The art and equitation science of riding

As a riding coach, I always hope to convey the beauty, even musical quality of the horse –human dynamic. But to do it in a clear, evidence- based, no- jargon way!
Speaking in equitation science terms of pounds of pressure, inches, metres or geometry can be more helpful to riders than “More”, “Look up”, “Rounder” or “Hands still” in answering the Questions:
“What should I do with my body?” and “What, exactly, should it look like?”
By describing skills from a biomechanical point of view, rather than a subjective description of what to do with their bodies, riders can improve their technique…

Though this year’s no Norman Rockwell Thanksgiving, there’s still much to give thanks for.

“It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled ’till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. What if [Thanksgiving], he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if [Thanksgiving], perhaps, means a little bit more.”

Falling off a horse, landing on my feet and other Thanksgiving Graces

As I count my blessings topping my list are, funnily enough, what I haven’t received. Not only what I’ve been given, but what I’ve be spared from. Amazing graces… I’ve never been significantly injured by horses. It still amazes me. In those naïve and reckless young rider years, in training hundreds of horses as a professional, falling off, dragged, struck at and run into- but never hurt.

Classic horse training principles, worth repeating

Classic training principles, described with a warm and witty turn of phrase that they’re worth repeating.  From renowned horsewoman Sandy Collier. Here are my highlights: • Maximize every moment. Whenever you’re with your horse, you’re either training or untraining him. … If you’re riding him through a gate and he won’t move laterally off your … Read more Classic horse training principles, worth repeating

Red ribbon personalities –in humans and horses

It’s not uncommon at open horse shows to see a red ribbon fastened on the tail of a horse. The message? Stay away. I kick. And if I’m complaining about everyday irks, I’m a red ribbon personality.
Why does it sometimes take the loss of something we take for granted to realize what a blessing it really is?
Yet, grumpiness turns to gratefulness with each little loss restored.
Delays in a long horse show schedule? Waiting for a tardy entry? Porta potty? Food booth runs out of coffee? No problem –it’s a PRIVILEGE to be judging a horse show!
If your horse’s personal -space guarding has become assertive enough to warrant a red tail ribbon, it’s time to go back and do some homework before going off- property.
Whether the source is fear or aggression, here are 2 training tips toward expanding his social bubble…

Is your horse in a rush? (Part 2) 4 more tips to SLOW DOWN, tone down your horse’s tension and tune in to your aids.

Horse tension and relaxation – over and over I’ve seen how these really matter in horse learning. Your horse’s emotional state determines how easily he learns – absorbs and acquire skills.
Like cruise control, “self-carriage” in pace describes a horse neither rushing away (accelerating) nor slowing down. He stays within an imaginary box of the rider’s relaxed aids, without having to be held there.
If the horse is hurrying, he’ll be showing some degree of a prey animal’s flight response.

Horses in a rush. Humans in a hurry: Purposeful pauses.

In writing about horses and rushing lately, I got thinking…And what about humans? Ever suffer from “hurry sickness”? ..When I had the opportunity to travel to Israel to judge some horse shows and teach riding clinics, I was moved by how everything shut down for the Sabbath and family. Stores, transportation, restaurants, even…horse shows!