Symposium with Ellen Bontje. Part III.
Posted by Irina Yastrebova on Monday, June 30, 2014 09:57 PM
This is the third part of the series of blogs on the AEF symposium with Ellen Bontje and Karen Ashbee. Please click here to read the first part. Please click here to read the second part.
Forth Level:
    Test 1:
  • Canter - big circles: medium - working - medium. Control the neck and flexion, do not hold
  • Small circle in travers, slow tempo, really slow. Have a visual point to keep the circle centered (cone, stool)
  • For travers on a circle - do not be afraid to lose the canter. Do not ask the horse to hurry up. Teach slow first - quicken later
  • Benefits of working pirouette (travers on a very small circle): activates the haunches, makes the horse sit behind
  • Ellen considers travers on a circle a super exercise. Start when the horse 5-year-old (baby version). Do it often in training.
  • You must really point your horse, use visual clues like a wall. Pirouette near/toward the wall.
  • Canter half-pass to second quarterline - pirouette. Canter half-pass to second quarterline - straight - pirouette
  • For sequential flying changes count strides for the rhythm. For example, 4 time changes -1,2,3 -and -1,2,3 - and... ("and" is asking for the change)
  • Inside hand high before change for sequels - to steady the horse without putting the brakes on. Ride forward.
Forth Level:
    Test 2, short back, thin neck, curls behind the bit easily:
  • Ellen wanted him more deep and round, behind vertical
  • Supple outside rein on stiff side for downward transitions
  • Overflex on stiff side when it is inside
  • Ride more forward
  • Exercise: counter-canter on the track - before corner collect - longer steps on short side - collect in the corner (almost on a spot) - long side medium. It teaches the horse to come back in the corners by himself. Think shoulder-fore in the corners, deeper in the neck, drive with outside leg, come back with inside rein. Counter-canter keeps horse together!
  • Do not hold the horse against the hand, supple him
  • Almost walk transitions from trot in shoulder-in position (half-steps)
  • Flying changes on a big circle, a bit straighter for counter-change
  • For sequential changes - ride every stride, next one bigger than one before
Prix St. George:
    Young rider on a school master
  • Ellen is after the rider when the rider holds with the rein on stiff side when the stiff side is outside
  • When the horse resists on the stiff side bend/flex - give - bend/flex...
  • Lots of transitions in warm-up - trot-canter, medium canter on a circle, medium canter on a long side halt at the end, after a few repetitions do not halt just half-halt. Use horse's anticipation for less rein aid.
  • Small circle in canter, travers on the circle
  • Do not flex the horse into new direction before flying change, do it after. Flexion into new direction makes it difficult for the horse to change.
  • Half steps work - almost walk - trot - almost walk again, lots of transitions like that with occasional circle to refresh the horse
  • Ride medium/extended trot to the end - refresh at X
  • Canter exercise: shoulder-fore - diagonal - counter-canter - shoulder-fore - quarterline - shoulder-fore - collect - pirouette toward the wall (inside rein, outside leg)
  • Do not block with the hand
Intermediate I:
  • Half-steps at the end of a warm up to get him quick in the haunches
  • Working pirouette to make him sit behind
  • Counter canter exercise with medium on long sides, collect the corners, especially, for stiff side (stiff is on inside for the canter lead)
  • Use inside rein to bring him back for previous exercise, do not use both reins. Canter got very collected.
  • Ellen advocates lots of uberstrichen in various exercises in canter. In the above one she asked the rider to do it in the corners during outmost collection. This exercise opens and closes the horse
  • Variation: turn on a quarterline and pirouette at the end. Teaches him to sit.
  • Travers on a circle - have a feel you can go out any moment. Reward by giving a bit. Do that exercise every day
  • Canter exercise: half-pass to X from a corner - 10 m circle in counter- canter - pirouette at X - half-pass to the wall
  • For canter zigzag: look straight at C when going sideways for better symmetry
  • Half-steps: trot volte - half-steps on the wall - trot volte again. On stiff side half-steps in travers
  • Do not hold with the rein, work it!
  • Do not passage until half-steps are confirmed. The horse must learn to sit first.
  • Loosen the curb rein if the horse goes behind the vertical
Judging - Clear transitions into medium and extended trot and back. More collection in medium and more uphill in extended trot. Karen praised a rider who rode in a snaffle. She thought it helped to have more fluid test. For forth level there should be more self-carrige and collection than for third level and Karen was expecting that. Walk must show collection not just short or slow. Shoulder-in requires more precision, the horse's head must be level, no tilting. Karen penalized against the hand.
Next blog will be about Intermediate A, B (new tests), Intermediate II and Grand Prix
Happy riding...
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