Always have a plan but be flexible in your approach is what we say in Straightness Training 😉
This happened to me yesterday ending up only Longeing with some lovely results 🥰
Lucano is gaining more strength and starts to flow in BSSTR (balance, suppleness, shape, tempo and rhythm). 😀
Haunches-in on the Longe!
I started to teach Lucano to bring his haunches in on the Longe and he is such a superstar putting effort into it 😀
With this exercise I have now a wider range to work him when longeing as I can vary between forward and collection, which helps him to gain muscles, find balance and coordination by stepping towards the center of mass with his hind legs.
With the 5R Formula of ST; release, reward, relax and repeat when the horse responds correctly giving me the desired behaviour and redirect him when he is off track making sure to find release, reward, relax again is really key in my training.
Looking forward to explore the trot one day 😀
The halt is a Touchstone in itself!
It reveals the truth if the horse was moving already in balance before asked for halt. It’s like with the gymnastics who jump of a high bar and land spot on and balanced on both feet 😉
We are not there yet but 🐴 Lucano is now managing to halt with aligned front legs keeping the center of mass a bit better away from his shoulders. At the beginning he was just dropping in the chest with a hollow back and his legs all over 😀
The better he leans to support himself from behind by stepping under the center of mass the better the halts will get, while staying supple in the transition yielding and searching towards the rein.
The picture was taken where he was checking in already asking me ‘What next?‘ 😀
First rides off-line!
Today we had our second try off-line and it was so lovely to see and feel Lucano being relaxed🐴💚
My husband could step out of the way faster than I thought after we started with the comfy procedure of being longed 😉
I could even carry my whip with me and was able to twinkle a bit in behind to get more flow.
Lucano is starting to curl around my inside leg having nice moments of yielding and searching 💪
What else can I ask for... all the work from the ground paid off 😀
First circles with a helper from the ground!
I have started to go into movement with my husband’s help from the ground 😊
His job is to just walk on a circle, not pulling on the line and keeping a bit distance to the horse, LOL......and for a not-horse person he is doing great 😉
🐴 Lucano is calm and relaxed walking his rounds. As this is the very beginning my main goal for a few days is to get him comfortable with me on top giving me some steps with LFS (lateral bending, forward down tendency and stepping under the inside hind leg under the center of mass).
I also keep the sessions very short not asking for too many rounds because I want him to find pleasure in this new situation and that we end on a good note so he has nice memories and keeps trust in me 😊
In a few days, when the mounting, walking in circles, stopping and halting is no big deal anymore I will introduce more aids so I can come off the line 😀
Work in hand!
A next big chapter in Lucano’s 🐎 education is the Pillar Work in hand, which forms the bridge and prepares the horse to the Riding 😊
In Work in hand he is learning the meaning of an inside/outside and a direct/indirect rein aid. The reason why I have waited so long is because he was mentally and physically not ready for it.
🐴 Mentally: He was busy biting into the reins, feeling annoyed by them next to his mouth not concentrating on the actual task.
🐴 Physically: He was not balanced enough in his body, leaning against the reins not maintaining a healthy rounder posture by himself.
Due to the big amount of Liberty and Longeing beforehand it is much easier for him now to offer me a proper shape by curling around me, thinking to the inside and finding the center of mass
with his inside hind leg.
Then the reins can become a fine instrument finding better quality along the way and not to push/pull or to control the horse 😉
In Work in hand but also in Riding we want our horse to yield to the inside ‘direct’ rein, when I close my fingers and to search towards the outside ‚direct‘ rein, when I open my
This process is not fully established and consistent yet but he is doing very well considering that we are just at the very beginning.of Work in hand. (It was the 4th or 5th try) 😀
The long-term goal of Straightness Training is achieving flexibility, gaining strength, build muscle and improving your horses’s overall health and maintaining if for a lifetime!
This goal is achieved through a logical system of progressive exercises, which one of them is the Shoulder-in.
I have started to introduce Shoulder-in to Lucano at Work in hand and during training I ask myself many questions 😉
To name a few:
- is the angel right (3 or 4 tracks)?
- is he only bringing the head in, which results in an overbent neck?
- does he understand the function of the outside indirect rein yet, guiding and inviting him to place the forehand in front of the inside hind leg?
- is he stepping forward and under the center of mass with his inside hind leg?
- if so, can I feel the shoulder freedom of the outside shoulder?
- is the outside hind leg also coming forward or is it stepping more sideways?
- is he getting light in front because of his carrying ability in behind or is he pushing against my hand?
- is he soft in the poll; yielding and searching to my observing half halts?
- do I have to correct the center of mass with rebalancing upward half halts?
- is he horizontal balanced, having a forward-forward tendency or he is downhill oriented?
The movement itself is a bit familiar to Lucano as we have practiced this at Liberty but bringing in some tools (reins, bit etc. ) we humans easily tend to over do things 😜
Therefore, I do film myself regularly to check what is working and what needs attention!
Do my feelings I had in the training match the pictures I see afterwards?
🐎 Lucano is physically well prepared to carry a rider now, so I have started to mount him😊
The right and safer way is to have a helper from the ground but many of us are usually on their own. So am I, and when there is a moment, that a third hand is needed, it is not there 😜
My husband is helping when he is around but in this video you see how I do it when I am alone.
I do flex Lucano 🐴 a bit more than what is usually needed to the side only for safety reasons.
He learned to follow the rein when picked up and he learned to relax and wait patiently for the next step.
In this position the chance of running away, rearing or bucking is limited.
Over time the mounting will be more a routine as he gets familiar and comfortable with the exercise itself but at the beginning it is better to stay safe than sorry because of rushing through.
However, I took the time to prepare Lucano first on the ground to get him physical strong 💪 and mentally relaxed.
The Pillars 🏛 of Straightness Training; Groundwork, Longeing, Work in hand and Liberty helped in finding balance, building up muscles, getting him fit and strong to perform longer sequences and to finally carry a rider, which is the logical system of ST based on the principles of the old Grand Masters as Gustave Steinbrecht, Antoine de Pluvinel and François Robichon de la Guérinière
Lucano is developing nicely at Liberty. The circles are getting better and better an he finds more moments into a proper LFS (lateral bending, forward down tendency and stepping under).