Horseback Riding on the PBS Nature TV Show

I know some horseback riders were confused about a couple of things in the recently aired PBS Nature show.

Specifically, it looks like I’m clicking and treating the mare who is  “behind the bit wearing a drive rein contraption”.

Also. it seems like I used the clicker to reward the gelding while he was blowing up.

The problem with TV is that stuff is edited so people don’t get to see that both horses were a work in progress.

Both horses had a very bad history. In Europe, the mare was being ridden in a double bridle PLUS draw reins and 2 whips. She was held on the spot and beaten with the two whips until she was so revved up, they let her lengthen. That was their system for  teaching extensions.

She is definitely too curled in the neck in the work in hand pictures…but she was being rewarded (clicked) for “trotting in diagonal pairs” toward what will become piaffe. She wasn’t being rewarded for her short neck. She’s being worked in long lines. The sidereins aren’t there to bring her neck in. They’re there for straightness…to control the outside shoulder.

For the gelding, the PBS Nature TV show shows “part” of his evolution from a horse that used to bite his chest to one that eventually comes into a more normal outline. So when you hear me say, “better in the neck”, it’s relative to what he used to do. I did hear the click when he reared and was puzzled by it. The tv people must have added that. I didn’t even have the clicker with me that day!!

I hope this clears up some of the confusion about what was aired on the recent PBS Nature TV show.

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