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Julie Raustein Mail: julieraustein92@gmail.com Phone: 484 92 608

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Julie Raustein Mail: julieraustein92@gmail.com Phone: 484 92 608

Ă˜ien & Indegaard Mail: oienindegard@oien.no Phone: 458 62 358

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Julie Raustein Mail: julieraustein92@gmail.com Phone: 484 92 608

Julie Raustein Mail: julieraustein92@gmail.com Phone: 484 92 608

Front page picture: Nick Skelton and Cavallo in olympic games 2012. Photo: Eric Nelson

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DEAR

EDITORS WORDS

READER Atis am con consed essenimodi officil iderundenet aut volenis eos con cus modiciatur res invenda erchiti omnimpor si te dolorro reicius este voluptam et re optatiumet earum essit a exeressum aut ut repudicil inti berum ut occuptate erro et quam nos est volut la que ne nimagnis eosamus apis quiaeru metur? Faciatem ration core re nis dent. Ulla voluptatiur, eici dolor a nam quo tor sincimet incit que nita sitior molore, se que dest, sitat qui dit pa arum as cus.Veris et aut ut haritia ndanditia nimus solupit fugiamus, num lit fugit quia dolluptatio is et quos ea dolut evelignis quosam laboreprat fugitas eumque odis dolut fuga. Ut providerum explatur, simil isquam sitatum estiorae la dolor alitior rorporepre natet quia culla quatum ut utes reic te dese plaborum sit expero qui ut pe la ant. Perferum nescid experuptas seque cus quo moluptaquae vit moloremosse cumendi occum ipiet represed erspel ea vere id utem que quiam verumquam eum, cum re verestotae.

Julie Raustein Julie Raustein, editor.

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DRESSAGE Sus aut odi doluptu Alique dictoratiist Natur, sus sim nia voloribus Aut omnim fugitem

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RANDOM As et odi omnihil igenit parum Exerum conserum

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SHOW JUMPING Natur, sus sim nia voloribus Aut omnim fugitem Et a sita dignime conseque Modi inctus.

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Nick

Skelton SPILLS AND THRILLS

OF A DEFIANT WINNER Nick Skelton should not have been on a horse at Greenwich Park winning Olympic gold. Indeed, he should not even be able to walk.

Twelve years ago, the man who could even then claim to be a showjumping great, fell at the Park Gate Horse Trials, landing headfirst and suffering a near-fatal spinal injury.

British record that stands to this day. A man with a huge and seemingly unquenchable thirst for life, Skelton’s energy and brio have brought him both triumph and trouble, in almost equal measure.

“I hit the floor and heard a loud crack inside my head,” he later recalled. The crack was his neck breaking in two places. A ligament snapped and tore away a piece of bone in his spine. His doctors were unequivocal: another fall from a horse could be fatal. In 2001, he bowed to the inevitable and announced his retirement, a sad end to a spectacular – and controversial – career.

Aged 21, at a dinner party in Geneva, he took it upon himself to mock Harvey Smith, then British showjumping’s dominant figure and never a man lacking in selfbelief. The resulting exchange of views left Skelton unconscious. I HIT THE FLOOR

AND HEARD A LOUD CRACK INSIDE MY HEAD

Yet a year later, his bones fused and his ligament somehow healed, he announced his return to the saddle, resuming a career that has seen him win more medals, cups and rosettes than anyone can easily count. Only Olympic glory had escaped him, despite riding in six Games. Born in 1957, he was riding from the age of six, won his first European junior medal in at 16 and was a star of British riding in the 1970s. In 1978, he cleared a jump standing 7 feet 7 inches high, a

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Nor was that Skelton’s only brawl borne of his lack of deference. A protégé of respected trainer Ted Edgar from the age of 15, Skelton always struggled to accept his employer’s patronage, feeling the older man looked down on him.

That resentment finally spilt over into violence in a in a Gothenburg hotel. “I lashed out and punched him twice, a left and a right,” Skelton wrote in his autobiography. “We ended up brawling on the floor in reception and for good measure I gave him a kick while we were down. At that

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point the hotel staff came and threw me out.” Even after that exchange, Skelton still named Edgar and his wife, Liz, as the greatest influence on his great career.

Great Britain’s Nick Skelton riding Big Star during the Equestrian Team Jumping, at Greenwich Park

His autobiography, entitled Only Falls and Horses, is a treasuretrove of gossip and tittle-tattle. There are also not a few stories in which the rider casts himself in a less than favourable light, such as an account of being locked out of a Mauritius hotel room after his wife discovered that he was having an affair. In 2001, at a competition in Spain, he was accused of launching an abusive tirade at two young British riders. The stewards of the British Showjumping Association investigated and concluded that Skelton “used foul and abusive language” and conducted himself in a manner “detrimental to the character and interests” of the sport. Alcohol was said to have played a part in that incident, and Skelton has never claimed to be teetotal. He liked his local pub – the Durham Ox in Shrewley, Warwickshire – so much that in 2002 he bought it, making it a popular hang-out for the equine aristocracy: Zara Phillips was a customer. However, he sold the pub on again after a couple of years, wanting

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to concentrate on his sport instead. Earlier this year, he was appointed OBE, and his Olympic glory looks likely to see calls for a higher honour, though some traditionalists might think his distinctly roguish record disqualifies him from the knighthoods now bestowed on Britain’s sporting greats.

NICK’S DONE EVERYTHING IN HIS CAREER EXCEPT WIN OLYMPIC GOLD. HE’S TICKED THAT BOX.

Edgar-trained rider, are the younger half of the golden quartet. The final member, riding the last leg of the decisive jump-off, was Peter Charles, at 52 almost as old as Skelton. All three are major equestrian talents in their own right, but all three were equally clear in their deference to Skelton. As for the man himself, his tributes to his team were effusive and heartfelt, but he could not deny finding it almost intolerable to watch others riding

Yet in his way, Skelton has had a career that is every bit as glorious as any Wiggins, Redgrave or Ainslie, and significantly longer too. As Scott Brash, his 26-year-old team-mate put it: “Nick’s done everything in his career except win Olympic gold. He’s ticked that box.”

TEXT: James Kirkup PHOTO: PA http://telegraph.co.uk

Brash from Peebles in the Borders and Ben Maher, 29 and another

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WHAT NOT TO

DO WHEN

YOUR HORSE BUCKS OR

REARS Read the following to understand why your very health depends on the work you do before you ever hit the trail – and to find out what not to do when your horse blows up.

Have you heard people offer advice about “emergency dismounts,” that is, how to get off your horse when it begins to bolt or buck? Well, keep this in mind: It’s not staying on the horse that gets you hurt. It’s the getting off part, the sudden impact with the ground. Ask any rodeo bronc rider: When did you get hurt? When you were in the saddle – or when you hit the ground? STOP IT BEFORE IT HAPPENS You want to stop a buck, bolt or rear before it ever happens. You stop it before it happens by gaining control. You gain control by practicing exercises that give you finer control of the hindquarters, better back ups, stops or turns to the left or to the right. Every day keep expecting more and keep after your horse to improve.

Work to a point where you know that if he “messes up,” (he startles or jumps or bucks) that you will have built in enough control that it’s now something you can handle.Your job right now, today, is to start making sure that you have that control. Begin seeing the exercises you do not as an end in themselves, but as tests. Can your horse stop exactly there at that rock or turn precisely at the second cone? It’s not (you) knowing a lot of exercises that’s important – it’s having exact control over your horse’s body parts throughout the exercises. If you’re doing an exercise that calls for a halt at a certain point, and your horse misses by three steps, then it’s telling you that you don’t have the control you need of a certain body part. Practice until you can

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stop when and how you say. Passing that test is your proof that you have control – and that’s what staying safe later (when things get hairy) is all about. GET IN CONTROLL What you’ll gain through diligent practice is the ability to move your horse’s body parts in the only six directions they can go: forward, backward, left, right, up, down. Exercises are tests to see if you have control when you need it. Of course, more often than not, what you’ll see is how little control you have. So what do if you find yourself in a bad situation? Well, what you DON’T DO is to look down and think about the ground. If your horse takes off and you look down at the ground... then guaranteed that’s where


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“you have to do whatever it takes to get through it”

you’re going to hit. You’ve picked your spot. You’ll be looking to the left, the horse will zig to the right – and you’ll hit your mark, guaranteed.

to get through it

If a horse rears up, his body has to be square, two front feet planted directly in front of two back feet. During a rear, NO MATTER WHAT what he does is to transfer his Instead, look right between weight to his hindquarters his ears and nowhere and then launch the front else. Your job is to get half into the air. So, if I can YOUR JOB RIGHT the horse stopped, “take the hindquarters NOW IS TO START no matter what it away” from the horse takes. Don’t be lookin’ he can’t rear up. It’s MAKING SURE TAHT nowhere else and don’t similar with bucking: YOU HAVE THAT let your emotions get Disengaging effectively CONTROL. involved. It’s okay to takes away 90% of the be afraid, but to survive power behind the buck. you’ve got to stay focused He might still hop, but most on staying on and stopping likely you can ride through it. the horse. After “surviving” you can get busy with more training – giving you yet more While there are several ways to deal with control for the next incident. both bucking and rearing (as they happen), both can be addressed by “disengaging the As a side note, when we say “disengage the hips.” For example, you pick up the right hindquarters” what’s actually happening rein, adding the pressure and angle that is that one hind leg is dragging the other it takes to make the shoulder on the same to the side. The leg that’s being dragged is side stop moving while the hips swing “disengaged” while the one dragging the to the left. You take the “power” or “drive” other is actually “engaging.” Picking up your away from the horse and thus diffuse the right rein and asking the hindquarters to situation. You have to do whatever it takes move to the left causes the left hind leg to

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become engaged while the right rear leg becomes disengaged. One is getting put to work, the other is “getting dragged.” But either way you move the horse, the effect is the same: Just as a motorboat loses it’s steam if were you to pick the motor up out of the water, so does the horse lose it’s power and drive. s a side note, when we say “disengage the hindquarters” what’s actually happening is that one hind leg is dragging the other to the side. The leg that’s being dragged is “disengaged” while the one dragging the other is actually “engaging.” When the horse you’re riding begins to buck, you have to do whatever it takes to get through it. If you’ve practiced enough (before the bucking or rearing ever happens) you will have developed “brains in your hands.” You might know you’re in big trouble – but your hands will stay dispassionate and business like. They know the drill: “The horse freaks, I disengage, get his performance (and thus his attention) back on me.” TEXT: Josh Lyons and Keith Hosman PHOTO: thehorseranch.com http://horsemanship101.com


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HOW TO CHOOSE THE PERFECT

SADDLE FOR

YOUR

HORSE

Whether you like to walk your horse leisurely through a nature trail or gallop along for the thrill of it the correct saddle is essential. Read on for pointers on how to get the best saddle for recreational riding TEXT: Connie Whiting PHOTO: PA http://ehow.com

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There are many kinds of saddles. A few include dressage saddles, show , hunting , western and general saddles. The kind you choose depends on what kind of riding you do. Most people are more familiar with the western or general saddle for recreational riding. When visiting a saddle shop some questions you might want to ask include: How do I choose the right tree size? What size bar do I need? What material is the tree made out of? A good saddle shop can answer these questions and any other you might have.

People new to riding often make the mistake of thinking just any saddle will do on any horse. Nothing could be further than the truth. The second misconception is that they will need to get a saddle that fit to their body type and specifications only. Actually the first fit has to be to your horse. A too large saddle will not be able to be secured properly on a small horse and the same can be said for having a horse too large for a smaller saddle.

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Next, consider your financial options. Decide if you want to buy a new saddle or a used one. New saddles can be custom made for you and your horses maximum comfort. A good used saddle can be a good choice though as long as properly fitted as well. If the rider is not finished growing, then a used saddle might be the best choice. One thing to keep in mind is that used saddle purchases are usually non refundable. It might be already broken in adding to comfort but if for any reason it does not work for you, then you might be stuck with it. The material saddles are made out of differ in prices too. All Leather saddles are usually more expensive then one constructed from other materials.

For recreational riding , you will need a blanket or ”pad” to place on the horse under the saddle. It should be an about an inch thick. Place the saddle that you are considering using on this pad. Pull the cinch around your horse under the belly and tighten. Check all areas of the saddle after it is tightened. Make sure it is not pinching or too tight on any part of your horse. You should be able to slide three fingers under the saddle tree in front below the saddle horn and at the horse’s withers. Also make sure the saddle is not too long and too far up on the front of the horses body. Check to be sure the stirrups are hanging evenly and the saddle is level.

You’re satisfied the saddle properly fits the horse. But Does it fit you? Your horse might feel fine but without fitting your saddle to yourself you might be in for an unpleasant ride! Some people try sitting in a few saddles at the tack shop before fitting the horse. Some prefer fitting the horse first. It is up to personal preference. A few key things to remember when fitting a saddle to your own needs are: Make sure the seat is the proper width and depth for ”your” seat. You can do this easily at any saddle shop. They will have charts with different heights and weights. Find your height and weight on the chart and it will tell you the saddle measurements that will most likely work for you.

o t y d a e r e ! r ’ e u d o i r y Nowdle up and

sad

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TEACH YOUR HORSE

ANYTHING

IN

THREE SIMPLE STEPS When the average horse person has a training problem, they go searching for a quick fix. They want a piece of equipment that will solve the problem. Or they want a clinician to fix the horse in a weekend and give it back to them all cured of a bad habit. These quick fixes are seldom permanent fixes. But teaching your horse whatever you want him to learn is really very simple. It takes just three steps:

1. 2. 3.

SHOW him how you want him to respond. ASK him to give you the response you showed him. TELL him you would like the response.

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These simple steps are based on the classical conditioned response training sequence that Russian physiologist Ivan Pavlov demonstrated with dogs in the beginning of the last century. In his early studies, Pavlov: 1. SHOWED dogs that he wanted them to salivate by giving them food. 2. ASKED for the salivation response with a bell as he was feeding the dogs. 3. TOLD the dogs to salivate just by ringing the bell. People make horse training difficult when they don’t understand that the ways that they show and ask their horse for a response must be horse logical. The heeding method we teach here at Meredith Manor uses horse-logical corridors of pressures to show and ask the horse what we want. The asking is always be done within a consistent corridor of pressures that produces a feeling of rhythm and relaxation in the

horse. Eventually, just the beginning of the corridor of pressures is enough to tell the horse what we want.

of physical or psychological pressures that can be applied in a horse-logical sequence to show the horse the response you want. Horse logical means that SHOWING must be horsethe horse can eliminate the logical. The pressures pressures by giving you you use can be physical the response you want. IT’S ALL or psychological or a Ordinarily if the horse ABOUT combination of both. In tries to get out of doing PRESSURE groundwork, for example, something we want him physical pressures can to do, we think of that be things like a fence or evasion as a negative thing. a wall or the corner of an In the beginning of training arena or a round pen, anything something new, however, we that holds the horse on one side or want to harness the horse’s natural directs his movement or blocks movement. tendency to evade pressure to show him Psychological pressures that trainer’s can how we want him to move or not move. use on the ground include their body position, their approach towards or retreat In the beginning, showing the horse what from the horse, and fussing they might do we want may involve a little bit of extra fuss with a rope or whip or some other attention to get and keep the horse’s attention. How getter. much fuss you need can vary, for example, depending on whether you’re working with Take plenty of time to figure out a corridor a high strung baby horse versus a rusty old

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campaigner who needs a tune up or with a dominant mare versus a laid back gelding. Keep in mind that if you use any artificial aid as part of your corridor of pressures, that an aid that is used too soon, too late, too “loudly,” or too “softly,” is not an effective aid. It is a confusing message because either the timing or the emphasis was wrong. ASKING involves repeating the corridor of pressures in a clear, calm, consistent way that creates a feeling of rhythm and relaxation between you and the horse. No more fuss. And as the horse’s understanding grows, you apply only as much of the full corridor as you need to produce the response. You take the pressure away as soon as the horse starts to outrun it and responds correctly. That’s his reward. Repetition fixes the horse’s association of the response you want with just the beginning of the feel of that particular corridor of pressures. There’s another reason horse trainers need to alternate between asking and telling the finished horse what response they want. Pavlov found that a problem developed when he only used his bell cue to produce the response he wanted. The dogs eventually learned that the bell no longer had any meaning and they stopped salivating. So to reinforce the meaning of the bell, he tried randomly feeding the dogs when he rang the bell. These random reinforcements were enough to keep the dogs salivating at the sound of the bell alone. So randomly asking kept the response to telling sharp. TELLING means using just that first slight feel of the full corridor of pressures to get the response you want from the horse. This is the finished horse who knows you want him to canter as soon as he feels your weight on a particular seatbone and one leg sliding back. This is the horse that starts his downward transition as soon as he feels you settle in the saddle just a hair longer than you did at the previous stride. This is the horse that’s fun to ride. Telling the horse you want a particular response by beginning a corridor of pressures or aids he understands the feeling of is not the same as putting a cue on a horse. A cue is something that the horse has been habitually exposed to as he does some activity so he comes to associate the cue with a particular activity. It can be

something totally horse-illogical and it can still work. For example, a trainer teaches a horse to pick up a pleasure class lope when the rider’s toe touches its shoulder. The problem with a cue is that you cannot change or modify the horse’s response to it by applying more or less of it. When you’ve taught the horse to respond to a full corridor of aids, you can produce all kinds of shades of response meanings by simply backing up to the asking stage. YOU NEED TO ALTERNATE BETWEEN ASKING So when you tell a horse AND TELLING you want a particular WHENEVER THE response, you can modify HORSE’S RESPONSE that response by backing BEGINS TO up to the asking stage and DROP OFF. modifying the corridor of pressures that produces it. Modifying the corridor of pressures is horse-logical. Cues are just random signal things. There’s another reason horse trainers need to alternate between asking and telling the finished horse what response they want. Pavlov found that a problem developed when he only used his bell cue to produce the response he wanted. The dogs eventually learned that the bell no longer had any meaning and they stopped salivating. So to reinforce the meaning of the bell, he tried randomly feeding the dogs when he rang the bell. These random reinforcements were enough to keep the dogs salivating at the sound of the bell alone. So randomly asking kept the response to telling sharp. So when you tell a horse you want a particular response, you can modify that response by backing up to the asking stage and modifying the corridor of pressures that produces it. Modifying the corridor of pressures is horse-logical. Cues are just random signal things. When telling fails to get the response you want from your horse, you have to go back to asking and reinforce the horse’s understanding. You need to alternate between asking and telling whenever the horse’s response begins to drop off. This is true for the baby horse learning something new or for that golden oldie who’s gotten a little rusty. TEXT: Ron Meredith PHOTO: PA http://ridemagazine.com

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IS IT MY

FAULT-

OR MY HORSE’S

Every rider has experienced the situation where they ask their horse for a particular shape or movement and either nothing happens or something other than what they wanted happens. What went wrong?

Without “being there” and observing the interaction, the only thing we can say for sure is that the communication between you and your horse failed. Why it failed is a more complicated issue that frustrates multitudes of riders daily. You are not alone. Communication can fail because of rider error. It can fail because the horse is not sufficiently far along in its training to understand the shape that the rider’s aids suggest. It can fail because the horse is physically unable to take the shape because of conformation faults, old injuries, lingering soreness from yesterday’s workout, or equipment that restricts or interferes with the shape. It can fail because the horse is mentally burned out. Or the communication can fail because the horse simply has the kind of personality that says that day, “I don’t want to,” or “You can’t make me” or “You didn’t ask the right way so I’m going to ignore that. You need to examine your particular communication failure from all of those different perspectives in order to figure out why things didn’t go according to your plan. The first thing to ask yourself is whether the horse is capable of understanding your

request. Where is he in his training? Is this something he’s just learned or a movement he’s been doing for some time? Next, ask yourself a few questions about the horse’s body condition. Is this a new horse that might be happier with a different saddle or bit than the ones you have chosen? Could the horse be a little sore from strenuous work his last time out? Are you asking for a movement that might be difficult for this horse given his current level of physical conditioning or his conformation? Be honest about your riding skills. Is the movement you asked for something that is relatively new in your riding experience? Is this a movement that other riders can get from this horse easily? If the horse is an old campaigner who absolutely knows what piaffe means or how to do a perfect rollback, then the rider needs to ask if the horse may be hurting physically or a burned out mentally. If the horse is sore or sour, then they should do something else that day until those problems are resolved. If those aren’t issues, then the rider needs to consider the horse’s personality. Is this

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an animal that sometimes has an attitude or that looks for ways to evade its work? Then you may need to repeat your request, reinforcing it by using a greater degree of you know the horse understands or even enforcing the aids with the spur or crop. Depending on your own personality, your first reaction to a communication breakdown may be to blame yourself for being inept or stupid. Or you blame the horse for being stubborn or grouchy. Or you blame the instructor for putting you on a second-rate school horse that’s not much fun to ride. Assigning blame does not fix a problem. Instead, look at the communications failure as an opportunity. Or you blame the horse for being stubborn or grouchy. Or you blame the instructor for putting you on a second-rate school horse that’s not much fun to ride. Assigning blame does not fix a problem. Instead, look at the communications failure as an opportunity. The best way to improve your riding is to learn from your mistakes. Just keep riding. TEXT: Faith Meredith PHOTO: picstoppin.com http://meredithmanor.edu


HOW TO

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BUY A HORSE

Although it sounds simple, buying a horse can be complicated, especially for the beginning horseman. Here is some information to help you (or someone you know) get a new horse.

BEFORE YOU BUY So you want a horse. But can you afford it? Do you have the right facilities to keep it? Do you know what you need?

as you can! Read, read, and read more about horses. If you educate yourself about horses, then you will be more knowledgeable, and more prepared to find a horse right for you. If possible, get riding or horse care lessons. Usualy you can pay a fee to have someone teach you riding and horsemanship skills. It is a good idea to learn how to ride before you buy a horse. Also, you should know how to care for it, and how to keep it healthy. The more you know, the better!

HORSES COST MONEY Not only are they alot to buy, they are alot to care for. You can’t just put them in their paddock and throw them hay every once in a while. Besides the cost of hay and grain, they must be shod, dewormed, ridden, vaccinated, kept clean, and every once in a while they may need a visit from the vet. Next, after you have learned alot about horses, you must You can’t just buy a horse, you will need saddles, prepare a place for your new horse to stay. If you aren’t HORSES bridles, tack, grooming supplies, a barn or shelter, going to be able to keep it at home, then you need to clean shavings for that shelter, and other odds and COST TIME& find a boarding facility that you can stable your horse ends. They live a long time, which is a good thing, at. And, you need to know their schedual, what kind of MONEY but can you afford to keep the horse for twenty or care the horse will get, ect. thirty years? If you are going to bring the horse home, do you have enough land and shelter? While you don’t need a whole HORSES COST TIME lot of room, you still need some for the horse to get exercise If you can afford all of the basic care, you also need to have and green grass from. Two acres is about the minimum land you time to spend with your horse. Not just riding, brushing, loving will need. Now, do you have fenced paddocks or pastures? Horses time, but mucking stalls, feeding, and care time. Can you take need strong, secure, safe fences. Barbed wire fences are out of time twice a day every day to feed your horse? Do you have time the question, they can cause ALOT of damage to a horse. Electric to ride and groom the horse? Most horses need, and want, human fences are good, but not for a horse that might run into them. They attention. They also need exercise and grooming. If you have the also must be kept on all the time, if the electricity goes out, your time to keep a horse happy and healthy, read on to see what you horse could get away. Some electric fences are sturdy enough so need to have before you buy. that even when they are off they will hold a horse. There are also Before You Buy..... new, light-weight fences that are supposed to work very well. Flip What should you need to know before you buy a horse? As much through any horse magazine and you will see adds for them. Sturdy,

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TEMA - SPRANG wooden fences are a very good choice. Wire fences aren’t good for horses, because a horse could become entangled in them. Whatever type of fence you choose, make sure that it is sturdy so the horse can push it over or get tangled up, and high enough so that the horse can’t jump out. Your new horse will also need a shelter or barn. If you have a barn, make sure the stalls are safe, and have doors that open and close properly. Check for rotten boards, nails sticking out, holes, or anything that your horse could get cut by or caught on. If you have a shelter, check it for any hazards, too. Shelters or sheds should be high enough so that the horse stand with its head up and not hit the ceiling. There should also be a feeder that is high enough so that the horse can’t get a leg caught in it. Shelters should be higher than the surrounding land, because in the winter time if it rains hard, you don’t want them to get flooded. The same goes for barns, you don’t want them getting flooded either. You will need to find a place to get shavings or other bedding for the

shelter/stall. They should be made of something non-poisonous, so if your horses eat it, they won’t get sick. You will also need a place to store the hay and grain. It needs to be kept out of reach of horses, rats, insects, or anything that might contaminate or eat it. It has to be kept clean and dry, so mold can’t grow on it. Check your pasture for any poisonous plants, old wire fences, junk, or anything else that might hurt your horse. Walk around the perimeter of the pasture/paddock, and around the inside. Take out any old fences or fence posts, and scan the ground for any garbage or nails. Before you bring a horse home, make sure that you have the money and time for it. Make sure you can provide it with shelter, food, water, and care. Create a safe enviroment for it before you bring it home. Once you do these things, you will be able to own a happy, and healthy, horse.

WHAT KIND OF HORSE What kind of horse you buy really depends on what you want to do with it, how much you can spend, and what you prefer. THE BEGINNING RIDER If you are a beginner, you will need an experienced horse that will teach you, and not fight with you. What breed, color, age, height, and sex you choose isn’t that important. It is the horse’s attitude, training level, and experience that counts. Age doesn’t make too much of a difference, but a young horse is not a good choice, because young horses don’t have the ability to care for beginners that old, experienced horses do. Anywhere between 10-18 years old is probably what you will want. Mares and geldings are both good choices, but just because you buy a one doesn’t guarantee that it will be gentle. Mares and geldings can be meaner or wilder than stallions, it just depends on the horse. The height of the horse won’t affect its attitude (well, maybe it does.......ponies make up their height in attitude!), but it might effect the way you feel. If you are short, or if children will be riding the horse, you might want it to be a small one. I don’t think that most beginners will want to go out and buy a 17 hand horse! Color, of course, won’t affect your horse in any way. The horse’s background is very important. You want a horse that has been ridden alot by alot of different people, and one that behaves well no matter what gets on its back. Old riding lesson horses, children’s horses, 4-h horses, etc. are good choices. The horse you buy should be able to do what you want it to do, which is, in the beginner’s case, be a calm dependable mount.

you. Sometimes, rarely, there will be a horse and a rider that just don’t get along. They may both seem to fit each other, but they have ‘personality clashes’. They just don’t ‘click’. If you feel the horse is unsure of you or unwilling to go for you, don’t buy it. THE CHILDREN’S HORSE If you are buying a horse for your child, it should follow the same guidelines as the beginner’s horse, but it needs to be even safer. You should get a horse that has been ridden by children before, and has lots of patience. You will probably need to get a small horse or pony. I don’t know why, but ponies have some sort of attitude. Not all do, but alot of ponies sort of act really tough and nasty. Most aren’t well trained, because no one ever trained them, they just threw some kids on their backs. Why? There aren’t alot of people small enough to ride ponies, except children. Some ponies are wonderful, they will care for kids and give them years of fun. Other ponies will take advantage of a kids, and most know every trick there is for unseating their rider.

THE HORSE’S ATTITUDE IS EVERYTHING

The horse’s attitude is everything. If it acts sluggish, mean, or wild, you won’t want it. You want a horse with a pleasing, happy attitude. One that is gentle and patient, but not stubborn or lazy. Sluggishness or anger may be signs that the horse is sick or lame. The horse shouldn’t be overly jumpy or hyper, and it should like

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Horse can be the same way- one horse will be extra careful with the little child on its back, the next will take advantage of it and run for the barn. Make sure to get a horse that is very well trained, and that will take very good care of your child. And, make sure you teach your child to be safe around horses, and to always wear a helmet. The Trail/Recreation Rider If you buy a horse just for riding around and having fun on, it should be well trained and road safe. Get a horse that is used to trails, hills, traffic, and wilderness. You don’t want a young horse that will always be shying and spoiling your rides. You will need a horse that is used to trail riding, and one that is used to the outdoors. A stall kept horse will not make a good trail horse, since it would be afraid of any ground that isn’t perfectly flat, and shadows, wind, wild animals, etc. Make sure your horse rides well with other horses

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WHERE TO FIND A HORSE?

Classified Ads

Trainers or breeders

Horse Shows

Auctions

HORSE SHOWS If you hang around horse shows alot, you will probably find some horses for sale, and you will be able to see the horse in action before you buy.

Friends or acquaintances

CLASSIFIED ADS This is a good place to start. No matter where you live, there are horse magazines. There are probably local horse papers in your area too, many offered free. Tack and feed stores will usualy have alot of these magazines. Get a few of these, and look through them, and read the ads. Circle the ones you think sound good, then later you can call and ask the seller questions about the horse. TRAINERS AND BREEDERS Trainers and breeders will probably sell good quality horses, and they should also have the horses papers, show records, ect. in order, and they will probably know the horse’s background.

INTERNET There are many sites that have classified ads, and you can usualy search for horses in a specific area, or by breed, age, or skills. If you do find a horse that sounds nice and is in your area, you can call the owner and ask about it. FRIENDS OR AQUAINTANCES If you know someone that is selling a horse, don’t just buy it because the seller is your friend. Take all the necessary precautions, check the horse out, ect. before you buy it.

QUESTIONS TO ASK THE SELLER If you’ve heard about a horse that sounds good for you, next you should call and ask the seller questions. Here are some question you should be sure to ask, but if you’re buying the horse that has to have special training, showing experience, ect., be sure to ask questions regarding that. Mare or gelding? Is he registered, and do you have the original papers? What is the horse’s age? What condition is he in? Does he have any special needs/health problems? What is his personality like? Is he easy going, ‘spirited’, lazy, ect. How tall is he? What kind of training does the horse have? Who trained it? Is it trail/road safe? What is the horse’s background? What has it been doing? Does it have any vices? Does he load and trailer, stand tied, and behave when you bathe him? Has he had any injuries in the past? Has he been kept in a stall or pasture? Does he get along well with other horses/animals? Does he have a current coggins test? If not, will you get him tested if I like him? Has he been vet checked? If not, will you pay a vet to check him if I like him? Do you have someone there that will tack up and ride the horse? Do you have an enclosed pasture/arena where I can ride the horse at? If not, will you trailer it to a public arena?

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Now, here is what is best for the beginning horse person: Mare or Gelding? Both are good choices for the beginner. Is he registered, and do you have the original papers? The horse should be registered, with the papers in order. Also, it should be registered in the seller’s name, so you know it isn’t a stolen horse. What is the horse’s age? Over age 10 is probably what you will want, although younger horses may be good, too. What condition is he in? The horse should be fit, but not thin. It should be well riden, and not just left out to pasture to become wild. Does he have any special needs/ health problems? The answer should be no. What is his personality like? Is he easy going, ‘spirited’, lazy, ect. Beware of ‘spirited’ horses. Many different people have different ideas of what ‘spirited’ means, some just call a wild, out of control horse ‘spirited’ instead of ‘wild and out of control’. Overly lazy horses aren’t good, either. You want a calm, but willing mount. How tall is he? Height doesn’t really matter, but you may not want an overly small or large horse.

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CHECKING THE HORSE OUT So, now that you’ve found a horse that sounds good, you need to go see it and try it out. Here are some things that you should notice:

stubborn with bridling. Watch the horse while the handler rides it. Ask to see it walk, trot, stop, back, turn, and canter. If you are going to buy the horse for a specific purpose, like jumping, barrel racing, showing, ect., then have the handler show you the horse performing that event.

Is the horse in good weight, or is it overly fat or skinny? You shouldn’t be able to see the horse’s ribs, but you should be able to feel them. If you can’t, the horse is severly overweight. Is there a noticeable limp or any unsoundness? Don’t buy a lame horse! Next, you should go on a test ride. If for any reason you have a Does the horse seem nice, do you like his face and expression? feeling you shouldn’t ride the horse, or you don’t feel comfortable Although this may seem silly, if there is something about riding the horse, don’t! There are other horses out there, the horse you don’t like, go go any further. and it isn’t worth it to get injured. If you do ride, see What is the horse’s attitude like? Is it acting angry, how the horse performs for you: or in pain? If the ears are back, eyes are rolled, or IF THE teeth are bared, that means the horse is NOT in Overall ground manners, and how it acts HORSE BEHAVES a pleasant mood! toward you. Does the horse look sedated, over tired, or See how it acts as you mount and dismount. WELL, IS HEALTHY, lethargic? Walk, trot, canter, turn, back, and stop the AND SEEMS TO BE Are the horse’s hooves in good condition? horse. Ride it around for awhile and see how it WHAT YOU WANT How is the horse’s overall conformation? The feels to you, and how it performs for you. way a horse is built is very important. Does he If you are buying the horse for a specific - BUY IY look well balanced? If you aren’t sure, you should purpose, then try the horse out for that purpose. take along a professional to help you decide. If the horse performs better for the handler than for Watch the horse to see how it behaves: you, it may need a more experienced rider. If you really like the horse, and you want to buy it, make sure you see the papers, How are the horse’s overall ground manners? How does it act coggins test results, and veterinary check results. The papers are toward people? important. Don’t buy the horse on the agreement that ‘the papers How does the horse behave when being groomed? Is it head shy will be mailed to you’. Ever. If you take the horse home, but you or ticklish? Does it allow its hooves to be picked, or does it lean on don’t have the papers, the horse isn’t yours. It is still the seller’s, and or try to kick the handler? they can claim you stole it, or they can resell the horse without you When it is being led, does it behave well? Does it walk, trot, stop, even knowing. If the horse behaves well, is healthy, and seems to be back up, and turn well? what you want, consider buying it. You may want to look around at If possible, have the handle trot the horse on a hard surface, and other horses, and then choose the one you like best. watch its movement. See if there is any sign of lameness. If possible, ask to see the horse longed or round penned, to see how it moves and how it behaves. TEXT: ultimatehorsesite PHOTO: upwallpapers.net Watch the horse get saddled and bridled. Notice if it acts mean or http://ultimatehorsesite.com

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LISTEN TO YOUR HORSE Have you ever tried to run a race with shoes that don’t fit? Or spent the day at work with a throbbing toothache? How about with a sore back; are you an enthusiastic dance partner? Chances are pretty high that your demeanor was less than pleasant and those who are closest to you took the brunt of your discomfort.

What about your horse? Have you ever thought about how he feels when the saddle pinches his back every time he moves? Or when he can’t finish his breakfast because of his toothache? You can bet that he is not behaving or performing his best. Unfortunately the horse has to rely on his owner or caregiver to be observant enough to first recognize that there is a problem, and knowledgeable enough to be able to find appropriate resources to help address the issue.

dentistry, and equine massage. Classes are held in both Calgary, Alberta and Newmarket, Ontario. Instructors such as Dr. Kerry Ridgway, Debranne Pattillo, Patrick Riley, Dr. Stephen Wickler, and Dr. Hilary Clayton are chosen based on their expertise and ability to teach. We are very proud of our extensive list of excellent instructors.

WHAT ABOUT YOUR HORSE?

Equine BodyWorks Inc. provides courses that address the needs of the horse by giving horse owners and caregivers an opportunity to learn about current and practical solutions to health care issues. Courses are offered in saddle fitting, equine nutrition, exercise physiology, equine anatomy, biomechanics, horse bodylanguage, principles of farrier science and

For every person who takes the time and effort to come to even one class, the result will be that at least one horse’s daily life will be improved. For this reason, Equine BodyWorks Inc. welcomes anyone who is interested in learning into its classes. Courses can be taken on an individual basis for personal interest. As well, in conjunction with the American-based company, Equinology, equine body worker certification levels are available for those who wish to pursue a career in equine massage. interested in

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learning into its classes. Courses can be taken on an individual basis for personal interest. As well, in conjunction with the American-based company, Equinology, equine body worker certification levels are available for those who wish to pursue a career in equine interested in learning into its classes. Courses can be taken on an individual basis for personal interest. As well, in conjunction with the Americanbased company, Equinology, equine body worker certification levels are available for those who wish to pursue and this is it. We. are us. economy are the most effective metod to talk about on our voilence courses. Equinology has outlined an ideal program of studies for those students, and once all of the required courses have been completed, students are eligible to write the exams in order to obtain certification from Equinology. TEXT: Tracy Starr http://dressage-connection.com


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THE IMPORTANCE

OF BUILDING

CONFIDENCE Much scientific knowledge and technical data is now available to help us as riders and trainers to advance the training of the athletic horse. The performance of sportsmen and women is now greatly enhanced by the amount of information that is available relating to the human body and how it can best cope with athletic development.

However, even with all this technology at our fingertips, many sports psychologists are employed to motivate the individual, in order to gain maximum performance. Without the positive mental approach, it would seem that with even such in- depth physical knowledge, the athlete may still not be successful. Confidence and motivation would thus appear to play a significant part in the journey for any performer. Many professional sportsmen take advice and motivation from “sports psychologists” as it has been recognized that for maximum athletic performance the person has to be not only physically fit but confident and enthusiastic.

within the match then suddenly just one small mistake is made. The game begins to change and the player’s game falters. For that player, one mistake may mean that he rapidly loses confidence. As a result, the points begin to fade away.

PATIENCE AND ENCOURAGEMENT BUILD CONFIDENCE

We need to take a close look at these aspects from the perspective of the horse, since if these principles of motivation and confidence are true for humans, then they are certainly worthy of consideration for our horses. The path of training, should

For example, it is interesting to watch a player in a tennis match. The game may be in full swing with pace and confidence

Although as humans, we may experience problems with self doubt, we must remember that initially, it would have been our personal choice, to take on the challenge as an aspiring athlete. However, when we are training a horse, it is obviously not his personal choice to take this path, so it becomes our responsibility to help him enjoy the journey.

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encompass a desire to understand the horse and his individual nature. This is the way of true horsemanship. Confidence is built over a period of time, within any relationship. Friendship and fun go hand in hand and if we can provide a place for the horse where he can feel our pleasure and encouragement in his progress, his confidence will grow. When mistakes are made we need to look to our communications and maybe take a few moments on a loose rein to re-evaluate our attitude or our approach. Trust takes time to build and can be easily destroyed, if we become too impatient. When we focus on our breathing, within riding, it will make us more aware of how easily the rider can slightly lose balance, tighten the seat or allow stress to restrict the energy flow throughout the body.


TEMA - SPRANG The horse may respond in a negative way to some slight change in the weight or tightening of the rider’s body. The more self-aware we can become, the more we can tune into our horse. He is so very sensitive to our body language and so often, we don’t realize the mixed signals we are giving him. THE HORSE ENJOYS MOVEMENT – LET US ENHANCE HIS PLEASURE The horse in his natural herd environment enjoys movement, which is an expression of his pleasure. He can frequently produce brilliance of gait, worthy of any dressage arena. I think it is helpful whilst training the horse to not only think of the movements in dressage as technical exercises, but also as an expression of the personality of the horse. The horse is capable of demonstrating brilliance in paces and movements, for instance, extension and passage, whilst he is at liberty. This can be an expression of his joy and pride and if we enhance the personality of the horse, within the training, the exercises will not only be performed as technically correct but can also convey his individual character. The horse will look to the rider as his herd leader and from this relationship built upon trust, he can begin to gain his own confidence and pleasure. HARMONY CREATES CONFIDENCE It is a normal sequence that learning and concentration can create a certain level of tension. If we are aware of the breathing patterns, of both rider and horse, we can use this knowledge within our training to create more harmony in our work. Has someone ever said to you “I know what you are thinking” or have you ever known someone with whom you felt such closeness that their words could be predicted? This is the relationship which is built on much time spent together. Over years of creating a bond of mutual trust such empathy can be borne between rider and horse. The horse will sense our breathing and body language when we enter the stable door and often we are not aware of the mixed messages which we can give. As the leader we need to try and create a place of calmness where the horse has no fear. We can learn to observe his body language for signs of stress, in the same manner, he will

be constantly aware of the signals which we are giving to him. AIM FOR COMMUNICATIONS WHERE LESS IS MORE Each athlete is an individual. Some horses will be able to cope with competitive stress, in fact they may thrive on it. Our responsibility is to understand whether the horse is displaying symptoms of fear and flight or whether his lively energy is an extension of his pride. If as trainers we continually instigate the fear- flight instinct we will be training the horse to fear, rather than to enjoy the work. It is possible to produce energy which creates only tense and stilted paces. Only a positive calm energy will enhance natural fluidity within the paces. We have the ability to encourage the horse to produce calm energy which

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only a positive calm energy will enhance natural will enhance his joy and pride in the work. COMMUNICATION To gain a response from the horse where he is comfortable to accept a contact between our hand and his mouth, he needs to be in a confident frame of mind, where he can place his trust in us. When the horse is calm and accepts the contact with the bit from the rider’s hand, he can show a physical demonstration of ‘submission’ without fear or tension. Submission is a gift from his mind and not from his mouth. This attitude is borne of trust and can never be forced and can only be gained by a rider who offers a place for calmness and confidence, with his horse.


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This affirmation of our herd leadership can be developed through working from the ground. The ridden work then becomes just an extension of a relationship already built up from body language and mutual harmony in ‘mind to mind’ communications. If you have established your place as herd leader in loose work from the ground, the horse will build trust and respect and can respond more willingly, to your aids as a rider.

can perform with fluidity if there is a continuous restriction on the head and neck. If we focus on restricting natural forward motion, we are giving the horse confusing messages. We can teach the horse to move in his natural self carriage, throughout our training, both from the ground and in ridden work. THE HORSE WILL BE A MIRROR OF OUR TRAINING A logical approach may be to look at the horse, for the messages he is trying to give us. Is his expression relaxed and proud within his training? It is so important that we look to the face, eyes, ears, nostril and mouth. Also to the fluidity of the horse’s neck, back and his freedom of movement. These significant signs can tell us whether our methods enhance the partnership we are seeking. . Training then can progress to be not only more technically correct, but capable of attaining artistry from both the mind and soul.

PATIENCE AND ENCOURAGEMENT BUILD CONFIDENCE

The immense value of loose work as part of a training program has proven to be significant. Once the horse can build up this trust, in a language natural for him, then his attitude will be reflected within the ridden work. The horse will more readily listen to instruction and have the ability to relax with more harmony under saddle. Less will become more. LOOSE WORK BUILDS CONFIDENCE USING THE LANGUAGE OF THE HERD

Historically, native Indians lived with their horses as an integral part of their lives. The pressure today, is to take the horse out of a stable and instantly expect him to comply to our instruction and command. The more we can allow the horse, to be a horse, within training, the more we can teach him with empathy and understanding. Time spent in warming-up can allow both rider and horse to tune into a mutual awareness of body language and breathing . Once you can understand the power you have through this form of communication, then aids can really become telepathic. As trainers, the more we can use the power of our mind, to encourage the horse to be ‘on our side’ and enjoy his work, the more harmony may be gained. This is the way to increase our knowledge, not only of the technical requirements but of the nature of the horse we are teaching. We are in a climate where various techniques of training are constantly being reviewed and analyzed by experienced trainers and riders. There is much debate on contact and methods of training the horse to gain his attention and submissive attitude. No athlete whether human or equine,

Historically, native Indians lived with their horses as an integral part of their lives. The pressure today, is to take the horse out of a stable and instantly expect him to comply to our instruction and command. The more we can allow the horse, to be a horse, within training, the more we can teach him with empathy and understanding. Time spent in warming-up can allow both rider and horse to tune into a mutual awareness of body language and breathing . Once you can understand the power you have through this form of communication, then aids can really become telepathic. Once you can understand the power you have through this form of communication, then aids can really become telepathic. As trainers, the more we can use the power of our mind, to encourage the horse to be ‘on our side’ and enjoy his work, the more harmony may be gained. This is the way to increase our knowledge, not only of the technical requirements but of the nature of the horse we are teaching. Let us become horse ‘listeners’ and producing confident athletes, who can express their personality through their TEXT: Jenny Rolfe PHOTO: tumblr.com http://dressage-connection.com

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HARD

OLD HABITS

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DIE

At one simple level, we can think of riding as the development of a set of physical habits. Through repetition we develop conditioned responses to a given set of stimuli. The right habits can make the job a whole lot easier and eliminate a lot of frustration. When these habits (some people call them “muscle memories”) serve us well, we call them “good habits.” When they do not produce the results we would like, we call them “bad habits.” Sometimes the difference between the two is not as clear to a rider as you would think. Many students arrive at Meredith Manor with riding habits that, at some level, have served them well. Take for example, the rider who learned to ride and jump with her ankles locked to keep her heels down. This locked position may have served her well as a beginning rider because it gave her a sense of security and safety when riding cross country. It gave her a sense of control and that boosted her confidence in herself and her riding abilities. What she arrives thinking of as a “good” habit, however, will severely limit her progress toward the upper levels of riding. To become a better rider, she needs develop an independent seat. That means she must learn to ride with all of her joints loose, absorbing the motion of the horse without bracing or stiffening in any part of

her body. Riders with the habit of bracing anywhere in their bodies, including their ankles, tend to depend on the reins to turn their horses. When this rider is asked to give up her locked ankles, to use all of her body parts independently, and to turn her horse primarily from her seat and leg, she will become incredibly frustrated. She’s likely to say, “I’m going backwards! I used to be able to turn and now the horse doesn’t pay any attention to me.” I tell students they have two choices. They can hang onto their comfortable habits and the sense of control they provide. However, if they stay where they are, they will be giving up any hope of being able to ride a grand prix jumper or grand prix dressage horse or just the horse of their dreams. Or they can accept the fact that they are going to regress for awhile while they do the hard work of developing an independent seat so that they can truly influence their horse’s performance. I can empathize with students who arrive

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thinking they are good riders only to find they are regressing as they start in our program. The frustration can be enormous. I like to golf. When I wanted to improve my swing, I discovered that I was going to have to give up what I had already learned. The new way of holding a club and following through felt very uncomfortable. I wasn’t a beginner so the sense of starting all over again was hard on my ego. When you are correcting bad habits and replacing them with good ones, it is important to have an instructor who can explain the goal you are trying to reach and how each exercise she recommends can help you get there. Again, it can be frustrating to find that the skills and habits that enabled you to ride one horse competently simply don’t work when you start. However, the individual responses of each horse to your seat and aids will enable you to feel the difference that good habits can make. Just keep riding. TEXT: Faith Meredith http://meradithmanor.edu


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Charlotte Dujardin CAN’T BELIEVE HOW LIFE HAS CHANGED

The equestrian superstar shot to fame with her double goldwinning summer and she’s looking to cap off a great year with Olympia glory

Charlotte Dujardin is loving her new colt status as the reining queen of dressage now she gets recognised down the pub.

27-year-old said even she has been startled by her newfound fame.

“Dressage has got so much recognition since the The double Olympic champion finished her dream year summer,” said Dujardin. “I have walked into several pubs with victory at the World Cup freestyle event in and guys in there have said to me: ‘My God you Olympia this week after a world record in the are the girl off the dancing horse’. grand prix. IT “They have got no idea about dressage and BROUGHT The former stable hand from Enfield was they said: ‘I can’t work out whether you TEARS TO part of the funniest trio in south-east make the horse do that or the horse does it OUR EYES London since the Trotters as they won team itself – we just couldn’t tell – but it brought dressage gold at Greenwich Park with Carl tears to our eyes.’ Hester and Laura ­Bechtolsheimer. “That is fantastic that we have done that for the And two days later she joined Kelly Holmes, Rebecca sport. It isn’t called dressage any more – it is called Adlington and Laura Trott as the only female athletes ‘dancing horses’. to have struck double gold in one Games with this country’s first-ever medal in individual dressage. “I was never recognised before. It has happened quite a few times because I have been in quite a few pubs since Ballet on horseback hit the big time – and the sparky the summer.

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It isn’t called dressage any more – it is called ‘dancing horses’.

“I turned the ­Gloucester Christmas lights on and our local Newent lights on so everyone recognises me now. It is a completely different life for me. “The fan mail I get every day is incredible. It piles through the door from not just Britain but everywhere. It is so great to have that support behind me – everyone says I am an ­inspiration. It is great.” And Dujardin claimed her 10-year-old horse Valegro is recognised even more. “Everyone loves him – he is a superstar,” she said. The gelding, who is co-owned by Hester and Roly Luard, is valued at over £3million and could be sold after his ­memorable year. “We’re not sure what is going to happen – we’re trying to find a ­syndicate to keep him in this country,” Dujardin added. “Hopefully I will take him to Rio. It would be great to go back to the Olympics, though there are the Europeans next year and then the World Equestrian Games. “So there’s lots to look forward to.” TEXT: Neil McLeman PHOTO: PA http://mirror.co.uk

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RESPECT IS A TWO

WAY STREET

Many of us are confused by the term “respect”. We’ve been told that a wide variety of behaviors by our horses indicated that we are doing something wrong — that we don’t have our horses’ respect.

If we understand that we need to be dependable and reliable in our routine activities and in the way we work with our horses, then let’s talk about what’s next. Many folks get confused and then maybe get into some trouble. We’d like to offer a little different twist on this topic and some suggestions about what to do when certain behaviors pop up — in ourselves or in our horses. First, do you feel it is important that we have our horse’s respect? Yes. But before you can get their respect, you have to have the horse’s trust. Respect is a two way street. You can’t get it without giving it. How do you believe we should go about getting that respect? By first trying to gain the horse’ s trust and by not assuming that the horse is being disrespectful all the time. A lot of things that horses do are not always out of disrespect. If you’re seeing something, for instance in the round pen — the horse runs by and kicks at you

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— is that disrespect? Not necessarily. Often, what appears to be disrespectful behavior is actually confusion or defensive behavior. If they’re kicking at you from 30 feet away, what are the chances of them really connecting? Look at the big picture. Even if a horse is attacking or backing at you from quite a distance, I think it’s usually confusion or a defensive thing that we may have prompted or that is being prompted by the memory of past stressful incidents. By not always assuming disrespect but assuming confusion, we leave ourselves another avenue to pursue. Is there ever a time when “pressure” on our horses should be escalated? Certainly, there are times. But again, you have to take each situation as it comes. If our horse is offering certain behaviors that are not acceptable, we can start with minimal responses to let the horse know that the behavior is not okay. We then have somewhere to go if we need to. For example, the succession might be to make a sound, then (if necessary) taking a step in the horse‘s

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direction, maybe the next thing would be to lift the arms up some. Where I often see folks getting into a jam is that they usually start out bigger than they need to therefore they override the little tries that the horse is giving them and missing the point altogether. Start with least and then work your way up. So yes, there are times when probably more is needed, but take each situation as it comes.

stop — don’t escalate. If things are going real bad, you can even leave the pen (or whatever enclosure you’re working in) to regroup before trying again.. If you are in the saddle and having a problem, for instance, looking for a lead change and you’re in a fight with horse, just stop and go back to walk. If have to get off , do so. Give the both of you a little time to think about it and start over. You may have to even quit for the day. Use whatever you need to make it right.

If so, what are three things you’d suggest to help us we evaluate that situation? Big one is — hold your horse’s attention. Before you can Use what you have to is the best way to put it. Use what tools do anything you have to have that. Once you have it, are available at the time and go from there. Most people you can usually keep it by doing very subtle things. are so locked into technique that they don’t use their HOLD However, many times we use some technique but imagination for situations. Overusing technique can YOUR don’t really have the horse’s full attention or the be a problem because it doesn’t allow the person to HORSE’S attention will wander and then we are forced to take the next step on their own based upon what’s ATTENup the pressure to regain the attention. If we had happening at that moment. TION kept the attention to begin with or relied more on keeping the attention, we wouldn’t have had to up If a horse that normally loads in a trailer suddenly won’t the pressure in the first place. go in, something in the routine has probably changed. The horse is usually not just going to stop doing something #2 If you have the attention but still some of the behaviors, the that they’ve always done. A good hard look at the big picture will horse probably didn’t understand what was being asked and that usually tell you where the refusal is coming from. If you honestly doesn’t always mean they’re not trying. You might have to up the feel comfortable that you have looked at all the external factors pressure a little bit to get a response but it should only be a little bit. (or possible physical factors such as soreness or lameness, etc.), it If you up the pressure a lot right off the bat and go past the point may be time to get creative. The kind or number of techniques that where horse could have responded, the horse can become upset. you might come up with to help your horse are limited only by the Once the horse is upset, usually the fights start. constraints of your own imagination. #3 If you’ve upped the pressure too much and gone past the comfortable spot for the horse, you can recover … just back up or

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TEXT: Mark Rashid PHOTO: Risto Aaltonen http://todayshorse.com

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