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
This week I have been preparing for a clinic this weekend at Infinity Farm. It is the my favorite clinic every year: Fundamentals of Dressage. One of my clients asked if it was going to be the same as last year. (Eye roll -is this a trick question?)
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
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
Sometimes our personality isn’t the best match for where our horse is at the moment -but acting the part of a confident rider might reveal a path from being the Odd Couple to Fred and Ginger in Shall We Dance?
… 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
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
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
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.