Erik Herbermann Clinic March 2010

Erik treated us to one of his rare lectures but, typically, he didn't quite stick to the brief! However, he talked at length about our interaction with horses and on that subject he is inspiring. In brief, he focussed on the nature of the horse and how we humans tend to muck things up. He used the analogy of the little seedling which given the right care and attention to detail will grow all by itself given time. You can't "make" it grow just as you can't "make" horses win prizes. If you take the time to understand exactly how best to help each horse develop without spoiling its "horsiness" you will end up with something even more beautiful. The horse is like a beautiful but raw gem stone. It takes skill and patience to make it into a beautiful piece of jewellery. An untutored hand would destroy it. "The scent of a flower once lost is lost for ever." I'm not sure who said that but it is very true.

On the practical lesson side of things, here are a few Erik gems:

  • Don't be disturbed by his tension - don't tell the horse that you have noticed.
  • Bend - the horse must be soft to the inside leg but the leg doesn't bend the horse.
  • That little bend in-squash out resolves the bend so that the softening of the hand makes sense.
  • Balance, balance, balance - the horse either is or he isn't.
  • Resolve him and leave him alone.
  • Don't use the rein instead of the leg.
  • All 2-track work has just one purpose - to improve the single track work.
  • Horsemanship teaches you to think clearly and calmly.
  • Advanced work can cover a multitude of basic faults.
  • Bring the horse up to the edge - do not push him over the edge.
  • School figure pre-empts everything.
  • You want your hand to be "stupid" - it is just the connection to the reins.
  • Horses express themselves through movement - when they capriole without force they feel joy.
  • When you ride well the horse is zoned into your purpose.
  • Don't hold up score cards.
  • "The intelligent man knows when to yield" - pressure leads to counter pressure so do not hold.
  • Don't ride around for 20 minutes complaining that "he's not responding". Every aid must have an intention behind it and every aid must have a response.
  • The stick is the amplifier, but you must first put a CD in the player! i.e. first give an aid.
  • Awaken the horse's understanding - he feels everything.
  • By abusing the horse's natural generosity we kill his desire to please.
  • If the previous work was not good the horse always hollows out when given a free rein.
  • Never turn a temporary corrective method into a habit.
  • Refresh what you have got as the horse doesn't know how to maintain it.
  • After every rein aid, soften both hands forward.
  • The leg asks; the seat directs.
  • You have the information - live what you know.
  • There is a big difference between training a horse long term and riding a schoolmaster; it is the difference between a programmer and the end user.
  • Previous Article   Return to Top     Next Article