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  • Jenny Gardner

In search of self carriage

This week we have all reviewed the ins and outs of bend. It’s a wonderful thing, and really the basis of all the good that is to come. Unfortunately, just because it’s simple doesn’t mean it’s easy... As we discussed a big part of achieving an accurate bend is the release of the inside rein. I would go as far as stating “it’s the release that teaches”. The moment when we give offers the horse an opportunity to rebalance, step under, and shift his weight. As long as we are stuck in the parking break, he has to lean and brace to protect himself.


The horse doesn’t automatically go through the back just because the head is down and the neck is round. But the neck will be round and the poll will be relaxed when the back is moving correctly, and the back is moving correctly, when the hind legs are flexing under the body mass and the horse’s core muscles are engaged. Any pulling blocks the hind leg, prevents the horse from stepping under and makes desired engagement impossible.


I attached a video below that illustrates the demise of the pull. Very different than the hold from the core. I would like to express, this particular YouTube Chanel (Dressage Training TV) is not one I normally recommend. If you following it, use a critical mind and double check all the information. But this particular video is quite funny and gives a good illustration. Now some of you may say “well I don’t pull but my horse does”. I say it’s the chicken or the egg. The point is, at the moment you find yourself in a tug-a-war you can break the cycle by changing your response. Do it. Come over to the light side 😉




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