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This is one of the best explanation of a classical seat I’ve ever read. A couple of my students told me about it and thought it sounded exactly what they had been hearing during their lessons. It took the words right out of my mouth, except that I start students out with sitting trot and no stirrups on a lunge line. The article did mention that this doesn’t work. It works very well if the instructor is committed to patiently lunging the student and repeating the same thing over and over until the student is able to open the thighs and knees off of the horse. This openness allows the seat to drop down deep on the horse, keeping the legs straight down from the hip so as not to block the seat from staying in front or leading. It is necessary to hold on to the pommel to avoid holding on with the legs or knees. When your hold steadies you, you can let go but keep your hand resting on the pommel in case you need to hang on again after a few strides. Keep doing this until you can let go without holding on with the legs, thighs or knees. If you feel yourself start to pinch, grab hold of the pummel, allowing you to let go with the legs and begin the process again. This is a quick way to successful riding and learning the sitting trot right away. Be patient and just keep working on it until it is part of your muscle memory. It will be well worth your time and it will quicken your progress.

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https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=3305103803876&set=vb.321529202925&type=2&theater 

Kaylee Clark here:
Indie did wonderful today, her canter has improved so much since my last post. No more scrambling, more balance in her canter. She is beginning to learn engagement. The statement I would like to make today is ” I am learning to be softer and softer on my reins. There is no end to the challenge of riding as if you have a silk thread!” I will post more of her so you can watch the transformation.
Leo also made more progress today with my softer hands.
Taking this to all my horses!!!

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Follow Lydia Rose’s Training of Indie                                           Post # Two

Indie’s owner came to visit her to see how the training was going.  Lydia free lunged her, then lunged her with tack and side reins, then worked  her doing Piaffe.  Then Lydia brought her at the bleachers and had Kaylee sit on her and pat her rump and move all over with her legs and then  Lydia repeated the Piaffe work with Kaylee on Indie’s back.  Lydia and Kaylee had already spent time gradually getting her used to a rider just sitting on her.  Then I put Indie on a lunge line with Kaylee on her back at the walk.  Indie has become attached to Lydia, so she walked ahead of Indie so she  would feel secure.  We only did a very little so she wouldn’t get too nervous.  She was soooo good.
Her owner was pleased and proud of her horse. In the short time that she has been in for training (a little over a month), Indie has gone from a horse with no knowledge of what was expected of her, wild eyed and high strung, to a horse with calm attention and pride in herself and her work. We were so proud of Indie as well.
Indies training is following Book Three, “Backing the Young Horse”.

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Saturday morning was so successful.
Robin was able to take her trot work to another level, she was able to lift and lead her horse to lightness, and suspension in her extended trot. (Rather than driving).  We were both high as kites.  So spectacular!
Caitlin was able to yield her young horse on a circle and yield him down the long side off the inside shoulder for the first time and ended her lesson by taking off her saddle and bridle and rode him free without his tack. They are wonderful together.
Kaylee did perfect one tempi changes on Victress.  First time she asked was a couple of weeks ago and they were perfect and I let her try them again and once again they were perfect.   Pretty good since neither horse or rider had ever done them before.  Kaylee listens carefully and works to get it right.  Such a good student.
Angela and Tonka have a wonderful Piaffe, they are really dancing together these days.
Chelsa rode Tonka and did an amazing job bringing him through the back. She sits perfect in her own balance making it easy for a horse to understand her.  Great Day!!

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I am enjoying the summer training season.  Even though I am schooling my main horse, Victress, Prix St George, I start many young horses under saddle.  Carole says I”m very good at it since I have no fear and don’t care if I get a buck or a rear.  They actually come so rarely that when it happens it makes me laugh.  Carole says that’s why the horses don’t get upset because I think it’s fun.

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Fun times as always at Isaac Royal Farm!!  This afternoon we had Robin on Rory and I was riding the delightful Tonka, a Belgian Morgan.  Tonka is patient to new riders to a point and then he shows his mischievious spirit and wants to make sure that you are paying attention.  Today he galluped right past the bench and down the ramp toward the stalls…..Carole was yelling “Duck!!!” which I did and we turned right around and got back out there (gate closed this time!).  Tonka didn’t notice that I was wearing my “This girl don’t take no bull” t-shirt – aha!

Robin got some excellent training under he belt on her half pass and ended the day Two Steps Forward!!!! Little victories seem big and always celebrated in our little dressage community.  This day today in Maine is to die for – about 70 degrees and a light breeze blowing.  As I put Tonka out to pasture Sandy and BethAnne were working on their horses.  This is the life! Yeehaw.

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Canter Series # 11  Excerpts from Book One 

Trained in the Aspirant Technique, this rider, Kaylee Clark, eleven yrs old in this picture,  is in free balance and able to gallop the field without the use of reins or legs – simple balance off her seat.

I first saw this position of horse and rider in the movie “Dances with Wolves” and immediately instituted it as an exercise in the Aspirant Technique.  Over the years it has created strong riders.

This same summer, with her strong core of balance, she was able to ride a hot young horse at first level  so successfully that the judge thought the horse was an old school master.  The horse was only five.

Currently she is schooling her horse and another horse at third level and plans to show third level this summer.

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The Aspirant Technique by Carolyn Rose

             Deanna Thompson flew in  from North Carolina to ride Friday and Saturday.  We had two days of intense training.   She felt that she had lost her seat and was having difficulty riding sitting trot when extending across the diagonal.  It only took us one lesson to fix her seat!  I took away her stirrups and aligned her body.  I had her practice extending on the diagonals and to keep her seat ahead of the horse; so as not to be left behind as the horse pushed off in the more forward stride.   By the end of the lesson she looked like a pro.  I told her, it doesn’t get better than that, as she was able to stay with the horse stride after stride.   With that behind us,  I spent time teaching her to be more sophisticated at engaging the horse from the hind legs and lifting the frame.  She was able to get  better timing with her seat.  We were able to get her hands in a better place for upper level work.

She worked with three different horses, Mirage, Galileo, and Victress.   Victress was her favorite.  Victress has the largest stride and can rise into the air as she travels across the diagonal.  Deanna was happy to be back on her as she had shown her two years ago at third level and got a  qualifying score with her.    I was so pleased as I was able to teach her things I hadn’t been able to teach her in the past.  She was really ready to go forward in her training and she did. 

Her plane left today and she will be back training horses in the Carolina’s and I’m anticipating great success on her part.  She will be keeping in touch  and coming back for more training in the summer with the hopes of training on Victress and showing her.

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Sandra Beaulieu and Lydia rose performed at the Center Theater this past weekend.    They are the head trainers at Isaac Royal Farm, riding, training and showing horses.  What barn has head trainers who look like this and dance professionally, perform with their own dance troop, called Pegasus Dancers  in theater.  We are blessed here at Isaac Royal Farm to have such a talented staff.  Both girls are artists as well.  The theater hosted an art show, showcasing their art along with  Morgan Smith

 Morgan Smith plays in a band, called Harmony Hill.   She performs playing the guitar and mandolin, and is one of the lead singers.  She also plays and sings in her father’s band.  Morgan is also a talented dancer, artist and dressage rider. 

 Also among us is Angela Bonacassa, who is a play director and fight choreographer.   Currently she is directing the play “Harvey”, which has opened at the Belfast Maskers Theater, and will be running this week through Sunday and May 6-9th.  She rides dressage on Tonka, and will be showing him second level this summer.

 All of this talent comes together at Isaac Royal Farm for the Equestrian Theater.  We have great fun putting all this talent together with horses to create an enchanting evening of drama.  The Equestrian Theater dates will be posted on the website, http://www.isaacroyalfarm.com under Theater.

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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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