Jane Savoie's Blog (96)

Rearing, Bucking or Lazy Horses Need to be Taught to "Think Forward"



Rearing, bucking, nappiness as well as needing "a lot of leg" are all symptoms of your horse not going forward. Many people think that forward only means going forward over the ground. That's the physical expression of forward. That is, going forward is a direction in the same way that going sideways is a direction.



But having your horse "think forward" is even more important if you want a horse that's safe and not exhausting to ride. There are 2 aspects to this concept of…

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Added by Jane Savoie on November 20, 2009 at 10:00am — 3 Comments

My Dressage Horse is Stiff to the Right



You can help your stiff dressage horse bend better by gently doing the opposite of what he wants to do with his body.



Few horses are ambidextrous—meaning they can bend as easily to the right as to the left. So your goal is to make your dressage horse's soft side more "stiff" and his stiff side more "soft" and bendable.



How Do I Make the Stiff Side "Softer"?

Dressage riders tend to think that the stiff side is the "bad" side because it feels harder for…

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Added by Jane Savoie on November 6, 2009 at 10:00am — 6 Comments

Tips for Riding a Great Dressage Test Part Two

Hi guys,



Last week my first two tips for riding a great dressage test were about the importance of memorizing your test and what to do to make a great entry into the ring.

The tips this week focus on riding your corners and diagonals properly and how to prepare for your transitions.






3. CORNERS AND DIAGONALS

Okay, you're in the arena. No matter what level you're doing, you have to ride corners. The general rule for riding corners is that you…

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Added by Jane Savoie on October 30, 2009 at 11:00am — No Comments

Tips for Riding a Great Dressage Test Part One



When it comes to riding a polished dressage test, preparation is the key to success. So I want give you some competition tips to help you have the best experience possible.



Before I get started with the actual tests, I want to just talk in general about riding dressage tests because there’s a lot of things that they all have in common.



1. MEMORIZE YOUR TEST

The first thing is that you need to know your test. I mean REALLY know it. Even though from…

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Added by Jane Savoie on October 23, 2009 at 3:30pm — No Comments

Ride Your Horse Proactively with "The Valium Exercise" To Reduce Shying



Horses shy from tension so there's lots you can do to ride proactively to help them relax. I call one of my favorite exercises "The Valium Exercise" because it's so effective at relaxing a tense horse.



Let's say your horse likes to shy at a particular corner of the ring. Start the Valium exercise well before you get to the corner.



Here are the aids for the "Valium exercise".



THE ACTIVE AIDS



1. The Inside Rein:

• The action of the inside…

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Added by Jane Savoie on October 16, 2009 at 12:00pm — No Comments

Manage Horseback Riding Fear By Staying In The Moment



Fear is a very real issue for many horseback riders. It's nothing to be embarrassed about. In fact, it would be surprising if you never felt afraid when riding. After all, you're dealing with an animal that greatly outweighs you.



In addition to their size, horses are not always predictable. After all, they've survived all this time because of their flight instinct. The fact that they’re reactive creatures rather than logical ones can be scary.



So what do you do…

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Added by Jane Savoie on October 9, 2009 at 10:00am — 3 Comments

2 Quick Tips For Coping With Irrational Fear While Horseback Riding



I often hear from horseback riders that they have irrational fears about being out of control or getting hurt when riding. The fear seems irrational because they've never actually had an accident or injury. So they wonder where the fear comes from.



For what it's worth, I used to have "irrational fears" about flying. It was so bad that I would only do clinics within driving distance. It turns out that the fear of flying was just a convenient "hook" to hang stuff on. It…

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Added by Jane Savoie on October 2, 2009 at 10:30am — 6 Comments

4 Tips On Breathing To Help You Relax When Riding Your Horse



The simplest, quickest, way to find relaxation on your horse is to BREATHE. Here are 4 quick tips to help you with your breathing.



Now, I know you're breathing or you wouldn't be reading this! But are you breathing in a way that promotes relaxation?



1. Let's find out. First, let's dissect what you do when you inhale. Stand up. Take in a really deep breath. Did your shoulders go up? If they did, you’re just breathing in your upper chest. And there's always tension…

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Added by Jane Savoie on September 25, 2009 at 10:00am — 5 Comments

4 Tips for Riding a Great Dressage Test



When it comes to riding a polished dressage test, preparation is the key to success. So I want give you some competition tips to help you have the best experience possible.



Before I get started with the actual tests, I want to just talk in general about riding dressage tests because there’s a lot of things that they all have in common.



1. MEMORIZE YOUR TEST

The first thing is that you need to know your test. I mean REALLY know it. Even though…

Continue

Added by Jane Savoie on September 18, 2009 at 9:00am — 2 Comments

Sit in the Direction of Movement in Half Pass



Many riders lean to the outside in half pass because they use too much outside leg to push their horses sideways. Use your outside leg mainly to help bend your horse around your inside leg and secondarily to ask him to go sideways.



Keep in mind that the predominant aids in half pass need to be inside leg and outside rein…not outside leg pushing sideways and inside hand pulling the neck around in a fake a bend.



Here are 3 quick tips to help you sit in the direction…

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Added by Jane Savoie on September 11, 2009 at 10:30am — 3 Comments

Sit Up Straight on Your Dressage Horse



Horseback riding is all about balance for both you and your dressage horse. To ride in good balance, be sure to keep a good plumb line with your shoulders directly over your hips and over your heels.



In this post, I'll give you two quick tips to help you sit up straight and in balance.



1. Many riders lean behind the vertical (especially in trot extensions!) because they think they're driving their dressage horses more forward.



The problem with leaning…

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Added by Jane Savoie on September 4, 2009 at 11:30am — 2 Comments

How To Make Your Lazy Horse More Energetic



Are you sick and tired of doing all the work while your lazy horse plods along without energy? Remember that a horse can feel a fly on his side, so logically there’s no reason for him to be dull to your legs.



Here are the steps to put the lazy horse in front of your legs:



1. Give a light leg aid

2. No response, half-hearted response, or delayed response

3. Correct him by sending him forward

4. RETEST

5. 100% response (99.9% isn't good…

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Added by Jane Savoie on August 28, 2009 at 8:30pm — No Comments

3 Tips For The Correct Length and Height of Your Horse's Neck



Lots of you tell me you're confused about the correct length and height of your horse's neck so I thought I'd address that in this article.



Neck too high: The height of the neck is determined by the degree of engagement of the hindquarters. So, the height of the neck changes as you go up through the levels and your horse becomes more collected.



Always keep in mind, however, that if you ride with the neck too high and short and the angle of the throatlatch too…

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Added by Jane Savoie on August 21, 2009 at 9:00am — 2 Comments

Why are the Lateral Movements in Dressage like Leg Yields and Shoulder-in Easier in One Direction?



Since very few horses, are ambidextrous, it's inevitable that the lateral dressage movements like leg yields, shoulder-in, haunches-in, renvers, and half passes will be easier in one direction than the other.



Your goal for lateral movements in dressage (and everything else you do with your dressage horse!) is to strengthen his weaker hind leg, make his stiff side more "bendable", and his hollow side less "soft".



So, for now, let's just talk about making the weak…

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Added by Jane Savoie on August 15, 2009 at 4:00pm — No Comments

Use Visualization When Riding Your Training Level Dressage Horse



Here's a fun training tip that uses visualization to help you ride your Training Level Dressage horse better. I call it RIDES WITH FRUIT.



I'm sure you remember Kevin Costner's movie, Dances with Wolves. Well, I call this training tip, Rides with Fruit. I thought it was appropriate since it's summer, and many of us start to eat more fruits and vegetables.



So let's use visualization and bring some fruity images to your dressage horse! When you're on a circle, your…

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Added by Jane Savoie on August 7, 2009 at 10:30am — 2 Comments

Ride and Compete Your Dressage Horse at Horse Shows



Each year, you eagerly await horse show season so you can ride and compete your dressage horse. But when the time times, the fear gremlins creep in and you end up feeling paralyzed by "stage fright".



In my own personal quest, I've discovered practical techniques that have given me a performance edge at dressage shows. I'll share some of them with you here.



"DRESSING UP" YOUR PRACTICE SESSIONS"



I can't emphasize enough the importance of…

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Added by Jane Savoie on July 31, 2009 at 10:30am — 3 Comments

When Should You Move Your Dressage Horse from Training Level to First Level?



Riders often ask me, "How do I know it's the right time to move my Training Level dressage horse up to First Level?"



In this article, I'll give you a way to come up with a logical plan for introducing new work at Training Level.



First, I just want to make a general comment. All training should be a systematic progression toward a desired end result. So you need to be able to see the big picture.



For example, even at Training Level the quality of your…

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Added by Jane Savoie on July 24, 2009 at 9:00am — 3 Comments

Using Your Hands Before Your Legs Is The Biggest Mistake When Putting Your Horse On the Bit



If you only use your hands when putting your horse on the bit, you're making one of the biggest mistakes you can make. By focusing on the head and "getting the head down", you'll just be creating an artificial "head-set".



Putting your horse on the bit has nothing to do with "head sets". Physically, it's a round silhouette that occurs when you ride your horse from behind, over his back, through his neck, and into your hands. (And at that point the energy can be recycled back…

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Added by Jane Savoie on July 17, 2009 at 9:00am — 7 Comments

What's the Difference Between Jaw and Poll Flexion?



A lot of riders aren't clear on the difference between flexion at the jaw and flexion at the poll, and how to ask for each of these positions.



Keep in mind that a horse can flex three ways–to the left, to the right, and "in".



When a horse flexes to the left or right, he's flexing at the poll. When he does this, you'll just see his inside or outside eye or nostril. I call this position +1 or -1 because you're bringing his head 1 inch to the inside or the outside of…

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Added by Jane Savoie on July 10, 2009 at 12:30pm — 1 Comment

3 Simple Tips to Help You Straighten and Center Your Position

Hi Guys,



Can you tell if your position is straight and centered on your dressage horse? Or are you collapsing at your waist and sitting crookedly?



Ask a ground person to stand behind your horse.



1. Is your seat in the center of the dressage saddle so that each seatbone is the same distance from the middle of the saddle?

2. Is the distance between your last rib and your belt equal on both sides?

3. Are your shoulders level (i.e. the same…

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Added by Jane Savoie on July 3, 2009 at 8:00pm — 2 Comments

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