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ACCESS GRANTED - DON JESSOP

Don Jessop

If I told you I've broken the code to advanced maneuvers with horses, would you believe me? If I told you that you could have anything, and do anything you want with horses, if you just understood this one concept about training, would you listen? I hope so.

Let's break it down.

Everything you do, EVERYTHING, has these three stages, part of a puzzle, that creates a whole picture.

Access, Quality, and Quantity.

For example. Cantering while riding has these same three stages, starting with access to the canter. The biggest mistake most trainers make is they practice quality and quantity before they have good access to the canter. This means, they kick the horse with brute force, into the canter then go about training the horse to hold the canter. Do you see what's missing here? Do you see how, if that's what the trainer does, they are not practicing making access to the canter better, they are only practicing making the quantity better? I never do it that way, and if you want to unlock the code to better horsemanship, you wouldn't do it that way either.

Imagine yourself cantering. Ask yourself as you canter along... was it easy to get into the canter or have you already forgotten about that because you're in the canter now and all you can do is think about the quality of the canter? Most people do it that way. They forget to practice going in and out, and in and out, and in and out, and in and out of the canter until access to the canter becomes super easy.

When I told you I've broken the code to advanced maneuvers, this is what I'm talking about. Don't skip, don't ignore, don't bypass the first stage. Let's take something more complex, something like trotting in place (piaffe, for my dressage riders). Should you get the horse stepping in place with brute force then try to hold the rhythm? Or should you work toward improving the early signal/response system?

After, only after, the access is easy to master trainers begin to work on quality or quantity. Sometimes these goals flip-flop. In other words, it's okay in some situations to work on quantity before quality, but in general, it's better to work on quality first. Imagine accessing the canter with ease and softness the noticing how the horse is unable to canter straight ahead, perhaps he keeps dropping his shoulder... The quality obviously isn't great. Go ahead at this point and start to change the quality. Ask your horse to keep his shoulder up now. Ask him to lower his head, and soften his neck muscles. Ask him to push from behind without tension.

Once you feel like his quality has improved for a few steps, consider asking him to increase his endurance. You're free at this point to begin training the quantity of his canter. At this point, you will have absolutely no fear about injury or repetitive stress syndrome because your horse is balanced and ready to begin building stamina in that activity.

In summary, if you've read this far, I'm asking that you, the trainer, the owner of your horse, work on these three pieces independently. If you do, you will join the elite trainers club. You will become more masterful.

Don Jessop - Blog Welcome

Hi! I'm Don Jessop

With Mastery Horsemanship

I write to inspire, educate and encourage you on your horse and personal journey.

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