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Practical exercises to improve your position

By Pierre Beaupère, Professional rider and teacher.

N°6 2013 Sept/Oct.
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To complete the articles on “The Position”, here are some practical exercises will be beneficial to any rider but are adapted to the level of the couple and the age of the horse.

The beginner

During your first months or years of learning, you were taught to stop the horse by more or less pulling on the reins. For the moment, no matter which (ethical and respectful!) way you use to ask for the halt, keep doing it.

The only thing you are going to change is that you will try to use your position BEFORE using your hands and to make the horse to stop BEFORE you need the reins.

A correct halt is done in three phases. The French way to say “halt” is easy because it has three syllables (the French word is arrêter so “AR-RÊ-TER”) and so for the English version we can say “And-We-Stop”. Indeed, you are not sitting on a motorcycle or a bike where you only need to close your hand on the brake for the machine to stop immediately. You are sitting on a living animal that thinks and tries to understand what is asked of him.

Pierre Beaupère
Note that the rider’s position and hands are not changing between both pictures. It is the “lock” of the muscles of his lower back and abdomen that causes the shortening of the gait (first picture) and their relaxation in the same position that causes the release of the energy (second picture) © Nathalie Marissel

The only problem is that sometimes he thinks about something other than you (sorry for that terrible disillusion) and what you are doing on his back. So we cannot expect him to be ready at any moment to stop square and light as soon as we ask. Even if his mind is very focused on the work, he needs to be told that you are going to ask him something.

Precede all the actions of hands with an action of upper body by putting the shoulders slightly to the back. This will make the young horse sensitive to the aids of position

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Article publié le 31-10-2013

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