Archive for March, 2010

The Aspirant Technique

                                                   Code of Ethics

 Ride with Balance 

 Ride the language of the horse

 Ride with understanding

 Ride with partnership

 Ride with light contact

Ride with a listening ear (to your horse)

 Ride with treats

 Ride with patience

 Ride with peace

 Ride with happiness

 Ride with joy

 Ride with love

                        Ride without spoiling the spirit of your horse

                       Ride without anger

                       Ride without frustration

                      Ride without noise in your head

                     Quiet your spirit and ride…


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Zeppelin has been a pleasure to work with, he is beautiful, as most Friesians are, and very smart as well.  Because he is going to be a driving horse, as well as a riding horse, the training has to taken on a new direction that I haven’t had the opportunity to teach Sandra Beaulieu.  Sandra is his hands- on trainer under my direction.

  We split his training into five different phases. 

 Phase One:  We still begin with free lungeing with his side reins and Sandra doing at liberty half halts.  Zeppelin loves this part of the training as he is able to receive treats.  These are limited in his driving training as you can’t stop, jump out of the cart and hand your horse a treat. 

 Phase Two:  Then we move on to long-lining.  He has learned to make figure eights at the trot, and this last session we added ten meter circles.  Sandra has learned to change direction on the long lines with ease and grace, never losing the rhythm of his stride in the trot as they do the figure eight.  This takes skill to be able to change rein across the diagonal and to teach the horse to make the turn.  Sandra has been studying with me in dressage for some years and her skill at half pass on the horse’s back  serves her well in learning these turns.  It takes a slight sponge of the rein to create an inside rein on the turn and then to use the outside rein to turn with.  Most driving needs a half pass to control the horses turns, rather than a leg yield.

Phase Three:  Next Sandra ground drives.  He is doing quite well.  In the beginning the challenge is to travel straight without wandering, as we want him to be able to pull a cart straight.  A little half pass comes into play to teach straightness.  After three short lessons, over three days, of about ten minutes each, he is now traveling straight and halting and learning to stand very still.

Phase Four:  Next we put Zeppelin on the lunge line, as he was taught during the initial training, before he learned to long line.  Now we reverse the order during his lessons.   He knows how to lunge, but it is still part of his training to prepare him for riding.  Sandra lunges him a few minutes on each side and then we have a rider mount him, and they continue on the same pattern of twenty meter circles in the middle of the arena.  He is already used to the routine and has no trouble continuing when we stop and add the  rider.  In the beginning we would have someone mount him at the bleachers, which is our station for working with horses before beginning riding or training.  There he would eat grain as we had a rider mount him.  Once he adjusted to the weight of the rider, then Sandra would lead him around, again distracting him from the difficulty of managing the weight of a rider on his back by offering treats.  Now he has moved on to carrying the rider on a lunge line at the trot and without any treats.  Sandra is managing the lunge line to make sure he is safe for the rider.  The rider only has to hold on to pommel of the saddle and do nothing but go along for the ride.   All cues are given by Sandra as she lunges Zeppelin.

Phase Five: The last phase is teaching the horse the introduction to Piaffe.  In the beginning it was just walking forward six to eight steps and halting and backing up two steps.  Because he is going to be a driving horse and backing up a cart is crucial to driving, when doing piaffe he is asked to back up many more steps and we increase those steps in each session.  We have advanced to trotting six to eight steps, halting and backing up eight  to nine steps.  Now this part of the training  is done with the rider on his back.  This teaches him riding and driving skills at the same time.  We end there and Zeppelin gets a treat and pats from Sandy and is told he is a good boy.  He stands with great pride, absorbing his praise and seeming to say, “I know I did a good job and I’m proud of it!”

 Doing five phases of training keeps the training session interesting for the Zeppelin and we are able to add something new in each of the five training session.  This way he learns new things each day but it seems like so little as it is broken up in each phase of the training.  Sandra is becoming a proficient driving trainer and I think she will be bitten by the driving passion before we are finished.

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The Aspirant Technique is a light, ethereal connection with your horse that creates a oneness of spirit.”

 The Art of Dressage

    Dressage is meant to be art. An art that comes from creating more balance in your horse each time you ride.  You cannot create art without an understanding and respect for the horse’s nature. Your training must not spoil the spirit of the horse.  This is the foundation philosophy of the Aspirant Technique.  From this place comes superb lightness and balance and a willing  horse.   It is your job to learn your horses language, this allows your relationship with him to be a partnership.  Listen to his messages, he is sensitive  and  wants to understand you.  When you do, there will be a oneness of spirit and your performance will be art.

“Dressage is a celebration of the equine body and spirit.”

Excerpts from Book Four Training the Dressage Horse  After Backing  This book can be purchased at www.sandrabdesigns.com  and www.isaacroyalfarm.com

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Stacia Russell gave a Power Point presentation on  Biomechanics last night at her home.  It was well attended by a group of over twenty people.  Stacia did a great job of reading through the book for us on Power Point.  I was so pleased to have someone explain that using a driving seat only makes the horse restrict his back and become stiff.  Also toward the end, the Power Point touched on the riders position and that the rider needs to be on the horse in a standing position with your weight lined up straight and for the rider to stretch her spine and sit tall to take out the curves in the spine, in order to communicate with your horse.  It was written in technical language as if you were going to take a test to become a vet.  But it was nice to have the technical name of the bones of the horse.  It all agrees completely with the Aspirant Technique.  Book One in the Aspirant Technique series  addresses the same information but it is purposefully written so a sixth grader can understand it.  For anyone who would like to know how to apply technical presentation of biomechanic theories in practice,  Book One can be purchased at  www.sandrabdesigns.com or www.isaacroyalfarm.com   or Bob’s Hardware down town Dover Foxcroft, ME

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Zeppelin, a Friesian, owned by Jody Cabot, came in for training this month.  Jody is going to document his training on video.  How  exciting it will  to go back and look at his progress over time all in one sitting.  The first step I had Sandy do,  was to free lunge him.  I sat with Jody explaining the complexity of the free lungeing, so she could see the half halts, Sandy was able to do on the ground.  Zeppelin was so focused on her body and where she would move to, that she was able to engage the hind legs up under him with her lunge whip.  The more she used the lunge whip the slower his trot became until he was practically doing half steps.   Sandra has become an expert in the art of free engagement.  Zeppelin loved it.  He seemed quite proud of himself as he clearly understood everything he was asked to do.  The training will continue to follow steps layed out in the Aspirant Technique series of Training Horse and Rider.   We will keep you posted of his progress and someday it will all be on video. 

The art of free lungeing with half halts on the ground and engagement are outline in Book Three.

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   I originally set up Isaac Royal Equestrian Academy  to teach students to train horses to Grand Prix and to be able to receive qualifying scores from a Judge at each level they show.  This is because the Academy produces professionals.  All Academy Graduates are taught to teach clinics from a judges point of view.  As the head trainer, each student is given the perspective of training a horse with showing as their goal in order to  receive their metals from USDF.  We review tests on tapes and learn to look at the test, not only from a judges point of view but also from a trainers point of view, so you could advise the rider how to train the horse for a higher score.  I am currently working with Robin Brittelli, working for scores at Third Level.  Angela Bonacasa, working for scores at Second Level.  Kaylee Clark, working for scores at Second Level.   Lydia Rose, working for scores at Grand Prix.  Sandra  Beaulieu, working for scores at Prix St George.  Also many other students.  The progress of each and every student is food for my soul.

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The Secret to Classical Riding

We are out of touch! To most people their body is a vehicle that they ride around in.  The secret to classical riding is getting in touch with your body.   In order to approach classical riding you need to realize that you may be balancing differently from one side of your body to the other.  That means you will ride each side of the horse differently, without knowing it.  Thus there are horses that won’t stay on the rail traveling in one direction and will have difficulty taking a canter lead on one side.  The rider not realizing their own distorted balance on that side  will discipline the horse thinking he is being disobedient.   

It is a mistake to try to ride out of your head thinking that you can just take the reins and tell the horse with your hands and legs what you want and  he has to obey you.  It really doesn’t work that way.    So the first step to the journey of classical riding is to take a close look at your balance with the help of a ground person and balance yourself on both sides.   The rewards are great!!

For assistance in balancing your body on both sides:   Book One   Balancing the Rider, The Aspirant Horse and Rider Training Technique can be purchased at www.isaacroyalfarm.com

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