Last weekend Stella and I had the privilege of participating in the Western States Horse Expo as a demo rider for the Steffen Peters clinic. What an amazing experience!
A few insights and training ideas from Steffen...
The importance of practicing square halts. Square halts are something that every horse should practice, multiple times during the ride. They do not require strength or special training. Even young horses need to learn to halt square. How do we ride a square halt? Ride forward to the halt to get both hind legs under the horse's body.
Always strive to ask the horse for transitions with light aids. If the horse doesn't respond to a transition from a light aid, don't stop and repeat the transition. Send the horse forward and train the horse. Use the lethargic reaction as a training opportunity.
While we're talking about transitions from a light aid... the aid from walk to canter needs to be sensitive and refined, as this aid is essentially no different than the aid for the flying change.
Test the energy for a reaction... and remember, a bad reaction is better than no reaction. Don't simply keep pushing with no reaction.
We need to ride the horse with the outside rein. But the outside rein will do us no good if it's not elastic. We can create elasticity by straightening the horse on the outside rein and bending with help of the inside rein. This is not to be confused with see-sawing the bit in the horse's mouth.
The rest of the Western States Horse Expo was a ton of fun, too! This was my first time at the Expo and I had a blast. Multiple disciplines and breeds were represented, both English and Western. There were mounted and unmounted clinics for everyone to attend. And, of course, the shopping - a hall full of vendors with about any and every equine-related product a horse crazy girl could ask for!
Thank you to everyone who made this possible - Steffen Peters for selecting me to ride, the wonderful people who organized the Expo, especially barn manager Julie, Cesar for hauling us there, Jodi for hauling us home and for taking amazing photos, and Morgan for grooming and the awesome Instagram take over! I've said it many times before and I know I'll say it again - my team rocks!