A few years ago, I was contacted by one of the bloggers, Michelle Binder, for the USEF website and their blog called Equestrian Weekly. I was so honored that she took time to meet me to write an article for the blog about bringing Western Dressage to the Las Vegas community. We had a great time together, sharing the importance of Dressage as a positive training pattern or roadmap for every horse. Both of us have a background in Natural Horsemanship and Dressage. We found we have a lot in common. Since this interview I have become a Western Dressage Professional, teaching students and trainers the foundation of Dressage and how it can help their horses. There are many avenues to learn more about Western Dressage and North American Western Dressage is very active in promoting with a positive community. Check out www.northamericanwesterndressage.com.
I think one of the most difficult tasks as a Dressage Rider is to determine what’s the most important thing to do for my horse’s and my training each day I ride.
I’m an insatiable learner, constantly listening to instructors, reading, watching others. I just love to learn. I recently ordered a series of videos created by Walter Zettle, a world-class instructor and rider, and low and behold, there was my answer. In Walter’s series titled “A Matter of Trust,” he guides you through the training scale for dressage horses and explains each one in depth. Not only does he describe what’s going on, he has many riders with horses at different levels to watch so you can see what he’s talking about.
No matter what we are searching for, if we are patient, the answer will appear.
I subscribe to several online horse training and riding education websites. It’s an amazing way to educate myself about horses in the comfort of my home. Plus I get to listen to and watch amazing Internationally-recognized Trainers and Judges while they teach their students. I’ve been a subscriber of few professionals for many years and am always learning new and wonderful things. It’s not only dressage but there’s a myriad of different trainers from all over the world. The most important thing to me is to see the riders and horses improve their horseback riding abilities at all levels. And it’s cool to see the Horse respond to the riders and different trainers.
It’s interesting to watch how the trainers teach. One of my favorite instructors and who has a few nice videos is Mary Wanless, author of Ride with Your Mind , who has a lot of fun ideas and pictures and concepts she uses when she teach her students, like boingy balls.
Another new trainer I’ve found and love is Suzanne Von Dietze, and I just ordered her DVD and book, Balance in Movement. I really like her training also and hear such amazing feedback from the students she teaches. I noticed she uses the same exercises and routines I have used in my horseback riding lessons, so that confirmed we are doing great things. This gal is a physical therapist from Germany and has ridden to Grand Prix – she offers some great ways to improve posture, strength in the back while riding, and helping the horse with his straightness.
I’ve noticed a difference between those trainers who are teaching the body to ride better, and getting a great result from the horses, and those trainers who tell the rider what to do with the horse and leave it up to the rider to figure out how. One of my associates said “Some trainers teach you WHAT to do, other trainers teach you HOW to do it!”
I would say that I’m a trainer that teaches you WHAT, HOW, and WHY to do the things I ask. I tend to be big on theory and philosophy, which is why Natural Horsemanship really interests me, and I focus on the WHAT and HOW through my training in dressage. It’s so much fun! How lucky am I to have learned and get to teach all these wonderful things.
Keep it Interesting for Your Horse!
I’m so excited about my new Riding and Lesson Location in Las Vegas! Just moved Trixie, my lesson horse to a new private facility in the Northwest side of town. The new facility is located at 8035 W Craig Rd, LV 89129.
I am available for lessons, and will be riding out soon. Just down the road is a city park and can be a perfect place to ride on the grass.
I look forward to seeing you there!
In talking to my family yesterday about one of many great lesson I learned from Linda Parelli, called “Thresholds.” The thing I LOVE about Linda is that she is one of the best communicators in the horse instruction world. Where other very accomplished horsemen talk about theory and ideas, sometimes the language is ethereal and can be difficult to understand. Linda and Pat Parelli are masters of labeling and creating a human-friendly language that we humans can actually understand and then try to apply, sometimes successfully right away.
Linda’s teaching is called “Thresholds” was a life-saver for me and my horseback riding, especially riding out alone in the Las Vegas Desert. My horse at the time, was a great little quarter-horse named Bogey who I purchased from the Bonnie Springs Trail Ridge group. He didn’t work out as one of their trail horses as he was just a little too energetic. I learned that he was rather herd-bound when I would to ride out on the trail. After about 20 feet away from the barn, Bogey would get upset and nervous! Not fun. I received myriads of advice, you know the drill. ”Wet Blankets,” “Work Him when you return to the barn.” Well, I tried a few things, but when I learned about natural horsemanship, and implemented Linda’s exercise called “Thresholds,” I realized there was a better way.
OK, back to “Thresholds.” Linda teaches that when your horse leaves its comfort zone, his stall, the barn, whatever. Here’s the deal: walk your horse away from his comfort zone, when he gets nervous (head goes up, starts smelling, starts prancing, starts whinnying for his herd, sweats, or whatever your horse’s signs for nervous are, STOP, back up a few steps until he starts to relax. If you need to go back to the stall, go back to the stall until he starts to relax. The signs for relaxation are: lower neck, yawning, licking, blowing. Then head out again. As soon as your horse relaxes, go again. NEVER push him over his “threshold,” always retreat. The old, “Approach and Retreat” teaching!!! We tend to have a plan and a place to go, but the horse only thinks about his herd and his place of safety and comfort. If we establish ourselves as his place of safety and comfort, by returning him to his comfort-zone and then asking for a little more, we will become the herd leader in our horse’s eyes.
OK, so, I headed out on Bogey. I scheduled the whole day to do this as I knew I would have to “take the time it takes” because quite frankly, it was annoying to be jigging on the trail and feeling unsafe! So, we walked a little, then he stopped, put his head up, looked around, looked back to the barn, took a minute, then he walked forward. Then he stopped, looked around, smelled, lowered his neck, licked, then walked forward. Only a couple of times did I ask him to go, the other times, I allowed him to walk forward on his own volition. We did this for probably 2 hours. We didn’t go too far but I didn’t care, I was working on his confidence! My plan for the day was to help him become calmer and braver.
You know what? We NEVER had a problem on the trail ever again!!!! He walked out slowly, and more importantly, HE WALKED BACK SLOWLY. The other horsemen I rode with always remarked about his calmness going home. And I was quite surprised! I thought it was just going to help me going out from the barn, but it solved the problem coming home to the barn too! Wow! Thank you Linda and Pat for creating a language I can apply for my horses and a language that works for them and for me!
Have you ever noticed a horse’s increased level of sensitivity in the wind? Have you ever just had to perform, like in a show? Isn’t it cool when you Just Do It and your horse Just Does It too? I love that! You just focus, your horse focuses in on your thoughts, your determination, your Clear Intention, and then, wow, you are in your own separate world, just you and your horse.
I’ve been riding a lot in the wind lately because, well, there’s not much choice here in Las Vegas – spring winds are now part of the norm. As I’m riding I’m trying to remember if in the past these winds really bothered us or bothered us just a little. I remember one time when I was riding with a Grand Prix Instructor – it was a very special time for me – and yes, special kind of relates to the price I have to pay! Oh well. It was early morning and it was very cold (I almost said freezing cold, but that’s rare here). The wind was blowing and gusting like crazy. Oh yes, I remember too that the HOA had a volunteer party in the arena and they were blowing the leaves away, running their tractor, and there was a yappy little chihuahua in the background barking and barking, in addition to the wind! But my horse was amazing as usual. He was just focused in on our task – which was to just be present and not blow up in the wind – keep us safe, perform whatever forward trot we could, consider and think about what a half halt is or might be cuz we had never heard that term before. Isn’t it funny that I can’t remember much of what I heard from the instructor that day but I can remember everything else including that little doggie! I do love doggies!
This is written with the best intentions – you can ride in the wind! Your horse can focus on your Clear Intentions in the wind. It’s up to you to be the leader. It’s up to you to be calm. It’s up to you to create the positive vibration you want your horse to feel.
Happy Horseback Riding in Las Vegas!
Horseback Riding Lessons Las Vegas is the Website for Callie Klein, the only Certified Centered Riding Instructor in Nevada. Callie decided to become a Centered Riding Instructor after learning about the program and realizing that Centered Riding techniques are used by the best instructors in almost every discipline – they just don’t give credit to the Sally Swift, the author of Centered Riding and Centered Riding 2, Further Exploration. Many of the techniques and images taught in Centered Riding lessons and clinics are used the world-over by many instructors who have found the answers to Balance AND Harmony with the horse.
Many riding lesson instructors often tell us ‘what’ to do, which is so necessary – we need to know where to steer the horse, down the long side, turn left at B, etc. However, sometimes we need help with knowing or learning the ‘how’ to do it. Centered Riding techniques provide just the answer. In Horseback Riding Lessons with Callie Klein you will discover the missing pieces to the puzzle: The How to Ride. You will learn with ease that these pieces are easy to put together while riding. It’s also very simple and lots of fun. After struggling for many years to find the missing links, Callie found them easily accessible with the Centered Riding Techniques.
Take a minute to look around the site, and give Callie a call – she would be happy to talk to you and answer any questions you might have. 702-326-9440