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Painting of Maestoso II Catrina ridden by Shana Ritter. Painting by Janey Belozer.

Question and Answer Forum

  • Q: Longeing the Green Horse (July 15, 2009)
    Good afternoon Thomas,
    At your convenience could you please, in detail, explain the process for longeing a green horse.
    I am currently working with my 3 year old gelding on just that, however, after reading your lovely article on Longing and viewing my photos of our work, I am now starting to see the errors of my ways, perhaps in how I started him or the steps that I have omitted out of lack of knowledge. I understand now that in order to acquire balance that a horse needs to work with the side reins and snaffle, however, how does one begin to longe correctly with a young horse that hasn't yet been introduced to the snaffle or side reins? or should longeing only be started after those two have been introduced first?
    I'm not in a rush to back him this summer, but would prefer spend the remainder of this year just working from the ground.
    Thank you very much for your time. Have a good day and take care.
    Debbie Kostinec

  • Q: About Thighs (June 5, 2009)
    My instructor teaches that if your thigh muscles are soft (not flexed) then they are squished into the form of the saddle that they are resting on. If you cuddle that squished flat thigh to the long muscle (push it closer to the horse without tightening it), the horse cuddles back & lifts in front in the process. I don't know why it works, but it did. It felt like having more power. What do you think?

  • Q: Working Behind the bit in the Canter (May 25, 2009)
    I bought a 14yr TBxShire broodmare 7mths ago, she had only been broken in 9mths prior to this and had then been used in a riding school !! She was extremely crooked in walk and trot and in the last few days I have been getting the most amazing trot from her, but her canter doesn't seem to be improving. I have had a couple of lessons with an A.I. but what she has told me to do isn't working. The mare has had issues with canter since I started riding her and would get upset in every corner in the anticipation of being asked to canter, striking off on the wrong leg or rushing in trot. I have a perfect lead now and have reduced her anxiety. Initially on strike off her head shoots up and she 'leaps' into canter then she evades the bit and over flexes her head to the point she could do a forward roll. My instructor told me to maintain a rein contact, she actually made me shorten my reins quite alot and lift her head using the bit (loose ring snaffle lozenge and tried jointed) and give her a kick to raise her head, then praise when her head rises, she has also slowed everything down which seems to have made it worse. She is also very crooked, hind quarters bend inside and she drops out on her outside shoulder. Having read your blogs I feel it is a a problem with the engagement of her hindquarters. Are there any exercises to encourage her to use her quarters better in canter? Would riding with less contact prevent her evading the bit? she does canter on a loose rein around the school in a hollow manner and she is alot straighter behind but takes the bends like a motor bike dropping out with her outside shoulder, but she enjoys it and relaxes, also on a hack her canter is alot more relaxed, and her head position is higher. Please could you give me any advice to help, I really don't want to confuse her, she's such an honest horse who I know asked correctly will try her hardest to please.

  • Q: Flash Noseband (Feb. 5, 2009)
    What are the benefits/drawbacks to using a flash?

  • Q: Checklist to develop Feel (Feb. 4, 2009)
    Sometimes I can feel exactly what is going on with my horse...sometimes I can't. It is my ultimate goal to be able to feel exactly what is stiff, crooked, etc. every step of the ride...however since that probably won't happen for a while, I need tools.
    What I would like to have is a checklist of sorts, so that when my horse is locked up on one rein I can run through my checklist and say, "Is she wrapped around my inside leg?" Yes. "Is she moving forward well?" Yes. "Is her shoulder straight?" No. Aha!!
    So, I'm looking for how problems in the horse's body/position/way of moving, manifest themselves into something the lower level rider notices. For the basic issues that all lower level riders have. Obviously once you get to the upper levels you'd better be able to feel what is going on under you, because you don't have time to go through your checklist, but it would be a helpful for riders trying to develop "feel".

  • Q: How to lighten the seat (Feb. 1, 2009)
    How do I lighten my seat?

  • Q: Muscle Development (Jan. 2009)
    Hi, I start to apologize for my bad English, but I do hope you will understand what I try to ask.
    I have myself a mare (half blood) born in 1990 and a gelding (half blood)born 2005. With my mare I have, unfortunately, tried different riding stiles until I found the classical way. On this journey I have found out that her outfit has been changing. I have now this young fellow and I want to do it "right" this time. I have tried to ask and read about how the musculatures should develop and what developing I have to ovoid, but the answers are always different. I hope that this question is even for you important. I do think that here is something people do not know otherwise it would have been simple to answer and show me.
    I live in Finland and in this arena were I live we have not any good teachers in riding classical, so we have one from Sweden coming a few time in the year. I have tried to take this for discussions many times, but the other riders are not interested in or have no problem with this question.
    Thank you for your time
    Käthe Wiklund

  • Q: Rein Aids (Dec. 2008)
    As I see it - loosely interpreting - the German rein aids "speak" to the horse's mass and/or posture where the French rein aids "speak" to his feet. One of the fundamental differences is the German practice of using the leg aid/s to laterally displace the horse's hind legs vs. the French method of laterally displacing the hind legs via the direct rein of opposition. What do you think?

  • Q: Foaming at the Mouth (Nov. 2008)
    What does foaming at the mouth indicate? Does it mean the horse is distressed? Supple? Stiff?

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