Monday, August 31, 2009


yielding, nonresistance, obedience., surrender, cession, resignation

Just some of the thoughts one can associate with submission.

I recall my first judge training session; clueless but keen would best describe me. I still have the notes I took at that session about submission...

compliance, throughness, confidence, as well as lightness of the forehand (did he 'carry' himself?) and did he go willingly?

Later in another training session I scribbled this one....

Willingness of the horse to obey the riders aids without any tension.

Submission still troubles me, it is one of the cornerstones of training (any training, not just dressage) and yet it makes me feel somewhat uncomfortable. If one adds an adjective....willing, accepting, gracious etc then it sits slightly more comfortably.

The truth is that we can't get along with our horses (let alone work/ride them) if they don't submit to us. The art of 'getting along' works so much better if one half of the team can lead and the other be lead.

Of course there are times when we really should turn around the roles, times (when this dumb human certainly) should stop and listen before we take the lead again.

Each horse being different means that they will find the art of submission easier or more arduous. I believe that the 'hotter' horses find submission incredibly difficult, whereas the cooler, more sane types can assume the mantle with ease.

I have spoken a number of times of the difficulties associated with training 'hotter' types, where to engage the brain so that one can get to work on engaging the physical motor?

So as I start Moo back to more solid work (assuming he stays as sound and fit as he is) I will be once again visiting the roots of submission....for there lie all the problems. I have already started this work and will fill in the gaps when I'm less tired but suffice to say we are back at the beginning (think nursery class).

As I struggle with the idea of submission and the incredibly tough job that places on the trainer (don't even start me on should we even work them at all, lol) I have selected two thoughts based on Seunig's words.

Trusting surrender, learning to stand alone, to accept responsibility for balance, not leaning on or relying on hand or leg.

Complete responsiveness to all influences-hand, leg, weight (voice, body language I'd like to add because submission starts at the very beginning BEFORE riding) in other words; being totally reponsive to all influences that the rider/trainer exerts.

I still find the idea of submission somewhat tricky but I have to concede it is necessary (or I shan't ever tack up my horses again). But I'm going with trusting surrender with a lots of listening out for his side of the story.....I'll keep you posted.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

back to work

My hundreds of followers (oh well, my dozen) may have noticed that I've changed my skin. Actually it's back to what I started with, bold and black. So as summer wanes and the rentrée looms for scholars and workers alike, I hope to be back up to full blogging speed very shortly. I need a 'remake' myself; summer has left me a little 'softer' round the edges so it's a healthy month ahead (definitely needed after this week of socialising) and hopefully I'll be trimmer and fitter before we hit the winter 'stodge' diet, designed for warmth rather than health.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

being sociable

Well it's a wee bit of a busy period in our social calendar right now (lol, usually we try hard to be unsociable and enjoy our peace) and I've ticked off traditional French lunch (well a couple of Brit twists to keep the Frenchies on their toes) for ten when we entertained our friends from our old place, tomorrow it's a Far Eastern delight for six and we round off with a barbie for some mates on Saturday. Hence blogging is taking a back seat to working the boys and cooking. I'm rather bereft of 'photos at the moment, having lost most of them on the hard drive (thank goodness for blogger and youtube) but here are a couple of shots from yesterday's lunge.....and yes he does turn himself inside out like that, even with no contact, no side reins and no bit.

Today I rode and he was a joy. In line with my thoughts on working with what I have, see previous post, I walked around on washing lines to start. Lucky for me he just keeps walking, no need for leg to keep him going, so I let him take himself along. He chose the track and even took the corners (interestingly he actually went a fair way into them which gives me a really good idea how far further I can ask him) and then we worked on some halts using a slightly opposing seat. It was a great opportunity to suss me out too, was I stiff, where? etc.
We eventually went forward to trot and just worked on a slowing down by voice and the same opposing seat as in the halt transition. Worked on slowing the trot with slowing the rising and then back to some walk lateral work. Shoulder-in/travers alternating on a large circle and incredibly he didn't chuck one of his toys out of the pram, phew. So forwards to the same exercise in trot and he was very 'up' for it, a little curled back but his back was strong and up so I'll forgive that for now. Finished with some shoulder-in up the 3/4 line into a half pass back to the track and he was just the best he's been, probably ever, again that slight curl back but good bend and energy. Just what I needed to punctuate the cooking.

Sunday, August 23, 2009


Manage expectations. That's my new by-word. I figure that I need to have an empty head in terms of what I hope for on a day to day basis. When I was first teaching regularly I would spend hours planning lessons, recording what we achieved etc. Often I would arrive at a client's place to find that the week had not gone as expected and all my preparation went out of the window. Work with what you have, develope as you go and chuck out the plan in favour of an open eye and freedom of thought. I'm not saying that planning is bad, so long as you can adapt as you go. I often think of that awful old game show 'Cathphrase' and the host's oft said 'say what you see', why do we find this so hard? It's as if we lost our belief. So my 'catchphrase' this week is 'work with what you have'.

Anyways, back to Moo and managing expectations. Today I rode in the school, it was so hot that I thought that a good plan (lol) was to have no plan except to give up when we got hot. The walk was pretty good, really relaxed and no sign of any stiffness. The leg yield across the school was balanced and in good rhythm and stepping through (although still not so good from the left as from the right).
Trot work on figure 8's (with trannies in the centre) and serpentines and so calm and steady. We worked for about 45 minutes in all and then the stretches afterwards. A nice day's work.

Saturday, August 22, 2009


Well finally I'm back (thanks to my friend Ray) online. Sadly :-( I've lost every bit of data off my hard drive (Oliveira book, Baucher research and lots of 'photos plus all my email addies) but we're back in business.
On the friends front, I spent a lovely morning with Di yesterday. A cool morning (rare around here at the moment) meant that we could work Anky and Remy in the school. Despite Di's feelings of apprehension, she is doing a great job with both. Anky is such a willing girl and in spite of her health problems it was easy to see what a star she's going to be. Remy is another story, like his mum (Anky) he is very trainable but being a total baby he is just so much fun. When he got away from me on the lunge (my fault) he showed just how extravagent his natural paces are. Good job he's not 2 hands shorter or I'd be horse napping him. Lydia was our video queen until she found Jim, the chooks and picking produce a more entertaining prospect. Thanks Di.
Today I walked Moo round the triangle hack. Kids, cars, trailers and bikes but he was (as always in hand) a good boy. I guess I'll just stick with it until he chills, hopefully soon.
On the 'goat' front he will now pick up each rear foot when tickled with the whip and I guess he'll work out the stepping under soon enough.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

he ain't my hoss he's my goat

Well I'm typing in the sauna that is the study. Too hot for man or horse (or for that matter goat) today but I rode this morning, thank goodness, before it hit 38+.
When he was massaged last week I remarked on the fact that when Lucinda put down his leg after the hamstring stretches, he looked like he was doing the 'goat on a mountain top' exercise that the Iberian trainers use. Then at the week-end I watched the Richard Hinrichs (training in-hand) DVD that Di lent me and low and behold he's using a similar technique of bringing the hinds deeply underneath (in his case to help the piaffe). Thirdly, this week I have been stretching my own spine out by doing a deep 'roll down' in the pilates style whilst seated and keeping a pillow on my lap to 'roll' around. It is the 'best' stretch I have ever done and my back has been much better because of it, yippee. This is goat on a mountain top for me!
So to cut to the detail, yesterday I started to ask in-hand for him to raise a hind when touched with the whip and I hope to progress this to the hinds being lifted and brought more underneath...I'll keep you posted.
Today I rode in the school, fist some lovely in-hand work and he is now almost established in the renvers and have added the reverse pirouette again into the in-hand mix. Headcollar or hackamore he is really fluid in the in-hand work at the moment.
Ridden work started with some work on a long rein, in walk and trot and using figure 8's and serpentines to bend ans stretch. Lots of transitions (keeping it low and relaxed) from trot to walk, trot to halt and some reinback too. A really good session.
Soooooo, after 45 mins I called it a day and tootled down the field to have a relaxed cool down. Uh?? How wrong was I? We got down to the bottom field (he was a bit high but we managed it) and I dismounted under the tree to let him pull some grass and after a few minutes I gathered him up to return up the hill. Just got my leg over the saddle and next door's horse galloped up to the fence and Moo went nuts. Up and down, back and forward in some insane dance. Not sure how I stayed on but I did somehow and gor back up to the yard in one piece. Oh dear, he's such a sweetie in-hand out and about but just panicks when I' on board. I don't know if I have the patience for this at his time of life.
A good day really though if way too hot.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


Is going round in my head...having just bought Charlie Winston's quirky album of the same name, this track is stuck on repeat in my brain, grab a listen.

I'm still puteless so I'll be brief (sharing one sucks and I can hardly get on here) if I' m tardy at responding please don't think I'm rude and btw Claire, thanksvery much for the DVD but sadly it is naked...even got my IT monkey to check and he confirmed it's invisibility :-(

Moo has been working well and we have lunged on the hill between the school and the yard, ridden in the school (yay canter on both reins, a tad fierce but very up and bouncing...defo gonna get into WE lol) and hill walked (ouch). As usual we follow up with stretching and hose down and he seems a very happy bunny.

Anyway, just a brief resume (see if I was on a frenchie board I'd accent that properly) to keep the blog up to date. The last vid is stuck in the ether of my dead 'puter and I'm hoping that we may save all my 'pics and vids on there :-(

Friday, August 14, 2009


Oh dear I gone broke my 'puter. I'm typing on hubs laptop (english keyboard) and it's making my brain hurt. Normal service will resume when it's fixed.
Brief communication....had a lovely day with Di, Moo behaved'ish and we drank beer and wine (ha nothing new then) and she brought most of her garden with her (green beans, toms, beets, plums and of course chook eggs) ta Di.
Thanks for the disc Claire, it arrived today. Anyone needing to email use the patrick. instead of trudi.

That's it folks.....ah excpt, Cabruze mentioned the other day about downsizing her equestrian bookshelf. My question to all you bloggers......if you were only allowed to keep one equestrian book, which one would it be and why? I'll start by keeping Waldemar Seunig's Horsemanship; so much common sense and superb equitation that it stands the test of time.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

carthartic experience

Well thank you to all my blooger contributers :-) I'm feeling *whole* again. Sometimes it's just good to know you're not alone in your thoughts and that the horse *madness* hasn't gotten to you.

Yesterday Moo lunged really well and offered canter so (as Lise said take if he offers) we did and he seemed really good on both reins. Still the slight resistance to engage the right hind but then I've never known a horse not have a resistance somewhere in one hind. He is getting to *chill* with the exercises after work and I'm looking forward to see Lucinda doing them so I can check my technique.

We also lunged Peanut pone and really for an 8 yo Lydia has a cracking manner around the school (me biased ???) but to hold the whip and the rein without getting trussed up like a chicken is still a step too far, lol.

Today was a slightly more frustrating day (nearly had barbeque Moo tonight, only joking Moo). As I have no excuse now not to hack and it was the most glorious day, we donned hoof boots and gaiters and set off down the chemin to our furthermost field. Well we got there but he was reluctant to go too far (a liitle herd love going on) and so we had a trot back up out steep hill and then I asked him to continue past the yard and house and up into the village. Oh poo Mum, I just CAN'T. Well lucky for me, not so much for him, I had all day today. It took me 10 minutes to do 100m or so. Good thing I re-trouved my sense of humour last night or I would have been an unhappy bunny. Got up to the village and returned home, took him back past the yard and on down the hill to the field again...woohoo no problems. Turned around the field and took a trot back up the hill.

Good points:-

We DID get there eventually.

Taking the rein and flexing to one side, followed by a release down and out and then walking on (just like we do in the school) was a key to getting forward movement.

We both kept our cool.

His trot uphill was balanced and relaxed, no stiffness behind.

The boots stayed put and didn't rub.

Not so good points:-

I didn't get to canter :-(

I'm back to sqare one hacking, not an impossible task but frustrating to be back at the bottom of the snakes and ladders board again.

Today Lu-lu made me laugh, she was in the school with Peanut doing some *fun* stuff (I think that probably means fun for her) and he was following her around like a lamb. Walking, trotting and backing without the headcollar. I'm on the yard grooming and she screams up 'can I ride him?' umm, well last week she rode bareback and the monkey bucked her off three times so I say 'up to you but be prepared to land on your butt'. Bless her confidence she vaults on and tootles round the school and he is still doing the lamb impersonation. At least one of us had a good day.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

dressage vivant

Breaaathe, ah I'm feeling so much better......

A day of rain... joyous, soaking, healing rain. Boys stayed out all day and so I went and did Moo's exercises in the field...bit bemused because we have never done giravolta and leg yield in the paddock but what a revelation. He gave the best work in ages and his Spanish walk is really coming on fast (probably helped by Lucinda and Lise's manipulations).

So with my 'wise' head on I have decided to re-name myself as a dresseuse 'vivante'. I am a person that practises 'living training' or in other words a way to train that encourages the horse in his truest, living, breathing form :-)

Saturday, August 8, 2009

say oops upside your head say oops upside your head

A slight 'aside' to start tonight. How the bloody hell did the gap band have a hit record based on the repetition of oops up side your head......oops upside my head I have no idea except that it was a popular thing to get the disco going (sitting astride on the floor rowing for Britain). Sorry I digress.
Any self repecting horseman will have read many great tomes on horsemanship. My question tonight is does this help one wade through the mud of modern equitation or does it make one feel part of the gang (knowing the fundamentals of the system) and actually divert you away from the real lesson of riding and learning on the job. Why are 'masters' masters and why do we plebs know nothing?
Panic not beloved bloggers, I have not lost the plot. Some of you may well 'feel' what I'm banging on about. I have not imbibed more than two glasses of wine and I NEVER lie, lol.

Friday, August 7, 2009

These boots are made for walking

OK first a minor back track.
Wednesday I rode and it was bloody great. He felt good and even though it was stinking hot (please can we have one night cool enough to sleep) he worked so well. Maybe I was a little 'overwhelmed' to be back on a 100% sound horse but what the heck it was lovely. I've decided to ride then lunge/dismounted exercise in between at least until he's fully fit again. So yesterday was in-hand and then lunge and again he was a willing, contented boy (maybe the CT treats being changed to mints has something to do with that, lol).
Today we took a 25 min tootle up the tracks in-hand, would have liked to ride but wanted to be on foot to keep an eye on the new boots. He walked out brilliantly and over rocks and everything. Just like taking the dog for a walk really, Lydia in one hand, Moo in the other. Can't say I would choose this mode of working but his boots didn't rub and so it won't be long before I can do it onboard.

Thursday, August 6, 2009


At the beginning of this vid I'm working Moo in giravolta in-hand...not the greatest as he needs to be more 'up' through his shoulder but it gives an idea.

OK this is in answer to Horse of Course's question as to what is giravolta. I've mentioned it a few times on my blog but I can't find a link to anything substantial about it on my blog. Maybe I didn't tag it, so apologies for all you that know but giravolta is basically a moving turn on the forehand. It is great for engaging the horses brain, for stretching and mobilising the rear end and is the perfect 'opposite' to collection and is ideally peppered into training alongside shoulder-in and other lateral work. It sits happily in the toolbox, side by side, with aids to stop a runaway horse (think one rein stops and disengaging the quarters). It is one of my most used exercises both ridden and in-hand. I first heard of it when I was studying to be a trainer and was reading Molly Sivewright's 'Thinking Riding' and it was years before I had first hand experience of using it...I've never looked back :-)
The following is a very basic 'how to' I have copied it from a forum where I was asked to explain the aids for giravolta.
Reading it back I am amused by Belasik's 'one way or another the horse must learn to move away from the aid' well, as he doesn't explain how I'd like to add that one must of course put the horse in such a position as for him to feel complelled to react. I'll explain more another time if anyone is still awake at this point.
This is a quote from Paul Belasik who explains it with the written word much better than I could He talks of having started this exercise with a young unbacked horse after several weeks lunging work but it would work the same for a more established horse and I would use what you are happy lunging in or just a bridle (bitless or otherwise)........**Approach the head and shoulders of the horse. Gathering up the lash of the lunge whip so that it is not flapping about, the trainer strokes the horse's sides, croup and haunches (note from Trudi, this will be good for getting your horse to be less nervous with the whip!!) until the horse stands quietly, comfortable with the touch. Then the trainer will tap, or push with the shaft of the whip (blunt end) , near the horse's barrel where the leg aids will be used (ie near the girth), at the haunches and at the hock to get the horse to take some sideways steps. One should be careful the horse doesn't rush in fear, stand still or (worse) push into the whip in defiance. One way or another the horse must learn to take measured, deliberate and fearless steps away from the pressure of the whip. The movement should circle around the trainer in a kind of turn on the forehand. The inside legs step forward and across the outside legs. The inside rein may have to be tightened to keep the bend to the inside.He goes on to mention the importance of building this up on both reins a little at a time and how psychologically, it calms the horse (demanding submission) and teaches acceptance of the whip. I would also say that to begin with the inside rein is all important and will help you *swing* the quarters in the required direction but as you get better at it introduce the outside rein contact to keep the shoulders lighter and more mobile and THEN you will truly have the best benefit of the giravolta.I hope you enjoy trying this, both Paul Belasik (Dressage for the 21st Century) and Alfons Dietz (Training the horse in Hand) have lovely 'pics and other groundwork exercises in their books and may even be available online secondhand.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

New boots and panties

OK so we now have the new hoof boots and we're working them in (like a new pair of shoes I guess) and we have sussed the putting on, relatively easy and just need to build up the time spent in them.
We had a gentle lunge after some work in-hand. Honestly I can't see any great difference between left and right reins in terms of tracking up. If anything there is a slight reluctance to step under in the giravolta with the left leg but it's only slight. Rein back was good and so we finished after about 20 mins and did the stretching exercises.....little and often for now. Hopefully we'll build up to hacking in the boots over the next week; deep joy, lol.
I'm waiting for Lydia and her two little mates two nod off; it's her first sleep over and omg I'm so desperate to go to bed but at 12.30am they are still talking ponies; arrgghhh.

Monday, August 3, 2009


Well we had our visit from Lise the Etiopathe and I was very impressed. Basically she confirmed what Lucinda the masseuse had said regarding him being out in the wither as the result of something in his lumbar/sacroilliac area. Could be a fall but as this would only be conjecture I'm not even going to try to think what may have happened. It is possibly an old injury as he is a weaker on his right side and isn't engaging that hind as well and is less muscled on that side too.

The ongoing treatment is rebuilding, now that she has worked on him, paying particular attention to working both sides equally but also making sure he uses his left side properly (both the hind and keeping correct bend through his rib/shoulder/neck). Lots of tootling about on the hills and even leading him out for a change as well as bending etc in the school. She was very impressed with his flexibility and said it was excellent for his age but wants him to have exercise every day if I can, little and often. I asked about the glucosamine and she thought it unecessary but then étiopathes are really holistic healers working as naturally as possible and so she advised me not only on which bits were broken but how to keep him healthy in terms of diet and exercise; for example, dried orties (stinging nettles) for keeping him in tip top form (not sure how that will go, lol).
Bizarrely she was sporting a BHS Trec T-shirt which I forgot to ask her about.
Anyway, he behaved, amused and generally enjoyed being centre of attention. He also performed his usual 'out' of rearing when it all got too much (at which Lise christened him 'the clown') and so it took quite a while for her to sort out his front end, little bugger.

Final brief word goes to Chapiro who is just such a darling at the minute (anyone having read previous posts will know that this is a new behaviour!!) I think I've stopped seeing him as the reason for Fidge going and just liking him for himself. Today we did some leaning over and just giving him the idea that one day I'll be up there, he just loves being the man of the moment.

Tomorrow!!! Pics of Moo in his new pied nu's! Too tired to bother tonight but they fit well and he had them on for an hour today.
Oh and yadot Claire......tsuj derob dna

Sunday, August 2, 2009


Good day with the neds, worked a little in-hand with Chapiro and he is so quick, may be too quick for an old girl like me :-)
I'm going to use a little clicker training and it's really important to start by teaching him how to be patient and wait for his treat. He is already, like lots of youngsters, a bit mouthy and this work should sort that out too. So basically we stand side by side and I cross my hands in front of me. He comes in to have a mouth around my hands, pockets etc and I ignore him. As soon as he grows bored and looks away then I click and treat. It took about three goes to get the idea but of course it will take a lot longer for it to really stick.
I really have had some great results regarding behavioural issues with CT, certainly Moo is a much nicer boy now that he stands stock still for mounting.

I rode Moo, mainly to get him warmed up for his stretching but also working him in a way that will hopefully stretch out his stiff bits. We had some really good lateral work in walk and trot but he is decidedly less able to stretch to the left; I assume because his right side is tight. Osteo tomorrow so hopefully we'll get to the root of it.
He did his exercises really well and seems rather content at the moment.

petit à petit

Lunging today and then stretching afterwards. He's definitely tighter on the right and the Ballerina stretch on the right is a definite 'ouch' for him. Good news; the osteo 'phoned and is coming on Monday; bad news I was in Super U doing my shopping when she called and I took down her email incorrectly, lol, butcher lent me a pen and I'm leaning on his counter trying to hear what she was saying. Oh well I've left a message to contact me for the directions and I guess it will be fine.

On a completely OT subject, RIP Booby Robson....sound guy!!!