Core strong rider equitation or grabbing for leather? Riding out 2020 with resilience.

Rounding the corner into our 8th month of restrictions and cancellations – we’re getting weary.
Like that 2nd arena lap of posting trot without stirrups, when you’re losing your poise and realize it’s only your head nodding up and down. I advise the riders I coach to work without stirrups or in two- point position for only a lap at a time. Fatigue leaves us sloppy – grabbing for leather or a fistful of mane with the next spook or stumble. Yet, saddles slip and manes pull out.

Solid footing in shaky times

I love when horses hunt the trail obstacles – bridges, water boxes or tarps. Checking out the footing, as if to consider the risks and plan the route across.
How solid is the foundation? How deep the water? Will the tarp move once I commit? Is anything lurking underneath?
Logically, a horse, unlike his rider, doesn’t have this information at the outset. He has to test it…by faith.
Uncertain times like these can shake us up, can’t they? Election. Epidemic. Economic recession. When our stability’s threatened and all that’s familiar is beginning to crumble…

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.

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…

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!