You are here

Exercises

Test you ability to stay in the position of the middle

Droits d'accès: 
Abonné
Image Miniature: 
Résumé listing: 

The rider can only stay in control of his position, no matter the situation, by learning to control his mind. This is the goal of the exercise in this session. A very easy to set-up exercise proven to be effective in getting the horse and rider to stay alert mentally and physically for whatever situation that could arise.

Niveau de difficulté: 
Intermédiaire
Goal: 

The rider can only stay in control of his position, no matter the situation, by learning to control his mind. This is the goal of the exercise in this session. A very easy to set-up exercise proven to be effective in getting the horse and rider to stay alert mentally and physically for whatever situation that could arise.

When a rider needs to slow down or speed up, turn, or approach a jump, he tends to change his position: he leans to the left to turn left, moves the shoulders forward to anticipate a jump, pushes his seat back to speed up….However, all those changes in the position are working against the correct rider’s seat and horse’s movements. It is a real handicap as the rider gets into a position where he cannot ready himself for the next step in an effective manner. This kind of situation will lead the rider to take inappropriate actions in order to make the situation better. These changes will lead the horse to a lack of understanding and some physical disruption.
As Michel likes to remind us: “If you are ready for a movement, you should also be ready for the opposite: going to the right or to the left, going faster or slower…” The rider has to be aware that the horse is the one who executes the movement and not the other way around. Hence the convenience of staying centred in the position of reference whatever the movement to execute.

One more time, the rider will only be able to control his position no matter what happens by learning how to control his mind.

This is what Michel explores in this exercise which is not only easy to set up, but also proven to be really effective in getting the rider to stay available mentally and physically and ready for everything.

Progress: 

Sélène is showing us how to practise this exercise. She rides Amore an 8 YO gelding. We can notice that when the rider is in a neutral mind-set, her position allows her to do everything: turn to the right or to the left, stop, or go jump….with very little influence on her horse who is available and responsive.

Cours associés

Breathing and relaxation in the action

Droits d'accès: 
Abonné
Image Miniature: 
Résumé listing: 

We’ve learned that a good oxygenation of the body is a key player in the muscle and mind relaxation. However, to learn to breathe correctly when riding requires some practice. This is today’s focus of this new exercise from Michel.

Niveau de difficulté: 
Débutant
Goal: 


We’ve learned that a good oxygenation of the body is a key player in the muscle and mind relaxation. However, to learn to breathe correctly when riding requires some practice. This is today’s focus of this new exercise from Michel.

To breathe deeply and steadily when we are comfortably seated in a sofa is no problem. However, when we are challenged by something more physical, the breathing rhythm becomes shallow and spasmodic with some apnea moments. By simply watching how many riders are out of breath at the end of a jumping course, we can realize how difficult it is to breathe correctly while performing a physical activity. However, the correct oxygenation of our body is critical if we want to optimize our physical and mental abilities. As soon as a rider blocks his breathing, his body stiffens, his stress level increases, and he loses the ability to control the situation.
As Michel shows us, the horse is also very receptive to the positive or negative signals that the rider’s breathing emits.

So it is crucial for the rider to become aware of his breathing and to practise breathing correctly in all circumstances. Michel offers you a small practise session on a ground pole set-up. Don’t hesitate to modify the track and then, to replace the ground poles by some cavalettis then jumps, but make sure you stay in perfect control of the rhythm of your inhales and exhales.

This exercise is shown on the sheet M4 of the Training program 1

 

Cours associés

Rider’s effectiveness in a 3 point position and a forward seat

Droits d'accès: 
Abonné
Image Miniature: 
Résumé listing: 

This exercise is a good test to know if the rider is equally effective whatever her position: seated or forward seat. The goal is to get the horse to keep the same canter rhythm and the same pushing power, especially in the turns as horses have a tendency to decrease their impulsion in the turns.

Niveau de difficulté: 
Débutant
Goal: 

This exercise is a good test to know if the rider is equally effective whatever her position: seated or forward seat. The goal is to get the horse to keep the same canter rhythm and the same pushing power, especially in the turns as horses have a tendency to decrease their impulsion in the turns.

We explained in the previous lessons how important it is to allow the horse to move freely especially in his back. As a result, it is best to be in a jumping position to allow the free flow of energy along the top line and to encourage the horse to engage his hind legs. The better the horse’s pushing power, especially in the turns, the easier it is for the rider to slow down, speed up, or modify the length of the stride to approach the fence in good form.
In general, when riding in a seated position, riders may have the feeling of being stronger, more secure and that their aids are more effective. However, to seat heavily in the saddle, pushing down on the back of the horse, works against the forward movement.
Rider should be able to ride and remain as effective in a 3-point position as they are in a 2 point position. To switch from one position to the other one, should not generate any stiffness or blockage, as it will have a negative impact on the pushing power and balance of the horse, as well as on the rider’s ability to stay on a precise track. The more fluid and light the rider is in his movements, the steadier the horse will be in his canter….This is today’s focus.

This exercise refers to the sheet H9 of the Training 1 program.

Progress: 

Lucile rides her mare Vanille to demonstrate the exercise. As she starts the exercise, she realises that it is more challenging than expected. Vanille is not a very reactive mare and to turn short makes her lose the impulsion which causes her to break into a trot. The goal will be to keep the same rhythm over the entire track, especially before, over and after the flexi jump ground poles.

Cours associés

Improve your balance and your upper body relaxation when riding

Droits d'accès: 
Abonné
Image Miniature: 
Résumé listing: 

Michel offers a specific exercise that is extremely effective to release any tensions the rider might have especially in the arms and shoulders. We all know how bad the rider’s upper body stiffness can impact the horse’s mouth and consequently the comprehension of the aids. Michel offers an easy solution to correct this bad habit and provides good reflexes...

Niveau de difficulté: 
Intermédiaire
Goal: 

Michel offers a specific exercise that is extremely effective to release any tensions the rider might have especially in the arms and shoulders. We all know how bad the rider’s upper body stiffness can impact the horse’s mouth and consequently the comprehension of the aids. Michel offers an easy solution to correct this bad habit and provides good reflexes suitable for all level of riders. This training will also help the rider stay centred even when turning.  The horse can move with more freedom and consequently give more attention to the rider’s aids. Directing a horse with precision becomes then, extremely easy whatever the gait.

This exercise is shown on the sheet H6 of the Training program 1

Progress: 

Michel shows us the exercise, riding an 11 year old grey mare. After explaining the advantage of his method, Michel goes over an “easy to do” set-up of ground poles and cones.  To begin with, you can replace the ground poles with some cones to go through or around. The exercise is to be done at the lower gaits first and then if successful on it, at a canter. Once you have well mastered the exercise, don’t hesitate to modify the track. You can also practise it on a small course of cavalettis keeping in mind that the upper body relaxation is key.

Variant / Progression: 

Michel shows us the exercise, riding an 11 year old grey mare. After explaining the advantage of his method, Michel goes over an “easy to do” set-up of ground poles and cones.  To begin with, you can replace the ground poles with some cones to go through or around. The exercise is to be done at the lower gaits first and then if successful on it, at a canter. Once you have well mastered the exercise, don’t hesitate to modify the track. You can also practise it on a small course of cavalettis keeping in mind that the upper body relaxation is key.

Cours associés

Learn how to control your mind when approaching a fence

Droits d'accès: 
Abonné
Image Miniature: 
Résumé listing: 

The primary goal of this session is to get the rider and horse to reach a state of serenity. Michel has developed an exercise helping riders to become aware of the moment they lose control of their mind and of their actions approaching a fence.

Niveau de difficulté: 
Intermédiaire
Goal: 

It is well known that the closer the rider is from the fence, the more the emotions or interfering thoughts are taking over which disturbs not only the rider’s position but consequently the horse’s mind and the quality of his canter.

The primary goal of this session is to get the rider and horse to reach a state of serenity. Michel has developed an exercise helping riders to become aware of the moment they lose control of their mind and of their actions approaching a fence.

This exercise is shown on the sheet M6 of the Training program 1

Progress: 

For this new lesson, Michel teaches Charlotte who rides Bounty, a quite inexperienced 5 Year Old mare.

The exercise begins with riding in between the fences preparing for all the key elements that will lead to a successful jump: a rider in control of her mind and her horse’s mind, well seated with a steady canter and a straight mare.

Michel’s professional eye detects any interfering movement from the rider and its influence on the horse. We can see that a good landing is the results of a good approach. Therefore, the rider has to plan each phase of the jump constantly.

We will also notice how sensitive a horse is to the slightest disturbance of the rider’s mind. During this session, Charlotte will have to face a situation leading her to become confused. Her hesitation will impact the mare’s behaviour who will take the control over and decide for her rider.

Cours associés

Test your connexion with your horse

Droits d'accès: 
Abonné
Image Miniature: 
Résumé listing: 

This exercise is comprehensive and technical, which is among Michel’s favourite exercises.  It teaches the riders to be very meticulous in their position, the track they are on and the control of the speed.  It is a perfect exercise to practise the basics prior to a jumping session.  The goal is to program the horse and rider before jumping.

Niveau de difficulté: 
Intermédiaire
Goal: 

This exercise is comprehensive and technical, which is among Michel’s favourite exercises.  It teaches the riders to be very meticulous in their position, the track they are on and the control of the speed.  It is a perfect exercise to practise the basics prior to a jumping session.  The goal is to program the horse and rider before jumping.

The set-up which consists of two ground flexi Jump poles, is really easy to realise and shows no risk for the riders and horses. That said, it will require a lots of focus and some preparation from the rider.  He/ she will have to comply with the requirements of a course, practising the flexions to the right and left, the approaches and landings, a certain number of strides between poles, the straightness, some flying change of leads, increasing and decreasing the speed….all that while keeping a light seat, to offer the freedom of movement to the horse. Quite a program.

This exercise is shown on the sheet G7 of the Training program 1

Progress: 

For this session, Michel teaches Charlotte and her mare Rasbury. She starts the exercise at a trot. For less experienced horses and riders, it would be better to start at a walk two or three times. It will allow them to get a feel for the pattern and the requirements of the exercises in a quiet way.
Charlotte will have to resolve some difficulties such as keeping her mare straight between the poles and changing the lead in a spot more suitable for the rest of the course. Little by little she gets better at it, thanks to Michel’s advice.

Don’t hesitate to practise this exercise. It is an excellent way to test the connection with your horse and the quality of your work before going to jump.

Cours associés

Varying the canter stride length over lines

Droits d'accès: 
Abonné
Image Miniature: 
Résumé listing: 

Being able to modify the length of the canter strides allows the rider to better assess and deal with the difficulties encountered during jumping courses. That said, the ability to feel and modify the horse stride can be acquired only with the repetition of specific exercises as the one Michel is introducing here.

Niveau de difficulté: 
Intermédiaire
Goal: 

 

The rider’s ability to vary the length of stride of the canter is a key element to approach a fence under the right conditions. During competition classes, we all know that the rider has to vary the length of stride of his horse’s canter in various situations: the fence profile, the distance between fences that are set in a straight line or in a turn, or if we need to gain time during a speed challenge class….. Amongst others, this capability to master the length of the canter stride will prevent the rider from enduring his course but instead will enable him/her to act being fully aware of his/her influence and be able to plan ahead all the difficulties he/she may encounter.

Therefore, being aware of the strides length of the horse is crucial for a young rider as well as for an experienced rider who has to make sure his horse is responsive at all time.

The rider has to practise it on flat work first. It is the purpose of today’s lesson. Michel is offering an exercise very simple to set up that will however allow the rider to acquire some valuable reference points.

Progress: 

In this lesson, Michel is teaching Charlotte who rides Rasbury
The exercise consists in modifying the number of strides between two flexy jumps poles on a line either by increasing or decreasing the length of the canter stride. To successfully complete the exercise, the rider should be in a good mental disposition and should be in harmony with the movement of the horse. Charlotte will succeed thanks to Michel’s advice.

Cours associés

Jumping a course of cavalettis with a definite number of strides

Droits d'accès: 
Abonné
Image Miniature: 
Résumé listing: 

A fun exercise that will challenge your ability to control the track as well as the speed during a course. It is about getting the correct number of strides on a track with successive loops. The exercise is not as easy as it seems as the rider has to be aware of the horse’s speed while directing his shoulders as if he would be on a train track.

Niveau de difficulté: 
Intermédiaire
Goal: 

A fun exercise that will challenge your ability to control the track as well as the speed during a course. It is about getting the correct number of strides on a track with successive loops. The exercise is not as easy as it seems as the rider has to be aware of the horse’s speed while directing his shoulders as if he would be on a train track. The set-up of the exercise doesn’t challenge the integrity of the horse’s body, therefore the rider can repeat the exercise multiple times, looking to perfect it as she goes. At the end, it would be ideal to practise the exercise successfully with light aids, meaning with very little hand and leg actions.
This is a really educational exercise for both the horse and the rider who has to anticipate and plan for each part of the course. So, it provides a real mental and physical preparation to competitions free of risk for the horse and the rider.

Progress: 

Marine practices the exercise with Vivaldi, a 10 year old Stallion owned by the Haras de Hus.The first few trials have revealed that it is crucial to stay in the “position of the middle”, meaning being perfectly centred in the saddle to stay on the track and jump in the centre of the fences. The benefits of the  position of the middle is to be ready for everything: to go jump or to stop or to slow down or to speed up….Too often riders are riding only in one position which is the “Position to Jump”. It leads most often to some problems in controlling the horse during the entire course. The first few fences are usually well executed but little by little the horse takes over as he becomes stronger and increases the length of jumps as he goes. This exercise Michel is showing here, is an excellent way to learn how fix this kind of issues staying calm and in good spirit.
 

 

Cours associés

Improving your horse’s responsiveness and speed in his jumping movement

Droits d'accès: 
Abonné
Image Miniature: 
Résumé listing: 

This exercise is specifically designed to improve the horse’s responsiveness and style over grids, especially after a large fence such as a water jump or an oxer (…)

Niveau de difficulté: 
Intermédiaire
Goal: 

This exercise will teach the horse to lift his knees and shoulders faster to jump better. This exercise is designed to improve the horse’s responsiveness and style over grids especially after a larger fence type such as a water jump or an oxer which prompts the horse to get flat and rush. The rider has to let the horse take the responsibility of finding the solution to jump in the best conditions.

Progress: 

Michel shows us the exercise riding Undiams, an 8 year old gelding who is really willing to jump but who also has a tendency to rush fences.

The idea is that the rider should interfere with the horse as little as possible to let him find the solution. On the way-in to the grid, the rider has to move his hands forward during the take-off stride and keep his horse on a straight line while following the movement over fences. Under no circumstances, should the rider use his legs and hands aids like most riders are used to do, thinking it will help the horse. On the contrary, the horse needs his complete freedom of movement to learn to settle over combinations, pick-up his shoulders, use his back over fences and yet improve his front end speed of reaction.

 rides in the grass paddock with log fences. You can also practise it with some show jumping fences. The bank can be replaced by an oxer, a water jump or even a Liverpool….The height of fences should be adapted to the level of the horse and rider.

Cours associés

Exercise to transition between flat work and jumping

Droits d'accès: 
Abonné
Image Miniature: 
Résumé listing: 

The exercise set-up encourages the rider to pay close attention to all the parameters required for a clear round.

Mots clés: 
cavalettis
jumping exercise
flat work
control when jumping
control in the approach
Rhythm of the gait
steadiness of the canter
REF HAE30
Niveau de difficulté: 
Débutant
Goal: 

This exercise will help you overcome the technical difficulties of a course without straining your horse. It can be practised by riders of all levels and will help you gain correct habits: a symmetrical position, a straight horse in the approach and landing, follow a precise track in the turns and on straight lines, get ready and anticipate each action, keep a steady rhythm.

Progress: 

They start the session with some trot work. It is recommended for less experimented riders or horses to pratise it first at a walk. It would allow the horse to discover the set up and not be surprised.

Charlotte doesn’t have any problem performing the exercise as long as she stays mentally concentrated and focused on her position. However, as soon as she glances down, even for a fraction of a second, she loses her focus and position. The response is immediate: the horse gets out of the track, modifies his rhythm or even steps on the flexy jumps. The rider needs to control the situation at any moment in her position but also in her mind.

It will help Charlotte find a good balance between too much control at the canter and a horse who gets above the bit and rushes. The goal is to obtain a steady cadence throughout the exercise especially before and after the flexy-jumps.

Once again, we can notice the importance of anticipating and preparing for each action to be successful throughout the exercise.

Cours associés