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The Audios

Warm Up and Cool Downs

 An appropriate warmup and cooldown routine before and after exercise will promote flexibility and strength keeping your horse’s musculoskeletal system resilient and healthy.  The Category also includes rider, mind body and sole exercises, with Special Guest Audios.

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The 10 Minute Warm - Up

This gentle activity allows the horse’s joint fluids to begin moving and lubricating. 

Joints must be allowed to move through their full range of motion prior to being held in a static position during exercise with a rounded frame. If there isn’t oxygen, blood flow, and fuel to support the contraction-relaxation cycle that muscle fibers function with; asking muscles to engage when your horse has only just started in the arena is essentially like choking them. 

Flatwork Audios

Flatwork will give your horse the foundations to help them be more, attentive, responsive and flexible.  

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Sitting to Canter

When we ride our horses in canter we want it to feel smooth and comfortable, that we feel secure but also that we feel a good soft connection between ourselves and our horses.

If we are not balanced correctly in the canter the whole experience can be a rather unpleasant one. Bumping down on the horses back, inadvertently using the reins to balance, feelings of instability, gripping with your legs in a last ditch attempt to stay in the saddle …. Not only are all of these things the opposite of what we wish to achieve when cantering the affect these have on the horse are also unhelpful and can affect their attitude to cantering and their way of going.

Not all horses canters feel the same so in this session we are going to work being able to perfect your technique for sitting quietly and still to the canter, you’ll be able to apply this to any horse you ride and improve on it each time you ride, making cantering a happy experience for both of you!

The Bowtie

Riding the bowtie shape is useful to you as a rider as it gives you the opportunity to practice and perfect half halts, leg aids restraining aids and the ability to coordinate all these together. For the horse riding this exercise can help loosen up a horse who feels stiff and for horses that need to work on focus the changes in bend and direction can help keep their minds working and help them focus on the job in hand and less on what is going on outside the arena. Ridden correctly balance and rhythm can also be improved.

There are a few variations of the bow tie exercise, the first one we are going to work on is set up against the wall of the arena. It may help you to place two cones, at each end of the quarter line to help you judge the size of the 15m half circles that make up the loops of the bow tie.

The Square

The square exercise is a really useful exercise to ride to work on for both horse and rider. This exercise will encourage your horse to become more aware of and respond to your outside leg aid and also increase engagement of the hind quarters. For young horses this is especially beneficial to improve straightness. 

From the riders perspective this helps to reinforce understanding of riding the horse as a whole. This is a phrase often heard from trainers but not always completely understood. Essentially it means that you are using all your aids together in order to influence the whole of the horses body and not just one aspect of it. Turning your horse is not as simple as just pulling one rein and pointing the head in the direction you want to go, there are many other elements that contribute to correct turns and for your horse to be able to work correctly through various school movements, this exercise will help to bring your focus to both leg seat weight and rein aids being used in conjunction with each other and increase awareness of how these affect your horses way of going. 

Flexion

Flexion is asked for as a way of encouraging your horse to remain light to the aids, to supple them and can improve steering as it helps to reinforce the concept of the horse yielding to pressure. It is important to remember that when we use the word pressure this does not mean forceful pulling or hanging on to the reins, if I hold your hand and apply a pressure it can be a friendly and comforting squeeze or it could also be a bone crunching vice grip! We should always be looking to ask our horses to respond to the lightest pressure and always seeking to decrease and never increase the amount of pressure needed.  During this session think carefully about how you are asking your horse the questions and try to make it easy for them to find the correct answers. Flexing your horse helps to increase suppleness and is great preparation when riding circles or corners. 

Falling in on the Circle

A common problem that many riders face is horses falling in. This can be especially prevalent on circles.  

In this session it is helpful to set out some cones on a twenty metre circle marking the 4 quarters you may also wish to carry a dressage whip with you for this session.

 

Often the reason the horse falls in is due to a lack of suppleness and balance.  Instead of the horse using their hind quarters correctly to carry their weight and that of the rider, the horse instead braces against the riders inside leg causing them to lean inwards. This can often be seen in young horses who lack balance and can often occur along the long side of the arena as well as on the circle.

Trot to Canter Transitions

This transition is a very important part of schooling, usually achieving canter from trot is a big milestone at the start for the riders education and it is important to practice and refine the transition during your training sessions. 

 

There is much more to riding the upwards transition than just encouraging forward movement and increasing speed. If you want your horse to remain balanced and for the change in pace to seem effortless you will need to work on riding the upwards transition correctly. 

The Hourglass

This is a useful exercise to practice straightness. It can also help to get your horse off your aids, improve balance  develop the accuracy of your turns. This can be particularly useful when riding dressage tests where the accuracy of your turns can earn or lose you valuable points.

The hourglass pattern is different to the figure of 8. So in the figure of 8 we are working on 20 m circles with the focus on creating a good bend. In this exercise we are working more on our straight-lines and the quality if our turns around the school. It may help you to place some markers in the school to make this easier to visualise.  

So first to plan to visualise the shape we are going to be riding, you may wish to place four markers or cones to mark the points that you will leave the track and return to the track.

Canter Poles

Pole work can be a beneficial exercise for every horse, regardless of their discipline. Often overlooked, using poles in the walk gait is a very valuable exercise in groundwork and also our ridden work.

Poles in Trot

Exercises such as this will build your horses core strength and working in a regular rhythm over poles will require them to balance themselves so not to fall onto the forehand or hollow and lift their head up. 

 

Over time if you use pole work on a regular basis you will find that his overall balance suppleness and muscle tone improves 

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Poles in Walk

Walking over poles is a beneficial exercise for every horse, regardless of their discipline. Often overlooked, using poles in the walk gait is a very valuable exercise in groundwork and also our ridden work. 

This will help encourage engagement and further your horses ability to think about his own balance and placement of each individual leg.

 

Sitting Trot

As you progress with your riding it is essential you learn how to ride a good sitting trot. Often this can be uninviting thought for many riders for fear of bouncing, becoming unbalanced in the saddle bumping down on your horses back and having a generally unpleasant ride.

Sitting to the trot is often overlooked in the early stages of learning to ride but in actual fact it makes up a large part of being able to understand how to sit correctly and stay in rhythm with your horse.

Poles in Walk

Walking over poles is a beneficial exercise for every horse, regardless of their discipline. Often overlooked, using poles in the walk gait is a very valuable exercise in groundwork and also our ridden work. 

This will help encourage engagement and further your horses ability to think about his own balance and placement of each individual leg.