Trail Obstacle Challenge – “This will be on the test!”

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!”

5 top reasons for horse and rider communication gaps.

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.

How low is too low? Head position in the show ring.

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.

Falling Off . My approach to rebuilding rider confidence. Part 2

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

Falling Off . My approach to rebuilding rider confidence. Part 1

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