will recall that in the Summer 2001 Newsletter I talked about discussing
the importance of the “basics”.
about the Basics.
The better the horse goes forward,
moves sideways, and particularly disengages,
the better he will do everything else.”
For the Fall issue let’s examine
As one of my mentors, Dennis Reis is fond of
saying…”Without forward you don’t have anything.” And for any of you who have tired to ride a horse who didn’t
want to move forward, you know exactly what Dennis is talking about.
It is somewhat of the rolling ball theory…Things in
motion tend to stay in motion; Things
that are stationary require a tremendous amount of energy to get moving.
Why is going Forward
such an important basic?
At first glance, getting your horse to move forward
either on the ground or from the saddle sounds like an easy proposition.
But going forward brilliantly, with straightness, rhythm, timing,
balance, and enthusiasm complicates the maneuver.
As with most of the basic principles of good horsemanship, I
would suggest we establish this “brilliance” first by practicing
from the ground, and then transfer the feeling to the saddle.
To begin, THINK
about what you would like the horse to do.
( i.e. Move forward, with straightness with his four feet
tracking-up on the railroad track.)
I visualize this happening with the slightest suggestion
of the human’s body.)
of the rhythm of the gate
with which you wish for the
horse to depart. (A four-beat march for the walk; A two-beat Irish jig
for the trot;
A three-beat waltz for the canter.)
Third, PREPARE your
body for this transition, and apply the body language energy to get that
ball a-mov’in! Body
language aids include:
Preparing your posture, coming to attention, and
Focus your eyes on the desired direction of travel;
For ground work, focus use your belly button eye to push the
drive-line or where your leg would rest if you were riding
If you are in the saddle, PREPARE your seat aids
(which is mostly accomplished by preparing your posture), your leg
aids by encompassing the barrel of the horse, and finally SUGGEST the horse move forward.
Lift the belly up with your calves and squeeze the energy
from the butt to the bit.
Fourth, ASSIST the horse in refining the movement forward so that it is
rhythmic, balanced, shaped with good lateral & vertical posture, and
maintains the requested gate. Fix,
refine, and adjust with your hands and leg aids, ultimately effecting
the eyes of your horse, so that both eyes are seeking the direction of
You have accomplished all of
the above, but the horse still isn’t moving!!!
Here’s the fifth step…ALLOW
it to happen! We get into a
BIG hurry and our humanity takes over. We forget to just set it up,
suggest, suggest a little more firmly, and as a final step – make it
happen or get a reaction. It
is easy to go directly to…make it happen, and forget the all-important
progression of getting there. Here’s
where your consistency is so important.
The final step is, as always, REWARD. You can let the horse know he has done a good job in a number
Let “going-forward” be the reward, by making other
options more difficult
Give her a verbal..”At-A-Girl”
Soften your body and mind
Last, give her a rub on the neck (BUT, be cautious you
don’t change your seat and leg aids, and send mix signals to the
WOW! Who would have thought that a simple request to
“go-forward” could be so complicated!
But then again, as aspiring horsemen we all know..
The further we go…
The deeper it gets!
this case, going forward brilliantly, with enthusiasm, is certainly the
human’s reward. It
doesn’t get much better than riding a horse who listens to your
slightest request of
Yippee – Yahoo!
4-Week Horse Course in La Grande
great way to end the summer. Thursday
evenings in La Grande we will meet to work on the basics…Go forward brilliantly
Soft Halt to a back-up
(includes arena fee)
Due September 20th
To Be Determined in the La Grande area
through October 25th
Colt Starting October 1st – 7th
colt starting classes have proven to be a great way of getting your young
horse started right, while developing the confidence & skills of the
human. This year we are
extending the length of the class by two-days, to give riders & horses
a little more time to cement in the basic concepts.
The class will develop your horse in the round pen, with lariat
work being conducted by Alice. Horses
will be exposed to working as a herd, halter leading/pony work, saddling,
flag work, basic ground skills, and applied riding skills.
It will be the best $350 you have ever spent!
of horse handling & human’s ability of walk, trot, canter while on
board a horse.
Due September 17th
Horsemanship – Haines, Oregon
Sign Up TODAY!
6-Week Horse Course in Haines
A number of folks have been relaying their
difficulty in scheduling horse course’s mid-week. So here’s your chance…Beginning September 29th
and concluding November 3rd, we will whistle and ride on
Saturday’s in Haines. Come
join the fun!
Due September 15th
T&T Horsemanship – Haines, Oregon
29th through November 3rd
October Saturday Workshops
This will be the third fall that Alice and Susan
have offered their Saturday Workshops.
It is a great opportunity to leave your horse at home and just come
watch, concentrate on the movements, and see the girls demonstrate the
principles after which we are all aspiring.
Cost: $10 per workshop (3hr. Demonstration)
Location: T&T Horsemanship – Haines, Oregon
Driving Weekend in November
the best “riding” we do, is accomplished by “driving” our horses
from the ground with long-lines. For
two-days, November 3rd & 4th, we will practice
getting a feeling of driving. You
won’t believe the difference it will make in you and your horse!
Introduction Price - $100
T&T Horsemanship – Haines, Oregon
Due October 20th