What to Do When One Long Rein Gets Tangled

What if you get tangled up or confused when you add a second long rein? What if the horse panics when it gets wedged under his tail? Wrecks like this can be very common in the beginning, but you can safely diffuse the situation if you remember to drop that outside rein like [...]

What to Do When One Long Rein Gets Tangled2021-04-22T18:17:16+00:00

What Size Is “Normal” for a Rider?

There are a lot of shiny, pretty things that go along with riding horses. Tight t-shirts, sequined show tops, fitted pants, knee-high boots. Admit it—it is awfully hard to miss the ads for the hottest brand of jeans or color of breeches. They’re everywhere, and they always feature a lithe ideal of a [...]

What Size Is “Normal” for a Rider?2021-04-22T18:17:16+00:00

An Easy Exercise for Improving Stability and Softness in the Saddle

Create a pattern using objects placed on the ground around your riding arena or other area. These objects should be about 20 steps apart. Move between each object, changing your “gait”: Walk with high steps, run on your heels, do sideways crossover steps, go backward, or use any other footwork or body-locomotion pattern you [...]

An Easy Exercise for Improving Stability and Softness in the Saddle2021-04-22T18:17:16+00:00

Hands-On Exercise: Assess the Horse’s Lateral Cartilages

If your horse will stand quietly, try palpating (assessing through feel) your horse’s lateral cartilages, which can’t really be seen but can be easily felt above the quarters. They should have some give to them, but if they feel like bone, talk to your vet or hoof-care professional and get them assessed for sidebone. If they do [...]

Hands-On Exercise: Assess the Horse’s Lateral Cartilages2021-04-22T18:17:18+00:00

Taking Up the Reins as a Basic Exercise

There are riding instructors who start every lesson by explicitly asking their students to take up the reins and then plan the rest of the session based on this first impression. When a horse eagerly walks forward on long reins and shows rhythmic long strides, establishing contact with the reins must not change [...]

Taking Up the Reins as a Basic Exercise2021-04-22T18:17:18+00:00

When Is a Horse “On the Aids”?

A horse is "on" the rider's aids when he trustingly accepts them. "Coordination of the aids" means that, by using weight and leg aids, the horse is ridden onto the bit/into the rider's hand respectively, from behind, so that there is always a constant, elastic connection (contact) between the rider's hand and the [...]

When Is a Horse “On the Aids”?2021-04-22T18:17:18+00:00

How the Length of the Horse’s Head Indicates Harmony

The total length of the horse's head from the poll to the nose provides the basic dimension of a "line" that is found throughout the horse's body. This influences our perception of harmony in the horse's conformation. In the "ideal" horse's conformation, the length of the head is equal to the length of: [...]

How the Length of the Horse’s Head Indicates Harmony2021-04-22T18:17:18+00:00

Jumpers: Don’t Abandon Flatwork!

When you begin jumping, don't abandon your flatwork. Continue to make it part of your daily routine. Jumping is not something you should do every day; in fact, my horses do very little jumping between showing---but flatwork and trail riding are an effective combination for every day. My own riding routine includes doing [...]

Jumpers: Don’t Abandon Flatwork!2021-04-22T18:17:19+00:00

Cure for the Worrier from Mark Rashid

When a horse, or really most any animal for that matter, is worried about something, he will almost immediately start looking for a way to feel better about it so he can get rid of the worry. For him it’s pretty simple. If he doesn’t feel good about something, he wants to feel [...]

Cure for the Worrier from Mark Rashid2021-04-22T18:17:19+00:00

Recognize Your Strengths: If You Can’t See It, You Can’t Feel It

Do you know anyone who is beautiful—not just pretty, but really gorgeous? Most of us do. And does that person think she’s gorgeous? I’ll bet she doesn’t. And the sad thing is that she’ll never feel good about her looks if she can’t see herself the way others do. Riders who lack confidence are the same way: [...]

Recognize Your Strengths: If You Can’t See It, You Can’t Feel It2021-04-22T18:17:19+00:00
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