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…

Hell hath no fury like a Horse Show Mom scorned

I’m cautiously following my glowing Mother’s Day post in praise of horse show moms (and in praise of my own horse mom and cheerleader) with the other kind of horse show mother. Sharing the same breed characteristics as the intense hockey dad, this mom advocates fiercely for and rides vicariously through her young equestrian. As … Read more Hell hath no fury like a Horse Show Mom scorned

Horse show cancellations… and hope

Fielding the daily “postponements” and cancellations of riding clinics and horse show judging. (a photo from my judging booth at last summer’s Teen Ranch hunter/jumper show). Every postponement is mingled with a little hope as we kick the can down the road a little further. Each cancellation feels like a little grief. Thinking of all … Read more Horse show cancellations… and hope

Judging horses – sticking to the “score”.

Attending the AQHA judges conference in Dallas felt like being part of a large orchestra! One of 350 judges, tuning up to be “on key” with the standard, and in sync with one another. So many experienced, talented horse-people, yet personal preferences, interpretations and biases were to be laid aside – a reminder to stick … Read more Judging horses – sticking to the “score”.

Connecting with your horse through trail obstacle competition!

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!

Trail Obstacle Challenge – “This will be on the test!”

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!”