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Kim Peters - What classical training means to me


"A good horseman will change his ways, a bad horseman keeps changing his horse"


Classical riding is an attitude, not just a style. It doesn't matter what breed, age or size the horse is, or how bad his previous training. Every horse becomes more assured and secure in his behaviour, both ridden and on the ground, if he is trained according to logical, progressive principles which encourage him to be light to the hand and the leg from the beginning. The rider needs constantly to return to the foundations of training, not look for the 'quick fix'. That's classical.

The 4 key stages

  • In-hand work

  • Lungeing

  • Riders position

  • Ridden work. Stages 1&2 improve the horses way of going immeasurably.

The 12 Golden Rules!

  1. Don't nag. Ask nicely, ask slightly more firmly, then insist on a response. It's easier on you and the horse.

  2. Horse's don't lie. They will show whether your training is correct.

  3. Don't confuse your horse, for example by pushing with your legs while pulling with your hands.

  4. Don't lose your temper, as when you are angry you are out of control. Be determined not angry.

  5. The day you fail to ask first with courtesy is the day you give up the possibility of a courteous reply.

  6. A contracted rider makes a contracted horse. A relaxed rider allows the horse to relax.

  7. If your horse is not forward, he is not straight. Likewise if he is not straight he is not forward.

  8. Be consistent, insistent and appropriate with all your requests.

  9. Use the whip to explain, instruct, clarify, provoke but never to punish. If your horse is afraid of the whip ask yourself why. Perhaps he needs a little more exposure to it and you may need to be clearer and/or more confident in how you use it.

  10. Be analytical. Work out why something is going wrong before you charge in trying to fix it. There is usually a logical reason for everything and it's invariably evident in the on-ground work.

  11. If your horses back is up, his head will be down, and vice versa. 

  12. Start schooling now. Don't wait until you think you are 'good enough' or your horse is 'ready'. The journey from mediocrity to perfection is a long one, and you may never reach the end, but every moment on that journey takes you a little closer.

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