Monday, December 16, 2013

Jan Ebeling Clinic

Notes from Rijkens' clinic lessons December 14-15 2013 with Jan Ebeling:

To improve suppleness, obedience, and strength, and to be able to access more or less giddyup or collection at a moment's notice, school every day accordion horse excercises: in regular working canter really collect for four strides (count them!) then let the horse go forward eight strides (count them!).  As Rijkens gains strength eventually increase the exercise to four collected strides, four extended strides.

During the warm up, indeed much of the time, in trot and canter ride slight shoulder fore with very little, almost none, bend in the neck.

During walk breaks and always in free walk, Rijkens should be marching briskly.  If he's not, remind him with the whip, then pat him when he marches.

To improve collection in the canter, spiral in from a large 20 meter circle to a 15 meter circle with several strides of very collected canter, then get out.  Then spiral in from a large 20 meter circle to a 10 meter volte of very collected canter, then get out.  Eventually this becomes a canter pirouette as the horse gains strength. 

Initially while schooling the pirouette canter, have very little bend and keep the horse's neck a little bit lower and rounder-- it is easier for the horse to school the exercise this way until he gains more strength to squat and carry the extreme collection and bend around the entire pirouette.  The rider's inside leg keeps the canter active in the pirouette, and there should be very little weight on the inside rein.  The rider's inside leg should be able to leg yield the horse out of the pirouette.

Tips concerning canter pirouettes: prepare getting more bend in the short side corner, then come onto the diagonal line almost to x.  When the horse's nose starts to cross the quarterline well before x, collect the horse with a lot of collection, so that the maximum amount of collection is achieved before the pirouette begins.  Once in pirouette with the horse's maximum collection point attained, even one ounce of pressure on the rein feels like 500 pounds to the horse so be very easy especially on the inside rein during the pirouette.  Again, the rider's inside leg keeps the canter active and should have the feel of being able to leg yield out at a moment's notice.

Counting tempi changes: all about the outside rein and rider's inside leg.  For example in the fours count strides: One, Two, Three then the fourth stride is the aid for the the change.  As in Outside Rein (that's One), Outside Rein (that's Two), Outside Rein (that's Three), then rider's new inside leg and new outside rein and the aid for the change (that's the Fourth stride and the change).  Then new Outside Rein (that's the new One), new Outside Rein (that's the new Two), new Outside Rein (that's the new Three) then back to the opposite outside rein and the rider's opposite inside leg and the aid for the change (that's the new Fourth stride and the change).

In the fours the count is "One, Two, Three, And.... One, Two, Three, And.... One, Two, Three, And...." with the "And" being the cue for the change.

In the threes the count is "One, Two, And.... One, Two, And.... One, Two, And...." again the "And" is the cue for the change.

So easy right!

Further schooling/training pearls:

Jan said he rides the test at least twice per week in the weeks leading up to a show, and that all test riders should ride the test at least that often.

Jan completely knows the entire test and counts the whole test stride for stride: for example in the Prix St Georges he knows that to get to X down centerline it takes exactly how many canter strides for that particular horse and he counts "One, Two, Three...." etc then the last two strides he counts "Collect, Collect, Halt."  Same for the pirouettes; he knows exactly how many canter strides out from the corner to get to his mark between H and X, and then how many canter strides in the 1/2 pirouette itself (3 or 4), and how many strides of counter canter back to H and how many more strides to the flying change at C, etceteras.

Jan said to school the accordion horse go-then-collect-go-then-collect exercise every day.  That way the horse is accustomed to the exercise and if you need more or less go or more or less collection (for example in a canter pirouette) you and the horse know exactly how to access it and are already doing this every day.

 Rijkens with two of his favorite trainers Andrea Attard and Jan Ebeling.