Natural or Not?

01 Sep

We can only train horses to do things they have the ability to. Yes, we can train them and make them stronger, more supple, more eager to work. But we cannot train a horse to do a back flip.

Every time we sit on a horse, we upset his balance. This doesn’t mean that the horse cannot, after training, do almost as well with a rider than without. What it means is that we should train the horse in hand first, so he has the opportunity to find his balance without a rider. This gives him the opportunity to start building the right kind of strength and flexibility for whatever it is he will do later under a rider.

Let’s train our horses so that they have the best chance to succeed! When the horse learns that people never ask him to do impossible things, his trust in both people and cooperating with people will grow.

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Yes, you can train a horse to piaffe in a forward-down-out stretch. Even a fat little pony, provided his conformation makes it possible.

1 Comment

Posted by on September 1, 2016 in Uncategorized


One response to “Natural or Not?

  1. Anton

    March 26, 2017 at 6:06 am

    GP dressage in my opinion is in trouble still. Even after all the dust has settled around rollkur. Are horse being asked to do unnatural things?

    When you watch a competition you still see the majority of horses performing with tension of some kind particularly in the more difficult movements like piaf and passage. Granted a certain amount of tension is in fact required at todays level or a horse couldn’t perform the task required at this level but this tension is beginning to be the norm overall. Is dressage becoming circus? We have to ask this question. Should horses be asked to do a rotating piaf in order to win, isn’t this too much circus.

    Its rare to see a happy horse in an arena, one with relaxed gently waving tail, ears forward moving with suppleness and ease. Rather we are seeing as the norm highly tense horses that switch into the pain expression the minute they’re asked for a piaf or to keep passaging. This is not right.

    I know much has been written about hollow backed horses stopped up front with dramatic front leg movement and trailing hind legs but it doesn’t seem much is being done to correct this. We are seeing it even in young horse dressage competitions and its being overlooked. Sezuan last year winning the World Champion 7 yr.old dressage horse competition in Ermelo comes to mind. Even though the horse was in a snaffle and actually only once behind the vertical he showed all the same restrictions and posture as would a horse who had been trained in the short neck hollow backed way. The extended walk the horse barely stretched his neck. What happens at home is obviously to me not being seen entirely in the arena but could this just be for the arena? The horse was hardly over stepping in the trot ever, back legs well trailing, often also hopping together instead of stepping even in the canter, his back looked hollow tense and he displayed virtually no extension or change in stretch for the extensions short of throwing his front legs further. He had hardly no trot but displayed something of a hybrid trot passage. Tail swishing and ears held firmly backwards. However he did flash his front legs around high in the air and made no “technical” mistakes.

    Winning the World Championships? Are we losing the trot entirely. Is this the way horses are being bred or trained?

    The judging in Ermelo doesn’t make me optimistic that correct-yes, classical-training and riding are being rewarded. At this level one would also think critical and easier to asses.

    Wonder if accuracy should take a back seat (completely) to the way of going and training at these young horse dressage competitions in the scoring? I even wonder if judges are presently up to assessing it at all!?


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