The stressed out horse. The science of equine stress.

“I believe that responsible horse owners essentially ‘owe’ it to their horses to either reduce or manage stress wherever and whenever possible,”  Dr. Camie Heleski,  equitation science researcher and senior lecturer for U of Kentucky. Obviously, there’s no way to eliminate stress in working with horses. The nature of horse training is that we’re pushing … Read more The stressed out horse. The science of equine stress.

Behind the Bit

Once a horse discovers how to escape a rider’s noisy or inconsistent hands, he may auto-hide behind the bit, even with a rider of educated hands. … He’s found an escape route that works and behind-the-bit becomes his default whether or not the threat is still present.
“Hurt me once, shame on you. Hurt me twice shame on me”. So the saying goes. Like horses, people protect themselves from further hurt by avoiding confrontation, love or risk.

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

Hell hath no fury like a Horse Show Mom scorned

I’m cautiously following my glowing Mother’s Day post in praise of horse show moms (and in praise of my own horse mom and cheerleader) with the other kind of horse show mother. Sharing the same breed characteristics as the intense hockey dad, this mom advocates fiercely for and rides vicariously through her young equestrian. As … Read more Hell hath no fury like a Horse Show Mom scorned

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.

Whose voices am I listening to? Life lessons learned from horses.

I was speaking to a group of high school students earlier this year about the influence of our media choices, using Life Lessons Learned from Horses. Whose voices are you listening to? I shared the story of a speed event horse, so distracted in the horse show ring by the calls of his stable mates … Read more Whose voices am I listening to? Life lessons learned from horses.