Balance By Judy Wardrope

The Rider’s Role “The aim is always to have one (an aim),” she told clinic attendees, reminding them the horse learns consistently, so the rider’s job is education. “You must teach them what you want. Be very determined and clear, but encouraging at the same time. We are part- ners with the horse: you give something and I give something. Ask first, but what you want to do, you have to do.” “Tell him very clearly and mean it,” she

added. “He will test you, but you guide him forward.” “If the horse is excited, you should start

breathing slower,” she advised. “The rider helps, supports and controls, so be supportive and clear. Obedience and confi- dence: you need both.” She stressed riders should try to use as little aid as possi-

ble. “We want a horse that is responsive.” Contact is always soft, she said and suggested riders do

walk/trot transitions until the horse is up in front of them. “Be happy when the horse is out in front of you. Eventually add trot/halt transitions, but make sure the first stride after halt is a trot stride not a walk stride.” When you have progressed to canter/walk transitions, she said, remember that the timing of the aid for the downward tran- sition is when the horse is ‘sitting,’ not when he is landing on the forehand. “Train the halt. Halt and

breathe. The horse must halt until cued to move,” she said. “This is education. You must be precise, because this is the judge at C’s first impression of you.” The horse must halt square on

all four legs with a quiet head like a statue, she continued, noting every horse can do this. “My father said this too,” then told a story of riding a test and hearing a buzz of reaction in the crowd as she was performing the first move- ments after the halt and salute.

She thought at first she had made an error and was riding the wrong test, but realized she had not heard the bell for being off course. She continued on, but glanced at the scoreboard, where she saw the reason for the crowd’s reaction: three 10s for her halt! Do not cut the corners, Ingrid told clinicians. “If the horse

is shifting the hindquarters, think ‘shoulder in’ on the bends in canter.” The horse must be more supple and more through. “Let them canter,” she continued. “You do not need to cue

them every stride, so put your spur away to keep them sensi- tive.” However, she reminded riders, in a circle they should turn every stride to ensure the circle is round. Ingrid also stressed the importance of a work routine that helps a horse have a long working life. “Over the years you want a happy and healthy horse to at least 16 years old,” she said. With her own horses, she varies the work from day to day—cavalletti one day, lunging another day, a gallop out another day, etc., but they all have one day off per week, and they are turned out with other horses.

Position, Position, Position Keep your hands together at the withers, especially for a young horse, Ingrid advised, noting this gives the horse stability so he is not searching for position with his head or neck. “The rein on their neck gives them guidance, especially in young horses.” She also stressed the importance of the rider’s seat. Come

from the leg into the hand and do not sit too heavy, she advised, and remember to check that you are sitting on the seat bone in the direction of the movement. Really turn in the serpentines and look further through the turns: “where

Opposite, in intro: Clinic organizer Scott Hayes and Ingrid Klimke. Left: Ingrid set up a +-shaped cavalletti for riders to use. Above: A dressage participant works with Ingrid—the participants were a mix of dressage and event riders.

Warmbloods Today 35

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