3 Position Warm Up Exercises to Start Your Ride Right

dressage horse trotting with rider

When you’re riding on your own, sometimes it can be hard to get a ride off to the right start. Getting yourself focused and able to use your body to get your horse to use his body gets you both in the best position (literally!) to progress towards your more challenging work as your ride gets going. It’s also the best place to start if you’re starting at the very beginning building a fitness and training foundation for yourself and your horse. Today I’ll share my 3 favorite warm up exercises that I use to begin every ride, and I’ll…

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Starting Again, and Finding Dressage From Within

Buckskin dressage horse trotting across a field with a rider in a dressage saddle

**I originally wrote this post late last December, but I couldn’t bring myself to hit “Publish” at the time. I am not sure why. Maybe I wasn’t ready to admit to the world all the things happening in my life, or maybe I was afraid if I spoke about the joy I had found, it would vanish without a trace. Regardless, now months have passed, months of healing and growing and thinking and most of all, riding. And the joy has not vanished, and I now feel strong enough to share some pieces of my story. So after a long…

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Ottb vs Warmblood: Training Two Fillies

Sofiya and Boogie Rose

Two fillies, both about to turn 4, are beginning dressage training. One came from the track, the other from the breeder’s field. Each horse requires a slightly different approach, and each one offers a few advantages over the other, as well as a few drawbacks. Here’s a side-by-side comparison. Filly #1: Boogie Rose, 15.2 hand bay OTTB This pretty girl is dainty and elegant. Light on her feet, with athleticism to spare. She’s a worker-bee and thrives on exercise and discipline. She likes routine, attention, and is at her best when her energy is channeled into work. She also has…

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A One-Eyed Thoroughbred Takes His Ammy to Grand Prix

Bugsy the one-eyed thoroughbred competing at Grand Prix

Here’s a story to make you wonder “What’s my excuse?”, and inspire you to go ride the horse you have.  A reminder of the simple things that are so important, and encouragement to keep trying through the challenges. It is a bumpy road and there will be set backs, but above all else, enjoy each moment and don’t let anyone tell you that you or your horse aren’t good enough for dressage. Make it a New Year’s Resolution, or better yet, start today, but know deep down that every horse has hidden potential waiting to be discovered, and gifts to offer the open-minded…

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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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How Your Half Pad Can Make or Break Your Ride

dressage saddle and pads on horse

So many of us use them, and for so many different reasons. Whether you choose your half pad for the softness that offers extra cushion for our horses’ backs, the pretty colors that contrast our saddle pad so beautifully, or the inserts that offer extra shock absorption or the ability to shim up the saddle… half pads are becoming almost as much of an art and science as saddle fitting! This is good news and bad news. On the one hand, buying a half pad is a much smaller investment than buying a new saddle, and for the almost-fits-perfectly saddle,…

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Getting Control of Your Horse’s Shoulders with the Leg Yield Hexagon

leg yield

Leg yielding can be such a useful exercise, but one of the most common things that goes wrong is the horse falling over his outside shoulder instead of stepping across his body with his inside hind leg. Here’s a simple exercise to help improve the quality of the leg yield you are getting and give you control over your horse’s shoulders by encouraging him to hold himself up instead of falling on the forehand. To begin, if you need to review what a leg yield is or how to do it, you can read about it here. The other easy…

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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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