Author Archive

What Does ‘Feel’ Mean for Riders?

Feel. A term commonly used by horseman, 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

Horse Terminology: Learn the Parts of the Horse

Let’s go back to a basic lesson in horsemanship, one that you would have gotten at any pony club or horse camp as a kid… Parts of the Horse! This is a lesson that is just as important for adult riders as it is for kids. Knowing the parts of the horse will allow you

3 Factors that Cause Bad Behavior in Horses

Horses can do many things that are annoying, frustrating, or downright dangerous. Take Finn, the young horse who likes to nip and bite when he gets bored, or Winter, the pony who would rather buck than trot with a rider. What about Sydney, the Thoroughbred gelding who slams on the brakes at every other jump,

Putting Relationship First – Lessons from Equine-Assisted Therapy

Horses have played a integral role in human life and society for years, providing transportation, carrying us through war, helping us work the land in farming, providing sport and entertainment. But perhaps today, their role is shifting, as horses today provide us with companionship and even healing… Equine therapy has risen in popularity, and for

What Does Your Horse Value? Positive Reinforcement for Horses

What is most motivating for your horse during training? Knowing what your horse really likes, and being aware of how this changes in different situations, is key for using positive reinforcement in your training. There are different “levels” of reinforcement, and when we know how our horse responds to different rewards – types of food

Helping the “Spooky” Horse – Four Factors to Consider

Many horses can be called “spooky”, they over-react to harmless things in their environment – a blowing leaf, a flapping bag, a pole that is in a new location, or it may be completely unapparent what they are reacting to at all! Riding and even just handling these horses can be frustrating, even for an

What is Your Horse’s Personality?

We love to guess about what our horses might be thinking or feeling. We wonder at their emotion, speak for them, or narrate their interactions with other horses. But is this fair? Can we really understand what horses think and feel? Is it helpful or harmful to assign human qualities to a horse? These are

Learning to Learn

The more we learn the better we get at the process of learning. Our brains become more efficient at making connections, sorting out relevant information, and creating new memories. For humans on a societal level, the practice of “higher education” through colleges and universities plays a big role in this. No matter what we study,