This video is a must for those who would like to see grand prix stallions ridden under snaffle. Simply watching the powerful Feliciano executing changes and half passes in relaxed confidence with light aids and in a snaffle bridle, is reason enough to watch the video. It proves Jan’s practices for training horses to grand prix is sound. Moreover, this video shares one of the clearest descriptions of the half pass and shoulder in aids. It’s worth the investment if you need more clarity and it’s worth the review for those that would like to master the technique of the half pass and shoulder in.
Jan coaches how to ride the half pass at the trot and canter. Jan reminds us to focus on the inside aids – the inside leg with the outside rein guiding the lateral direction. “It is important for half pass, haunches in, travers to really have your dominant aid to be the inner leg,” explains Jan. Shoulder in also explained by using the outside rein and inside leg aids with flexion requested of the horse using the inside rein.
Throughout the video, Jan shares his skill and ability to read the stallion and ride relaxation and rhythm into the horse. Many times Feliciano rocketed forward wanting to catch a glimpse at a horse in the neighouring ring. Jan masterfully underreacts every time allowing the training to be about light aids, not curbing enthusiasm.
Jan is of the philosophy that there is ‘no reason to cause a fight’ and that there is ‘always tomorrow’ to train our horses. “If corrections are too much and they get afraid or resentful, that is not a good place to be,” he affirms.
Jan also values frequent walk breaks throughout training to relax the horse physically and mentally. “A little break helps [the horse] to feel that this whole dressage thing is a game,” he shares. “Once the horses think dressage is a lot of work and not so much fun, then that is a problem. You always want to make sure the horse enjoy what they do.”
It is a pleasure to watch Jan ride this lovely stallion under snaffle. And it looks as Jan has kept to his training practices as Feliciano looks to be enjoying his role under Jan’s guidance.
Jan’s resume extends back to Germany where he earned his berreiter, a German licence to train horses. In 1984 he moved to the USA where his competition successes include clinching Gold for Team USA in 2003 at the Pan American Games. His expertise in riding was demonstrated when he rode a Grand Prix freestyle performance bareback in a snaffle which is a true testament of his skill riding and training horses.