The Kjrsos Experience - The Rider's Journey

Need an article to come before this explaining how we look to find our aids within that moment that our horses offer us a movement.  That here we can find a truth that is difficult to find anywhere else.  We can allow the horse to guide us completely on what needs to exist in our body for this moment to happen.  Incredibly important to present this concept at the beginning, so this can be an awareness that both rider and instructor can support and enhance as opportunities present themselves.  The rider take a strong feel on the outside rein trying to keep the horse to the outside of the arena not realizing they created the possibility of shoulder-in towards the center of the arena where the instructor is and where the horse has already decided that is where they want to go which is why the rider has to take a strong feel on the outside rein to start with.  Trying to stop the horse from getting ever closer to the instructor, making each circle of the arena grow smaller and smaller.

If we are going to encourage our riders to discover how brilliant it can be to find the true aids of any movement in that moment when the horse offers the movement, here is a good place to start. 

First we find the corner and then later we can take the corner to create the circle.  

The corner is easy.  It requires no control by the rider.  The horse quickly comes to understand that he is to go around and around and around.  And in this square that we ride, there are four corners.  So the horse without any volition on our part, takes each of those four corners.

The rider can be encouraged to maintain the pattern of walk, to match and allow for the full range of movement of the horse and doesn't need to worry about control.  Because experience has shown us that movement is always lost in the hands of the rider when they go for control. It is as if they can do one or the other, but not both.  They can tell the horse to turn or they can try to stay in the rhythm of the movement of the walk.

So how do we help them get past this?

One way is instead of thinking we need to teach them how to turn the horse instead we encourage the rider to enjoy this time to just find what exists in the horse every time he goes through the corner.  We guide them encouraging them to feel how there are three components to the corner that are constantly changing.  The horse goes from straight through bend back to straight.  A gentle progression, the progression so small at the walk that it can be difficult to discern where in the horse's body these changes occur.  So how wonderful is it that there are four corners to go through.  Again and again in any single hour endless opportunities to discover the patterns and energies that come through the horse as he goes through the corners.  

Here all we are asking if for the rider to stay with the pattern of the movement of the walk and try to match what other elements might exist as the horse goes through each corner.  Here we are not asking or even wanting to get the rider to ask for a turn.  All we are doing is asking them to experience it.  Again and again and again.  But to experience it consciously in full movement, encouraging no restriction to exist from rider to horse.  Never asking them to take against the movement that is the horse.

But one thing we as instructors must be aware of is that how much they feel will depend on the size of the corner taken.  The horse that doesn't go deep into the corner, who cuts the corner short gives the rider much less to feel.  Which we may have to just allow at this point in time because to try to change that, would change the dynamics of the rider from being this moment with the horse, to trying to influence and we know that in that moment their ability to stay with the movement of the walk will be lost.

Eventually know that finding the corner will help you find the circle, because the circle is just a corner unreleased or a corner taken 4 times within each circle.  Please note the lesson of the circle will come in Level 2. 





The foundation method focuses on the rider, in creating a rider that allows healthy movement in the horse.

We always begin with the rider. Whatever problems the horse has or may not have, if the rider has issues, the horse can never give the right answers, the right responses. Too often we resort to stronger aids, whip or spurs, to push the horse on, when the answer was never the horse, it was what the rider on his back was doing, albeit unwittingly. So in essence the horse ends up punished for the faults of the rider. This does not mean that the rider needs to be a perfect rider. But does mean that we begin with the rider, providing them with awareness how they might be responsible for the horse's reactions, it is that awareness that starts a new form of horsemanship where we begin a journey where we look to ourselves first to resolve any issues this completely changes the dynamics. The rider has the answer if they know where to look.

The horse cannot find release if the rider doesn't provide them parameters that allow that release. It is the rider that determines if healthy movement is going to be allowed. Allowed to live and breathe in the horse in every stride. The foundation method focuses on the rider, in creating a rider that allows healthy movement in the horse.

In the foundation series our emphasis is on sharing the knowledge on how you as a rider allow the energy to flow through the horse unhindered.  The emphasis not on how to influence the horse, but how not to influence the horse. This is the foundation.   This is helping the horses.  The rider who merges with the energies of the horse, is not a burden.  The rider who learns to accompany his horse, does not end up using whip or spur or sharp driving heels, or harsh strong bits and hand aids to a horse made resistant from the rider's errors.  Our hope is to never punish the horse for our own failures.  

Kjersos Principle We always begin with the rider.  It is the rider that determines if healthy movement is a possibility.  By starting with removing the limitations created by the rider, we empower and respect the horse from the very beginning.

Please note that rein effects are present whether there is a bit or no bit. If we are on their backs or on the ground at the end of a lead rope.

A rein aid is an effect on the horse's front end, usually in the area of the head and neck, meant to influence the forward direction of the energy of the horse.

And forward direction includes all directions that the horse is capable of going.

Note:  Need to also reference this in the course on the effect of the lead rope.

Further Studies


The Beginning of Transformational Riding

A study guide to how to introduce the concepts of how to actualize the concepts behind "This is us becoming them."

Your seat should be a seat that brings life, power, to your horse.

Releasing the Horse through the Rider

How to move the horse to the wall.  Pretty sure there will be an article on this somewhere in HFL

Note further resources on Shoulder-In in Kjersos Dressage on how to introduce Shoulder-In to advanced work in shoulder-in.


Where do we want the weight to be supported from?  Three Levels. Front, Center, Back and what does this look like in the horse.

Bend vs Lean

Banking through a turn versus staying upright through the turn

Covering everything from change of bend, what we want to see in the horse/human combo when we any kind of turn.  Based on Foundation Principle To Move Into Our Hand

A discussion on tracking up, overtracking and are we focusing on the wrong thing?  Rather than worrying about overtracking or tracking up that this as everything is about balance.  Sweet exquisite balance of the horse/rider, the centaur, combination.  The horse needs to step into the specific spot that balances what is above.  He needs to step into the center of balance to lift it up into power.

Check under First Principles

This is in essence a non-category, not something that we study but something that we encourage you not to study.

The Hand Gallop is a gait that many do not utilize.  Often not understanding the difference between the hand gallop and the gallop that we see with a horse speeding down the final turn at the racetrack.  So many people miss out on this wonderful gait.

Dedicated to understanding the complexity of the aids that ask for bend. This is where the rider has the most difficulty in the transition from passenger to rider when we begin to direct the energy of the horse.  A bridge we need to help riders cross, maximizing the lessons that come before and that come after.


In changing directions, we are literally changing course.  Crossing over from merging with the energies of the horse, and becoming that energy, and now to direct that energy consciously.   As soon as we take up choice we become responsible for all that transgresses from this moment forward.  Authority cannot be had without responsibility.  The two are joined, two different sides of the same coin.  This is the challenge you have now undertaken.  Do not take it lightly.  Be humble and forgiving of yourself though because it is a journey for all of us.






The outside yielding rein. Over three decades of teaching and it was only today when I sat down to create this series of lessons that I came to realize that I have been using a rein aid that to all extents and purposes doesn't exist.  It isn't listed anywhere.  It hasn't even been given a name.  But it is possibly the rein aid that I use the most frequently.  Other riders use it, teach it, but don't necessarily speak of it as a rein aid.  We can work on a different name.  It is ours to name, since it doesn't seem to be listed anywhere else.  Perhaps a good article would be why is it that we don't name a rein aid that gives and only list those that take.


The same concept is referred to as the side pass in western riding.

Yes of course we have been playing with transitions, taking our horse from one gait to the next.  This is about the journey where transitions are a constant not the aberration.  Which is how most people ride.  They put their horse on a trot and they trot and trot and trot, in the same direction, in the same rhythm, with the same straightness, on ad infinitum, then at some point in time they ask for a walk, or maybe a canter.  Transitions are so much more.  They are alive.  They are the conversation that we have been striving for and finally now are going to be able to expand.  There is language, a conversation, varied, diverse, heart lifting.  They build power in the horse preparing them for a new balance.



All Potential Lives in Collection

Every moment with your horse is about collection.  Collection is not an end goal, collection is not a final form, but is along for the entire ride.  It is there in a milder form, if your horse's body is healthy.  There to nurture, to develop, to cradle, to find and to protect and perhaps most importantly of all, to allow.

Potential ~ Ability | Possibilities | Capacities | Capabilities


Of should this be collection lives in potential?

This is preparing the rider for the concept that in every movement is the 'potential' for collection, so we need to be aware and ready to allow, support, and praise as the baby steps of collection begin to appear.

We start here, because this is where we will end.. It is from this point forward we need to be aware of possibilities of the potential of what the end is, so we know where we are going and when we are surprised by that special moment we can embrace it, praise it, glory in it, in that moment in time.  Sometimes the change will be subtle and a little more difficult to find to reward, so we must be vigilant always.

The pre-eminent movement that is the base of all movements.  It is the key leading to access to power of the hind legs and is the key to all other movements, from piaffe to pirouettes.  This one movement is everything. Which makes how you access shoulder-in the most important thing that you will ever learn.  

Movement - A language through our physical bodies

Note: Links to The Equine Bend Classes

Playing with corners ~ the beginning of exploration of the possibilities that live in the horse.

Need to subdivide.. the yield of the outside hand for initial corners.. that lesson.  Versus playing with corners and the training possibilities that live in there.  

Pre-requisite The Mobile Shoulder under The Study of Healthy Movement 

From collected to extended trot.

Including the mittletrab

Not only what each is and the dangers in each but what each brings to create a malleable, released yet powerful in the strength it brings to the horse's body.

The balance of two sides equally developed.  Equal bend and release.  The pinnacle of our horsemanship.  But a word that has no business being referred to at any but the most developed and highest levels of your equestrian journey.  This is the quest.  The equestrian quest.

They can not be too much forward.  Forward protects the horse from us.


This is such an important subject.  This movement the base of everything that is to follow, this is where you will live for the rest of the equestrian journey.  It can be a direct path to piaffe, pirouettes and so much more. 


Course: The Shoulder-In

Curriculum: The Foundation

Strongly Suggested:

Curriculum: A New Relationship

Additional Suggestions;

Curriculum: The Study of Movement



In this section include the ribbon exercise, piaffe pirouette through the center, combined with the four track shoulder-in both ways.

This is not something you do, this is something you find.  You can find it because it now exists.  All the work that you have done to now, creating a horse that is now balanced, equal, in carriage, in flexibility, in bend.  Equal capabilities gives you straightness.  


We have to be able to see the illusion to know that there is a damaged body and heart that it is up to us to help.

If the horse is not poll high he is behind the vertical.


If the horse is behind the vertical he is not poll high.


Both of these are true.


Yes rollkur is the extreme position of behind the vertical and much of what is true of rollkur is also true of behind the vertical, it is just not as obvious and unfortunately we ended up in rollkur because certain trainers and riders chose to go down the road of a little bit of behind the vertical is not bad, which becomes a little more and a little more and the next thing you know we have rollkur.

Any amount of behind the vertical is wrong.

If the horse is not poll high he is working behind the vertical.

From the Western Job on down, putting the horse on his front end is damaging to the horse

This course presupposes that you have studied The Study of Good Movement.  Especially the Intricacies of the Walk. The Foundation Principles and The Foundation Riding Method and the required patterning of the rider should be considered a pre-requisite as well.  Unless we have all the pieces, we cannot heal the damaged horse.

This course presupposes that you have studied The Study of Good Movement.  Especially the Intricacies of the Trot. The Foundation Principles and The Foundation Riding Method and the required patterning of the rider should be considered a pre-requisite as well.  Unless we have all the pieces, we cannot heal the damaged horse.

Recognizing and then healing the atrophied back.

Addressing the issues that arise from the concepts of stretching the horse.

The possibilities of using loose work to help the damaged horse but considering the possible issues, we would need to cover those as well.  How this might not be the way to go.

Understanding equine dentisty but mostly why is it that the horses that live with us are more likely to need this.  What can we change?

Preserving, protecting, allowing, developing potential is the defining answer of Kjrsos.  It is 'the' question to make sure that the path that you have taken is true.   This is our measuring stick.

See Beginning With The Rider article 

Kjrsos Principle We always begin with the rider.  It is the rider that determines if healthy movement is a possibility.  By starting with removing the limitations created by the rider, we empower and respect the horse from the very beginning as we take responsibility for our own issues. We fix ourselves first.

Leg Aids Don't mean faster

Collection is the horse ready to do what we want to ask for next.