What does a Full Training Session look like on a Young Horse

Hey Dressage Superstars! Today’s question is, “What does a Full Training Session look like on a Young Horse”

Natasha gives you a special treat this week, showing you an extended video of a training session on one of her young up and coming Friesian stallions!
Make sure you watch the video for ideas on what you can do in your training sessions!!

Where am I going to go and how am I going to get there?


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I’d love to hear from you how you go and what strategies you use when you are training your horse.

Offer as much details as possible in your reply – your story might just help someone else have a breakthrough in their riding journey!

Important: Links to other posts, videos etc. will be removed.

Thank so so much for reading, watching and sharing your story!

To Your Success,

Natasha Althoff

Full Transcript Expand to full transcript

Speaker 1:           Hey riding superstars. Today, I thought I’d try … It’s the new year, let’s do a new type of episode. So this is my very young stallion Q. He’s five, but he hasn’t had much training at all. And he’s super hot for a Friesian. He’s not super hot in the scheme of horses, but in my world he’s super hot and super hot for a Friesian. I don’t ride him with a whip, which is, oh my gosh. And his favorite thing to do in life, if he was on a talk show would be, hi I’m Q. I’m really laid back, except when I have a rider on me, and then I want to gallop all the time. My favorite thing to do would be galloping through the trees and eating. So, that’s him. And he’s really super lovely. So he’s not spooky, he won’t spook at things.

Speaker 1:           He just wants to go. And when you talk about dressage horse and you talk about a horse being in front of the leg, the feeling of the whole thing in front of the leg is that the horse always just wants to go. And he is that, you are constantly saying, calm down, come with me, stay with me. And anytime you think forward he’s ready to give you a really great answer. So what we’ve been working on … Well for the first couple of months we just worked on being able to walk trot canter, without him galloping off all the time and having a little bit of control and a little bit of turn, and a little bit of stop. And now we’re working on getting a much more advanced shoulder control, a much more advanced leg control. And so you can see me going into a leg yield. I want to be able to know that I can ask him to go to the left or … Yes, there was the camera man.

Speaker 1:           I know, he’s really sweet. Yeah, I want to know that I can ask him to go left and he goes left and you can see my leg is barely on him. I’m just thinking left and over he goes. Good boy. And then in the last couple of weeks we’ve played with the shoulder-in, and he’s kind of getting that. I mean I’m asking for shoulder-in, he’s giving me a bit of a shoulder-fore, he’s quite blocked in the shoulders. Remember, Friesians are born and bred to pull a cart, which means their shoulders are bred to pull something rather than to be light in front and for their hind legs to come under, like a dressage horse. So we’ve got a little bit of differences there. Good boy.

Speaker 1:           We’ll get back to the training in a second. I just wanted to remind you, if you’re loving this video make sure to subscribe and leave me a comment on how this video has helped and your biggest learning so far.

Speaker 1:           And so in my session with him, I always start off and walk just to … It’s my favorite gait for all the horses. So they’re walked a little bit before I get on sometimes or if they’re not, then I walk them on a loose rein and then I pick them up and I just like to do … Start off my work and walk. So I go, can I ask her shoulder to move? Can I ask your hind leg to move? Can I slow down the walk? Yes. Can I speed up the walk? And it’s just constantly checking, do I have these buttons? And especially on a young horse, the buttons aren’t as beautiful and as clear and as easy as you would like sometimes. But that doesn’t mean you don’t ask. You want to check … You get into a car and you check you’ve got brakes, you check you’ve got power steering. That’s kind of a little bit the same with the horse.

Speaker 1:           And I’m going to ask the leg yield to the right. Thank you. Good boy. And what worries Q is getting it wrong or not doing what you asked. So once he understood that I wanted him to go sideways, he was quite, oh what are we going to do bad?

Speaker 1:           Were are you scared, Phil?


Speaker 1:           I don’t know if you can hear Phil on the microphone, he said he was a little scared. Yeah. But the thing that worries Q is he really desperately wants to please, which is a lovely thing to also have in a horse. Good boy. Okay, so now we’re going to trot. And this trot, I’m just going to do a 10 meter circle, is the trot I want. I don’t want any bigger trot than this. If I lessened my seats and kind of rode nothing, he would quite speed off. But I want a trot on the hind leg. Good boy. And shoulder-in.

Speaker 1:           Hey Sue, the microphone’s in my tack.

Speaker 1:           Yeah. So shoulder-in, shoulder-in, shoulder-in. Good boy. And I want him to stay there off my seat. You can say he’s learnt … if you’ve go back to some earlier videos, he hadn’t learnt to stay back and wait for me, now he has. Good. And I’ve always got his body in some kind of a frame, either in shoulder-in, good boy. And then we ride straight again. But if I lose him, straight away I go back to the shouldering. Good boy. Then we’re going to go into the leg yield. And like I said, he’s so scared of that leg. Again, I didn’t use that leg. I just kind of thought about maybe moving it back. He’s like, no I got you mom, I got you. I don’t want you to use that leg. You can see he’s quite blocked in the front. Maybe you can’t see it, but I can feel it. He’s really, really heavy and blocked, which is what he does. So I’m just going to bend him back to the outside. Good boy. You need to soften. You need to be soft. I know. Go shoulder-in.

Speaker 1:           I stay back on the don’t run away. Good boy. He just has to stay in balance. I have to stay in balance and he has to stay balance. There you go. Good boy. Good boy. Yeah, you’re a very good boy. He’s gone off. Can you stay back with me? I’m just going to go into the 10 meter circle. Good man. Good man. And then we go into the half path again. Whoops. The other side. Yeah, because the blocks to the left and I didn’t get as good a leg yield. So I really got to move him off this left leg, be like, hey can you run unblock here? And you can see he doesn’t like going sideways, he tries to throw that shoulder rather than get that actual rib cage over. Good boy. I’m going to the canter and that was a bit of a different.

Speaker 1:           Okay, where am I going to go and how am I going to get there? And same thing he has to learn in the canter to stay back. He can’t go galloping off. Good boy. And he can get a little bit blocked and heavy in the canter because he doesn’t know where he wants to go. Good boy. Good boy. Can you stay soft for me? Good boy. And then we’re going to go the full arena again. Whoa, whoa. Stay back with me. Stay back with me. That’s it. That’s it. Whoa, whoa. Stay back with me. Good boy.

Speaker 1:           And all I want is the canter to stay soft, straight. Now you’ll notice he’s behind the bit or too deep. Whoa, whoa, whoa. Quite deep. His frame will come up to the level of strength that he has in the hind leg. It’s not like I’m forcing his head down. Good boy. Just ride the canter, canter. Just ride the canter, canter. Whoa, whoa. Stay back with me. Stay back with me. Stay back with me. Good boy. And you can see now I’ve lost my canter a little bit. Yeah. Good boy. Stay back. Stay back. Stay back. Stay back. Good boy. I’ve got you, I’ve got you. Can you stay back with me? Stay back with me. We’re going to hit Phil again. Yeah. Good. It’s all right, Phil. Whoa, whoa. Now we’re going to go in a 10 meter circle because we’re running on the forehand a little bit. Whoa, whoa, whoa. And you could see he just wants to go. He just really wants to get go. Good man. Good man. Good man.

Speaker 1:           Now we’re going to go on our trot transition and I have a trot transition. We found trot transitions tricky. Tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap. What was I saying about the frame? Yeah, the frame is not good. This is why this horse isn’t being competed because I can’t get his paw as the highest point yet and I can’t get his connection good enough yet. And that’s just a strength thing, a flexibility thing, a thing and a time thing. And all I can do is keep working his body with the leg yield, the shoulder-in. We’re starting to work on the round bear and trevor. Start working on a canter pear shaped to get him even more collected in the canter. Stronger in the canter, canter. All those movements will increase the weight he can take behind and the more weight he can take behind, the lighter his shoulders can be. And then the better his connection will be, and the more up in front he can be, and the better everything will look and the better everything will be.

Speaker 1:           But we can’t even get into down the long side without losing our balance, without tipping on the forehand and without losing it all, which is totally normal, which is why I wanted to show you a session in good faith. Not so you can be nasty and tell me all the things that are wrong. I know there’s things wrong. This video, I’m sure will not be called the best, the perfect training session where everything is perfect because God forbid, I’ve never had one of those training sessions. This is unedited, honest to God, what I do every single day. And then in three years you go, oh wow that horse looks really good and he’s competing Price and George. Did that just happen. And I can show you a training session of him training this kind of stuff but he’s a Price and George horse. Then it will look a lot more perfect, but it won’t be useful. Come back to me. Come back to me. All right, now I’m going to do a trot transition. Hey, hey, hey come back to me. Okay. Hang on, hang on, hang on, you’re okay.

Speaker 1:           Oh God, oh God, oh God. And I’ve got him in a bit of a leg yield position, which still didn’t help me get my trot, still didn’t help me get around, but that’s what he needs, hundreds of them, hours of that. Time doing that and he will get there and walk, walk, walk, walk. Good man.

Speaker 1:           So I trust that was helpful. I trust that was useful. Leave a comment. I’d love to know how this has helped. I’d love to know what you thought of having a longer session rather than my original videos. I’d love to know if you would prefer to see more of these, what else you’d like to see. Comment, comment, comment. Make sure you hit like and subscribe to make sure that you never miss any episodes and Happy New Year. Have a great January and let’s make this year awesome.

Speaker 1:           So I trust that helps. Remember, if you guys need any help with steps, procedures, strategies, recipes. How do you do A? How do you do B? How do you do C? I’ve got a free training class that tells you all about creating a dressage system that works for you. So check it out on the link below.​

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