August 02, 2009

David Oliveira training

On Saturday I took a two hours drive together with a friend to watch a David Oliveira training.
David has won the World Championships in Working Equitation.
(If you want to see some impressing riding, watch the clip from the European Champs at the bottom of the post.)

It was very exciting as David often mounted the participating horses himself, and to watch him work was a treat.

What David is working with is based on old Portuguese traditions, where you need absolute balance in horse and rider, very quick reactions and a high degree of collection in the horse.
The participants were very varied, both horses and riders.
Some of the participants are active in riding tournaments (medieval style), and some were dressage riders.
Due to this, the tasks were also very varied.

What David worked with in general was:
- Quick reactions. Many, many transitions. He did not want that the riders to keep the same gait for too long. Much work with transitions walk-canter-walk- rein back-canter.
- Circles and voltes. Small ones, and changes in direction (figure eights). Always with support from outer rein and often with the outer hand placed slightly higher than the inside one, outer rein pressing on the neck. Soft inside rein, only working as a leading rein opening towards the middle.
- Rider's seat. SIT-SIT-SIT was a returning theme. Shoulders back. Very important to displace weight towards the inside when turning and open upper body in the turning direction.
- Leg yields combined with voltes. Leg yields in all gaits, but in particular in canter, along the longside, turning into a volte so the horse places more weight on the haunches and going out again regaining impulsion. Quick turns!

Here Pelle, who arranges the training, is working on collected movements with his horse.
Pelle is one of the guys riding tournaments.
They got some nice work out of it.
His horse has such a cute face, and eyes. You can tell he's a good guy.

Now here is an interesting story.
This pony was bought for big money as a show jumper.
After some time he was lame, and was about to be put down.
He was instead given to his present owners that took time to get him rehabilitated. Shoes off, and a year free with other pals outside.
This was a couple of years ago, and he has never been lame since.
You can still see that he is a bit locked in his hindpart, especially in canter, so work like this does him good.
David worked on lateral movements first, mainly in canter, to loosen him up.
His owner took over afterwards, and continued the work with him. He looked more and more through in his body, and she was very happy as he foamed between the hindlegs, lol! She had not seen it happen before :)
They worked on flying changes in the end, riding diagonals in leg yield and placing the change returning to the track.
After some initial problems they got the instruction from David to place the horse in a slightly travers position, and that did the trick. They had som nice clean changes after that.

Happy owner, happy and tired horse!

David comes to Norway regularily, but it was the first time I have been around and watched a training.
He is returning in September.
I would love to participate, but there is a limited number of places and strange enough the ones that has participated earlier wants to continue to ride for him.
Maybe someone turns sick?
Swine flue?


trudi said...

I am so jealous :-) I love this work and have many times admired that video of him riding Otario. Hope you get a place on the next one.

Anonymous said...

It's always a delight to see a really fine clinician. The video was fascinating - we don't have classes or competitions like that here - there is something similar in the ranch horse versatility world, but nothing comparable for the English rider. I like the focus on having the horse accomplish a task.

Just by chance, Jean of Horses of Follywoods has suggested to me an exercise that I tried today involving momentary transitions - just one or two strides or even just a hesitation - and it was very interesting and productive.

Di said...

Yes, I've seen this vid before, wonderful!!
I wish he would come to the Dordogne!!

HorseOfCourse said...

Thanks for your comments!
It was really a treat to see him work, and I will take some of his training tips into my own training even if there won't be any possibility to participate myself.

Kate, we don’t have WE classes here either, but it is kind of the “original” dressage.
You work the horses as they were worked in the old days, trained for battle or for working bulls or cattle.
There has been a renewed interest for classical dressage and the old masters lately, and David’s riding is a very good example of these traditions.

Thanks for the tip on Jane’s tip.
It is a tool I use much myself when I warm up, to quicken the reactions and to get the haunches more engaged. It is also a good tool when learning halfhalts both to horses and riders, as it learns to contain the energy and not loose it!

Grey Horse Matters said...

It sounds like you had a good time at the clinic. I hope you can find a space at the next one. Perhaps if you book a space now and get put on the waiting list, you might get lucky.
Otario is a beautiful horse to watch.Thanks for the video.

Anonymous said...

Hello! I just googled around to see if I found some pictures of David Oliveira, and then I suddenly saw a picture of David and my horse! I wondred why, and checked the link. And there's not only a picture of David and my horse, I'm also here! Haha, it was kind of strange, since i don't know who's blog this is(or maybe I do? can't find any name), but it was funny aswell. Just to correct a few things(a) Krelle is a mere(she).. and at the time when she was lame, she only used 3 months to recover before i began to ride her. It's cool that so many is "amazed" by her story, she's a brave girl ;-) And!! It's SO much fun to ride for David, he's the best! I have never been happier in my life than I was on the picture over here. He's a magician!

HorseOfCourse said...

Thanks for correcting me - 3 months is even more impressive!

I'm a friend of Berit and Siri, and talked to you and your mother while David was riding Krelle.
I guess we all love a story like this, and I hope you excuse me for sharing.
I can understand you are happy. I loved to see the improvement in your horse during the session; she looked so much better in her whole body at the end.
I guess it felt good sitting on top of her too!