Jane Savoie’s May Newsletter


May 2008

Published once a month. You are on our list because you signed up for one of our programs. To manage your subscription, see link at end of this email.

Note From Jane

Hi Everyone,

One of the things I love about the horse community is the fact that when one of our own is in need, we join together to help each other. It doesn’t matter whether or not we ride in the same discipline. When it comes to helping, we’re all part of the same family.

That being said, if you haven’t heard of eventing star Darren Chiacchia’s accident, go to his website at www.eventrider.com.

Darren had a terrible fall on the cross-country course at an event mid-March. He sustained serious head and chest injuries. He’s making a miraculous comeback, but he still has a long way to go. Lots of people are pitching in to help keep Darren’s business going for him. Check out his website to stay abreast of his progress, and to see if there’s anything you can do to help. If nothing else, send him your good thoughts. (Remember the Law of Attraction!)

Enjoy the journey!

Feature Article

One of the most frequently asked questions I get is, “Can you help me sit the trot better?”

So here are some quick tips to help you with this all too common challenge.

  1. First and foremost, your horse needs to be on the bit. If his back is hollow, stiff, or tight, you’ll find it impossible to sit comfortably. (And, in turn, you’ll make your horse uncomfortable too!)

    To put him on the bit, review the “connecting half halt”. If you missed it, there’s an article on it in the August archives of my blog at https://janesavoie.wordpress.com/

  2. Slow the trot down. Ride “sub-power” and when you can sit easily, increase the impulsion for just a few strides at a time. Then slow down again.
  3. Put your horse on the bit in posting trot. Once he’s round, sit for just a couple of strides. Start posting again before you feel like you need to grip with your legs. Reorganize your body, relax your legs, and sit again for just a couple of strides.
  4. Cross your stirrups over the front of the saddle. Post without your irons until your legs are tired. If they’re tired, you can’t grip so you’ll sit deeper.
  5. Focus on your hips. Notice how they open and close in the walk. Mimic that motion when you’re in sitting trot.
  6. Pretend you’re a belly dancer. As you swing your hips, use a buzz phrase like, “Do the hootchie kootchie”.
  7. Hold the front of the saddle with your inside hand. Use that hand to pull you deeper into the saddle so you can learn the feeling of sitting close to your horse in sitting trot.
  8. Relax your knees and thighs by taking then an inch or so off the saddle for a moment, letting them drop, and then placing them on lightly again.
  9. Take longe lessons. This is the best way to develop an independent seat so you can sit the trot easily. Don’t use any reins or stirrups. Let the person longing you handle steering and controlling the speed. Do exercises where you move one part of your body while you keep the rest of your body still. (Arm circles, scissor kicks etc.) Also, just practice sitting deeply on your horse in his traveling gaits as well as through upward and downward transitions
Reader Mailbag

Hi Jane,

I’ve been working with horses for about 13 years now, and I love every minute with it. I’d like to share with you a story about someone who I hold very near and dear to my heart…

June 16 will mark the fourth anniversary of my best friend’s death. He may have only been a horse to some, but to me he was everything. Pooky made me who I am today. So in memory of him I wanted to share this story with everyone.

At the time I was 12 and living in Charlotte City. I never really had any friends. I had one friend with horses and had been enjoying riding since I was 11. When I turned 13, my sisters graduated, and my parents and I moved to a small town of about 100 people called Tlell. They own 8.5 acres with beach and dune as far as the eye can see.

I really wanted to get a horse of my own, but mom and dad said we really didn’t have the money at the time. So I figured that there was bound to be a horse out there that I could spend some time with. Sure enough, one of my teachers said he had a friend with two horses close to where I lived and as far as he knew, nothing was being done with them. I got the name and number of the lady and gave her a call.

She agreed to let me start spending time with her horses, so my dad drove me over to meet them. I walked into the field and was greeted by a Haflinger named Pooky and his Appaloosa mother Mercury. Right away I was in awe by the powerful look of Pooky. He wasn’t a tall horse. He stood only 14.3 hands. He was 14 years old, and had a huge neck with a Mohawk mane.

His owner proceeded to tell me stories about how he once broke though a barbwire fence with so much force that he barely even cut himself. It had been a year since he was ridden, and his last riding experience wasn’t very pleasant. A girl had been using him for 4-H and took him to a meeting, but left Mercury behind. Pooky had never been weaned from Mercury. So as you could imagine, he was very herd bound to her.

He flipped out so badly that people had to tie him to the back of a truck, because no one could hold onto him. This is where he got the nickname “The Tractor”. After the stories, the owner handed me the lead rope and walked away. I’ve always been a small built person, and at 13 years old, I stood at 5 feet tall and weighed about 68 pounds. Needless to say, I felt a little intimidated.

I started spending as much time with Pooky as I could, mostly just grooming him and leading him around the field. After a couple of weeks, my dad also got involved and started spending time with Mercury. It took me almost a year to get to the point where I could get on Pooky and take him out of the field. He was very strong and was not going to make it easy for me. Sometimes, I’d get on him and he’d grab my leg and yank me off. I could see why a lot of people gave up on him in the past. But I was not going to be one of those people. I knew that somewhere in that hard shell was a kind, soft soul, and I was determined to reach it.

Pooky and I grew closer and closer day by day, as school got harder and harder for me. After a particularly bad day, I got off the school bus, walked into the field, sat on a log and proceeded to cry. Suddenly, I heard Pooky neigh, and I looked up to see him running to me. He put his head over my shoulder and held me there. I put my arms around his massive neck and cried. He held me there the whole time, just comforting me. I knew that there was softness in that horse, and an amazing connection!

This went on for a while – I’d get off the school bus crying, and Pooky would comfort me. My parents ended up pulling me out of school for a couple of years to try some home schooling. During that time Pooky and Mercury were brought to our place. Pooky and I become inseparable. He was tough for anyone but me. I could get him to leave Mercury, we were one of the best in 4-H and we did hours of beach riding. Those home school years were the best riding years I ever had.

Pooky helped me get through the hard school years. But all good things must come to an end. I graduated and moved. Pooky foundered in all four feet and battled it for three years. About two years ago, I got the dreaded call from my dad. Pooky’s owner informed him that Pooky had passed away. I don’t ever remember crying that hard, and I still cry to this day.

Although I have had other horses that have helped me and also touched my heart, none can compare to this phenomenal horse. He was, and still is my best friend in the entire world. He gave me the ambition to pursue a career with horses. I am now 23 and have been working with horses as a profession since I was 19. My dreams are still strong as I work with some of the most wonderful horses I have ever met. It warms my heart to know that my best buddy is watching over me. I think of him as my Equine Angel. Thank you, Pooky, for sharing your world with me and letting me into you heart. You will always be in mine. I love you forever.

Suzanna Fradette

What's New

I’ve had such an awesome feedback from you guys about the Happy Horse course and my videos on Youtube. I’m excited that you’ve had a lot of light bulb moments in your training.

A lot of you are telling me that new questions are coming up, and you want more on-going information like.

Do I use my legs each time I post?
How do I keep my legs long?
How do I start my young horse under saddle?
What’s the correct way to lead my horse?
What’s the right way to longe?
How do I deal with, bucking, rearing, or bolting?

So, to help you continue your education a la A Happy Horse, I’m working really hard at putting together a membership site. I’m currently building a list of audio and video files for you.

I’m also planning some kind of bulletin board where you can communicate with each other and brainstorm about your ideas, successes, and challenges.

Anyhow, let me know what else you’d like to see on the site. Send me an email at jsavoie@mindspring.com. I’ll try to implement as many of your ideas as I can.

Final Tip

A lot of people have asked me why I named my home study course A Happy Horse. The simple answer is that my training philosophy is as follows: Reward is NOT the absence of punishment. If you don’t praise your horse, it’s the same as punishing him. Instead, I ride and train by the philosophy that the absence of reward is punishment. So I reward every small effort my horse makes.

Final Thought

“Be kinder than necessary, for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.”

Quick Note

Are you sick and tired of complicated and confusing training techniques?
Are you frustrated by negative emotions like fear and lack of confidence?
Would you like to be trained by a Three Time Olympic Coach? Learn how by going to:

My Website
My Products
My Courses
My Schedule

My Blog is at https://janesavoie.wordpress.com/ (all past newsletters are now posted here)
To learn more about the Happy Horse Course paste this link into your browser.

This entry was posted in Dressage, Dressage Training, Mental Training, Motivational Tips, Sports Psychology, Training Problems and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Jane Savoie’s May Newsletter

  1. janesavoie says:

    Thanks! Glad you enjoyed it!

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