Sunday, October 9, 2011

Level 3 Freestyle Notes

  • Freestyle requires mental, emotional, and physical fitness and organization
  • It's very natural for horses to follow a trail, so use this instinct to create follow the rail
  • Make it a game - don't make me use my legs/stick/reins to put you back on the rail
  • Follow the rail helps give the horse responsibility
  • Know the tracks - the closest to the rail is the first track, the horse must be on the first track to really understand how to follow the rail
  • To signal a turn pick up your reins (don't pull) then use eyes, belly button, legs, then rein or stick - remember when you use your body to move your shoulders too!
  • Freestyle is about following a feeling/intention (driving game)
  • Horse should maintain gait, maintain direction, look where he's going, and act like a partner (not a prey animal)
  • Freestyle is about getting in harmony with the horse and developing an independent seat 
  • Freestyle gives us the ability to feel what the horse is thinking/feeling more
  • Bowtie - use indirect rein to the inside to go from canter to walk, release and then go out the other direction using a direct rein and a 'tickle' with the outside hand
  • Redirect too much energy into a circle rather than shutting the horse down as you move into/through L3
  • Get high into the corners, practice stopping from corner to corner to keep horse on the rail and making full corners rather than falling to the inside
  • Cloverleaf pattern - a series of one direction turn at the half way point down each rail, helps with impulsion
    • Good for long horses as it has lots of bends and turns
    • Good for short horses as it has lots of straight lines
  •  It's always a game of balance and counter balance - mix and match your games and patterns (corners, cloverleaf) to keep your horse focused and interested
  • The reason we use the Carrot Stick is to become a long bodied animal like the horse, it's more natural to push the horse around than to pull him around
  • Begin Carrot Stick riding by asking for:
    • Lateral Flexion
    • Disengagement
    • Move The Front End 
  • If things get out of control with the Carrot Stick DROP IT and use your REINS, don't bat him around in the face or let things get unsafe - take it easy, take it slow, start with the basics
  • Practice following the rail then push his nose over to slow or stop him just as you would when you bend the horse toward the rail with the rein to slow him down
  • Seek relaxation in this level, stick with it until you get mental, emotional, and physical changes
    • Be patient
    • Be persistent
  • Only stop when the horse really feels under control (rhythm, relaxation, connection)
  • Ride the outside of the horse with the stick and the inside of the horse with the reins
  • Get handy with the stick (skill drills), toss it, swing it, helicopter it at the halt, walk, trot
  • Try standing at the trot, sitting at the trot, posting, and a combination thereof
  • Think about posting as rising off your horse not coming down into/against the saddle
  • Posting - rise and fall with the shoulder on the wall
  • It's important to post on the correct diagonal so you're weight is correct for canter departs
  • Horses are motivated by safety, comfort, and play
  • Freestyle Patterns/Games: Corners, Bow-tie, Cloverleaf, Follow the Rail, Circle the Barrel (let it simulate human)

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