It is important to know when to take the next step in your horse’s training. Most riders try to advance their horse before he is ready. If the horse is not educated in the basic movements, he will not be able to perform what is being asked of him well enough and/or with consistency.
Advancing the horse before he is ready will lead to a handful of problems: resistance, confusion, loss of confidence, stiffness, and potential injury. On the same note, if you do not advance your horse when he is ready, you will bore him, and he can become frustrated with the same exercises and possibly become pushy.
Knowing the next step in your horse’s training is imperative. You need to know where to go in your training from where you currently are. Most riders know where they want to end up with their horse. They want to be able to Piaffe, perform flying changes, do sliding stops, or jump four feet fences. However, they lack the knowledge of what the training steps are to get there. Often, riders start trying to perform the goal maneuver.
Training upper-level movements does not start with teaching the maneuver. It begins with other movements that build-up to the goal. You start with much more basic moves that teach the horse how to balance himself and build strength. The basics also teach the horse the aids. When your horse is ready for the more advanced maneuvers, and they have achieved the building steps with success, then you can move to the next maneuver confidently, with a good foundation.