Chapter 10 – Do – Influencing Your Horse
More snippets from The Crystal System Book …
“Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm” – Winston Churchill
“Of course, everything we do influences our horse’s way of going and it is worth taking on board my primary message to you ‘If you get the right response when you ask correctly, it surely follows that if you get the wrong response, you may not be asking correctly”.
“… The novice or untrained horse (whatever the age) needs time to develop strength and flexibility to accomplish the desired ‘roundness.’ It’s important that every time you take a walk break, you should give a loose rein and let your horse adopt any frame he wants so that he can relax his muscles. The length of time you ask your horse to work ‘on the bit’ depends on the individual horse. Always consider his age, fitness, and temperament. Clearly, if you do too much and make your horse sore because he’s using his muscles differently, you’re not only going to have a sore horse, but also a horse that becomes quirky and resistant. So the trick with anything you do with a horse is to bring him up to the limit, and then take the pressure off. As soon as your horse shows signs of resistance because he’s either physically or mentally tired, back off. Build up day by day.
“… The halt is executed at the beginning and end of the test and in many tests also in the middle. Collecting easy points with a good square halt or rather ensuring that you don’t lose easy points has to be a priority, doesn’t it? Your entry and halt at X is your chance to make a good impression; to get the judge sitting up and taking note that someone who can ride has just entered the arena. At the lower levels it is ok to ride a progressive transition from trot to halt, the judge would prefer a few steps of walk than your horse screeching to a stop.”
“… The main obstruction to connection with your horse is stiffness. Your horse must be free of all stiffness in his body in order for the energy to flow and not leak out anywhere. Your riding position has a mammoth impact on his ability to bend and flex without any energy blockages. Many riders don’t realise they have trouble sitting the trot because they have not made a correct contact. No matter how good a rider you are, it’s nearly impossible to sit on a back that’s stiff and hollow. The key to making both you and your horse more comfortable in sitting trot is to ensure that you have made contact and are engaging in conversation with your horse through your reins. “
More ‘Doing’ to come in Chapter 11 when we look at suppling your horse.