Hey Riding Superstars,

I trust your riding is going well! 🙂

I have had a SUPER week training with European Championship Silver medallist, World Championship Team Bronze medallist and three time Olympian (including a silver medal in Athens) – Rafael Soto!

To help you with your riding I wanted to summarise the main training points he delivered consistently throughout the 4 days:

  • To improve the movement – don’t do the movement. If you want to improve the piaffe – don’t do piaffe. If you want to improve the tempis – don’t do the tempis. Work on the basics. The skill of the rider in the basics determines the success of the rider in the movements.
    • Of course this doesn’t mean to improve the piaffe or the changes you NEVER do them. You do them, but you do them smart. You set them up with exercises to improve the way the horse is going – ie: improve the connection, or the horse more through over the back, or improve the basic canter – that will then improve the movement. Doing 1,000 tempis without improving the canter will never improve the tempis!
  • The rider balance is crucial. If you lose your balance then the horse loses his balance. If you start to move, then the horse moves, which makes you move more, which makes the horse move more and then you are both crazy … 🙂 This is us in the tempis! 🙂
  • Use outside shoulder-in to get the connection, and the hindlegs under the body and working.
  • Always go back to basics – long and round and relaxed on a circle after a more challenging 5 minutes working on a movement. This is to get the horse through and working correctly again.
  • Control the walk, don’t let the horse run off with you in the walk, you control every step.
  • Keep contact in the extended walk – I had a tendency to open my fingers in it, which meant Abe could do whatever he wanted, as I had lost the connection.
  • If the horse blocks going sideways, change bend and just get sideways, then ask for bend again.
  • You must keep outside rein in travers and half pass. You can open the outside rein in the half pass.
  • Less hand in the passage – let go, no reins! haha 🙂 This one is a challenge! 🙂
  • For the changes – keep contact, you let the reins get too long, so he dives on the forehand and kicks up behind which throws you out of the saddle so you start moving like a crazy person, so he moves like a crazy horse!!
  • BE COOL!!!! SIT COOL!!!!! Don’t move.
  • Don’t let a sensitive horse blow your legs off.
  • Keep your legs and spur on, don’t move your legs off as otherwise when they come back on, it’s a surprise. Always on and there.
  • In the changes don’t move your legs away. They must be there, so it’s not such a big aid and a surprise. Just legs on, there and be cool.

Trust that helps you!!! Have an amazing week riding!!! :):):)

To Your Success!

Natasha Althoff Signature


p.s. – Love to hear how this has helped in your riding journey! :)

p.p.s. – If you are a member of Your Riding Success, click here watch the video two of the lessons Tash had with Rafael!! :)