My Horse, My Shrink

Just A Girl and Her Horse

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I step out of my red Jeep liberty and the gravel crunches beneath my boot. As the breeze picks up, the scents of fresh hay and shavings are carried through the air. My horse begins to lift her head as I move towards her, crooning her name; and everything melts away. I am entirely in the present. As the day dissolves, along with every feeling I had been carrying from it, a smile begins to break across my face. When I finally reach the gate, Honey gives me a baritone nicker and searches my pockets until she finds the one with the peppermint treats. Continue reading “My Horse, My Shrink”

Teaching a horse to jump: From cross-rails to stone walls & more

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One of my students recently decided that it was time for her to invest in a horse of her own. She did her research and brought home a twelve-year-old OTTB that she hoped could be a pleasure horse for herself, and an equitation horse for her daughter. Standing between 16’2 and 17 hands, Baker is a handsome boy with the potential to become exactly what they’re looking for. Continue reading “Teaching a horse to jump: From cross-rails to stone walls & more”

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

Honey Flat Work

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”