Category: Lynn Palm

How Horses Like to Learn

Hi, this is “My Royal Lark” also known to my friends as “Wills”. I am a handsome bay Appendix Quarter bay stallion and son of legendary “Rugged Lark”.  I’m Lynn’s favorite partner, or at least I think so!
We know that horses don’t talk… but Lynn is finally off of her computer and now it’s my turn to give you a horse’s perspective on training. Together with Lynn’s 40+ years of professional experience in training horses and riders, we’ve come up with these pointers to help you be more successful in training your horse.

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Using a Longe Line and Whip for

When working your horse in hand, start with a simple cotton longe line clipping it to the snap on the same side of the halter as you are working the horse.  Never use the snap at the bottom of the halter for ground training.  I only use the bottom snap when I doing routine handling or leading, and only with a horse that is fully mannered and responsive to my commands. 

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Right Equipment for Ground Training

In the last article I stressed the importance of location when conducting ground training lessons with any horse.  If you follow the progression I gave you to introduce each new ground training lesson. you will be giving your horse the best opportunity to learn. If your horse demonstrates he does not understand or is not responsive at any point in this progression, go back to the previous location to repeat the lesson until there is improvement.

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Western Dressage: What’s It All About?

For me, western dressage is a dream come true. I was so fortunate to learn dressage training as a young rider. I rode with my mentor, Bobbie Steele, for more than 25 years.
What I learned in the dressage saddle, I went home and practiced with my ponies, my first horse, and my second horse, which was a yearling. Dressage applied to all aspects of training and all horses that I worked with, from the ground to the saddle. Even if a different saddle was used, whether western, hunt seat, saddle seat, or dressage, there was no reason to ride any differently.

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Similarities Between Western and “Regular” Dressage

You’ve probably already figured out that you can do the same dressage maneuvers in a Western saddle that you can do in a “regular” dressage saddle. This reminds me of our Western Dressage motto, “Why Not?!” I’ve been saying that since I learned of the vast interests in Western Dressage at the 2010 FEI World Equestrian Games.
For the first 30 years of riding, I rode consistently in the dressage saddle. I still find myself training the exact same way whether I am in a Western saddle or a dressage saddle. Dressage principles are the basis of my show ring success. By using these principles with the training of the horses, I find I ride the same when riding in a hunt seat or Western saddle.

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Western Dressage Benefits Any Horse

Dressage is the only way to naturally train Western horses of any breed. After all, a horse is a horse! You don’t have to train differently just because you use an English or Western saddle.
We must remember that “Dressage” is a French word that means “training of animals.” Dressage is a foundational way to teach a horse according to his natural instincts, behaviors, personality and temperament. Dressage utilizes successful methods that have been practiced for centuries.

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Beat Fear with Proper Form and Balance

It is only natural for a rider to feel fear at some point in her riding years. Usually that fear is based on the concern for being out of control of the horse and coming out of the saddle. If this has ever been an issue for you while pursuing Western Dressage, or at any time during your riding endeavors, you’ll be encouraged to know that one of the best ways to stay in control of the horse and stay in the saddle is through proper rider form and balance

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Western Dressage: Warm-up Routine

A good warm up routine is valuable, whether you are about to school your horse for your latest test in Western Dressage, or are just heading out for a trail ride. Your horse needs a pre-exercise warm-up routine to help loosen and limber up his muscles. A warm-up also prepares the horse’s mind for the work you will be asking him to do–whether it is schooling, trail riding, pleasure riding, or showing.

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