Sunday, May 31, 2015

Canter. Warm up. Training level. Half halts and staying connected S4 Ho...

"Ride, ride and ride"  That is what Trudy said after she finished this canter at the warm session with Ani.  It is the 8th time we have asked Ani to stay connected in the canter and now you can see that connecting and balancing a horse can be a little work.  Good thing we love what we do!"

In this session Trudy is working hard.  She is trying to keep Ani connected in the warm up canter which is not so easy as we have never asked Ani to do that before.  In fact, this is only the 6th ride where we have asked Ani to stay connected in the canter.  In the past, Ani has been warming up like a green horse. Now Trudy is asking her to stay connected between her aids and is using half halts to keep Ani focused.

How is your horse cantering?  Can you see how these Horse and Rider Awareness techniques can make a difference in how you are cantering your horse? 

*I am honored to be selected as one of the “2015 International Equestrian Trailblazers.” June Burgess, a well know international Level Eventer from Ireland is the host and she selected 24 equestrian s from around the world who she feels have made the biggest impact in the horse industry"

Starting tomorrow, June is interviewing each of the Equestrian Trailblazers and has recorded their conversations with her. Now you can listen in on what the top equestrians around the world have been doing to make their dreams come true in the horse world.

When I asked June why she selected me from all the outstanding horse people from around the world, this is what she said:
I started researching individuals who are adding value to the industry and blazing a different path. What immediately appealed to me was that Randi is totally unique. Randi is a true visionary who continues to bring unprecedented resources and information to the horse industry. She is the founder of the award winning Horse and Rider Awareness programs which include How to Market Your Horse Business ” I was introduced to Randi when I started watching the videos she shares on her Youtube channel, Randi Thompson Live at: Where she shares over 20 years of coaching professional in the horse world by featuring the training process of horses and riders she has been working with. Several who have become USDF National and Regional Champions. Randi has developed a very intuitive approach to riding but one that can be applied to competitive riding even at the international levels.

The Equestrian Trailblazers of 2015 will run twice a day for 12 days. Each session is recorded so you can listen to them when you have the time. Now you can join with host, June Burgress, as she interviews top equestrian experts from around the world to discuss their struggles, achievements, and examine the mindset behind their success. All you need to do is sign up now so we can send you the links for their interviews.
Would you like to see who else is a 2015 Equestrian Trailblazer? 
It’s FREE! All you need to do is sign up! Here is the link:

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Transitions. Are your Half halts working? Walk halts S4 Horse training

"Half halts at the trot. Are yours really working?  How do do you know?  What should you be doing?  Watch what happens as Trudy isolates what she is doing in the warm up trot"

The half halts make many riders wonder what they are doing and how the horse should be responding. Now you can see how I show Trudy how to isolate both the half halt (where Ani lifts her back) and the Steps to Connection that make this all possible in our warm up trot.  As you will see, each step has been broken down so you have the steps to success that will bring you to the next level.

What did you see happening?  Can you see how half halts and the steps to connection can make a difference in what your horse is doing?  We love your feedback so please give us feed back on how these Horse and Rider Awareness techniques work for you.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Transitions and Half halts. Riding Position. Is your horse responding? ...

"Would you like to improve your transitions or get better scores if you are competing in dressage?  If so, this is the series for you!  Now you can watch as I isolate what Trudy is doing with her riding position for her half halts and in how she is using the "Steps to Connection"

On this day Trudy asked me to isolate what she was doing with her riding position for her half halts and to improve how she is connecting (The Steps to Connection) with Ani.  For the first time, we started the process in the warm up.  Now you can see the steps that we are using as we continue this series into the trot and canters.

Are you ready to try this on your horse?  We would love to hear how these techniques are working for you.  This is also a great place to ask any questions that you might have about these Horse and Rider Awareness techniques.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Canter/Counter canter. The outside rein and leg. Engagement...

The counter canter is simply the opposite lead. That is until you try doing it on a curve or circle. So why is it so hard for us to understand? Watch what happens with Susan as she asks Beau for more balance and connection"

Those who have ridden the counter canter know that horses do start out pretty disconnected on curves or circles. Last year, Beau was not able to balance in the counter canter like he can this year. With time, their balance and connection does get better. This is the 5th time Susan has asked Beau to stay this connected in the canter. Maybe the 3rd for the counter canter. Now you can watch what we do to bring him to the next level where he can carry himself in balance.
Have you ridden the counter canter yet? What did you learn from watching this video that you can use on your horse?

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Canter. Staying on the outside rein and leg. Staying connected.

"Canter.  Can you keep your horse against the outside rein and leg?  Why is this so important?  How can you know if your horse is really there?"

In this session Susan focuses on keeping Beau straight and in balance.  To do this she is using the serpentine pattern while asking him to stay on the outside rein and leg.  This is when Beau is straight and hopefully... sitting back on his hindquarters more.  This level of balance is still new to Beau and he is not sure what we want him to do.  It is about the 5th time we have asked him for this level of connection.

Can you see how Beau's balance is changing?  Are you ready to try this on your horse? 

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Turns on the haunches/walk Pirouette. Staying engaged and connected S4 d...

"Testing one two three. Can you keep your horse on the outside rein and leg when you are doing the turn on the haunches/walk pirouettes?"

Keeping a horse straight and in balance for the turn on the haunches movements is not as easy as it might seem, or even look when you see a rider do it the right way. The facts are, if your horse is not on the outside rein and leg during these movements, they are not really straight or connected. Now you can watch what Susan is doing with Beau to isolate what they are doing for these movements.
Can you see how Beau changes as he keeps the connection and straightness and when he loses it? Are you ready to try this on your horse now?

Monday, May 25, 2015

Dressage.Trot. Engagement straightness. Outside rein and leg. Warm up S4...

"Are you ready to connect your horse right away in the warm up trot?  This is the first time Susan has asked Beau to stay in balance and connected in the warm up. We start right away with keeping his balance on his hindquarters and having Susan check to see if she can keep Beau straight and on the outside rein and leg"

We were not sure that Beau would allow us to put him on the aids this quickly and he was a little surprised.  Yet, he was willing to try.  He has become a different horse this year and is cooperating so much better with Susan.  He still has his issues but is now handling them much better and trusts Susan and the training process we are using.  

Can you see how connecting a horse this soon at the trot might be  possible? Are you ready to try this on your horse?

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Dressage. Adding engagement and straightness from behind. Warm up walk/h...

"Staying connected in the warm up walk.  Can we do it? In fact, you might be wondering if you can do it at any time. Now you can see what happens as Susan asks Beau to stay in balance and connected in the warm up walk for the first time.  Beau is not thrilled with this idea...."

Beau is like a different horse this year.  Now, Susan can ask him to do harder things and he is much more willing to try them.  In this session Susan went right to work making sure that he was "sitting down" with his weight on his hindquarters and his shoulder higher.  Next she checks to make sure he is against her outside rein and leg to make sure he is straight.  

Can you see how much easier this is getting for Beau?  A few months ago he could not have done this mentally or physically.  We have slowly built him up to where he is now.  He still has issues with what we are doing, but now seems to accept the fact that we are going to keep asking him to communicate at deeper levels.  Good boy Beau!   

Friday, May 22, 2015

Walk Pirouette/turn on haunches. Backing. Engagement and connection.

"Turns on the haunches, walk pirouettes. Backing. What can you do to make yours better?"

The turn on the haunches and walk pirouettes will teach a rider how to balance a horse between their reins and legs from side to side, and from back to front. Of course, they may not be as easy to do as they look. Now you can watch as we re train Darrien to stay more relaxed and balance as Susan takes him through the process. This is a big change for Darrien as in the past he would simply spin around the movement and disconnect from the rein. 

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Canter.Retraining a Schoolmaster. Engagement. Outside rein and leg.


"What if... you need to retrain your horse to canter in a better balance and connection? here could be many reasons why you might need to do this. However, the basics you use can be used on any horse. Now you can watch what happens as we show this older horse another way to canter in balance and connection"

In this session we focus on what is called, engagement. It has other names like on the aid, on the bit, in front of the aids and more. What it means is that the horses shoulders are higher than their croup and the horse is shifting their weight back to their hindquarters. This makes a horse more comfortable to ride and easier to influence. Of course, this is takes some time and effort. In this session we are asking Darrien to stay engage and straight. In the past his tendency has been to shift his hindquarters to the side instead of stepping under his belly. To correct this Susan focuses on keeping him on the outside rein and leg.

Can you see how hard both Susan and Darrien are working to find that right place? Good things take time but you can see that Darrien is now connecting more with Susan and becoming more relaxed in the training process. 

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Dressage Engagement. Retraining a schoolmaster. Walk/halt. S4 dressage i...

"Would you like a horse that is more comfortable to ride and easier to influence?  Than you are ready to practice, engagement.  If you ride dressage, you have heard that word.  What does it mean?"

All it really is, loosely defined, is that a horse is in an uphill balance and is carrying most of it's weight on its back end (sitting) while staying connected.  This is, as you probably know, easier said than done. Now you can watch a horse that is re learning how to stay engaged and see the what happens. In this series Susan is asking Darrien, an upper level dressage horse, to stay engaged in the walk and halts.   Darrien is not sure how to stay straight between the rein and legs from side to side so Susan is adding the "Two Steps to Connection" to check if he is really connected on which ever side she is focused on.  

Can you see how Darrien changes as he become more relaxed and allows Susan to keep him "engaged"?  

Monday, May 18, 2015

Connecting a training level horse. 8th time Walk/trot serpentines Train...

"Do you shake your head and maybe get a little dizzy just trying to understand how you can connect your horse?  What does it really mean? How can you tell if your horse is connecting?"

In this session Trudy brought Ani to another barn and had to focus on keeping Ani's attention.  They are preparing to go to a dressage show so this is very important right now.  Ani is moving up the training scale is and is going from a "green horse" balance and connection to "training level" where she is being asked to stay more connected. We start with the Steps to Connection where Trudy checks to make sure that Ani is soft in her jaw, in her poll and loose in her neck. at the same time as Trudy is using her leg aid, when the hind foot is off the ground on that side)  During that process Trudy begins to feel that Ani is pulling on the rein contact (which is still new to Ani)  This is a sign that Trudy was really holding the rein to long and is something that happens to all riders.  Once we knew what was happening I started to ask Trudy to connect Ani on one side of her body, than the other.  It was a great way to break up Trudy's old habits and to build a foundation for her to feel that she can connect Ani for a few steps.  I started calling this the "2 Steps"  It is a form of a half halt on one side of the horse.  

Are you ready to take your horse to the next level of connection?  Try the Two Step Connection process and see how it works for you.  Stay tuned as this week I tried this process on more horses and riders and we had some amazing results that I will be sharing with you here.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Canter 2nd Level. balancing with Serpentines and counter canter. 4th ti...

"What can you do... to teach your horse how to do a" rocking horse canter?"   Now you can see what happens as Susan asks Beau to stay balanced and relaxed as they do their first collected canters together"

Wait until you see the changes in Beau! This is the 4th time that Susan has asked Beau to stay in a 2nd level balance for the canter. Beau is still not sure what that means, but seems to be accepting the changes and starting to show off a little. We start with Serpentine pattern at the canter/trots and move up in collected canter and counter canter.

What did you see happening in the canter? Did this video give you more ideas on what you can be doing so your horse is more comfortable to ride at the canter?

Friday, May 15, 2015

2nd level trots. 6th time! Contact/on the aids/on the bit. S4 Dressage...

"Are you ready to go to the next level of balance and connection with your horse at the trot? What can you do so your horse understands what you want it to do?"

Now you can watch as Susan asks Beau to balance and stay connected for the 2nd level dressage trots. This is the 6th time we have focused on this new balance. When we first started this new level of connection, Beau was not thrilled. He did not understand why Susan wanted him to step in the connection of the rein. Before this, he could hold his balance and look connected on a fairly loose rein. However, now that he is in 2nd level dressage, he needs to stay connected and on the contact (on the bit/on the aids) all the time. To help Beau understand Susan has asked him to get more active with his back feet and to keep his shoulders and poll higher than ever before. This is the beginning of Beau "engaging" his back end as he shifts his weight back. Towards the end of this session we play with shortening the trot so he can get more comfortable with the beginnings of the collected trot.

Beau has been a very complicated horse to get to this point. As those who have been following the progress of Susan and Beau know, they spent 3 years at training level so we could get past his behavioral issues. In 2013 Susan and Beau competed at the USDF Finals and placed 4th in the AA Training Level Championships with a score of 72.20%.  We have the videos of their training progress over the years on our Youtube channel that is listed below. 

Thursday, May 14, 2015

2nd Level. The start of collected canter. Serpentines S4 Dressage instu...

Collected canter for the first time!  How did we do it? With the Serpentine pattern. Now you can watch and see how he changes"

This was such an exciting session as for the first time Susan and Beau did a collected canter together! As you will see, Beau is staying soft most of the time and is willingly (should I put that in capital letters?) responding to Susan's aids. This is such a big deal as Beau has a history of not wanting to be willing. He was was also not thrilled with this new 2nd level dressage balance at first but now seems to like this level of connection more every day. 

Can you see how Beau's canter is changing? Before he had the tendency to be a little flat and would slip in and out of a lateral gait at the canter. Now you can see his is starting to get a leap in the canter and is staying connected at new levels.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Get your horse on the aids by warming up with serpentines. Walk/trot/can...

"Are you bored with the riding circles all the time? So is your horse. Are you ready to try a fun ways to connect with your horse in the warm up? How about Serpentines.  Have you tried riding a serpentine as a warm up exercise?  Watch how we use it to get Beau connected for his work out"

I have found that riding patterns makes the training process more interesting and fun for both the horse and the rider.  They are challenging for the rider as they need to think about what they are doing very quickly, which is a great way to keep them from getting lost in the process of training and over thinking everything they do.  Meanwhile, the horses become more responsive as they are not getting bored with the typical "ring around the rosie" (circles around the ring that make them dizzy) routine.  Now you can see how Susan uses the Serpentine pattern to connect Beau in their warm up. 

Are you ready to try the Serpentine pattern in your training?  Let us know how it works for you.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Canter. Hot nervous horse. Staying on contact/on the bit 4th time. S4 H...

"Do you feel like you will never get a soft relaxed canter with your horse?  You are not alone. It has taken us years to get this horse where she is.  This is the 4th time she has stayed on the contact/on the aids/on the bit at the canter and we were thrilled!"

Good things take time. That is the message I would like you to hear. Trudy loves Melody (and so do I) and it has taken us years to get Melody to this point. Melody had some serious past training issues that made her a little dangerous to ride in the beginning. That and she has a tendency to be a little hot and nervous, especially if she sees a Mockingbird. Last fall Melody finally starting to enjoy the riding process.This spring, she started to relax and stay connected at the canter a little.  This began with a step or two, and now is a few steps more.  It is a huge break through for her. The entire process has been filmed (it is on our Youtube channel) so you can go back in history and see where Melody was and how she got to where she is today.  

What have you learned from watching the progress of Melody?  Has it made a difference in how you are connecting more with your horse at the canter?

Monday, May 11, 2015

The beginnings of Shoulder ins/ half pass. Staying on Contact/on the aid...

"So you think you are ready to try the shoulder in or half pass with your horse?  Now you can see what happens when Trudy focuses on these exercises while keeping Melody (yes... I did say Melody can you believe it?) connected"

The shoulder in does not happen by magic. You have probably already discovered this. We have asked Melody to do a form of shoulder in before this session, but she was never really connected.  We were very happy, as anyone would have been, with Melody simply bringing her shoulders over. This is how we start a horse with the shoulder in's.  Now that Trudy has brought Melody to a new level in her training it is time to keep Melody connected in the shoulder in.  This means she will stay on the contact and stepping into that connection from Trudy's leg aids. Well, as much as she can.  We were very excited with this session as it was only the 5th lesson where we have asked Melody to stay on the contact/on the bit/on the aids.  We even added a few steps of half pass!

Have you tried to do a shoulder in yet?  What did you learn from watching Trudy and Melody that you can use on your horse?

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Contact for the 6th time! Trots and Serpentines. On the aids/on the bit..

"So... you want to start riding your horse on contact. What should you expect?  Now you can watch what Trudy is doing with Ani, her training level horse.That was the 6th lesson that we have focused on keeping connected"

This can be a difficult time for both a horse and rider. In this video Ani is still adjusting to having Trudy feeling both sides of her mouth. In the past, as a greenier horse, Ani was going around on a loose rein and choosing her own balance. Now, Trudy is preparing to show in training level dressage and it is time to connect Ani. This is also called getting a horse on the aids, on the bit, or in front of the aids.  In this session we add the Serpentine pattern so that both Trudy and Ani have keep changing what they are doing. As you will see, Ani will not stay consistent on the rein contact yet.  That is what happens when a horse is first learning what it is.

Can you see how Ani begins to change?  Her balance is improving and she is almost staring to like the idea of staying connected. Are you ready to try this on your horse?  Tell us how it works for you!  

Retraining a schoolmaster. Back to the basics at the walk trot.S4. Dress...

"Retraining a horse that thinks it knows what you need to be doing. What can you do...if your horse thinks it knows what it should be doing because of what it learned before?  It's time to go back to  the basics at the walk and trot..  Now you can watch as Susan continues to show Darrien that he can relax and adapt to a new way of being ridden"

In this session we focus on getting Darrien to stretch the base of his neck. Normally he likes to jam his neck down into his shoulders as that is what he thinks he should do. Little by little he is starting to open that part of his neck and as a result is now using his back and hind legs better than ever. It has taken over a year for Susan to get Darrien, an upper level dressage horse, to where he is now. This year, he is working in a snaffle bit and has finally started breathing and relaxing. Darrien is Susan's newer horse. He is 18 years old and has been in rehab this winter after a suspensory injury in his hind foot. We think all that swimming has helped him to use his body in ways he might not have in a long time. 

Retraining a horse can happen with any level of horse.  Sometimes... they simply have gaps in their training.  Have you ever retrained a horse?  

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Trots. Contact/on the aids/on the bit. Training level. S4 Dressage trai...

"Training level.Contact What does it mean? How can you do it with a horse that is not sure what it means? Watch what happens as we ask Ani to stay connected for the 6th time at the trot"

This was an exciting day for Ani. Trudy brought her to another farm to ride so she could start preparing her for going to a dressage show. You will hear Ani is crying for her herd mates at time. The good news is that Trudy was able to keep her more connected than ever, even with all the distractions. Little by little Ani is excepting being "on the aids" and is stepping up into the contact from Trudy's legs. She is starting to look like a dressage horse! (or any horse ridden in balance) Now you can see the process we are using to take Ani to the next level.
Can you see how important suppling a horse is? It is how we can keep them paying attention and with a little practice, is how they are able to understand how to come from the riders leg aids into the rein contact. Try this on your horse and tell us how it works for you.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Shoulder in/haunches in. Is your horse active behind? 2nd level S4 Dress...

"Shoulder in/haunches in. Tips to improve what you are doing with your horse. Shoulder in and haunches in or out"

Now that Susan and Beau are competing in 2nd level dressage it is time to focus on improving the quality of their lateral work. Last year we started Beau on these movements and he was not always happy with them. He does not like new changes it seems. During that time he would do the basics, but did not want to take up contact and also was not actively stepping up in the rein contact by becoming more active with his hind feet. (Oh, my gosh... this sounds like dressage!) However, this year, he seems much more confident and is letting us ask him for more energy and with more of a rein connection. Have you tried these movements yet?
Can you see how much better Beau is looking as Susan works him through the process? Are you ready to try this on your horse? Let us know how it works for you as we love your feedback.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Canter.Two horses Two levels! Getting on the aids/on the bit/contact. S4...

"Contact and connection at the canter. Would you like to watch 2 horses at two different levels practicing the same basics?"

In this session we have a training level and a 2nd level horse. Trudy's horse Ani is going to compete in Training level this year and needs to be on the contact. (Also called on the bit or on the aids) This is only the 4th time we have asked Ani to stay on the bit at the canter. Our other horse is Susan's Beau. He is competing in 2nd level this year. He needs to be able to stay connected at the same time he sits down (engages). This might be the 6th time we have asked him for this level of balance. It is fun to see that both riders are using the same technique to train their horses for the levels that they will be competing at.
What did you learn from watching this video? Do you have a better idea of how you can connect your horse at the canter?

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Contact/on the aids/on the bit. Steps to connection. Two horses. Trainin...

"Good training basics are what we all work at, all the time, when we are riding a horse in balance.  Did you know you can use the same techniques on horses of all levels?  In this video you will see two horses warming up. One is preparing to compete in Training Level the other in 2nd level dressage. 

We start with making sure that Trudy is keeping Ani (training level) active from behind. To do that, we use the number system so that Trudy becomes aware of when Ani is not in front of her aids. Next, Trudy focuses on the Steps to Connection (soften the jaw, soften the poll, check for the rainbow in the neck and so on) Susan and Beau also enter this class. Beau is competing in 2nd level and we are using the same process to connect him into a higher level of balance.  We start at the walk and finish with canter trot transitions on serpentines. Now you can see how similar the training is for both horses. You can use the same techniques on yours! This is a longer than usual video as I got lost in the process myself.

What did you learn from watching this video. Do you have a better idea of how the Steps to Connection can work for your horse, regardless of it's level?

Monday, May 4, 2015

Trot. On the aids/contact with more activity.Two horses.Training level and Second level.

"Now you can compare the Contact/On the aids/On the bit with two  horses at different levels of training warming up at the trot. Can you see the difference between a training level and a 2nd level level horse?"

In this session we focus on keeping both the horses connected. The basics for connection are basically the same. The difference is that now Susan's horse Beau needs to be able to engage or sit down more while he stays on the bit for 2nd level, Trudy's horse Ani is going to compete in Training level. This is the 7th time we have asked her to stay on the contact/on the aids/on the bit. 

Can you see how the same basics apply to all levels of training?

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Contact. Going back to the basics for the horse and rider. Walk.

"Contact. What if you could finally... keep an even, following rein connection with your horse?  Where do you need to keep your hands? What steps can you take to make the difference?  (Hint.  Check out this video)"

In this session Trudy focuses on keeping a light connection with the reins on Melody at the walk.  Watch as Trudy becomes aware of what she is doing with her reins, when she (or Melody)  drop the connection (even feel on both reins)  

Are your hands following your horses movements? Are you ready to try it on your horse?

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Leg Position. Are your legs sliding? How to anchor them. . #1 S4 Riding...

"Lower leg position. Are your lower legs slip sliding all over the place? You are not alone. Now you can see techniques that you can use to improve your lower legs position right here!"

This was our training level class with Susan and Trudy. On this day we focused on what was happening with their lower leg positions. They begin by feeling if their calf muscle is slightly stretching. We move up to transitions to see if they can keep that feeling. To make it more interesting we even added circles so they could feel what happens to most riders legs when they add circle. Watch what happens as they both become more aware of what they have been doing with their lower legs.
Are you ready to try this while you are riding? Let us know how these techniques work for you. We love hearing your feedback.
This video has some odd movements in at as a result of Youtube doing something weird....

Friday, May 1, 2015

Rider position.How to keep your seat over your lower legs. #1 S3 Riding ...

"What if... the real reason your lower legs are not staying where you want them to be, is that you have not been keep your seat over them?  This is what happens with most riders.  It sounds so simple, but is a huge shift in how you will be able to maintain your balanced riding position.  Now you can watch how I show Trudy how to be able to feel when her seat is in the right place to keep her anchored into her lower legs"

What did you learn from watching this video? Can you see how important it is for you to keep your seat over your lower legs so that they are in the right place?  Are you ready to try this?  Please let us know how it works for you.