The Young and Future Event Horse article series is being provided through a partnership between Mythic Landing Enterprises, LLC., and the USEA.
In part one, Will Faudree discussed the importance of developing the fundamentals with your young horse in terms of them responding correctly to leg aids. Once your horse completely understands that when you close your leg, they need to connect themselves and move forward into your hand, you can start to incorporate more advanced exercises instead of just circles and straight lines.
Faudree likes to start incorporating long, shallow yields into his young horse’s flat work. These easy, stress-free leg yields help them learn that they have a left and right side. And, introducing turn-on-the-forehand and turn-on-the-haunches is also very valuable in showing your horse that their legs can move independently. It’s important to do these exercises at the walk for a while until your horse is very clear with what you are asking of them. As they can continue to gain confidence on the flat you can start to introduce these exercises at the trot, and later at the canter.
Faudree explains that in order to properly introduce the inside leg to outside rein your horse must understand left leg to left rein and right leg to right rein. This means that when you apply pressure with your left leg, your horse begins to wrap themselves around that leg. The same idea applies when using your right leg. Without this concept, when you go to close your inside leg, you’ll lose the inside shoulder.
As a rider you can start to play around with these lateral movements on straight lines and circles. Faudree likes to use the leg yield on the circle because it really encourages the horse to properly step through with their outside hind into the outside rein. And always remember that flatwork should always be fun, especially for a young horse, so don’t drill these exercises. Instead, it’s important to give your horse plenty of breaks and praise when they are trying hard.
“When you begin asking for the leg yield on a circle make sure to keep your horse straight through their body and ask them to step under themselves with their outside hind leg. Once that becomes doable and easy, you can start to incorporate inside bend, but be sure to watch that your horse doesn’t begin to fall out through your outside leg,” Faudree remarks.
Bringing a young horse up the ranks requires discipline to make sure that as a rider you are educating them correctly. Faudree makes an important point to say that a lot of times, especially on the flat, riders don’t often have even weight in both reins. “If you find your horse is heavier in one rein, don’t try to fix it by thinking that your horse needs to ‘let go’ of the heavy rein. Instead, encourage your horse to step into the rein that they’re lighter in,” Faudree concludes.
About Will Faudree
Based out of Gavilan Farm in Southern Pines, North Carolina, Will Faudree is a household name in the sport of eventing. A current member of the U.S. Training Squad and a short-list member for the 2012 London Olympic Games, Faudree has and continues to bring many talented young horses up the ranks in the sport. His experience with young horses has allowed him to develop a patient and methodical training program that sets his horses up for continued success.
To learn more about Will and his program, please visit his website: http://willfaudreeeventing.com/