Motivate Your Dressage Horse with Uta Gräf

Motivation is defined as the inner will doing something to reach a certain goal. Making the dressage horse a true partner that stays motivated to work over the years is a challenge as complex as training your dressage horse to complete the dressage movements themselves. What makes it so difficult? Unlike us, the dressage horse has no higher goals behind every step we ask him to do. Whereas we are prepared—spending long hours of hard and dedicated work with the aim of improving our skills and progressing—what reason should the dressage horse have to go this way with us? If we don’t want dressage horses simply to become a means to fulfill our competitive ambitions, we have to think about ways of making them happy in their work.

Of course, there’s no recipe that always works with every dressage horse, but over the past decade I, Uta Gräf, have, with the help of my partner, Stefen Schneider, developed my own training system, consisting of several ingredients I consider essential for creating the proverbially “happy athlete” about which so much is discussed. In this article, I will take you through these components, which let you and your horse work together in harmony.

Remember that whatever goals we aim for with our horses—may it be elementary or Olympic level—we absolutely have to treat the horse as a unique individual. What does this mean? It means that we have to take into account the nature, the personality, the character and natural abilities of every horse. If we do so, we respect the horse, and this I would call the moral obligation of a rider, which is the premise of everything. It doesn’t matter if we train a talented or an average horse. Respecting a horse also means respecting his mental and physical limits and working within them. Then we have the possibility that the horse likes to work with us and likes to be ridden, which has to be the common goal.

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Horse Wounds: To Bandage or Not to Bandage? from EQUUS Magazine | Equisearch

Photo © EQUUS Magazine. All Rights Reserved

Does your horse’s wound need a bandage? It depends. To heal quickly, most cuts and abrasions need nothing more than to remain clean and free of irritation. When bandages promote these conditions, they are the preferred choice. But the quick-growing replacement skin that forms under a horse’s bandage is fragile and may need to be treated with greater care than the slower-growing tissue that fills wounds left exposed to the air. In some circumstances, a bandage’s pressure and friction can actually prolong healing. Add in the expense of the materials and the requisite caretaking efforts, and you’ll see that unnecessary bandaging benefits neither horse nor owner.

In deciding whether to bandage a wound, location and depth are the key considerations:

  • Leave high wounds uncovered; put low wounds under wraps. Uncontaminated wounds above the elbow and stifle are likely to scab over and heal well on their own. This rapid response is a function of the relative immobility of the horse’s torso and the superior circulation at or above the heart level. In contrast, lower-leg wounds are often irritated by dirt, motion and abrasion. The high capillary pressure in the legs, resulting from their location below the heart, promotes the formation of proud flesh, an excessive growth of granulation tissue that won’t heal over. Carefully applied bandages are often beneficial for wounds at or below the knees or hocks.
  • Leave shallow wounds unbandaged; keep “full-thickness” wounds covered. Once they’re thoroughly cleaned, superficial scrapes and abrasions are left open to the air, as they form strong scabs almost immediately. A full-thickness wound – one that penetrates all skin layers so that the edges separate or can be pulled apart to reveal underlying structures – does not form a strong scab and can invite deep infection if left exposed. For wounds that require stitching, ask the attending veterinarian about bandaging recommendations.
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In general, simple wounds above the knee and hock do just fine without bandages, which most full-thickness wounds heal better with bandages. New skin formed under bandages may require surface ointments or a loose covering until it toughens up enough to face the elements.

Top Team Combined Training

After two 2 hour wee float trips all I got was a smelly float and an almost
7th except for that rail. Ground was a bit hard for dressage and Occy seemed
to feel that, so 15th after Dressage and 13th after SJ. SJ course was a long
2 minutes long with some quite deep footing, but Occy seemed to cope quite
well except for that one jump where he miscalculated his a bit and got in
deep to a oxer. But at least it didn’t rain while we were there 🙂

Regards Walter

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Tonimbuk Horse Trials Prelim 2012 – YouTube

Hm forgot to turn camera on until just before the 5th Jump, must have been preoccupied with something.
Tonimbuk has one of the longer courses, this year being 2860 meters long with a time of 6 minutes 22 seconds. Occy and myself had mixed weekend running 8th after the dressage. Due to limited warm up being available for the showjumping I wasn’t able get Occy as forward as I would have liked which turned into a stop at fence 2.
The Crosscountry was clear with some time. On the bright side Occy went straight back into canter in the water which he often prefers to trot through.
Appologies for the slight angle on the camera.

Tonimbuk Horsetrials 2012 Megan Jones on Kirby Park Irish Jester 2nd three star and wins on Kirby Park Allofasudden

megan jones kirby park irish .mp4 Watch on Posterous

Occy and myself had mixed weekend running 8th after the dressage. Due to limited warm up being available for the showjumping I wasn’t able get Occy as forward as I would have liked which turned into a stop at fence 2. The Crosscountry was clear with some time. On the bright side Occy went straight back into canter in the water which he often prefers to trot through. Back to Megan, she put in an Exhibition round of showjumping on Allofasudden to have the only clear round for the three star horses. And as she was already leading after the dressage and put in a faultless Crosscountry round she won easily. This was rounded out by coming 2nd on her Bejing Olympics horse Jester.
Regards Walter
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