COMPLETED JAN 9 – Hartwig Burfiend, riding and lecturing aboard Calimero M, a 5 year-old gelding training at Level 1. 

Posted by admin On January - 9 - 2017

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head banner HartwigBurfiend is pleased to present Hartwig Burfiend, riding and lecturing aboard Calimero M, a 5 year-old gelding by Contentro at Level 1. 


Watch Hartwig Burfiend riding and lecturing aboard Calimero M, a 5 year-old Contentro gelding training level 1. 

This is an impressive video showing what three weeks of training looks like on a talented horse that, in Hartwig’s words, had ‘no idea about dressage’. His work aboard Calimero M has already been rewarded with acclaim received from judges. Watch this video to gain a perspective of Hartwig’s young horse training philosophy to create your own grand prix horses.

Here are Hartwig’s 8 Tips you’ll learn when training young horses.

1. Light Pressure

First and foremost, Hartwig’s fundamental rule with young horses is to use light pressure.  He begins with having Calimero listening to his soft half halts and soft and gentle leg aids.    This was not always the case as Hartwig shares how Calimero arrived leaning and heavy in Hartwig's hands.  Hartwig shares in this video how an independent seat and hands produces a horse that now  responds to little pressure.   ”When I’m soft and light in the reins, there is nothing to lean on,” says Hartwig.  “That is the goal.”

2. Keep Flexion

Hartwig is careful with green horses that “I’m keeping –constantly-a little flexion in the jaw to the inside to make sure they are bended around the inside leg,” he shares.  “I can use my inside leg and they understand what it means to be bended around it.”  This early establishment of flexion cements the concept of bend in horses paving the way for training higher level movements.

3. Repetition

Hartwig also shares that his success in competition is the repetition of all exercises not just the difficult movements.  He repeatedly practices the simple movements – even with his older grand prix horses. 

4. Walk pirouettes

Hartwig explans that the walk pirouette is a necessary exercise for his young horses to move off his leg aids.  When practicing the walk pirouettes, Hartwig ensures the neck of the horse is controlled, the horse is not against him or hollowing his back and he simply "feels the horse with his lower leg" to encourage the horse to move off the leg.  This allows the horse to be comfortable in the gentle aids and develops trust between horse and rider. 

5. Start the Lateral Work

Hartwig believes it is very necessary to start early with lateral work such as half pass and shoulder in at the trot. “They have to learn to listen to the aids.”   Hartwig trains Calimero in his lateral work in a easy tempo at the trot so that Calimero can be controlled and the tempo preserves the horse’s energy and good mood.

6. Keep the Good Mood

Hartwig encourages a positive mood aboard his horses; always protecting the horse’s mental wellbeing during training.  He shares that training is a balance of relaxation and tension and that the rider must support the horse to find relaxation again whenever postive tension is presented.   “When you play with a horse in this way, they are never getting tense, they are always staying in a good mood, and when you are competing, they trust you.”

7. Underreact

Throughout his ride, Hartwig reminds us to stay relaxed.   Many times, Hartwig underreacts when Calimero responds to his aids.  This technique produces a relaed, willing and happy horse that is confident in trying more more difficult movements.  This develops trust between horse and rider and progresses the training rapidly and in a joyful way.

8. Be Playful with Big Concepts

Hartwig is not afraid to get Calimero reacting to half steps.  He reminds us this playful work most be short, be requested in a relaxed way, and be rewarded when the slightest reaction is given by the horse.  “We must be happy with little things to show progress,” says Hartwig.  “Everything needs time."  He shares that many concepts can be introduced in a playful way early on then be developed and perfected with relaxed repetition over time.  

102x142-HartwigBurfiend_profileHartwig’s philosophy is to create your own grand prix horse in body and mind.   Hartwig’s masterful training is being proven with Calimero M and he is well on his way to grand prix with this impressive young horse. 


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