The School Your Horse Blog
Schooling is just another way of exercising your horse and anyone can do it. You don’t need to be competitive and your horse doesn’t have to be the next Olympic hopeful. The more ideas you have the more interesting it becomes. There are over 100 posts on here to choose from. No horse needs to be on the bit to do any one of them. Better still they’re absolutely free!
Use the search box to find posts on a particular pace or problem. There’s more than one way to school your horse and hopefully you’ll find one of them here.
To read a Spanish translation of this blog check out this site – http://www.puntoecuestre.com/tag/schooling/
If your horse has two speeds – fast and faster – it can be a bit of a nightmare when it comes to going downhill. That feeling of all four legs tripping over themselves as you crash through the undergrowth or wade through the mud does nothing to instill you with confidence. BUT that’s exactly what you need to do. When it comes to going downhill most riders sit back, take the weight on their stirrups and keep hold of their contact to keep their horse sat back on his hocks and to stop him running on too quickly. There is some theory in there –...read more
Does your horse come home faster than he goes out? Is he reluctant to leave the yard on his own? Does he have to go first – or last?! If your dressage is coming on in leaps and bounds you could be forgiven for putting in more effort in the school than out but a bit of work and discipline away from the confines of the ménage can make all the difference to the relationship you have with your horse. Nappiness is an attitude not a physical problem so don’t give up all hope! If you can change the way you think then you can influence...read more
Are you struggling to ride accurate circles? If you think about it the chances are your other shapes are probably ‘not quite right’ either. Think about riding a circle from A. When do you actually start having trouble? Most riders would say as they approach X or as they try to return to the track but that’s the end result of something that happened as you started the circle. Shapes should start from the first marker but a lot of riders don’t really start riding correctly until they leave the track (when things start to go...read more
Do you ever really think about asking your horse to trot? It’s such a non-event that you could be forgiven for thinking there wasn’t much to it. But ignore it at your peril! Any tension created in the transition not only ruins your trot it also goes on to affect your canter. A transition should be an invisible flow from one sequence of legs to another but very rarely does it happen. Any tension is highlighted by your horse as he tightens his jaw, hollows or even swishes his tail. This is most often seen in trot to canter...read more
Do you think you need to half-halt every time you ask your horse to turn, change pace or even breathe? Think again! A half-halt is little more than a tap on your horse’s shoulder- a wake-up call to rebalance and listen. It’s too easy to do too much when actually sitting still would be far more helpful. The last post explained how to half-halt. This one tells you when. (Or when not to) Used carefully – and sparingly – the half-halt is a really effective way to rebalance your horse. But use it too often and he...read more
Most riders have heard about a half halt but do you really know what it is – or why you do it? A half halt is just like a tap on the shoulder to tell your horse to listen up. It sounds easy when you put it like that – but is it? Done well a half-halt will rebalance your horse by putting his weight back onto his hocks. It can set him up for a movement or transition. Done incorrectly it’s guaranteed to confuse him and make him more tense and unbalanced than he was before! The simple answer is “If it ain’t broke...read more
Is your horse more interested in what’s going on in the field next door? It’s a common fault of horses of all ages. They have something in common too – their riders! There are many things you can do to get your horse’s attention but before you start make sure he has yours. It’s too easy to blame him when he’s slow to respond or looking across the school at a car driving into the yard but never forget that without your say-so he can’t do anything. If your horse is easily distracted you need to keep him interested....read more
Have you read The Other Way of Stopping? Regular readers of this blog will have undoubtedly heard about it (if not tried out) but if you haven’t take a look at it and teach yourself and your horse one of the best kept secrets in horse riding. Put simply it shows you how to use your knee and thigh to slow down or collect your horse and anything that means you do less with your hands is to be encouraged. If you’re thinking “been there, done that” stop right there! Have you tried the other ‘other way of stopping’? You may...read more
How often have you been told that you’ll never stop learning? It’s true – who didn’t watch the Olympics and spot errors even in the top three dressage riders? It would seem all riders have something to learn or improve on. But it’s worth remembering that it’s not always an uphill battle – sometimes you need to go back and look at the basics. Not because you’re stupid but because without them nothing can improve. No matter what level you’re at there are three things that need to be in place before you can perfect even the...read more
Have you ever wondered who actually decided New Year was all about making yourself miserable?! Why should you give something up only to give in two days later and end up feeling more miserable than you were before you started? Why not turn things around this year and start 2013 with a positive resolution? When it comes to horses there is no easier way to create tension than trying too hard or starting a battle. Saying no is by far the easiest way to do both! Why not set yourself a new goal this year? Try something you’ve always...read more