• Fitness,  Riders

    Fitness Fundamentals

    Boundaries, Budgets, and Baselines In riding there is a state of being called “self-carriage”. It means the horse is within the rider’s aids and “holding” itself in the shape, at the speed, and at the level of power we have “set” for them.  When in self-carriage it appears as if it’s no work at all, that the horse is magically dancing under the rider and the rider is just sitting there enjoying it.  The key is that the horse is free within the boundaries but shaped by them at the same time. This is the state I want to be in.  I want to set boundaries for myself that shape…

  • Buyers,  Horses,  Riders

    Ultimate Guide to Dressage

    I grew up riding at a hunter jumper barn in Southern California during the early 1980s. Los Angeles, my hometown, was the host city for the 1984 Olympic Games. I have to admit, we wanted to go and see the Show Jumping competition but we couldn’t get tickets so instead, we went to see the Dressage competition because that event still had tickets available.   Wow…just wow! I was awed at the power and movement of the horses we saw. Honestly, I didn’t know exactly what I was looking at but I knew it took a very special horse and some serious training to move like that. Let alone do it…

  • correct riding position
    Fitness,  Position,  Riders

    Correct Horse Riding Position: How to Have Perfect English Riding Posture

    When we are learning to ride, we hear over and over “Use your leg!” –  “Get your heels down!” –  “Pull your shoulders back!” – “Soften your hands!”  – “Don’t pull!” But what is the correct English riding position? All of these directions can be quite hard to follow, especially while you’re in motion and trying to keep your balance.  So it makes sense that it’s really helpful to have a clear understanding of your riding position and muscle mechanics before you take off at a gallop.  Our model for this post is Joe. He’s 24 years old, formerly raced motorcycles and only very recently took up riding. Like the…

  • Leading a Problem Horse
    Ground Work,  Horses,  Positive Reinforcement

    How to Lead a Horse Guide: Teaching Your Horse to Lead

    A horse that leads well is so important and learning how to lead a horse is that much more important. This isn’t only for safety reasons but it also sets up the horse’s expectations for everything else you do with them. It’s crazy to me that something so important is so neglected. It’s just not something that really gets taught. Teaching someone how to lead a horse should be more than telling them “Hold the rope with two hands and walk on the left.” Proper leading techniques teach the horse to stay “with” you; not behind you, not in front of you, not moving away from you, and not moving…

  • Automatic Nervous System of the Horse
    Anatomy and Biomechanics,  Ground Work,  Horses

    Horse Nervous System: Understanding Their Body Language

    Understanding the relationship between your horse’s body position and its Automatic Nervous System is so important. It will go a long way to helping you and your horse to be less stressed and more successful in your time together. It’s not actually that complicated. Their design is pretty simple. Horse Automatic Nervous System The horse’s Automatic Nervous System is ruled by two distinctly different parts. Sympathetic Nervous System (SNS) “S” is for “Stress” Parasympathetic Nervous System (PNS) “P” is for “Peaceful” The Sympathetic Nervous System If the Sympathetic Nervous System (SNS) had a slogan it would be, “Sorry but I’ve got to run!” The SNS activates specific physiological responses in…