Here we will discuss the contact of a horse from the moment it has been saddle-broken right up to when it is performing at a high level. Horses do not just naturally give to the bit. A young horse that has only just been broken in first needs to regain its balance. When riding a young horse the emphasis should lie more on tempo control than on the outline. If the horse is not forward going with you in control then you cannot ride the horse into the contact. But always remember to do everything with patience and feeling for the basic trust that you build from the onset is something that will stay with the horse for the rest of his life.
We ride the young horses with an open contact and a forward downward movement of the neck. With the young horses we do not train variations in head/neck carriage as much as with the more advanced horses.
The more advanced the horse is in his training the more variations you can ride in tempo transitions within the pace and the same applies to variations in head/neck carriage. Once the horse is fit and has developed balance and muscle strength it is time to start training variations in head/neck carriage. And again, complete tempo control is the key factor here. We alternate between asking the horse to lengthen (relaxation) and shorten (engagement) his frame. Always keep in mind that the horse must swing through his back because when they are swinging through the back most horses will easily accept the bit. Including lots of variation in your training programme will give you countless possibilities for gymnastic training of the horse and to check if he has really loosened up.
Duration: 7min 44sec