Everyday Training Reminders & Exercises

I often can get stuck on what to blog about. The thing about writing is you have to be Passionate about what you write about. Much like riding you have to be passionate about what your doing with the horses. Of course we are all passionate about a discipline in the sport, but what details in that discipline are you passionate about? Personally im passionate about training horses. So I built my business around that. Of course I still focus on teaching lessons, sales, etc. Teaching an unconfident horse confidence is so uplifting. Helping horses who were once so lost find there way. Simply Training a movement or the feeling of suppling a stiff horse. Its just incredibly up lifting.

Here are a couple reminders and exercises

  1. Every horse has a different time frame and process. Its OKAY if Your 6 year old isn’t trained to do the 6 year old test, because he/she doesn’t have flying changes, or a certain movement in the test. Its okay if certain horses take months to start. You must go at the horses pace, and not overwhelm them. Imagine horses minds as peoples mind, and ask yourself is my horse reactive, adhd, lazy, are they having running thoughts, depressed, anxious, etc. Some horses are straight forward, but be careful with the ones that aren’t. If you just trot around the arena with a horse who needs to be always thinking and doing exercises to stay entertained, then you’ll run into a big problem. A over reactive horse whom take repetition of a certain thing day in and day out before they feel safe. That can lead to a problem if you don’t put that work in and make them feel safe. Don’t be greedy.
  2. To help with straightness start on a 3 loop serpentine. While staying on the serpentine when you hit the 1st quarter line straighten your horse completely and walk. make sure your horse is straight in there body, not just the neck. Halt on the centerline proceed in medium walk. Then trot when you hit the 2nd quarter line keep your horse straight in your transition upwards. Then you can begin bending on the circle serpentine section. Repeat this a couple times.
  3. Warm up work – I am a huge believer in stretching, but make sure your actually stretching your horses whole body. I believe its a misconception in dressage that stretching makes your horse on the forehand. Although you do want to make sure your stretching is effective. Therefore you don’t want a major loop in your reins. You always may feel your horse super connected in the stretching to one side. The stretch is consistent and you still feel contact. Although to the other side you feel your horse stretching there neck, but there body is crooked. They may fall with there shoulder, haunches, etc. This is the point where you need to correct it. DO NOT ignore it. Heres how: While still encouraging your horse to stretch do leg yields off the rail and going to the rail. Do shoulder ins on the quarter line. 15 meter circles leg yielding in and out. Feel free to do transitions in any of these movements if your horse begins to run or brace. Make sure your horse is in a Deep frame and encouraged to stretch.
  4. Collected canter work. For a big young horse its quite difficult to simply straighten there body in the canter and go around on the rail. In the canter go on the quarter line leg yield back to the rail circle 10 or 15 meters. As small as the horse can do without throwing them off balance. After the circle leg yield them to the inside/ back to the quarter line. Keep the collected canter through the corner.
  5. Half pass work! There are numerous exercises you can do for half passes, some basic ones are, changing the bend in the half pass, shoulder in half pass then back to shoulder in. Half pass shoulder in 2 strides leg yield 3 strider half pass, and repeat. half pass to haunches in, Half pass to leg yield. Anything you can do to move every part of your horses body continuously.
  6. half pass continued I have a couple favorite half pass work, and I learned them at the Judy Westlake clinic. 1. Go on a 3 loop serpentine in a shoulder in, but focusing on exaggerating your shoulder in with the shoulders crossing as much as possible. keep the same shoulder in position through the 3 loop serpentine. while on the serpentine and still doing the exaggerated shoulder in you can make your circle smaller then half pass or turn up the centerline doing the exaggerated shoulder in while on the serpentine and then half pass then. before you lose it go back to the shoulder in. heres what it looks like:
  7. half pass work continued. personally my horse struggles with trot half passes because go his shoulder mobility. So another one is shoulder in through the short side then push the shoulders into the last corner and half pass on the diagonal before you lose it go extended trot then shoulder in then half pass all on the diagonal.  Next draw 2 lines on a circle staying in those 2 lines do a shoulder in 4 strides then push the shoulder to the last line on the circle to make a haunches in. make sure your horses body stays in-between those 2 lines.


Ill stick with those exercises for now. I highly reccomend keeping a journal to write down what you learn from your lessons. Thank you for reading! I hope I earned the privilege of your time.

By Skye Simpson Dressage Shares Insight on the Sport

Skye Simpson is an FEI Dressage & Natural Horsemanship Trainer located in Banning, California.

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