Starting a rider in the saddle

Many riders stop riding because it makes no sense to them to use force to make the horse do something he cannot do, does not want to do or does not like. Being together with your best friend horse should be mutual and give a great sense of joy. Many riders find themselves frustrated due to the lack of communication between horse and rider.

Many, including myself, decided to take the challenging journey of learning it all over again because what we learnt in school did not work and was not true.

When I realized that the normal riding school would get me nowhere, I dropped all lessons whether western, jumping or dressage and changed direction. I thought the solution to good communication in riding was to use no tack and give the horses total freedom, riding the horse using telepathy and thoughts…

Then I woke up. The dream was nice, but hey… I want to ride in a beautiful partnership and realized that horsemanship and liberty training alone would not get me there.

So here is The Thing I have found out about horses and riding. The Thing is everything. To get a happy riding horse that you can connect with well under saddle needs friends, movement, space, shelter, good nutrition and good hoof trim. With The Thing you will have happiness, and not an obedient shut-down slave. The rider needs to learn the language of horses through liberty training and then spend several months developing his or her classical dressage seat. If you do not have a good seat you cannot communicate with the horse from its back.

Then there are all the small things – the size of the horse, the rider’s clothes, the size of the saddle blanket, the girth, the reins, the halter, the size of the circle, the boots, the size of the saddle………

You cannot learn to ride without an experienced teacher, preferably from the “Old School”.

All situations are different; ours is that we have a herd of small liberty trained horses, we have well-trained hobby riders and green riding horses.

Glimpses from our journey:

Month 1 – We walk on a 15 m circle, horse is guided by a human and a rider is in the saddle doing exercises guided by the teacher. We use a halter, no reins, no stirrups – a lot of focus is on the rider building riding musculature. We ride 10-15 minutes two times a day, starting with exercises on the ground for the rider. The physical exercises from the ground and from the back improve focus, balance, coordination and strength.

Month 2 – The horse walks a track on a 15 meter circle, so the horse can only walk one way, reins is not necessary. Rider continue developing her riding musculature and exercises are added to learn transitions from walk to trot and trot to walk. Strength training continues. Still no stirrups. Reins are added but connected to the saddle and only used to change direction on the circle and keep the horses in the circle. Before starting transitions rider takes a lesson on a trained dressage horse to get the feel what a transition is. Rider learns sitting trot and rising trot and recognizes the right trot for both directions and change of leg.

Our teacher has all exercises to help the riders with the different problems they have to continue developing the classical dressage seat.

I hope you have enjoyed this blog and thank you for following our journey. I will be happy to answer questions and hear from you.  I would also like to invite you to “Sahaja 2015″ – the first from liberty to riding clinic that we will host here in the Caribbean!

Much sunshine from St. Vincent

Stina and the herd

The Classical Dressage Seat

See more exercises here

My first clinic from liberty to riding will take place 7th of December 2015

Welcome to Sahaja 2015! Limited to 10 places. 

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