Preparing for the horse show exam. 7 tips to be ready for next season. Part 2

“Good luck!” it’s heard countless times a day at the horse show in-gate. Yet we know better – horse show success is more than luck!
A horse show validates the skills you’ve acquired in the classroom of the training ring when tested in a different environment – the competition ring. Steps skipped in mastering the phonics and formulas of horsemanship will show up later in the exam!
As a horse show judge, I am giving and grading your next horse show “exam”. As a riding coach, I help you study for it!
So here are my final 3 tips to prepare for your next competition:

Preparing for the horse show exam. 7 tips to be ready for next season. Part 1

In the let-down of cancelled horse shows and fairs, as a judge, my 2020 calendar has a bunch of crossed out weekends. But as a riding coach, I’ve been encouraged by something – riders are taking lessons and working diligently on their homework in between.
• They’re preparing for next season.
• They’re repairing from last season.
Schooling shows, provincial competitions , national championships– quizzes, tests and exams. This unplanned “off-season” is a time to be mastering riding skills and working through them in your practice ring so you can have a well-rehearsed answer when the question presents itself in the horse show ring.

Equitation Whisperer?

Our horses, in their unique design, respond to subtle signals preceding our deliberate cues. Another reason, besides great equitation scores in the show ring, to practice quiet seat and hands is to make it easier for the horse to detect these subtle pre-signals Intentional cues will go unnoticed in sea of random, meaningless rider movements—the turbulence of flapping, pumping or clenching that a horse will learn to ignore.

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…

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.