Tag Archives: Jane Savoie

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

Motivation from Moshi, by Jane Savoie

Misunderstandings happen. It’s just part of life. But it sometimes it hurts when we feel like we aren’t heard or we are misunderstood.

I thought Jane asked for a left lead canter depart but she apparently was only asking me to collect a bit more. I got confused and got upset. She was quiet and patient with me, but I was still a bit rattled. I remembered getting in trouble when I was a little colt, and that memory came back to me and frightened me. Once I understood what Jane was really asking, I got it right and we both felt better.

We perceive our lives through our personal histories. There is no such thing as an unbiased perception. For this reason, the best practice is to recognize that we all see things a little bit differently. Sometimes we need to ask for clarification or a different kind of explanation. We need to be kind and gentle with each other, and with ourselves. We are all doing the best we can.

Is there anything you are worried about today that might be a misperception? Perhaps it is time to ask the question. Would clarifying a situation make you feel better?

Let’s go for a ride today! Spring is in the air!

Love, Moshi

From Indy:

I found it! I found the secret!

What secret, you ask? Well, the big one. The one and only TRUE statement that is always true, no matter what.

There is an ancient story of a rich and powerful King who gathered all the wisest men in his kingdom and asked them to take on a quest. The King asked them to search the world for something that was true… always and forever TRUE. Then King wanted to know that there was at least one thing he could always count on, so he would always feel secure.

The wise men traveled the earth and conferred with other wise men. They searched and they pondered. They meditated and they discussed. They gathered all the information and experiences they could, and finally came up with only one answer.

The wisest of the wise men approached the King and informed him that they could only find one thing in the universe that was ALWAYS true. With great anticipation and longing the King asked what it was. The wise man looked at the King and said, “The only thing that is always true is that everything changes.”

If you know that everything, good and bad, happy and sad, up and down, will at some point change, how does that make you want to live your life today?

Nothing is permanent. You might as well enjoy the moment… If you are in a bad way right now, know that your situation will change. It is the rule.

Love, Indy

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

Motivation from Moshi, by Jane Savoie

The world sure is an interesting place. There is so much to see and to do. And there can be a lot of things to be afraid of.

I’m afraid of fire, skunks, and anything that pops out of the bushes and startles me. It’s not that I really think I’m about to be hurt, it’s just that I’m hard wired to jump when things move fast. All horses have that instinct; we just can’t help it.

Jane knows that I would never intentionally hurt her. But she also knows that I weigh about ten times more than she does, and when she’s on my back the ground is a long way away. She knows that accidents happen and there is always the possibility that she might come off. For that reason she ALWAYS wears a helmet during our training and hacking sessions, and has even started showing in her helmet instead of her top hat.

Life has its hazards. It’s just part of living. But we can take some of the risk out of those hazards by doing thoughtful little things, like wearing a helmet every time we ride.

Do you wear your helmet every time you get on a horse? Start a trend at YOUR barn!

Love, Moshi

From Indy:

I love my friends. We may look like we are fighting sometimes, but it is all in fun and play. We like to roll around the pretend to bite each other, but we are not trying to hurt anyone; we’re just having a good time.

I have a new friend at the barn! His name is Geoffrey. He’s so much fun to be with! I tease him because he has curly hair. I actually like his curly hair, but he’s fun to tease because he pretends to get mad and attacks me. We run and chase each other and then act like we are biting each other’s necks. But we’re really not. We’re just pretending.

I’m going back to Vermont soon, and won’t be back in Florida until next fall. I’m going to miss Geoffrey. But missing friends is part of life, and I know there will be new friends in Vermont to play with.

But I’m still a little sad.

Jane told me that it’s okay to be sad. She said if we try to suppress our feelings too much, they get stronger. She told me to relax and feel my feelings, and let them shift by accepting and not fighting them. By letting my negative feelings pass THROUGH me instead of trying to push them away, I can release and transform them much more effectively.

I feel much better now. I told Geoffrey I will be back in a few months, and to remember me!

Do you remember any old friends you’d like to reconnect with? Pick up the phone! They’ll be happy to hear from you!

Love, Indy

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

Motivation from Moshi, by Jane Savoie

So much time is spent doing things we don’t want to do, that we sometimes lose sight of why we do those things. But for those of us who work for a living, those activities are the price we have to pay to be able to do the things that fill our souls.

If you are irritated that you had to go to work today, just think about the payoff you receive by doing what you are doing. Does your job provide you with money so you can have a home? Does it give you enough income to buy food? Does it allow you to afford owning your own horse? IS THAT ENOUGH?

I once heard someone say that people who choose to be homeless have traded comfort for freedom. If you really examine that statement, you can see the logic to it.

Would you be willing to give up your home, your comfort, your horse(s), for freedom from having to earn a living? Most of us would not.

So thank your employer today! Be grateful for your job and your income. Look at what you receive for your efforts. It’s a wonderful thing!

My job is carrying Jane and learning new skills. My job is to do as she asks, just a couple hours a day. The rest of the time is my own. I am grateful for this job, because she pays me with food, shelter, and loving care. It is a fair exchange, and I am grateful.

When you get off work, meet me at the barn and tell me about your day!

Love, Moshi

From Indy:

My passion is fetching. It is in my DNA. I can’t help it. I LOVE to chase things! The farther Jane and Rhett can throw sticks and balls, the happier I am.

indyMy job is to protect the house, and to keep Jane and Rhett company. My job is to love them as much as they love me. It is the best job on the planet.

It’s even better than Moshi’s job because I get to live in the house!

I could be upset that I don’t have the freedom to roam the countryside by myself, but I’m not. I look at the bright side of things. I get plenty to eat, lots of love, and a purpose in life. That’s enough to keep me happy.

What makes you happy? Do you give yourself time to do what fills your heart? Do you stop and smell the flowers? Make sure you are making time for yourself. Only then will your life have balance.

Let’s go play fetch!

Love, Indy

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

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