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Anky van Grunsven at Equitana 2005 by Walter Berger © 2006

In November 2005 Anky attended Equitana in Melbourne. She shared her knowledge and experience with a small crowd during a couple of short demonstrations, and with a larger audience during a Masterclass. Below is a summary in a semi point form of the clinic which explains some of her philosophies and methods of training and riding.

  • Personal fitness is important.
  • In the warm up it is important to relax the horse.
  • For upward transitions do the least possible. But if you give an aid you must get a response.
  • The use of spurs or whips is ok, but only if needed. Don’t constantly nag. I prefer a softer leg aid with a spur instead of having to use a lot of leg.
  • In Medium trot give the rein a bit and touch with the lower leg. You should feel the back legs start working to get bigger steps. When opening hand for an upwards transition, the horse must wait for the leg aid.
  • If working on a particular exercise, do other things in between to keep it interesting for the horse.
  • If an exercise goes well, don’t keep doing it. Otherwise there is a risk the horse will give you the wrong responses.
  • Don’t do the same thing at the same spot all the time. The horse starts anticipating, and you are not training him.
  • Don’t use the leg in downward transitions.
  • It is ok to use the voice. You can use it to help differentiate downward transitions to collected work for example.
  • You need forward thinking for collection. Collection comes from forward.
  • Use the outside leg for the canter aid.
  • For training flying changes don’t use the rein as an aid. Use haunches in a bit after counter canter. Then give new canter aid with outside leg.
  • The horse needs to be balanced and be able to understand leg aids very well before starting changes.
  • You can’t use the same methods with every horse.
  • Use inside leg to outside rein only if the horse is not accepting the contact. Otherwise keep the contact on both reins even
  • When asked for transition by your instructor, make sure both you and the horse are ready for it
  • It is important to use the whole arena. By riding corners you can get the horse listening more. You can also get him using the back legs more. And it also gives you more room in the arena.
  • Moving your hands to the inside or outside moves the horse’s shoulders to the inside or outside.
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