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Severo Jurado Lopez

In my opinion it is important to make it easy for the horse. It has to be very simple to understand, what is the right thing to do and what the human wants. I do that with the right (and simple aids) and by rewarding the horse. Never use two opposite aids at the same time, best example: Do not pull and kick. If I keep it simple, the communication is better. The horses almost always want to understand us, so if they don´t, I have to think about my aids and body language. You will get a deeper connection, only when the communication is right. When the horse trusts you, but also when he knows, that he has to listen to you carefully at all time.

There are many different ways to work with sensitive horses. It is very important to be a good horseman and be able to read your horse. If you understand why your horse is sensitive, you can decide what to do and adjust your training etc. When the horse is stressed about other horses, you can train this specifically. But if your horse is a little insecure and easily stressed in new situations or at competitions, it is important that the horse trusts you, also trusts you as a leader. I am kind of saying to the horse "focus on me and follow my lead/aids and everything will be ok". When I ride, my goal is always to have this special bond with my horse, to become like one. When that happens, he only focuses on me and not on the surroundings.
Also find out why your horse is sensitive, and make sure it´s not just playing with you. Work on the problems, and work on a better communication, but without putting the horse in a situation that he (and you) cannot handle. You want to do it step by step and with a positive outcome. Always make the horse focus on you.

Do not think about the sensitivity or the problems. Because your body language will get tense and your riding will be stiff and timid. Think about an exercise that you will train today and then focus on that. It could be for example a shoulder-in, but with full focus on the bending, on cadence and on softness instead of focusing on stiffness and sensitivity.

I would keep the horse busy and focused on me by doing lots of different exercises, bending and tempi differences and transitions. This way, the horse has to listen to me, and will eventually forget his surroundings.

They need to be self-confident, because then all the work gets easier.

Magic gives my horses the chance to calm down and focus on me faster. It helps them to concentrate without losing their spark or energy. For example, when I go to a competition and it is a big and crowded arena, we often only get 30 minutes to familiarize the horse with the place. It is great to get a little help from Magic at these moments, to be sure that the horse can focus solely on me. I always have Magic with me, because I want to give the horse good experiences when they compete. Also, some horses are simply more nervous than others, and they need a little extra help. I gave Fiontini NAF Instant Magic on our first day at the World Cup in Herning, and I was delighted with the results. Fiontini usually starts a little unfocussed but with Magic she was very concentrated from the beginning.
I also find horses are more trainable and faster to learn, when they are concentrating and focused on me. The time spent training is also shorter, because we achieve our goal faster, which also has a positive impact on the horse´s general health.
I also think it´s super important that it does not make the horses tired. Because they need all their energy to perform. 

When the horse is fully focused on me, and every small detail and aid that I am giving. The horse and I forget everything around us - "it´s only us". For me, dressage is all about a deep concentration. The exercises are of course difficult, but in my opinion the main thing to achieve is this deep concentration and full focus. This is what makes dressage so special and unique. And the feeling when you ride a test with "deep concentration" is definitely unique!

All horses are very different in their characters and personalities - just like humans.
So, every horse has different needs, and I need to train every horse differently, and see them as individuals. If I can help a nervous horse by making his days easier (training and competing) in a natural way (no doping etc.), I would be stupid not to do it.
Of course, the daily life is also very important (daily routines, paddock or field time...). It does not matter whether you are a professional or an amateur rider, if your horse is nervous, he is nervous. I like to get as much out of my horses as possible, and I believe it´s much easier if the horse is able to concentrate on me 100 percent.

How would you describe a great partnership with your horse?

I think when the horse is concentrated and does a good "job" he becomes proud of himself. Also, if I am happy with them, they are happy. If the training is difficult and stressful every day for a horse, the horse becomes sad. Only a happy horse can sparkle in the ring and give you this special feeling (to the rider and public).

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Do you have a set way of training all your horses?

When do you feel that you and your horse have a real connection?

Why do you use Five Star Magic? What improvements do you see in your horses when using it?

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What qualities does a horse need to perform at the top level?

How do you get a sensitive, stressed and unfocused horse to concentrate?

If the horse is very sensitive, how does one approach everyday training?

How do you work with very sensitive horses?

How do you create communication and a deeper connection with a horse?

Q&A

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Severo Jurado Lopez from Spain is one of the most popular dressage riders. Known for his many great results - not least a terrific 5th place with the horse Lorenzo at the Olympic Games in Rio in 2016. Severo's love for horses came from his grandfather, who bred Andalusians, while his training in the art of dressage began in the Spanish cavalry. For the last seven years, Severo has worked at Helgstrand Dressage, but last year he decided it was time to start working on a new project. Here he gives you an insight into how he works with sensitive horses. 

Photo: Majken Solberg

Photo: Catarina Hall

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Receive our newsletter about the
daily life with horses in your inbox
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Severo Jurado Lopez

Q&A

How do you create communication and a deeper connection with a horse?

In my opinion it is important to make it easy for the horse. It has to be very simple to understand, what is the right thing to do and what the human wants. I do that with the right (and simple aids) and by rewarding the horse. Never use two opposite aids at the same time, best example: Do not pull and kick. If I keep it simple, the communication is better. The horses almost always want to understand us, so if they don´t, I have to think about my aids and body language. You will get a deeper connection, only when the communication is right. When the horse trusts you, but also when he knows, that he has to listen to you carefully at all time.

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How do you work with very sensitive horses?

There are many different ways to work with sensitive horses. It is very important to be a good horseman and be able to read your horse. If you understand why your horse is sensitive, you can decide what to do and adjust your training etc. When the horse is stressed about other horses, you can train this specifically. But if your horse is a little insecure and easily stressed in new situations or at competitions, it is important that the horse trusts you, also trusts you as a leader. I am kind of saying to the horse "focus on me and follow my lead/aids and everything will be ok". When I ride, my goal is always to have this special bond with my horse, to become like one. When that happens, he only focuses on me and not on the surroundings.
Also find out why your horse is sensitive, and make sure it´s not just playing with you. Work on the problems, and work on a better communication, but without putting the horse in a situation that he (and you) cannot handle. You want to do it step by step and with a positive outcome. Always make the horse focus on you.

New image

If the horse is very sensitive, how does one approach everyday training?

Do not think about the sensitivity or the problems. Because your body language will get tense and your riding will be stiff and timid. Think about an exercise that you will train today and then focus on that. It could be for example a shoulder-in, but with full focus on the bending, on cadence and on softness instead of focusing on stiffness and sensitivity.

How do you get a sensitive, stressed and unfocused horse to concentrate?

I would keep the horse busy and focused on me by doing lots of different exercises, bending and tempi differences and transitions. This way, the horse has to listen to me, and will eventually forget his surroundings.

Advertisement

What qualities does a horse need to perform at the top level?

They need to be self-confident, because then all the work gets easier.

(ADVERTISEMENT)

Why do you use Five Star Magic? What improvements do you see in your horses when using it?

Magic gives my horses the chance to calm down and focus on me faster. It helps them to concentrate without losing their spark or energy. For example, when I go to a competition and it is a big and crowded arena, we often only get 30 minutes to familiarize the horse with the place. It is great to get a little help from Magic at these moments, to be sure that the horse can focus solely on me. I always have Magic with me, because I want to give the horse good experiences when they compete. Also, some horses are simply more nervous than others, and they need a little extra help. I gave Fiontini NAF Instant Magic on our first day at the World Cup in Herning, and I was delighted with the results. Fiontini usually starts a little unfocussed but with Magic she was very concentrated from the beginning.
I also find horses are more trainable and faster to learn, when they are concentrating and focused on me. The time spent training is also shorter, because we achieve our goal faster, which also has a positive impact on the horse´s general health.
I also think it´s super important that it does not make the horses tired. Because they need all their energy to perform. 

New image

When do you feel that you and your horse have a real connection?

When the horse is fully focused on me, and every small detail and aid that I am giving. The horse and I forget everything around us - "it´s only us". For me, dressage is all about a deep concentration. The exercises are of course difficult, but in my opinion the main thing to achieve is this deep concentration and full focus. This is what makes dressage so special and unique. And the feeling when you ride a test with "deep concentration" is definitely unique!

Do you have a set way of training all your horses?

All horses are very different in their characters and personalities - just like humans.
So, every horse has different needs, and I need to train every horse differently, and see them as individuals. If I can help a nervous horse by making his days easier (training and competing) in a natural way (no doping etc.), I would be stupid not to do it.
Of course, the daily life is also very important (daily routines, paddock or field time...). It does not matter whether you are a professional or an amateur rider, if your horse is nervous, he is nervous. I like to get as much out of my horses as possible, and I believe it´s much easier if the horse is able to concentrate on me 100 percent.

How would you describe a great partnership with your horse?

I think when the horse is concentrated and does a good "job" he becomes proud of himself. Also, if I am happy with them, they are happy. If the training is difficult and stressful every day for a horse, the horse becomes sad. Only a happy horse can sparkle in the ring and give you this special feeling (to the rider and public).

Advertisement

severo1.jpg

Severo Jurado Lopez from Spain is one of the most popular dressage riders. Known for his many great results - not least a terrific 5th place with the horse Lorenzo at the Olympic Games in Rio in 2016. Severo's love for horses came from his grandfather, who bred Andalusians, while his training in the art of dressage began in the Spanish cavalry. For the last seven years, Severo has worked at Helgstrand Dressage, but last year he decided it was time to start working on a new project. Here he gives you an insight into how he works with sensitive horses. 

Photo: Majken Solberg

Photo: Catarina Hall

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