Judging horses – sticking to the “score”.

Attending the AQHA judges conference in Dallas felt like being part of a large orchestra! One of 350 judges, tuning up to be “on key” with the standard, and in sync with one another. So many experienced, talented horse-people, yet personal preferences, interpretations and biases were to be laid aside – a reminder to stick … Read more Judging horses – sticking to the “score”.

Hazards, horses and helmets

What’s the best choice to control risk in working with horses? Researchers surveyed 1,700 horse people (owners, riders, and enthusiasts). The #1 choice? Helmets. Training was low on the list. “People working with horses seem to simply accept the tradition that equestrianism is high-risk”, said a speaker at August’s U of Guelph Equitation Science conference—a … Read more Hazards, horses and helmets

Nosebands – how tight is too tight?

Standard equipment in English disciplines. Training equipment in western.  While nosebands are designed to prevent bit evasion, in the horse business, we’re inclined to think “If a little is good, more is better!   Are we masking bit evasion without asking WHY the horse might be resisting? Who knows where the “two-finger rule” for fitting bridle … Read more Nosebands – how tight is too tight?

Lunging horses – why bother?

I’ve learned so much about horses by watching them – particularly the countless ones I’ve watched revolve around me on the lunge line.(One at a time of course). I’ve learned to “read horse” by studying the subtleties of body language and facial expression, noting signs of stress, distraction and relaxation.   Lunging has tuned my eye- … Read more Lunging horses – why bother?

Riding bareback: when natural is not necessarily better.

That bareback beach riding bucket list experience – a tender moment for the rider, yet perhaps differently “tender” for the horse… In several recent studies researchers have confirmed the benefits of pressure distribution thanks to saddle trees, making them a better option than the localized pressure from some treeless saddles or riding bareback. With the … Read more Riding bareback: when natural is not necessarily better.