SIX IMPORTANT THINGS TO REMEMBER WHEN DEVELOPING HORSES

1. FIRST, LAST, and ALWAYSYOU HAVE TO HAVE FORWARD in the horse.  It is a learned behavior.  The goal is to be able to regulate and control the energy in the horse’s body in all gaits and at all speeds. You want that energy to come from his hindquarters forward and you want him to be able to go from a pure thrusting hind leg with no frame to a slower more collected carrying hind leg with more frame and everything in-between with a thrusting/carrying hind leg.

    1. This energetic forwardness is the result of DRIVE.  DRIVE means TRACTION which is produced from the stroke of the hind legs while on the ground.  In time, it must be developed so it is POWERFUL and EXPLOSIVE.  This is a learned behavior for the horse.  The goal is to develop this DRIVE as a learned behavior since it is already in him as an instinctive behavior when, in his natural environment, he takes flight from danger.  When developed, it will lead to more quickness and acceleration in movement.

2. Second, you must have SUPPLENESS. This means being able to move and align  all the structures of the horse anywhere you want to both on the ground as well as in the saddle and, in time, without “BRACE” or “RESISTANCE”. This will give you a chance to develop LIGHTNESS TO SIGNALS.

      1. LIGHTNESS TO SIGNALS is governed by three things:
        1. The clarity and correctness of the signals given at the right time/place
        2. The presentation and power of the signals
        3. The intensity and duration of the signals
      2. All these factors will determine the LEVEL OF RESPONSE of the horse and will help develop his INSTANT RESPONSE to the signals given.

3. Third, through progressive gymnastic work over time you must build the horse’s topline so that he has the STRENGTH to sustain movements for longer periods of time.  This will enable the horse to achieve better BALANCE and develop more SUSTAINING BALANCE i.e., maintaining it in movement over distance and time.

      1. BALANCE is the ability of the horse, without brace or resistance, to correctly align its structures to perform a required movement at whatever gait or speed

4. Fourth, with increased BALANCE and SUPPLENESS you will have a chance to develop SPEED in your work and LIGHTNESS IN MOVEMENT, i.e. NO BRACING.

5. Fifth, LIGHTNESS TO SIGNALS is not the same as LIGHTNESS IN MOVEMENT.  First you will get LIGHTNESS TO SIGNALS.  Then, if the work continues to be correct and good, you will develop LIGHTNESS IN MOVEMENT.

6. Sixth, without FORWARD you can achieve none of these things.

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