Quick Christmas workout for your horse 

Hey Dressage Superstars! Today, I am going to answer the question, “Quick Christmas workout for your horse”

So, shoulder-fore firstly, which means just the tiniest little bit of the shoulder moving in. But make sure the shoulder’s moving in, which is very good. Yeah. Now, shoulder-in. Really, now I should only see three of the horses legs. The inside front leg, the outside front leg, and the inside hind leg. I should only see one leg. They should move as one.

Where was the problem? Was it that he wasn’t listening to the outside hind? Was it that he felt like his body wouldn’t move that way? Was it that he was really heavy on the left reign, or the right reign? What was the actual problem?


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Natasha Althoff

Full Transcript Expand to full transcript

Natasha: Hey, Riding Superstars! Today, we are going to go through a really cool Christmas workout that you can do if you’ve only got 10 minutes between Christmas and New Year, and you want a ride, but you don’t have much time.

Natasha:              Sound familiar?

Sue:                       Yeah.

Natasha:              People coming over for Christmas?

Sue:                       Ah, yes.

Natasha:              Apparently, we love it. It’s great. It’s great. It’s cool.

Sue:                       Yes. There’s shopping, cooking … just running around being crazy.

Natasha:              Presents.

Sue:                       Yep. Yep.

Natasha:              And then it’s all over in a blink of an eye.

Sue:                       I know.

Natasha:              All right. If you can circle around me … and then we’re going to go up the long side. What it is is just really working on the horse’s lateral suppleness. So … yeah. You can make it a small circle. That’s all right now. That’s all right. It’s all good. It’s all right.

Natasha:              I’m going to need that much walking time. You stay over there. Yeah, you’re good. Keep walking. So, we’re going to go H to S, shoulder-fore. S to E, shoulder-in. E to the next letter. Renver. Then the last letter … bring the shoulders back to the wall, and go on a traver. It’s all about the control of the shoulders. So, shoulder-fore firstly, which means just the tiniest little bit of the shoulder moving in. But make sure the shoulder’s moving in, which is very good. Yeah. Now, shoulder-in. Really, now I should only see three of the horses legs. The inside front leg, the outside front leg, and the inside hind leg. I should only see one leg. They should move as one. Good.

Natasha:              Now, into the renver. Good. To do the renver from the shoulder-in, you have to move the shoulders even over more slightly. Because the traver because the is four tracks.

Sue:                       Yep.

Natasha:              And now bring the shoulders all the way to the track-

Sue:                       Come on.

Natasha:              And the hind legs need to come in into a traver. And then as you walk along the short side … so, you go, “Hmm. Out of all those things, where did I feel the blocks? Where was the horse not happy. What was the hardest thing to do?”

Sue:                       Yes, this.

Natasha:              But now he’s doing … are you asking to that?

Sue:                       Yes.

Natasha:              Oh, okay.

Sue:                       Because we couldn’t really get it.

Natasha:              Yeah. But just walk. You really just want to give, because … just stop for a second. Yeah. You want to give yourself as a rider and a trainer, the ability to rather than just go … you’re a bit like me. “Well, let’s do it more!” But we want to kind of walk and go, “Why do we think that was the hardest bit to do?” So, where … Just keep him halt for a second.

Natasha:              Where was the problem? Was it that he wasn’t listening to the outside hind? Was it that he felt like his body wouldn’t move that way? Was it that he was really heavy on the left reign, or the right reign? What was the actual problem?

Sue:                       Yeah. It’s the bending through the ribs.

Natasha:              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.

Natasha:              Yeah. So you felt-

Sue:                       … that way. So, you stretch to the right.

Natasha:              So, you felt … I want you bend … like, wrap around here. I want you to stretch that part of your body. Because obviously if the horse has to go like this, this whole part, which is the right side of his body, has to lengthen and this part of his body has to shorten. Yeah. You felt that he was resisting the length bend there, and therefore going, “Okay.”

Natasha:              And he was almost trying to do it like this, so he could keep the same length bend, not have to increase it by doing it that way … but do what you wanted, which was put the hind legs in. Yeah. If we think that’s the problem, he doesn’t want to length bend that way … what can we do coming down this long side, which is going to make it easier for him, and then we can make it harder as we go along?

Sue:                       Well, I thought I’d try it in the corner. We already had that bend to start with, which is why I did it there. Long side, not quite so sure.

Natasha:              Okay. So, if I’m going … this is as much as I can do. How can you get me to do more?

Natasha:              What if you say, “Only do it by a mil.” That’s pretty much when you really taught, you’re like … And then you kind of sit in that position. And normally, you can’t go any further. You go to your point, you go, “This is as far as I go.”

Natasha:              But then you sit here for a while and you go, “Oh, okay.” And you go out an extra more centimeter. Yeah? That’s what I want you to do. Forget about, “I’m an elementary horse.” The traver is a four track movement, and all that kind of stuff. If he’s struggling with that amount of length bend, we’re going to go here, and we’re going to go traver on three tracks. Rather than four, I want here. And if he’s happy with that amount of length bend … because it’s again, can you put his hind legs in? Yes. If you had to hit a marker or something, can you execute a traver? Sure. But we’re not working on executing a traver, or a shoulder-in, or a renver. We’re looking at increasing the length bend of our horse.

Natasha:              We’ve only got 10 minutes. It’s not about teaching the horse. The horse already knows when I put this leg on, the hind legs come in. When I do this, the shoulders come in. He knows that. We’re trying to make the horse have little bit more supple, so when we get back into our riding after New Year, he feels really, really good.

Natasha:              So, we’re not going to worry too much now about the shoulder-in, or the renver, or anything else. We’re going to work on this right side. I just do those exercises as a diagnosis. If you went into hospital, you went, “I don’t know what’s wrong with me. Let’s give you four tests.” Out of those four tests, I’m hemorrhaging blood on that one. So, that’s what I’m going to work on today.

Sue:                       Yep.

Natasha:              Yep.

Sue:                       Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Natasha:              When you’re ready, walk on and just ride Straight. And it’s a really good exercise as a rider as well to then go, “Okay, just move your hind legs 10 degrees.” And see does he keep the nice softness to the inside? And does he fit doing that? What’s the answer?

Sue:                       He doesn’t seem to really … except it took quite a few strides. So, yeah.

Natasha:              Yeah. But he’s still … I’m looking at his shoulder and his head. What’s he doing?

Sue:                       Oh, he’s trying-

Natasha:              He’s pushing against it.

Sue:                       Yeah. Yeah.

Natasha:              He’s like, “Eh! Can’t do it.”

Sue:                       Yep. Yep.

Natasha:              So, give him that kick with that inside leg, and say, “No, no, no.” And lengthen off the outside leg a a little bit. In fact, I only want you to put it in five centimeters. Yes! And now, you keep the softness. Now, ask for 10 centimeters. But he’s got to keep the softness.

Natasha:              Yeah. Yeah. And there, he’s blocking. Try and keep … so when you get to the block, keep no more, no less. Keep the 10 centimeters of hind leg in, and then just work on getting him to let go and release. It’s kind of you’ve taken him to here, and he’s going, “I can’t.” Just get him to relax into there. Yes. No more, no less. More bend. No more, no less. Yep. Rhythm. No more, no less. Rhythm. No more, no less. Rhythm.

Natasha:              Yep. Keep going. More bend to the inside. He’s got to find his softening in there. Yeah, more bend to the inside. ask him … Yeah, don’t let him throw his body at you. He still has not increased his length bend and shortened up his rib cage. He’s just blocking you the whole time. Yes, unblock him. Put his head on your inside knee for a second. Yes! And then let go. Yep. And then inside knee again. Yeah. Yes!

Natasha:              But the hind leg … it’s not about just putting his head in. It’s about creating the banana. It’s about getting his body to lengthen. Yes. Soften. Yeah. Yeah. Bend, bend. Hind leg. Bend, bend. Hind leg. Bend, bend. And keep the rhythm. There you go. There you go. There you go. There you go. Keep it. Keep it. Keep it. Keep it. Keep it. Keep it. He’s laughing. He’s laughing. He’s laughing. He’s laughing. He goes, “Play, play, play.” Come on.

Natasha:              That was a nice big bend. Good. Good. Good. And keep going. Bend, bend. Yeah. So, don’t let him trick you. He puts his hind legs in, and you give and relax. But he hasn’t done it in a way that’s actually used his body yet. He’s so good at … look at me, doing this. When you do that, you don’t change your length bend. So, I would rather less angle. But he actually bends. Yeah.

Sue:                       Oh, good boy.

Natasha:              Yeah. Well ridden. He’s not a good boy. You’re a good girl. You rode that much better. Show me one more.

Sue:                       Oh, I know.

Natasha:              Yeah. Keep that angle. Now that you found it and created it, keep it. No more, no less. We’re not going to make it harder, but we’re not going to make it easier either. Find it. Find it. His head has to be to me. Yes. Yes. And bend, and bend, and hind leg. Bend and hind leg. There you go. Yeah. And then he stops, and then he goes, “I can’t do that.” Come on. Find it again. Ah-ah-ah. Don’t let him put his head up and look out. Yes, Sue. Keep the bend. Keep the bend. Keep the bend. Yes.

Natasha:              As you can tell, when you keep the bend, he throws his hind legs back. So, you just got to keep … the hind legs. No! That’s too much. That’s too hard for him. There. Yes. Ah-ah. Don’t let him control where he throws his body. You put it … Yes. Much better.

Natasha:              Cool. Sorry, that’s that exercise. I’ll do the same thing on the other side. And 5, 10 minutes goes pretty quick. So, enjoy Christmas, New Year, and I’ll see you in 2020.

Natasha:              So, 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. Go check it out on the link below.

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