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  • Written by Allie Layos
  • Category: Training

Warm-Up Woes: Don’t teach in the warm-up

These days Dr. Janet Edgette is an equestrian sports psychologist, but in 1974 she was a slightly overwhelmed 17-year-old junior rider cantering her horse around the Madison Square Garden arena at 4:30 in the morning before the start of the prestigious Maclay Finals.

“My trainer was trying to teach me something to do with flying lead changes,” Janet said. “I love him dearly; he was great. But I remember thinking, ‘really, now?’”

Janet’s childhood trainer is far from the only trainer to try and teach a rider a new skill at a horse show, and though it’s not always as high-stakes as Madison Square Garden, this practice can adversely affect a rider’s performance at any show. While good communication can sometimes lessen the stress of being asked to learn a new skill in such a pressurized setting, the best tactic is to avoid this extra stress entirely, through foresight and proper preparation.

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  • Written by Allie Layos
  • Category: Training

How To Deal With A Mare

CH Moonlight Memories gets a hug from McGee Bosworth.CH Moonlight Memories gets a hug from McGee Bosworth.When it comes to mares, their reputations precede them. From often-touted clichés to humorous tee-shirts, it is clear that they are known for being touchy, moody and just generally difficult. Yet there are a number of stunningly successful mares on today’s show circuit, proving that these complicated creatures can still go on to great success. Some even believe that a good mare has the potential to be an even better show horse than a gelding or stallion, if you are able to bring out the best in them – something that takes patience, cooperation and a willingness to listen and learn.

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  • Written by Bonnie Hilton
  • Category: Training

Sharing Your Passion: Building A Team

As the results of the most recent presidential election were broadcast, the conversations started predicting who would be the members of the newly elected president’s cabinet and other positions of power and influence. What criteria for evaluation were being used? Who would be on the team? Although the filling of such lofty positions don’t seem to correlate to anything we need to do within the equine business world and the running of a facility or other related equine enterprise, a little thought should bring to mind the reality of similar decisions. Where is your passion going to take you?

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  • Written by Dallys Malenfant
  • Category: Training

The Importance of Playtime During Show Season

A short trail ride can be a great change of pace for show horses and riders.A short trail ride can be a great change of pace for show horses and riders.Horse show season is well underway and trainers, owners, and the horses have a busy few months ahead of them. For humans it’s sleepless nights spent in cramped hotel rooms, eating whatever someone brings them, and fifteen trips to Home Depot because they can never find the black electrical tape. The horses can look forward to thousands of miles on the trailer and a new stall to rest in every weekend. Show season can certainly take its toll on humans and horses alike, the thing that everyone looked forward to throughout the cold winter months becoming more of an exhausting obligation as the season wears on.

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  • Written by Bonnie Hilton
  • Category: Training

Reasons for Riding and Teaching on the Longe

I didn’t start learning how to ride on the end of a longe line. I wish I had because I would have had a more solid development and understanding of the independent seat and the nuances, the subtleties needed for the correct application of the aids, especially later in life when I started the sometimes arduous task of retraining.

As Alois Podhajsky stated in The Complete Training of the Horse and Rider, “Even when presenting a fully trained horse, a rider must have considerable knowledge and experience. How much more he will require to train an untrained horse and still more to retrain a badly trained one.” (Please note that I will be quoting from this same classic work by Podhajsky in other areas of this article.)

If I had started my riding career on the longe I would not have spent years struggling, as so many riders continue to do, to learn how to produce, allow and actually ride forward, instead of trying to make forward happen by force. I lacked as a rider the training as, “the physical and mental proficiency to be able to follow them with skill and power, and be able to resist them if necessary.” As a youngster I developed the seat of the pants style of riding, a strong foundation in part but far from complete in the skill aspect. It was a foundation that had to be broken down in order to build anew in 1970 and it started when I was first put on the longe in Vermont prior to going to England and then a decade later in Massachusetts on the longe when I started studying body awareness.

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