Direction of Travel & Treasaro’s Story

The rider’s position can make all the difference in the world on how your horse performs. Direction of Travel shows you, clearly and easily with pictures, how to improve your horse’s performance and speed up your training.

We want so much from our horses and there are so many little, simple things we can do that will help our horses give us what we want.
Do you know how to use your seat aid in the most effective way? Did you know that you can get advanced movements with almost no aids if you use your body in a certain way? Do you know how to use your weight to get around a jump course efficiently? Do you know what to do so you are not interfering with getting the best from your horse?

The next almost-all-picture book in the ‘Train Your Eye’ series, this book helps you with your position so that you are getting the best possible performance from your horse with the least amount of work from you and your horse.


Outside Rein

                            USING YOUR OUTSIDE REIN

Don’t be concerned with controlling the horse with the reins. ESTABLISH FORWARD FIRST! When you are establishing “forward” in the horse, the only rein you usually need is an opening rein. Remember, you will be riding circles (page 79, Forward: Riding with Eloise King) for the most part when you start your mounted work or you will be using the arena wall or fence (page 82) as a soft aid. You should not need an outside rein in the initial stages of training or retraining the horse.

Some people say that you need to support the outside shoulder with that outside rein. But when you think about it, losing that outside shoulder generally comes about when you do not have forward established in the horse and/or are over-aiding him. Go back to your basics; forward, check your position, etc., until the horse is strong and supple enough that the outside rein is no longer a blocking aid and becomes the soft aid that it should be. Using the outside rein starts when you begin two-track work — haunches-in, half-pass.

clyde circleIf you ever feel that you have lost control of the horse and think you need that outside rein, go back to your circle. Twist your shoulders in the direction you want to turn, use an opening rein to that side and step into the inside stirrup. Stay balanced on top of the horse and relax (especially your legs). Certain school figures can help, too, such as the circle described on page 80. Breathe and you will soon be enjoying the ride.


Self-Carriage Review on Amazon

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Frankly I wasn’t expecting much since how much can you possibly learn from 20 something pages of mostly pictures. However this happened to be a true gem – one of those rare books where every sentence will make you think and yet will give a practical clear very relevant advice. I gained more from this little book than from many other far more extensive works of equestrian literature.

A Horse on the Bit

When presented with the term “on the bit,” the picture that most often comes to the uninformed rider is a horse with a firm contact on the bit and his face vertical at all times . . . and not much beyond that.war horse 2 In all the years I have known Eloise King, I have never heard her ask someone to put their horse “on the bit.” I have heard her tell people to maintain their correct position and send the horse forward TO THE BIT. And that can be accomplished without any resistance from the horse or punishment from the rider.

I have seen people work for years, driving their horses into a firm hand that keeps the horse’s face verticle. It’s a lot of work because it takes so much more leg and seat from the rider than is necessary while it blocks the hind quarters.

Give yourself and the horse a break and shorten the time it takes to get the results you want. It is so much easier than most people realize. Let Eloise show you how.




Keep Your Horse Light on the Bit

Here is the latest riding and training book from Eloise King. If your horse has a tendency to get heavy on his forehand and bit, you will want to read this. If you are looking to have a horse that has ‘just the weight of the reins’ contact, check this book out.
Self-carriage can easily be established and maintained in any equine discipline. One of the things I like most about Eloise King’s approach is that the horse becomes a great athlete! All the correct muscles for the work you want him to do become so strong yet supple. It also helps the horse’s mind to become quiet and very attentive to the rider. Your horse will develop the body and mind to perform to the top of his ability.
Learn the how-to and the benefits of having your horse in self-carriage and why it is so important to always train  so that he is not heavy on your hand.
There are many horse training methods for getting the horse to be lighter on the bit. There is the school of:
“The horse will be heavy in the beginning and you just work on getting him lighter.”
“Tie the horse’s head in place and he will develop those muscles.” Ouch!
“Lunge the horse with side reins that keep the horse’s head where you want it.”
“Tie the horse’s mouth shut.” Please don’t!! Forward: Riding with Eloise King explains why.
And so on, and so on. All of which give you a horse with a tense body and a tough mouth. It is hard on the horse’s mind and body and frustrating for you.
Self-Carriage will show you how to work with your horse and maximize his potential. You will love the ride you get.


Speed Up Your Horse’s Training

Send the horse forward! You will find so many of your training problem will disappear when you do this one thing. That point was brought home to me so clearly while visiting a high school friend last week.

Mab is a good horseman and has broken and trained many horses through the years. She had read “Forward: Riding with Eloise King” and was excited to start her new mare, Shilo, following those principles. She tacked Shilo up for lunging and brought her into the arena and tried moving her onto a circle. The mare had not been lunged before and was looking to Mab to lead her as usual. Consequently, Shilo kept turning back to Mab trying to follow her instead of moving onto a circle around her.

lungingAt that point, I got to see how many people tend to focus on working the forehand and really aren’t used to working the horse’s hind quarters. Even though Mab had gone over the lunging instructions in Forward: Riding with Eloise King, her lunge line hand was stretched as far forward as she could reach and she was focused on the mare’s head trying to get it to go out onto the circle she wanted Shilo to make. The mare was trying to do as she was asked but, like the story of Sammy in the Forward book, Shilo was not being asked to go forward.

“Focus on her hind end,” I encouraged Mab. Then as Mab would direct her attention there and walk toward Shilo’s hind quarters, the mare would turn to get alongside Mab so she could go back to being lead. “Get behind her. Send her forward with the whip so you don’t get kicked.” So around they went in circles for a while — Mab running to get behind the mare, Shilo turning toward her to get in place to be lead. “Bend your lunge line elbow and keep it closer to your body.” Mab did so, got behind Shilo and sent her forward by clicking her tongue and lightly using the whip. Then suddenly, everything fell into place.

Shilo went into an easy, relaxed trot and continued for a few circles. Then it was stop, reward and back into the trot. No problems. You could already see that Shilo wanted to be forward and how it relaxed her as she took those beginning steps toward being forward. After getting that direction well established, we started Shilo in the other direction. This time,
Mab was quicker in getting herself where she needed to be to communicate clearly to Shilo. Shilo picked it up beautifully. Then stop, reward and a happy Shilo was sent back to her stall.


Only 1 or 2 Aids in Horse Riding

Are you giving your horse aids that you are unaware of? Horses show great sensitivity when you train them with soft aids that cannot be misunderstood by the horse. It is oh so easy to over-aid, but even old Dobbin, who seems to need a bomb to wake him, can be (and would rather be) trained with the lightest of aids. Nuno Oliveira said, “The secret in riding is to do few things right. The more one does, the less one succeeds. The less one does, the more one succeeds.”

I have heard interesting comments from people when they see pictures such as this one; comments such as: “That is trick riding.” “The horse isn’t on the bit.” and so on. And this is easy to understand. If you have been taught to put your horse into a frame with your hands/reins — using gymnastics to mold the horse’s frame is hard to understand (and makes the gymnastics harder to execute.) When a person does cover webnot have the background, training or perspective to achieve a result in a certain way, it is extremely difficult for them to understand how that thing can have come about.

As I look at this picture, I see a horse that has been taken step-by-step through the gymnastics necessary to develop — not force — this elegant frame. The work was always forward, always on a light rein until he was able to proudly step under himself in this magnificent piaffe. You then have a horse that has the muscling, suppleness and attentiveness to the rider to strongly engage his hind end when the rider asks with a light seat aid. The engagement shown here demonstrates that this horse is on the bit.

How do you get engagement such as this? Nuno again, “On a sensitive and well-trained horse, the midsection brings about the piaffe-passage and the passage-piaffe transition. The rider’s midsection must be very relaxed and his back must feel the horse’s back.”

But if the horse has been asked from the beginning to move into a blocking hand before his hind quarters and back are ready, you will have to use excessive forward aids and the horse will have a harder time engaging his hindquarters. If you have not trained the horse from the beginning to have his shoulders follow your shoulders, you are going to have to aid him more with your legs and seat. Your shoulders will also affect your seat aid and if you are not paying attention to your position, again you will need more aids. If your legs are not soft, the horse is less aware of quiet aids, and so on . . .

Are you really aware of all the aids you are giving your horse? Are you using your legs too much or are they too tight? Are your hands too heavy? Is your back soft and positioned correctly? Is your horse trying to tell you that you are giving aids that you are unaware of? Are you listening? Are you training and riding in such a way that your horse can respond to light aids?

A couple of quotes from Eloise King that are unendingly helpful when riding are, “One or two aids at a time, never more.” and “If the horse doesn’t respond to your aid, ask again. Again is never more; it is only again.”  Become vigilant so you are very aware of when you are giving your horse aids. If you are not sure, ask your horse.