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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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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5 Books for Training Your Horse Yourself

There are many reasons that riders find themselves training their horses independently, whether because they simply enjoy doing it that way, don’t have a trainer they like near by, don’t have the money for lessons and training, or a million other things.  These books are my favorites for when I’m working on my own. They are beautifully illustrated and discuss each movement individually from basic to advanced. Pictures and descriptions of how each movement should look, as well as signs that they aren’t being done correctly make it easy to educate yourself between lessons, and having that background understanding will…

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Leg Yields – The How, When, and Why

horse leg yielding

I love leg yields. They are the most basic lateral movement, and for that reason, an incredible tool for green horses and riders new to dressage.  To do a leg yield is not real hard, but does require an understanding of a few somewhat complicated concepts.  Most people can relatively easily understand the concepts and how to do a leg yield, but then find carrying it out to be slightly counter-intuitive, which is what makes leg yielding such a great exercise. Once it “clicks” for a horse or rider, it’s like a big light bulb turns on, and from there…

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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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