by Joe Pallas
Ride your HORSE to MUSIC and solve training issues! Whether you are riding a dressage musical freestyle, or just riding your horse to music, there are TIPS you should know before you start. Over the years, you have told me that the most important thing to you is that you want the RIGHT MUSIC for your HORSE and you WANT TO HAVE FUN!!
You’ve also told me that:
* You want help recognizing the rhythm of your horse’s gaits.
* You can’t maintain a rhythm.
* You and your horse are nervous and you need help relaxing.
* You’re tired of seeing “4”s for loss of rhythm on your dressage tests.
* You’re frustrated because there is no harmony between you and your horse.
* You don’t know what the right tempo is for your horse.
* You don’t know the difference between rhythm and tempo.
* You don’t know what type of music to choose.
* You can’t hear the difference between walk, trot, and canter music.
* You can’t identify the tempo (or BPM) of music.
* You are tired of buying so many CDs when they only have one good song for riding.
Here’s how I got started…
I grew up in a musical family so learning to read music and play various instruments was ingrained into me early in life. But most of all, I’ve always loved listening to music. (I always had the radio on in the barn.)
But riding to music became a necessity when I got a high strung Trakehner gelding to re-train. This horse was so incredibly tense, and fearful that simply trotting in one rhythm was IMPOSSIBLE. Anyhow, one day I was trying to trot around the arena, when a perfectly cadenced Scottish bagpipe march came on the radio. That horse picked up a swinging, rhythmic trot all by himself! AND he was breathing in time to the music. (Yes, I even have two witnesses to this!)
I was completely shocked. After that, I became fascinated with how music affects both the horse and rider, and my quest began. As I developed my business creating musical freestyles, I was time and time amazed at how perfect music could improve and enhance the horse’s movement and the rider’s rhythm! When the music fit the horse and rider, both the quality of the gaits and movements improved. The music enhanced both the artistic aspect and the technical side of the ride. Because rhythm was maintained!
I thought this was AMAZING, so I wanted to learn more…
I was stunned by the things I learned such as:
* Studies show that music affects our physiology. Slow music slows the heartbeat and the breathing rate as well as brings down blood pressure. Faster music speeds up these same functions.
* Listening to your favorite music is good for your cardiovascular system. Researchers have shown that joyful music has a healthy effect on blood vessel function.
* Riding to music increases your endurance and feelings of well-being. Studies show that exercising to music improves endurance by 15% and improve the “feeling states” so, people derive much greater pleasure from exercise. (Those cool endorphins!!)
* Many hospitals use music to treat patients with stress-related illnesses to stimulate the brain and relax the body.
* Music affects both sides of your brain, so whether you are a left-brain logical thinker or a right-brain artistic thinker, music helps you ride better.
* Even animals react differently to various types of music. Given a choice, rats will choose calm classical music over hard rock every time.
* Music can also influence brainwaves. Faster beats make you more alert and slower beats help you relax.
* Music creates a long-lasting change in brainwave activity. That means that music can bring lasting benefits to your state of mind, even after you’ve stopped listening.
* Music filters out background noises so that you and your horse can concentrate better.
* Music acts as an INTERNAL metronome to help you maintain a regular rhythm.
* Music puts you in a more positive state of mind, helping to keep depression and anxiety at bay.
The bottom line is… it’s fun to ride to music! Rhythm and relaxation are essential for EVERYONE including dressage riders, trail riders, hunter riders, and western pleasure riders.
Ruth Hogan Poulsen