Get Serious about Laughing.

There is so much debate currently about methods of training: German vs. French, classical vs. competitive, natural horsemanship vs. anything with an English saddle. It can get adversarial. Most people agree that finesse is better than force in horse training, but we seem to have a hard time agreeing upon a definition of what those … Read more

R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Find out what it means to me!

Namaste is a Sanskrit word -which means it’s very old.  Most translate it to some version of “The spirit in me respects the spirit in you.”  There is so much in a name. Namaste is also an easy-on-the-eyes, young, Friesian-Arab gelding with a big  dressage heart. I have known him for about 5 years and … Read more

Dressage: A Relaxed and Forward Ride.

The foundation of Dressage for the rider/horse is rhythm. I define that as a balanced combination of relaxation and forward. It sounds deceptively simple. A rider/horse can not sacrifice forward for relaxation, or relaxation for forward. The art of riding is in negotiating the balance of the two in both the rider and the horse. … Read more

A Lesson Horse is Born….

… and Grace gives herself a promotion. Dressage borrows lots of language from ballet -after all, we are the dancers of the horse world. Pas de Trois is a dance of three. I have commandeered that phrase to describe riding lessons as a conversational dance between horse, rider and instructor. All three participants have to … Read more

Dear Drama Queen-

Dear Drama Queen, I understand getting upset. You have so much passion and desire for riding. I know how much you want to do the very best job. Sometimes the world seems to conspire against you; it’s like every bad thing happens to you and none of it is your fault. No one else has … Read more

Taking the Blame.

It’s generally considered good manners in the barn to graciously take the blame anytime your horse is less than spectacular, and give your horse all the credit after a good ride. But it is more than manners, it is also a rider’s responsibility. Alois Podhajsky said it bluntly, “. . . I should like to … Read more

Embrace a Career Change.

I’ve traveled in all directions in the last few months- looking at potential lesson horses. I want to rescue the skinny ones. I try to guess how much retraining will be needed for others. The right horse needs to be not too old or too tall. There is a temperament I am looking for; tolerant, … Read more

Time Travel with Horses.

This week I have been reading Xenophon, (431-350BC)- On Horsemanship. So much remains true, except perhaps for the part about the importance of choosing a double-backed (wide) horse. In Xenophon’s defense, saddles hadn’t been invented yet.