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.

Worry and horses

Worry. It’s the misuse of imagination according to renowned motivational speaker, Zig Ziglar. “What if..?” scenarios of doom, leave us sleepless the night before a horse show. “What ifs” leave us tongue tied in a difficult conversation with our coach.  Or gripping the reins, white knuckles, prepared for a blow-up. “In riding, there’s a fine … Read more Worry and horses

On lengthening a horse’s natural stride – what’s realistic? An equine expert weighs in.

A rider with a smaller horse asks “Can you really lengthen a horse’s natural stride?”  According to Dr. Hilary Clayton, the leading equine expert in equine gait biomechanics and Sport Horse science … to an extent, yes. Some excerpts from the author’s article:  I rejected one horse trainer’s recommendation to inject everything from my horse’s … Read more On lengthening a horse’s natural stride – what’s realistic? An equine expert weighs in.

Did I say that? Communicating intentionally to horses.

As I entered the office of a friend the other day, I interrupted him as he was dictating into his computer. We’d chit chatted and swapping a few stories, before he realized he’d forgotten to turn off the dictation feature. It was awkwardly funny to hear him read back our conversation from his screen, word … Read more Did I say that? Communicating intentionally to horses.

A fresh perspective: 8 different viewpoints to clarify your riding goals.

As a horse crazy girl, I remember cresting one of the Caledon hills on a trail ride at Teen Ranch. The view, for this 10 year old from the GTA, where the only hills are suburban “berms”, was a completely new perspective. A new year inspires new riding goals. If you feel your riding’s a … Read more A fresh perspective: 8 different viewpoints to clarify your riding goals.

“How important is it to bond with my horse?”

I’m asked this regularly. I may dig a little deeper, “Tell me what you mean by bonding.” If bonding means to you: my horse feels safe and relaxed in my presence my horse understands me – my movements and cues are predictable  I’d say that’s very important! However, if you’re hoping for your horse to … Read more “How important is it to bond with my horse?”