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Ed Dabney’s way

Ed Dabney e le sei chiavi dell'armonia

Introduction to the "Six Keys of Harmony" of Ed Dabney.
In our riding center we teach to all our horses the "Six Keys of Harmony" developed by the american trainer Ed Dabney to establish with the horse our gentle but solid leadership and a "bridge" of comunication to have with him a relationship of harmony, respect and trust. Learning this method allow to train the horse with lightness and gentleness to build the foundations to practise at best showjumping, reining, dressage, endurance, trekking and any other equestrian activity.

Who is Ed Dabney.
His curriculum is impressive:
 His family breeds and train horses by five generations. he lived in Wyoming for many years breedeing and training working horses for a famous ranch. he guided many horseback trips in the Rocky Mountains, he worked in the movie industry to train horses for western movies. he worked in many movies as riding actor (last The Patriot). Then he moved to Georgia to dedicate himself only to train horses with his method of the "Six Keys of Harmony" for his clients e to spread around the world it with clinics. In 2007 he won the "Traniner's challenge of East Coast" (as to win the Champion league oh horses' trainers). He does clinics all over the USA, in Scandinavia, Finland, France and Italy.

Unrespectful horses? How to teach them to be polite?
There is a big difference between to be just a good rider and to became also a good horseman o Horsewoman. Too often, infact, there are huge unbalances in relationships between horses and men. There are very many good riders able to win ribbons and medals in the various disciplines of equestrian sports or that are doing long horseback trips but when they go down the saddle and want to lead their horses thay have a lots of problems: the horse pull from one side to the other, try to overtake the rider, stops to eat some grass, if the rider stops he continue to walk. May be the horse refuses to go up on the trailer or he moves when the rider want to mount. If he want to bridle it the head of the horse goes high up or on the side to try to avoid the bridle and so many other unrespectful behaviours. Many riders often accept these unrespectful behaviours as inevitable, as part of the character of the horse or because they think that is a behaviour that "belongs" to that breed of horses, their sex or age. In other hands they try to avoid these unrespectfull behaviours using violence and force. All of that is wrong.
Comunication and leadership.
We all love our horses and we would like to have a good relationship always, in every occasion. To have it need two things:
Comunication and Leadership. If an horse found in his rider a leader in which he has trust, that is respected, will be more at peace and quite with you and with himself. If you will be able to became the kind of leader that your horse can respect and trust, will be ready to learn what you want to teach him to do. How is possible to became that kind of leader? The answer is: with the costant application of the "Six Keys of Harmony" that we are teaching to all of our horses, the horses of our clients and the riders that are partecipating in hour trips (in 1 hour we teach them the most important ques).
At the base of each equestrian speciality as trekking, showjumping, dressage and so long, need to have a perfect control of the horse from ground and saddle. To obtaine this need to build a bridge of communication between man and horse to give him the leadership he needs and precise signals from the ground and saddle that he can understand to obtaine back harmony, respect, trust, learning and execution of what we want to teach to the horse.
To be able to teach something to someone, need to explain well what we want from him and what we do not want. To explain and teach to an horse to do something need to establish with him a commun language that he can understand. Horses cannot learn our languages, so need that us, with our intelligence and knowledge, became able touse signals precise and clear using a language that the horse can understand. We use the "Six Keys of Harmony" to comunicate with our horses about what we "want" from them and what we "don't want". The method was developed by Ed Dabney studying for long time the wild Mustangs in the nature of Wyoming,the behaviour of horses in controlled environments like box, corrals, pastures but also studying the techiques used is the past by native americans, great horse trainers, and the ancient european horse masters. From the observation of the wild horse is clear that between them the horses "talk" using a vocabulary constituded by visualization tecniques, body language, pressures, releases, focalization of energies. If we use the same comunication tecniques will be possible to present our requests to the horse in a way that he can understand and gradually accept.
The horse is a gregarious animal, is a follower, is a prey animal (by other wild predators and by men) and in each herd there is always and only one horse leader that get all important decisions: directions to follow to reach water and food, speed to use for these movements or to escape from dangers. It is always the leader that look for safety of the herd. This leader is not, as most people think, the stallion: it is always an old mare. She decide every time "where to go" and at "what speed". She looks around for predatros while the rest of the herd is grazing and if she decide that is time to run away from a danger she just run away and all the herd will follow. If we will be able, using the "Six Keys of Harmony" , to became the leader of that tiny herd formed by a man and a horse that we want to mount, he will think: "OH, there is the leader that I'm looking for, he will decide speed and direction, he will take care of my food and water and safety". If the horse will recogninize in us a reilable and sure leader, all is done, the horse submit to us. With the application of the "Six Keys of Harmony" we will have a method to establish our leadership, to be able to comunicate him what we want that he learn, eliminate the wrong and unrespectful behavours that a horse can develope with wrong training.
For all kind of horses?
These concepts are for all horses, indipendently from age, sex, breed. It is possible to obtaine splendid results also with horses that had very bud experiences with man, trained with violence or that looks to be not trainable. Need only knowledge of the "Six Keys of Harmony" , to be patient, costant, calm, emotionally flat and stable.
What are the "Six Keys of Harmony" ?
The method consist in six main exercises that are teach first wth the rider on the ground and then on the saddle. They are:
1 Backing
2 Control of the hind quarters
2 A Look and Point
2 B Thumb
2 C Lateral flexion
2 D Disengangement of the hind quarter
3 Shoulder yeldi
4 Sending
5 Twist
6 Side pass..
1 Backing.
It is the most important exercise: we teach the horse to go backward with a very light movement of the rope of the halter from the ground first and then from the saddle using reins. Backing will be our signal to tell to the horse: "go back" when we need for any reasons but also to tell him: "What you are doing is wrong".

2 Control of the hind quarters.
Is divided in 4 sections:
2A. The first is the “LOOK and POINT". with this exercise we teach to the horse to move on the side the hind quarters on the right and on the left without moving the front legs.

2B The Second is the "THUMB". We put the thumb very light where we will touch the side of the horse with our heels from the saddle to teach him to move right and left the hind quarters with front legs still.

2C. The third is "LATERAL FLEXION". With this exercise we teach the horse to bend head and neck right and left without to move his feet.

2D. Fourth is the "DISENGANGEMENT of the HIND QUARTERS". With this exercise we teach to cross the back feet when we touch very ligth him with leg on his sides .

We teach the horse to move his shoulders left and right.

This exercise has nothing to do with longing. With the sending exercise the horse learns about gait transitions and his responsability to mantein gait and speed.

Using a pole parallel to the fence, we combine together the previous exercises in sequence so the horse will see a practical use along a run. he will repeat it to get coordination and automatisms.
With this exercise the horse learn how to move his ribs left and right. Initially he works in front of the fence then will be able to move sideways also in the center of arena and everywherelse.

Teaching the side pass the horse learns how to move his ribs left and right.
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