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Free Lessons on Training a Horse for Bit-Less Dressage and Pleasure Riding
September 6, 2012
Here it is what I promised you, the first of the free lessons in how to train a horse for bit-less Dressage.
I chose Honey as the horse to use to show the steps in making a bit-less horse. He is naturally heavy to the aids for he had no breaks and was unwilling to take direction. I think much more is gained in seeing the method being used on a horse that needs training rather than a horse that already knows the method.
Honey is a Morgan Arabian cross and he came to me with some behavior problems under saddle, so I am starting over with him. The problem that people were experiencing was that Honey wanted to be in a hurry when being ridden and if you tried to slow him down, he would rear. Many times Honey would rear for no apparent reason or just because you were on his back. He was a horse with a great big “NO” attitude. However, I saw something in him that was greater than the “NO” he was putting forth towards humans.
I saw a look in his eyes that drew me to him. He appeared to have a great sense of self and was wide open to life even though life had not been good to him. He had scars on his body and in his mouth, but in his eyes I could see that his soul had not been damaged. Behind the “NO”, I could see that his openness was greater than the grudge he was holding onto. When I saw him, it was an instant connection for me. I liked him completely and wanted to know him better. Honey was not an affectionate horse when I started out with him, but that changed in a month’s time. When Honey came to me he was clearly stressed, being nervous and pessimistic. This was less than a year ago. All in all he has had about three months or less of training in the Waterhole Rituals. You will see in the video what he has learned in the Method. He still has a lot more to learn, but the basics are on him.
I now feel he is ready to begin with bit-less riding. I am taking him really slowly. I will develop his Liberty Training further as I train him in bit-less riding. I will make videos of his journey to be a guide in how I train a horse to perform under saddle for bit-less dressage and pleasure riding.
If you like what you see on what I am sharing with you on the blog, you might be interested in taking my online course. It is open to 15 riders and their horses that qualify for the prerequisites of the course. The video below will show you the quality of performance at liberty and the connection you will need with your horse to qualify for the course.
Video of Prerequisites
This new program will be very exciting for my students ready for the next level. You will have my full support and can check in with me daily, weekly and monthly. As usual in my classes, you will go at your own pace. We will be covering all aspects of my Method to develop a bit-less Dressage horse using Uberstriechen Exercises, Single Lining, Double Lining, training in a round pen and schooling from the saddle in walk, trot and canter. I will personally coach you on how to apply these methods to your own horse for the purpose of creating a bit-less dressage or pleasure horse.
In this course you will receive monthly group conference calls and monthly private coaching calls. I will respond to you once a week, or daily when needed, in the classroom and on your journal writing. You will receive hours of videos showing Honey’s journey and each step to take along the way. This program is designed so that every step prepares you and your horse to be able to perform the next step of your personal program with grace and ease.
In short, I will coach you on the bi-weekly videos that you send me in the classroom, on the group conference calls and on your private coaching calls. This means that every two weeks you will be on a group conference call or private coaching call with me.
You will be able to reach me at any time by phone using your free time allotment, above and beyond the regular curriculum of the course.
In this program, you will see Honey transformed from “no stop” to “whoa” and “go”, in self carriage, collection and long and low from light aids in walk, trot and canter, with an attitude that is happy, willing and optimistic.
The free lessons on the blog will be an overview and outline of Honey’s Training Program. There are two videos in this blog. The first video is what Honey knows of the Waterhole Rituals that qualifies him to start with his bit-less riding lessons. This video will help you to decide if you and your horse are also ready to start with bit-less riding. The second video is a lesson on how to teach a horse to accept a rider on his back.
If you signup for the program and after the first class you decide theprogram is not for you, you may drop out and your tuition minus $350 admin fee will be refunded.
Free Lesson Video #1
Written lesson to accompany the free lesson video #1
The fist thing to get your horse used to doing, is standing quietly with you next to a fence. I like to teach my horse from the ground to stand parallel to the fence. This is easy to accomplish. All you need to do is walk along the fence and then ask your horse to stop. At first your horse might not want to be close to the fence, but if you keep walking along a fence line your horse will eventually stop next to it when you ask him to halt. This can be done with a lead and halter.
When your horse likes the idea of standing with you next to the fence, you can then climb up on the fence. If he gets concerned, climb back down. When your horse is relaxed, you can climb up again. Once the horses will allow this, you then can stand up on the fence like in the video.
Follow the next stages as the video shows. It is very important not to try and stop your horse when he is in the mounting position. When your horse walks off just gently guide him back. In a short time you will be able to maneuver him left and right around you, turning him when he gets far enough away that you need to bring him back. Many times a horse will prefer to let his head be close to you, but not his body. After a while, your horse will get comfortable standing next to the fence in a mounting position.
The next step is to scratch him in all the places he enjoys being scratched, only scratching him in places you can safely reach from your position on the fence. When you have done this exercise for a week, you then can start sitting on his back like the video shows. Always, when your horse walks off or when you feel that your horse is loosing his willingness and relaxation, step back onto the fence and wait for the relaxation to return.
Take as long as you wish on this exercise. Spend a lot of time in the “Pause” doing nothing, when you are sitting on the fence. Even if your horse accepts being mounted, practice this exercise anyway in order to find any resistance that you may not know about. Honey has been ridden before and he is good about being mounted, but he needs more practice to help him really get comfortable having someone over his head and that he could stand still on his own. What usually happens when a person gets on a horse is that the horse is held still in a mounted position. So the horse, in essence, had a problem with wanting to be mounted.
By using this fence work, you work out all the objections by allowing the horse to move on and then when the horse is completely relaxed, try again. This way lots of practice is given to mounting and from this practice, more relaxation is realized between you and your horse. In bit-less riding a horse needs to be relaxed and willing. To achieve this willingness many steps are needed with plenty of practice to develop a horse that is truly light to the aids.
The next lesson will be on Single Lining and how the reins are used in dressage.
Be on the look out for new horse and human sightings and may the horse be with you.