Some thoughts about (driving) training

My pretty little PJ (Dundee Proud In Pajamas) … Veronika did the early steps for driving training with her and walked behind her for countless hours out on the trails to give this little super sensitive and insecure mare the trust and confidence she needed. Then almost 1 year ago I sent her to The Netherlands to Susan Bijl (SB Driving Training, NL)  for further driving training. The goal was not to push her in order to show her as soon as possible but instead to give her all the time she needed to develop more trust, confidence, balance, rhythm and power. I was lucky to have found a trainer that gave this little mare the time she needed and will still need, but little by little she is showing what she is capable of.

In my opinion this is what a truly balanced horse looks like. She is trained the honest way, not pulled in by draw reins, no weights or chains to enhance the movement, just real classical training. This is not a quick fix, nothing you get within a few weeks; it takes months, even years to bring a horse to that state. The difference to a horse that has been trained the “quick” way is that she has an even rhythm, natural movement (actual parallel movement in trot), she lifts up through the withers and has a natural head carriage (the pole being the highest point) on a soft rein. Just beautiful!

People are so often blinded by spectacular movement at the cost of rhythm and parallel movement. What they don’t seem to see is the hollow back and the dropped withers. They don’t seem to see how the parotid gland gets squeezed and the nose is behind the vertical, meaning the horse has its break over point at the third vertebrae.
This kind of training might bring you spectacular movement, but at what cost? Ultimately at the cost of the health and well-being of the horse.