12 March 2015
Successful clinic with Boyd Exell in ErmeloThree-times World Champion Boyd Exell (AUS) gave a driving clinic at the National Equestrian Centre in Ermelo (NED) on Wednesday 11th March. After a lecture on the working of bits, several drivers came into the ring in Ermelo. Two carriages were driven by members of the KNHS Audevard Next Driving Generation, Anniek Schuiling and Renske van der Reijden and two carriages by Boyd Exell himself.
The clinic in the Amaliahal was dominated by presenting young driving horses and young drivers. With a six-year-old dressage horse owned by Mark Wentein, Boyd gave a demonstration of double line lunging. He showed how you can quickly switch between single line lunging and double line lunging and how the young horse reacts on the aids.
The evening started with an interesting presentation on the working of bits. Exell has seen many different horses over the years as an international driver and therefore he knows which bit is the best for which horse.
The Australian who has recently moved to the Netherlands, explained which bits are optimal to ensure more contact with too ’easy’ horses.
He also showed possible bits to use with too ’strong’ horses and described their operation. The reason why a horse might be too strong, according to Exell, is imbalance. A horse is too strong if you cannot drive him with two fingers. He stressed that every driver must be aware of the bit he or she is using.
Two horses from Exell’s new four-in-hand, after his World Champion team was sold, were presented under saddle. Exell thinks that riding driving horses under saddle is very important, but he wants to give his horses as little leg aids as possible because they don’t get it when pulling a carriage either.
When Anniek Schuiling drove into the hall with a single horse the breeching straps were immediately tightened because when the horse makes a downward transition the carriage pushes the horse forward. With Anniek, Boyd worked mostly on transitions and maintaining balance.
Finally, Exell presented his new four-in-hand in front of the public in Ermelo, out of German bred horses. He demonstrated that firstly he wants the horses to go sufficiently forward. Only after the impulse is set, he determines the desired tempo. Then he drives shoulder-ins and transitions with the team. He showed, with his four-in-hand as well as with his pair, how to teach rein-back to young horses. „It is important that you stop when they understand what you want.”
Renske van der Reijden drove her seven-year-old Welsh ponies. She got instructions on how to drive the slalom technically. On straight lines her ponies worked excellent but they didn’t bend easily in turns. „Keep moving forward and prepare for the next turn already during the previous turn.” was Boyd’s advice.