How to Overcome Blaming Yourself or Your Horse to Improve Your Riding Today

Riding is, by definition, an activity that involves a partnership between horse and rider.  Is it then the horse or the rider that deserves the credit for the good rides, and the blame for the bad ones? Examining your answer to that critical question can lead you towards consistently better rides. It can be nearly impossible to separate horse and rider and see what part we are contributing and what part the horse is contributing, and how the part we contribute affects the part the horse contributes, and vice versa. So most riders fall into one of two camps more due to their…

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A Tool For Times Your Horse Makes You Nervous

bay horse trotting

My sixteen year old student did something the other day that I just loved. It was an easy and very effective way of working through the type of resistance from her horse that often makes her nervous. It’s a tool everyone can use anytime they need it. They had taken a little walk break, and  she was supposed to be getting him back into a trot and onto a circle so we could work on her right lead canter transition, which can be a little sticky. Maybe there was already some hesitation in the back of her mind just knowing…

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Video Analysis of My Ride and How to Make This Tool Work for You

Remy gets pats

This video I took to establish a baseline on where my horse and I are at riding different movements. There are plenty of mistakes, but I wanted to share it to discuss those mistakes for learning purposes, and to show how to use video as a powerful tool to improve your riding. Hopefully this doesn’t get taken out of context! The horse in this video is my 10 year old off track thoroughbred, Remy (Jockey Club registered as Mr. Painter). I’ve had him since he was 4. He raced a few times but was too slow, and retired young and sound,…

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How I Focused My Look-y Horse To Get Good Work Instead of Spooks

It was one of *those* nights – early spring, nearing dusk, with a slightly gusty breeze… and of course, the indoor arena now had all the windows opened up after the long, cold winter. Alone in the ring, my normally quiet, sensible horse was on edge as he examined the new openings all around the ring, surprised each time he felt the wind blow INSIDE the arena, listening to previously muffled sounds that now added a constant murmur of background noise to our usually silent work space. Birds were chirping, cars were cruising passed on the road, and a train horn…

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Becoming a Better Rider By Becoming a Serious Student

horse books

The best thing a rider of any level can do if she wants to make progress with her riding is to become a serious student.  It doesn’t have to cost much or any money, and it can fit into your schedule where ever you can find a little time. There are opportunities for learning all around us, and especially with all the information on the internet now, it is very easy to pick up tips and integrate new ideas and information into your ride, if you’re open to learning.  The trick is to balance the open-mindedness with some critical thinking…

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Dressage with Off-Breeds: The Failure Trap to Avoid

You know your horse isn’t the “typical” dressage horse. Maybe his breeding is unusual, or just not what we usually see in the ring. Maybe his gaits are not beautiful by nature, or maybe he has less than perfect conformation. Maybe you are proud of this, or maybe you are self-conscious about it. Regardless, he is your chosen dressage partner and together you and he are embarking on a journey. As you go along, you will come across significant challenges, and when you do, there is a danger you need to guard against. Expected Failure We all love the fairy…

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Improve Your Riding Today with a Ridiculously Easy Change

It’s hard to create a new habit, we usually give up new things long before they become habits. I think most of us go through “I’m going to start working out (again)!” phases that never seem to stick, and often the same with eating healthier or dieting. It’s always things we know we should do, and genuinely would like to do, but somehow despite the best intentions, those New Years resolutions never last long. How do we overcome this so we can successfully improve ourselves? One way is to make the goal smaller, more achievable, so easy that even when you are tempted…

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How to Ride Like a Trainer: Taking Responsibility and Finding Empowerment

Every time you interact with your horse, you are training him. For better or worse, whether the interaction you had was good, bad, or maintained the status quo. You did something, your horse responded, and his response got either positive reinforcement or disciplinary action from you. And he just learned something. You just taught him something. Let that sink in a moment. This is an awesome power we all have, but so often goes unnoticed by many riders because the state of awareness and focus it requires is not the same one we are usually in as we run around…

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