Applying the Six Keys mounted
The mounting routine - lateral flexion and hind disengaging on both sides to have your horse stand still while you mount and test your sterring and breaks before moving off.
Other mounted exercises:
- backing (crunch in the seat and use the little backward circles with one or both reins)
- ride the rail on a loose rein at all gaits
- ride point to point across the arena (maintain a narrow hallway keeping the horse between your legs and reins with your eyes and bellybutton on your focus point) at all gaits and use a seat stop (sit, blow, whoa) just before you reach the fence.
- seat stop along the rail at all gaits (if horse doesn't stop immediately back up or support with the uncomfortable but constructive consequence of lateral flexion and hind disengaging. Shortly she will decide to take the good deal of stopping from your seat.)
- riding cloverleaf pattern on the 8 cones
- ride rail, turn into the fence with hind swinging out into the arena, rest, then step shoulders over and ride off in the same direction along the fence
- move the shoulders over with one indirect rein (rubbing hair backwards along neck) and one positional rein (which prevents forward movement) (this is a turn on the haunches)
- side-pass along the fence
- If your horse is distracted or frisky, trot small simple patterns like figure 8s, small circles or cloverleaf until she settles and begins listening to you.
- turn on forehand (the fence corner or your bit should close the front door while you use either the direct rein or a light touch of the heel to ask the horse to step her hind over laterally without forward movement) Remember, in all exercises, the rein does not move the feet. The rein positions the horse only then you ask for energy and the feet will move where the rein has positioned the horse - the open door.
- "shoulder in on the demi diagonal" (using an indirect rein and a positional rein have a little bend in the neck away from the direction of travel, keep the horse's body fairly straight and have the horse 3 track through the leading shoulder on a diagonal line. It is important that the line of travel be on the diagonal, not the horse's body. Your body should be straight but your focus should be on a point at the end of the diagonal.)
Ed Dabney is an internationally acclaimed clinician, presenting horsemanship and riding clinics all over the US and in Europe. In 2007, Ed was named Champion of the East Coast Trainer Challenge Series by Equine Extravaganza. Ed was honored to have been selected by the University of Georgia to teach their senior level Young Horse Training course.
His training articles have appeared in many major national magazines. Ed produces instructional videos and the “Gentle Horsemanship” TV program which has been seen on RFD-TV.
Ed's blending of natural horsemanship and classical equitation has made an indelible mark with students all across the United States and now also in Europe, drawing the attention of serious riders searching for the lightest touch and the deepest connection with their horses irrespective of breed or discipline.