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Posts Tagged ‘USDF Convention & Symposium’

FauxRunaway

Early in my riding career, but after I knew a thing or two, I used to ride this hot chestnut mare (I know, if three words were ever meant to string together…). I’d be exhausted after flatting her 15 minutes. I thought it was really all I could do to keep her from plowing down the long side and right through the arena fence. But man could that mare jump. So, I kept on, keeping on—if only just barely.

After months of making little progress on my own, I finally had a lesson, and as is many times the case, a breakthrough.

“Stop trying to hold her back and put your leg ON her,” my instructor barked, clearly frustrated by my struggles that were all about the mare’s front end, with no concern at all for what was going on behind me.

Sure enough, as soon as I ceased obsessing about the control I felt I didn’t have and instead focused on activating her hind end, she stepped up and under me, stretched down and forward, and our awful, lurching, zig-zaggy rhythm that had clearly caused my instructor to feel quite ill, evened out.

In her new book WHEN TWO SPINES ALIGN: DRESSAGE DYNAMICS, dressage trainer and technical editor for Dressage Today magazine Beth Baumert discusses what she calls the “Faux Runaway” and a very easy exercise to get the party going out back so things can settle down up front. Check it out:

 

As you know, horses don’t inherently know that the way to gain freedom is by energizing the hindquarters, rather than the forehand. Fresh young horses or hot older horses are a tough test for the rider’s balance as their enthusiastic front legs want to carry the forehand away from the lazy hindquarters. They pull the center of balance forward and away from the rider’s seat—the seat that connects the rider to her horse’s hindquarters.

The rider feels that her horse is running away, so she’s amazed when her trainer says her horse’s hindquarters look lazy. The feeling is misleading because the surge of energy is actually very real, but it’s caused by the front end that’s running away from the snoozing hind end. It’s often even an experienced rider’s tendency to use prolonged restraining aids with this horse, but that never works.

Years ago at the Aachen Horse Show, one of the American riders was in this situation. Her horse was very hot, and she was persistently trying to quiet and relax him. Her German trainer came along and told her to go for a gallop. Although the rider was horrified at the prospect, that was just the answer to her problem. It got the horse’s hind end in gear so the energy that reached her hand came from the hindquarters instead of the forehand. As a result, the horse was very successful in the competition. The American rider retained her horse’s enthusiasm for working, but gained control over the whole horse from behind.

When your horse is too strong and you can’t (or don’t dare to) gallop, do movements in which your leg is required to activate the hindquarters. Find a way to ride your horse from back to front. Make turns-on-the-forehand and do leg-yield. If you and your horse know how, do movements such as turn-on-the-haunches, shoulder-in, travers (haunches-in), renvers (haunches-out), and half-pass. Also do transitions between these movements. Do things that require you to use your seat and leg, and use your hands last—and only when you need to. Each time you communicate with your seat and leg more, you need your hands less. Then he will listen to your seat and legs more, and work more from his hind-end pushing engine.

And try this exercise:

WhenTwoSpinesAlignFinal

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Get your Horse’s Pushing Engine in Gear

Directions: To get your horse’s pushing engine in gear, start from the moment you walk out of the barn with your horse in hand. Do you have to pull him out by his face, or does he step smartly from his hind legs and walk next to your shoulder? He might need to be asked with a cluck or a tap from your whip. So, begin…

      Walk in Hand. Ask your horse to give you the same walk that you will expect when you’re sitting on him. While walking in hand, his only restrictions are the weight of the saddle and bridle. (When you mount, no matter how skilled you are, your weight is an additional restriction. Ideally, you want the energy stepping through his back and to your hand before he has this restriction.) Your horse’s walk should convey a quiet workmanlike attitude. When you have a self-perpetuating, relaxed walk, get on. Many top riders hand walk their horses for 10 or 15 minutes before mounting.

      Mount and Walk on a Long Rein. Walk on a long rein (if it feels safe). Be sure the pushing engine is still in gear given the added restriction of your weight. Carry your own weight in a balanced way so your horse’s body won’t be inclined to become like a hammock. If you have a mirror in your arena, walk parallel to it and ask yourself: “Why are we covering ground? Is it because of the front-end pulling engine or the hind-end pushing engine?”

Listen to the rhythm of the four-beat walk. When he’s balanced, your horse takes energetic steps from behind that are deliberate and self-perpetuating, but not hectic. Feel the energy flowing under your seat. When he’s stepping “through” his body, you can steer him easily with your body. Give yourself a steering test by riding simple figures and diagonal lines without rein contact. Leave your hands on the withers and point him on your line of travel with your eyes, shoulders, hips, knees, and toes and step in the direction you want to go. He’ll follow your weight and reach in that direction.

 

Find more great riding insight and exercises in WHEN TWO SPINES ALIGN: DRESSAGE DYNAMICS by Beth Baumert, available now from the TSB online bookstore, where shipping in the US is FREE.

CLICK HERE TO ORDER NOW

 

Coming to the USDF Convention in Cambridge, Massachusetts, this week? Stop by the TSB booth and meet authors Beth Baumert and Anne Gribbons during special author signings!

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TSB is still taking online orders and shipping for Christmas. All orders made before midnight on December 18 will ship for FREE with delivery by Christmas. There is no guarantee on orders placed after the 18th unless arrangements are made for expedited shipping—call to confirm expedited shipping costs and arrival dates toll free at 800.423.4525.

TSB is accepting holiday orders through December 21st. Orders placed after the 21st will not arrive in time for Christmas.

AND we’re offering 15% off your order now through the holidays! Don’t miss this opportunity to save money on a great gift!

Our Top 5 TSB Gift Recommendations are:

NATURALLY CURIOUS by Mary Holland

You may not know this, but Trafalgar Square Books published a fabulous photographic field guide for New England and it just won the National Outdoor Book Award for best new nature guide! It is IN STOCK and will SHIP IN TIME FOR CHRISTMAS from our website. CLICK HERE TO ORDER NATURALLY CURIOUS NOW.

2  TEX by Dorie McCullough Lawson

This wonderful illustrated children’s book uses ranch life and the splendor of the American West as a backdrop for a bedtime book that instills work ethic and the value of animals as companions. Click HERE to listen to the interview with author Dorie McCullough Lawson on the Horse Radio Network. TSB is donating 10% of all online sales of TEX through January 1 to the Pajama Program, which provides books and warm jammies to children in need. CLICK HERE TO ORDER A SIGNED COPY OF TEX NOW.

3  RIDER & HORSE BACK TO BACK by Susanne von Dietze

Susanne just presented at the USDF Symposium in San Diego, California, where her new book (and the new DVD by the same name) were a huge hit. A great purchase for the dressage rider in your life. CLICK HERE TO ORDER RIDER & HORSE BACK TO BACK NOW.

4  HOW GOOD RIDERS GET GOOD by Denny Emerson

There is no other book like this for the aspiring equestrian competitor, whatever their chosen discipline. This is a no-nonsense, self-empowering guide to navigating the horse industry and succeeding. Click HERE to check out Denny’s blog and what some of the top names in the world of horses are saying about his blog. CLICK HERE TO ORDER HOW GOOD RIDERS GET GOOD NOW.

5  THE MODERN HORSEMAN’S COUNTDOWN TO BROKE 4-DISK DVD SET by Sean Patrick

Sean’s book by the same name is a bestseller, with readers and reviewers claiming it teaches training fundamentals like no book out there. Here, Sean has taken his winning “Countdown” and demonstrated the 33 steps in live action—the perfect complement to the book or a wonderful way to aid the visual learner in his or her pursuit of better horse-and-handler communication. CLICK HERE TO ORDER THE COUNTDOWN TO BROKE 4-DISK DVD SET NOW.

For more gift recommendations, checkout our holiday shopping lists HERE.

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Susanne von Dietze, author of the bestselling book and DVD BALANCE IN MOVEMENT and most recently the book RIDER & HORSE BACK TO BACK and two new follow-up DVDs, is a featured education presenter at the 2011 Adequan/USDF National Convention & Symposium, November 30th through December 4th, in San Diego, California.

Von Dietze describes her session, entitled “Analyzing the Seat of the Rider,” as follows:

“Every rider has his own unique individual conformation and his own way of moving. A correct, balanced and supple seat is the base of effective rider’s aids. To be able to sit correct, the rider needs to balance on top of a moving horse with the least effort. Learning to ride therefore contains many balance reflexes and automatic reactions of the body. Analyzing the rider’s seat is an important tool to understand how a rider can use and train his abilities, how he can find causes for difficulties, ways to correct them, and improve his communication with his horse. In this presentation I want to show ways of how to analyze the rider’s seat by using the criteria rhythm, balance, and suppleness.”

Prior to the Convention & Symposium, von Dietze is giving a clinic at the Middle Ranch in Lake View Terrace, California (November 28-29), and following the Convention & Symposium she has clinics in Chicago (December 8-9) and Springfield, Illinois (December 10-11).

All Susanne von Dietze’s acclaimed books and DVDs are available from the TSB online bookstore, where shipping in the US is always FREE.

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