Yogi Breisner Shares His Knowledge
A google search on the name Yogi Breisner gave me the most amazing overview of the achievements and popularity of this charming and passionate UK based horseman. Swedish born Yogi represented his homeland in the gold medal winning team at the 1983 European Championships where he was also 4th in the individual medal tally.
He represented Sweden at the Los Angelos Olympic Games and has been a top 10 competitor at Badminton on four occasions. Yogi worked for the Waterford House Training Centre for 13 years from 1978 to 1991, during which time he became a Fellow of the British Horse Society.
In 1999 Yogi was appointed as the World Class Performance Manager and Chef d’Equipe for the British three day event team and a year later the team brought home a silver medal from the Sydney Olympic Games. Eventing teams under Yogi's management have been acknowledged for their outstanding work and another eighteen medals are credited to Yogi's influence. 2000 was a busy time as Yogi was appointed as the National Coach by British Eventing and has been involved in the development of coaching initiatives for the senior team, as well as pony, junior and young rider Eventing teams.
Right - Bill Saunders, founder and manager of the Racehorse Outplacement Program - Bill said, "Yogi's visit is a fantastic initiative by Racing Victoria and it is terrific to see 40 members (and growing) for the Thoroughbred Riding Club which gives outplacement horses a great future and lots of activities to offer their new owners real incentive and increasing numbers of specialist competition classes being provided!"
Left - Yogi chats with Lisa Brown, President of the TB Riding Club.
Yogi Breisner has also made his mark in the racing world and right through since 1994 has lectured and trained jockeys at the British Racing School in Newmarket. He has become renowned for his special gift with jumping horses and his methods have been widely acknowledged as a key factor in the style which has earned UK jumps racing international respect. It is said that the horse's are taught to jump and the riders are taught to ride and with sound training of both participants, the sport is safer and therefore a more pleasing spectacle for enthusiasts and in keeping with the increasing pressure to observe best practices of animal welfare, training practises and care.
Yogi's knowledge of eventing, point to point and horse trials has made him one of the most respected and popular clinicians all over the world and his gift as a teacher and horse trainer have been embraced by racing bodies and equestrians as well as organisations involved with the re-training of racehorses. (right, a few of the watchers at Werribee Park)
In January 2012 Yogi Breisner came to Australia to conduct Victoria’s inaugural Annual Jumps Racing Workshop which was held at Warrnambool and Werribee.
Yogi's brief was to discuss and demonstrate ways to improve participant skills so as to upgrade the safety of horses and riders. Victoria's Minister for Racing Denis Napthine said that jumps racing was an important part of the Victorian racing calendar and the industry would benefit greatly from the opportunity to draw from Mr Breisner’s vast experience and decades of improving the skills of jumping riders and the effective training and riding of race horses, in particular jumps race horses.
Racing Victoria Limited organised the clinics and generiously gave the Pony Club Association of Victoria and the Thoroughbred Riding Club the opportunity to have a day with the Master!
PCAV had their clinic at Wandin Park on the 4th of January and the TBRC got together at Indoor Arena No 2 at Werribee Park on Saturday the 7th January.
As part of the management team of the Cyberhorse Racehorse Outplacement Program, it was really good to be part of the action and to be able to hear the words of wisdom from this legendary clinician.
18 months ago Cyberhorse teamed up with Racing Victoria Limited to put in place an innovative program that sees suitable thoroughbred racehorses assessed, re-trained and re-homed with appropriate riders or other outplacement homes. While the program is in it's infancy, there are many great outcomes emerging from this initiative and it is very gratifying to see RVL getting recognition for uniting racing fans and horse lovers who are coming to racing for the love of the thoroughbred horse - the real star of the show!
At Werribee Park we saw the thoroughbreds and their riders shine with Yogi, who impressed everyone with his easy to follow explanations and special willingness to make the lessons clear. Yogi had a number of very simple concepts, which ALL riders and trainers would do well to consider in their daily work with ALL horses!!!
I was impressed to hear him simplify a rider's worst fear - losing control. Yogi said, to stay in control of your horse you must ... 1. Control the horse's head (contact) 2. Control the Speed and 3. Control the line of travel. To highlight this, Yogi set up a grid of trot poles each end of two parallel poles, a little more than a horse's width apart. The riders trotted over the first set of poles, then were asked to stop and wait between the trot poles, to prevent swinging and moving around. They then proceeded straight and over the poles at the end. Most riders and horses found this exercise difficult to start, but it worked well to make the horses think, wait and listen to the riders - a great one for training racehorses as well as off the trackers and pleasure mounts.
Yogi demonstrated with a riding whip, the balance of the horse and how the action of the rider's legs to activate the horse into a 'gathering' hand, will rebalance the centre of gravity and round the neck, which in turn, gets the horse's back muscles up and able to carry the weight of the rider - simple biomechanics, but often lost in some circles of horse training. This was such an interesting "lesson within the lesson", that I will make a special feature of Yogi's advice in a separate article.
Left - Tracey Doolen from Eliza Park (where some of the best TB's are bred) is very committed to what they can do after racing and her talented boy was a real star in Yogi Breisner's clinic.
Yogi was patient, respectful to both riders and horses and used his charm and enthusiasm to engender good will and a "can-do" approach from the riders. Everyone left their lesson with some positives to take home and a feeling that Yogi Briesner had de-mystified horse training/re-training for them.
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