Arriving at the Caledon Equestrian Park arena at 8am there were people already taking their seats for the 9am start of Day Two of the Carl Hester Masterclass. Photography was not permitted of the masterclass rides. I will have some rider photos from the official photographer later this week.
In the stabling area the horses were already up and riders were preparing. Some horses were occupied with investigating their rider’s things.
Day two started again with the young horses. As I did yesterday I will just provide quotes from Carl.
FOUR-YEAR-OLD HORSES. Erin MacQuarrie on Iron Butterfly and Andrea Bresee on Ismeaux.
When Erin came in here on Friday the mare was completely overwhelmed. Horses are living creatures and they do get frightened. This mare got frightened. That is why yesterday Erin just came in and walked her and did not do any work. I’m glad her attitude today is a little more on your side Erin.
STRETCHING: I don’t want to see stretching in and against the hand. The rider has to find the ‘swing’ speed and with a 4 year old this speed is slow, you want nice long steps.
CANTER: Andrea— the canter is the best pace for this horse. He has a nice balanced canter.
Erin—Not so balanced so do transitions ,trot /canter transitions, until she finds balance. She has the mechanics behind but needs to slow down.
Erin—Go to the other end of the arena she’s looking at the entrance. Take a deep breath and don’t you look at the entrance either.
20 minutes is enough for young horses.
Erin —you did a brilliant job today and you don’t look as white as you did yesterday!
Andrea —the horse has contact issues. Some horses need to learn the contact. This horse is very light and plays with the tongue on the left. He feels even and Andrea has to keep an eye on it. He crosses the jaw and then she needs to make him think about his hind leg. Click (verbal) and touch him with the whip. Every ten meters you need to do something with your left leg to keep him focused.
FIVE YEAR OLD HORSE. Tina Irwin on Simsalabim
Out of the corner of my eye I can see this is a pretty impressive horse. Just looking at this there is piaffe and passage written all over it. . She is absolutely gorgeous!
The trot is gorgeous.
Why do I think she will be good in the piaffe and passage? The hind leg comes forward and she has the ability to bring the shoulder up and the knee up. The horse will have heightened expression.
It is a good canter, trot is more supple but the flying change and the pirouette….I can see it. Yup….I would take this one home!
How short can you make the canter? Use your upper body, close the thigh and take your weight back. Gorgeous picture!
The trot is so fabulous I wouldn’t be doing a lot of trot.
Is there anybody here who would not want to get on this horse
SIX-YEAR-OLD HORSE Jane Fraser on Banjo.
TRANSITION FROM TROT TO HALT: I’m thrilled to see someone who bothers to train the basics. If he does not halt square then fix it walking forward. Take smaller steps into the halt.
How do you know the horse has not halted square? Sit in the middle and feel which side the horse is pushing up; the hind leg under is up and the hind leg out behind is down. If you ride into the halt with a bit of a shoulder fore position that will bring the hind legs closer together in the halt.
Trot halt is the basis of your piaffe.
WALK PIROUETTES: The good thing is the horse has a tendency to move the hind leg and is not sticking. Start with good shoulder in then turn, activate the hind leg. Horse turns his hind legs under his tummy and a good walk pirouette is beneficial for a young horse. A common mistake is too much leg and legs to far back. Keep walking. Keep tempo.
This is a very experienced rider and I think she has trained horses before!
CHANGES: Do them for a bit and then leave them. Going on and on and on can make it quite difficult. When you ask for the change, touch with the whip at the same moment.
What a lovely horse and so willing to be helped (with learning the changes). He realized she was going to help him. He’s going to be great with that attitude.
THIRD LEVEL/ADVANCED MEDIUM Jacqueline Brooks on Emmett and Kahla Ishoy on Sakima.
Kahla—It’s called Shoulder in not quarters out!
SHOULDER IN-8 METER CIRCLE-HALF PASS: Break up the circle into 4 bits: turn and let go, turn and let go…..
Jacqui—Do rising trot in the travers. Rise on the inside diagonal. Go from sitting to rising without the horse getting heavy in the trot. This is a correct trot rather than a trot that is heavy and passagey.
Are those reins going to get any longer?? I want them shorter!
We have to do what we can’t do Jacqui, not what we can do ( as she is asked to remain in trot).
Kahla—I want him to increase rhythm and jump to the change. This horse needs to be awakened to your heel! You want the forward canter taken into the collection
Jacqui—Walk around me in a circle Give me your whip. Slow down, take little steps, don’t pull his neck up, jog then bring him back. This will motivate the hind leg.
I’d like to give a huge thanks to everyone who has ridden this morning and for having put themselves forward in front of everybody.
REBECCA EDWARDS ( British Young rider and student of Carl’s) Demonstration
Yesterday Becky rode a gelding that was a more phlegmatic type. Today she is riding a mare that is a hotter type.
You’ve got a seat. Sit on it and ride without your hand. The underside of the neck is a V shape you have to work to make that a U shape.
Let go of your curb.
With a horse like this most of the work needs to be ‘up’. Give more walk breaks and don’t give a break by stretching down. Bring her up on the snaffle she needs to be higher than it feels. Let her know she can bring her balance up and it she gets too high that’s not a problem.
Instead of sitting like a fairy on a tree Do Something!
(Carl had Rebecca drop the curb rein and tie a knot in it and let it hang. Then he had her hold the snaffle rein with the rein coming over the top of her index finger and down.)
We can’t ride like that all the time but you can try something like that to get a different feel.
Soft hands. That is good! See if you can develop a more forward trot so we can find he swing. Follow her neck with your hand.
Now the whole stride has changed; the leg is in front and much more fluid and moving forward.
Now take your hands back to normal. Now the horse has confidence to carry neck and Becky had the feeling. You gave the horse confidence. A horse like this is much more of a test and you have to adapt. A bit of technique and some exercises and you start to enjoy it. If you were trying this horse at first you might have thought “this is not for me.” But…..
PRIX ST GEORGE HORSE Tom Dvorak on Cyrus
CANTER: This is a centered rider who doesn’t rely on the reins. Can I see the four tempis? He took a risk and rode a really good line. He knows his horse’s stride. Now the 3’s. Yah! Too good. Tom are you of German descent? I thought so. It’s called discipline and knowing what you’re doing! Ride the short side in 10 strides. Now do it in 8. Can we have 12. These are exercises dressage people don’t think about.
FLYING CHANGES: Change comes from the lower leg not upper body. Try the 2’s down the wall so you can ride more forward to the crooked side. Let the wall do the work. No slowing down between these changes. Good! It is hard for someone who is so disciplined to take a risk. Very good.
HALF STEPS: Touch with the whip on the croup. Start work on the half steps with a whip rather than more leg. Work on it little and often for a horse of this age (8 years old). It’s just playing.
PASSAGE: This is done with the rider’s seat. You sit and they pick it up. Keep this trot and make passage from this trot, touch him and trot, trot, trot. Too much leg. Ask him to lift and go forward. Don’t slow down. He’s slowing down and pressing the hind legs back, that’s his tendency. This is baby passage. Slowing him down is too difficult for him. Touch with whip and take two steps medium trot. He needs to learn to push that is how you are going to create passage. In the baby stage he needs to learn it correctly and not to pull.
We can safely say that Tom knows what he is doing and he’s going to do it correctly.
INTERMEDIARE II Megan Lane on Denver.
When are you going to do the Grand Prix? (Answer: In a year).
Cute horse he looks like a rubber ball. Canter is a round canter and the hind leg is naturally placed under the horse.
Megan sit still. Keep your upper body quiet. Sit more over your hips. Don’t override with the upper body.
CANTER: His head and neck are going up and down that means there is not enough impulsion. Do medium canter in between movements. Ground cover! Loosen your leg and go quicker. Take a risk. When you land after the change RIDE! Give him a pat.
TWO’S: Move your heels. Quicker! Use your heel.
ONE’S: Did 15 but horse puts himself in shoulder in left. Changes look like they will be a highlight.
GRAND PRIX ZIG ZAG: Teach this in leg yield to open him up. Quicken, tap him with your heel. Over. Straight. Change. The lack of sideways is taking you too far up the arena. The only reason I’m making you ride like this is because he can have a canter for a 9!
TROT: Don’t let him become too passagey. Quick and ground cover. Close your fingers and feel the bit very quietly.
TROT HALF PASS: I’d rather see him trail a bit and keep the impulsion. Don’t let him drop onto his shoulder. Reach forward. Reach forward. Reach forward. Good! That’s your cadence. Pat him.
HALF STEPS: you do them from trot which is good. 2 or 3 steps is going to be enough. Start motivating the horse before stopping. He has to learn to get hotter in the right way. You can see now he has the mechanics. Very nice horse and very nicely ridden.
GRAND PRIX HORSE. Brittany Fraser-Beaulieu on All In.
No pressure. Hold him with your seat. I want him to relax his hind legs. He is so forward and energetic. If you relax and let him do it he starts to sit.
HALF PASS RIGHT AND LEFT: Relax the hand, forward to the change. Keep your working canter rhythm up.
He is a huge horse and that doesn’t mean he can’t be ridden by a slender girl but she’s got to keep him sensitive to the aids.
At the walk push his neck away from the body. He walks like he is on hot coals.
CENTERLINE PIROUETTE: Horse is above the bit. Now do it making the first pirouette smaller and then do a second one bigger, a 6 meter pirouette. Relax. She makes a really good pirouette if she can control him and keep him from getting strong. The pirouette is like a clock. Where am I going to put his feet? First step at 10, then 20, and then half past.
What a horse! You have to smile when you look at him. What is athletic? Well, we’re looking at it. I’m very jealous. Who wouldn’t be? He has a huge presence to go with his size. This is a horse that has to be looked after.
This horse is going to be representing your country. He is capable of being in the top 10!
END: I’ve had a lovely reception here and I’ve been really well treated. Thank you on behalf of all the guinea pigs who’ve come out to ride before you.
The audience rose to their feet and 1,200 people gave Carl Hester a standing ovation to thank him for two wonderful days of dressage. I think everyone will go home with things to work on and new exercises to try and most important of all will be inspired by this Masterclass. I know I was.
I’d love to hear from you!