Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Achieving Relaxation when Attending Clinics and Shows - Clinic with Jaralyn Finn

I attended a clinic with Jaralyn Finn (sponsored by the Potomac Valley Dressage Association and the Charles County PVDA) a couple of weeks ago as a rider  but also took notes during the other lessons.  One of the riders had an 8 year old Oldenburg Cross who is fairly green.  

When they first entered the ring, the gelding was a bit tense and jumpy.  Jaralyn gave them some great pointers on how to achieve relaxation that ultimately worked and could be applied to horses at any level.    What is interesting is that many of the suggestions were the same ones she gave a rider earlier in the day who was riding at a much higher level which proves that good advice for riding is the same at all levels.   “Don’t ride into the tenseness or the horse is less likely to be confident.  You need to keep yourself neutral when he is hesitant.”
Other suggestions were:

  • Use bending circles to get rid of tension
  • Use the calm moments to go forward and ask for more bend
  • Where it is scary for him, use half halts and nothing with your legs
  • Don’t work hard when he is against you
  • Relax your legs when he is tense; allow the horse to carry you
  • When you get the neck stretchy and low his back will open up and he will be happy
  • Use the 1 2 3 system of aids (highlighted in a prior post) once you have him happy
Bottom line – “Go forward when the horse is calm and when spooking, be a calm rider – don’t overreact.”

It worked – horse and rider left their lesson smiling and relaxed!

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