This is the story of my quest to train my three Dales Ponies for classical dressage, primarily by using Alexandra Kurland's clicker training methods, with a touch of others such as Philippe Karl and Anja Beran thrown in. I turned to clicker training because I had come up against some issues that I didn't know how to fix and because I wanted to inspire them to become enthusiatic partners. Bella and Jack are all my own work and have never been ridden by anyone else.
Thursday, 1 January 2009
Motivation of Dressage Horses - Richard Hinrichs
He puts a lot of emphasis on getting the horse completely relaxed by riding it in a long, low outline - not just young horses, but also advanced horses at the beginning of every session (and this includes Iberians, for whom some people seem to think that riding long and low is detrimental).
The reason for this is because he says that "A horse with it's head held low is clearly releasing less adrenalin than one with it's head held high." He says that "If the horse learns to stretch forward and down from a signal from the rider, and a conditioned reflex becomes automatic, one can also calm the horse in difficult situations and control it's behaviour". He says that this method of calming a horse was first described in 1710 by a trainer with the Spanish Riding School.
He also says that you should begin a session with right turns and circles because "Most horses calm down in right turns, whereas in small left turns they tend to get excited". I hadn't heard that before.
He says that when warming up the rider should keep on varying the stride length and frequency because "If, at this preparatory stage, the trainer already occupies his horse with many small variations, it will look forward to new demands as a pleasant change and not an unpleasant interruption of the status quo". I thought that that was especially relevant to clicker training, with all it's stops and starts. Richard Hinrichs talks a lot about keeping the horse interested in the rider with frequent changes - he says even the reward of walking on a long rein should only be for very brief periods, or you loose the horse's interest and attention.
Richard Hinrichs is also very keen on using voice aids first and foremost. He says that Pluvinel referred to the voice as 'the spur of the mind', and he (Hinrichs) talks of obtaining a "state of mind where the horse offers the exercises of it's own accord. He says that anyone who regards riding a horse this way as 'poodle dressage' should ask themselves if they could obtain such lightness in their horse's work (this is while a little Camargue in a western saddle is performing a stunning piaffe, as calmly and lightly as a feather).
It is a beautiful and inspiring DVD, featuring a range of different horses. The Friesian performing a wonderful ridden piaffe with no bridle was just spectacularly gorgeous. I love this DVD and it has inspired me to revisit long reining, using his 'hands on' (literally!) approach, and to start to work toward piaffe in hand with Jack and Bella, which seems far more attainable having watched the DVD.
One of these days Jack and Bella (and maybe even Grace) WILL be the Dales equivalent of that Friesian!!!!!!!!
PS. Now I just need the school to thaw out so that we can get on with it!
- Motivation of Dressage Horses - Richard Hinrichs
- Taking Stock.
- Snowy Days.
- Photo Albums 2008.
- Snowy Days Photos.
- Frosty Photos.
- Philippe Karl Style Flexions.
- Giving the Horse a Voice.
- Aspirations and Expectations.
- First Time Evers.
- I found these clips on You tube yesterday and they...
- Russell's Story.
- Saddle Fitting.
- Photos of my Pones Backs.
- My Little Helper.
- ▼ January (15)