Watch this page daily for quick handy tips and quotes, some of which are from our loyal members and fans! If you would like to contribute, email your tip to: firstname.lastname@example.orgClick on each Tip/Quote Title (in blue) to make comments.
If becoming a great rider wasn't hard, everyone would be able to do it. It's the hard that makes it great.
"The absence of a correction is not a reward to a horse. The only thing that is a reward is 'good girl' or a pat on the neck or giving them a sugar. You can’t train a seal without fish." ~ Robert Dover
"The more soft and gentle my aids are on cross country the better, then I can really speed up, slow down, turn – a balanced turn – have my horse absolutely under the centre of gravity. That’s what I need in a pirouette, and that’s what I need in a line of fences, where you have a narrow one uphill, down two strides, turn, there the horse must be in balance." ~ Ingrid Klimke
The horse's loin area (behind the saddle) is loosened and suppled with each good lateral step behind. Just one reason of many why lateral steps are a very important part of training horses.
Practicing movements incorrectly will create an ingrained habit in both horse and rider that can be hard to break at a later date. Make sure you have eyes on the ground (whether that is in person, or virtually through online coaching) to make sure you are on the right track.
With any related distance when jumping, make any needed adjustment early on in the line, and then focus on riding the rhythm and quality of the canter, while patiently waiting for the jump to "come to you."
"And here I say to parents, and especially to wealthy parents, Don't give your son money. As far as you can afford it, give him horses. No one ever came to grief, except honorable grief, through riding horses. No hour of life is lost that is spent in the saddle." ~ Winston Churchill
You can't balance or collect energy that you don't have. Forward first!
"Use lots of forward and back transitions within the canter to spice up the hind leg." ~ Carl Hester
"You want [the horse] to relax in halt but as soon as you put your leg on, switch on and go forward. When he goes into trot, just give him one more touch with your leg to let him know you really want him to go forward. When you are going forward and coming back, ask yourself was it the reaction I wanted? If you are doing it halfways, then you are always compromising with him." ~ Nathalie zu Sayn-Wittgenstein
"So many riders think only about the physical aspects of training and I hear too many times from riders, ‘well my horse just needs to get stronger’. I ask myself constantly what about the mental part? My idea is that the physical part is 25 per cent and the mental part 75 per cent and I find myself asking each and every day, did my horse really understand what I was asking for?" ~ Steffen Peters
"When you do something too much, too long, it’s called drilling. That’s not a good word with horses. If it’s not perfect it's ok. We have tomorrow, we have next week. Don’t be excessive with the horse." - George Morris
Shoulder fore or shoulder in on a circle is a great exercise to teach your horse to pay more attention to your inside seat bone aid.
Try to let go of old baggage... and ride the horse you are on at the moment.
Bounces teach a horse to be quick thinking, which is an essential quality in an event horse.
A good contact with the horse's mouth usually only occurs if the rider also has good contact with their seat and legs. When a rider tries to keep rein contact with their legs completely off, the horse will usually resist or try to avoid the rider's hand.
"I really want to emphasize that a rider first rides a horse with the legs and seat; then come the rein aids, as a support to the seat and legs. These three things together subsequently determine the quality contact that leads to the complete harmony and understanding between the horse and rider." ~ Johann Hinnemann
In order to do successful lateral work, a rider must have an independent seat, so their aids can work precisely and independently.
Think about keeping your head up and still throughout the jumping motion to help keep your upper body more quietly poised.
Your horse's lightness (or lack thereof) will be particularly evident in the downward transitions.
A good rider is a master at self control.
Slipping the reins in the final strides in front of a drop into water must be done gradually and inconspicuously. Too much or doing it at the last second, and you will effect the horse's balance.
When working with a horse that does not have a great natural lengthening, make sure that you don't ask for too much too soon. Compare this to a singer who is training their vocal cords… They gradually expand their vocal range until they hit their limit. This helps to prevent them from overextending themselves, and builds up confidence in their abilities.
The quality of the canter depends largely on the quality of your transition into the canter.
Never keep more than 300 separate thoughts in your head before a Dressage test. ;)
"If you ride with strong aids, you will always need strong aids. Your horse will never hear the quiet ones."
Square turns aid in building collection, whether dressage or jumping.
If you ask for too much angle in any lateral movement (more than your horse can handle at that moment,) you risk impeding the balance and fluidity of the movement, which should be one of your top priorities.
"Every pull and resistance in the horse's neck originates in the back." ~ Stefan Wolff
"A tense horse's lateral suppleness can be improved by very forward canter leg yields." ~ Carl Hester
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