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.

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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.

 

 

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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.

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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.

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Review of Forward book by Classical Riding Club UK

Forward Riding by Eloise King

I have only heard of Nuno Oliveira through various other sources and have always been very taken by his training ideas and theory. Not training with force but with feel is something that is an uncommon sight nowadays. Luckily though, we can still see and learn these lessons through people like Sylvia and Eloise, but it is still mostly an uncommon sight even though it was second nature to the great Masters almost half a century ago.

Having happy horses working with you is far more productive for both parties than forcing the animal to perform under duress and while reading this book I found that this was the undercurrent of the entire book – i.e. happy equals harmonious.  By the second page, I found myself nodding in agreement to the training ideas and classical statements  – “Observe your horse, let him train your eye and feel.”

The book is very sympathetic towards the horse and its behavior and its individual achievements. Conversely, it relies on the reader to be sensitive enough to recognize the progress of the horse and this subtle moment can sometimes be missed even by the more competent person.

I was taught using the well-established ‘training scales’ where collection is the last and highest achievement and rhythm and balance are first established and used as a foundation. The same classical ideas can be seen throughout this very enlightening read. Starting slowly and doing it correctly from the beginning saves time later – no matter how easy it is to cut corners and thereby introduce mistakes.  I feel this book does make the effort to start with the reader from the very beginning of training right up to riding half pass etc. in a very constructive way.

When I teach, I have been told my sessions are like ‘painting by numbers’.  By keeping it simple, I found this book imparts information in a similar way, like an easy to follow instruction guide.

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A Beautiful Horse

The time has come to openly admit that there is a split about dressage in this country. I have been telling my students for years that there are two kinds of dressage: artistic and competitive.

On my last three trips to Europe, I have looked at all the art I could find that included a horse. I saw all the movements of dressage in etchings, paintings, tapestries, statues, and books. I now feel that artistic and classical dressage are one and the same.

Geiger 001 In classical art, one sees horses on loose reins, but with complete collection and self-carriage. The hind quarters are always strong and well-developed. The horses show strong backs. The saddles are placed well back on the horse, often with a crupper. The word that always came to my mind as I looked was “balance.” Horse and rider are in balance.

Whether you are looking at a horse carrying a knight-in-armor in a battle scene on a large, almost draft animal, or a lovely little Arabian with a draped, light rider, you see the same balance. This is the same balance seen whenever you see horses truly working. Examples are the Western cutting horse, the horse of an avid foxhunter who is out all day three days a week, etc. A working horse is always allowed freedom and develops his strength and carriage without force. A cowboy cannot grip, force and hold a horse together eight hours a day. A knight-in-armor had to be balanced: he could not ride any other way in his cumbersome attire. If the horse were not also in balance, he would lose his knight.

Balance comes to a horse through freedom and exercise. It does not come through force, holding and pushing. A rider does not have to be strong. Some of the loveliest moments I have ever seen were created by a beautiful, delicate lady in a side saddle. A horse must become lighter and more responsive each day in his training. In the end, a small child should be able to Passage, Piaffer and flying change. Then you have classical, artistic dressage. A beautiful horse.

This profound article was written and published by Eloise King in 1977.

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