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How Horses Experience Emotion & Why it Matters for Our Training

Have you ever wondered what your horse thinks and feels? How do they experience emotion? How should their emotion affect our work with them? We will never be able to truly understand what a horse feels, we are, after all, a very different species with minds that work differently. But despite our differences, we have

Nature or Nurture – Which Creates the Better Performance Horse & More from Equitation Science Conference

We know that a person’s childhood and early development plays a large role in their beliefs and behavior as an adult. Could the same be true for our horses? Does the length of time they spend with their dam, their interaction with other horses, and their early experiences shape the “horse they become?” This is

“Girthy” Horses, the Lick & Chew, Rider Strength & More: Equitation Science Conference

I just arrived home today after a beautiful 10 days in Italy. It was one of those trips that I could say, when asked the reason for my visit at the customs booth, was “for work,” although I feel lucky to be able to call what I do work. The 14th Annual Conference for the

Why Fear is Meant to Help You, But How to Tell if it’s Holding You Back

You’re out on a trail ride, walking through the grass along the fence line when your horse spots it – a big piece of plastic caught on the fence and flapping in the wind. She stiffens and snorts, then starts dancing sideways. You know you have to get past this plastic to get back to

“Stop overthinking and just ride!” – Tips to Get Out of Your Head

You’re about to go into the canter. Your instructor has asked you to trot to the far side of the arena and then ask for canter in the corner. Your mind races with thoughts: What if my horse spooks at that bush… Sometimes he really jumps into canter, I hope he doesn’t do that this

How to Get a Stable Lower Leg

A stable lower leg position is what all riders strive for. We know that having a “good” lower leg will make us more effective and clear in our cues to the horse and help us to feel secure in the saddle. “Keep your leg still” is certainly common advice in riding lessons, but how do

Finding “Flow” In Your Riding – Creating Peak Performance

Think of a time when you were completely immersed in what you were doing. You lost track of time and you had no awareness of other thoughts or sensations, just the activity you were immersed in. For many equestrians, this feeling is of one of the greatest thrills of riding – getting lost in the

What Does ‘Feel’ Mean for Riders?

Feel. A term commonly used by horsemen, you may have an intuitive understanding of the word, but it is difficult to define. What does it really mean to have feel? Can it be taught? In the following paragraphs, I’m going to attempt to define feel and share a few simple exercises you can use to

Holding and Switching Your Whip While Riding

When holding a whip while riding, where should you hold it? Right at the top, in the middle of the handle, or even further down? What’s the best way to switch your whip from one hand to the other? If you’ve ever felt a bit awkward riding with a whip, you’ll appreciate the two simple

3 Easy Cavaletti Exercises

Balance, awareness of feet, and a lengthened topline are qualities that lead to improved movement for any horse, whether a jumper, dressage competitor, or a trail horse. Of course, there are many factors that contribute to movement, and many exercises we can do or adjustments we can make to improve it. But there is one