• Endurance Riding – Ultimate Cross Training

    I started this year off by trying something new… an endurance ride! I love trail riding, and decided the idea of conditioning for a longer, faster-paced ride sounded fun. I liked the fitness component, and the crystal clear goal, right down to a distance to be completed on a certain date. This ride was an AERC sanctioned endurance ride called The Last Tango at 7IL Ranch in Cat Springs, Tx on New Years Day. We did the Intro ride, which was about 13 miles. For a few months leading up to the ride, I had been working longer rides into my riding schedule with Sofie, trying to get at least…

  • Sofiya and Boogie Rose

    Ottb vs Warmblood: Training Two Fillies

    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 a tendency to channel that energy is less-favorable ways when…

  • 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 general nature or approach to life in general, than by…

  • 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 help you get more out of your lessons when you…

  • horse leg yielding

    Leg Yields – The How, When, and Why

    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 the rest of dressage starts to fall into place. The…

  • 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 work. Good work builds the horse up slowly over time,…