A great rider knows how to use all the tools in her toolbox. She also realizes that there are always new tools to add. The trick is to keep the toolbox organized so that you have the right tools for each task at hand. To that end, it is a good idea to periodically take a look at your toolbox and see if any of the tools have become dull or need to be replaced. Doing this can help to revitalize your riding and teaching skills. This will ensure that you have the right tools for the job, making it easier to create a better connection with your horse and improve your overall horsemanship.
The Dressage Tool Box Symposium is a unique opportunity for riders to learn from many different instructors. While some riders might be reluctant to attend such an event because they fear their regular instructor will get mad, it is a great way to improve your riding and learn something new. In fact, the best riders are constantly learning and improving through experience, as well as taking lessons from a variety of instructors. One of the most important tools for any horse rider is the ability to adjust the balance and posture of the horse. To do this, the rider must be able to think quickly in the saddle to determine how to make a 1,000-pound animal move in the direction they want it to go and remain safe. This is a mental skill that all riders must master, even if they don’t realize it.
Another key skill is the ability to pick a line through a corner. This requires a great deal of feel and timing, as well as the ability to use both the outside and inside reins effectively. Kursinski emphasized this during her seminar, which included a variety of exercises. She started off the session with a warm-up exercise designed to help riders develop supple elbows and light hands. She also had the riders practice counter-cantering, dropping their stirrups and holding their reins in a different way. These exercises were meant to push the riders out of their comfort zone and encourage them to think differently about how they ride. She also discussed the importance of establishing correct rhythm in all exercises. This is a key to maintaining the horse’s equine structure and ensuring that the rider is able to communicate effectively with the horse.
This was followed by a demonstration of how to do leg-yield and shoulder-in, both of which require the rider to change the balance of the horse from one side to the other. Finally, she explained the basics of line work, such as a straight line on a circle and a circle with a quarter-turn. The participants left the seminar with a greater awareness of how to improve their riding, and many came away with a few ideas for new things to try in their next lesson. This type of educational opportunity is invaluable for any rider, regardless of discipline.