I often run across horses that I describe as having a strong sense of “fairness”. They are the horses that keep score. If you don’t acknowledge their honest efforts, they will eventually quit trying for you. If you correct them when they don’t deserve it, they will let you know that you were out of […]
Creating Confident Horses
That’s a really quick way to discourage your horse from even wanting to try, to make him afraid to make mistakes. Instead, reward each try. Ask for a little more each time, but acknowledge every try. Some horses will try absolutely everything before they hit on what it is you’re actually asking them to do. […]
According to the dictionary, contact means “the state or condition of physical touching” and “the state or condition of communicating or meeting.” In my mind, only if we take both of these definitions together can we really get a sense of the concept of “contact” as it relates to riding and training a horse. The […]
The Fundamentals of Forward
Ride your horse forward and make him straight! ~ Gustav Steinbrecht There may not be a more misunderstood concept in riding than that of “forward”. It may also be the most frequently uttered instruction in lessons across the world. It is one of the most foundational principles in training horses. Without “forward” there is no […]
“Embrace the Suck”
This post was written by one of my favorite Dressage riders, Lauren Sprieser. It’s so important that we riders understand that riding is HARD. It will NEVER be easy, and no matter how much we work for “beauty and lightness” there’s never going to be a horse that doesn’t struggle with *something*, *sometime*. So, I […]
Enough or Too Much?
I’m a certified personal trainer. I push myself to work out pretty hard to stay as fit as possible for not just my riding, but for my health as age inexorably presses on me. I know how it feels when muscles are burning, are so fatigued that they are trembling, and when I just can’t […]
Conditioning Corner: Long and Slow
When I was a young rider going through training with the British Horse Society, one of the things I was exposed to was a proper “legging up” program for a horse. At the time, it was common for horses to be turned out in pasture for the summer and then brought back to work for […]
Training Tips: Relaxation or Tension?
Traditional wisdom in training horses is that training a horse through relaxation is preferable to training through tension. But, how many of us can explain why that is, or what it means to train “through relaxation”? We’ve all seen horses in tension. Look no further than the local riding school to see horses with swishing […]
Bodywork: Rib Work for Horses
Guest Blog, by Megan Ayrault, LMP, L/SAMP Here’s a video to help your horse’s ribs, breath, and back, which in turn helps their whole body and athletic performance. This YouTube video also includes a little discussion of the anatomy and physiology behind it, so it will make more sense as you practice, and you’ll get better […]
Horse Health: Don’t get Struck Out by Strangles!
by Hannah Mueller, DVM Strangles is a highly contagious bacterial infection (Strep equi equi) that affects horses and although it is rare in general, there have been more outbreaks than normal in our area this year. The disease is not usually fatal but more than half of exposed horses will become sick. Clinical signs include […]