USDF Symposium with Kyra Kirkland II
Posted by Irina Yastrebova on Saturday, December 20, 2008 02:24 PM
This is the second half of numerous notes that Colorado dressage instructor and judge Simone Windeler took at the USDF Symposium featuring Kira Kirkland.
Notes from Kyra:
  • 3+1 reins good way to create tunnel (double bridle, curb reins in one hand)
  • Keep curb on bottom, that way you can lift horse with snaffle
  • Curb pulls down, so not crossing is better
  • 3+1 keeps curb steady and I can use snaffle to lift him, 3 in outside hand
  • Canter impulse on outside and when he is coming back up
  • In flying change make horse straight with outside rein instead of flexing to new inside
  • Donít put leg too far back, brings haunches over and leg is not effective further back
  • Keep leg by girth you ride the back not the haunches
  • Donít carry your horse
  • Quick steps rather than collection
  • Sit there with no leg until he carries me
  • When I have more horse in front of me, I can use leg again
  • Once they understand I need to back off with aids and let them do more and more on their own
  • Using whip on inside in canter often makes them drop inside leg
  • Balance horse as if he is a bicycle if you hang off to one side = fall over
  • Needs to shorten underneck = lengthen topline
  • You can use whip on outside shoulder to turn (this is very useful with young and green horses)
  • You can teach timing for leg through posting where you use leg when sitting down
  • In posting trot you cannot lift him with leg so he has to do it himself = do passage posting
  • Elbows at waist keep steady contact, but shoulders are soft to follow movement
  • Needs steadiness, if he resists siderein you donít make it 10 holes longer, so why put hand forward when he resists?
  • For extension your ride the hindlegs forward
  • The further your leg goes back the weaker it gets
  • Hips are more your center because they are more forward than your seatbones, hip is a joint and can follow movement
  • Lower back neither round nor hollow
  • If I can let contact go and he stays still with me = correct
  • In travers my inside leg is for bend, my outside leg is for go over
  • Donít get upset if they donít do it right away, give them time to think
  • Head weighs 10% of total weight, so I should give it only 10% of my attention
  • Between hands and legs you can springload horse, if too much explode, if too little fall apart (remember dirt ball) Ė and remember even left and right contact
  • Watch young horse Ė run free, should do fly changes both directions easily
  • Most horses not late behind, but early in front
  • If a horse leans to outside in canter, difficult to change in that direction because I normally want to unbalance him a little into that direction to get him to change Ė so use outside leg more and keep forward
  • Focus 90% of your thinking on his back (Great one!)
  • Lift knee so you can freely use lower leg
  • If horse pushes to one side, use quick impulses on that side and turn him away from it (outside leg turns him)
  • Passage needs to be in the trot before I ask for it
  • Stay solid in tummy and lower back and donít follow horse to much
  • He needs to do it first, then I follow
  • Improve flying changes by improving canter
  • Make horse shorter in halt by stepping up, then reinback, step up again, then let neck out without him walking off
  • Once you have that more compact feeling recreate in all gaits
  • Same weight in both hands and hips
  • Sit still in Piaffe, use leg on way down
  • Use leg when hips are on their way down
  • When he gives it to you relax, but donít stop working
  • For tempi changes Ė move legs like climbing steps not move whole body like drunk
  • Keep my head straight and move eyes only
  • My head aligned with withers
  • Different exercises require different muscles, so work all of it on different days Ė 2 hard days, one easy
Happy riding...
Comment by Shannon Ardell on Sunday, January 4, 2009 03:24 PM
I've enjoyed reading all these tips from the symposium. I have a question perhaps you could answer in a blog, and one that I hope to improve on. How does a rider help the horse use his back more? I know from many pictures taken during the canter, my horse holds his back, and at times even looks hollow, and the connection isn't the same as in the trot. Are there specific exercises I can do to help me "ride the back"more esp during canter?
Comment by Irina Yastrebova on Sunday, January 4, 2009 07:44 PM
Excellent question, Shannon.
However, not very easy to answer. I will take your suggestion to make it a blog because there is much to consider in regard of horse's back in canter. I have already planned two more blogs about the rider's shoulders. After that I will write a blog to answer your question. It will be closer to the middle of January. It will give me time to think about it and find better words.
Comment by Nancy Jane Smeets on Wednesday, February 18, 2009 08:32 PM
Dear Friends, How do I encourage my horse to spring off the inside leg in the half pass, and to reach more with his front legs - obtaining a springy, light, espressive half pass? THANK YOU!!
Comment by Irina Yastrebova on Friday, February 20, 2009 05:23 PM
First, you have to check your seat before you can focus on your horse. In a half-pass it is very important not to slide or lean to the inside. You have to load your seatbones evenly and you have to sit very vertical. Your inside seatbone will load slightly more due to centrifugal forces in a half-pass not because you lean on it. This will create very good balance and allow your horse to spring off his inside leg. Second, you have to have true collection with a lot of impulsion and thoroughnesses. Lots of changes between collected and medium trot on circles, in shoulder-in and in half-pass. Your must feel that he responds to your thought. Good luck!
Comment by MichaellaS on Tuesday, July 21, 2009 02:23 PM
tks for the effort you put in here I appreciate it!
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