John Richard Young: Too much circling in basic training is a common error

John Richard Young: Too much circling in basic training is a common error

(© John Richard Young. First published in Arabian Horse Express, April 1990. Thanks to Yvonne Welz and her archives at www.thehorseshoof.com. Illustrations by Johann Elias Ridinger, “Trot on the line to the left” and “The School Trot on the line in the circle to the right”.)

A common error in basic training is riding a young, green horse too much in circles. Some western trainers in particular believe that “circling never hurt a horse.” But it can, if it is not interspersed with a lot of work on long, straight lines.

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

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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Conversations with Kim Walnes: On Talking with Horses

Conversations with Kim Walnes: On Talking with Horses

(© Kim Walnes 2018. Photographs are captured from the documentary film Riding for America: The Olympic Equestrian Team, directed by David Hoffman. NOTE FROM KIP MISTRAL: Please see details about the proposed new documentary film project about Kim’s remarkable career “The Mother Goose Project” on its Kickstarter campaign page. Only 15 days to go to successfully fund the campaign by Monday February 12, 2018! https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/932529734/the-mother-goose-project-wrkg-title-for-film-stage)

Whenever I sit down to watch David Hoffman’s brilliant and still applicable documentary Riding for America: The Olympic Equestrian Team with other folks, I always have them pause the DVD at the point where we are beginning Phase A. In the YouTube clip (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IgPuXg75ISk&feature=youtu.be ), it is the opening scene. I feel it’s essential for people watching to understand what is taking place when The Gray Goose dances during the countdown and I begin to talk to him as we cross the Start Line upon the word “Go!”.

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

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

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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