John Richard Young: “The One-Sided Horse: Riders Make More One-Sided Horses Than Nature Does”

(© John Richard Young, “The One-Sided Horse” first published in Arabian Horse Express, January 1992.)

A reader of this column writes: “How come you have never mentioned horses that have one-sided mouths, horses that just won’t take an even feel of the bit on both reins? They give easily to the rein on one side, but stiffly resist the opposite rein. They move forward with their necks more or less curved to one side, always the same side, and their heads slightly tilted so that their ears are not on the same level. What makes a horse move this way? What can be done to correct such a horse, beyond riding with the reins completely slack?”

View Post

Jim Reilly on “The Elements of Synergistic Riding” (Mechanics of Lightness)

(© Jim Reilly 2007. Reprinted with the permission of the author. Artist Carle Vernet, 19th century lithograph by G. Engelmann, 18 Rue Cassette in Paris)

Our horses will do everything for us when we show them through the correct aids, given at the right moment. The best aids will not be successful if they are not given at the right moment. ~ Walter Zettl

View Post

John Richard Young: Riding to Get Smooth, Balanced Transitions

(© Text content John Richard Young. First published in Arabian Horse Express, 1991. Engraving credit Jean Daullé 1753: Louis de Cazaux-Laran de Nestier (1684-1754), premier écuyer cavalcadour of King Louis XV riding Le Florido in school walk exercise. Le Florido was a fine Spanish stallion given to Louis XV by the King of Spain. More about M. de Nestier at the end of this article.)

“Try to steal from a walk to a trot to a canter as gradually as the sun rises.” – Colonel M.F. McTaggart

“Good transitions are signs of accomplished riders with ‘feel’,” begins John Richard Young…

View Post

John Richard Young: Shoulder-in technique requires time, attention

(© John Richard Young. First published in Arabian Horse Express September 1990. Thanks to Yvonne Welz and her archives at www.thehorseshoof.com. Image of François Robichon de La Guérinière and student, “L’Epaule en Dedans” (Shoulder-in) by Charles Parrocel.)

Last month I expressed my negative opinion of the shoulder-in as an efficient schooling exercise, particularly when attempted by the average, semi-skilled rider. I gave reasons for my opinion and quoted other horsemen who agree with me.

However, I do not expect everybody else to agree with me, nor would I presume to force my views on those who prefer to think differently. I would rather help them, if I can, in pursuing the way they wish to go with their horses. Therefore, the following remarks about the shoulder-in are addressed to fledgling trainers who, for whatever reasons, elect to follow in the footsteps of tradition regardless of what I think.

View Post

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.

View Post