Sam and Jax
Below are photographs of Jax. His owner, Sam, wanted to do some dressage and jumping with him but was unable to get him in frame with any consistency or keep his attention, making the experience somewhat frightening.
Being in the UK, Sam's best option was to get the Bridling and Give to the Bit DVD and work on this at home until Kate visited the UK next. The photographs below show the results. Sam's most recent results are also outlined below.
Jax before Bridling DVD
Jax after bridling DVD
Jax during a lesson with Kate in Essex, UK 2011
Above, during the lesson with Kate, Jax really began to relax and became much lighter in the bridle. We worked extensively on the canter during these UK lessons.
I contacted Kate last year knowing that she had previously worked with Jax for a very short period of time prior to me owning him. For me, the practical horsemanship approach is the only way, I want to understand the horse, not strap them down with gadgets. I continued with Jax's training to the best of my knowledge, initially spending a great deal of time on the ground earning his respect and more importantly, his trust. Jax was working very well at home under saddle but I was still having issues with him losing his concentration and not giving to the bit. His working in frame was inconsistent and non existent in the walk. I went straight to work with Jax once I had spoken to Kate and watched her 'Give to the Bit' DVD.
On the ground, Jax understood what I was asking from day one, however, he was a little more resistant under saddle, only managing to work in frame for short periods of time. After about 6 weeks of consistently doing the groundwork (which was no more than 10 minutes each time I rode), Jax and I got it - we spent most of the next 45 minutes in frame, throughout each movement and transition (of course I gave him plenty of breaks to relax and reward him!)
Since that day we have never looked back, the ground work I only re-establish once in a while, Jax now understands what is required of him immediately and enjoys working in frame, with the minimalist of aids from me. Not only does he get his rewards of pats and "good boy" throughout, at the end of the session, he will get his favourite treat of a lovely brown banana!
You will see the difference in him from the dressage competition in July 2010 before the 'Give to the Bit' DVD and after, in February this year.
Jax has always loved his work, even if he does do it in a laid-back warmblood style, however now he feels much more comfortable in what he does and his concentration level has increased, ignoring what is going on outside the arena! Being able to benefit from Kate's techniques via her DVD has been invaluable to me considering I am in the UK! Thanks Kate, keep the DVDs coming.
Sam and Jax, Essex, UK
Happy New Year to you. Just thought I would drop you a quick email as you have not heard from me for a while.
Lets just say after your visit to us, oh what seems such a long time ago now, Jax has been going from great things to absolutely fantastic things. Lets start with the showjumping - not my favourite discipline but we both like a change, therefore, although Jax jumps much higher, I like to stay around the 2ft 9/3ft height (he is clearing them by 3ft6/3ft9 - I know, I should enter the higher classes!) Our weekly clear round competitions improved our strides and bounces to the extent we won a local show in the summer and have been placed everytime out - one exception was where his mind was on his girlfriend who was still in the horsebox!
Now turning to my favorite - dressage - wow, what a difference the tips you gave me made, the click, squeeze, tap routine has improved his canter starts (from getting 4-5 in our tests to now 6-7s), the long reining really helps his movement and concentration. I am keeping his concentration for 90% of his training time and when in the competition arena nearly the whole test without one neigh (maybe a little look at the judges table but we are working on that!) Even when it was snowing he just got on with what he had to do - not much fun but once you are out, you're out!
We have been placed most times out, not that this is what bothers me, its improving that % I look at, slowly increasing at Prelim level from 52% (my very first prelim test in May of last year), to 69% in December. I am so pleased with him. We have also had our pictures published in Essex Rider (county magazine).
My next aim is to follow up on the DVD you sent to me with a video to send back to you showing the improvements.
From your website looks like all is going well your end.
Sam and Jax