The Art of Natural Dressage

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Author:  BitlessHorse [ Wed Apr 04, 2012 4:23 am ]
Post subject:  Collection

Hi there,

I am currently trying to teach my horse, Mharli and I to ride at Liberty. So far, I can get to her to
stop pretty well using my seat (no cordeo) and she backs-up perfectly! She will easily go into upward
transitions, but when I want to slow down, well Mharli has other plans!
So, can anyone give me some tips on how to slow a horse down at Liberty, not stop, just go into a
downward transition.
I would also like to train Mharli to offer me good self carriage with a cordeo, not sure what cue I should
use though.
I don't use Clicker Training (didn't work out for my horses and I). I'm using Carlos Tabernaberri and Cynthia
Cooper methods.
Check out my website: (still under construction) :)
Also, this is our dog website that I designed and created:

Thankyou, Grace

Bitless, Barefoot, Beautiful...

Author:  Donald Redux [ Wed Apr 04, 2012 4:50 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Collection

Hi there, Grace

I don't know if any of the AND membership uses Carlos Tabernaberri and Cynthia
Cooper method. If not maybe asking at their site or in their authorship, assuming they've written, might get more of an answer you can work with.

I'm a clicker trainer and know now to do what you ask, but if it hasn't worked for you and you've dropped it probably you won't want to go back to it.

For me clicker kind of waxed and waned too, and until I had experimented enough and collected enough information to see what I had been doing incorrectly I didn't get fully aboard.

I'd be looking at minimal approximations and shaping from extremely small elements of behavior events, and since I'd have a horse I can move forward I'd have little trouble getting downward transition without stopping the horse ... eventually. At first I'd want stops. Later I'd get the the cue laid on (I wouldn't cue anything at first to get the downward transition, just wait for that approximation) so that I could use it, have the horse anticipate the halt with slowing down, then once established in the downward transition catch the speed I wanted and click it.

If you've clickered you probably get what I'm talking about.

I'd be interested in how your horse does with the methods of those you are now using. I've not studied them.

Best wishes, Donald

Author:  Josepha [ Wed Apr 04, 2012 6:53 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Collection

Hi Grace,

The way to collection remains the same, bit, bitless or cordeo. Just follow the Gymnasium exercises the old masters taught us.
I have to say that I only add the cordeo when the horse has reached self carriage through Gymnasium play and the work in hand with a soft cavesson and later Gymnasium Riding with the soft cavesson after which the cordeo takes over slowly.

The tradition down is all in the seat. If you want to go forward, rais yourself a tiny bit by squeezing buttocks and finding pressure in the stirrups and move with the horse in the specific gait.
Then if you want to transition down, release your muscles tension, breath out and lean a tiny bit forward with your upper body.

The key to all your do is your timing of reward. It is essential to reward the precise moment the horse does what you have asked or leans towards what your are asking (slowing downs instead of halting of you are learning this with your horse as a new exercise). You don't need a clicker for that, I don't use one at all :)
The second thing is that the horse never encounteres punishment. This way the horse will never be scared of giving 'wrong answers'. This will keep the horse experimenting and the new exercises will come of their own accord.

Good luck :)

Author:  BitlessHorse [ Sat Apr 07, 2012 3:12 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Collection

Hi Josepha and Donald,
Thankyou very much for your help! :D
I love riding my horses at Liberty!!!! :) It's so much fun and feels really natural! :smile:

Thanks, Grace

Author:  Rose [ Sun Dec 07, 2014 4:40 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Collection

I use leg and seat cues for direction, and vocal cues for anything to do with speed. My slow down cue is a soft, drawn-out "easy." I try to only use the cordeo when she doesn't listen to my subtler cues.

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