Thursday, December 15, 2011

Clinic #2: Tap tap ho ho

This may have been my favorite part of this lesson, and the tap-tap-ho-ho was oh-so-useful. I don't think I captured this on video but Hank advises me to think of the work session as "play" which I interpret as engaging the horse in experimenting with contact and the use of his body. It's a subtle way of taking the pressure off, and I think ultimately more is achieved. Here we do leg yields and transitions upward and downward. Downward transitions must also be crisp -- something I had not really thought of as part of getting the horse responsive and forward.


  1. Riley looks really nice in this video.

    Just curious ... do you work Riley on hills any? I can honestly say transitions improved a whole lot when I started walking and trotting my ponies on hills 2-3x/week for 10-15 mins per session. My Friesian, especially, had difficulty with crisp transitions (partly because the breed tends to possess weak stifles and long backs). Hills strengthen the muscles needed for collection and impulsion, which helps a horse to change gaits more efficiently and with better balance. After only a few months of consistent hill work, my Friesian had vastly improved in all his transitions (much less leaning on his forehand). ALSO, we had more stamina and far fewer unintended "breaks" in gait. :)

  2. Totally agree with Friesianwelshx: Hill work is excellent for conditioning as well as crisp transitions. Since my OTTB tends to rush up hills, making him stop and start again OR do transitions within gaits is good for that as well.

    I didn't mention this with the first video, but your tall boots look good ;o) Mountain Horse? How is the zipper repair going on the fancy ones?

  3. Now that's what we are talking about when we mean "lots of transitions." Changes within the gait in a few strides, changes from one gait to another within a stride or two--especially those trot/walk/trot transitions. And, using leg yield to engage the hind end....also a trick for making a better transition. By displacing the hind end, it is automatically active and can step off more easily.

    Excellent, excellent lesson and you can see Riley's brain start to engage along with his body.

  4. Love this sequence. You do a terrific job and so does Riley!!

  5. Good session, you guys look awesome.

    I've been working on this type of work (not as much as I should be...) since riding in a clinic with Per Meisner in October. To be honest, I have a hard time thinking fast enough to do something new that often. I'm happy if I do 2 or 3 transitions (within or between gaits) on the long side!

    I had to laugh at the "brrrrt!" "bup, bup, bup" and "suuuper" from your clinician...Per does the exact same thing.

  6. He is a wonderful trainer! :)


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