The Balanced Horse: The Aids By Feel, Not Force

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Your horse has a regular rhythm. He has a clear 4-beat walk, a clear 2-beat trot and a clear 3-beat canter.

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If one of these gaits is not regular, then you should seek for professional expertise trainer, vet, farrier, etc. Your horse is relaxed.

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He needs to be willing to train and to accept your aids. If your horse is stressed or rather fresh, you first need to perform other exercises in order to teach him to relax. Groundwork and lunging are good exercises for that. Your horse has to engage his hind legs further under his body when you ask him, directly.

Also here, take the training of your horse seriously and ask for professional help if needed. You can develop good connection and get your horse on the bit only if he correctly reacts to your driving leg aids for example.

Robert Dover: Riding Your Horse Honestly On The Aids

Is your horse coming back on a slight seat aid combined with a short rein aid 1 sec. If not: work first at the reaction to the aids with a good trainer who understands how a horse is learning. You sit correctly on your horse with an independent seat. You can nicely sit and follow the movement of your horse in all three gaits, also in sitting and posting trot, you master the light seat position in trot and canter without bouncing in the saddle, pulling the reins or leaning on the neck.

You can apply aids with perfect timing, intensity, length, and at the right location.

Why Pulling on your Horse’s Face Doesn’t Work… and How to Stop

Do you satisfy the conditions 1, 2, 3, and 4? Congratulations, then you probably need to do nothing to get your horse on the bit. He is doing it completely by himself! Because you have got the basics correct, your horse is answering by going on the bit. Nevertheless, it is possible that your horse is not continuously moving in balance, with suppleness and self-carriage for example in turns or exercises that you are not completely mastering yet.

Tag: invisible aids

At that moment you can give a very light aid to help your horse. But again, this is possible only if the 4 conditions mentioned above are satisfied. With two hands at the same time you can slowly increase the pressure on his mouth. I mean you can increase the pressure on his mouth for a few seconds and not a few minutes. As soon as your horse is softening his neck and jaw joint you release the pressure.

So that your horse understands that he gives the right answer to your question. Thus, it has a lot to do with timing. When you ask this a few times, you will see that your horse is seeking your hand and that the connection with his mouth is softening. Be aware: releasing the pressure means becoming light in your hands, and staying supple with your arms. If you bring your hands forward andlose the connection with the mouth, you are actually breaking the communication with your horse. A very light contact needs to be maintained. So light that there is no tension on the reins and you can still feel the horse moving and swinging underneath you.

By increasing the pressure on your horse mouth, you are asking him to get on the bit. By releasing the pressure, you are giving your horse the chance of answering your question. Give your horse the chance to answer your question and stop asking with your hands and driving aids for a short bit. That way you can create a dynamic conversation with your horse. It occurs automatically, you are simply getting it. You ride for example at elementary level, and you realize that connection and getting your horse on the bit is still an issue? Then there is something wrong with the basics of the training.

You will keep scoring around the minimum required; sometimes you will be lucky and score above it but sometimes not.


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Then you should seek the advice of a professional trainer and train the basics until they are well established. In short, good connection and getting your horse on the bit is dynamic and not static. See our disclaimer. This book is about developing that "perfect understanding" which is so important in our riding relationships.

Whether you practice dressage, hack, event, show, enjoy long distance riding, natural horsemanship or Western, the improvement of your horse through an understanding of "his" language, should allow him greater ability, confidence and enjoyment in all your work together. The Language of the Aids is not as well understood today as it should be and it seems that it is frequently forgotten or fragmented, and it will be the horse that suffers most when this happens.

Incorrect aiding can have a very adverse effect. The aim of The Balanced Horse is to confirm in people's minds what they should be doing for each and every request, and what they must avoid. Every instruction is based on what the horse needs to feel--at that moment in time. Each aid is based on the psychological and physiological effect placed on that sensitive animal underneath us.

Over time, applying each aid correctly can elicit a response in a horse's body as instant and involuntary as the knee jerk reaction in our own. Specifications Publisher Trafalgar Square Books.

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The Balanced Horse: The AIDS by Feel, Not Force

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