The year is coming to an end and the British Dressage Convention was an interesting meeting in November. It was titled “The German way”, and was given by Michael Klimke and an old friend Ulf Moller. Ulf coached the 5 and 6 year old horses as young horse training and the selling of, is his job. He stressed the need to use the corners and short sides to set up the horse for collection, and to take time to teach the horse a new skill. It can take a week to teach one new skill. By the end of the formative years, the horse should have developed the following skills, counter canter, lateral work, the first flying changes and the half steps that lead to piaffe.
Michael coached the higher level horses and stressed the importance of a thorough warm up session, using stretching and many transitions. The actual lesson comes next with the emphasis on forwardness, and the need to ride forward in the paces after each collected movement. The ending of the lesson is also stretching to relax the horse through his back and neck. Freedom of the neck was all important. Contact was talked about a lit. It was necessary to keep it consistent at all times to be able to collect.
Ride the movements you have learnt at different speeds so that you keep your horse interested and in front of the seat and leg. These should include circles, and lateral work in trot and canter.
Ride your leg yields from the centre line to the track , but on no account make any straight steps on the centre line; so as you turn start the exercise on that step. When you are good at this then turn it into a counter change of hand, travelling away and then back to the centre line.
Olympia has always rounded off the year, and did again this year, with fun and great dressage Kurs.
Have a merry Christmas and I look forward to catching up with everyone in the New Year