest) while you close your leg on the same side.

Do a set of “three supples,” meaning you’ll bend and straighten him three times quickly but smoothly. Then do nothing for seven or eight strides, followed by another set of three supples. (This “suppling” technique is described in detail in Dressage 101, Train with Jane Volume 1, and A Happy Horse Home Study Course.)

  1. Connection: Use the connecting aids to put your horse on the bit. The connecting aids last approximately three seconds. During those three seconds you add, add, add hind legs through your closed outside hand while maintaining flexion at the poll to the inside.

To apply the connecting aids:

  • Close your legs steadily for three seconds as if asking for a lengthening.
  • Close your outside hand in a fist to capture and recycle the energy back to the hind legs.
  • Keep the neck straight by giving three to four little squeezes or vibrations on the inside rein.

In warm-up, I connect my horse and then ride him long and low as seen in the picture; or, if he tends to be heavy on the forehand, I ride in a horizontal balance with his topline more parallel to the ground.

  1. When things fall apart, always go back to the beginning of the training scale. First, reestablish regular rhythm. Then, supple your horse. Finally, ask for connection.
  2. While focusing on rhythm, suppleness and connection, it’s appropriate to ask your horse to do school figures like circles, serpentines, and shallow loops.

The First and Second Level horse can do school figures as well as leg-yields and rubber band exercises like modest lengthenings.

  1. Many riders do a lot of transitions from gait to gait with their dressage horses in the warm-up. Personally, I think your horse needs to be warmed up sufficiently before you can expect him to do good transitions. As a general rule, I save schooling the transitions until the second phase of my work, after the warm-up is complete.

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