Strada delle Ginestre 12 - Barberino Val d' Elsa (FI)
Tel: +39 055 8059218
Posted by Véronique on Wednesday 12 November 2014 in Guestbook
J\'ai eu la chance de passer une semaine dans cet havre de paix équestre. De l\'arrivée dans cette magnifique propriété jusqu\'au départ - nos hôtes et leur équipe ne cessent de vouloir nous faire plaisir. Tout le monde est à l\'écoute et aux petits soins. Les chevaux sont très bien mis et vous pourrez en trouver pour tous les niveaux. Le seul bémol de cette semaine : faire un régime avant de venir car personne ne peut résister aux plats délicieusement préparés. Les rencontres avec des cavaliers et accompagnateurs du monde entier sont extrêmement enrichissantes et très sympathiques. La situation géographique d\'Il Paretaio permet de s\'évader très facilement afin de visiter cette magnifique région qu\'est la Toscane. En résumé, que vous soyez cavalier, accompagnateur ou simple touriste de passage, n\'hésitez surtout pas à venir admirer ce magnifique endroit. BELLE CONTINUATION A IL PARETAIO
Posted by Anke Martmann on Sunday 02 November 2014 in Guestbook
"Even 3 weeks after returning home Il Paretaio's very special magic is still continuing to have an effect. There are so many beautiful pictures in my head: the relaxing and warmhearted atmoshere of the people of Il Paretaio, the relaxed and well trained horses among which each rider - wether beginner or advanced rider - will find "his" horse, homey dinners with superb Tuscan cooking and international guests reviewing the riding lessons and / or hacks, exchanging horse and riding experiences and looking forward to sitting on the saddle the next day.
However, it is not all about horses - at dinner on the long table you can meet the world. Guests coming for many years to Il Paretaio - like my husband and myself or such guests who are discovering this enchanting beauty spot for the first time. Beside ideal conditions for riders of all levels also non-riders will reach their full senses here: Florence, San Gimignano, Siena, Volterra, Greve in Chianti, etc. - the cultural treasure of Tuscany can be reached easily be car. Some guests also use the bus connections to explore the surroundings or simply make a walk to Barberino - the next little spot.
For passionate bicycle riders like my husband Tuscany has to offer beautiful bicycle trips starting from San Filippo - various gelaterias with outstanding icecream are waiting for tired bicycle riders.
Here is my result: this beauty spot has a high "craze factor" and makes riders as well as non-riders happy."
AnkeSelbst 3 Wochen nach unserer Rückkehr nach Hause wirkt der ganz besondere Charme von Il Paretaio noch nach. Da sind so viele schöne Bilder im Kopf: die entspannte und herzliche Atmosphäre der Menschen von Il Paretaio, die genauso entspannten Pferde, unter denen jeder Reiter - ob Anfänger oder Fortgeschrittener \"sein\" Pferd findet, gemütliche Abendessen bei hervorragender toskanischer Küche in internationaler Runde, bei denen man die gemeinsamen Reitstunden und / oder Ausritte des Tages Revue passieren läßt, sich über Pferde und Reiten austauscht und sich schon auf den nächsten Tag im Sattel freut. Aber es dreht sich nicht nur um Pferde - beim Abendessen am langen Tisch trifft sich die Welt. Gäste - wie mein Mann und ich, die schon viele Jahre nach Il Paretaio kommen und solche, die zum ertsen Mal dieses zauberhafte Fleckchen Erde entdecken. Neben idealen Reitbedingungen für Reiter aller Könnensstufen kommen hier auch Nichtreiter voll auf ihre Kosten: Florenz, San Gimignano, Siena, Volterra, Greve in Chianti, etc. - der Kulturschatz im Herzen der Toskana ist mit dem Auto schnell zu erreichen. Manche Gäste nutzen auch die Busverbindungen in die Umgebung oder machen einfach mal einen Spaziergang nach Barberino - den nächsten kleinen Ort. Für passionierte Radfahrer wie meinen Mann bietet die Toskana von San Filippo aus wunderschöne Radstrecken. Diverse Gelaterias mit ausgezeichnetem Eis warten als Belohnung auf den müden Radfahrer... Mein Fazit: dieses Fleckchen Erde hat einen hohen Suchtfaktor und macht Reiter wie Nichtreiter einfach glücklich.
Tags: Il Paretaio
Posted by Andrea Ridolfi on Tuesday 14 October 2014 in Guestbook
Sta per compiere 28 anni, ma l’entusiasmo e la freschezza con cui Il Paretaio ti accoglie è paragonabile a quello di chi ha appena iniziato una nuova avventura e vuole trasmettere tutta la sua passione e voglia di fare per coinvolgerti in un’esperienza bellissima e che spera si possa rinnovare per molti altri anni. Cristina e Gianni sono stati bravissimi nel rendere tutto questo possibile e forse lo stare sempre “en plein air” estate, autunno, inverno e primavera li ha aiutati a conservare e a far trovare all’ospite sempre qualcosa di nuovo a Il Paretaio. Ciò che non cambia, e anzi si rinnova, è lo sfrenato amore per i bellissimi e curatissimi cavalli – vero punto di forza – e l’attenzione con cui vengono “coccolati”. Tutto lo staff, molto preparato e attento, è sempre disponibile alle esigenze degli ospiti siano essi cavalieri che non. Per i cavalieri è da sottolineare come in questo centro si insegnino i fondamentali della monta classica, indispensabili anche per i saltatori (e ora con Pietro vi potrà succedere di riuscire a superare con maggior facilità anche i vostri \"ostacoli\"…), la leggerezza, il sentirsi parte del binomio cavallo-cavaliere e il rispetto per questi meravigliosi animali capaci di regalarci così tanto. I non-cavalieri, invece, possono trovare la base per escursioni nelle località di maggior pregio artistico in Italia (Firenze, Siena, San Gimignano, Volterra ecc.) e, una volta ritornati in quest’angolo di mondo incantato e magico, un posto speciale fatto di tranquillità, relax in piscina, buona compagnia e, fondamentale, ottima cucina, il tocco finale per prenderti alla gola e non volerti più far andar via… o per lo meno farti ritornare.
Tags: monta classica
Posted by Il Paretaio Staff on Sunday 28 September 2014 in Events
Brush up on your riding skills in the breathtaking scenery of Tuscany, writes Charlotte Ricca-Smith- it's an experience you'll want to repeat
If I’m honest, I’ve never been interested in going on a riding holiday. Lucky enough to have my own horse, I thought it would be something of a busman’s holiday, and doubted the horses would match up to my trusty steed back home. However, a few things have changed over the years. I no longer own a horse, I’ve become a covert dressage fan and I’ve had two children. What I needed was a break from the routine, an uninterrupted horse-fix and some serious help with my lateral work. Oh and a pool with a view, would be nice. In short, I needed Il paretaio. set in the heart of the tuscan countryside, Il paretaio is no ordinary equestrian centre. photos can’t do justice to the beauty and tranquility of its setting. the first thing you see as you drive through its rather grand gates is a pool, with a truly breathtaking backdrop. Hoorah! Laid back atmosphere I soon discovered the whole of Il paretaio has postcard-picturesque views – from the 20m X 40m arena, to the 18th century accommodation. this is tuscany, after all, and the riding centre sits perched on the edge of a valley, with rolling hills and olive trees as far as the eye can see. How anyone gets any work done here is beyond me. On a number of occasions I found myself gazing off dreamily into the distance when I should have been focusing on my shoulder-in. Luckily my instructor was on hand to keep me on – or should that be ‘off’ – track. Whether you want to learn elementary dressage movements or are riding for the first time, husband and wife team Giovanni and Cristina De marchi are only too happy to help. the couple’s passion for their horses and their work is evident – and infectious. From the chefs in the kitchen to the grooms on the yard, everyone does their utmost to give you a great holiday. When I arrive mid-afternoon – too late for lunch, but a long way off dinner – I ask if I could have a bite to eat. What I am presented with is a lovingly prepared, very large salad, complete with fresh bread and jug of local wine. their energy and enthusiasm also mean those staying with them want to be the best rider they can to please their surrogate parents. Cristina clucks around her guests like a proud mother hen, while Giovanni sits back and lets his riding – and his wife – do all the talking. It is their charm which makes Il paretaio such a success. It feels like a family home, which is exactly what it is – complete with a range of friendly, laid back dogs wandering about, in search of a shady spot or a comfy lap. the De marchi’s son, pietro, also teaches there, when he’s not competing in showjumping. And their daughter, Georgia, plans to return to the centre after finishing her degree at the University of Florence. the family atmosphere also fostered a feeling of camaraderie in the group – even though most of us had arrived alone and came from all around the globe. I was the only brit during my stay there, sharing the dinner table with riders from switzerland, Germany, sweden, Italy, singapore and Japan. Food glorious food Our talk each evening was of what we had achieved on our ponies that day, and hoped to achieve tomorrow. We also talked about the incredible food. A lot. breakfast is buffet style, complete with homemade yoghurt, jams, fresh bread, cake (cake for breakfast? Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it), and strong, Italian coffee. the evening meal is a more formal affair. Course after course of traditional tuscan food was brought to our table, washed down with a seemingly bottomless jug of local Chianti. In Italy you not only have a starter (antipasto), they also enjoy pasta or risotto before their main meat dish. Accommodation is an 18th century Tuscan farmhouse
At Il Paretaio you get a few months worth of lessons crammed into one week
The impressive stables are home to well-trained horses (an Italian breed traditionally used for herding cattle) was assigned to me for my first lesson. It soon became apparent I can’t ride a corner correctly, let alone leg-yield. No wonder I’m having problems at home. I was regretting using the phrase ‘very experienced’ when asked about my level of riding. In fairness, I often have these negative feelings when a dressage lesson doesn’t quite go to plan. ‘I can’t ride, I know nothing, I am beyond help...’. And then I don’t see my instructor for another two weeks, by which time I’ve forgotten what little I learnt. this is a pattern that has repeated itself for many years and one of the main things holding me back – irregular lessons, combined with a lack of self belief. What is so great about riding at Il paretaio is you get a few months worth of lessons crammed into one week. What I learnt – and failed at – in the lesson on my first morning, I was able to have another go at later that afternoon. And you know what? second time out, I really wasn’t so bad. things started to click into place. For the first time I understood the importance of the outside aids and I (kind of) felt like I could ‘do’ dressage. squib became softer and more responsive, my position improved and my confidence soared. It also helped that Cristina was endlessly optimistic and complimentary about my riding. Giovanni was slightly more pragmatic in his approach, but nonetheless encouraging, and I found myself sitting that little bit taller in the saddle and trying to really ride those corners in hope of receiving another “benissimo” [excellent]. On other days I rode a gorgeous young mérens, a breed more used to negotiating the French pyrenees than a dressage arena. When I first got on, his stocky build and voluptuous mane felt like I was riding Aslan When Pietro isn’t competing he helps train the horses – and riders Everything you need to know l Half board at Il paretaio costs from €70 to €105 per night (based on two people sharing). this includes a buffet breakfast and a four-course dinner with wine. single supplements are €28 per day. l Airport transfers start at €85 one way, for a car with up to four seats. l Children aged five to 14 years, sharing with two adults, receive a 50 per cent discount. those four and under go free. l A 50-minute group lesson (maximum three people) costs €35 for beginners and €46 for a dressage lesson. Individual dressage lessons cost €59. l A half-day hack is €55. l Alternatively you can book a weekly riding programme, which includes seven days half board, plus six days or lessons and/or hacking. prices start at €915. l For more information or to book your holiday, visit: www.ilparetaio.it Getting there there are a number of airports, all within an easy drive of Il paretaio. Florence is the closest (around 40 minutes drive), but often the most expensive to fly to. However, you can get a bus to the local village barberino Val d’ elsa, which cuts down on transfer/car hire costs. Other airports close by are pisa (around one hour) and bologna (around two hours). the best option is to hire a car, so you can explore the local area. Airlines serving the area are easyJet (www.easyjet.com), ryanair (www. ryanair.com), british Airways (www. britishairways.com/) and Vueling Airlines (www.vueling.com). prices start from as little as £80 return. the earlier you book, the cheaper the flights. Il paretaio recommends using www.skyscanner.net for the best price. With each course I tried to save room for the next, and somehow always managed to find a small space for the delicious desserts. After all that riding, swimming and eating our group bid each other “buona notte” by 10.30pm each evening. most of the bedrooms are in the main house, which is simply decorated in a sympathetic Italian style, with original terracotta floors, wooden beams, stones walls and arched ceilings. there is also an apartment, complete with small kitchen, which is ideal for friends or families. Clicking into place Giovanni and Cristina moved from milan to the tuscan countryside 28 years ago, wanting to share their love for horses and promote a sympathetic way of riding. Usignol was more Aslan than Valegro, but Charlotte was smitten both trained with the likes of Louis Valenca – one of the chief riders in the portuguese equestrian school – and pedro de Almeida, who was a student of dressage master Nuno Oliveira. As a result, Il paretaio specialises in classical dressage and has around 30 quality horses, trained by themselves, ranging from Italian sport horses to english thoroughbreds and French mountain horses. Following an assessment on day one, each rider is matched to the most suitable horse, according to their ability and aims of the holiday. mine was to master lateral movements, such as shoulder-in. I have been trying to teach these to a lovely horse I took on as a share a year ago, but frankly it’s like the blind leading the blind. I hoped a schoolmaster would help clarify things for me, so squib – an Arab X maremmano rather than Valegro, but what Usignol lacked in height and elegance he made up for in attitude. Only recently backed, he was quick to learn, eager to please and had very promising paces. I began to wonder if I could ship him home. Wining and riding You don’t need to be a dressage fan to ride here, as the centre caters for all abilities. One woman had never ridden before, while a couple from Naples on their honeymoon learnt together a year ago and wanted to progress. Now that’s the kind of marriage guidance I would happily sign up for. If you want to ride out, you can explore the beautiful tuscan countryside, although according to Cristina most who plan to spend their week hacking out, decide to book more lessons instead. One experience not to be missed – but also not to be repeated by me – was a two-hour ride to a local vineyard for some wine tasting. I say ‘tasting’ in the loosest possible way, as it was more a case of drinking several glasses, encouraged by our lovely guide and Il paretaio groom Natalie. It wasn’t that I didn’t enjoy the ride, or the fabulous wines we sampled, it was dealing with the dressage lesson when I got back to the stables that was less favourable. I can only describe dressage after a few glasses of vino as a unique experience, and I can’t say I’m in a hurry to try it again... I am, however, keen to return to Il paretaio, as my riding improved during my short stay and I’m eager to learn more. It seems I am not alone, as many of the guests there are regulars, coming each year for a week or two to top up their equestrian skills. they also come for the fantastic scenery, fabulous food and De marchi friendship. What more could you ask from a holiday? Il Paretaio is set in the heart of the Tuscan countryside
Posted by Il Paretaio Staff on Monday 25 August 2014 in Events
As riders we have to be disciplined. Horses need consistency in their training and we need to be logic and accurate.
It is extremely important to focus on where we're riding in the arena. When you are schooling you need to stick to your line, wether it's an accurately sized circle or the correct line across the diagonal. Then your horse will learn to understand what's being asked of him. If you want to focus on riding accurately, the following exercis may be useful:
Exercises 1- CORNERS
Make sure your corners are really accurate by riding as deep as you can into the corner. If your horse starts to fall in, try halting, then allowing him to turn around the corner, almost as a quarte pirouette. Repeat this until your horse is remaining deep into each corner.
Exercise 2- SERPENTINE
Ride a three, four or even five-loop serpentine, making sure you know exactly at which points you want to hit the track. Ensure you ask for a change of flexion each time you cross the centre line
Posted by Il Paretaio Staff on Friday 22 August 2014 in Events
How to achieve a good outlineThere are many different ways to achieve a good outline and very often some methods work better than others depending on the different horse and the different situation.What is really important is not forcing and not feeling pressed to achieve the result.You need patience and time and especially you need to understand what you are seeking.If all the basic and simple exercises are well executed with the aim of reaching lightness then the outline will come as something magic. Do not be impatient when you find a good shape and then you cant maintain it: time, good work and comprehension of what helps and what does not help will lead you to have a horse able to develop and sustain a very nice outline.At Il Paretaio, horse riding centre in Tuscany specialized in classical dressage all is about teaching the riders how to reach a nice outline with light aids.
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.