Watch this page daily for quick handy tips and quotes, some of which are from our loyal members and fans! If you would like to contribute, email your tip to: email@example.comClick on each Tip/Quote Title (in blue) to make comments.
"A Horse(wo)man is someone who constantly seeks to find out what they don't know about horses, horse care, riding and training." ~ Andrea Monsarrat Waldo
"To motivate our horses to travel in a stretching position, I let them chew the reins out of the hand now and then and take care that the horse stays collected behind. I slowly lengthen the reins, ride actively to the hand, introduce the increased stretch to the bit and drive toward it. Ideally, my horse will take the reins out of my hands through the stretch of the neck and the chewing action of the mouth. To take the reins out of the hands means that the horse actively responds when he gets the signal to chew. Many horses deviate from the ideal in that they invert, roll over or go against the hand." ~ Uta Graf
Riders don't always know that they are lacking something, let alone what that something is. That's why regular instruction is crucial.
"Keep your hands down in front of the jump. Stop trying to control him with your hands, and control him with your seat." ~ Chris Bartle
"A true horseman/woman understands the psychological and physical health requirements of their horse just as much as they understand riding and training them. The deeper you look the more fascinating it becomes..." ~ Nancy Zanetta
"Its a wonderful and unusual thing when professionals (and amateurs) who compete 'against' each other are so fantastically supportive and helpful to each other. It makes our sport pretty special. :) " ~ Joan Childs
A horse can only come properly over the back if you truly allow them to use their necks.
"After the horse has, for a certain period of time, been lunged in the appropriate way, it will not be very difficult to ride a twenty metre diameter circle." ~ Dr. Henri van Schaik
Since it is rather easy to forget to do so, challenge yourself to focus more on maintaining an even rhythm when doing figures of any kind.
Don’t let your horse change your posture.
"I'm very visual. I also am good at making myself into a pretzel. Last night I though of how a skier in slalom changes direction with subtle motion, otherwise they'll bite it. With that subtlety, my mare easily floated back and forth in the zig zag." ~ Annette Gaynes
Horses that have been trained with force often remain somewhat in "prey animal" mode, which means that they will be always looking for a way out of the situation they are in.
"The conversation with your horse is a private one, others should not see it." ~ Eric Smiley
Your attitude determines the quality of your practice, and the quality of your practice determines your performance.
The more often you are able to give the reins, the more relaxed your horse will likely be.
"At the beginning, the horse should have a long neck, and be really going into the bit, and that I am able to always have steady contact with a willingness of the horse to go forward. They are a little down at the beginning when I do my warm up, it doesn’t matter if it is a four-year-old or a Grand Prix horse, the first ten minutes are the same. Then when you go to collect, you try to keep them in exactly this position – in front of your leg so the horse is always willing to go forwards, and out." ~ Hubertus Schmidt
As an Eventer, it is smart to do some of your canter flatwork at the gallop, to teach your horse that the extra speed of the gallop is not an excuse to be wild or disobedient.
Overuse of the inside rein grounds the inside hind leg, limiting hind leg engagement.
"The upper body should not move back and forth in the canter. Instead, the lumbar back should become supple" ~ Nuno Oliveira
The more you look down, the less influence your seat has in the saddle.
"In the half halt that creates carrying power, we are asking the horse to slow down and carry more weight when his hind leg joints are closed and his hind foot is on the ground. The levade, in which the horse sits on his hindquarters, is the ultimate example of this kind of closing of the joints while carrying the weight." ~ George Williams
The smoothest and easiest canter to walk transitions come when the horse can canter at walk speed.
"In matters regarding their nature, it is hardly surprising that horses can outwit the rider with considerable ease – after all, they only need to be themselves to succeed. This is so, because in horsemanship the task lies entirely with the rider to become more horse-like, and not for the horse to become human. But, as we gain better understanding of the creatures and find greater harmony with them, we discover to our delight that they feel neither the need nor desire to outwit the rider, and usually come more than halfway to comply with any reasonable requests." ~ Erik Herbermann
The bigger the jump, the more the horse must rock back and lift upwards on the takeoff. Therefore as the jumps get bigger, it becomes even more important that you are poised and patient with your upper body off the ground.
It is not wise to practice your Dressage tests in their entirety very often. Doing so will only cause your horse to learn the test and begin to anticipate the different movements. If you can get your horse truly connected and on the aids, the tests themselves will be easy. Spend most of your Dressage schooling time improving the connection and your horse's carriage, rather than test riding.
"First thing I look at when I buy a horse is paces rather than breeding. Beautiful parents don’t always produce beautiful children. I’m not looking for the flashiest paces, but also the trainablility and rideability. How are you going to keep a big, flamboyant mover sound into Grand Prix? You want an easy mover." ~ Carl Hester
If you don't give your horse something to do, he is going to give you something to do. Have a plan, and keep him busy.
When jumping, the horse’s bascule is what allows him to more easily get his body higher in the air.
When you have a problem in your jumping, 9 times out of 10 what you really have is a problem with the quality of your canter.
Even for those of you who already have your flying changes down pat, it is a good idea to sometimes practice simple changes when jumping courses in training. Simple changes of lead are a great way to remind your horse that jumping a course is really flatwork with some jumps in the way.
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