FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
WHO SHOULD RIDE A SIMULATOR?
Simulators are for anyone – from the experienced and competitive rider, to the absolute novice.
It’s for nervous riders, that perhaps have never been on a horse, are coming back from a bad fall, or just lack the confidence on the back of a real horse.
Wanting to get or stay fit? The simulator is a perfect workout partner.
Have kids and want them to learn in a safe environment? The simulator will never buck, shy or rear, and is as steady as can be.
The equine simulator allows the rider to focus 100 percent on improving position, posture, timing, etc., without thinking about training the horse.
DOES IT FEEL LIKE A REAL HORSE?
Yes! The simulator moves like a real horse, with good gaits, good carriage and has the ability to bend and flex. To enhance the feel, the rider must imagine themselves as if they were riding a real horse, as the rider often will experience the same issues on the simulator as they would on their own horse. Everything remains the same, from aiding the gaits, to connection and seat balance. The only difference is that the simulator will always respond to the rider’s commands, either correct or incorrect, exactly as they are given (unlike a real horse, which may choose to ignore, overreact or misunderstand them!)
CAN I PRACTICE MY TEMPI-CHANGES WITH A SIMULATOR?
Yes! In fact, riding a simulator allows you to not only learn the precise timing of the aids, but also to keep the horse straight, keep your own body straight and still in the saddle, and with controlled leg movements. Unlike on even the best of schoolmasters, the rider can practice them over and over again for an extended period of time!
The simulator never gets tired or upset, allowing for the rider to make mistakes during the learning process. This is excellent for upper-level riders to refine their aids for the FEI movements. The simulator reacts to light pressure, much as your horse should at that level.
Additionally, as some horses are not even on both reins, the rider gets an opportunity to discover how it would feel in an ideal situation, as well as the added benefit of having the instructor standing next to the rider, assisting in the timing of the aids!
The simulator has the ability to do four, three, two and one tempi changes.
HOW MANY SESSIONS DOES IT TAKE TO IMPROVE?
Normally, a significant change in undesirable learned habits is seen in five to eight lessons. The learning curve on the simulator is much steeper than on a real horse, since the rider gets instant feedback.
In learning new movements, riding an equine simulator gives the rider a “shortcut” to the correct way of going, which is extremely helpful especially with complex movements such as shoulder-in, leg yield and lead changes.
DOES THE SKILL OF RIDING AN EQUINE SIMULATOR TRANSFER TO RIDING A REAL HORSE?
Absolutely! Everything that is learned and felt on the simulator will relate, as correct muscle memory is developed during the sessions. The rider then instinctively performs movements while on a real horse, rather than actively thinking about how or what to do, which allows for full focus to be then set upon the training of the horse.
For the upper-level rider, it gives the unique opportunity for self-development, without having to train a horse at the same time. In fact, several Olympic riders, such as six-time Olympic rider Ulla Hakanson praise the simulator for exactly this!
“I found it very helpful to ride the Dressage Simulator. Working through some movements on “Luke” and with Barbro assisting me, I could concentrate on myself and what I was doing, instead of having to train my horse at the same time. That gave me the tools to perform the movement correctly and sort out what I really do while riding certain movements. I can recommend lessons on Luke to anyone that wants to improve their riding and wants to understand how they affect the horse while riding.”
~Ulla Hakanson, six-time Olympic rider