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Two Minute Training Tips –Please Step on the Gas!

Riding horses is amazing since so much of what we do is integrated and synergistic. There’s action and reactions and it’s part of the art of riding figuring out just your horses’ individual style that works with your individual style and then making that style a complete gorgeous outfit. For instance, in the last tip, we focused on simply changing the horse’s flexion at the poll. Was the horse looking into, straight or out of the arena? But I snuck in a part where you could up the intensity by asking for more forward especially when your horse was straight. Why? Because that’s when your horse most likely wants to go forward so why not use it your advantage? And it’s also a way to help teach you to be comfortable with stepping on the gas with your horse. The horse has got to go somewhere and to do that you have to let them move. Moving forward does cure a lot of issues you have with your horse since as the horse is going forward you can make corrections. Impulsion - part of the Pyramid of Training is part of learning how to use the horses gas pedal. It’s the same with a bicycle or a car – they feel clunky at lower speeds – think barely peddling or just allowing the car to drift forward without pressing the accelerator. It’s not as easy to turn or maneuver but if you press on the gas or peddle the bike harder you can coast around a corner smoothly for example and adjust speeds up and down naturally. The horse is the same way. But what about the fact your horse might become a runaway train if you give them to much go aids or step on the gas? So, let’s use an exercise to learn to ‘step on the gas’ and ‘feather the gas pedal’ so you can be forward without fear.

  1. After your warmup pick up the trot in your favorite direction and ride letter to letter counting the steps of your horses’ front legs. Try to get an even count letter to letter in a few turns around the arena.

  2. Then try to post quicker and see how the count changes – maybe you went 10 steps letter to letter and now it’s 8 steps, for example.

  3. Then try to post slower and see how it changes- maybe now it takes 12 steps.

  4. Keep playing with the counting by trying for more or less trot steps – challenging yourself to stay with your horse and just really using the action of posting to change the step count.

  5. Take a walk break and then try the other direction. Figure out which direction is harder for your horse and how you can help the horse move forward and back easier by how much 'force' is in your post.

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