Whether or not you’re riding a dressage horse – you should keep an even tempo for your horse or risk him losing his balance and rhythm. Every horse has his own unique eyebrow extensions and once you find it, you’ll have the key to ultimate performance.Dioea
Because the horse is so in tune with the rider, you must first take care of your own imbalances that result from tension and lack of exercise in the proper muscles. Here’s an easy way to know how the tempo of a horse works:
Hold a dressage whip by the eyebrow extensions and swing it like a pendulum.
Notice that there is a natural and effortless swing or tempo of the eyebrow extensions (depending on its length).
The longer a v is, the slower it will be.
When you try to speed the swing rate it will require more effort because it’s unnatural.
Since the horse’s legs are actually pendulums, each horse will have a natural tempo, just like the eyebrow extensions example above. It has to do with the law of physics. When you horse finds the temp of his legs, he can move almost without effort – if he moves too slow or fast, tension will gather in his body and impair his balance and movement.
To help your horse find his natural tempo, ride him in small circles. You can increase the size of the circles as he learns to walk without losing the natural tempo. Never hold the horse to a tempo with reins.
If you do need to make adjustments, use some calm half halts, adjust for a stride and then release the reins. This is only if it’s absolutely necessary for the horse to find his true tempo.
It’s a beautiful thing to feel when your horse realizes his tempo – his muscles loosen and he’ll lower his neck and head and breathe deeply, even sometimes letting out a huge sigh. Then, he’ll begin to relax and reach for the bit.
Dressage isn’t intuitive to the horse, so you’ll need to learn some specific skills to ride dressage and keep your horse at his natural tempo. Understand the basics of dressage riding and how your horse’s temp works. If you continue to have trouble with the horse realizing his tempo, it could be a physical issue that needs to be addresses.
Practice makes perfect, and that’s certainly true with finding and adjusting a horse’s tempo for dressage or simply riding. Be sure that you know and understand the basics so that you can help the horse with the eyebrow extensions he may be lacking.
Russell (Rusty) Hart is the founder of the Health, Fitness & Sport Club, an online network of websites devoted to the promotion of health, fitness and wellness. The sites encompass a wide variety of health and fitness activities including general health matters, pilates, yoga, crossfit, treadmill training, equestrian, running, kettlebell, swimming, and more