John Richard Young: The Key to the Horse’s Mouth is Hidden in the Rider’s Hands

(© John Richard Young. Article first published June 10, 1991, Arabian Horse Express. Thank you to Yvonne Welz at https://www.thehorseshoof.com for this article via her John Richard Young archives. Painting, detail, Anbetung der Heiligen Drei Könige, Gentile da Fabriano (1370-1427 ).

One of the most skilled horsemen I have ever known schooled every horse that passed through his hands in a double bridle from the very first lesson under saddle. It made no difference whether he was starting a green colt or reforming a spoiled horse, or what the horse’s ultimate specialty was to be. He started and finished the training in a Weymouth bridle.

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Manolo Mendez on Pirouette (Part II of III): Introducing the Walk Pirouette

(© Manolo Mendez and Caroline Larrouilh. First published Baroque Horse Magazine, July 31, 2013. Image Courtesy Manolo Mendez Dressage.)

How I Introduce the Walk Pirouette

To introduce the walk pirouette, several methods can be used.

Turn on the haunches: Some riders ask for a turn on the haunches and then make the turn smaller and smaller. Sometimes the term turn on the haunches is used to describe a pirouette. This is not quite correct. A turn on the haunches is different from a pirouette in two ways; it is asked for in a slowed medium walk instead of a collected walk, and the hind legs travel on a wider circle then what is required in a pirouette which requires the inside hind leg lifts and drops in the same footprint.

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Andy Marcoux on Building Balance From the Ground Up, Part I: Training Your Horse to Stand

(© Andy Marcoux 2017. Photographs Courtesy Andy Marcoux.)

A well-executed halt must start with the ability for the horse to remain still in a given spot, for a given period of time. [In a dressage test] You will first be judged on your horse’s immobility. Only when that’s in place can we look at all of the cool other things that go into a great halt. You can add balance, engagement, and energy only after you’ve convinced the horse that remaining still in place is a priority of yours.

Recently I was reading an article here on Kip Mistral’s site written by Sherry Ackerman, PhD, titled Sacred Geometry and the Figures of the Manège, when a single sentence hit me like a nuclear dope-slap …”All movement begins with its antithesis, immobility.” The paragraph in the article referring to the halt is some of the best writing I’ve seen on the subject.

The article also got me thinking about the training that I use to teach a horse how to achieve immobility. In my article The Origin of Movement (link provided below) I describe how I use my training techniques to essentially capture the horse’s energy, rather than diffuse or dull it until the horse is so deathly bored that standing seems like the only reasonable thing to do.

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Manolo Mendez on Pirouette (Part I of III): Principles of Training the Walk Pirouette

(© Manolo Mendez and Caroline Larrouilh. First published Baroque Horse Magazine, July 31, 2013. Image Courtesy Manolo Mendez Dressage.)

A correctly executed pirouette is a thing of beauty, a perfect storm of collection, impulsion, suppleness, strength and balance. At canter, it is one of the most physically demanding movements we can ask of our horse. It is a test of a trainer’s ability to develop self-carriage and a horse that is completely attentive and responsive to the aids…a horse filled with power and expression, yet focused and tension-free.

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Roy Allen Yates: Step Aside…Teaching Your Horse Lateral Movement [NOTES FROM KM: Western master of lightness Roy Allen Yates (1930-2010) rode into my awareness on his QH stallion Tidys Chirp in San Juan Capistrano almost 20 years ago. He was giving a weekend clinic and it was an eye opener for certain. Trained by Roy, Tidys Chirp happened to be an AQHA Performance Champion with Superior Awards in Reining, Western Riding and Western Pleasure as well as a Register of Merit in Trail. At that time, Tidys Chirp held (and still may hold) the world record for the longest sliding stop of 66 feet. In a western saddle and western curb bridle, first Roy did a demonstration of reining and then he put Tidys Chirp to the sliding stop. They kept sliding and sliding until I thought they might go out the arena on the other end. Roy then excused himself for a 10-minute break, and to our amazement re-entered the arena on a proudly prancing Tidy’s Chirp tacked up in a dressage saddle, double bridle and dressage whip, and together they treated us to a demonstration of classical dressage, although I didn’t know what that was at the time. The horse was in perfect self-carriage, which I also didn’t know anything about at the time.]

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