Micklem Bridles

I love the fact that I’m seeing these bridles get more popular, I’m taking that to be a sign that more riders are choosing tack with their horse’s comfort in mind. The Micklem bridle was designed to avoid facial nerves and pressure points on the horse’s face, and to fit comfortably by leaving room around the ears and eyes. The noseband works like a drop or flash noseband does, supporting the bit and lower jaw, but without wrapping all the way around the horse’s nose like a standard or crank cavesson does. More information about the design of the bridle…

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The Easiest Way to Test for Saddle Balance

How your saddle sits on your horse influences how you sit in your saddle.  Once you become aware of this relatively simple fact, you’ll never not notice it again. But I see people riding in improperly balanced saddles all the time, and they are usually struggling to maintain their own position and balance, which of course makes it very hard for them to ride their horse effectively… it’s basically a downward spiral. So what can you do easily, daily even, to double check your balance? Post the trot stand-stand-sit-stand-stand-sit and see if you can get into a rhythm. As an…

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What dressage is, and 5 things it’s not

There are so many ideas about what dressage is, and so many people doing things with horses claiming it’s “dressage”, so how do we know if they/we are really doing it?  If you’re new to the sport, it can be really hard to tell!  To make it easier, we can start with 5 things dressage is not. Dressage is NOT: 1) Training in a way that breaks down the horse.  Good dressage training should increase a horse’s balance, coordination, and carriage. The gaits should improve. The horse’s ridability should improve. The horse should have pride and find joy in his…

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CAIR Panels – Not What I Expected

I’m the curious sort. I love to take things apart and see how they work. I love my Wintec and Bates Isabell saddles.  They are so adjustable, and I can open them up and change the gullet plates and add shims to fit my horse, and change it as often as I need to.  I also love the placement of the stirrup bar on the Isabell, when the saddle is sitting on the horse correctly it makes it very easy for the rider to find the correct position and ride in balance. The leather on the Bates version is soft and…

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How Praising Your Horse Helps You Ride Better

As we ride, we are constantly asking our horses to do things. Faster, slower, turn, and stop. The stream of requests is nearly endless for the duration of the ride. For the most part, horses are pretty willing to go along with this program. It’s easy to imagine how praising your horse could make this whole thing more enjoyable for him, but have you thought about how it could also make you ride better? Try this: To focus yourself and make your training more clear for your horse, practice asking for one thing (go, stop, turn, haunches-in, piaffe… it works…

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Conformation Transformation – Remy

When we look at a horse, one of the first things we usually notice is the horse’s conformation, or the way he’s put together. Different breeds produce different types of builds, and each discipline has a type that tends to do the work most easily. There are conformation flaws that can lead to soundness problems, and there are conformation traits that are desirable for one discipline and avoided for another. When stallions are advertised for breeding, the ad often features a picture showing his conformation. When horses are listed for sale, buyers often want to see a conformation picture as…

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