Training and Consistency

So I really love writing about my experiences and training. I feel the more I learn from so many people and horses, the more I can customize my training for each horse and their needs. One of the things I find so important in training is consistency. Here…. Let me explain. So you are having trouble with your horse, whether its with the contact, being forward, on the aids, whatever it may be….. I find that if you take more time you will experience great results. For myself, I see some horses over-faced with their work. They start becoming inconsistent in their contact and their tempo is off. Take it a step back. Try to move at a slower and create a more balanced pace for your horse so they understand what you want. Yes the big fancy trot is super nice, but how long will your horse maintain it before they fall out, get flat, or loose the contact. Work your way up.

So you are working a little slower now, you feel your horse is accepting of your aids, you are able to bend their neck, push them laterally and they still are with you. Now ask for a little more tempo. Do you still have it? Whether the answer is yes or no, bring them back again. Again, work your lateral, shoulder-ins, leg yields, moving the haunches, etc. Try to push them again. Do you still have them now?

I know there will be a few that say, yes of course I still have them. What’s next?? Well, the same things. Maybe you start working at a more forward pace, NOT RUNNING, but asking for more. The key is that you must be able to move your horse in and out of forward and collected gaits without a fuss or fight. You need the acceptance. No need to get angry or upset with your horse.

First, this discipline and riding in general takes a LONG time to do and work up to. Second, probably 80% of the time it’s the horse not understanding what needs to be done or what the rider is asking. I have experienced horses taking months or even years to really get their break through moments and I have also experienced horses that take only days. All horses are different and learn at different paces. Ideally we look at the FEI young horse tests and say “Well my horse needs to be here.” but that is not always true. Some horses do take longer. There are many worldly known horses out there that didn’t even step foot in the ring until the FEI levels because they were late bloomers. Don’t get stuck      thinking there is a standard. You are working with an animal that has a mind of their own.

Now back on the subject, So you’ve been working slowly and they are going well, consistent, good contact, off your legs, all is heaven, and now you are pushing more. Now consistency and proper aids are key. Can you move your horse laterally with the same cadence, elasticity, suppleness, and        acceptance that you have going straight? No? Well, slow down. Yes? Ask for more. These are the things you will have to continually play with. Can I push my horse more? Can I bring them back? Will they be here listening? It is a constant cycle of training. You have to keep this in your training with your horse FOREVER.

I’m sure there are lots of people with that perfect school master. Well guess what, they need it too. You have to continue working on all the basics to keep your horse fine tuned to you as the rider. The best of the best riders out there don’t sit around all day in the piaffe, passage, and doing the ones. NO! They continue to do the basics of riding. The consistency. The acceptances.

Take your time. As I ride horses in my life, clients horses and my own, I sometimes think “UGH am I getting anywhere?!?”. Then BAM! It’s like a new beginning, the next step is happening and you are finding the horse is working better, understanding more, and looking even more amazing. Patience  and consistency paid off once again. It’s such a delight and break through moment when it happens. Remember, bring your self and your horse back before pushing them again, make sure they are with you for the ride and you will be utterly amazed with the results! Happy Riding!


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