An opportunity to study and teach equine behaviour and research in the classroom provided more insights into the way horses think and learn.
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 moreConnecting with your horse through trail obstacle competition!
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 moreTrail Obstacle Challenge – “This will be on the test!”
A recent article I wrote for The Rider… Building your horse’s skill and confidence over poles is like building any structure – first, lay a solid foundation. Nothing shakes a prey animal’s confidence like getting his feet tangled as he leaps over and lands on the rails. As with jumping, the building blocks of this … Read moreTaking poles in stride. Part 1
Sharing some Life lessons Learned from Horses with this week with a group of camp staff and teens. I asked -What re you revolving around? What gives you identity, security, significance? I’ve lunged what seems like a million horses. Just when you think you’re the master lunger, one’ll throw you a curve ball. Leaving its … Read moreLungeing horse. Life lessons.
A medley of horse performance issues stem from the same source – lack of straightness. Anyone driving a truck a truck and trailer will tell you that in stopping or backing, you’d better have the rig straight! The same is true with horses. When a horse has his head, neck, shoulders and hips aligned with … Read moreOut of alignment
I’ve learned so much about horses by watching them. Coaching, training, judging -I make my living observing horses and riders. As a coach, I act as a mirror. My eyes circle from the rider’s signals to the horse’s response – speaking back what I see – choosing words as descriptively and simply as I can. I often ask riders to … Read moreA coach is a mirror
Glitches in the training ring or show ring can usually be sourced to communication issues: mixed messages or muffled cues. When I started to study the science about horse behaviour and learning, it confirmed many things I’d discovered by trial and error as a coach and trainer. Learning WHY gave substance to the HOW. And … Read more5 top reasons for horse and rider communication gaps.
An excellent article from champion Bob Avila, addresses a horse show trend that’s been troubling me as a horseperson and judge. Another trend I hope our governing associations will consider “reining back” , for the welfare of our industry and the welfare of the horse. (Every discipline has its trends!) It’s the extreme low, even … Read moreHow low is too low? Head position in the show ring.
Wow-the battle of the bulge – not just a concern for us, middle- aged humans but our horses as well! There’s an increase in the number of obese horses found in the leisure industry in industrialized countries and it’s now recognized as a real equine health and welfare concern. Here are some highlights and suggestions … Read moreThe battle of the bulge
After a fall, the traditional prescription is to get back in the saddle. “Seven falls make a rider!”. Horse stops at a fence ? “Throw your heart over and your horse’ll go too!” As a young rider on a regular refuser, that adage didn’t inspire confidence in me! Despite approaching a fence with my jaw … Read moreFalling Off . My approach to rebuilding rider confidence. Part 2