Tips for more productive
BY NATALIE DeFEE MENDIK
Most riders agree they stay better focused and get more out of a lesson or a clinic than when riding on their own. While we’d all love extensive access to expert instruction, riding effectively by yourself is part and parcel of good horsemanship. Step up your game with a few simple tips to help you get the most out of your daily schooling. British-born, U.S.-based instructor Cathy Drumm,
who teaches western dressage, dressage, and hunter/jumper, tells us how.
“The first task of any ride is to achieve the state of mind and body where
your horse is ready to work,” says Drumm. Think supple, relaxed, and focused
on you with an attitude of cooperation.
/ Set the Tone /
“The thing to remember is you have to start where your horse is,” says Drumm. “If
it’s a hot day, or your horse worked hard the day before, or he was turned out all
day, he’s probably quiet and can go straight to work.”
If your horse doesn’t need to be longed to work off excess energy, start your
ride with at least 10 minutes of brisk walking in a relaxed frame. This is especially
important for horses kept in stalls and senior equines that can start out a little creaky.
She recommends working within one gait before moving on to the next.
Include basic schooling figures, stretching and transitions. Pay attention to
details: for example, your horse should be supple in both directions, and
aligned on both straight and bending lines, meaning his hind feet follow in the
tracks of his front feet.
SEPTEMBER 2016 I HORSEillustrated.com
TO PLAN OR NOT TO PLAN
Have a plan, but also
be ready to deviate
“A plan gives you a goal and a starting
point, but with horses you never know
what’s going to happen,” says Drumm.
“You have to be prepared to
change course at any
time, depending on