Turn every training and every ride in the best possible experience for human and horse! Win-Win!

Posts tagged ‘competition’

Questions that may change the way you think about Horse Training

I loved horses as long as I can remember and according to my mom I saw horses everywhere. After years of asking my parents for a pony and riding lessons, I got riding lessons. I found a free lease pony just a block away. In the city! wasn’t that a wonderful coincidence that the only pony’s in the city were 500 meters away?

I loved my weekly riding lessons very much, but  I had many questions that no one could answer. Some of them I still haven’t found an answer to. Questions like:

1. How come spurs are meant for ‘refinement’ and ‘lighter’ cues?

sporenI still don’t understand it. If you look at spurs scientifically you know that if the point of pressure/surface decreases (spur versus leg), the pressure increases.

It does make sense that you don’t have to use as much pressure (if you choose to use pressure/release to communicate) with a spur than with your leg, but how does this ‘refine’ the aids for the horse?

How come the rider suddenly need to use more pressure when he gets more advanced?

2. Why do you have to learn to ride with ‘your seat’ if when you are advanced you get spurs?

The spurs are not attached to your seat but to the foot of the rider, a body part that you’ve been told for many years not to use on your horse. Honestly I have seen spurs more used on ‘lazy’, unresponsive horses than on sensitive, well trained horses that are willing to work for the rider.

3. Why do you get twice as many bits when you are riding higher dressage?

dressage_bridleHow is more bits, less? How can more bits be ‘more refined’ or give ‘lighter cues’? When you start to ride, you learn that you have to ride with your seat, not with your reins. When you get ‘advanced’ you suddenly need two instead of one bit? How is that possible? The bits I am referring to is the curb bit with lever action in combination with a bradoon.

Again, I see that the more lever action you have on a bit the ‘lighter’ you can be as rider, but how does this make the horse better? How does this contribute to the ‘Happy Athlete’ so many people call a dressage/performance horse? I just don’t get it. Unless, it (horse riding) is not about the horse…

Speaking about athletes…. I
f you want your horse to be a Happy Athlete, don’t you want him to be truly happy? Don’t you want what is best for your horse?

4 Why do people call a dressage horse a ‘Happy Athlete’?

happyathlete_or not

They take away their freedom and lock them up 22 or 23 out of the 24 hours. How can that be a happy horse? I have only seen once in 40 years a ‘Happy Atlete’ in a pasture with other horses (Grand Prix level horse). Roomy group housing is #1 priority if you want to encourage natural behaviour and welfare. In other words: to make him happy. It is in the 3 important F’s: Freedom, Friends and Forage.

 

Speaking about forage: why don’t we give Happy Athletes a diet that is natural and suited for the horses digestive system? ‘Happy’ Athletes are usually given a starch rich (grains) and oil rich diet and without enough roughage (his natural diet). How can feeding  a horse something his body isn’t really adjusted to, make him feel good and happy?

Most of the ‘Happy Atletes’ I have seen (except for the ones I saw in The Netherlands in a field) suffer from all kinds of stereotypical behaviours. How are they ‘Happy’ Athletes?

What questions do you ask?

_Kyra_en_ik_hippologicSandra Poppema, B.Sc.
My mission is to improve horse-human relationships by educating equestrians about ethical and horse friendly training. I offer online horse training courses to empower you to train your horse in a 100% animal friendly way that is FUN for both you and your horse.
Sign up for HippoLogic’s newsletter (it’s free) or visit HippoLogic’s website.

 

 

 

Advertisements

5 Tips to Expand your Horse’s Horizon

We have all encountered times when we think “Now what?” at the barn. Maybe you have already reached all your equestrian goals, maybe your horse became sick and needed rest, maybe you got injured, maybe you just bought a young horse, or a senior horse… We all need inspiration if we don’t know what to teach our horse next.

#1 Horse Agility (HA)
In HA you have to navigate your horse through an obstacle course while focusing on clear communication and positive horsemanship. Horse and handler are both on foot. Horse Agility can help build a very close relationship with your horse and it keeps your horse’s mind working constructively. Skills developed in HA are very useful in daily routines as well as in new and possibly scary situations. You can even enter online competitions these days where you send in a video.

#2 Trick Training (TT)
TT is a great way to improve the relationship with your horse. You become aware of your horses intelligence and it is a fun way to spent time together. There are many simple tricks that are suitable for horses of all ages, like smiling or playing fetch. Some exercises are beneficial and can increase the horses strength and flexibility like the classical bow or the back crunch._classical bow_buiging_hippologic

#3 Training husbandry skills
If your horse already knows a lot of tricks, you can start improving your husbandry skills. Ever thought of teaching your _dewormingcanbe_horse how to be dewormed easily or preparing him for oral medication you might need to give him some day? Teach him to accept eye drops or ointment, practice hoof trimming, braiding, taking your horses temperature, teach him to stand in a bucket of water in case you need to soak his feet. The possibilities are endless and you never know when these skills come in handy.

#4 Trailer loading
Best way to train this is if there is no goal or time limit yet. Read here the 4 reasons to start practising trailer loading today. If you don’t own a trailer, this is worth renting a trailer for.

#5 Water training
There are so many situations in which water is involved. During the summer months you can have fun water proofing your horse. _soaking feet in water bucket_horse training_hippologicThink of soaking hooves in a bucket, hosing down your horse, crossing water (river, water splash, muddy puddles), water obstacles in HA, going for a swim with your horse, spraying your horse with a plant spray and so on.

I hope I have given you some ideas to expand your horizons. Have fun!

Sandra Poppema
Follow my blog with Bloglovin

More Tips for Training for a dressage test

In another blog I gave tips for riders who are visual learners. If your learning style is more kinesthetic/tactile you may benefit by practising the test by ‘riding’ it. You can practise without your horse.

Kinesthetic/tactile learners

You can learn the test by ‘riding’ it by yourself to get the feel. Make a little arena by printing the area letters and put them in the right order on the floor in your living room. Or, if you like to be a little more crafty or don’t have enough space inside, tape them on wooden BBQ skewers so you can practise on your lawn. If you want to practise a Caprilli test you can make jumps out of (broom) sticks

Now you can ride the test by ‘walking’, ‘trotting’ and ‘cantering’ in your living room arena or in your garden. If you have to memorize a quadrille test this would be a fun thing to try with your group. It is a very efficient way of learning._indoor_arena-hippologic_tactile_kinesthtic_learners

Auditory learners

If you are the type of learner that is more auditory you can record yourself or your instructor reading the test out loud.

You can also try out a combination of the visual, tactile and auditory ways of learning to see what works best for you.

Have fun and good luck riding your next dressage, Caprilli or quadrille test.

Sandra Poppema
For tailored advise, please visit my website and book a personal consult today!

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

DIY learn-a-dressage-test board

Memorizing a dressage test can be difficult. You can read the test over and over, but if you’re a ‘visual learner’ it helps to ‘see’ the test. In that case a dressage-test-board can help you.

With a dressage-test-board you can ‘ride’ the test on the board and make the exercises visual. I used to practise my tests on (many sheets of ) paper, but nowadays there is the white board. Yeey!

Supplies
White board
1 permanent marker (black)
3 white board/dry erase markers (blue, green, red)
ruler
plan with arena letters

DIY_dressage_test_board_by_hippologic_2015 Instructions
Take the plan with the arena letters as example. Draw a rectangle with the permanent marker on the white board. The long sides of the arena represent 40 meters, the short sides represent 20 m. Keep that in mind while drawing the ‘arena’, so the proportions long-short side stay 2:1.

Write the arena letters, start with C on the top short side. The order clockwise is C-M-B-F-A-K-E-H. The jury is always at C.

The letter X is in the middle of the arena, on the A-C line and between E and B. The letters G and D are ‘invisible’ and are on the A-C line, G lies between H and M and D lies between K and F.

You can also write down the dimensions with the permanent marker: long side 40 metres, short side 20 metres. F, K, H, M are 6 metres from the corner. B and E are in the middle of the long side, C and A on the short side of the arena. Once you’ve written down the dimensions, you can see how a 20 or 10 metre circle at B or E looks like.

Practising
When you have a dressage test you want to memorize you take your 3 white board markers and start ‘riding’ the test. Each colour represents a gait. It will help you visualize your test. Good luck!

Sandra Poppema

Follow my blog with Bloglovin
practise_dressage_test_hippologic_DIY_board_2015

 

 

Tag Cloud

%d bloggers like this: