1. Communication with the horse is not verbal. It is non-verbal and tactile and extremely complex
  2. Your approach and how you present yourself to the horse will result in either success or failure
  3. The first impression the human makes on a horse is the most important one for the horse
  4. The rider/trainer must strive for both a psychological change in the horse as well as a physical change. One without the other will not work in the long run
  5. The correct training of the horse, in whatever discipline, is not a causal undertaking. It must be accomplished with knowledge, experience, patience, and understanding
  6. Constant attention to details makes a cohesive team of horse and rider. If you are particular, then the horse will learn to be particular. Therefore, you must own the ride and ride every stride or else the horse will take you for a ride
  7. Let no resistance to your aids go uncorrected. Fix it immediately, but do it correctly
  8. The horse must be taught to immediately respond to the slightest activation of the aids: hands, legs, and weight. Otherwise, imbalance of the rider will result because of too much use of tension or contraction of muscles to get the horse to comply with his or her aids
  9. The horse must never get the idea that it does not have to immediately go forward upon request of the rider
  10. In all riding disciplines, forward movement of the horse always takes precedence over going sideways and it is the goal of the art of riding. And the impulse for that movement comes from the horse’s hindquarters
  11. In general, the horse is not the problem in performing the various exercises in all gaits. The primary problem is the faulty education of the rider thus rendering him or her unable to correctly school the horse
  12. Style cannot be developed without first developing technique
  13. The development of the rider is as important, if not more so, as the development of the shape of the horse
  14. The rider’s seat is the alpha and omega in riding, although other parts of the rider’s body also play an important role in communicating with the horse
  15. The natural aids the rider uses to communicate requests to the horse are not just limited to the hands and the legs. To be effective, the rider must have available and make use of, either in conjunction with each other or separately, the head, shoulders, arms, abdomen, lower back, seat bones, thighs, knees, calves, ankles that are flexible, and heels
  16. Flexible, educated hips of the rider are the result of controlled abdominal and back muscles
  17. In essence, the rider’s seat is the center of balance and its contact with the horse is a kind of gyroscopic command center
  18. The shoulders of a rider must always align with the shoulders of the horse and the rider’s hips must always align with the horse’s hips in order that both stay in balance during all movements
  19. The rider’s legs reinforce the instructions of the seat. They do not do all the work by themselves. They remind the horse to follow the rider’s seat
  20. The rider should avoid gripping continuously with the legs on the horse’s sides thus not providing relief from pressure. If this is achieved, the horse’s sides will stay ‘light’ to the touch
  21. Leg aids must be used lightly, but quickly. The legs should be softly ‘draped’ around or lightly ‘hugging’ the horse’s sides. If the horse doesn’t respond immediately reinforce the request with the spur or whip
  22. The practice of training a horse to redistribute its weight onto the hind legs in collection is at the heart of all exercises
  23. Without some kind of bit there can be no worthwhile gymnastic training
  24. Teaching the horse to go behind the bit or ‘break’ at the third cervical vertebra is the root cause of all that is evil in its development
  25. The rider must not pull the horse back onto the hind legs. Rather, the rider must encourage the horse to ‘step’ to the hand by energizing its hind legs so it steps into a steady hand
  26. Never be the first one to pull
  27. The ability of the horse to bend (short on the inside, lengthening on the outside) allows the horse to remain perpendicular to the ground when in a circle position. The principle of inside bend remains unshakeable – it is one of the cornerstones of classical riding
  28. The stiffening of the horse’s ribcage is one of the most harmful effects of a rider’s bad seat and the most common root cause of crookedness is that the horse is stiff in the ribcage
  29. Engagement, simply put, is having the horse traveling under the mass of its body with its hind legs
  30. Impulsion refers to the controlled quality of thrust generated by the horse’s hind legs
  31. Evasion is when the horse performs an exercise, but incorrectly, either through ignorance or improper conditioning.
  32. Resistance is when the horse tries not to do the exercise requested which is usually a dominance issue between the rider and the horse
  33. When a horse walks and trots, the rider is dealing with its physical and mental state. When the horse canters, the rider is now dealing with its emotional state. The horse must be trained to handle the excitement of the gait. If tension or fear becomes associated with this gait then correctly cantering the horse will become an impossibility. The rider must educate the horse to control its emotional state so that it can bring it up or dial it down as required
  34. When the rider applies any aid, such as the leg, seat, rein, spur, or whip, the horse will only learn when the pressure is released as soon as the horse begins to respond. Otherwise, if the rider continues to maintain the pressure of an aid after the horse responds to it, the horse will get confused, the aid will  become a irritating aid and the horse will soon become desensitized to it
  35. The rider should avoid having constant pressure on the bit (as opposed to just having contact). This can achieved by squeezing and releasing the inside rein when the horse’s inside front foot is on the ground. The result will be that the horse’s mouth stays ‘fresh’
  36. Here is a good analogy regarding pressure. With the tip of an index finger apply pressure to a spot on the back of your other hand and leave it there for a moment. Then take it off. The spot where your finger touched will be white until the blood starts to flow again. Now ‘tap’ the same spot and you will see that it will not turn white because you haven’t limited the blood supply by the use of constant pressure. So think for a moment what constant pressure with little or no release has on a horse’s mouth or sides.
  37. If the reins are habitually pulled on as the primary aid to develop or correct the bend of the horse as opposed to, correctly, using leg and back aids, the end result will be a horse developing a dull mouth
  38. The rider can create more bend in the neck by merely opening the fingers on the outside rein as opposed to pulling on the inside rein.
  39. The rider can also dictate the degree of bend by closing the fingers on the outside rein.
  40. Thus creating the bend and stopping the bend can all be done by manipulating the outside rein. This can be accomplished only if the rider starts off by having equal contact on both reins. Also, the horse must be searching for the contact via its hind leg to make it effective
  41. If the rider, without adequate knowledge, merely imitates some personality without a true understanding of the ultimate goal in the time-honored, classical system of developing the horse, then they will ultimately betray the heart and soul of the horse
  42. Good riders do everything they can to get a new exercise started correctly by accepting fewer strides in it or riding the patterns more generously. Don’t obsess with the small details of absolute correctness at the beginning of the lesson
  43. Try not to exhaust every possible course of action before you choose the right one. Think and plan ahead before you begin
  44. Adapt to fit the situation at hand and modify your presentation accordingly
  45. If what you are now doing is not effective; it won’t get any better by doing more of it