Through good preparation on the ground (ground work, lunging, handwork & free work) the horse has learned to work with us in a respectful and motivated way and also has been able to develop muscles and balance. Now all exercises the horse learned on the ground, will be adopted and strengthened also under the saddle.
The goal of ridden Straightness Training is (as the goal of the other training components as well) to keep the horse as symmetrical, healthy, supple, flexible, strong and motivated as possible, so that it can participate successfully (in line with its personal conditions) in every selected section of equestrian sport.
If the horse is physically, mentally and emotionally in a good and proper balance, it can perform its job ‘as a riding horse’ with ease and joy. And that is what we strive for in ST.
During the riding we can use the natural habit of the horse to walk within a herd. In nature, the horse has learned to move behind the lead mare, before the stallion and between the other horses.
While riding the rider must now take over this role of the surrounding horse. Leading as the lead mare, driving / speed instruction as the stallion, and framing (the shoulders with the reins and the hindquarters with the legs) as the horses on the right and left of the horse.
The goal of riding is to straighten the horse and to teach him to carry himself between these aids (seat, leg and rein aids).
Waldemar Seunig wrote: “Straightness has nothing to do with the linear straightness of the spine in its longitudinal direction, but rather everything with its softness.”
Through straightness training the horse can move equally and easily to both sides in all gaits. Even during
riding the shape of the horse should always match to the movement, so that it may be a fluent and flexible forward movement. During riding we can also access our seat as a very important aid in addition to the already developed aids on the ground. A balanced seat should resonate with the movement of the body and not disturb the balance of the horse and in the advanced education influence and rebalance the point of mass.
In the beginning it’s important not to disturb the horse, only then the seat serves us as a means of communication. First to listen to the horse (still without disturbing the horse), to see if the horse’s movements are in balance or if we need to rebalance them, and secondly, on the basis of the ‘hearing/feeling’ information through the seat to influence the movement of the horse. To be able to influence in the right moment, you first have to be able to feel.
Furthermore it is essential to be aware of and feel the three dimensional movement of the spine and with this the rotation of the thorax. Only then you are able follow this movement with your seat and to influence it at the right moment.
Gustav Steinbrecht wrote: “Ride your horse forward and set it straight!”
Under this forward-riding we do not understand a as quickly as possible forward moving horse, but that both hind legs swing forward and reach in under the shared point of mass (under our seat), between our legs, so the legs can guide the hindquarters.
Riding is a matter of communication and an education of lightness. The horse should react on the slightest aids as possible. It is important that we use the aids in the right moment so the horse actually can respond. If we give the aids when the horse can’t respond anyway, it’s not surprisingly, that the horse gets less and less sensible on our aids.
Here are some impressions of my constantly advancing ridden work with Whoopy and Floh last year … 🙂
Both have understood the basic exercises in walk and trot and now it’s about continuing to improve balance, tact / tempo, softness, suppleness, shape, rhythm and schwung, so ultimately the quality, and thereby also approach and improve even more the canter work … 🙂
Impressions of Riding Grade III with Whoopy (2015)
Impressions of Riding Grade III with Floh (2015)