what is positive riding?
The Positive Riding System is the lifelong work of Henrik Johansen. This positive approach to training and teaching is based on the theories and philosophies of classical dressage, as well as an understanding of the horse's natural instincts, behaviors and psyche. By studying the horse's natural way of moving and developing the horse's abilities using a language that the horse understands, we end up with horses who reach their full potential.
When we educate a horse, it is important to consistently and clearly explain to the horse what he is supposed to do; to help by showing him how. To pick up the reins and ask the horse to move forward without communicating what we expect of him is to set up a trap. In this case the horse must guess what he is supposed to do, and can easily make the wrong choice, leading to punishment. This results in a horse doing things which cause the rider to respond and react, instead of the opposite. We call this kind of riding ‘correction riding’. It is very negative and creates a seriously frustrated horse. It is important that before we even get up on the horse we have set a goal for his education, and have a plan that leads to that goal.
The idea behind the material on this website is to pass on to you the experiences I have gained through many years of teaching students and training horses at all levels. My hope is to help trainers, as well as amateur riders, to have a better understanding of how to work with their horses. Since much of my experience has been gained by making my own mistakes, it has become a personal goal to help others avoid making those same mistakes. If I can accomplish this, then my purpose in writing this material will be fulfilled. In addition, it is my wish that a better understanding of classical dressage will enable us to educate our horses in a manner that is acceptable to them.