The exercises here are fundamental to the development of our horse’s self carriage and ultimately the rider’s ability to ride on the lightest of reins – or no reins at all!
We often get asked for help and suggestions about developing the rider/handler's feel and timing, to help improve your horse’s responsiveness. We decided that the best way to answer the question was to make a video demonstrating the basics of flexion and creating that light feel that we all aim for.
In an ideal world all horses would learn about pressure and release early on in their lives. When still very young, well before they are ridden, they would have been taught to give to the halter softly, be correctly mouthed to the bit and move forwards and sideways easily. Unfortunately, many horses miss out on these vital skills – whether they are started in English or western riding. Not only do the horses not receive this fundamental training, all too often riders aren’t ever really shown how to give light, well timed cues. The great thing is that not only can we all strive consistently to communicate more effectively with their horses, but that horses are always willing to change if we present them with a better deal.
What you’ll see from the videos is how to assess where your horse is right now, and how to develop it’s response by offering light, well defined cues. Starting with Cloudy (a retired Welsh Section C) you’ll see how to begin in a halter on the ground. Sparky (American Paint) shows how to take this process forward to working with a bit and how to improve leg response. Finally Skooter (part bred Paint) shows the softness and lightness you're looking for.The video is in three parts, each lasting a little less than 15 minutes. All you need to do is click on the images to the right and enjoy!
The basics of flexion & lightness: Part 1
Click on the image of Cloudy (to the right) to view the video.
The basics of flexion & lightness: Part 2 Click on the image of Sparky (to the right) to view the video.
The basics of flexion & lightness: Part 3
Click on the image of Skooter (to the right) to view the video.