The BD National Dressage Convention

We had a fantastic weekend at The BD National Dressage Convention listening to Carl’s inspiring training techniques whilst  the riders Charlotte, Samantha Thurman-Baker, Katie Bailey, Chloe Vell, Antonia Brown and Kim Moloney put into practice the points he was trying to get across to an extremely attentive audience – (how could you not be!) Charlotte and the most amazing horse EVER, Valegro, had the last session of each day. The points below taken from the H&H twitter feed are a summary of what Carl had said throughout the weekend – we are already putting into practice many of these and hope you find them useful & funny too as Carl was very entertaining 🙂

“Teach suspension in the trot and there in that moment you’ll find the beautiful picture.”
“For lateral work always remember to sit on your inside seatbone.”
“Even with a straight horse like Valegro we keep the tempi changes on the long side to keep the straightness.”
“If horse is strong, don’t go in straight lines, circle & circle until he’s not pulling & is balancing himself”
“It doesn’t matter what type of horse you have, you can teach it square halts – they’re ‘free’ marks.”
“Use half transitions to bring a horse back in trot and teach him to wait in balance rather than full half-halt”
“The trot is the easiest pace to change & improve but you need to buy a good walk and a good canter”
“Horses shouldn’t be in box for 23 hrs/day & just ridden – it isn’t fair. To keep healthy they must keep moving”
“Horses in self-carriage will get tired esp if not used to holding themselves so intersperse with stretching” 
“If horse is stiff on outside rein, use renvers to soften them up and add weight to other rein.”
“If horse isn’t even in both reins don’t keep pulling the heavy one – work to put the weight in the empty rein”
BD convention: Antonia Brown demonstrates how correct stretching down helps SOS Wow to then work properly up to the competition frame
“The only way to improve/influence horses’ paces is to ride forward in a balanced way.”
“A tense horse’s lateral suppleness can be improved by very forward canter leg yields.”
“Don’t panic if horse makes a mistake in changes, it’s repetition repetition until he gets the hang of it.”
“Teach and practice flying changes on lines that aren’t in tests, like the R-C line”
“I use the outside leg not the inside to give aid to canter because that’s the aid in the tempi changes later”
“If you carry a whip just to make your horse go, you shouldn’t carry one. They are just for small corrections.”
“Walking for just 2 mins and sitting trot too early on in a session is not future-making for horses”
“If a horse won’t stretch at the beginning of session, work on a contact sooner then stretch when he is ready”
“Obedience to the hand and leg must start in the warm-up”
“Valegro’s so special because if you ask for nothing you get nothing, he moves normally & looks after himself”
“Charlotte calls me Grandad and I call her Edwina Scissorhands as she had to learn to soften her hands & arms”
“He is gorgeous. Anyone says he isn’t come and see me afterwards! He only ever wants to please”
“In tempi changes let the wall help do the work of keeping the horse straight rather than always on diagonals”
“Totilas proved that the lack of bond between horse and rider when compared with Charlotte and Valegro matters”
“You should ride about 200 transitions per session – fwd & back to make the horse rideable & on the aids”
“In the trot you have the piaffe/passage to get them light in front, in the canter you have the pirouettes.”
“Nip Tuck would love to be a front leg mover so we do lots of 10m circles and shoulder-in to engage hindlegs”
“If Sam [Thurman-Baker] survives this session she’ll be a star,” – Dances With Wolves is super hot today!
“Going and pulling this big youngster round a prelim in a 20×40 would be detrimental – he’s too big and fwd”
“There’s never just 1 person at the top; there’s always 2, be that a trainer, friend or mentor – or Charlotte”
“With big young horses let the upper body and the corner do the work, not the reins”
“If you’re doing young horse classes, take a box of tissues- not all judges will agree with you about yr horse”
“Riders blame saddles when the problem is usually that the horse isn’t straight and throws them off to side.”
“To teach horses to land from changes in uphill way, ride fwds into them then collect straight afterwards.”
“Everybody should have to ride quarter lines – they show if the horse is contained in the outside aids.”
“Half-halts are invisible – or should be – that’s why they’re so hard to explain. It’s what works for you.”
“There’s no such thing as dressage for eventers and dressage for dressage riders. It’s all just dressage”
“You often have to ask a mare, not tell them – as you wives out there will understand”
“Use lots of forwards and back transitions within the canter to spice up the hindleg”
“Escapado took three years to learn – it was all flying and no changing”
“Straightness is more difficult than piaffe/passage.” Do you agree?

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