Proof the Horse Does NOT Do All the Work

FitBit Heart Rate Data from a ride

How many times have you been told horseback riding is not exercise, all you do is just sit there while the horse does all the work? Our sore legs and abs after a good lesson tell us otherwise, but it’s hard to help someone understand that without putting them on a horse. And I’ve never had a way to compare just how hard I worked when riding to other types of workouts, like running or biking.  Now with my Fitbit I can easily track just how hard I’m working while I’m riding, and track my rides over the course of…

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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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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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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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