Jumping horses as little as possible?

Lindsay Grice Jumping

Jumping is fun. Training fundamentals…less so. I know that makes me a “less fun” riding coach at times.
BUT… navigating a jumping course or a crowded horse show warm-up ring on a distracted horse without well installed fundamentals is about as fun as being on the 400 highway interchanges without power steering!

The science of horse tack and training aids. Part 2

In barn aisles and social media platforms, equestrians debate, disdain and defend the use of training aids.
I’m convinced the answer lies somewhere in the middle. Let’s lift the lid on the tack box, looking objectively at the evidence concerning training aids – how to use them, choose them, and avoid the ways we might abuse them!

The Science of horse tack and training aids. Part 1

Training tack – whips, spurs nosebands and martingales. It’s a divisive topic in the horse industry. Horse show committees, popular clinicians, coaches, competitive and casual riders differ in their views.
In a sport where truth, tradition and emotions often collide, I’ve had to sift through the issues to form my own system as a horse trainer, show judge and riding coach.

Horse training jargon. Clear or confusing?

Mystical, humorous or deliberately elusive – the terms we use in the horse business can leave a rider scratching her head. As a young rider, I was a coach’s worst nightmare – “What do you mean by that?”, I’d ask.
I rarely got a meaningful answer.
No doubt, jargon adds some comic relief to the conversation. Some horse trainer lingo is just – funny!
But, are the terms we use meant to CREATE mystery or to UNCOVER and UNPACK the mysteries of humans working with horses?
Training a non- English- speaking horse partner is complicated enough without including unclear terms which train riders to give unclear signals and horses to be clearly stressed out! If we can’t describe our aids in such a way that someone who’s never ridden could understand, chances are the aid is fuzzy to the horse too!

Horses behind the bit.

Once a horse learns how to escape the hands of a rider, he’ll tend to hide behind the bit even with a rider of educated hands, avoiding the annoyance before it begins. In equitation science, this is called “avoidance conditioning”. Thankfully, most horse show judges these days aren’t swayed by that horse with his nose tucked in – they’re looking past the head to analyze the balance, rhythm and relaxation of the whole picture.