Schooling

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An inexperienced rider is in the process of learning to keep her hands and legs steady and working independently of each other. This makes her language “chattery” as she attempts to communicate with the horse and he will respond either by becoming oblivious to the rider or by overreacting.

By Will Clinging - Much of what I teach is far more mentally and emotionally challenging than it is physically difficult. There comes a point when we are just plain tired of working and learning, and it can be detrimental to continue training until this mental and physical fatigue has subsided.

If difficulties in the training process aren’t dealt with in the right way, they can cause incorrectness and frustration to become the normal attitude of both horse and handler. It is often then that the horse gets labeled as a problem. In reality, the only problem was that the real issue was not diagnosed properly. It is common to work on the obvious — how the horse is expressing himself — when faced with something he may or may not understand.

By Will Clinging - As the difficulty level and expectations increase, those fundamental skills may need to be improved. Forward motion, accepting contact from the bit, steering with a direct rein, steering with an indirect or neck rein, adjusting pace, and some basic lateral work such as turn on the forehand and turn on the haunches, are fundamental skills that will be improved and modified as training progresses.

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When watching gymnastic competitions, we look for athletes competing in gymnastics to “stick the landing” before the eagle-eyed judges who will discount marks for even the slightest waiver in form. While this phrase is rather commonplace in our understanding of these athletic events, it is not so in our equine world… at least not until you have read this article.

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