10 Steps To Getting The Most From Your Schooling

Here’s a rundown of 10 schooling solutions to help you get the most out of your schooling session or riding lesson. Remember, when it all goes wrong in a schooling session, return to something your horse finds easy and finish on a good note.

1. Start a riding diary. Record your feelings, problems, goals and achievements after every lesson or schooling session. Write down which school movements or exercises solved particular problems and remember them for next time you encounter the same situation.

2. Arrive in plenty of time for your lesson. If you’re flustered, your horse will notice. He’ll assume that if you’re tense, he should be.

3. Warm up before you ride. No other athlete would consider training before a proper warm-up session. Some gentle leg and back stretches plus shoulder and hip rotations will loosen up stiff muscles. Allow your horse to do the same, begin gently and don’t make him work too hard, too soon.

4. If your mount is new to you, look at his conformation before you get on and try to guess what his problems may be. If he’s long-backed and gangly you may feel like you can’t ‘hold him together’ and steering may even be tricky.

Whereas if he’s short and stocky, his paces may be choppy and he’ll have problems stretching.

5. If you’re obsessed with getting your horse on the bit, forget about it. Concentrate on riding forwards, working on suppling exercises and getting him to respond to the lightest of aids.

6. Assess every horse every time you ride. Does he feel stiff to you (or stiffer than usual), how does he accept the rein contact, are his footfalls even? If necessary, adjust your schooling plans according to your observations. If you’re having a lesson at a riding school speak to your instructor about the horse, find out as much as you can about him and ask whether your assessment is accurate. Some horses will surprise you, so allow yourself to be flexible.

7. Here’s a great bit of equestrian advice from Suzanne Shaw from Equine insurance experts Bva.org.uk: “When it all goes wrong in a schooling session, return to something your horse finds easy or enjoys and finish on a good note”.

8. Everyone recommends transitions, but it’s because they work. Use lots of them. They stop your horse getting bored, get him listening to you, improve the quality of his paces and make you a better rider. Try making a transition at a specific point and work on accuracy, or count 10 strides of walk, then trot for 10 strides, then ask for a canter transition, and so on.

9. After a lesson on your own horse, ask your instructor for homework – it will give you ideas about what to work on when you’re alone.

10. Make a playlist to ride and sing along  to as you school. This can relieve tension and help you relax and breathe in time with his movement.

Getting To Grips With Schooling

Now is the time to be ruthlessly honest. If your schooling consists of sticking doggedly to the outer track and becoming so engrossed in getting your horse on the bit that you forget to ride school movements, you may as well go out for a hack! School movements are not complicated look at them as a series of straight lines and circles with the occasional change of rein, and suddenly they seem within your reach. Try these simple exercises next time you school your horse. If you have lessons at a riding school, ask your instructor to incorporate a couple in the session.

On the straight and narrow

Riding straight lines is not simply a matter of trotting down the long side of the arena. When riding at the edge of the school, most horses use the fence or boards for support and bring either their shoulders or quarters closer to the edge of the arena. This means he will be crooked, but unless you try riding off the outside track, you’ll never know.

Ride a straight line down the quarter line (turn off the short side about 5m before the track) and rejoin the track at the opposite short side. lf you have a freshly harrowed surface, check your horse’s footprints to see how much he wobbled off a straight line. Better still, get a friend to stand at the far end of the school and watch as you ride towards her.

You also need to work on your horse’s body. From the saddle you should be able to see whether his neck is straight. If you can see more of one side of his neck or head than the other, check that you have an equal contact in both reins. Ask your friend to check that his hind hooves follow, more or less, in the tracks of his front hooves. Bear in mind that most horses are wider in the quarters than shoulders so the back feet will hit the ground slightly outside the tracks left by the front feet. if both hind hooves hit the ground to one side of the front hooves. correct his crookedness by asking him to move his forehand over.

For example, if on the right rein, your horse’s quarters move to the inside, use your right leg to prevent his quarters stepping any further to the inside and keep your left leg close to the girth.

It may be necessary to move your left hand sideways towards his neck (don’t pull back) to encourage his shoulders to the inside, while your inside hand guides him to the right until his front feet are directly in front of his hind feet and he is straight.

Round in circles

Going ride in circles in just as important as riding straight lines, the art is in riding them so that they are of benefit to you and your horse.

Many guides state that, on a circle, horse’s body should be in a constant bend from poll to tail, following the line of the circle. However, this is now believed to be impossible to achieve because the horse’s spine cannot bend uniformly. Most of the movement is in the section of spine in front of the withers and the area underneath saddle, so these are the areas the rider should concentrate on.

The are behind the saddle has hardly any lateral flexion at all because the sacral vertebrae (the area between the croup and the tail) are fused.

However, because the horse is wider at the quarters than at the shoulder, it appears to the observer on the ground that the neck bend is flowing into the tapering shape of the body. This is what the dressage judges are looking for in a test and this what the guides are talking about!

Here’s how to do it

Start your circle at a point in the school, say A. Place more weight on your inside seat bone and use your inside leg next to the girth (often referred to as asking your horse to bend around your inside leg).

Use your outside leg behind the girth to stop the quarters swinging out too much. The inside rein is used to lead the horse round the turn while the outside rein allows flexion but prevents excessive bend. When the circle is complete, ask your horse to go straight.

Combine the two

Now you can master straight lines and circles, there’s an infinite number of school movements at your disposal. Why not invent some of your own.

Plan the movements before you ride them so that you don’t drift aimlessly around the school and make sure your straight lines are straight – an observer should immediately be able to tell from your horse whether you’re on a big circle or a straight line!

You don’t need a school to ride schooling movements. Measure and mark out a 20x40m area in a corner of your horse’s field and work here. This will help you to ride movements accurately.

If you’re not used to riding lots of movements, or haven’t schooled that often, give your horse, and yourself, regular breaks. You’ll both tire more quickly than usual – this is hard work for mind and body!

Using Your Body To Communicate With Your Horse

A rider influences the horse mostly through legs, reins and weight.

These actions should always be used together (they don’t work singly) and are called the aids. The legs and seat tend to be forward-driving aids while the reins (and sometimes seat) have a more restraining and guiding action.

Weight

To make your horse’s job easier, you need to be light and comfortable for him to carry. This means aligning your centre of gravity with your horse’s and allowing your body to move with your horse so you don’t disturb his rhythm or restrict his movement.

We’ve all had instructors yell at us to sit still and many people talk about a still and supple seat. In reality, a good rider is constantly moving as the pelvis swings to follow the horse’s movement. It just looks like they’re sitting still because they are moving with the horse and not restricting him due to their rigidity.

In walk, tense up your whole body and keep everything as still as possible your back, pelvis, legs, shoulders and arms. Don’t move a muscle. You should immediately notice a change in your horse’s way of going. He will find it difficult to move underneath you and may even grind to a halt. Now release the tension, imagine it flowing out of your body and allow yourself to become completely floppy and limp, almost to the point where you can’t stay in the saddle.

Again, your horse may not enjoy carrying you. Tense up once more and, this time, as you allow the tension to flow out of you, hold it when you feel comfortable and gently allow yourself to follow your horse’s movement. Direct your thoughts towards your hands are they giving and taking slightly as your horse’s head moves? Then concentrate on your pelvis is it moving with your horse’s back movement? Are your legs following the movement of your horse’s belly from side to side? You may look very still, but your body is in constant movement. So is your horse.

An exercise to try

If you have, or can borrow, a reliable horse, find somewhere safe and ride bareback. You don’t have to leave walk if you don’t want to. Try to feel your horse’s back muscles and footfalls under you as he walks and concentrate on how they influence your seatbones and pelvis with each step he takes. You should be able to tell as each foot hits the floor. Ask someone to lead you and try this with your eyes closed.

When you halt, without looking, try to feel where his feet are. Has he halted squarely or is one hindleg left behind? Then look and check if you need to. This exercise will make you aware of your horse’s movement and body. Once you’ve mastered this bareback, try it with a saddle.

Tip

As you become aware of your weight, try asking your horse to stop by momentarily tightening your back and abdomen muscles and clenching your buttocks. Don’t tense any other muscles or lean back. Repeat the aid for a couple of strides if necessary but return to normal as soon as he halts.

The Legs

Your legs control your horse’s legs. Use your leg aids to ask him to go forward or sideways and also to regulate sideways movement. In their normal position, your legs should be just behind the girth so your heel is in line with your hip. Think of your legs as a damp cloth wrapped around your horse’s belly, softly in contact with his side. As he walks and his belly swings, your leg will cause a slight pressure on his side. In a well-trained horse, this is enough to keep him moving.

Try this

If the horse you ride doesn’t respond when you use both legs at once to ask him to go forward. change your tactics. The best time to apply an aid is as the hindleg you want to influence leaves the ground. As you feel your horse’s belly swing, say to the left, briefly tighten your left calf muscle just as it begins to move away from your leg the same time that his left hindfoot is lifted off the ground. As your left leg relaxes and your horse’s body swings to the right, briefly tighten your right calf muscle as you feel the contact move away from your right leg.

To move sideways

You also need your legs to ask your horse to move sideways and forward. The aid is applied in the same way but behind the girth (around 10cm further back than normal).

The Reins

The reins hold impulsion, control speed and give direction, but only if used in conjunction with the other aids.

The ideal contact with the horse’s mouth has been compared to many different things but the simplest way to look at it is as if you have hold of something very precious and fragile. You need to keep it safe and secure, but not hold it so tight that you crush it.

To give a rein aid, close your fingers momentarily (think of squeezing a sponge) or, if necessary, turn the hand inwards slightly from the wrist. Then return your hand to its normal position.

Sometimes it’s necessary to open the rein. This aid is used in sideways movements and to ask your horse to bend, for example in turn on the forehand. Turn your hand slightly in at the wrist and move it a few centimetres from the neck, in the direction you want his head to go. Then return your hand to its normal position.

The Voice

Trainers hold widely varying views about the voice as an aid. There are those who believe that the voice is of little use and we should teach ourselves to understand the horse’s language and not expect him to understand ours. There are others who believe the voice is a useful tool, and that horses respond well to tone of voice and can even be taught to recognise certain words.

It is true that many horses seem to respond well to a soothing voice as praise, but take care that you only use it when praise is due. It’s easy to fall into the trap of inadvertently praising him at the wrong time and that could easily confuse him!

An exercise to try

On the lunge, or with a friend leading you, knot your reins and circle your arms slowly backwards two or three times. As they return to your sides on the third time, tense your hands, arms and shoulders as hard and you can, hold for 10 seconds and then release.

Now circle (shrug) your shoulders down and back to get rid of any remaining tension. Carry your hands as if you were holding the reins (but don’t pick them up) and, each time you feel your arms tensing, repeat the exercise.

If you’re confident, try trotting (rising and sitting) and cantering without holding the reins when you’re on the lunge.

Tips

  • Used the lightest aid possible to achieve your goal and always start with a light aid and increase pressure if necessary, rather than beginning strongly. If a strong aid is needed, return to light pressure as soon as your horse proceeds.
  • If your horse does not respond to the rein aid, don’t be tempted to pull back or fix your hands. Simply release the aid and try again, fractionally stronger. Repeat this until he understands and then praise him.
  • Don’t ever clamp your legs to your horse’s side in an attempt to get him to move forward – it will have the opposite effect!

How The Horse Learns

Understanding how your horse responds to the aids is vital for riders.

The horse is an intelligent animal. He’s adaptable, sensitive, quick and willing to learn. He just needs us to tell him what we want him to do in a way that he can understand. Until recently. scientists believed that animal learning was confined to conditioning (see below) but many now accept that horses are also able to absorb information in other ways and learn complex tasks (something riders have always known!).

Horses can also learn to modify their instinctive behaviour. For example. a good trainer can teach a horse to approach an unfamiliar or frightening object, when instinct tells him to flee.

Conditioning

Conditioning is where a stimulus provokes a response – such as bright light and blinking. Unlearned responses like this are called unconditional reflexes. Conditioning also happens by means of reinforcement or reward. For example, a trainer asks the horse to walk on by giving a leg aid. As the horse moves, the leg pressure is immediately reduced this is the reinforcement. Quickly the horse learns that legs mean go forward and as soon as the horse does this he is rewarded (the pressure is released).

If the legs are clamped to the horse’s side, there is no reward and the aid will not become conditioned. The horse will not walk forward because he won’t understand what is being asked. As training progresses, these aids are refined and the horse learns that a leg aid In a slightly different place means go sideways, but the theory remains the same.

When the required response is achieved, there has to be some reinforcement or reward. Other examples of reinforcement include giving tit-bits when the correct response is gained, or praising either with a pat or the voice.These are sometimes referred to as positive reinforcements.

Punishment

Punishment is not a productive tool for teaching horses. Training using punishment is based on fear and submission and does not make for a happy relationship. It’s also very difficult to get the timing of the punishment right. We’ve all seen the confused expression on a horse’s face when his rider hits him as they’re leaving the arena after a disastrous show jumping round he has no idea what he’s done wrong because the punishment is late and the poor soul has probably associated it with something he thinks is right every other day of the week.

Over the next few articles, you’ll find advice to improve your horse’s schooling. Use your knowledge about how horses respond to the aids to get the most from this information and become a better rider. Every time you give an aid ask yourself: “Did l make my request perfectly clear, have I rewarded or reinforced my aid?”

Remember

  • It’s important to be consistent with your training and riding. Always praise the right response and don’t change the goalposts.
  • Be positive and authoritative. Lack of confidence will confuse your horse.
  • Allow your horse the time he needs to digest and understand your request – his instinct is to run from trouble, not stand around trying to figure it out, so be patient.

10 Tips To Becoming A Better Rider

Horses can’t talk. Of course, it sounds obvious, but so many of us forget this when we’re around them. The only way a horse can tell us something is by his actions. Whether he’s relaxed, happy, frightened or in pain, he’ll try to communicate this in the only way he can.

A good rider constantly strives to understand this and learn his language. The art of good riding is seeing things from the horse’s point of view.

You don’t have to be an owner to be a good rider so don’t worry if you don’t have your own horse. Riders who regularly ride at riding schools or on borrowed horses are often more adaptable and confident on different horses than those who get used to only ever riding the same animal.

Also, if you don’t have the financial constraints of horse ownership, there’s often more money available for valuable lessons, lectures and demos. When horse owners get strapped for cash, it’s often that all-important training session with a good instructor that falls by the wayside.

Finally, good riders come in all shapes and sizes and ride in varying styles. Mark Todd, Michael Peace and Lester Piggot are all top-class horsemen – although they’re all very different.

How To Be A Good Rider

  1. Ask yourself why you ride and why you enjoy horses. Does it challenge you? Do you thrive on the adrenaline of speed or competition, or do you just love hacking?
  2. Once you’ve established your reasons for riding, it’s easier to keep your goals within your level of enjoyment.
  3. Set yourself a riding goal and consult your instructor about the steps you should take to achieve it.
  4. Don’t let anyone persuade you to do something that makes you uncomfortable or goes against your instincts. It could shatter yor confidence.
  5. Question everything you’re told, but dismiss nothing. Don’t blindly accept advice from friends, instructors, books or magazines because you think it’s someone more knowledgable. Think it through and ask yourself whether the logic is sound.
  6. Don’t worry about your mistakes – everybody makes them. See them as an excellent opportunity to learn.
  7. Find out as much as you can about how the horse’s mind works and how he thinks. Understanding his nature is the key to a great partnership.
  8. Get yourself fit to ride. You owe it to your horse to be supple and well balanced and he’ll find a fit rider much easier to carry. If you have a fairly inactive lifestyle, this could mean taking up jogging or going to the gym. Yoga and Pilates classes also benefit riders as they improve balance.
  9. Ride as many different horses as you can – especially if you have your own faithful mount on whom you feel safe. Have a lesson at a riding school or swap horses with a friend for a hack.
  10. Book a lunge lesson and ask the instructor to spend half an hour working on you, not the horse. This will do wonders for your position, balance and flexibility.
  11. Get yourself an idol! Choose a rider you really admire and study their riding style and try to fathom what makes them so great. It could be a jockey, show jumper, dressage champion or eventer depending on your preference – they’re all good, just different. Image that you’re riding like your hero and try to deal with situations as they would. You’ll find yourself sitting taller, smiling broadly and your confidence will soar!

A Good Rider…

Appreciates that a horse is a flight animal and will naturally want to run or shy from perceived threads.

Understands that punishing a horse for his natural reactions is futile.

Praises the horse’s efforts regularly and forgives his mistakes (just as he does you).

Treats all horses as individuals and knows their limits.

Is aware of their own body and its effect on the horse.

Is calm, patient, observant and prepared to spend time learning.

Get In Shape – The Fitter You Are, The Easier Riding Will Be

Unfortunately, most of us can’t ride as often as we’d like, whether it be due to time, financial or family constraints. Fortunately, there’s plenty we can do out of the saddle that will help with riding. Getting your body in the best physical shape possible will reflect in the way you feel about yourself in the saddle, the way you sit and your ability to maintain balance towards the end of a long canter Plus, regular exercise has been proven to boost the immune system, raise levels of self-worth and relieve stress and depression.

If you riding exercise is limited, try these:

Jogging

Jogging is great for general fitness and, the fitter you are, the easier you’ll cope with weekly or infrequent riding, especially at sitting trot and faster paces.

Also, when you exercise aerobically (this means with oxygen), you increase the amount of oxygen you take into your lungs, making them work harder.

Your metabolic rate increases and this means you burn calories more quickly. Jogging is also a load bearing exercise, putting pressure on your bones and joints. This type of exercise increases bone density and protects you from osteoporosis.

One word of warning, too much running on hard surfaces can cause painful joints and shins, so go stead and don’t overdo it. Stop the minute you feel any soreness in your shins.

Yoga

Yoga is an ancient discipline involving static postures and breathing exercises which can be used to good effect to produce many desirable rider qualities. Devotees claim that regular yoga practice can enhance body awareness, improve flexibility, balance and help you breathe in rhythm with movement. Yoga teaches you to listen closely and gently coax your body – all excellent qualities when it comes to riding and training horses’ bodies.

It’s a versatile exercise that you can pretty much do anywhere and for as little as 0 minutes at a time. There’s no reason why you can’t practise your stretches in front of the TV. Yoga exercises make great warm-up and cool-down exercises for before and after riding to help prevent injury and relieve muscle stiffness.

You’ll find yoga classes at your local gym, village hall or sorts centre.

The gym thing

Working out improves your overall fitness, makes your body stronger, helps your posture and makes you feel more energised. Resistance work with weights will build muscle tissue (and muscle burn calories, even when you’re not exercising). Most of us have a strong and weak side (just like horses) and this is bound to affect our riding, most often with rein contact. Work in the gym will identify your weak areas and help you balance your strength evenly across your body. Make sure you enroll at a reputable gym where staff are well trained and will talk you through a fitness programme tailored to your needs.

Alexander Technique

Developed in the 1890s by an Australian actor, who was also a rider, the Alexander Technique aims to increase awareness of your body’s habits and improve balance and posture. Teachers use their hands to gently direct your attention to areas of your body, such as your head and spine, to gently re-educate and re-balance your posture. It’s great for riding as students develop greater flexibility, plus a heightened awareness and ability to control each individual part of their bodies. All this while maintaining better balance, poise and an improved riding position.

Pilates

This technique was developed help dancers stay fit while recovering from injury. The movements in most of the exercises are small, many are done lying on the floor and concentrate on the abdominal muscles, but they’re hard work!

Students also learn to concentrate on breathing in time with the exercises – which is great for riding. Pilates strengthens your whole body, improving balance, posture and poise.

 

Boost Your Confidence & Become A Better Rider

Although we’ve covered the natural aids and talked about how they influence your horse, many trainers and psychology experts believe there’s an even better way to influence your horse and boost your riding skills – using the power of your mind. Riding, they say, is 50% physical and 50% mental, so this means your mind is the most powerful aid you have.

Horses will naturally follow someone in whom they trust and respect – whether human or equine – and riders with a positive outlook and natural confidence get better results than those with a negative attitude – even if they are technically better riders.

Developing the power of thought doesn’t need a horse, it’s something you can do alone at home, or with the help of books or a teacher. Give one of these methods a try over the next 30 days and enjoy the difference it makes to your riding.

Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP)

NLP was developed in the 19705 as a way of looking at how communication works. It is the study of how mind and body function together to form the human learning process. NLP looks at how people make sense of their experiences and the way this sets a pattern for all our future learning experiences. NLP works so well when applied to equestrianism because. just like riding, it recognises that mind and body are not separate, but closely inter-linked and one can’t function without the other.

Riders who have used NLP successfully claim they’ve changed ingrained physical habits, adopted a better riding position and a new-found confidence about riding.

Psychocybernetics

Cybernetics is the method by which machines and robots seek to accomplish their tasks, and the psycho was added when an American doctor applied this behaviour to humans. He believes that every person has an in-built mechanism that strives to make real the images in our imagination.

All we have to do is make sure the images are good ones (it will also strive to make negative images come true), then tap into the mechanism and make the most of it! Relaxation and breathing techniques are used to encourage positive mental imagery to help you jump that impossible 3′ fence or win the next Olympic Games the limits, it seems, are left up to your imagination.

Aromatherapy

When inhaled, an aroma goes directly to the brain and affects the central nervous system. Different oils have different effects many have calming qualities and can help lower blood pressure and relax the mind. Others help boost confidence. One of the best methods of application is massage, but you can use oils in your bath, body lotion, burner or on a handkerchief that you keep in your pocket and sniff when the going gets tough! Try lavender to help keep you calm, or bergamot for confidence.

Reflexology Reflexology is based on the belief that there are points on your feet which relate to areas and functions of your body. Therapists massage your feet, working on specific points to help with problems. Reflexology helps you relax and relieves stress, and reflexologists say that people who feel at one with their body are more likely to keep stress under control a useful tool when in the saddle.

Hypnotherapy

Hypnotherapy accesses the subconscious mind and allows you to reprogramme your brain to act differently in the future, thus helping with specific problems like loss of confidence following a bad experience or overcoming nerves in general.

Flower remedies

The science of flower remedies is not clear, but many people swear by them. The remedies can be sipped in a glass of water or dropped directly onto the tongue.

Try larch to boost your confidence or gentian to help overcome disappointment and regain the belief that you will succeed.

Healing

Healing is officially recognised by the NHS as a therapy. It re-energises and relaxes the patient, helping them deal with problems such as stress, tension and fatigue -all of which can lead to lack of confidence.

A healer tunes in to the patient’s body and channels energy to correct any imbalances.

Steps to success

Avoid negative thoughts – they will come true

If you’re convinced that horses always refuse fences when you ride them or that you always fall off when you canter, the chances are that you will. Once you’ve said that a certain thing will happen, your subconscious will try to make sure it does.

Use positive language

It makes sense that, if your bad thoughts come true, so should your good ones – so have more of them. Without being reckless, tell yourself that the things which worry you are possible. Tell yourself that you are an enlightened rider, your horse would do anything for you, good transitions are easy and any pace faster than trot is nothing to be afraid of.

Enjoy each success – no matter how small

Be pleased with every small achievement and recognise it as progress. Riding is rarely about taking massive leaps forward. Progress is usually made in small steps, so enjoy your successes.

Get into good habits

Taking as many riding lessons with a good instructor as you can afford. The more you do something, the quicker it becoems second nature (think back to learning to drive), so it makes sense that if you practice good riding skills, you’ll eventually become a natural.

It’s important to make sure you’re practising  the right things as bad habits are just as easily ingrained in our minds as good ones – that’s why you need an instructor you trust, admire and respect.

Don’t get hung up about your mistakes

Learn from your mistakes and move on. Don’t beat up yourself (or your horse) when it goes badly and don’t re-run the situation over and over again in your mind.

Bad friends

Get rid of so-called friends who put you down or aren’t supportive. People who constantly give negative feedback are bad for your health – and that includes your instructor.

Think first

Think about every aid before you ask it. For example, if you’re meandering along in walk on a hack, and decide to trot, instead of shocking your horse into action with a sharp dig in the ribs, take a couple of strides to think first. Prepare for the transition in your mind. Try saying to yourself: “I’m taking an even, soft contact, my posture is good and he’s listening to me”. See if this reduces the need for a strong aid and work on sending him messages using your mind until your leg aid becomes almost non-existent.

Build up gradually

Be realistic and don’t shatter your confidence by taking on too much too soon. If your dream is to complete a 3′ show jumping course, start small with cross-poles, grids and combinations. Gradually increase the number and height of fences as your confidence grows. This way you’ll reduce the chances of a major crises of confidence.

Make your goals realistic

Only bite off what you can chew. If you have 30 minutes to ride before you have to rush off elsewhere, now is not the time to teach you and your horse a new dressage movement or introduce him to his first cross-country fence.

Accept responsibility

You won’t ever progress as a rider if you’re always blaming your horse for mistakes or limitations. It’s unfair, for example, to blame him for not jumping high enough if the problem is your confidence.

Your horse will respond to the messages you send – if you’re negative, he will be too.

Become your horse

When you’re riding, especially schooling, try to imagine what it would be like to be your horse. What signals is he receiving from you and would you understand them?

Smile!

It looks good, exercises facial muscles and makes you feel much better.