This is a short explanation of my T-M-B Method. I teach it in my lessons and clinics and use it to train horses.
Is the line the course designer creates and on which the judge will score you. If your execution is precise, your horse will cover the ground easily, be soft and responsive, and have a wonderful jump that will reflect in your score. Your hand puts the bit perpendicular to the Track, and the rest of the horse should follow on the straight lines and turns.
Is the rhythm, cadence, energy, and speed with which you are executing the test, regardless of which discipline. You need to be in control of the rhythm and length of stride on both straight and bending lines. If the horse takes the rhythm away from you, it will put him in control and pretty soon all will be out of control.
If you have taken care of the first two components, your balance should stay organized and be dynamic with the horse. Think of the horse’s spine as your balancing beam; your spine should stay centered over that.
This is achieved, controlled, and corrected by using LATERAL AIDS: OPENING REIN on one side and NECK or BEARING REIN on the other. Correctly executed, the bit, the horse’s and rider’s shoulders, and their hips should be perpendicular to the Track, with the spine straight.
Is created and maintained by DIAGONAL AIDS: the inside leg moves the horse onto a supportive outside rein, which should be holding the horse on the track, but not restricting the bend that the inside leg creates. The INSIDE DIRECT or INDIRECT REIN asks the hose to bend its head and neck in the direction of the circle. If done correctly, the bit, the horse’s shoulders and hips, as well as the rider’s shoulders and hips, should be perpendicular to the Track, with the spine in-between bent.
Creating the BOX
Is your legs and hands, on both sides, working together to keep the horse on the Track, both on a straight line as well as on a circle or a bending line.
This is what keeps the horse in front of your leg and connected to your hand. It is as vitally important to creating and maintaining Track-Momentum-Balance as the lateral connection and is solely responsible for the control and the length of the stride.
The lateral and longitudinal connection is what puts the horse into the BOX. If you can accurately maintain your horse in that box at all times, you will have self-carriage and fluidity throughout anything you choose to do with your horse.
Timing and Feel:
Is what knits all of it together! It is the ability to use the aids in harmony with each other and with the timing of the horse’s footfall to create the symphony that makes your horse soft, light, and responsive. It is also in the timing and feeling that is necessary for us to understand when and how much to hold, as well as when and how much to give back to the horse once he has softened and rebalanced himself in the BOX.
Remember, the more you bend your horse the straighter it will get. Ideally, you should spend about 80% of your time in the saddle working on bending, counter bending, shoulder in and out, leg yields, and shortening and lengthening of the stride in all gaits and transitions, and only 20% going in the same pace on a straight line. Riding is 60% in your Head, 30% in your Legs, and 10% in your Hands. If you keep those equations, balanced your horse will always be happy to work with you.
No matter at what level you are riding, achieving that harmony should be a top priority with horses; it leaves them balanced, working with us, and happy to do their job.
Do you have Power and Control?
Any time you pick up the reins on a horse and ask him to step up from behind, you are creating power….the question is do you have enough control to regulate that power and make it do what your test or course requires?
Power is a great thing to have on a horse, however power without the correct amount of control turns into a power struggle out of control between horse and rider. You only want to create as much power from behind as you have the skill to control in front.
Without those skills you most likely will put your horse into front wheel drive with him wanting to push through the bridle. That in turn usually leads to more bit and something like a draw rein to give the rider more control. Unfortunately the rider might experience some short term control, but in the long run it will not solve the problem of getting the horse off front wheel pull onto hind end push.
To get your horse soft and supple and the power under control you need to be able to bend the horse through the shoulders, which will ask him to step underneath himself on the inside and stretch the outside of the bend. If that is done properly on both sides it will allow the horse to swing evenly through the hips and the shoulder creating push
from behind which will elevate the withers and soften the pole, and in turn will make his
mouth soft and supple.
With that in place you should be able to add power from behind and have your horse stay soft and relaxed and the stride under control. It will help you with extensions, collections, powering off the ground at a jump, staying balanced on the landing side, or any movement your dressage test demands. It takes a lot of knowledge, feel, focus and determination to control a stride.
Be proactive; manage the stride before it gets out of control; versus reactive, trying to pick up the pieces once you lost control. Start by practicing it in the walk and trot which are more manageable than the canter. Once you and your horse understand the concept and can make it work in the trot, work on it in the canter on a circle, then add some
straight lines and connect them to more turns.
Remember if it falls apart in the canter, go back to the trot and practice it some more, if the trot is not working out go back to the walk. Work with your horse not against your horse, he will love you for it!
Attend one of the Juliana Zunde clinics and learn how to properly bend your horse, and be in control of T-M-B on a straight line and a circle.