Courses & Schooling

What kind of events can be arranged?

  • Pure riding courses
  • Clinics for instructors
  • Seminars for coaches and/or judges
  • Lectures or seminars on selected topics

More information for interested people

Courses, clinics and seminars are usually not organized by Mr. Putz himself. If any organization, club or individual person wants to hold such a clinic, they have to

  • Publicize the event and look for, respectively invite participants
  • Provide the corresponding technical equipment and facilities, like in- or outdoor arena, possibly obstacles, lecture room with OHP and/or projector for PP including screen
  • loudspeakers, possibly with headset, which will optimize the communication and make it easier for the audience to follow the instructions
  • Make a schedule in agreement with Mr. Putz and organize a precise timetable
  • Care for all financial aspects and pay Mr. Putz directly

Riding courses
For riding courses a length of at least 3 days has proved to be most effective. Up to 10 practical lessons, about 40 minutes each, can be planned per day. On previous arrangement also fewer participants or lessons are acceptable. Usually individual lessons are most useful. In case of accordingly qualified riders and horses can be instructed up to Grand Prix level.

The riders are expected to be able to sit in balance to a certain extend and work their horses independently. Also very young horses or those who need correction can be improved. If in doubt about your individual case, please contact Mr. Putz beforehand.

To make the lessons really worthwhile and find the most appropriate correction, at least on the first day no rider should warm up his/her horse prior to the lesson. It is absolutely necessary to do the warming up under supervision!

At the end of the first course day a theoretical part, lasting about one and a half hour, should be planned. All the riders are expected to attend this lesson. It will improve the communication among instructor and riders very distinctly and make the teaching on the following days much more effective.

All participants should find the time to watch as many lessons as possible of the clinic. Experience shows, that this can increase the overall gain for the students.

To lower the costs for the riders a bit, observers can be invited for the theoretical lesson, as well as for the practical ones, as long as the riders do not object.

Hints for participants

Short courses or single lessons with a foreign instructor can only be useful if the rider is open minded and "gives the different training style a go".

My Teaching style could seem a little strong in the beginning for some riders. The reason behind this is, that I try to get as quick as possible to the point and can give constructive instructions. I am a 100% sure about the effectiveness of my knowledge and want to share this with the pupil, to struggle together with the rider for the success.
I would like to ask especially the higher level riders (Medium and above) to understand, that I firstly have to correct Suppleness and Contact, if necessary, before I can work on movements. The basics have to be correct before problems with movements can be solved.

Also, no one should be irritated, if I check the gear for the horse and the rider’s position at the beginning of every course and correct it, if necessary.
A foreign instructor comes into a lesson situation with a new, fresh perspective (unprejudiced) and can see things the regular instructors might not pick up anymore.

Language problems and therefore difficulties to understand the instructions are common for a foreign instructor anyway, especially when he is from a country, that has not got English as first language.

I try to use the right terminology, but also use different terms and "pictures" which have proven useful over the years.
Please ask for clarification, if there are any queries about the meaning of my instructions.

I do not want to waste our valuable time due to a misunderstanding or misinterpretation.

Any lesson can only be useful for the rider, if the instructor identifies the reason and "origin" of any problems and gives the appropriate methods for the correction.
There is no quick fix solution by fixing the "symptoms".

One of my instructors in my earlier riding years said once:
"If your instructor always tells you, that everything is good, than he has not hope for any improvement in your riding anymore".

I know, that a lot of riders are nervous in their first encounter with a new instructor.
Please be assured, that I will treat everybody without any preconceived ideas and will endeavour to help as best as possible.
Anybody, who would like to do some prior reading about the content of my instructions, should read the German Handbook “The Principles of Riding” and “Advanced Techniques of Dressage” or use the papers I have handed out during my previous visits.
Please contact Andrea Raves for these papers.

It is also an advantage, if riders listen to the lessons of others on the course as the language and the terminology become easier to understand.

I am looking forward to work with you for your progress in dressage.

Michael Putz

Hints for the conscientious and responsible instructor and trainer

- make observations about outer conditions:
size of arena, ground conditions, weather, distraction by outer influence

- what do I know about my pupil and his horse?
state of schooling/education and training,
when and how was the last training?

- in the beginning of the lesson, especially for new pupils:
checking of bridle and saddle, feeding and muscles, looking at the
conformation, checking the rider’s equipment (cap/helmet, loose
clothing, breeches, boots or chaps, spurs and their position, whip)

- accompanying the riding in, the warming up including walk phase
(especially with new pupils or horses), here attention on changing
frame and readiness for stretching

- not too long phases during work, attention on breaks (the less time you
planned for the lesson, and the more seldom you work
together, the more you will be in danger of forgetting breaks)

- the instructor must try again and again to school his eyes
for the rider's posture and motion
for the horse's posture and motion
and for the unit "rider/horse"

- also in single lessons you must not ignore basic lacks or problems and
you should not work on exercises without according prerequisites

- rider and horse must be built up systematically, only if one step of
schooling is established, the next one can be tackled

- Encourage and teach your pupil to ride more with feeling:
- Don't spoon-feed your pupil: he should always first prepare and then
find a fitting moment for each exercise himself!
- Ask him again and again, what he feels and thinks about the quality
of the just ridden exercise!

Essentials for trainers and riders

- Horse and rider must be regarded as a unit. Therefore every instructor and trainer must school his eyes the same for the motion and feeling (state) of horse and rider.

- Only if you succeed in finding the cause for a problem and if you try to eliminate it instead of just treating symptoms, educational progress and solving of problems will be possible. Therefore the responsible trainer must be ready and willing to work on the rider, too. That means to deal with possible problems of seat and influence, also with advanced pupils.

- One of the main reasons for lacking suppleness of the rider is a forced stretched, actually over-stretched seat. Saddles that fix the rider and stirrups only slightly too long, only feign a better seat, in fact they reduce seriously every application of aids.

- Usually the horse can't be more supple than the rider.

- A good trainer will give positive instructions to the rider as often as possible, instead of telling him what to refrain from. This idea should also be properly followed when applying the aids to the horse.

- Without any doubt it is very important to emphasize the dominance of the driving aids against the restraining ones. However, even more important is to ride a horse in a manner that makes it feeling well under its rider. Then it will enjoy moving together with him and therefore it will feel ready to go forward well and to "pull positively" just by itself.

- The efficiency of any influence by the seat depends on the way the individual horse has been accustomed to, the way it has been "conditioned". Therefore first of all it is necessary for a lot of horses (to be corrected) to use the weight aids increasing the weight on both sides only rather restricted, sometimes better even nearly by riding in "forward seat" and applying the driving aids mostly by the legs.
Horses that have been "raised up" (elevated absolutely), usually feel a too extreme respect for the weight aids and in fact, they are in the medium and long term not capable any more to perform a real stretched posture because of shortenings in the region of the "extensors of the trunk". These horses react to an increased, stronger influence by the seat extremely negative, not to say "allergic".

- The inside leg driving to the outside rein is the decisive aid for flexing and bending a horse. It must be placed close to the girth and must not slide back.

- Sometimes instinct leads the rider to faulty reactions and therefore it must be controlled by mind: For example, this is quite typical when dealing with the position of the hand or teaching the horse "to pull positively".

- Every aid that doesn't show an immediate reaction of the horse is not only unnecessary, but even harmful. It makes the horse feeling, prompt response to the aids is not important.

- The rider should have the idea, giving his aids like signals, and he must be really confident that the horse will follow them. Lasting aids, e.g. pressing legs will very easily provocate resistance.

- Being able to ride with a hand independent from the seat, that the horse steps confidently towards, is one of the most important capabilities of a good rider. When getting older and the elasticity of the middle posture is waning, it will mean a decisive part of the rider’s capacity.

- The hand (rein aids) is only the vis-a-vis to the weight and leg aids; it never must be predominant. This is valid especially also for half halts and halts.

- The yielding rein aid is said to be the most important one:
The rider, who is able to yield in the right moment, will get a horse, yielding in the poll, too. You can understand this kind of yielding best as a relaxation of the muscles tensed before; an actively forward going hand is only very seldom necessary.

- Only the rider who is able to ride half and full halts without making the horse short in the neck, can reach optimal "throughness". The good, experienced rider can ride that nearly without any active rein-aids.

- Positive thinking is especially important in dealing with and riding a horse, because horses react very sensitively to the human's mental state. If the rider himself doesn't believe an exercise or lesson will be mastered successfully, he can't expect the horse follow his instruction.

- As often as possible the rider must try to act instead of react, so he must always (try to) anticipate the horse’s actions in his mind.

- Patience and endurance are very important qualities in dealing with horses. However, sometimes a horse will understand too much leniency as indecision and unsureness and take advantage of this situation, so it won’t follow the aids promptly. In this view horses are like children who test, if an instruction is really meant seriously.For that reason especially the learning horse needs a decisive and steady rider.

- Also in extensions the rider must maintain the initiative; the horse must not anticipate. That's the only way to keep the horse in front of the rider by the driving aids.

- Temporarily it may be necessary to use more strength. However there can only be a positive effect, if the rider isn't tensed or even cramped when doing this.

- A steady rhythm ("Takt") is always the most important criterion. This is particularly true for turns, transitions and lateral movements.

- Also the advanced horse must be ridden in working trot and canter during the warm up; as well it must be possible during the working phase to ride working pace whenever you want.

- If a horse doesn’t want to go forward, that must not always mean a lack of driving aids. Very often the rider doesn’t allow more forward because of an inflexible, non-elastic seat and a restraining hand. He actually takes the horses fun off going forward pleasure-orientated.

- Riding a horse in streched posture can only be worthwhile, if it still steps towards the bit, carries itself and if the rider can keep it in front of him.

- Also for a young horse it is not the main thing to go in stretched posture all the time. Changing the frame again and again is much more important, that means to ask alternating for a stretched and a slightly raised posture, because so the muscles can tense and relax much better. That's a very good way of developing suppleness and building up the muscles.

- A correctly trained and well educated horse will show readiness to stretch itself in each moment of the training.

- Walk is best reflecting the mental state of a horse.

- The rider should not only allow the stepping towards the hand, but even more make the contact palatable for the horse and show him, how delightful good contact feels. A delicate rider’s hand, independent from the seat, which makes the horse step confidently towards the bit, is here the decisive prerequisite.

- Real impulsion ("Schwung") requires a good suppleness of the back. If this is lacking, even a horse, wonderfully talented for impulsion won't be able to move "schwungvoll"; although it steps off quite actively with its hind legs, it is unable to swing through them forward optimally.

- The link between proper contact, characterized by confidence in the hand, and real impulsion makes a horse "pull positively".

- It only makes sense to ride with flexion or bend, if the horse reacts sensitively to the diagonal aids (inside leg - outside rein). That means it steps steadily to the outside rein and the rider is able to become light with his inside hand.

- The rider must learn to deal with the natural crookedness of the horse, to work seriousily on straightening, not only to disguise or compensate the crookedness.

- It does not make sense, it is even counter productive, to start collected exercises and lessons, before the horse goes with a supple back. Take care not to accept a nice raised posture offered by some horses from the beginning and waive riding in a stretched posture.

- Only a horse that "pulls positively" can be collected.

- Collection must never be at the expense of rhythm ("Takt") and diligence.

- Transitions are the moments of truth: If a horse here stays steady in rhythm, supple and yielding in the poll, its movements flow over the back and through the whole body, than the horse is responsive/"durchlässig".

- Exercises and movements can help to attain trainings-targets and they are best fitting to control quality and state of the training. The riding of movements must not become an end in itself and must not finish in teaching like tricks.



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