Notes from Jeremey Steinberg Clinic - April 2018

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Notes from Jeremey Steinberg Clinic - April 2018

Postby piedmontfields » Wed Apr 11, 2018 2:33 pm

FYI: These are my notes from observing Jeremy's teaching. It is written as though Jeremy is speaking, but this is not a complete or accurate transcription. I often include his specific phrasing, though.

Jeremy Steinberg Notes April 2018

Don’t Ride Feeling

Ride the energy, gait and the balance. Put the horse in the right zone, rather than starting where the horse starts. Don’t start with “how they feel”, start with where they need to be. This approach makes getting looser more established and clearer for the horse.

That said, some horses do need 10-15 minutes of plodding around at a lesser gait before they are ready for ground cover. Know your horse.

As you work, take some risk on energy and gait, in order to get to the connection you need. This is different than riding the feeling first. Instead of riding from feeling, ride towards the look, the balance, and the height of the poll that you ultimately want. This intention is usually enough to improve the horse, along with half halts, ground cover and bend. Ground cover helps the horse connect and lengthen over his spine.

When you see a pause or a gap in the trot-canter transition, that is a sign of a connection and engine problem. As the ride goes on, get assertive about that positive transition. If this gap isn’t addressed, the flying change won’t work.

If the horse is pulling down or lacks a half halt, you need a transition. If the horse gives an outward or even upward feel of pull, give, soften and/or slow down.

Being consistent is key to a program that shows the horse every day that this force (this energy expectation, this balance expectation, this bend expectation) will be applied to his body. And of course, we want to do this without blowing the horse’s mind!

Put “how the horse feels” in a box and put it away. Develop all of the elements that will give a good feeling. Go after muscle, structure and look---that is, the function of the body. The correct feeling will follow. If you only follow feeling, you won’t develop the physical horse.

Try to ride the future. You can only do this by being consistent and take things a little bit forward every day.

In the warm-up, don’t give your horse something that you’re going to take back later in your ride. Don’t change your mind or your standards.

Flying Changes

For the flying changes, you need two things: 1. Jump in canter and 2. Time in counter canter.

If you make the counter canter active and quickly uncomfortable, the flying change can be easy for the horse. You need to be able to prepare the counter canter.

Flying changes are based on the quality of the canter. Connection in the canter must be drivable and rideable. The amount of day to day work to have the flying change easy is a big deal. The flying change is not a big deal.

For flying changes, three things come into play:
1. Pirouette work (haunches in at the canter)
2. Half steps should be working
3. Simple changes (and counter canter)

These three things have to work for a good flying change. The flying change has to do with acceptance of the driving aid for the jump. In counter canter, put the whip on the new outside leg and fire up the jump in the canter. If you continue to tap them with the whip, they will almost change automatically (and usually correctly). In this counter canter work, you need a certain “rigidity” in the spine---so that it is not too round and soft. This will help the jump.

Pirouette work

Notice that as a circle becomes smaller, the horse will want to take away jump, angle and bend in the canter. You cannot let this happen for the work to occur. In pirouette work, the exercise does the collection for the rider. The rider handles impulsion. Every meter you go smaller in a circle, the nose and butt come in more.

Power and Collection

It’s not dressage until it has power. If it doesn’t have power, the horse is not loose. The physics of dressage requires power. If the spine is not moving, it’s not dressage.

Think of adding power as adding 2” in length and 2” in height. As we do this, we might adrenalize the horse and make them strong. So, we work quietly and add transitions if at any point the horse gets too strong. Downward transitions can serve as our half halt.

Think of the hind leg femur as a giant pendulum: The more it swings, the more the engagement. Keep the back round via hind leg engagement—with a high frame.

Think of collection as keeping the gaits big: “Jump big, jump under.” The passage, cadenced-feeling can be okay if it isn’t slowing and shortening the stride. For every inch in the air, we want another inch over the ground.

You need just enough resistance in the rein to get the horse airborne (and not just go into a medium gait.

Accelerate for the height and then back off the gas and let the horse cruise. You can think of a hot air balloon: Flare the balloon up and then let it cruise. Don’t burn it up!

When you play with pirouette power, separate form from power (ex. stay on 20 m circle). For 4 or 5 strides, try to build the canter up so that at the top it feels like the horse is doing a flying change without doing a flying change. The ability to swing forward up in the air is based on adding power.

Remember that collection is not compression. We do have to sit the horse on their butt, but it’s the rotation of the pelvis that is the base of collection.

We need to make the engaged, energetic work “normal” for the horse so that they don’t get adrenalized. Adding power moments (like for 5-6 strides) is strength building---similar to doing crunches.

Tension

There are two ways that a horse is “tense.” Environmental tension can go away with time and training. Innate tension is there from day one in the horse’s life. Innate tension never goes away. You have to get physically involved to address it (ex. using trot-canter-trot-canter to loosen the horse’s back). You do not need to relax an innately tense horse! When horses are “abnormal” try to stay as normal as you can with your corrections. It’s best to be direct with training. Watch that the rider doesn’t’ mimic the stillness of the tense horse’s back. This is why rising trot is usually better in warm-up to help these horses let go, in order to give them room to move. Think of being longitudinally playful in trot.

Bracing and Loosening

Lifting the neck in a canter depart is a sign of a lack of thoroughness, not a lack of suppleness. The correction lies in the hind legs, not the neck.

Power is loosening agent. The relaxation end of dressage is a myth. Relaxation will not get a horse trained. Yet, a calm mind is important.

Let’s create a horse that is working and supple. If the horse’s mind starts to boil, we need a way to bring it back to a simmer.

The brace is not a bad thing in a way. It’s the spine trying to figure out how to be in position, given the energy/balance/bend demands. But with pressure, there can be nervous energy. Just stay calm and unapologetic. You’re not roughing your horse up. You’re just being firm. “You have to do this. You can do this.” Stay the course, stay on the path and stick with it. There will be times that you up demands and then need to return to a more basic plain canter in order to get the canter correct again.

Being Abrupt

There are stages where being abrupt is necessary in order to sensitize the horse. For example, a half halt is not a dialogue! Don’t apologize. Just do it. This is the fastest way to get them listening to our backs and our seat. Small circles at canter can be abrupt and a clear way to put a horse on his hind end.

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Re: Notes from Jeremey Steinberg Clinic - April 2018

Postby musical comedy » Wed Apr 11, 2018 4:29 pm

As usual, excellent notes Piedmont!

So much good stuff in there I don't know what to address first. Actually, I got a little tense reading it, thinking about how some of those things would feel is a bit scary.

What stands out to me first is something I've posted numerous times on the board. You really need 'power' to ride good dressage and you need a good 'connection'. Per Jeremy "You need just enough resistance in the rein to get the horse airborne (and not just go into a medium gait." That's right. The horse has to be 'taking you' and there is to be some tautness to the rein in order to get the amplitude out of a half halt. None of this floaty rein thing that so many think is great. Per Jeremy "The relaxation end of dressage is a myth. Relaxation will not get a horse trained." Again very true and the big mistake people make that keeps them from progressing.

<sigh> Sadly, at my age I am no longer on any kind of fast track, so I am content with just a relaxed horse that can w/t/c comfortably.

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Re: Notes from Jeremey Steinberg Clinic - April 2018

Postby piedmontfields » Wed Apr 11, 2018 11:48 pm

I did appreciate the clarity of Jeremy teaching "power helps connection." It is just so vivid in my little bobble horse!

I also saw people with much more talented horses than Em (more horse"power"!) be urged to access that horse's power. Clearly riders often have a habit of underpowering their horses---probably because it "feels better" or safer or it's what the horse tolerates without giving a big reaction (which can be scary).

MC, at one point I posed a question about reactivity on this board. The general consensus was that one should be able to return to relaxation at any point, I think. For me, the more "reactive" Em is, the more we have a shot at doing proper dressage work. However, the more reactive we are, the more relaxation is a separate experience (like after the work, rather than in the work). By reactive, I mean quick off the leg and really sharp off all aids.

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Re: Notes from Jeremey Steinberg Clinic - April 2018

Postby musical comedy » Thu Apr 12, 2018 12:06 am

piedmontfields wrote:MC, at one point I posed a question about reactivity on this board. The general consensus was that one should be able to return to relaxation at any point, I think. For me, the more "reactive" Em is, the more we have a shot at doing proper dressage work. However, the more reactive we are, the more relaxation is a separate experience (like after the work, rather than in the work). By reactive, I mean quick off the leg and really sharp off all aids.
Ideally yes, but easier said than done. Have you ever noticed the world class riders leaving the ring after their GP ride? Some cannot walk. The horses are so jazzed from the test. Not saying that is right or wrong; I really don't know. I am riding a horse at present that once I get pushing into the power, she gets tense and then over-reacts to the aids and anticipates. I can get relaxation immediately if I drop the reins and walk, but I cannot get back relaxation if I continue to ride for power.

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Re: Notes from Jeremey Steinberg Clinic - April 2018

Postby piedmontfields » Thu Apr 12, 2018 1:02 am

I am always super impressed by those that can perform a high level, sharp test and then leave on long reins! But I don't think it is easy.

I would say that my horse is happy to relax for a 15-30 second breather, but then says, "what's next?" in anticipation of future work. I am going to try to practice breaks of various lengths to see if we can explore this differently.

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Re: Notes from Jeremey Steinberg Clinic - April 2018

Postby demi » Thu Apr 12, 2018 1:12 am

I can comment on Tension, the environmental type. When I started lessons in October, I was worried about Rocky’s tension in the trailer and in the lessons. It has taken 6 months of every other week lessons, but the tension is starting to go away in both the trailering and the lessons. When we started the lessons, I rode her in the first half dozen lessons, then trainer rode her for the next half dozen lesssons. This week I rode her and we had much improvement in ”relaxation”.

Under Piedmont’s heading “Bracing and Loosening”, I have to widen my thinking for the part that says “The relaxation end of dressage is a myth. Relaxation will not get a horse trained”. I put quotations around relaxation when I used it in the above paragraph, because I don’t mean that we were just moseying around the arena. I mean that she was able to focus on the work versus tensely going through the motions, ready to spook in an instant. The last time the trainer rode her, she(Rocky) had started to “blow” or snort in rhythm with the gait (trot nad canter). I have read that the blowing comes from the air being forced out of the lungs as the feet hit the ground. At least two things are necessary for blowing, and one is that the horse is working hard enough to physically push the air out, and the other is that they have to be relaxed enough that they are not “holding their breath”. Anyway, trainer finally got it consistently and I was only able to get it intermittently. In my case, she is relaxed enough, but I don’t have the stamina to work her hard enough for a long enough period of time. (But i’m working on it!)

And also, in regards to the lessening of environmental tension, her tail has recently started swinging in a regular wave pattern. Trainer noticed she was doing this with me, too, and she also said she was swinging through her back. Her comment right before that was “now THAT’S a trot!”. We were working really hard, but she was relaxed.

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Re: Notes from Jeremey Steinberg Clinic - April 2018

Postby khall » Thu Apr 12, 2018 2:36 am

Great notes! Love the FC notes especially, thank you!!

Horses must be mentally relaxed in order to learn and work properly. They do need power for dressage but not in tension/tightness.

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Re: Notes from Jeremey Steinberg Clinic - April 2018

Postby demi » Thu Apr 12, 2018 6:22 am

Forgive me for not thanking you for sharing your great notes, PF. They are clear and easy to understand and I especially appreciate that. As soon as i saw your post, I started devouring it and jumped in with my comment before I thought of anything else (like thank you!).

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Re: Notes from Jeremey Steinberg Clinic - April 2018

Postby piedmontfields » Thu Apr 12, 2018 1:33 pm

I"m glad you all find the notes useful.

While the topics addressed in this clinic were not so different from past times I've seen Jeremy teach, I suppose I am starting to understand some topics a bit better. He uses the term "adrenalized" to refer to a horse who is not relaxed in the mind. We might "adrenalize" a horse on purpose to expand their range of tolerance for new physical sensations, but we don't want them to stay in that zone.

In my rides this week, I'm just really focused on being clear about good standards for energy, balance and bend from the get go. I think that I have been too inconsistent in the past. Em feels like the rules have changed, but she is leaping into the program with all four feet! I am so lucky to have such a hard working, forgiving horse.

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Re: Notes from Jeremey Steinberg Clinic - April 2018

Postby musical comedy » Thu Apr 12, 2018 2:00 pm

piedmontfields wrote:I"m glad you all find the notes useful.

While the topics addressed in this clinic were not so different from past times I've seen Jeremy teach, I suppose I am starting to understand some topics a bit better. He uses the term "adrenalized" to refer to a horse who is not relaxed in the mind. We might "adrenalize" a horse on purpose to expand their range of tolerance for new physical sensations, but we don't want them to stay in that zone.

In my rides this week, I'm just really focused on being clear about good standards for energy, balance and bend from the get go. I think that I have been too inconsistent in the past. Em feels like the rules have changed, but she is leaping into the program with all four feet! I am so lucky to have such a hard working, forgiving horse.
VERY VERY useful, always. I wonder if others get as much out of them as I do, or whether they just skim over the them and cherry pick the parts that suit them.

How does Jeremy deal with a horse that is adrenalized? I take it this has nothing to do with how hot or sensitive a horse is to the aids?? Rather it is a mind set, more of an axiety/apprehension?

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Re: Notes from Jeremey Steinberg Clinic - April 2018

Postby musical comedy » Thu Apr 12, 2018 2:05 pm

Jeremy "Being consistent is key to a program that shows the horse every day that this force (this energy expectation, this balance expectation, this bend expectation) will be applied to his body. And of course, we want to do this without blowing the horse’s mind!"

So so important imo. I have a friend that has her trainer ride her horses frequently and she has switched trainers and gone to various clinicians a number of times. When this happens, the consistency is lost. It's not that any of these trainers give bad advice, it is just 'different' to the horse. I suppose any wonderful trainer could get on a horse and get it do go well no matter its' previous program. But, most of us are not a wonderful BNT.

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Re: Notes from Jeremey Steinberg Clinic - April 2018

Postby piedmontfields » Thu Apr 12, 2018 2:17 pm

"How does Jeremy deal with a horse that is adrenalized?"

In cases where the horses were being asked for a level of energy/balance/bend that started to "freak them out" (my words!), "make their mind boil" or "adrenalize" them to run away from the demand, he suggested that riders simplify the demand. For ex., when doing haunches in on a circle at canter and making the circle smaller, if the horse tries to run from the demand, you may need to make the circle larger. Or, you may even need to go back to just re-establishing the quality of the canter. If the horse is "adrenalized" such that they are running and ignoring an ordinary half halt, he often suggested doing a down transition. For sensitive horses, this was often just a trot-walk, rather than a trot-halt, so as not to disturb the horse too much.

So generally, I understood the term to relate more to a state of mind (running away from the demands of the aids/the situation) than an innate character of the horse. As prey animals, horses understand adrenalin to survive! But they can't live and learn in it as a permanent lifestyle.

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Re: Notes from Jeremey Steinberg Clinic - April 2018

Postby StraightForward » Fri Apr 13, 2018 3:32 am

Thank you, Piedmont, I really appreciate your notes!
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Re: Notes from Jeremey Steinberg Clinic - April 2018

Postby Flight » Fri Apr 13, 2018 6:44 am

musical comedy wrote: I wonder if others get as much out of them as I do, or whether they just skim over the them and cherry pick the parts that suit them.


I think I might cherry pick, but it will be only due to what makes sense to me or how good my understanding is at the time when I read the info. I've found I've gone back over stuff a year or two later, and understood some things a lot more.

Yes, thanks for taking the time to share your notes Piedmontfields :)

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Re: Notes from Jeremey Steinberg Clinic - April 2018

Postby mld02004 » Sat Apr 14, 2018 12:19 am

Thanks for the notes, it made a lot made sense, along with many other comments too.

I’ve come to realize you need a lot of power to keep the connection and have effective half halts. You need some “positive” weight in the reins (not downward pulling) in order to collect. You have to ride on the edge, always be able to get more at any moment (I.e, collected to extended gaits by adding just a small aid). My horse was fairly behind the leg for a long time (I would have described it as relaxed), and I saw that you really can’t pull off a good second or third level or above test unless you are riding on the edge. Leg is on, that means do something, and don’t nag. Good riders know these things of course, I’m just glad I’m finally starting to put the pieces together.

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Re: Notes from Jeremey Steinberg Clinic - April 2018

Postby musical comedy » Tue Apr 17, 2018 2:32 pm

"In the warm-up, don’t give your horse something that you’re going to take back later in your ride. Don’t change your mind or your standards."

What do you think this means?

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Re: Notes from Jeremey Steinberg Clinic - April 2018

Postby Dresseur » Tue Apr 17, 2018 2:41 pm

MC, I would hazard a guess (because I have heard the same from people that work with JS) that he means if you warm up sloppily (off the bit or not asking for clear responses), it's unfair to change the expectation. We don't go from slop around to now we must collect. Keep the standards the same throughout the ride. The horse should be on the bit and listening in the warm up, even if you are warming up long and low... there should be a connection. So, even in a warm up, your standards can be high.

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Re: Notes from Jeremey Steinberg Clinic - April 2018

Postby musical comedy » Tue Apr 17, 2018 2:56 pm

Ok. I was wondering about if you warm up long and low and then progress to more compressed/collected (iow, asking more) if this is what he is saying not to do.

I value his input, but he is not one of my idols. Well, I relly don't have a dressage BNT idol, but he isn't one that appeals to me enough that I would ride with him. I can extract good ideas from many people.

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Re: Notes from Jeremey Steinberg Clinic - April 2018

Postby Dresseur » Tue Apr 17, 2018 3:00 pm

No, you can warm up long and low, you just can't change the rules. View it as long and low is still holding the horse to a standard, and even with in that you are asking the horse to move off your leg etc. There's a big difference between a totally disconnected, slow, throw the reins away long and low warmup and an energetic, connected long and low. Although, he is also one that believes that horses earn the right to go long and low, you don't start there with green or retrains.

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Re: Notes from Jeremey Steinberg Clinic - April 2018

Postby piedmontfields » Tue Apr 17, 2018 3:35 pm

I agree with Dresseur's interpretation of JS's teaching. You may not ask for that much in warm-up (compared to later work), but you don't compromise on what you do ask for.

One example of this approach, for me personally, is about the quality of bend. I find I need to be certain to be correct from the get go on proper bend + bending aids, or else I have opened up this confusing can of wiggly worms for me and my wiggly mare.

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Re: Notes from Jeremey Steinberg Clinic - April 2018

Postby Abby Kogler » Tue Apr 17, 2018 5:58 pm

Thank you PF for these great notes.

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Re: Notes from Jeremey Steinberg Clinic - April 2018

Postby mari » Wed Apr 18, 2018 6:03 am

Great notes!

Now trying to think where on my body I can tattoo "A half-halt is not a dialogue" :D
The aim of argument or of discussion should not be victory, but progress. ~ Joseph Joubert


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