Over the years of learning and teaching Horsemanship I’ve realised more and more how much of what I do is about the pure foundation for the horse. Setting them, and ourselves, up for the future of what we want to try with our horses.
Taking something as basic as familiarisation with objects to working well with extreme familiarisation for Le Trec. Knowing which rein controls which foot and how to achieve soft, light turns or invisibly cued leg yields.Having such a good connection with your horse that you can use a cue as light as a weight shift for canter leads.
I feel that Natural Horsemanship techniques are the key to the main foundation of EVERYTHING I do. It isn’t something that should be thought of as a solo technique, something that will only fix a particular problem or for those that only want to do NH.
Anyone wanting a relaxed horse in jumping, a precise horse in dressage, a willing horse in Trec or a flexible pony for pony games then Natural Horsemanship can help and work along side other training techniques for a great all round horse.
Cross training with your horse is a really great way of using one discipline to help another.
For instance in this video Solly and I are working on our canter simple lead changes through a serpentine shape in a 20×40 dressage sized arena.This is helping us to find lighter, smoother transitions, self carriage and engagement of the hindquarters and more accuracy in our curves and straight lines.
All of the above is also preparing us for cantering jump courses and it’s fun to work on one thing knowing it will benefit somewhere else.
Carrying on from my last post about Cross Training, today Solly and I took the serpentine ‘Simple Lead Changes’ to the jumping area. Keeping to the pattern we did some nice trot to canter changes between the jumps.
The main things I was looking for was for me to do less with my reins and body, more with my focus and energy and for the little pieces of the SLC’s to become easier, smoother, lighter and quicker.
Taking time over the small, individual parts of the ‘whole’ pattern really does help to create a better foundation for that pattern.
I use dressage tests to check my horsemanship progress, you too can use different ways to check your own progress.
For me this checks all my horsemanship and each time I do it I am checking specific things such as working on our transitions until they’re smooth and light, checking our flexibility through working on curves on circles, checking our impulsion until our whoa is as good as our go with light almost invisible cues.
You can check your techniques in many ways such as hacking out, dressage tests at home or away or just creating patterns in an arena from groundwork into the saddle, what you’re looking for is not so much the dressage test, it’s the all round balance of light cues, self carriage of you and horse, flexibility, impulsion (not impulsiveness) and connection from you to your horse so that the harmony between you grows and grows.
Whatever you do with your horse remember to learn from mistakes and have fun