When you are trying to improve your riding and your horse’s way of going, there are always vital basics to remember what ever level you are working at. Your horse must react quickly to your aids, go forward in an energetic but calm manner and be supple trough turns and circles.
These are the building blocks that help you form a partnership, no matter how much – or how little – experience you and your horse have.
- Many riders ride with one hand – usually the inside one – lower than the other, which puts uneven pressure on your horses mouth, A good way of breaking this habit is to ride with a schooling whip in each hand: as long as each whip lies across your leg correctly, your hands should be at the same height and your horse will be more comfortable.
- When devising a schooling programme for your horse, you need to take his conformation into account. All horses can be taught to work correctly, but it takes an expert eye to assess a horse and realise what will come easily to him and what he will find difficult. Building the right muscles in the right places can change a horse’s appearance and performance dramatically.
- In shoulder-in, the horse’s hindlegs should stay on the track, while the shoulders are brought slightly to the inside. It is important to ask for only a slight amount of bend and for you to be content with a few correct steps at any time before riding forwards and straight, gradually increasing the number of steps of shoulder-in as the horse becomes more established. Work on shoulder-in should be little and often. Don’t drill your horse or he will become confused and resistant.
- By doing lots of circles and turns at the start of a schooling session, you will make yourself more supple and relaxed which will transfer to your horse.