Better Riding Archive

What it’s like to ride a “Mechanical Horse”

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to try out a “riding simulator”, and not just any simulator but a super fancy technical one – the Racewood Dressage Model. This is essentially a mechanical horse that walks, trots, canters, and even does flying lead changes! The simulator gave me instant feedback on my balance,

To Improve Your Riding, Change Your Patterns of Movement

To learn a new riding skill we need to understand the feeling we’re looking for as well as find a way to break our old habits and patterns of movement. Trying to do this cognitively only from verbal instruction (how riding is most often taught) isn’t always very effective. But when we can discover what

Learning from Different Instructors: How to Benefit from the Experience of Many While Avoiding Confusion

Last week, I visited the Horse World Expo, a local event that pulls in equine professionals from around the country. As I sat outside the various arenas listening and watching the different trainers, clinicians, and speakers teach riding and training exercises and horsemanship theories, I thought about the benefits of learning from different teachers, but

The “Big Picture” of Horsemanship

We all want to be better riders. We can picture ourselves riding confidently, our horse calm but responsive, as we canter through an open field, trot along a winding trail, soar over a brightly colored jump, or prance through the perfect leg yield. But the truth is… it takes work to get those “great rides”!

Achieve Your Riding Goals… the Easy Way

Have you ever set big goals for yourself but then watched your motivation fizzle, and your progress towards that goal come to a grinding halt? You can achieve your riding goals, by learning to create easy habits, no matter what your experience level or how much time you have. In the last few videos we’ve talked

Reflect on Your Riding and Plan Your Success

New Years. I love this holiday, and not just because of the New Years Eve parties. I see New Years as a time of fresh beginnings. A time to both look back and celebrate the successes of the year but also to look ahead and dream about the future, and then start putting a plan

Use Positive Reinforcement to Improve Your Riding

Positive reinforcement isn’t just important for your horse at the barn or for your dog at home. Positive reinforcement works for you too and it can make your riding better and the learning process a lot more fun. You don’t even have to change the way your riding instructor teaches. You can use positive reinforcement

How to Ride Posting Trot… the Skeletal View

Posting trot is a gait many riders struggle to learn and struggle to do well. It may feel difficult to “stay with the movement” of the horse, or to avoid the feeling of easily being thrown off balance. We are often taught rising trot with the chant of up, down, up, down, but the actual

How Long Should Your Reins Be?

Rein handling is one of the most essential skills of riding. Our reins provide communication with the horse at one of the most sensitive areas of their body – the mouth. In order to use the reins for communication we need to be able to maintain an appropriate length of rein and be able to

How to Stop Gripping When You Ride

Do you grip when you ride? Perhaps you’ve been told to hang on with your legs for security or to keep a “tight leg” to get your horse going.  Or maybe you’ve been told not to hold on with your legs but you aren’t sure how to stop gripping or how to stay on without