Classical dressage is the guiding principle in my training. Even though we are miles away from achieving the high level of this equestrian art, it is still important to know where we want to go. In order to highlight good movement with a marker signal you must be able to recognise it and the moments that lead to such movement. You need to have an ideal picture in your mind to help you identify the steps that will get you there and to establish a training plan. Watching Anja Beran and Vera Munderloh riding has helped me tremendously to evaluate a horse's movement and to understand balance. Now I have a good idea of WHAT exercises to choose to improve and maintain my horses' comfort and soundness. Unfortunately, I am not such a talented rider as Anja's students. But I can compensate that partly by knowing HOW to teach them and making it fun for all of us.
Clickertraining as Alexandra Kurland is teaching it already includes the principles of classical dressage, even though that is not obvious at first sight because Alexandra's lessons have very "undressagy" names. But it was only through Alexandra's work that Anja's became accessible to me. And that despite my lack of talent we are actually getting the very visible first attempts at piaffe and passage. Who would have thought!
In September 2015, a dream of mine came true and my two greatest teachers and ideals met:
Alexandra Kurland and Anja Beran.
After the meeting, I sent a set of questions to both of them which I compiled in an interview.
(The answers are unabridged. Translation of replies from Anja Beran from German to English: Michaela Hempen)
From Anja Beran's new book 'Der Dressursitz' (2015):
"Always consider: If a horse does not react as requested, he is either physically not able to do it yet or he does not understand the request."
Alexandra Kurland has published a number of interesting articles on her blog, among others a series of articles on what good trainers have in common.
Anja Beran just published her new book on the classical seat where she explains the above points in great detail (in German; English version will follow)
Richtig sitzen - Feiner reiten - Gesunder Pferderücken
Anja Beran also recommends walking lateral movements to make the rider more aware of her own body. During her seminars she invites participants to practice exercises without horse to find an upright posture and to walk the various lateral movement in the arena.
Anja Beran has published several books and DVDs on classical dressage that I can highly recommend. She regularly
organises seminars and an international workshop and she welcomes visitors at her barn Gut Rosenhof in Southern Germany. You find more informationen on her websites Anja Beran and Anja
Alexandra Kurland has produced comprehensive teaching material on clicker training for horses: books, DVDs and an online course. She teaches seminars and practical clinics. More information on clicker training, her clinic schedule and teaching material can be found on her website. She regularly publishes insightful articles on training in her blog.