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Karl Hester Tips on Horse Training

As your young horse grows older, you need to clearly understand your goal and make adjustments to your work plan. If with a five-year-old horse I try to pay more attention to finding contact through numerous transitions between gait, then at the age of 6, the horse should already be able to carry itself and have a good balance for performing lateral movements.

Tip: It’s always nice to discover your horse’s talent, for example, for flying free movements, but do not dwell on this. Focus on what doesn’t work out so well.

Think ahead
I recommend taking a whip with you, but only as a means of correcting and clarifying your requests, but in no case to move the horse forward. It is important to keep the whip down to ensure that your horse runs forward and moves from the rear. There are frequent cases when riders get high marks in the qualification test. But a couple should go to the championship, where the athlete is not supposed to have a whip, its result is reduced by almost 10%. If you constantly use the whip as a means of moving forward, the horse will know when you don’t have one and react accordingly.

It is very important for me that the horse is sensitive to one click of the whip, rather than to the continuous sending of the heel on the sides. This is due to the fact that the whip is, first of all, an indispensable assistant in the development of such movements of the Grand Prize as piaffe, since it helps to clearly indicate which leg the horse should raise now. When the whip is touching the horse’s leg, it should immediately respond and raise that leg. However, if previously the horse was improperly accustomed to the effects of the whip, then the reaction may be different. Whatever your ambition, always remember that the whip should be used to get a quicker, brighter response to the foot and should never be considered as a substitute for this control.
Square stop
For many riders, a clear, fixed stop is the most difficult element in the entire test. So that your horse can safely perform a square stop, you must first figure out what is behind it. When I collaborated with Dr. Bechtolsheimer’s stable, absolutely all the horses first of all learned to lean evenly on all four legs, moreover, whether it was a stop in hands or even when brushing at junctions.

When your horse has realized that you can stand this way, you can go to stops through the crossings. Many riders are trying to speed up the gait before stopping for the greater likelihood that the horse will let you down the ass, which is not entirely correct. Everything should be intuitive. If you move in incremental steps and conceive of an immediate stop, the horse’s legs will remain at the point where the last contact with the ground was. A more complete step will help you make a balanced and symmetrical stop.

On descending transitions, there should be a feeling that your horse’s neck rises higher, the step becomes shorter and the back is brought under the body. Consider taking one short step before stopping. If your horse didn’t respond to pressing the shankel and put down one leg, correct this by asking the horse to move forward a little. Then continue driving and stop again.

Horse age
Being the owner of a young horse, you are not left thinking about trying a few elements from the Medium and Grand Prize. You can check the horse once or twice for the future, but do not get stuck with this. Remember that each horse learns at a different speed, and in order to ride the Grand Prix one day in the future, the horse first of all needs a natural balance, and the rider needs literacy, experience and the lion’s share of patience.

Do not let bad results ruin your life, because sports always consist of ups and downs. Some of my Grand Prix horses, including Nip Tuck and Donnersong, have never been eligible to ride prizes among horses of their age, although both have achieved considerable heights in international tournaments. You must learn to accept the grades you receive and to work on mistakes at home.

Tip: Ask someone in training to help you make a square stop. Let them tell you which leg needs to be fixed so that the stop is even.

The issue of “leaving”
Many criteria in the test are related to checking your accuracy and straightness. To earn high marks on these criteria, you do not have to have some kind of simply incredible horse. A small pony of a local improved breed can score as many points as a huge warm-blooded stallion if they both move in a straight line and make clear stops.

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