When I teach my students how to jump, we start with the basics:
The jump should be a continuation of your horse’s canter. For that to happen, you need to do your flatwork and use your position to help balance your horse.
The greatest mistakes I see riders making are:
Forgetting about flatwork around the turns, resulting in an unbalanced, confused horse with not enough track to find the jump.
Having a weak position and either hitting their horse’s back with their bum or catching their horse in the mouth with their hands.
In a George Morris clinic, he explained the importance of having a strong 2-point position. He asked his rider to show the 2-point at the walk, trot, and canter, both with and without stirrups. When she began to fatigue, he told her to grab mane to help hold herself up and out of the tack.
When I first started working with them, they were still practicing your basic hunter course. Their focus was more on getting over the fence instead of riding the course. They have come a long way in the year and a half that I’ve been teaching them, and are now working on things like bending lines, roll backs, long approach single oxers, and serpentine lines. No matter what I throw at them, they take it on like champs. Despite the more challenging courses, I noticed my students were still riding each jump as a single instead of thinking ahead to land their leads and make the inside turns. Continue reading “Forget the Jump, Think Ahead”→
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”→
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”→
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”→
November 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.
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”→
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”→
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”→