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Harmony is born out of a genuine empathy for the horse and a compassionate awareness of the mental and physical impact of the work on the horse.

The Training Scale

Brief description:

The rider’s seat is developed over many hours on the lunge line, riding school horses and a variety of other horses across the country side and in the arena. A rider with sufficient balance, coordination and understanding of the aids can help restore the horse’s natural relaxed easy rhythm and independent balance under saddle. This natural movement that the horse had when he was not carrying a rider must be reestablished. The horse’s legs must swing forward in their natural steady tempo like pendulums of a clock. This can be practiced out on the trail or on large open school figures in the arena.

Once the horse’s rhythm/tempo and relaxation have been well established he can easily learn to take longer, fuller strides in response to the driving aids and to maintain his natural tempo while extending his whole spine forward. This improved rhythm and relaxation causes the horse to reach forward and downward with his head and neck toward the bit. When the horse is consistently reaching for the bit the rider can offer him a following, yielding contact (without the rider trying to artificially position the horse’s head or neck with the bit – the horse’s natural head position gives the rider important feedback on the horse’s way of going so it’s important not to meddle with it). As the horse achieves a sufficiently degree of independent balance and relaxation and the rider receives the contact that the horse offers, acceptance of the bit comes naturally.

Once contact has been established the rider can begin to focus on straightening the horse. All horses are crooked to some degree. Some horses have legs that swing every which way – like wind chimes blowing in the wind. Various exercises are used to improve the horse’s straightness which helps the horse’s legs become more evenly loaded and swing more correctly forward so that impulsion can be added and efficiently directed into collection.

Rider position, rhythm, relaxation, contact and straightness are all interconnected. Improving one element will often improve the others to a certain degree. Likewise, when one is out of kilter, the others will also suffer.



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last updated June, 2009