Friday, July 31, 2015
"How to improve your halts and backing. Those who compete, especially in dressage, know how important backing and halting can be. Now you can see what Susan is doing with Beau to improve what they are doing"
In the training process horses will learn something new, and seem to forget it. In this session we are focused on improving what Susan is doing with Beaus halts and backing. Our goal is to teach Beau how to back without using the reins. His tendency has always been to back a little crooked and either throw his nose up or down into the ground. Now that they are competing in 2nd level we need to get picker about how Susan and Beau are connecting for these movements.
How is your horse backing? Did this video give you any new ideas on how you can improve what you are doing with your horse?
Wednesday, July 29, 2015
"Sometimes....as rider/trainers we feel like our horses will never "get" what we want them to do. Melody is a what we all a "complicated horse. She has lots of serious issues that we have been working through. Finally, after several years, she is staying somewhat relaxed at the canter"
Many people find that they have horses with "issues" in their past training or in what they are trying to teach them to do. This is common and part of our training journey. Those who have been watching Melody's process know what a challenge she has been. In this video we are focusing on her canter work. It is so much better now than in past years but still has a ways to go. In the past Melody could not canter on the correct lead at all. She had serious issues and was in fact a little on the dangerous side. Now she can hold the canter much longer and has lost most of her anxiety about the riding process.
How has watching what Trudy has been doing with Melody made a difference with what you are doing with your horse/horses? Re training a horse with issues does take time, but as you have seen, is possible. You can see more videos of Melody's progress in the last 4 years by checking out the Playlist area of this Youtube channel.
Tuesday, July 28, 2015
"Dressage Show results. Winner of the Robert Dover Medal! (2nd level)"
This is Susan and Beau competing in the Robert Dover 2nd level Medal class. They won the class with a score of 65.5% It was an awesome performance! We came to this show as there are 2 "S" (FEI) judges including Sarah Geikie, who will be judging at the USDF Regionals. For the comments on the scores of riding position and effectiveness of aids Sarah made our day by adding these words. "Very correct riding!"
Thursday, July 23, 2015
Are you connecting your horse in the warm up? Would you like to watch how we warm up at the walk and trot?
"The warm up is all about connecting a horse and rider. Would you like to see what a typical warm up at the walk and trot look like for us?
As you will see, we take our warm up time pretty seriously, well... maybe not so seriously but we do make a lot of changes to keep that special time more interesting for both the horse and the rider. You might notice that we do not stay on the outside of the ring, or continue doing the same circles over and over again. During this warm up session at the walk/trot we focus on activity of the hind feet, the connection of the reins, Trudy's riding position and much more. To do this we are using circles, serpentine's, straight lines and changes of gait.
Does this warm up give you any new ideas that you can use for your horse? Try them and tell us how it works for you.
Monday, July 20, 2015
"Have you always wanted to know how... to ride a turn on the haunches or walk pirouette? Now you can watch as Trudy asks Melody to stay connected with her and stepping from behind as they focus on the beginnings of these movements.
The walk pirouettes and turns on haunches can be used to teach a horse how to stay balanced from side to side and also teach them how to listen more to both the riders rein connection and leg aids at the same time.
Are you ready to try this exercise? At first you might feel a little clumsy as your notice that your horse may not understand what you are asking. This is normal and a good thing! From that point you will develop more of a connection.
Sunday, July 19, 2015
"Your challenge for this week. Do you find your legs are swinging all over when you are riding? Or that your seat does not seem to be where it needs to stay? You are not alone. This is often a result of not keeping your seat bone over your lower leg. What does that mean? Watch this video to see?
This is one of those techniques that will make a huge change in your riding position and as a result... your horses balance and connection with you. We have practiced this before and today was the perfect day to go back to this wonderful basic for securing an effective riding position.
Are you ready to try this on your horse? You will be surprised to find that you are probably not over your inside leg on circles and other movements. We love your feedback. Let us know what you experience when you try this.
Thursday, July 16, 2015
"Retraining a schoolmaster. Rooting and Relaxation. Improving the connection at the canter"
Retraining an older horse does take a lot of patience. Susan has been working with Darrien for over a year now and he continues to improve one day at a time. When Susan first brought him home he was a chronic "rooter" and would pull her out of the saddle, rear and run. He had more issues than we thought.. Some of them might have been a result of old injuries, others we are not sure about. It has taken us most of this time to keep him breathing (instead of holding his breath) and staying relaxed. Now he is lifting his back and carrying his neck in a more natural position. We have even put him back in a snaffle bit instead of his usual double bridle (Susan competes in FEI dressage where they use double bridles)
In this session we are focusing on the cante pirouettes. In the past Darrien would spin around on his forehand like a reining horse instead of staying soft and balanced. You will see he is now much more relaxed and trying to listen more to Susan instead of doing what he thinks he should be doing. You will also see that he is still rooting on the reins. However now, it is easier to contain and he has stopped rearing and bolting.
Retraining a horse is a journey and we have shared the journey of Susan and Darrien with you so you can see the possibilities of retraining just about any older horse, or in fact a horse that has serious behavioral or training issues.
Tuesday, July 14, 2015
"You want me to do what? Retraining a schoolmaster to understand how to stay on the outside rein and leg. Back to the basics.
Susan has brought Darrien a long way in his retraining. They do very well in the show ring competing in Prix St George and Intermediate 1, yet.... we are still working on the basics. Darrien does not understand how to stay connected on the outside rein and leg like a horse of his level should. In this session we add more of the leg yield feeling so that Susan can keep his shoulder and back up as Darrien stays connected. As you will see, this is a work in process. Now you can see what might be happening as you ask your horse to stay connected between your leg and rein aids at the trot.
Do you think it is easier to retrain an older horse or teach the basics to a younger horse?
Monday, July 13, 2015
"For those who ride dressage or want to keep your horse balanced between your aids. How many times have you heard... Keep your horse balanced against the outside rein and leg?: What does that really mean? Now you can see how we use the leg yields so that both Trudy and Ani have a better understanding of how this can make a difference"*
Those who have been following Trudy and Ani know that this is new for both of them. We have been practicing it at times, but are now focusing on it even more.... Watch what happens as they begin to connect at a new level of connection and understanding with the leg yields.
is your horse connected enough so you can keep it balanced with your outside rein and leg? What can you see happening with Trudy and Ani that will make a difference with what you are doing with your horse?
Saturday, July 11, 2015
"Would you like to see how leg yields can help you pick up the correct lead? In fact, using leg yields can also improve your transitions and just about anything you are doing with your horse"
In this session Trudy is asking Ani to stay more connected in the canter transitions. To do this she is focusing on adding the feeling of a leg yield so that Ani learns to stay against the outside rein and leg. We start with the canter trot transitions and finish with Trudy feeling how the outside rein (and leg) used like a leg yield can improve Ani's circles. It was a very windy day the time of this video and I was using a new camcorder. You will hear the wind blowing...
Are you ready to try adding the leg yield to what you are doing with your horse? Try these techniques and let us know how they work for you.
Thursday, July 9, 2015
Would you like to improve the quality of your horses canter? Watch as we add the feelings of the leg yield, shoulders in and even (new to both horses) and the beginnings of half passes.
As you can see, our riders and horses never get bored with the training process. We like to have fun and want to keep our horses interested in the training process. In this video (it was a windy rainy day) I challenge the riders by asking them to play more with what they are doing at the canter. The horses are not always thrilled and neither or the riders as it is not easy to do such difficult movements on horses that are not used to them. You will even see what happens when Susan asks Beau for his first canter pirouettes!
Can you see how changing the exercises frequently keeps the horses thinking? Of course, this is also true for the riders. Are you ready to try more movements in your canter work now?
Wednesday, July 8, 2015
"Halting. One of the hardest exercises for any rider to do correctly. Would you like to improve how your horse are doing theirs? Now you can watch as I work with 2 riders of different training levels and how I show them how to prepare for the transitions into and out of the halts"
In this session you will see the difference between a training level halt and a horse with a little more experience. Even though the horses are at different levels of training, the process we use for teaching them the halt is the same. It's all about the preparation and waiting for the horse to respond to what we are asking it to do. This was a windy rainy day and I am experimenting with a new camcorder...
What did you learn from watching our riders working on their halt transitions? Are you ready to try this on your horse or with your students? Tell us how it works for you. It is your feedback that inspires us to share the training process of these riders.
Tuesday, July 7, 2015
"Oh what fun it is to watch... 2 riders working with 2 horses of different levels at the walk. Now you can watch what we do to connect both of them. This is a fast moving segment where you will see how much we keep changing the training exercises for both horses. Watch what happens as we practice stretching, adding more activity, keeping the horses backs up, lateral movements (we are adding the beginnings) the half pass and more!"
You might be surprised to see how many different movements and changes we do in our walk work. There is no time for either the horses or the riders to get bored as we are always trying new movements while improving the quality of their walks. ( Notice that the riders are never "stuck" in a circle or sticking to the outside of the rail as they are riding) Susan and Beau are competing in 1st and 2nd level dressage, Trudy and Ani are competing in Training level.
What are you doing while you are riding the walk? Are you one of those riders who simply lets there horse walk around without a purpose? Can you see how your session can be more fun for both you and your horse by doing different movements and asking for a little more than you think they might be able to do?
Monday, July 6, 2015
"Would you like to see 2 horses at 2 different levels warming up at the trot? Check out the difference in how these riders are warming up their horses with some of the same exercises and some that are different. How does this compare with how you warm up your horse?"
Everyone loves watching our group lessons with Susan on Beau (1st and 2nd level dressage) and Trudy with Ani (training level). In this session they are warming up together on a very windy, rainy day. The horses are not thrilled that they are out in this weather and would rather be out in the fields than in the ring. Trudy is focusing on keeping Ani connected (on the bit/on the aids) for maybe the 8th or 9th time and Susan is working on keeping Beau active with his throat latch open. As for me, I am trying out a new camcorder. You will notice that it might go all over at times as I learn how it works. Many riders seem to just go "ring around the rosie" in circles and on the outside of the ring all the time. As you can see, our horses and riders are going all over the ring as they practice many different ways of connecting with their horses. This makes the training process more interesting for everyone.
What are you doing in your warm ups? Are you ready to challenge yourself and your horse to connect a little sooner?
Saturday, July 4, 2015
"You want me to do what? Asking a horse to step up into the connection (contact) of the reins for the first time. What could happen when you first ask your horse to do this? Now you can watch as Trudy asks Ani to stay "on the bit" instead of going on a loose rein"
This video was taken when Trudy first asked Ani to stay connected. Like any horse new to being connected from the riders legs into the rein connection (on the aids/on the bit/in front of the aids) Ani is not sure what is happening. In fact, she is not sure she even likes this new way of riding as Trudy has been riding her on a longer, looser rein and now is asking her to "step up" and into the connection of her reins. This is how a horse moves up in its training and begins to "round up" or "go on the aids." What you will see is what happens with many horses who are going through this part of the training process.
What did you learn from watching Trudy and Ani that you can use on your horse?
Friday, July 3, 2015
"How to Improve a Horse's Trot with the Metronome. Another blast from the past that will improve your horses gaits and make them more comfortable to ride"
It's amazing what a metronome can do for a horses balance. By finding the right rhythm we can improve the gaits of a horse, which also makes them more comfortable to ride. If you are showing, the judges will notice the difference between a horse with regular gaits, and one that is going in and out of rhythm. It shows in how the horse uses its legs! In this session, Susan Faulkner Evans is focusing on the trot rhythm. As you will see, the quality of Beau's gaits gets better. I find these metronomes that attach to the riders on Ebay for under $10. Are you ready to invest in your success? (This video was from 2013 when Susan and Beau competed in the USDF Nationals in the AA Training Level Championships where they earned 4th place out of 24 of the top Regional Champions in the USA)
Have you ever thought of using a metronome or playing music (with the right rhythm) to improve your horses gaits?
Thursday, July 2, 2015
"Would you like to be able to ride that perfect circle? Check out this amazing technique using a lunge line. You will love what it can do for how your ride a circle and what you are doing with your riding position. As part of this session we also focus on if Trudy is able to keep Ani in front of her legs. This was still a new concept to this pair at the time of this filming. Now you can watch how adding the lunge line work to the training process makes a difference for a riders awareness"
Are you ready to try this? Let us know how it works for you!
Wednesday, July 1, 2015
"Stop using your heels to ride! Would you like to know which part of your leg you should be using to communicate to your horse or how to teach it to your riders? Now you can discover new ways to fix this common riding challenge in yourself or your riders with these proven techniques"
Some riders have been taught or have gotten into the habit of using their heels to get a horse to move forward or sideways. If you are using spurs, you might also have gotten into the habit of using your spurs instead of your lower leg. What can you do to fix this common riding challenge?"
The facts are, when a rider uses their heels, they often are riding on their toes, their heels come up and their entire leg rolls off the saddle from the thigh down as the rider uses the back of their leg instead of the inside. When this happens, it is impossible for the riders to keep a secure, anchored lower leg position.
Watch as I show Trudy Adams how to focus on changing a habit that most riders have. She has been using her using her heels for years. It will be easy for you to see how this affects her lower leg position
What do you see changing as Trudy gets a more secure feeling with her lower legs?