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4 main rules for taming a horse

A horse in occasion, or “in the back”, is an exciting psychological phenomenon available to any horse, regardless of its field of application, which should be considered the basis of any riding. It is safe to say that this is the most important component of riding for understanding.

Summing up the backside is the safety of the horse and rider. Due to it, the horse gains the strength and flexibility necessary for the rider to comfortably carry, and the rider gets complete control of the horse. As a result, between the rider and the horse there is a wonderful connection and new sensations from increasing as the physical form of beauty and expression of horse movements improve.

Summing up the backside, which is usually associated with the acceptance of the horse by the horse, is not unique to dressage at an advanced level. To a greater or lesser extent, it is available. any horses on any training level.

Summing up the ass, the horse engages the “ring” of synchronously working muscles. As a result, her spine is extended, her back and abdominal muscles are lifted, the pelvis and hind legs are brought under the body, the neck is rounded, the lower part of the neck is relaxed. At the same time, the rider feels that the horse is merging with this “ring”, and the muscles performing the motor function relax rhythmically, giving its movements expression and elasticity. Pay attention to the soft contact and the symmetry of the diagonals (see below). The horse rises under the rider, acquires lightness and balance, its movements become balanced and comfortable for the rider.

The biomechanics of the muscle ring is perfectly explained and illustrated by the diagrams in the article “Once again about the muscle ring” Dr. Deb Bennett (the original article in English can be downloaded here).

More photos of horses running back, i.e. “From backside” or “about”, you will find in our photo gallery.

How to determine what a horse is “about”:

  • The abdominal muscles are uplifted and well defined,
  • The pelvis is let down, the croup is lowered, the hind legs are brought under the body,
  • The neck is rounded, but stretches forward, the work of the muscles of the middle part of the neck is visible, the bottom of the neck is relaxed
  • One of the main signs of the correct work of the horse with its back is the symmetry of the diagonal pairs of limbs in the lynx. This is clearly visible in the photo.

The yellow lines show the angles of the raised diagonal - the shoulders and metatarsals. When the horse works with his back correctly, the angles are the same, i.e. the forearm of the front leg parallel to the metatarsus of the diagonal back.

In the second photograph, however, the difference in the angles of the diagonal pair of limbs is noticeable: the front leg is raised too high, while the back leg is slightly off the ground. Pay attention also to the clamped ganache, which is expressed in a tightened occasion (the powerful lever of the mouthpiece is in the extreme, i.e., the most rigid position), as well as on the raised croup, as evidenced by the steep rise of the lower back behind the saddle. This horse receives phenomenally high marks in the competitions of the highest level, despite the apparent lack of correct back work, the necessary conditions for proper dressage.

Take a look at these photos and compare them. Pay attention to the difference in the direction of the energy of movement.

See how the horse reaches forward in the first photo? See that the horse’s back is raised under the rider? See the enslavement of the horse in the second photo? And the bent back of the horse under the rider?

Oddly enough, despite the obvious signs that the horse in the second photo does not work with its back, it belongs to a "higher" level than the horse in the first, although logically, it should have demonstrated a greater summing up of the rear than in the first photo .

With proper operation, high head bearing is the result of a strong croup supply due to contraction of the abdominal muscles), while the longitudinal extension of the spine along the entire length is maintained. In most cases, a high position of the head is achieved by typing and holding the halter, which causes the horse to bend more in the back and has nothing to do with the real work of the horse with his back, that is, “about” and “from the rear”.

Dressage attracts many with the outward beauty of horse and rider performances, so you should not expect that the ratings in it will come down to geometry. The irony is that in the pursuit of the picture the original is forgotten gymnastic the purpose of dressage, therefore, in our opinion, the beauty of dressage in most performances (both in sports and in horse shows) is completely lost. Perhaps the solution to the problem may be the use of more objective judging methods, for example, with an analysis similar to the above - at least it will show whether the horse is in the cause, or is it just an appearance.

Why ‘about’?

Why is the phenomenon that affects the entire body of the horse, is so one-sided name "in occasion"? The fact is that when a horse uses the “muscle ring”, its neck is rounded and the jaw relaxes, and instead of resistance the rider feels softened.

Unfortunately, since the most obvious signs of a horse working correctly with his back are his mouth and head position, most riders concentrate their attention only on them, “playing” or “calling back” with an excuse, or, even worse, just pulling the horse’s mouth, selection allowed to get sports horses that put their heads in the right position simply by pulling the motive, while ordinary, “unpromising” horses will resist this.

We believe that the concentration of attention on the front of the horse characterizes a superficial approach, since the present softening of the horse about exclusively the result of the proper functioning of her entire body, and in itself has no value or benefit either for the horse or for the rider. The mouthpiece of the headband also has the effect of artificially softening the jaw of the horse.

The results of the horse "about"

The proper work of a horse in a beneficial effect not only on its physicalbut also a psychological state. As soon as the horse begins to bear itself due to well-coordinated work postural muscles and interacting with the “ring” of the rider’s postural muscles, she relaxes. The lack of balance when working under the saddle causes the horse physical and psychological stress. Being by nature its easy prey for predators, horses, being outside the herd, are in a state of great stress.

It is amazing that when you put a horse on an occasion, you not only create a special connection between it and yourself, but ask it to completely entrust your body to you. This is expressed in a concession to the shankel, when you ask the horse to bend in a bend (in natural conditions, she would have done the exact opposite), and in “turning off” the flight reflex when the rider shifts her balance from front to back.

Surrendering in this way to the rider and gaining balance in movement under him, the horse begins to feel protected. Communication with a person gives the horse the same sense of security as a herd. The horseman becomes for her horse herd, a leader with whom she can relax psychologically and emotionally.

An important point: with proper riding you achieve trust and voluntary obedience of the horse at the expense of physical and gymnastic effectsshowing her that movement in equilibrium is safety.

We do not believe that such a degree of psychological peace can be achieved through psychological training, which is practiced by many methods of natural relations (Natural Horsemanship, hereinafter referred to as HX). Horses - Extremely physical creatures, their psychological state depends on how they feel. At home, in most cases, horses are deprived of herd protection, the rider violates their natural balance, therefore, in order to gain psychological peace, and maybe something more, the horse needs the rider to return her sense of security through communication through reason.

That is why conditions for keeping a horse are important for the training process. If the unhappy existence as a whole (for example, isolated keeping in the stable) causes stress and tension in the horse, then it will be more difficult for her to relax and entrust her body to the rider. We noticed that in horses, emotional stress is often expressed in the diaphragm tension, which directly interferes with posing the horse as an occasion, since proper work requires the use of body muscles.

Unfortunately, it seems that modern dressage considers stress to be a beneficial and desirable part of the horse’s work, so the rider during the training process not only does not try to get rid of the stress associated with the unnatural maintenance of the horse, but strengthens it with the use of force, which is rewarded with high marks in competitions.
Initially, one of the goals of the dressage was to get a calm horse trusting the rider enough to participate in hostilities. We doubt that modern dressage stars could do this ...


The article “Training Philosophy: A Parable of Two Boats” figuratively demonstrates the harmonious connection that can be obtained by paying attention to the quality of the horse’s movements and developing the postural muscles necessary to control its movements, rather than being satisfied with the superficial success that is quickly achieved by keeping the horse in control .

How to put a horse in a reason?

This is one of the key dressage questions!

Why? Because we are talking about a fundamental transformation (to a certain extent) that any rider must constantly produce in a horse, regardless of the chosen type of equestrian sport.

Good to know, what such work is with your back (ie, “from the backside”), but it’s more important to understand as achieve this and What do you feelwhen the horse is in occasion.

In order for the horse to start using the postural muscles, let the butt down and begin to work with the back, the rider must start with himself, strengthening his own postural muscles, achieving the necessary flexibility of certain joints and, most importantly, getting rid of dependence on the motive to maintain balance and control. Only after this comes the awareness of straightness (straightening and bending), as well as the ability to adjust the horse’s balance and its longitudinal extension with the seat.

Our experience shows that in order to put the horse on the occasion and achieve movement from the rear, the rider must use the same muscles and joints as the horse. This is part of the beautiful "symmetry" of riding as a gymnastic art. You will find more information on this topic in the article “Rider Biomechanics”.

By learning how to correctly and stably “turn on” the horse’s postural ring through postural action, you will get new opportunities that will open up a whole new world of riding for you.

If you break down the theory of riding into its components and explain how the body of a rider in fact affect the horse, and then build these elements into a working system, then riddles and misunderstandings disappear, so often disappointing riders seeking to improve their skills.

Whether it’s sports or classic dressage or just riding for pleasure, the principles are the same. The gymnastic harmony of the horse and rider, which can be achieved as a result of proper work, is an amazing phenomenon in any context. Many of our clients believe that the feeling of oneness with the horse through the combination of the postural rings of the horse and rider, that is, the work of the horse "in occasion", is very come. For us it’s the foundation all riding.

The book "Gymnastic Riding" (TheGymnasticRider) is available exclusively on our Happy Horse Training website. This affordable, step-by-step guide will teach you right "Put the horse in the cause", to achieve summing up the back and work of the back. Following the instructions of the book, any rider can achieve the correct fit, position of the legs and the effective functioning of the postural muscles, but the basic elements will seem unexpected and illogical to most riders. That is why so few riders and trainers correctly understand and practice the work of the horse "from behind" and "about".

The article “Equestrian Riding” talks in more detail about the book and the philosophy behind it. You can also download 15 introduction pages for free.

Basic rules for taming

Experienced horse owners argue that it is much easier to train a young horse at the age of 1.5–2 years than an adult. But even a one and a half year old foal is a strong animal weighing more than 250 kg and is “armed” with sharp teeth and strong hooves. To tame a wild horse and not get injured, you must follow the rules:

  1. Taming is carried out in a spacious levada or arena, where the horse feels calm.
  2. Do not worry, do not make sudden movements and do not scream - the emotional state of a person is transmitted to a four-legged pet.
  3. Do not force things and strive to put the headband on a horse in the first lesson.
  4. To act slowly, allowing the animal to get used to the person.

In the process of domestication, horses are accustomed to obediently follow the instructions of a person. This habit and complaisant disposition was fixed in the offspring when breeding breeds. Training a thoroughbred foal from a herd will be much easier and simpler than an animal caught in the wild.

Features of the taming of horses of various breeds

The temperament inherent in a particular breed plays a significant role in the taming of young animals. Heavy trucks and harness varieties are famous for their phlegmatic temperament and good manners. Taming a giant weighing a ton is easier than a mobile and energetic English horse. As a rule, heavy vehicles are trained to harness after two years of age. Horses can be tamed and prepared for work in a couple of months.

Riding breeds are represented by high-speed animals - English purebred, Arab, Akhal-Teke. They are highly excitable and have a sharp obstinate character. They start training early - at 6–9 months, immediately after weaning the foal from the mother. The owner, trainer or groom accustom the pet to human presence, touch, clearing, forced to consider the owner a leader.

How to make contact with an animal

There are many methods of "soft training" of a young horse to man. Previously, they acted harshly with the animal - they caught it with a lasso from the herd, tied it, put on a saddle or bridle. A strong and experienced rider jumped on a foal, and the horse was released "free." The frightened shearer tried to throw off the rider and run away, the man did not allow this. Most horses soon became humble, but some animals were injured and even died.

Taming a horse in modern horse breeding begins with meeting a person. At the initial stage, it is enough to be close to the horse, without taking any action, and observe its behavior.

A horse is a curious creature and is sure to approach a person to get acquainted. At this moment, it is important not to scare the horse, touch him, calmly and quietly talk to him. Feeling that the person is friendly, the horse will allow himself to be stroked and scratched. Special points, the massage of which gives the animal pleasure, are located near the horse behind the ears, on the neck, on the shoulder.

When working with a horse, it is important to observe the “language” of its body in order to understand the emotional state.About friendly pet mood say:

  • ears standing upright or pointing towards a person,
  • head lowered to shoulder level or lower,
  • relaxed muscles of the body,
  • tail down.

Ears pressed to the head, dilated nostrils, short and loud neighing indicate an excited state. If a horse runs through an aviary, snores - it is unsafe to go inside. It is necessary to wait until the horse calms down.

It happens that a young stallion perceives a person who has entered the arena as an opponent and seeks to oust him from his territory. If you retreat under the onslaught of the animal, it will remember its superiority and will repeat the attack again and again. For safety during training, you need to have a scourge with you. But you can use it in the most extreme case. As a rule, at the first attempts of aggressive behavior from the side of the steed, it is enough to raise your hands up to become taller and larger, and take a couple of steps towards the animal. In most cases, the stallion will back down.

Acquaintance with ammunition

The horse’s ammunition and equipment necessary for work includes:

  • halter and bridle (headband),
  • saddles of various designs (sports, vaulting, western),
  • blankets and a wrap-around,
  • cordo
  • scourge.

All elements of the harness should be selected clearly according to the size of the horse and not cause animal discomfort.

Acquaintance with the harness begins with a bridle:

  1. A snaffle is unfastened at the headband.
  2. The reins are thrown around the horse’s neck.
  3. The bridle is put on the head, slowly buckling all the buckles.
  4. Insert the snaffle into the horse's mouth, putting the pieces of fishing rod into the corner of the mouth and then straightening them.

If the pet does not show concern, he is praised, given a treat. Holding the bridle, spend several circles on the arena, after which the bridle is removed.

Saddle training is gradual. At first, they simply put it on the back of the pet, without tightening the girth, so that it is used to heaviness. You can lead the horse along the arena, making sure that the saddle does not fall and does not scare the horse. With the calm behavior of the animal in the 2-3rd lesson, the saddle cinchs pull up and lower the previously tied stirrups.

How to learn to upset a horse

When riding, one of the important controls is the upsetting or reverse movement of the horse. The skill will also be required when harnessing the animal to the wagon, when the horse must go into the shafts, backing away.

Begin training "on the ground." The trainer, standing at the horse’s shoulder and holding it by the occasion, steps back. At the same time, he pulls his hand on the occasion and says the command “Back”, the horse is forced to take a step or two back. Proper execution is followed by approval and goodies.

Riding a horse looks like this:

  • the horse standing straight is sent forward with a schenkel,
  • at the beginning of the movement of the animal, the occasion is pulled.

As a result, the horse that started the movement receives a stop command, but by inertia retreats. To alleviate the pressure of the rider’s weight on the horse’s back, it is necessary to move its weight forward - onto the shoulders of the animal. Over time, the combination of the commands “pressure with a shenkel + a tightened occasion + moving the rider's weight forward” will be a signal for the horse to move backward.

Taming a horse is an important stage for further work with animals. The further behavior of the horse, its relation to the owner and the willingness to carry out the commands depend on how successfully the training has passed.