Second Annual Free Course, Winter 2011Introduction to the Course Today is the first day of my free Uberstreichen Exercises course for the winter! For those of you who are new to this class, I want to send out a warm welcome! For those of you who took my class last winter, welcome back! The schedule for the course and the blog will be the following: Tuesday’s blog will be the Uberstreichen course, and Thursday’s posting will be a regular blog. Now, let’s get started!
A Quick Note: I want to gently remind everyone that since these exercises are my own creation and intellectual property, I own the rights to them exclusively. This class is for you to learn and benefit personally from these exercises on my site only, no permission is given to copy or reproduce this material for any reason.
A Brief History and Purpose of the Uberstreichen Exercises “Uberstreichen” or more correctly, “überstreichen,” and how I am using it, comes from a term in dressage that means to release the rein or reins to check if a horse is truly in self-carriage. This is how I know of it. My exercises were named by a dressage rider, competitor, and friend of mine, Libby Ouellette. The Uberstreichen Exercises train the horse to step into self-carriage from the releasing of the half- halt rein or reins or from your back relaxing if you are not using reins. The purpose of the exercises are to enhance the forward expression of the horse’s gaits. They improve collected and extended gaits by giving the horse the ability to perform with ease through a relaxed, raised back of the horse. They support the horse’s way of going by removing locked muscles while simultaneously schooling the horse to respond correctly to rein and leg aids.
What the Uberstreichen Exercises Are: The eight Uberstreichen Exercises are slow motion requests of the half-halt from the ground with no bit and a regular flat halter and lead rope. The half-halt is simply asking a horse to halt, and in the moment he will halt- and you feel he is going to, you ask him to move on. The purpose of the half-halt is to signal and prepare the horse to be able to perform a new movement when asked: like stop, change of direction, preparing for lateral movements, or change of gate or frame. The exercises cover the different ways we want the horse to respond to the half-halt. The UE’s will prepare a horse to perform upward and downward transitions of gate, to increase the engagement in the same gait and/or to re-establish self-carriage or a change of frame. The good news is that you do not need to know all of this for them to work for you.
- The secret to a well-performed half- halt is to have a sophisticated gas pedal and brake that work in relationship to the suppling and directional aids. The UE’s will develop this sophistication for you effortlessly.
- It is all very technical, but does not need to be understood and can be used easily by anyone who has a basic good relationship with their horse because you have me to guide you.
What the Uberstreichen Exercises Will Do for You and Your Horse: They will improve your riding aids immensely. They will also help in developing a well-balanced mental attitude of your horse. For you- they will create more respect and a closer personal bond with your horse, plus- your horsemanship skills and feel will greatly increase from their practice. I do these exercises to improve my communication skills even today and my skills are always improving after all these years. It will help your core energy, frame, and body language in concert with the horse. You will also develop patience and how to relax in, from, and for the training process.
A Note On the Release and Floating Hold A good thing for a rider to remember is that a half-halt is not completed until you release the contact and the horse will step into self-carriage from the releasing of the rein. This is what creates elastic gaits. The Uberstreichen Exercises help a horse to step into self-carriage when the rein is released. This is important because if the rein is released, the horse can then perform freely and elegantly.
How I Use the Uberstreichen Exercises I use the Uberstreichen Exercises on all horses, from beginner to finished schoolmaster. They have three uses. 1. I use them for schooling. 2. After the horse can perform them easily, I use them as warm-up exercises before riding. 3. I can also use them as a test to find the horse’s response to the rider’s aids, and then make the proper adjustment before riding so that my connection under saddle is at its best. But the underlining gift is that your horse will become happy, up lifted, responsive, and will look forward to training. Once the horse has learned the Uberstreichen Exercises, my first ride is light and forward, and the horse is much more in balance than one started without this technique.
Additional Benefits of the Uberstreichen Exercises I also use them to evaluate horses for clients. How a horse responds lets me know the skill level and how he will perform under saddle and what needs to be developed in his training for a better performance. With an untrained horse, they give me an understanding of the horse’s athletic ability, personality, and trainability. If I am going to ride a strange horse, I use them to evaluate the direction of my warm-up exercises under saddle. Lessons will continue next Tuesday!
Homework for this week: Please check in today in the comments section so we have an enrollment list. Just write: “I am enrolling in the free class.” In addition, please put whether you have taken the class before or not. If you like, leave a brief history and your interest in the Uberstreichens. In the future, please continue to check in so that I can see who is present and participating in the class. This way I can give you personal guidance. I will not be able to answer everyone’s questions who are enrolled, but your question will help me in knowing how to best serve the class.
Looking forward to hearing from all of you! Carolyn