Second Annual Free Course, Winter 2011 Welcome to week 3!
Before we get started: There are 19 Uberstreichen Exercises altogether. Eight of them are done on both sides of the horse on a 15 or 20-meter circle, and three are done standing still. One is done straight on, and two are asking the horse to bend his neck to the left side and then the right side. Both straight and lateral bends begin by standing still while you are facing your horse, and then they advance to walking and trotting in hand on the circle. The beginning exercises are the easiest to apply. They build in difficulty very naturally so when you get to the more difficult ones, they are even easier than the first ones because of how the relationship is building between you and your horse. In a slow and methodical pace, you will create a connection from the ground that will create a centaur ride, and aids that are light from a method that is based in well-being and relaxation.
Utilizing all 19 Uberstreichen Exercises, you will see significant results in two to four months in producing self-carriage without a contact rein-but take as long as you like. It might take you longer because I am not working directly with you, or you might have a horse that you will need to take more time with. It is important to take it slowly. Training horses is like running a vacuum cleaner. If you are in a hurry, the vacuum cleaner is not as effective as it would be if you pushed it slowly.
Suggested Exercise Time and General Practice Notes: Work with the Uberstreichen Exercises for about 15 minutes a day. You can then continue your usual program as normal. If you have a program already, the 15 minutes you spend will be very beneficial. Start with the beginning exercises each day and work through them. Move on to the next Uberstreichen Exercise only when you get the desired result with the one before. Each day your horse will respond differently. Sometimes your horse will be easy to unlock, and sometimes harder. If he is locked, do not move on to the next exercise. Enjoy the process of making a real connection and creating a true release. During the first week, you might only do one exercise. Over the course of a week, do not do more than three different Uberstreichen Exercises as a horse needs plenty of repetition with these kinds of exercises so they become second nature to him, and that he can hold the posture you ask him to maintain on his own for short intervals.
When is a horse ready to begin with the Uberstreichen Exercises? When you have a good working relationship at liberty with the Waterhole Rituals™, you are ready to start with the Uberstreichen Exercises. You can also start the exercises with a horse that has good ground manners and attitude. You should be able to touch and rub your horse anywhere and pick up his feet easily. When you can achieve this, you and your horse have an ability to work together well enough to begin to work with the Uberstreichen Exercises. (When you can do this with your horse, you have enough connection and horsemanship skills in getting him to do something he would rather not do. Remember, we are looking for the locked energy that will be strongly attached to the horse’s unwillingness to give. You will be working with resistance to achieve relaxation. We are putting a new button onto the horse that will produce throughness in times when you loose the connection.)
What You Will Need: The tack you will need is a flat halter, and a lead rope of any length. Short is the easiest to manage. You will need to train on a flat surface on a 20-meter circle with proper footing. A surface that is not too deep or too hard. A surface that is too hard hurts the joints, and too deep hurts the ligaments.
Lastly, as I am instructing you, I do not focus on solving problems. How I fix a problem is I will work with you in how to move forward if you get stuck. If you find yourself struggling with the Uberstreichen Exercises, discontinue them. The indication that you are on the right path is that the material is easy to understand, apply, and is enjoyable for both you and your horse. Believe it or not, working with resistance can be fun, and relaxing, and you will be able to get your horse to release at the moments of his resistance without a fight. It would be a good idea if you keep notes and a journal and share it with the class in the comments section. Remember, you are working with evolution, focus, love and a horse that has the innate instinct in him to want to follow your lead and connect with you built in his core because companionship is the most important thing to horses.
Let’s Get Started!
First Uberstreichen Exercise First, start by standing in front of your horse. You will need a halter (not a rope one) and a short rope. Wait until the horse will stand still without your influence. Once he can do this, then teach him to stand in one place while you are able to walk around him. How you train him to stand unattended is by returning him to a specific spot when he moves and holding him there until he will stand without the influence of the rope. Tell him “whoa.” Begin again walking around him. At first, take only a few steps and then return to his head. Walk further and further around him until you can make a complete circle while he is willing to stand still. Repeat until it is natural to you both. He will already know this if he as been trained with the Waterhole Rituals.
Self Carriage: For a horse to be in self-carriage under saddle he needs plenty of practice in self-control. This is set up by teaching your horse to stay in self control while standing still. When your horse learns to stay put without your support you have started developing the horse’s ability to be more responsible without your influence. The horse is learning to be self-directed under your charge. An example of this would be a cutting horse that cuts cows on his own without direction. However, he is always prepared to take direction in a moment’s notice.
Self-carriage is when your horse can carry himself for a period of time without your support or direct influence. When you ask the horse to turn, stop, speed-up, supple, collect or lengthen and at the moment the horse starts to perform what you ask, you stop the aids so he can carry out the request on his own. In those moments when the horse can perform freely, self-carriage is achieved. Without this freedom, we diminish the horse’s full ability and expression. When the horse looses energy and pace you can then take control of the horse and re-establish the energy and put the horse back on course. When the energy becomes active again, you again stop your communication and allow the horse to perform on his own. The horse should perform more in self-carriage than having to receive instruction from his rider. The less the rider has to direct, the better the quality of the dance. The reason this is so important to look at is so you do not trap the horse in the bridle, or think you need a contact rein as it is used or nose bands, bits, or that awful Rollkur training. These exercises also are a way for you to learn another way to put a horse into self-carriage, speed control, and frame. Just think you may gain the “hands” of more than a master these days with practice!
In Conclusion: You cannot hurt your relationship with your horse by trying and failing with these exercises because they are nurturing to the horse, and the horse is completely unaware of your failure! Whatever happens, you will improve your relationship, deepen the bond and improve you horsemanship both on the ground and when your ride because you will be much more effective with rein aids and theory, and you will never again think it is necessary to hold a contact rein! Some of you may enjoy the program even without a horse for the study of a method that takes no contact rein to ride a horse through and active.
Note: If your horse is not ready yet to do the Uberstreichen Exercises, in the spring, I will be offering another class on the Waterhole Rituals™ that you can attend.
Homework: Please sign in each day of the class so that I can keep track of attendance, and also any questions you may have.
May the Horse Be With You!