Dave Thind Method - please check out
Neuromuscular Reprogramming for Horse and Rider
for more info
Horses are always first priority. A correct foundation is established with riders sitting well, saddles fitting well and horses displaying no signs of physical or mental discomfort. These essential elements are reevaluated continually, as we are dealing with living and constantly evolving animals as our partners in sport. Dave excels at thinking outside the box to ensure his horses and students achieve optimal performance; mediocrity is undesirable.
As a certified German 'Trainer A,' Dave employs the German classical training system (which includes knowledge of biomechanics and psychology) as the basis for his system. The German method produces top performance athletes that are happy, sound, light, extremely competitive and statistically reliable partners in sport. Dave teaches his riders to view themselves and their horses as athletes. The rider's entire body must work in unison to achieve coordination, balance and suppleness while challenged by an unstable base of support and constantly evolving center of gravity.
Dave’s personal touch heightens the importance given to biomechanics and flowing movement, giving riders and horses the opportunity to have long and pain-free careers by avoiding tension, inappropriate muscle memory and long-term damage. While training to high standards of excellence is always serious, riders are encouraged to have fun!
Biomechanics & Somatic Education
Scientifically backed methods for riders seeking how and why
This is where art, science and sport meet. Dave’s thought-provoking training techniques allow riders to easily learn and feel correct equine biomechanics. With these tools, riders improve timing of aids and avoid rider-created resistance. For the past 15 years Dave has worked in collaboration with wife Dr. Camilla Stava, who has strongly shaped and validated Dave’s own study of equine biomechanics. Camilla's expertise comes from being a stellar combination of equine Veterinarian, biomechanics specialist certified in Equine Chiropractic, and certified German ‘Trainer C’.
Cutting edge techniques for a better seat and pain-free riding
Dave's expertise in human biomechanics came to fruition when a back injury and the possibility of never riding again led to a new fascination with human and equine biomechanics. Dave closely studied a variety of somatic education techniques. Dave’s body awareness and seat techniques allow short cuts in a sport where they normally do not exist. An array of experts including Osteopaths, Chiropractors, Physical therapists, medical Doctors and Personal trainers (also all riders) attest to the soundness of Dave’s methods.
Somatic education can make what's impossible possible
Dave’s system requires that in addition to biomechanical knowledge, riders develop high degrees of body awareness and improved coordination and dexterity, and acheive it in a natural, flowing manner. Dave empowers his students to scan their bodies for restrictions and blockades and provides simple tools to remove rather than just mask tension. The result is unrestricted flowing human movement and better-moving, more cooperative horses! This is something that all riders can benefit from. Although some riders are naturally gifted when it comes to organizing their body’s movement, flowing and easy movement is attainable by all. In the words of Moshe Feldenkrais, somatic education can make what’s impossible possible, what’s possible easy, and what’s already easy beautiful.
Each horse is an individual; the horse’s mental wellbeing must always be considered when designing both long-term and short-term training plans. Horses must be kept interested and their work must be well thought out but varied. Overtaxing a horse physically will have obvious repercussions on their mental state. With knowledge, patience and empathy, horses can reach the highest levels and still display obvious pleasure in their work.
Looking after a horse's psychological well-being does not mean that they are exempt from work. Riders always need to ask their horses for more in order to progress. Thinking riders combine technique and feeling to keep their horses in front of the aids and light as well as willing to please. Dave insists that his riders need to be consequent with their aids, otherwise horses can not be expected to perform well. One must act in accord with their nature to ensure their well-being; it is in their nature to operate within the heirarchy of the herd.
Due to horses' natural instincts to flee before fighting, they remain highly aware of the emotions and even the energy fields of those around them. Riders must take charge of their own worries, monitor their breathing patterns and instill confidence in their horses.
Classical Training Scale
Main Goal: Throughness
Riders should always use this scale as a guide. One must ensure above all that the horse maintain Rhythm and Suppleness throughout its work, which will almost automatically create correct contact. (Over the back into a receiving contact). This scale is valid for both immediate and long-term training goals. One must use some common sense when using this scale. Just because Straightening does not officially occur until step 5 does not mean that we allow our horses to be crooked; this would cause the horse to be out of balance and therefore not be able to acheive Rhythm, Suppleness, etc. With patience and logical training, most horses can develop the musculature and understanding for the highest levels. Collection is not the main goal; rather it is ‘Throughness’, a state when your horse accepts and lightly responds to the aids applied in combination or letting through of the aids. Following this scale all the way to collection is the method to acheive Throughness.
German classical training scale
Rhythm (which implies Relaxation/Regularity/balance)
Suppleness (lateral and longitudinal as well as mental state)
Contact (horse working over the back, back-to-front, seeking contact)
Impulsion (propulsive power of hind legs via stored energy)
Straightening of the horse's spine (correcting “stiff and hollow sides” using shoulder-fore and in-position, horses truly equally balanced, straightened and suppled on both sided of body)
Dave is a Level III Jumping Trainer
For dressage riders:
Dave feels that dressage riders can benefit from a well-rounded training program that includes jumping. Jumping and Cavaletti work provide physical and mental benefits for both horse and rider.
For show jumpers and eventers:
Dave also takes on students who wish to excel in show-jumping and eventing. He is very technical and demands that jumping be done in the classical way: aiming for perfect style from rider and horse. He does not condone bad riding only to win. He himself has enjoyed success competing in show-jumping, hunter/equitation and eventing competitions throughout the world. In January 2004, the international judging panel of the FEI-recognized (AIEC) catch-riding Nations' Cup held in Dwingeloo, Holland, awarded Dave the rarely seen mark of 8.7/10 for rider's style in the 'Style-Jumper' class. In Germany, Dave completed his trainer education under former National Eventing Team Trainer Martin Plewa and also rode with Show-jumping team rider Bernd Schulz-Tophoff. For 8 years in Canada, Dave trained with Diane Dubuc who teaches based on the American system. Diane Dubuc’s most successful student is Eric Lamaze, Individual Gold in China.
It is Dave’s view that good show-jumping is now nearly the same all over the world. At the risk of generalizing, the American seat has influenced the German system while the technical and systematic approach from Germany has influenced the American system.