An opportunity to study and teach equine behaviour and research in the classroom provided more insights into the way horses think and learn.
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
I heard some riders joking that their barn policy is that anyone who falls off during a lesson buys their instructor a Coke. Cute, but does reveal and underlying assumption: Falling off is a necessary evil of learning to ride… but is it? Memories of my early days at the local riding school include eager … Read moreFalling Off . My approach to rebuilding rider confidence. Part 1
A subtle jerk and spur. An aggressive back-up. Barking out “WHOA!” with a scowl. As a judge I see them (and sometimes DQ them). As a coach I talk riders logically through them. And I sadly recall a few of my own! In the fishbowl of the horse show, it’s natural to lose it when … Read moreTemper tantrums