NBP Horse Training
Where most of us make mistakes is in the foundational training of the horse. If the foundational training is done wrongly, it can be fatal for the horse.
Today we see too many horses put down because they struggles in the ridden work. In many cases, there is no specific reason for this.
Typically, we humans put our own goals and ambitions above everything else. If the horse does not work for what we had planned, then something must be wrong. But it is not necessarily there!
Horses are as different as us humans. They cannot all perform the same task. Horses are very different in their way of developing and in their way of understanding things. Physically, there are also big differences in how quickly a given horse can perform what it is asked for.
Preparation before riding
The biggest problem in my eyes is that the horses are not well prepared before we start riding them. Whether you have a young untrained horse or an older horse with problems, it is in the foundational training from the ground that you have to put in.
The horse must first have built a strong topline before we start riding it. The crookedness the horse has, innate and learned, must also be corrected before the riding begins. Everything gets worse when we start riding the horse.
Today we spend far too little time preparing the horse for the riding. Some horses develop quickly, while others take a very long time. But if we do not take the time to properly prepare the horse then the problems will catch up with us at some point. Be it in the form of injury or unwillingness.
The horse is crooked
The horses I typically come to are trained horses which do not seem to function when ridden. Or it may be horses that lack topline. Some of these horses have been through numerous vet visits, chiropractic/osteopathic treatments, massages, or the like. Some instructions are often given in various exercises/workouts to be performed; however, without result.
What I see every single time is horses who are moving crooked. Of course, when the horse is moving in a crooked way, it will also build up a crooked and tense musculature. If you make a training plan where the horse should, for example, be ridden straight, do pole work, be lunge with the Pessoa system, etc. then the horse may use its body differently, but the crookedness and tension will still be there. Therefore, the real problem is never addressed.
It should be kept in mind that the horse usually does not have any problems as long as it is allowed to walk around the field as it pleases. The problems arise when we sit on the horse. If the goal is to ride the horse, then these things need to be corrected.
However, I also reach out to many who just want to give their horse a good basic training from the ground before the ridden work begins. And others would like to know how to use this type of training alongside riding.
The training is about making the horse move more symmetrically and uniformly on both sides. With this, the horse will start working in a better rhythm / beat. Through this work, the horse typically begins to relax both physically and mentally. When this happens, the horse begins to loosen up and gets easier by rounding to the sides and to stretching. When the horse starts to stretch we get detached and relaxed the topline. This is what we need to get to because then the muscles in the top line will start to develop.
I use the work in hand and the lunging for this purpose. Usually, we work the horses in a bridle, but in some cases, we use a cavesson instead. I do not use side reins or similar. In the training of my horses, I have tried to use loosely fitted side reins, but they seem to disturb more than they benefit. If the work in hand is done well enough, they are not needed.
In addition, to loosen up the muscles, strengthening and straightening the horse, the work from the ground prepares the horse for the ridden work. Therefore, the work from the ground must be done in a way that we can transfer to the ridden work.
It takes patience and empathy to train horses. You have to understand that not all horses must be trained equally. For example, some horses need to be worked actively forward, while others will be better off working at a slower pace. Some horses can stretch to the ground, while others have an easier time maintaining their balance if they are in a more horizontal position.
Do you do it right?
You have to remember that the horse will change throughout the training, and you have to adjust your training based on this. If you are unsure what you are doing is right, here are a few things to keep an eye on. Firstly, one should get to the point where you can see the topline almost "wobble" as the horse moves. This is a sign that the horse is completely relaxed. Remember that it is not the topline that is supposed to do the lifting !!
The other thing to watch is the horse's gait; it should improve as the training progresses. The horse should begin to take equal strides with the hind legs. The horse must also be able to bend evenly on both sides. It should be equally easy to get the horse to step under on both leads. And it should be able to step right into the tracks of the front feet without one hind leg stepping to one of the sides.
If you pay attention to your horse you will experience many positive things as the horse progress.
Preparing the rider
The training from the ground not only prepares the horse for the ridden work but also the rider. The better you know your horse and its way of using itself, the easier it will be when you are riding the horse. Several riders tend to pull back with the inside hand and push the outside hand forward while riding. This habit we can change through the work in hand. You can also learn a lot about the contact on the reins. In addition, you get trained to see what is right and wrong.
In the beginning, it can be hard to tell if you are on the right track, and many become insecure about themselves. This will change over time.
If you want some advice or similar, you can join the Facebook groups below. Common to both groups is that it is not a specific form of training. These are groups where you can share experiences and seek help across methods and theories.
This is a Danish group.
This is an English group.
If you are interested in seeing pictures, small video clips and reading more about the training, then of course there is the page here, but I also have the Facebook page Nobackpain.