Remember, you can't 'fix' things on the competition day, you just need to prepare your horse for the test ahead. I think these are all exercises that can be done on any horse at any level and can even be incorporated into your warm up routine!
Every horse, like every human, is an individual, so it can be misleading to make broad generalisations. Horses come in a wide variety of sizes, shapes and also temperaments. There are also a wide range of training methods to choose from, so which one is right for you and your horse? Which one will help you to develop that special relationship that you've always dreamed of?
Humans have had a close association with horses for hundreds and thousands of years. Over the long period of time, attempts have been made by many to understand the nature of horses by studying their behavior in different circumstances.
In my opinion, no matter whether you're a dressage diva, a ballsy eventer or a savvy show jumper your flatwork on your horse is THE most important thing. We all know that to win a 3 day event your dressage score has to be spot on and if you can't half halt on the way toward a 1m fence your royally buggered.
So what do we mean by 'in front of the leg'? Your horse should respond quickly to the lightest of leg touches i.e. a slight squeeze of the calf and respond to this with an appropriate amount of impulsion (or 'energy').
Remember it's important not to overdo the exercises and you must work your horse evenly on both reins. All horses are more supple on one side than the other so you might find you have to make the exercise on the more difficult rein easier to begin with. Not only do these exercises improve suppleness, they also help to improve balance.
Everything is going 'hunky dory' one minute, then the next you feel like you've lost complete control, you start to panic and before you know it you've blown it! I've done this countless times, and it wasn't until I wrote for a top level dressage judge that my attitude began to change.
I can't remember how I use to do it. This was actually my life for at least 3 years before I opened the shop. It's really made me appreciate my time more, but I started thinking, how did I cope? Well... here's my tops tips about managing the work-horse-life balance and how I got through 3 years of this!