Saturday, November 1, 2008

Global Dressage Forum 2008

Here are links to various blogs and reports regarding this year's Global Dressage Forum at the Bartels' family home in the Netherlands.

Article from Equisearch Coverage

Karen Robinson's Blog Report on the Forum

Report from British rider Laura Bechtolsheimer

Friday, October 10, 2008

Zettl's: Shoulder-In Entwickeln

This is one of my favorite exercises to ride to help both the rider and the horse learn to "ride both sides of the horse" through the entire movement. Like many people, I learned the exercise through reading Walter Zettl's book Dressage in Harmony: From Basic to Grand Prix (The Masters of Horsemanship Series, Bk. 4)

He describes the movement while tracking left, "start the long side in shoulder-in left. After a couple of steps of shoulder-in, straighten the horse as though to ride on the diagonal. Proceed straight on the diagonal for two steps only, then re-position the horse in shoulder-in and ride shoulder-in position back to the wall. When arriving on the track with the outside hind leg, proceed again straight on the diagonal for two steps, and so forth down the track."

The exercise he says can be ridden in all three gaits and I have found in canter for this to be something akin to riding between shoulder-in and "plie" as Charles de Kunffy describes it. Overall, the process honestly puts the rider and horse onto the outside rein while teaching the rider to subtly control the horse by being acutely aware of "both sides". Key points are to remember not to lose the angle or have the haunches swinging away. We straighten a horse always by positioning the shoulders ahead of the haunches in order to follow the classical maxim of "ride the horse forward and straighten him." As with all exercises of course it cannot be attempted without the proper preparation and so the horse should already know the shoulder-in.

I find this exercise also particularly helpful with horses who are a bit tentative to go to the outside rein. The almost leg-yield like moment of SI headed back to the wall gives the horse a place to go and can help them build confidence in stepping with the inside hind towards the outside rein which is in this case traveling a little away from the leg as the line of travel is changing.

Horses on the other hand who like to "blast through it" should be ridden carefully in this exercise with great thoughtful control of the outside aids so that they don't 'bulge' through the shoulder back to the wall. I like making changes from shoulder-in to renvers to shoulder-in with such horses.

For more of Walter Zettl try his other book The Circle of Trust: Reflections on the Essence of Horses and Horsemanship or his wonderful DVD's A Matter of Trust: A Harmonious Partnership Between Horse & Rider Vol. 1 Walter Zettl 2 DVD Set

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Piaffe and Passage

" The piaffe and Passage
by Cynthia Shehata

Possibly the most intriguing exercises in dressage are the piaffe and passage. With good reason. It takes years to train a horse to where he can even attempt these movements. Whether you are at that stage or not, it might be useful to know what awaits you...."

Follow the Link above to read more.

More Videos

YouTube is an amazing thing. It is full of terrible videos and mis-information, but if you know how to look you can find gems.

This is one of MANY videos posted with permission from the EDCTA of a symposium with Steffen Peters and Janet Brown-Foy.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Interesting Video

Reiner Kilmke - Ahlerich Video 1984 Olympics

Friday, May 9, 2008

"My horse isn't quite right..."

Do you have a dressage horse that just isn't quite right? Is your horse lame? Is it just stiff? Is your horse suddenly not his usual self? Check out some of these resources to see if anything might match what is going on for your horse.

Sacro-Iliac Pain : A great blog post with references

Hooves!! : Fran Jurga's blog on hoofcare and lameness.... some of the coolest stuff about horse's feet you'll read anywhere on the web.

Colic, Metabolism, and More : e-Vet online healthcare information