Why we horse show

12244735_891360347612912_828307758652418976_o-1400x600

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”

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”

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”

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

Lesson-banner-2

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!

Equine Ballerina

I started riding Western & barrel racing out in Colorado when I was still in the single-digits [in terms of my age]. Since my family lived in Connecticut, I soon started riding English and by middle school I was showing in the hunter/equitation ring. About halfway through high school, I got burnt out between the politics and the money involved in equitation so I flat out quit riding. I had to sell my horse in order to pay for college anyways so I figured, what the heck…no horse, no money for the show, and, if I quit, no more politics or stress.

So what did I do with my time?

I went back to dance class and picked up ballet..yes..ballet. I promise, there was no tutu involved but nevertheless…I was a ballerina for my senior year of high school. At about that same time, there was a 27-year-old riding trainer at my school/barn (they were one in the same), who saw the real me better than I could at the time. She convinced me to start riding again; training with her and her students for IEA (Interscholastic Equestrian Association) horse shows. Stay tuned for another post on IEA but, for the sake of this story, I’ll summarize by saying that IEA shows are horse shows for students in middle and high school to compete in one of four divisions. At these shows, you leave your own horses at home and instead, you ride one of the hosting farm’s horses that is selected by pulling a [horse’s] name out of a hat.

Anyways, I started riding and showing again solely to fill the “Open” division for our IEA Team. Though I had always placed well at shows, this became the first time that I was consistently placing in the top three at every show. Fast forward  to the Spring of my senior year of high school and I ended up winning the 2010 IEA National Finals for my division.

So what does this have to do with ballet?

Answer: Everything!

EWS IEA 2010

In equitation, position is over 50% of the deal. Next to modeling, equitation may be one of the most judgmental competition forms that exists. However, ballet can improve your position (and your scores) more than you could ever imagine (at least it was a surprise for me). While I strongly suggest taking a Barre class or two (it’s seriously a great workout & will improve your position just like ballet class), I will give you the key tips that will really help (though a formal instructor is probably better).

Tip 1: Engage your core!

How?

Stand with your back against the wall. Engage your core and tilt your pelvis forward so there is no room between your back and the wall (thus removing the arch in your back). Now, remember how this feels and try to do it without the wall as your guide.

Tip 2: Keep your shoulders back AND down.

How?

You can practice this against the wall as well for a guide but be sure check yourself every now and then by rolling your shoulders up, back, and then down. Don’t forget to keep engaging your core!

Posture

Final Step?

Do this on your horse.

It will take time to build the muscle memory but I PROMISE you, it will be worth it and help your position and connection with your horse on both the flat and over fences.

Questions? Please post them!!!!

Can’t wait to hear from you!