Johann Rockx Polishes Verdi for Grand Prix with Suppleness and Balance

Posted by admin On August - 11 - 2017

374x150_Head Banner JohannRockx is proud to present this informative video with Johann Rockx, riding Verdi De La Fazenda, a KWPN 9 year-old-gelding sharing how he’s polishing grand prix movements on this talented horse. Johann’s intention with Verdi is to have this horse completing his work in a supple and balanced frame.


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Johann’s believes that all horses can be trained to perform high level movements without holding or helping the horse. Johann rides and lectures effortlessly aboard Verdi sharing how to get your horse to be light and balanced. “He still needs to be finished,” says Johann. “I’ll show you how I’m working him towards that.”

Johann begins working Verdi with little support with light contact testing that he is not hanging on his hands. Johann asks Verdi while trotting to demonstrate his suppleness. He tests for blockings in the horse’s body. Throughout the warm-up, Johann diagnoses Verdi’s suppleness by riding Verdi into a series of gymnastic moments that collect and bend the horse. “I try to get rid of all the blockings in his body and to keep the swing in his body,” he explains.

“Sometimes if he tries to get support, I catch him lightly and he relaxes and then I can have the feeling that I can open my hand.” Johann constantly tests with his hands to ensure the horse is ‘on his own legs’.

Johann knows that when he opens his hands and the horse follows the bit down and keeps his balance, he is ready to ask for higher level movements.

Johann brings Verdi into canter work ensuring suppleness by again asking questions to the horse. “Can I come back a bit,” he asks. “Can I activate him from behind?”  Johann shares his aim with training horses like Verdi. “I try to have him as supple as possible in his contact so he can swing through his body.”

Once suppleness is confirmed at all gaits, Johann begins playing with higher-level movements ensuring suppleness and balance in the horse. Johann’s goal is to refine the aids by making them as small as possible and playing with the aids to gain the right reaction from the horse. Verdi performs all the upper level movements like the half pass, passage, pirouettes,  and tempis with Johann diligent in ensuring each movement is responsive and stays relaxed and supple. For example, when riding a pirouette, Johann gently reminds his horse to ‘stay supple, stay supple, stay supple.’

102x_rockx-profileFinally, piaffe steps are practiced where Johann adds the dressage whip as an aid. “Maybe I don’t need it, but maybe I can just make him a little bit fresher.” The work yields relaxed, powerful collected steps. Again Johann keeps asking Verdi for lightness and suppleness. Johann’s calm energy and sensitivity to suppleness in his horses is proving to be the key in polishing and preparing horses like Verdi to the Grand Prix ring.


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