The question of how horses learn to understand the actions of their rider and to implement accordingly is a particularly exciting topic for dressage instructor Britta Schöffmann. "Everything horses do under the rider," she explains, "they do because the rider taught them, even things that might not have been intended." The riding aids are the most direct way of communication between a rider and his horse during the riding. Therefore, it is important to know not only how to use them but also how to teach them for the horse to understand what is asked from him.
For this reason, it is not only important to learn the equestrian techniques as well as possible, but also to know the connections between innate instincts, human actions and the reactions of the horse. The nature of the horse as a herd and flight animal must never be forgotten when trying to educate him.
In this video, Britta Schöffmann explains what ethology and learning theory has to do with equestrian aids and how these two areas influence the learning behavior of horses and their understanding of riding aids. In doing so, she builds the bridge to the knowledge of old masters and transfers them to the present. Practical exercise sequences with a recently ridden and with a more experienced horse complement the theoretical introduction.
Further videos in this series:
You will learn in this video:
The journalist and former Grand Prix rider turned her hobby into “the most multi-faceted job in the world”: she rides, teaches, and writes. Her books on dressage are read worldwide.> more
Spookiness is part of the natural behavior of horses. For success at competitions as well as for harmonic riding at home, the horse needs to learn to trust his rider and stay relaxed even in unusual or worrying situations. Uta Gräf shows how she prepares her horses at home in their everyday training for such circumstances.
Duration: 13:08 Minutes
The desire of the horse to go forward, combined with bending the hindquarters is the basis of a good piaffe. Philippe Karl uses various exercises to teach his horses the piaffe and bring them into perfect balance. Every horse can learn to passage correctly when one sensitively combines the Spanish walk with the trot, something the world-renowned trainer has seen continually happen over the years.
Duration: 21:17 Minutes
Once the horse has been familiarised to the effects of the double bridle on the ground, Philippe Karl then continues this from the saddle. He rides using the Fillis hold, enabling the use of the two bits separately.
Duration: 09:16 Minutes
Once the basics of rhythm and suppleness have been established it is time to work on contact, as the next phase of the riding training. A steady contact should consist of a soft connection between the hands of the rider and the mouth of the horse. Pulling the head is never the solution. The movement should come from behind resulting in a horse that comes through the body to the bit and hands.
Duration: 16:26 Minutes
Lateral movements are of great importance when it comes to gymnasticizing the horse. Shoulder-in, travers, renvers and counter shoulder-in, as well as fluidly transitioning from one to another result in a chance to play with the balance of the horse. Well executed, those movements lead to an increase in flexibility, suppleness and a prompt reaction to the aids of the rider.
Duration: 10:44 Minutes