I did a lot of teaching at Market Street last month. I always enjoy helping horses with their riders! The diversity in my students makes it very interesting. They range from adult amateurs to Olympic hopefuls and everything in between. We filmed many of the sessions for my online instructional site, Riding and Jumping Mentor.
I was able to attend a few sessions of George Morris teaching at Gladstone. He is always a tremendous inspiration. First, he rode a big grey on the flat. As he schooled the horse to "legs to hands", he told the audience how he was using his aids and why. This kind of teaching is so marvelous to experience. Watching the horse change to self carriage and oneness with the rider. George, in the moment describing each thought and feeling. Always a treat to observe.
He then started schooling the 4 riders over fences. As he mentioned, I rode with him over these type of exercises for 17 years! It was indeed familiar and refreshing to watch and listen to his corrections, advice and philosophy. His stressing of the basics, always striving for excellence, keeping a high standard, guarding against laziness and that it's not only about riding, but management of the horses.
He is a true inspiration to be the very best. Excellence is the only way! So much of his wisdom has created Champions and Olympians!Thank you to the USET Foundation for creating this Gladstone Program. Thank you to George for sharing your wisdom, experience and passion! Our U.S. riders, horses and trainers need to understand your valuable lessons and insight.
Are you sending mixed messages to your horse? How do you reward with your aids? Riders need to get inside of their horses, not just on top of them. Understanding our horses should always be a rider's priority. Is he hot, tired, sore or nervous? In this newsletter, you will learn about basic communication between horse and rider that will improve your relationship and riding.
Communicating with Your Horse
By Anne Kursinski With Miranda Lorraine
The basic language in which you speak to your horse is a range of pressures. An increase of pressure tells him he's doing something incorrect or something you want him to change; a decrease of the same pressure tells him he's got it right now. Of course, if you don't decrease the pressure when he does what you want, all he can figure is that he's still not right. So you must always be clear, consistent (the same degree of pressure to ask for the same change every time), and timely with what you tell him. And listen to his responses; if he's getting quick or laying his ears back, it might be because he doesn't want to work as hard as you 're telling him to - but it also might be because your mixed messages are driving him crazy. Look for what you might be doing wrong first; don't assume it's always his fault.
At the most basic level, your seat and legs are your driving aids, and your seat and reins are your retarding aids. Your horse's "engine" is in the rear --- his propulsion comes from his powerful hindquarters - so you always ride him from back to front. In general, your legs control what he does with his body from the saddle on back; your hands control the forehand. Your seat acts as a mediator between your hands and legs, modifying or accentuating what they tell him.
To get a feel for leg and seat pressure, once again place your hand on your thigh.
That's your basic "I'm here" message. Now leave your hand where it is but gradually straighten your elbow until you bring your arm up to the vertical and press down with force (the degree you'd use to push your seat into the saddle). At every "level" along the way, hold the pressure for a moment to absorb the feeling into your body-language "vocabulary." You'll see almost no difference, but you will feel one.
Come back to the "resting" pressure and absorb that for a moment more; then transfer that feeling to the contact between your calves and your horse's sides. When you want to go forward, you'll simply increase the pressure in both calves. To move over, you'll increase pressure in just one calf. In your hands, as in your legs, you want to feel, not hang. Have a friend grasp your hand and increase pressure from fingers just closed to what he imagines thirty pounds would feel like and back again. As with your hand on your thigh, you'll hardly see a change, but you'll feel the difference. In most cases, the pressure you put on your horse's mouth should just equal the pressure he puts on your hands; increase only to tell him you want a change. Make the increase equal to the change you want, and decrease as soon as you get a response. Show Results
We had a great time at Old Salem and HITS. Pictured is Caitlyn Conners and Bink A winning the High Junior/Amateur Classic at HITS 2. For results and photos visit my blog http://www.annekursinski.com/blog Want to become a more effective and feeling rider? Become a Riding and Jumping Mentor member! Now you can watch videos of my actual lessons with riders just like yourself. Benefit from the very lessons and exercises I've used throughout my career. These exercises have proven again and again to transform riders and their horses into top performers and get them well on their way to success.
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Olympian Anne Kursinski's acclaimed book on riding horses over fences delivers on-target counsel and the kind of sophisticated, quality instruction you can only get in top barns around the world.
"Finding a distance to a jump, rhythm, timing - my exercises help teach a rider to dance with their horse. Watching the video you’ll see how these exercises help the horse and rider become one.”
Anne's Accomplishments Include:
Member of forty-seven United States Nations Cup Teams
Member of five United States Show Jumping Olympic Teams
Member of three World Equestrian Games Teams
Competed in ten World Cup Finals
Member of the Board of Directors of the United States Equestrian Federation
Member of the Executive Committee of the United States Equestrian Team Foundation
In 2014 Anne was a selector for the WEG bronze medal winning U.S. team in Normandy, France
In 2012, Anne released the second edition of her book, Anne Kursinski’s Riding and Jumping Clinic
In 2012 Anne served as USEF chef d’equipe at the CSIOYJ in Belgium
USHJA Emerging Athletes Program clinician
In 2011, Kursinski was voted America’s Favorite Show Jumping Equestrian
2008 Olympic Games - Hong Kong Team USA Alternate
1998 First American and first woman to win (Eros) $450,000 Pulsar Crown Grand Prix, Monterrey, Mexico
1996 Olympic Games - Atlanta Team USA Silver Medal (aboard Eros)
1995 AHSA/Hertz Equestrian of the Year
1992 Olympic Games Barcelona - Team USA 5th Place
1992 AHSA Horsewoman of the Year
1991 USOC (US Olympic Committee) Female Equestrian Athlete of the Year
1st CHIO Grand Prix of Aachen, Germany—second woman and third American to win (Starman)
1991 Ranked #1 Female and #1 American - L'Annee Hippique World Show Jumping Rating
Team member, 1990 World Equestrian Games, Stockholm, Sweden Team 4th
1988 Olympic Games Seoul - Team USA Silver Medal, 4th place individual
Honored - 1988 AHSA Horsewoman of the Year
1984 Olympic Games Los Angeles
1983 Pan American Games Caracus - Team USA Gold Medal, Individual Gold Medal
1st Grand Prix of Rome - Italy in 1983 (1st American to win this event)
New students and ship-in lessons are always welcome.Anne is available to teach clinics at your farm. For more information, call 908-996-6205 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.