Read the quotes on this website and you are a long way to understanding my philosophy!
There are so many people that have said great things long before I came around. There is nothing new to riding, very little that some people long before me had not found out. There might be more scientific proof to some theories and against some others but in essence the horse has not changed over the centuries.
Our biggest problem nowadays are people with lack of knowledge and lack of time that look to people that claim to have quick fixes or “new” or “revolutionary” ways to train the horse.
Horse training, I believe, is more like training yourself than training your horse.
You need to be willing and able to have a good look at yourself, this is probably the hardest thing there is in life.
You might not always like what you find…Learning to have patience and trust in yourself, inner calm, learning about your body and balance and how to allow your horse to move and how to stay out of his way or just put your weight and body somewhere to influence the horses movement. Horses are generally much more in touch with themselves than we are.
I use both positive and negative reinforcement in my horse training and believe that both horse and person need variation in their training.
You might not aspire to become a great show jumper but some pole work keeps the brain and body agile, trail riding could just seem boring to you but look at the training advantages, it makes for great extended trot up that hill!
And it works the other way round as well. Your main aim might be just enjoying your horse on a trail ride but I am sure you will find he becomes more enjoyable (and he might just enjoy you more!) if you improve your position or your balance or your understanding of his gaits(he might just live longer and stay sounder as well).
Apart from riding my horse I regularly do groundwork, lunging, some clicker training and at liberty work.
In actual fact, I find I do not need to teach my horses a lot of the more advanced work under saddle as, long before I start this under saddle, my horses have a good understanding of this in groundwork and sometimes even at liberty. If your horse can do a reasonable leg yield without tack on him and with you on the ground than you will probably find your horse will be so much more soft and light to your aids under saddle.
Of course I train with the training scales in mind
* Der Takt – Rhythm
* Die Losgelassenheit – Suppleness,freedom through body
* Die Anlehnung – Contact, connection with the horse
* Der Schwung – Impulsion, swing through the horses body
* Die Geraderichtung – Straightness
* Die Versammlung – Collection
This is the order in which you normally see these terms grouped although I strongly believe this order is not static and will change from horse to horse and even with the same horse in different situations.
There is a lot written about the German training scales (or Ausbildungsskala as it is known in German) so I will not add to that. Look it up if you are interested. Or come for a lesson!
My teaching style, I have been told, is different to some instructors in that I will not just tell you to ride a circle or change the rein etc. etc.
I really want you to understand why it is you do certain things so that hopefully after a while you start to have an understanding of how to train your own horses and how to solve some of the problems you could encounter along the way.
I use a lot of metaphors in my teaching, comparing the way you do a certain thing on the horse, for example hold the reins, to something that would make more sense to some people, like “hold the reins like you are holding a little bird in your hands, you don’t want it to escape but you don’t want to crush its bones either.”
Come along for a lesson whether you are a beginner, a trail rider, a self declared “hopeless case” (you’re probably just trying too hard), or halfway to the Olympics I am sure we can learn from each other and have a laugh!