Strada delle Ginestre 12 - Barberino Val d' Elsa (FI)
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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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
Posted by ritva Norway on Thursday 16 January 2014 in Guestbook
I have been to Il Paretaio many times. I love the place, I love the landscape, I love the instructors and I love the horses! Last autumn I went with a friend who was new to Il Paretaio. This friend had thought that she would never ride again after an injury, but now she is back on the horse after one inspirational week at Il Paretaio! We also found out that riding here was as demanding on the brain as the body! Small groups and instructors who follow you up constantly requires your full concentration! Pleasantly tired after one day you can relax at the long dining table with delicious lokal food and wine , - and other like-minded riders. I hope to be back soon! Ritva
Tags: Il Paretaio
Posted by Andrea knoll- New York on Wednesday 08 January 2014 in Guestbook
ll Paretaio is a gem for travelers, horse enthusiasts and seasoned riders alike. I am co-owner of Knoll Farm located in New York, where I train horses and teach riders. I have competed at Grand Prix dressage and also competed at advanced levels in show jumping CDI, international competition, hunter/jumpers and equitation. I trained in dressage with the previous owner and founder of Knoll Farm, Ann Gribbons, who has recently been inducted into the USDF Hall of Fame for her outstanding accomplishments and contributions to dressage, she was also the Chef d\'Equipe, National Coach and Technical advisor for the US Dressage team for the 2012 Olympics. When I visited Il Paretaio, I was impressed with the skill of the instructors and the quality of the horses. In addition, I enjoyed the warm hospitality and outstanding cuisine. It\'s a must go for riders looking to improve their riding skills while savoring the beauty of Tuscany. This is a place for advanced riders and for the novice. Four of my students are regulars at Il Paretaio, and always come back with improved riding skills! If you are a horse person, it\'s a must go! Andrea- Knoll Farm New York
Tags: Il Paretaio
Posted by Il Paretaio Staff on Friday 03 January 2014 in Events
Sometimes my students ask me what are the advantages of the Lusitano breed compared to a warmblood and ...as very often it happens...I have to start answering saying...it depends!
I love Lusitanos because they really tend to try always hard to please the rider and I find them always easy to collect.
I love sensitive horses and Lusitanos are very sensitive and smooth and very confortable to ride. I love their brave attitude and their athleticism and generally riders that follow the classical principles of riding (calm and quiet riding style) find these horses always very pleasant to ride finding them extremely sensitive to the rider's legs and hands.
On the other hand, while you can find collection easier riding a Lusitano than a warmblood, you will maybe need to work more on developing a cadenced trot and, sometimes, more help to develop a good canter.
Anyway I find always very difficult to give a proper answer to this question : "Should I buy a Lusitano or a Warmblood?" because most of the success and pleasure will depend not only on the right choice but also on the good training. It can be true that a Lusitano, because of his incredible generosity, sometimes will try to do anything a rider will ask him even if not "through" his back. Sometimes you can see Lusitanos not well ridden with tight backs, short necks and behind the bit but this does not depend on the breed but on a bad training. Remember that there is no substitute for good training: no breed can hide the rider's fault with training as any horse needs a consistent training programme to build on the strenghts and overcome weakness.
Posted by Taurus Munich- Villas Austria on Thursday 02 January 2014 in Guestbook
“Outstanding horse riding training jointly with wonderful vacation” This was now the third time, that we spent our vacation at the horse riding centre Il Paretaio, in Tuscany. But this time, we asked, if we could bring our own horse with us to get the maximum out of the training. This idea turned out to be excellent. We bought our horse 2 years ago and beside, that he is a wonderful horse, he started to run after a canter quite often. So Gianni and Pietro both rode Lenni and gave the same diagnosis. The former owner rode him with a very strong bite, which made him fear of the pain, so he run. What can I say, after two weeks intense training our horse stopped this behavoiur, also he did not \"role\" away from the bite, but accepted it again. And we gained a lot more confidence in our horse, which makes it now much more pleasant to ride him. The abilitly of Gianni and the other teachers to feel what horse and riders need is outstanding. This jointly with the whole atmosphere at Il Paretaio, the food (I was not brave enough to check my weight when we came back :-)), just made it unforgetable. Thank you very much - we learned more in 2 weeks in Il Paretaio, than in 2 years with local trainers before !
Posted by cynthia paquette on Tuesday 31 December 2013 in Guestbook
Dear fellow traveler, If you love horses, magnificent vistas of rolling fields and ancient hilltop villages, gracious welcomes, delectable meals, and kindness in all things human and equine, you have found your home. Il Paretaio Classical Riding Center and B & B caters generously to all needs for expert equestrian training, from world-class dressage to aspiring beginners and provides elegant rustic accommodations in a delicious atmosphere of gentility, comfort and profound natural beauty. As comfortable for non-equestrians as for impassioned riders, Il Paretaio was our logical choice when my husband and I made plans to explore Tuscany. Mornings, I trained in the classical equestrian arts with Cristina, my expert and heavenly coach, while my husband watched ringside and planned our daily adventures to Montereggioni, Siena, Chianti and beyond. Each night, we returned for a glorious evening in the \'great room\', gathered together by the fire with Cristina, her husband Gianni, and friends around a long wooden tavern table, for hearty and flavorful Tuscan fare in the warm and delightful company of like minds. The De Marchi\'s also offer \"Tuscany Florence Bed & Breakfast\" in their perfectly restored apartment in the heart of Florence. Within walking distance to the historic city center, Il Duomo, Il Mercato Centrale, the Uffizzi, and all the glorious churches, shopping and cafes, this is the ONLY place to stay in Florence. Two bedrooms, tidy kitchen, cozy authentic Tuscan decor, and astonishingly beautiful 15th century ceiling frescoes that capture your gaze and usher you into peaceful and colorful dreams each night. I dream daily of our return to Il Paretaio (Il Paradiso, as I\'ve come to think of it), to the best riding instruction I can remember, focusing on lightness and balance, and to be in the kind, generous, and personable company of Cristina and Gianni. We felt very sad to leave our new friends as we said our good-byes. We will return soon!!
Tags: Equestrian training
Posted by Il Paretaio Staff on Monday 30 December 2013 in Events
When, training a horse I found myself in difficult stages and I react with lots of patience and understanding I often think: "I wish I would have been so patient with my children as I have always been with horses...I would have been almost "a perfect" mother!!!"
To be a good trainer, a good rider, a good teacher, you need to be patient. Patience means to be able to draw long term projects and understand that you must be happy with tiny results...step by step...and be able to go one step back when something does not work. Patience means understanding, analysis of the problems , making a diagnosis and then trying to find the good remedies.
Patience will make you feel well and you will see amazing results in your horse's behaviour.
I believe in the quote " Patience separates the good trainer by the rest"
Cristina Libardi -co-director of Il Paretaio- Horse riding centre specialized in classical riding in Tuscany
Posted by Bijou Farrell on Friday 27 December 2013 in Guestbook
I was priveleged to spend 5 days at Il Pareteio in September this year. It was a magical experience thatI will always treasure. All I can say is that the care and respect that Cristina and Janni show to their horses is the same care and respect with which they treat their guests and staff. This results in a happy enthusiastic environment for all. I learnt a great deal, had a lot of fun and hope to come back some day.
Tags: Il Paretaio
Posted by Il Paretaio Staff on Friday 27 December 2013 in Events
1. Walk your horse around the short side of the arena and as you pass the center line (C or A), picture the movement happening along the next long side in your mind. This is important, as without having a clear idea of the movement before you start, your horse will not know what your aids mean.
2.As you pass the centre line, allow your outside leg at the girth to passively follow the roll of the horse's barrel in and out as he walks, (continue to do this during the counter shoulder-in and it will be a perfectly-timed leg aid).
3.Before the corner, subtly change his bend to the outside, so if you are on the left rein, bend him around your right leg at the girth and ask him to bring his head a tiny bit to the outside, facing the fence as you are coming to the long side.
4.Ensure your body is facing out of the arena at the same angle as you want the horse to perform the movement; otherwise you are conflicting with him and making it more difficult for him to give a good result (it helps to look between his ears).
5. Allow the horse to perform the movement, making sure your weight stays over his centre of gravity, rather than tipping one way : it is far easier for him to perform the movement if your balance is with his.
Perry Wood- Horse &Rider -apr 2006