Researchers observed equine body language and facial expressions in a grooming study, comparing these visible responses to what’s under the surface – blood cortisol, oxytocin levels and heart rate. As a coach, I encourage riders to read their horses –to check in every couple of seconds with how their signals are reflected in their horse’s … Read more Reading horses (and people).
Anyone ever been thankful for a horse who had a braking safety feature installed? Reliable brakes- an accident averted. Or an equitation class won. I’ve been thankful for horses that know “whoa” before they steps on the reins, unseat a novice, or bump into another horse in the warm up ring. A nifty tool in … Read more Brakes
Judging the CQHA trail obstacle challenge at the Happy Trails Horse Park , my score sheet reflected the connection (and patience!) of horses and riders. When you think about it, the horse doesn’t know if that water obstacle is 2 ft or 20 ft deep. He doesn’t know that the bridge REALLY IS sturdy and … Read more Connecting with your horse through trail obstacle competition!
Math exam, driving exam – we’ve all been there. Unknown questions are best faced with well-rehearsed fundamentals. Judging the Mountain Trail challenge show at Happy Trails Horse Park, it was cool to see riders navigate their horses through unfamiliar obstacles with familiar cues. Though not permitted to practice the obstacles on competition day, some had … Read more Trail Obstacle Challenge – “This will be on the test!”
A recent article I wrote for The Rider… Building your horse’s skill and confidence over poles is like building any structure – first, lay a solid foundation. Nothing shakes a prey animal’s confidence like getting his feet tangled as he leaps over and lands on the rails. As with jumping, the building blocks of this … Read more Taking poles in stride. Part 1
Sharing some Life lessons Learned from Horses with this week with a group of camp staff and teens. I asked -What re you revolving around? What gives you identity, security, significance? I’ve lunged what seems like a million horses. Just when you think you’re the master lunger, one’ll throw you a curve ball. Leaving its … Read more Lungeing horse. Life lessons.
A medley of horse performance issues stem from the same source – lack of straightness. Anyone driving a truck a truck and trailer will tell you that in stopping or backing, you’d better have the rig straight! The same is true with horses. When a horse has his head, neck, shoulders and hips aligned … Read more Out of alignment
I’ve learned so much about horses by watching them. Coaching, training, judging -I make my living observing horses and riders. As a coach, I act as a mirror. My eyes circle from the rider’s signals to the horse’s response – speaking back what I see – choosing words as descriptively and simply as I can. I often ask riders to … Read more A coach is a mirror
Glitches in the training ring or show ring can usually be sourced to communication issues: mixed messages or muffled cues. When I started to study the science about horse behaviour and learning, it confirmed many things I’d discovered by trial and error as a coach and trainer. Learning WHY gave substance to the HOW. And … Read more 5 top reasons for horse and rider communication gaps.
An excellent article from champion Bob Avila, addresses a horse show trend that’s been troubling me as a horseperson and judge. Another trend I hope our governing associations will consider “reining back” , for the welfare of our industry and the welfare of the horse. (Every discipline has its trends!) It’s the extreme low, even … Read more How low is too low? Head position in the show ring.