For Jane Karol, the allure of being a demo rider with Carl Hester was the chance to absorb as much of Carl’s method as possible. “Of course, being in front of 1,000 people is great experience for both Sunshine and me. Each time we can be in a high pressured environment and find relaxation is another step toward competing better.”
Jane and Sunshine Tour (Sir Donnerhall x Alabaster), an impressive ten-year- old Hanoverian mare boast the six year-old 2013 Markel Young Horse National Reserve Champion and 2016 Markel/USEF Developing Grand Prix National Champion titles.
“We’re able to do a good enough Grand Prix,” says Jane but felt stuck getting active transitions in and out of piaffe and passage.
“My goal was to create more balance through more activity, but I wasn’t sure how to get there. I’ve seen trainers do it through excessive use of leg and whip, and I didn’t want to go that route.”
Carl noted horses with longer backs need more impulsion.
To make a “pliable passage,” he wanted three gears, not just one in passage. “Forget piaffe, just passage and lift, short steps with a high tempo with a forward hand, slow one step, then ride out without losing suspension.”
Carl then walked alongside and touched the inside hind leg with a whip, timing as Jane turned on a circle. “Carl’s method of activating the hind leg through the exercise of getting the horse quickly off of the leg, moving the haunches out on a small circle, and then having the reward be taking the pressure off as you ask for piaffe was brilliant! I love this method. It fits in totally with the way I feel comfortable training a horse - through reward and development of a trusting relationship. All of his work was like that!”
Carl commented on the wonderful responses of the mare and her willing expression. “You can see they have had a long relationship and how in tune with the rider she is,” he said, then added, “So much potential, Jane.”
Jane called the event a highlight in her career. “It was incredible to get Carl’s eye and even this small glimpse of his genius. I hope it’s not the last time.”