Author: Lynn Palm

Slowing with the Seat

“Slowing with the Seat” is extremely important to accomplish balanced
transitions. The Seat as an aid is also necessary for collective gaits and their
There are three aids that we use with our body to communicate with the
horse when riding:

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Overcoming Natural Water Obstacles

Water is possibly the most difficult natural obstacle for any horse. Why? Because
horses are smart and they want to take care of themselves! When they cannot see the
bottom of the water obstacle, they feel as though they can’t access their safety.
Whenever I see a rider trying to get their horse in water and the horse is resisting,
oftentimes the rider becomes discouraged and they start kicking the horse to go forward.
Anytime you start kicking a horse, they’ll go backward instead of forward. This becomes
frustrating for the horse because he’s insecure about the water and the rider is giving him
the wrong guidance.
To teach your horse confidence with water it’s best to start him on the ground. I
also like using another horse’s presence who is confident with water. This gives
confidence and trust to the horse who is hesitant about water obstacles, whether it’s a
flowing creek or a calm lake.

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The Art of the Half Pass

The Half Pass is the most advanced lateral movement you can train a horse to do. I love
the Half Pass; not only is it elegant, it’s also so fun to ride.
To define a Half Pass, the horse moves forward and sideways at the same time.
The horse must be bent in the direction of travel, and the movement is done on a diagonal
In Traditional Dressage competition you will find the Half Pass either at the
collected trot or the collected canter. In Western Dressage you will find the Half Pass at
the collected jog and the collected lope. In Traditional Dressage the Half Pass is required
in the 4th level and continues to the Grand Prix level. In Western Dressage you will find
it in Levels 4 & 5.

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Ground Driving

Ground driving is also called Long Lining. Ground driving is a very good training
technique for young horses to learn how to turn right and left, stop, and back. This
exercise provides a great variety of training for any age of horse or rider.

Handler Coordination
For the human part of this partnership, ground driving works on your
coordination. It provides a focus on what you’re doing with your arms, adjusting your
reins and keeping them organized, your foot fall to stay in line with the horse, or your
foot fall to stay inward on a curving line. You learn how to flex the horse’s head inward
so you can just see his eye.

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Choosing the Right Equine ‘Dance Partner’

You and your partner touch. With almost imperceptible signals you dance together.
Your steps are light, your turns graceful and balanced. There is trust between you as you
confidently master more difficult maneuvers. You move as one with your horse in
beauty, in the partnership called “riding”.
You may be a trail rider or barrel racer, ride hunt seat or Western Dressage or Western.
Whatever your passion, there’s no greater reward than learning how to dance, in
partnership with your horse.

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