To learn more about The Training Scale, Position, Contact and The Half Halt, keep on the look out for my app that will be published soon. This page will change regularly.
Long & Low
What: Long and Low is to ask the horse to stretch forward and seek an elastic contact whilst maintaining the correct rhythm and keeping the hindquarters engaged.
Why: Long and Low is an excellent exercise to do before and after every training session. This encourages the horse to relax his back, through to the poll, allowing him to take a breath. It will encourage your horse to come up through the back while maintaining a steady contact with the reins, he will engage his hindquarters more and his back will become loose and start to swing, this will also encourage your horse to seek the contact.
How: As every horse is different it depends on your horse to how long and low you need to go. The aim is to get the poll slightly lower than their withers. When the horse is long and low you should be able to feel a push coming from behind in to the contact, there will be more of a sway to the horses hips and your seat.
Start off in a working rising trot with a elastic contact and even rhythm; if you need to count the rhythm out - one, two, one, two, this will help steady and balance your seat to be able to set the pace
Once your horse is forward and into the contact, ride a half halt with your seat and gradually allow the reins to slip through your fingers - 1cm at a time, (when you do this, you are adjusting their centre of balance so you need to give them time to readjust and get comfortable before you ask again.) You will need to keep riding Half Halts and using your leg, keep asking them to take the contact forward.
If they throw their head up, and lose balance gather your reins up and ride a Half Halt and try again, you will need to keep readjusting to allow the horse to relax and establish the correct balance to stretch.
This will take a while to get but worth it.
Position and Contact
When riding a horse/pony you should always make sure you are looking up, staying balanced, sitting up straight and tall and allowing your weight to drop down into the stirrups.
There are three lines to your Dressage position:
Inside leg on the girth, outside leg behind the girth, outside rein with elastic contact, inside rein soft and giving. Make sure you are sitting straight, inside shoulder back; look where you want to go, inside hip slightly back, to allow horse to step through.
Looking straight ahead, even rein contact and pressure, supple straight back. Legs even on both sides with even weight, seat bones center and, shoulders back in line with the horses.