Posted by Irina Yastrebova on Saturday, January 19, 2008 08:48 PM
Fino is PRE stallion, or in other words Andalusian. He has such an exuberant and energetic
temperament that he makes you laugh. The most wonderful trait in his character is absolutely no aggression.
He came from Spain 5 years ago and it took him a while to settle down in US. Frances has worked very hard to
win his trust and affection. She taught him how to listen to the seat and stay relaxed. He is so wonderful to work with.
Fino is "an energizer-bunny". First thing I felt when I got on him is his energy and desire to move forward.
Calm, four-beat walk is a hard work on him. Very supple absolutely quiet seat is required. No pushing with the hips,
no extra swinging or sliding. Use of thighs to regulate his gait is absolute requirement. I remember three or four
years ago when I first rode him, he took off with me because I didn't know anything about thighs and I pushed with my seat.
Fino's trot is like riding a wave. I have never surfed but riding Fino's trot is as close to surfing as it can get.
His movement is very supple but the back comes up so much that if I don't stay on top of his "wave" I lose him.
The hardest thing for me with Fino was keeping my upper body in good alignment with shoulders back and arms soft.
Fino is very different from Teo (read previous blog). When I lose my seat or balance on Teo I feel it instantly.
Because Fino is so supple, I didn't realize I lost my balance until he totally lost his and is hanging on me for support.
Thinking of keeping contact with my shoulders not my hands (Frances' idea of course) was real turning point
on keeping everything together. At that moment I have realized how much I have carried in my hands and arms
letting my shoulders to round and my chest to collapse. My bad habit of looking down contributed a great deal
to this problem. When I let that happen to my body Fino would dive on my hands and charge forward like
a bull. Getting it right on Fino helped me with all other horses. It is amazing to realize what wonderful teachers horses are.
Their message is uncompromising and clear.
When I got it in trot I started riding Fino's collected canter with much better balance. It took me a while to put it all together:
The thighs are working to stop my seat sliding forward and down into the horse's shoulders, this happens on the third beat of every
- Hips soft to let the horse's back through.
- "Abdominal push" is keeping pelvis and ribcage together. Otherwise body arches too much and loses it's stability when
shoulders are half-halting.
- Upper body is staying vertical with shoulders back and down and arms relaxed.
The last thing I want to say about Fino is what a delight he is to ride with other horses. One day we had music on and
me on Fino, Christie (Frances' working student) on Nobel (another Andalusian stallion) and Debra on a mare Springstar
rode Pas De Trois. All together stirrup to stirrup, two breeding stallions and a mare. Not a squeal, or ears back, nothing.
We all including horses had a blast! Thanks Fino!