Your Horse (UK) - - YOUR HORSES -

“I think of train­ing like a stair­case — grad­u­ally pro­gress­ing,” ex­plains Katie. “The first rung is for­ward­ness. If your horse is con­stantly be­hind your leg, not only will the judge no­tice, but it will make his work and your life much harder. Also, you can’t ask your horse to work in a cor­rect shape with­out for­ward­ness.” The key to ex­er­cises tar­geted at for­ward­ness is to be con­sis­tent in your ap­proach. Your horse should move smartly off your leg when you ask him to go, and not slow down un­til you say he can. “Many rid­ers start with good in­ten­tions but strug­gle to main­tain this. The re­sult is con­stantly nag­ging with the leg, which your horse will soon learn to ig­nore.” Tran­si­tions, and lots of them, are what Katie rec­om­mends here.

How to ride it

l1 Go large around your arena in walk, en­sur­ing the pace is pur­pose­ful. l2 Choose a spot where you want your horse to tran­si­tion to trot, at the gate for in­stance. l3 As you get there, give the aids for trot, be­ing per­fectly clear and not re­strict­ing the for­ward move­ment with your hands or seat. l4 If your horse doesn’t go straight into trot, keep ask­ing, mak­ing the aid stronger if needed. l5 As soon as he trots, stop ask­ing and let him go large. Only use your leg again if he slows down. l6 Choose a spot where you want him to walk and only let him walk once he’s there. Aim for a pro­gres­sive, not an abrupt, tran­si­tion. l7 Re­peat the ex­er­cise un­til he will trot at the light­est of aids and keep trot­ting un­til you in­di­cate oth­er­wise. l8 Try the same ex­er­cise on a 20m cir­cle. Your in­side rein and out­side leg will come into play here.

The walk needs to be es­tab­lished be­fore ask­ing for trot

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