Foundation Training - Kanna learns Lightness and Flexibility [Slideshow]
Kanna is since 3 weeks my training horse and she is learning lots about following a feel and flexibility. Why would it be important for a leisure horse to learn how to bend?
If one of those symptoms sounds familiar to you, your horse might also benefit from learning how to move in a more balanced way:
- falling in with the shoulder in turns,
- pulling on the rope while circling,
- difficulty with cantering,
- hard to turn or to have precise direction,
- unwilling to go forward or rushing.
All these symptoms are signs that your horse might feel unbalanced with the rider on top. As horses weren´t born with a human on their backs, we should show them how to use their body in a way that they can do their job more comfortably.
The slideshow explains how to start this process on the ground.
Kanna is not following the feel of rope and halter. She is crooked and pushing against the feel.
Gabi is asking her to yield the hips a little bit to the outside while keeping the nose on the circle - you can still see the brace.
A few moments later Kanna found the release and is following the feel of halter and lead rope as well as following the suggestion to bend away from the stick. You can see that Gabi´s hand is up, suggesting to Kanna to also have her nose up, not down.
Nice shot from above - you can see clearly how Kanna travels bent to the outside of the circle. Horses run around turns like this by nature - we have to teach them the opposite so that they can carry us without loosing balance.
Thats better. Kanna is following the feel and suggestion of Gabi very attentively
How light should the horse be? What is your dream? If you can´t leave your hand open without the rope sliding, your horse is pulling. It is like dancing - both partners feeling for each other.
Kanna is bracing - you can see the clip of the rope is close to horizontal and Gabi´s hand is lower than Kanna´s nose. She is not following the feel, so Gabi closes her hand to give some resistance until ....
Kanna decides to soften up and follow the feel of rope and halter. She finds a beautiful forward down stretch while being slightly bent to the inside of the circle. The next step would be to ask her to engage her hindquaters more - but she is not there yet!
Same thing to the right hand. Kanna is bracing, you can see how the halter slips and the rope is tight. Is it always the humans responsibility to give and be soft? No, the horse should learn to give and follow the feel and the humans responsibility is to provide a good feel and have good timing with pressure and release.
Now that looks nice! Kanna found a nice stretch, she is soft in her body and mind, no more brace. Gabi´s hand is openand the clip is more vertically oriented. It is up to us to define the lightness of feel we would like our horse gives us - it is a question of awareness and starting to be particular about it.
Read more Horse Education Articles