The compliment: So strong is your confidence in each other


November 5, 2020


I am aware that there are many other things that you have on your mind right now – because I think you are not alone in this.

We all feel that way.

But it is of no benefit to you or your horse if you spend the whole day dealing with this one topic.

That’s why I would like to focus together with you – also in the next weeks – on something positive – even if it might not be easy at the moment.

I would therefore like to take the chance with you and give you new training ideas so that you can use this time for your horse.

We then “simply” use the time for further training, even if that is certainly easier said than done.

Nevertheless, I am convinced that you and your horse will benefit from it!

Let’s all make the most of it!

Because at some point even the worst crisis is over.

The only question is how long it lasts and whether it makes a lasting difference. Maybe you can even gain something positive from it.

Maybe in the future you will be a little more happy to spend time with your horse every day.

Shine a bit wider over the gifts it gives you.

So I don’t want to talk about it any more, because it keeps us busy more or less all day long anyway.

I just want to wish you and all the other people out there strength, good nerves, a level-headed mind and, above all, good health to get through the next time well.

I think of you and I know what a chaos is going on right now, but from now on we will concentrate together for a short moment on other things.

To that for which our heart beats. To our horses

There are hundreds of “circus lessons” that you can teach your horse, but the compliment is certainly one of the better known.

The Compliment

It is perfect for the start or just perfect in between – because the way into “the deep” strengthens the mutual trust between you and your horse.

As an animal that flees, the horse compliments you by putting itself in a position from which it can no longer immediately flee when danger is present.

Depending on the character of your horse, this alone will make the exercise easier or harder.

Fact is: You can (and should!) never force your horse to do such exercises.

Because this destroys the trust you have earned so far.

So go into the exercise relaxed and keep the “psychology of small steps” always in mind!

If your horse has problems with the way into the depths, this can of course have various causes.

In the first place there can often be a physical cause.

If you are not sure whether your horse is in pain during this exercise, please do not start with this exercise at all. But I think that goes without saying πŸ˜‰

The compliment will not only arch and stretch the back but also promote shoulder freedom similar to the Spanish walk.

It also helps your horse to find more balance and helps uncoordinated horses to become more stable.

That’s the way to do it:Β To start with the compliment there are different approaches.

The easiest is probably to work with the help of food.

I can only warmly recommend carrots here – because they are easy to grasp and your horse can bite off several times.

So now stand next to the horse for the compliment.

It doesn’t matter which side you start on – most people feel more comfortable on the left side out of habit.

Now make sure that your horse stands with his hind legs as far away from the front legs as possible.

If your horse is very unbalanced or tends to stand rather “tight” like a mountain goat, it makes sense to practice the “balancing act”, i.e. the stand where front and hind feet are really as far apart as possible.

To do this, you touch the front legs of your horse, which it then gradually moves forward until it can even take its head between the front legs and make a kind of bow.

But this is an own exercise, which I would like to show you again in one of the next blog posts πŸ˜‰

Now you lift your leg like you would scrape out a hoof – but you stand yourself facing forward.

By the way, it’s best to grab the leg by the pastern or even a bit higher in the direction of the cannon bone.

It depends a little bit on the length of your arm.

If you are standing on the left side of your horse, it is best to take your left arm to lift your horse as well, because with your right hand you will now lure your horse down between his front legs.

Make sure that the horse does not rest on its head, but really touches the ground with its leg.

Of course, you have to keep the leg loose enough so that more than the joint touches the ground – which would not be very advantageous.

Depending on how much respect your horse has for placing his leg on the ground, you can start by rewarding only shifting the weight backwards or by putting the leg down for a short time.

It really depends on your horse – and every step in the right direction will be rewarded πŸ˜‰

To relieve your back, you can also work with the so-called leg lunge.

You put a thick, soft rope around your horse’s pastern (the loop around the leg must not be able to tighten!) and lead the rope over the back and on the other side under the belly back to your horse.

You can now hold the end of the rope comfortably standing up and your back is relieved.

Important: Your horse should be used to ropes / lunging etc. around his legs and therefore not panic!

In case of doubt you should always release the rope immediately if your horse resists.

After all, our goal is to work out every exercise in peace and with fun, since a horse cannot learn under stress anyway!

If your horse now touches the ground with his leg, you can reward him with feed further and further forward (i.e. not between the legs) and thus extend the time your horse keeps the compliment.

It can take a few weeks until your horse, on your signal, lifts his leg on his own and compliments himself.

You can also gradually support the leg with the crop knob only, for example, before you leave your horse “completely alone”.

Many horses find this coordination quite difficult πŸ˜€

From a gymnastic point of view, it makes sense to practice the compliment equally on both sides.

[su_youtube url=””]

And never forget to warm up your horse properly before the compliment, otherwise he can easily get injured!Β 

In any case, I wish you a lot of fun trying it out!

Have fun thinking it through – because it can be incredibly helpful to think through every move in your head before you try it out.

A good plan is already half the battle πŸ˜‰

All the best

Your Kenzie

Circensic Seminar by Kenzie Dysli

You might also like...


Your perfect chance to start with Liberty Dressage

Get instant access to a leadership exercise video from my Liberty Dressage Online Seminar free of charge!