Right now, I don’t know if I’m inspired or just plain envious. Lovely horses, ridden beautifully. This was an interesting video because it begins with a rider on a 3 year old horse who had just been ridden a few times. The horse is calm and relaxed and quite frankly looking “like a million bucks”. Clearly not the average 3 year old! So that is the envy part.
Part of me questioned asking ‘so much’ of such a youngster. Was the neck too shortened? But the proof is in the pudding. The video continues showing the same horse a couple months later, looking quite steady and improved. Other horses are featured as well, each a little older and further along in their development–all the way to beginning piaffe/passage and one-tempis. Each ridden according to the same principles. The concerns I had about the neck being short just didn’t pan out. Every horse even the most advanced horses were able to and were asked to stretch forward out and down. No curling, no rollkur/hyperflexion–ever. All the horses show correct muscle development, so in the end I had to let myself enjoy it all.
One particularly interesting segment showed a very talented and nicely trained 5 year old. First ridden by the trainer, and then the trainer’s student. The student rider was built to ride (tall and leggy) but had only been riding one year. The transformation in the horse was remarkable. In the matter of a few minutes the horse began to look quite ‘average’ because he was no longer properly engaged, he was rushing and out of balance. At one moment the horse got a little upset and took off on the rider for few strides. It was very easy to see how poor riding can ruin a horse’s gaits and attitude. The horse (and I ) breathed a sigh of relief when the trainer got back in the saddle!
Another thing which was refreshing was that ‘baubles’ were left in. So, we get to see the 3 year old’s little spook and what happens when the older horse working on canter pirouettes struggles with the pirouette to the right. We could whine about these little mistakes hardly being worthy of mention since so many are dealing with much worse than that! But, the truth is, when the riding is so clear and supportive of the horse from start to finish it should not really be such a surprise that these things happen infrequently. Anyway, it was still good to see that even these fabulous horses are still horses with their own mind and opinions.
This video demonstrates that a classical progression delivers outstanding results every time. Here’s hoping we all have a chance to work with such amazing horses and more importantly are Up to the Challenge should that chance arrive. Keep riding!