Native Dressage

Tuesday, May 28th, 2013

Having trained various native pure breeds and cross breeds I find the challenge of producing our British treasures hugely rewarding. So many of the European bred horses have a natural ability to lengthen there paces, remaining in balance with increased cadence.

Following a correct and methodical training path will reap its rewards… enhancing the trot and canter often beyond recognition.

Admittedly the walk is not the easiest to improve but with clever riding it too can be produced to show clear differences between, collected, medium, free and extended.

The main principles I try to keep aware off during training is not to dwell on exercises that repeat and repeat.
Repetitive strain injury is often late to detect and therefore its diagnosis can bring huge and sometimes permanent delays in training.

By using exercises such as turns on the haunches in walk and then proceeding a few steps later into either a trot or canter transition, hours of circles and half halts trying aid the horse to take more weight behind can be avoided.

The native brain especially of the Welsh can be sharp and often this with a short neck and robust shoulder keeping the horse mentally occupied and lighter in the rein will prevent him from dominating the rider.

The Connemara can be built a little downhill which often results in him developing a down on the shoulder way of being “on the bit”. In turn he becomes stiff through his back and often looses his lateral elasticity. Making better trigger aids to flexion by exaggerating changing the bend in walk will help improve this.

Try walking serpentines between both 3/4 lines, so effectively half 10 metre circles over the centre line, triggering the change of bend by clearly giving positive lower forward leg aids with the new inside leg whilst asking for some flexion in the rein. Equally if he speeds up closing your upper thigh slightly to steady him.

Observe the height of the poll and try to keep his ears at the same height as his wither and no lower. This can be repeated in trot with transitions to walk through the changes of bend until the suppleness becomes triggered by the inside leg, the riding the whole movement in trot.

~A L Short~

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