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Posted by Il Paretaio Staff on Wednesday 30 July 2014 in Events
Top Tips for spooky horses
Have control of your horses feet. If you have control of his feet, you have control of the rest of his body and can focus his attention.
Lunge lessons can be beneficial in improving your seat. If you're more secure in the saddle , a spook is less likely to affect your balance.
Concentrating on slowing your breathing can really improve your confidence. Sometimes we obsess too much about being worried , and it causes a vicious circle. Focusing on something different, like breathing, means we do not have so much brain space to worry!
Never be afraid to go back to basics. Often ridden issues begin with groundwork issues, so this is a good place to start. If there are no groundwork problems, make sure that the ridden work is established in halt and walk, and then build on that solid foundation.
Fear is a very natural istinct and, in my opinion, a very sensible istinct. However fear does not have to stop you from doing what you enjoy, remember that there is plenty of help available to help you to overcome it.
Sue Palmer- Article fm Horse - Sept 2010
Tags: Tips for spooky horses
Posted by Il Paretaio Staff on Monday 28 July 2014 in Events
Sometimes , at trot, we have our horse in a nice shape but not really working through from behind.
Very often our instructor will say that the trot needs more energy and that this does not mean that our horse should be running forward. In our lessons at the Classical Riding Centre Il Paretaio, in the Tuscan Chianti hills, we always remind our riders that to get more energy in the trot they need to think of the rhytm being quicker and the hindlegs more active. When you reach a good energy in the trot you want to be able to feel the horse really swinging over the back.
Exercises to improve the quality of the trot
. Riding plenty of walk-trot transitions making sure your horse stays deep and round throughout, will be very helpful in getting him listening to the rider's aids and making him connected between hand and leg.
The most common mistake is to use too much hand in the downward transition and this would not help to reach our objective at all. Think instead of closing your seat to slow down the pace and bring him back to you using your breath and use your hands only as a secondary aid and ONLY if needed.
.Riding transitions within the pace reducing and lenghtening the trot strides.
Collect your horse in the trot by deepening your seat for four or five strides, then allow him to swing forwards. Remember that collecting the trot does not mean just going slow : it's about using the inside leg to create power while containing it with the seat and the hand.
Posted by Il Paretaio Staff on Sunday 27 July 2014 in Events
Whilst riding - crest release
This is a TTeam exercise to soften your contact. At Il Paretaio, the classical riding centre in Italy, we also use the Tellington-Touch Equine Awareness Method, a system of special bodywork, groundwork and riding exercises devised by Linda Tellington-Jones.
This exercise encourages the horse to lower and lenghten his neck, and helps those who find it hard, to release into a soft rein contact.
1. Start doing the exercise whilst the horse is standing still. Take the reins in one hand and place the other on top of the horse's neck, palm down, with fingers and thumb on either side of the crest.
2. Push your hand up the crest from the base of the neck towards the head, only moving it as far as you can safely and comfortably go. Make sure you do not allow your lower leg to slide backwards on the horse's sides.
You should begin to notice a difference in posture after just a few repetitions.
Posted by Carol and Jeremy Huggins on Friday 27 June 2014 in Guestbook
We are staying here right now and we are loving it. The riding is fantastic with lessons that have shown us so much, to be in tune with the horses, all of which a brilliant to ride, to use gentleness not force to control etc. truly remarkable and not to be missed. An additional bonus are the evening meals, shared with other riders, the meals are generous, Italian and so enjoyable. Near to Pisa, Sienna and Florence, we are staying in a traditional Tuscan farmhouse with views that are so beautiful...
Tags: Classical riding
Posted by Il Paretaio Staff on Tuesday 10 June 2014 in Events
When leading a horse you should set a rule that the horse mustn't put his head in front of your shoulder.
My husband and I have been running our equestrian riding centre in Tuscany for nearly 30 years and we found out that most of our students, who come from all over the world, often encounter lots of problems with their horses at home just because there is a lack of aknowledge about horse's behaviour.
Very often we found oursevelves involved in the retraining of horses who used to walk throwing their head all over the place , showing agitated behaviour and overtaking their rider. We think that education starts from the way you lead a horse too.
When leading a horse you should set a rule that the horse mustn't put his head in front of your shoulder.
You should never forget that one of the basic priciples in training is that like children horses need consistent rules and boundaries in order to feel secure. If you are clear with boundaries horses will usually relax and feel afer.
Going back to how to lead a horse you should not allow him to put his head in front of the leader's shoulder. If he does, stop him, back him up a few steps, then walk him up again.
This may take many repetitions and if you want you can also add a verbal command. Of course these look like simple things but, depending on the level of experience of the rider, it could be that you need a help of an expert at least for the beginning.
Posted by Il Paretaio Staff on Monday 09 June 2014 in Events
Take advantage of our last minute special offers. You will fall in love with our horses, the beauty of the place and the cuisine. At Il Paretaio, our classical riding centre in Tuscany, we welcome guests from all over the world. Riders will find here their paradise but also non riders accompanyng riders will find lots of attractions to visit and many other things to do including cooking classes and italian language courses .
Among our guests we have some who have been returning even 50 times...there must be a reason why they keep coming back so often: do you think so? I think it is because in our place there is really a special atmosphere. It does not matter your level of riding. At Il Paretaio you will learn something, anyway. It is not only about technique but also about how to train and we use to explain always the reason why you have to do something with the horse instead of just saying "do it".
Posted by Il Paretaio Staff on Friday 23 May 2014 in Events
One of the images that have helped me teaching people who came for a horse riding holiday at our classical riding centre in Tuscany and that had difficulty sitting down at the canter is the idea of being on a swing. I generally ask them to imagine the way they sit on a swing to make it go higher. This is really a good help to make the rider learn to sit still and follow the horse.
Another image that I very often use is the idea to clean the saddle with our seat while cantering and to help the rider to be still and just follow the horse's movement with his seat I tell them to imagine that somebody is holding still their shoulders while they are cantering and that they can only allow the seat bones to come under the body .
We think that with a good use of imagery we can always find a good solution for most of the problems we have to find a good seat and balance when riding.
Posted by Nicky Ward on Saturday 26 April 2014 in Guestbook
In over forty years of \'riding\' I have finally been privileged to feel the beauty of connection between horse and rider. Il Paretaio is the dream I\'ve been searching for. Wonderful, patient teachers, sensitive, willing horses, superb food and a stunning location make this place a true piece of Heaven on Earth.
Posted by Il Paretaio Staff on Monday 14 April 2014 in Events
Yoga is so important for riders because it helps to find a balance , to understand better the core and a good use of breathing. After a yoga lesson our riders ride better because they feel calmer and longer . Everybody should try it before riding.
This week we have the opportunity to have lessons with a yoga teacher who is on holidays at our horse riding centre in Tuscany and we plan to do other yoga stages for riders. If any one could be interested please contact email@example.com
Tags: Yoga for riders
Posted by Il Paretaio Staff on Saturday 05 April 2014 in Events
At our Horse riding centre in Tuscany we give lots of importance to riding in the light way.
We think that our horses trust so much the riders and they are considered so easy and special by all our guests just because of this reason.
Of course to reach this objective we need to train the riders to use light aids or to use the aids in the light way.
Our philosophy is " start to ask something to the horse in a light way: you are always in time to increase the intensity of that aid, while if you start asking with strong aids then you can also say "sorry"!
The aids are so important because they are the means by which we help (aid) the horse to understand what we want him to do. They are not means by which we make him do things.
While riding it is such an incredible feeling of harmony to reach what we want with lightness and through lightness of the aids and, sometimes, not using any aid at all but just using the extra-sensory perception of the horse.
Being in fact the horse phisically such an extraordinary sensitive creature he is also very mentally receptive and we can very often use our mind more than strong aids to obtain something or , at least, we can consider these incredibly sensitive aspects of the nature of the horse to apply the aids unimaginably lightly obtaining what we want him to do with no costriction and aggressivity.
Posted by Il Paretaio Staff on Monday 31 March 2014 in Events
This is an extract by a book that talks a lot about balance and collection and, as at our Classical Horse Riding Centre in Italy we follow the principles of classical riding where maximum importance is given to balance and collection I like to give more ideas as possible to describe this concept and suggestions on how to reach and improve them.
Fm the book " Dressage the light way" by Perry Wood
..." The horse is a four legged animal whose natural centre of balance is nearer to his forelegs than his hind legs. Add to that weight distribution the encumbrance of the rider's weight and even more of the overall balance goes onto the forehand. So much of the work we do to make a great riding horse is to do with helping to shift some of that balance backwards towards the hindquarters, and like many things in riding, the correct solution sounds largely paradoxical: to get more weight back on the horse's hindquarters we ride forwards! Of course that isn't the whole story; we ride him forwards into a nice receiving contact, we help him to be free from stiffness and to be straight, so that his hind legs step honestly forwards underneath his body and lift him up in the middle, thus lightening his front end. This is done little by litlle over a period of years.
Every horse is a different shape and has a different way of going. Some horses have better natural balance than others and some collect more easily than others. What we mean by "collecting" is that the horse steps well underneath his body with his powerful hindlegs, arching his back and shortening his overall frame. Some horses have the natural tendency to carry more weight with their hind legs underneath them, and some horses tend to push with their back legs more than they carry. Ultimately we are aiming for the horse to become stronger and suppler so he becomes more capable of carrying rather than just pushing with his hind legs."
Posted by Il Paretaio Staff on Thursday 27 March 2014 in Events
Help sort my spooky horse!
At Il Paretaio, our classical horse riding centre in Italy we help lots of riders to regain confidence after they have lost it. Reading an article by equine behaviourist Sue Palmer I found a list of top tips for spooky horses that might be of your interest.
. Have control of your horse's feet. If you have control of his feet, you have control of the rest of his body and can focus his attention.
. Lunge lessons can be beneficial in improving your seat. If you're more secure in the saddle, a spook is less likely to affect your balance.
. Concentrating on slowing your breathing can really improve your confidence. Sometimes we obsess too much about being worried, and it causes a vicious circle. Focusing on something different, like breathing, means we don't have so much brain space to worry!
. Never be afraid to go back to basics. Often ridden issues begin with groundwork issues, so this is a good place to start. If there are no groundwork problems, make sure that the ridden work is established in halt and walk, and then build on that solid foundation.
.Fear is a natural instinct and, in my opinion, a very sensible istinct. It's the people who don't show any fear that scare me! However fear doesn't have to stop you from doing what you enjoy, remember that there is plenty of help available to help you overcome it.
fm Horse - issue Sept 2010
Equine behaviourist Sue Palmer
Posted by Il Paretaio Staff on Monday 17 March 2014 in Events
What to do when the horse goes over deep and leans on my hands
One of the problems our students tell us they have at home with their horses when riding and training is that the horse goes over-deep and leans on their hands. Generally they come to our classical riding equestrian centre Il Paretaio , in Italy,to be helped to solve this problems.
I found quite clear for any rider this explanation by D. Lush in her book The building blocks of training.
"If he is young and/or it is early in his training, don't panic! His back muscles may still be too weak to support his posture against the pull of gravity, so he is using your hand to help him. Your goal will be to strenghten him- hill work, trotting poles and lungeing are all good for this. It may be some weeks or even months before he can begin to support himself without your help, so be patient.
If he is actively leaning onto your hand because he is lazy, you need to remove his prop! Use positive, rhythmic lower leg aids to ask him to step further under from behind, and make frequent, unexpected (to him!) releases of the contact by pushing your hands forward suddenly and letting the reins go into loops. He will either support himself or fall flat on his nose! For safety, do this in a school with a good, level surface and sit very upright - you don't want to go over his head if he stumbles. Your giving of the reins must be sudden, or he will follow your hands by dropping even further down. You should find that he quickly loses the inclination to lean on a contact that suddenly disappears without warning." Fm "The building blocks of training , by DebbY Lush.
Anyway we think that all the exercises that will lead the horse to have more balance (lateral work, transitions, variations of speed, outdoor riding, little jumping etc) will bring him to have more self carriage and lean less ...better...not lean at all on your hands. During your equestrian riding vacation in Tuscany, at Il Pareaio, very qualified instructors both in dressage and showjumping will teach you all about this.
Posted by Il Paretaio Staff on Monday 03 March 2014 in Events
Riding out is very important for the mind and the good athletic developement of a horse.
It increases the willing to go "straight and forward". It is much easier to fulfill this important goal than what it is sometimes in the arena. In the arena in fact the horse can have the tendance to lay towards the fence or the wall and become crooked which is something absolutely to be avoided from the first steps in training. Crookedeness will affect all the rest of the training and it is easier to have this problem in a confined space than when we ride out in the countryside.
Furthermore if you have the chance to be surrounded by hills as we are here in the Chianti area it is a great benefit for the horse in terms of engagement going up and down the hills. It is also very useful to make him learn to use better his body and the uneven ground improves the coordination of the legs.
Littl jumps in the countryside will awake his spirit and will be , again, a good exercise to improve the jumping exercises we generally make working in the arena.
This is one of the reasons why in our classical riding horse centre in Tuscany, Il Paretaio, we work our horses not only in the arena but also in the beautiful countryside finding that such a beautiful environement can be also felt by the horse as something extremely enjoiable and relaxing.
Posted by Il Paretaio Staff on Thursday 27 February 2014 in Events
"If the horse is not capable of extending the neck in all three paces and staying with cadence, with the back round, you can be sure the work you do is not correct."
"Extending of the neck you must ask it progressively and softly and not let the horse extend his neck by himself or quickly."
Nuno Oliveira from the book "From an Old Master Trainer to Young Trainers"
Classical Principles of the Art of Training Horses Vol II
Posted by Il Paretaio Staff on Saturday 22 February 2014 in Events
For beginner riders who are starting the canter or young instructors who teach their young rider to canter it may be of help this very clear explanation by Alois Podhajsky from the book The riding teacher.
"When the young rider is able to control his horse at the walk and trot, he may begin to canter. It is much better to wait with the canter until the rider's seat is sufficiently firm than to have the rider lose his seat and disturb the horse's movement. It is the ordinary canter that is practiced at this stage of training. Work at the canter begins on the circle and from the trot as this transition is easier for horse and rider. The pupil uses both his legs, the inside leg on the girth and the outside one slightly behind the girth. Shifting his weight on onto the inside seat bone, he pushes the horse forward at the trot until he passes at the canter. "
Posted by Il Paretaio Staff on Monday 10 February 2014 in Events
Why does my horse do that?
This is a question that very often riders talking about their horses ask us. Most of the times we have to answer explaining them how a horse behaves and why or we have to explain how a horse moves and what is affecting that particular movement or...We find that there is very little aknowledge for what concerns horses' behaviour and sometimes riders do not know why they have been told to do something.
In our horse riding centre in Tuscany we try to give some answers making our riders understand more how a horse works.
We are actually organizing some courses on the well being of the horse and on horse care and they will be directed by a professional vet specialized in horses and horse's behaviour.
Without starting to understand the anatomy and phisiology it is difficult to go very further one day in our horse riding goals and projects so we want to give all our students a good opportunity to learn in order to understand better their partner.
Posted by cecilia on Thursday 06 February 2014 in Guestbook
I spent 4 weeks at il Paretaio mid October into November and the weather could not have been better. October is a perfect month to be taking riding lessons, during the day we rode in t-shirts but at night just cool enough to have the fire going in the huge fire place while having dinner. At dusk we saw the most beautiful colours with the sunsets and there were no mosquitoes this time of the year. The horses continue to be so well trained and because I have been going to il Paretaio for 9 years, it is interesting to now ride some of the horses that were still in training when I used to go there many years ago. The instruction level remains very well suited for each individual rider or for any group of riders that were scheduled together according to their riding level. 26 years of weekly practice doing this with international riding guests have given the owners who are the instructors the ability to pinpoint exactly what the rider should improve upon and it is done in a very professional way. I will return each year in order to keep learning from their well trained horses and their superior instructors.
Tags: Il Paretaio
Posted by robin - South Africa on Monday 03 February 2014 in Guestbook
This was my second visit to Il Paretaio and it was every bit as good as I remembered. Unpretentious farm life in stunningly beautiful surroundings, personal attention from the owners and friendly, helpful staff. The atmosphere is relaxed and everything is well organised and runs like clockwork. Lessons and outrides at this horse riding holiday centre are great and the food is delicious and freshly prepared. Conversation around the dinner table is lively and, in no time at all, it feels as though you have known everyone for ages. There is no shortage of interesting places nearby to visit, from medieval villages to wine farms, markets to museums, art galleries, restaurants....the list is endless. For a relaxing holiday with a chance to enjoy the beauty of nature and history, it would be hard to beat. I\'m already looking forward to my next visit. Great for families, friends and solo travellers.
Posted by Il Paretaio Staff on Thursday 23 January 2014 in Events
At our Horse holiday riding centre in Tuscany we give lot of importance to good basic training for a horse. Most of the time, when we encounter a problem while personally riding a horse or while teaching a rider, we find the best solution is to simply take one step back. I do not mean literally walking backwards but just making it simpler for the horse. For example if you are having a problem performing an exercise in the trot try going back to walk and making it clearer for you and the horse. If your horse becomes strong on the bit try going back to suppleness with some lateral work instead of insisting on the same pattern with the risk of having a stronger and stronger horse. If one step is not enough then go back to something even simpler; for example if you are having problems in a canter exercise and you cannot find the right exercise to solve that problem in canter, go back to trot. If it's still too difficult in trot and you find it difficult to re-establish harmony then it will be worth going back to walk. These are just simple examples to explain that when we have a problem most of the time it is because the horse is showing that he cannot execute that exercise in that particular moment and very often this happens because we were not clear enough with our aids while making our request. In our equestrian centre in Tuscany the school horses are very seldom against the rider because we use this method of understanding, calmly explaining what the horse needs to make an exercise correctly.