The second presentation of Day 2 at Anja Beran’s International Workshop was – Analysis of the Horse – to make improvements by position, flexion and lateral movements.
Anja presented four horses before lunch. They were all in various stages of their training. The first horse had kissing spine – yes – kissing spine. The first six months was spent working in hand – and now Vera was riding this horse. Anja talked about the hind leg – it shouldn’t just push – it should carry the leg.
The next horse was blind in one eye. Anja explained that this horse pushes forward and down and they were using lateral work to rectify this. She described him as an ‘unboiled egg’. She also used a phrase that Alexandra Kurland often refers to – that is – ‘The walk is the mother of all gaits’. There is a lot to learn in the walk – and a lot of physical benefit to the horse.
Now the third horse was the Lusitano stallion ‘Pao’. At 23 years old he is magnificent – and he stars in the feature photo above. Here is also a photo of his very clean legs – a product of years of riding in the correct way – no wear and tear on his joints. Photos by Maresa Mader.
The fourth horse was presented with Vera riding side saddle. Now that certainly requires some balance! It truly is something to see. Vera was so perfectly still and made it all look effortless! Photo by Maresa Mader.
The afternoon session continued with another four horses. Anja stresses once more that lateral movement is the most important move for suppleness and correcting crookedness. But it’s always about analysing the horse in front of you – there is no ‘one size fits all’.
The four horses vary in age and ability. One horse spends some time in lungeing – it is bent to the left and they are working on exercises to correct this. And another horse is running and pulling. It is stiff on the left side and the croup turns to the right. This horse is lunged first. And there are similar stories for each horse.
We watched some wonderful riding, with beautiful music playing in the background. Anja worked on piaffe with one horse – lots of standing still and square.
The final horse in the group was a Cremello stallion – Champain. Anja started with ground work and then went on to riding. This horse was fascinating – the colour of his coat just shimmered like silk! He had not been in training there for very long, and I could see the extra concentration Anja was putting in. She made it look so easy!
And then, after a short while riding, the music started again. The song was Moon River – a special song for me and my family, played at my mother’s funeral. It was like watching a dream horse – in fact, the whole event was like a dream.
Everywhere there was perfection – beautifully groomed horses, shining tack, well presented riders and staff, an outstanding arena and gardens. But the true perfection was in the calmness, the time taken, the attention to detail – and the focus on the welfare of the horse.
We we about to see a huge contrast – for the following day would be our ‘rest day’ and we were going to visit another horse facility.
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