A young rider on a tense schoolmaster was the subject of the next segment: How to deal with a tense horse. Since I'm a tense rider myself, and I've made my horse tense, I found this part especially helpful.
To relax a tense horse, in the trot stretch down on the long side then gather back up in corner. In counter canter, stretch on the long side, retake in corner, etc. Counter canter is a great exercise for horses that have a tendancy to run thorugh the aides. A horse can’t run in counter canter. The stretching over the topline helps disodedience.
Make sure you ride your changes with a straight neck. Don't bend the next back and forth.
Ride with quietness and determination.
In the reinback, take horse back with hauling on the reins. Turn one wrist inward, once the horse steps back on step, give with the wrist. Only do a reinback using one hand. Reinback is a good influence on the horse when done properly and without tension.
- Mark off a 20-meter circle with four cones (one to the inside of each circle point). Put markers (Conrad used a handful of shavings) in 2 long human steps from each cone, then two more steps. Ride between cones and marker 1 for one circle then ride on marker 1, then ride between markers 1 and 2, then on marker 2. Then go back out doing the same thing. This really helps accuracy and helps the horse listen to the outside rein.
- Half pass in walk then half pass in trot.
- Half pass a few strides of walk then a few strides of trot, repeat to the end of the arena.
- Half pass right, Volte left, half pass left.
At each lunch break, Conrad answered questions from the audience. I found this question and answer especially interesting.
Q: Why are so many horses ridden in this clinic with the poll low? Shouldn’t the poll be the highest point?
A: In the old classical school, the poll was always the highest point because the horses were built downhill and on the forehand and needed to be ridden up. The rider avoided taking the horses down to keep them off of the forehand.
This is not necessarily true with modern horses. Some horses need to be ridden behind the bit and over round to loosen their backs (this is very interesting as my trainer rode my horse yesterday in a clinic with a German trainer, and that's how he wanted my horse ridden in order to get her back up). As long as there is feel in the reins and horse hasn’t dropped behind the bit, this is fine.
Conrad did comment that the "current trend for the head between the legs is rubbish."
Some Misc. Notes:
When warming up, work the stiff side on the circle, go large for the hollow side.
Walk/halt or trot/halt on both sides. Walk/canter, flex neck to inside before asking for canter.
Get the neck really round to stop the bullying horse.
For half pass training, the renver is a good exercise.
Believe it or not, this concluded only the first morning. I'll try to post next Sunday the next installment. I hope you're enjoying this and that you might find some of his exercises useful.