Each horse learns in a different way and has different needs. Kiki, a four-year-old KWPN mare, starts training in winter 2019. Kiki has a blockage in the sacroiliac joint, which causes muscle contractions. This means that the priority of the training is to work on the relaxation of the mare so she can release the tension.

Lunging is very helpful in allowing the young horse to find his balance, to relax his muscles and to develop propulsion. Kiki is motivated and understands the exercises quite quickly. After a few weeks, I can train her on the long-lines and in-hand. The gymnastics has positive effects on her body and Kiki becomes more self-confident. During this training period, her owner takes groundwork courses and works on the relationship with her mare.

After a few months, Kiki made a lot of progress in her dressage, she’s reliable and responsive to the aids. I train her on cavalettis and take her for rides outdoor. Kiki is pleasant to ride, she’s light on the aids and she’s starting to search for contact with the rider's hands. Working on the neck extension is indeed just as important as lateral exercises. Kiki learns shoulder-in and I start teaching her travers and renvers.

Gentleness and technique are important with sensitive horses like Kiki. Some horses need more time to grow than others. It’s by respecting each horse's individuality, but also his limits, that a complicity between him and the rider can be established.