Why we horse show

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When I was 12, I decided that I wanted to show. More specifically, I wanted to travel up and down the east coast, showing against the best there was. It was at this point that I learned what it took to be a show rider on a budget, and I spent every sequential weekend working at the barn to help offset the costs I incurred following my dream.

I did reach my goal, and competed in Florida, Atlanta, New York, Vermont, Connecticut, and Massachusetts. However, when I turned 17, I decided my priority should be my approaching college application process, and the dream was put on hold. Continue reading “Why we horse show”

Reflecting On A Month Without Stirrups

stirrupsNovember has been, most profoundly associated with men refusing to shave their faces for the whole month of November resulting in what may be, the largest number of somewhat irritated and unhappy women we have all year. Since I am not the sort to “join in” by refusing to shave my legs, I decided to jump into the equestrian trend of, “No Stirrups November”. While November is over, I think this post will give us something to both reflect on, and work towards.

My golden rule for a full month without stirrups:

Stirrups come completely off the saddle and stay in my apartment.

This may seem aggressive, however, if temptation is removed, the work begins. Continue reading “Reflecting On A Month Without Stirrups”

Why Won’t My Pony Listen – A Case Study

Ponies are very particular little creatures. When I was younger, and a bit smaller, I begged my mom for a pony. I mean, what little girl doesn’t?

Of course, she said, “no”, and when I asked, “why not”, she responded by telling me, “I don’t trust ponies”. This conversation led to me being the only little girl with pigtail braids and bows in short stirrup riding a 15 hand horse.

What I eventually came to understand was that, with a well-trained horse, it’s likely that even if everything doesn’t go according to plan, it won’t really phase or bother the horse too much. However, when it comes to ponies, especially if they’re younger ponies, they’re absolutely going to hold a grudge if something seems askew. Thus, the reason for this post! Continue reading “Why Won’t My Pony Listen – A Case Study”

Kicking Off Fall with a Clinic

I celebrated the first day of fall by entering into a last minute clinic with Sue Peltier and Colleen Kelly from Millpoint Farm in Virginia. This post is both going to describe my experience in the clinic but also give you the exercises we did and why we did them, so you can use them in your own riding. Continue reading “Kicking Off Fall with a Clinic”

The Mystery Lameness

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This past month, my mare became stiff, unwilling, lazy, and then just flat out lame. There was no heat in her legs and the farrier checked for a possible abscess with no conclusive findings. It was a true puzzle for everyone at the farm but one thing was certain, Honey was lame. Continue reading “The Mystery Lameness”

Gamify Learning to Ride

As anyone who owns lesson horses knows, it’s a constant struggle, and balancing act, to keeping your horses conditioned and keeping your lesson kids happy. This is an exercise that I used to do with my former trainer and while it sounds simple, my students really started to get a feel for what it’s like to have an adjustable horse simply because we made a game out of it! Continue reading “Gamify Learning to Ride”

Improve Transitions and Lead Changes

This is a great exercise I picked up from a dressage clinic I took in high school. While I have never been a dressage rider or owned a dressage saddle, I have truly come to realize the value of really great flat-work. Continue reading “Improve Transitions and Lead Changes”

“You Can’t Make Everyone Happy” – No Longer Applies

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After a few weeks of teaching riding lessons, I’ve come to truly realize and understand what my trainers went through every day. It’s a constant balancing act between loving your students, wanting them to truly excel, and keeping in mind how far they actually want to progress compared to how much fun they want to have. Continue reading ““You Can’t Make Everyone Happy” – No Longer Applies”

Learning To Ride Just Isn’t Sexy Enough

I’ve recently started traveling to various horse shows and watching trainers give lessons and school their students both in the ring and in the barns. When you decide to teach, you all of a sudden become much more aware of the teaching styles of others, and, how their students receive their instructions. Continue reading “Learning To Ride Just Isn’t Sexy Enough”

Trail Riding

My mare has done a lot in her lifetime; mini prix showjumping, dressage, foaling, and now back in the showjumping ring.

While it’s important to keep show horses in a regular workout routine, it’s also important to get them relaxed and out of the ring. Your horse should love their job and you don’t want their sourness to the ring getting in the way of that.

Especially after a hard ride, I love to take Honey out of the ring to stretch her muscles, relax, and get used to being ridden outside the confines of an arena. Plus, it’s a great way to continue to build your relationship with your horse…after all, a horse and rider’s success is based on mutual trust as a team.

Still worried? Think of it this way: if your horse doesn’t get used to being ridden outside of the ring, you can’t blame him/her if they act up while riding them on a show ground.

Always trail ride with a buddy, or at least a cell phone, and always be sure to stay alert and aware of your surroundings. Safety first!

Cheers!