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The Issu e RAW No. 13, F Holid 2016 & Guid ay Gift e







TM ’ N




CONTENTS 04 From the Ground Up Building better riders in and out

of the saddle.

10 What does your horse crave? Thoroughbred Makeover winner Lindsey Partridge provides her tips making your horse a “yes” horse.

12 No Stirrups November?!

How about no stirrups forever?

14 Making Friends with Fear

The psychology of sport and learning to address your fears.

18 RAWF 2016 Special

A look inside the 2016 Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto. It’s where city meets country.

46 2016 Annual Holiday Gift Guide

Get that special something for every equestrian on your list.

67 The Patience Factor

Are you willing to take the time?

71 Being HeroEQ Tips from equestrians for equestrians.

72 Lunge Essentials Give yourself a training boost and sort it out before you hit the saddle.

75 Life Long Learning

Tips to help you keep the knowledge flowing even when your

not in the saddle.

Editor’s Desk It’s hard to believe that in a very short time we’ll be rolling into December and before long we’ll be wishing 2016 goodbye and saying hello to a whole new year – how time flies! I want to start with an apology that we’ve been rather quiet through the summer months, and that this issue’s deadline moved around a fair bit more than originally anticipated. Unfortunately we’re a small publication and as people come and go due to competing priorities we can be a bit short handed, which has resulted in having to make some tough choices regarding content … but never fear – we’re still here and not going anywhere. This issue is just as jam packed as previous, and is a bit of a feast of content (bacon wrapped turducken anyone?). Essentially we’ve managed to cram not only our full Issue No. 13 but 2 (yes two!) special editions all together to make a massive 3-in-1 spectacular for your enjoyment. As always this issue was a lot of fun to produce and we hope you enjoy it, and don’t forget to check out our site for a range of additional content for the holidays, the Royal, and everything else you can think of. Finally, I want to give a special shout out to some of the great bloggers who have kept our ship sailing over the last few months – especially Christine Sharpe, who has allowed us to share a look into her journey with her horse and her life; the good and the bad. Our journeys as equestrians are always filled with highs and lows, and you never know what lies around the next corner (and whether you’ll manage to stay on). … well we’re staying on and we’re back with a bang! Stay tuned for some exciting new content in the new year (and some changes) which we will be announcing in December.

Editor In Chief Krista Rivet

External Contributors Lindsey Partridge, Walter Skof, Jesse Cassidy-Skof, Diana Nikov, Natalja Che, Becka Compton, Rebecca P

General Inquiries info@theeloquentequine.com

Submissions theeloquentequine@gmail.com

Advertising Inquiries advertising@theeloquentequine.com

In the meantime, sit back, relax and enjoy our latest issue. Thanks for reading!

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On the Cover:

The Eloquent Equine is a quarterly publication, producing four full issues a year.

Lindsey Partridge, 2015 Thoroughbred Makeover winner and owner of Partridge Horse Hill aboard Ozzy - who is rocking nothing but his scoot boots!

Reproduction of any material from this issue in whole or part without written permission is strictly prohibited.

Photo provided by Lindsey Partridge.

The Eloquent Equine • 3




e ask a lot of our horses, for them to trust us and partner with us, to be part of a team. So it’s only fair that we pull our weight as well. Part of any good training regime for horse and rider shouldn’t neglect overall rider fitness. Let’s face it – the equestrian sport is tough on horse and rider so taking a few minutes each week to dedicate to your own health and fitness can do a lot to help support the training partnership between you and your horse. If you have the strength to ride confidently in the saddle, your horse will have the confidence to master the challenges faced in training. Like building a good training plan for your horse, building a training plan for yourself requires some carefully set goals and self-reflection. To get the most out of your plan you are going to want to reflect on your current strengths, and areas for improvement. From there, you can build goals that you can work towards addressing those areas, and select skills and exercises needed to achieve them. When building your plan, keep in mind: • What your short and long term goals are – what are you hoping to achieve? • Ensure that you’ve built in appropriate rest periods so you don’t overtax yourself and cause injury or illness • Do your goals line up with your training plan for your horse? (e.g. are the skills you are working on going to help you with training your horse more effectively)

Featured • From the Ground Up

Your plans don’t need to align at all if your fitness goals are just for your own personal health, but it’s something to think about as it can benefit your overall training plan for your horse. For example, do you want to teach your horse to be more alert and attentive to your aids, but know that you lack the muscle and balance to provide clear ones? If you build up your own balance and core muscles, it’ll be easier to achieve your training goal for your horse. • Do you have any chronic issues you should be aware of? These can be areas of weakness you would like to address, or areas of potential (and/or chronic) injury you should work to avoid. For example, if you know you are prone to back problems, you are going to want to choose training exercises that won’t put unnecessary strain on your spine. • Don’t be afraid of a plan, it’s easier to stick to goals and plans if you write them down and commit – and you don’t need gym memberships and fancy equipment to advance your fitness levels. Even an investment in some simple fitness equipment can do a lot to advancing your strength and flexibility (e.g. elastic stretch bands, exercise ball). You can work on a lot of areas and muscle groups when building your fitness levels, some key areas to address in choosing exercises for your plan include working on: • • • • •

Core strength Muscle strength Balance Flexibility Endurance

Perhaps the most important part of building your plan is actually planning time to complete your workouts. It can be very hard to balance work, riding, and other life priorities while also trying to fit in 30 minutes of exercises a couple times a week, so it’s important to consider a realistic schedule that you can work towards and achieve.

For example, don’t schedule yourself to work out 4 times a week for 60 minutes if realistically you are only free two nights a week for 20 minutes. Stuck for ideas of where to start? Here are some exercises you can consider adding to your fitness routine:

THE PLANK The exercise that brings dread to the hearts of many, because it is a tough one, but it is also excellent for building core strength. Plus there are variations, so you can work your way up without causing too much strain. TO COMPLETE THIS EXERCISE: On an even surface get into the push up position, ensuring that instead of your hands, your forearms are on the ground. Your elbows should be in a straight line directly underneath your shoulder. Place your toes flat on the ground and slowly lift up your torso until it forms a straight line from your shoulder to your feet. Squeeze your abs and hold your position for 15-30 seconds, then relax. Repeat

The Eloquent Equine • 5

with 8 – 12 repetitions. If the full plank is too challenging to start, you can try a modified plank. Get into the same position as before, but instead of lifting up on your toes, use your knees instead. CAT STRETCHES These are a great Pilates staple that helps to stretch out and relax the muscles in your lower back. To complete this exercise: On an even surface get down onto your hands and knees. Your knees should form a straight line under your hips and your hands should be straight under your shoulders. Your spine should be in neutral position, meaning that all three parts (neck, middle, and lower) are in alignment. Next, inhale through your nose and engage your core (abdominal) muscles as you round your back upward and lower your head toward your chest (like a cat arching through a stretch when it gets up – that’s where this exercise gets its name). Make sure to keep your shoulders down. Then exhale and return to neutral, and repeat again this time arching your back in the opposite direction (down). Repeat several more times. THE SUPERMAN This exercise is great for increasing strength across the body and improving the balance in your muscles on both sides (often we are stronger on one side).

To perform a hip raise, start by laying on the floor with your knees up (above). Then engage your core and glutes and lift your hips up towards the sky (right). Lower and repeat.

To complete this exercise: Lie on the ground on your stomach. Engage the muscles in your glutes and legs and lift the opposite leg and arm upwards. As you do so, engage your core muscles to stabilize your back and try to avoid shifting your stomach. Keep your head level with your shoulders and facing down. Repeat 8 – 10 repetitions. If you find the exercise too hard to start, try doing it just with your arms or just your legs and then progress to both once you have increased your strength. HIP RAISES This is another good core exercises that will help to strengthen your lower back, glutes, and hamstrings. To complete this exercise: Lie flat on your back on the floor. Place your hands and arms flat on the ground (palms down) beside your body. Bend your knees and place your feet flat on the ground, but make sure your hips are still touching the floor and your spine is neutral. Engage your core and glutes and lift your hips up (pushing through your heels). Raise your hips until your body, legs (below the knee) and arms are creating a triangle position. Use your core muscles and glutes to stabilize your body and ensure that you keep the upward and downward movement of your hips consistent. Lower your hips and repeat (8 – 10 repetitions).

STRETCH IT OUT Building and toning muscle is important to your routine, but so are stretches. They are a good way to cool out after a workout and will help to improve your overall flexibility and minimize muscle injury. You should always ensure that your body is warmed up before performing an exercise or stretch as it will help your muscles deal with strenuous activity more effectively, and minimize the risk of injury.

--If you are serious about building a long term fitness plan it also doesn’t hurt to consult with professionals who can give you solid tips for achieving your goals. Personal trainers, Pilates instructors, and even your riding coach may have input on key areas you can work on and exercises with proven results to meet your needs.

Here’s a couple stretches to try: KNEE ROLL OVER Lie on your back on the floor, and place your arms out to your sides (so you are making a “t” position). While keeping your arms out to the side, bend your knees up and then let them fall to one side. Allow your back and hips to rotate with your knees and stretch the muscles in your back. THE LUNGE This is a great stretch for your hip flexors. Standing upright take a large step forward. Bend slightly at the knees and lower your weight down until your legs are slightly bent. To increase the power of the stretch, lower your hips closer to the ground and push the heel on your back leg lower towards the ground. Ensure you keep your upper body upright through the entire stretch.

Stretches are good for horse & rider! You can check out some tips for helping your horse stretch in Issue No. 7, Horse Health & Rider Fitness

HAMSTRING STRETCH Lie flat on your back on the floor near a wall. Lift both legs and place them on the wall at a 90 degree angle, ensuring your knees remain straight. If you don’t have a clear wall, you can also use a doorway and put one leg up and the other down. Hold that position and you should feel the stretch through your hamstring (along the back of your leg).

JUST KEEP MOVING … Even if you don’t have time to get a workout in everyday, by simply setting aside some time to get up and move will help you maintain some muscle and flexibility. If you work at a desk for most of the day, make a point of getting up to walk around once every hour, or take 15 minutes on your lunch break to go for a walk. It’s a small step in improving your own fitness as a rider, but it can have lasting results.

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with TB Makeover Winner



ave you ever noticed horses that just seem to do anything their rider asks? Everything is usually easier, safer, and more enjoyable if when you ask your horse to do or learn something they respond with ‘yes.’ Not all horses are the same. To figure out how to get your horse to be a ‘yes’ horse, you need to understand what your horse craves. There are many ways to describe different horse personalities and characteristics, but I want you to focus on what does your horse want most. Keep in mind that cravings can change from day to day or even moment to moment. What is your horse craving? • • • • •

Patience Praise Play Protection Treats

Now a lot of you probably read that list and think the answer is treats – horses always want treats right? Although most horses do like treats, that’s not always the most important craving. Let’s take a look at each one of these unique cravings to see which ones fit your horse.


• Does your horse like to repeat the same thing?

Spotlight • What Does your Horse Crave?

Your horse gets better and better instead of getting defiant or sluggish when you repeat tasks. • Does your horse stare wide eyed for several minutes after doing something new or difficult? Normally when a horse is thinking or relaxed they will be blinking. Horses that need more time to think stare wide eyed. Other signs include how long it takes your horse to take a deep breath, lick and chew, or relax and lower their head. If you answered yes to both of these questions, your horse needs you to take things slowly. This means introducing one new task at a time and allowing them to literally stand and think about it for several minutes. Go slowly and allow them lots of time to figure out what you want without getting frustrated or rushing them. As soon as they get it, stop. Then allow them lots of time to process what just happened. Then you can try again.


• Does your horse seem to always be trying to look at you? They seem to always be checking in, wanting to see what you are doing, or just watching you carefully? • Does your horse seem to relax when you give a praising rub, or a friendly voice of ‘good job’? Some horses will relax their posture, lick & chew, start blinking, and do more of the good thing you just praised after getting your approval.

If you answered yes your horse likely craves your approval and praise. They are constantly looking to you for reassurance, or they get an ego boost when they’ve done the right thing. Praise can come from giving them lots of scratches and rubs, or your voice telling them they are doing a good job. However you praise your horse, they just want to know that they are on the right track.


• Is your horse a bit of goof, picks up things, head tosses, or just seems hard to focus? • Does your horse hate repeating the same thing? • Does your horse seem excited about new places or things, or grumpy and lazy on a circle?

If you answered yes your horse is likely craving play. Play can come in many forms.

Lindsey Partridge has been coaching and training horses since 2002. She is a Level 1 Centered Riding Coach, Level 4 graduate of Finesse/Freestyle in Parelli, Equine Canada Rider Level 8, Natural Horsemanship Association Platinum Level Coach/Trainer, and Certified Coach of Ontario. Learn more about her at www. partridgehorsehill.com

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You can try to teach your horse new tricks because they like to be clever and learn. You can try doing more changes of directions, changes of tasks, transitions, or changes in environment to keep life interesting. You can switch up their routine and try a variety of things like trail riding, arena riding, ground play, free jumping, etc. For example even though you are working on flying lead changes, you can vary the task by doing some over poles or a jump, on a diagonal, in a serpentine, or during a weaving pattern.

If you answered yes your horse is craving protection and wants to feel safe. Although every horse wants to feel safe, this type of horse is a more worried type of horse. They really need you to show them you are a safe and fair leader. These horses want a very clear focus and consistent boundaries. They feel much better when you can protect your space and can move them around. For example you can give them a focus of what you are working on such as circles, transitions, changes of direction, etc and you can repeat the same tasks over and over until they really relax.

In between the different exercises you can switch focus and practice lengthening and shortening stride or transitions to keep their mind engaged and challenged – but also you can think outside the box and let them try pushing a ball, knocking over a barrel, or play at liberty.

For clear and consistent boundaries you can pay attention that you aren’t moving out of the way of your horse – instead get the horse to stay out of your space.


You can make sure your horse maintains direction, speed, and watches where they are going and correct them if they try to switch it up without your cue.

• Does your horse always want to stand really close to you? They seem to crowd you and always want to be right beside you. • Does your horse like circles or working in a smaller safe space? • Is your horse easily distracted and may often be looking around even though nothing is there?

TREATS • If you use a treat as a reward, will your horse try to repeat the same action even without you asking? • After having a few treats, do they still seem just

as keen? • If you let your horse watch you put some treats in a bowl, cover it with a lid and then give it to them on the ground, do they eagerly try to get the treats, or do they give up? Although many horses want treats, a lot of them crave one of the 4 P’s more. Save treats for when your horse learns something new, or does really well. As your horse becomes more of a ‘yes’ horse you can make the horse work a little harder to get one. You can put treats in buckets around the arena, and during your ride you can take your horse to them. You don’t need much, a small piece of a carrot or fibre nugget works. Remember some bits and nosebands make having treats a choking hazard so be careful. Think about the cravings and which ones seem to fit your horse. Your horse may fit really well into 2 cravings, so you’ll need to give more of both of those to your horse. For example a lot of horses that like Play also like Praise, and a lot of horses that like Protection also like Patience. Whenever you’re working with your horse, try to think about satisfying your horse’s cravings. Then your horse will start craving you. This is key to creating a ‘yes’ horse and opening the door to incredible possibilities.

--Lindsey Partridge is president of the Natural Horsemanship Association & 2015 Thoroughbred Makeover Winner. WWW.

Photo (facing) | Wendy Webb Photography

Not all horses are the same. To figure out how to get your horse to be a ‘yes’ horse, you need to understand what your horse craves.

The Eloquent Equine • 11




here’s no doubt you likely shuddered a little on reading that title. The concept of no stirrups work (and likely a whole month without them) is a daunting prospect to most riders and not something they look forward too. While ok, riding without stirrups permanently isn’t an ideal option, there are steps you can take to make that dreaded month (or day, or week) of no stirrups work just that much more bearable and improve your riding simultaneously.

WHY SHOULD I CONSIDER NO STIRRUPS WORK AS PART OF MY REGULAR RIDING ROUTINE? As painful as it can be, this exercise is a great way to build muscle and balance in the saddle, and will ultimately make you a stronger and more confident rider. As a bonus, the more non-stirrup work you do the more you will find that you will become less reliant on your stirrups for support and will be able to balance your seat off your core and legs. Just 10 to 15 minutes a day of working without stirrups can have a lasting effect on your strength, balance, and connection with your horse. Working without stirrups is also a great way to develop, and re-establish, a good seat. As without your stirrups you are forced to sit on your seat bones in the saddle and use your weight (i.e. body riding) to influence your horse’s movements.

The Essentials • No Stirrups November?!?

Exercises to help build strength and improve your no stirrups work:


Rushing into it will only make for an unpleasant experience for you and your horse. Start without stirrups at a walk first, and focus on your alignment and posture. Once you’ve got that sorted (sitting on your seat bones, core engaged, sitting upright with your shoulders back), you can step it up a notch and try it at a trot. Gradually build up your speed and time working without stirrups over a series of rides so that you don’t overwork your muscles or injure yourself (or stress out your horse by bouncing around on his back!)


And then practice, practice, and practice some more. The best strategy for building strength and getting better at no stirrups work is to do it regularly. Incorporating it into your regular training routine will help improve your form gradually over time. If you aren’t comfortable free riding without stirrups at first, do so with your trainer (or a qualified friend) on the lunge line.


As you build up your experience, confidence, and strength you can increase the challenge by adding in different exercises, movements, and obstacles depending on your horse, riding level, and experience. Remember, the goal of this exercise is to improve connection and get a supple and relaxed horse, so choose your exercises carefully and avoid unnecessary risks. Some things you can try include small fences, gymnastic lines, two point position, sitting and posting trot, and lateral movements and flying changes. The possibilities are virtually endless.

TRY THESE! As you get more confident in your no stirrups work, try to incorporate these simple exercises:

TRANSITIONS If your horse is well schooled on transitions, try them without stirrups. You’ll need to focus on your balance and position to keep your transitions clean, consistent, and balanced – especially when working at the trot/canter.

DIRECTIONAL CHANGES AND FIGURES (circles, serpentines) Riding figures and change of direction can be difficult enough to execute correctly with stirrups, so try to challenge yourself by doing them without! Changes of direction and figures will require you to maintain position while also evenly shifting your balance from side to side. It will also help you learn to stay more centred in the saddle.


It’s the exercise we all dread (because yes, it’s quite hard) – the stirrup less posting (or rising) trot. This is an excellent exercises for building up your inner thigh muscles while maintaining balance and keeping the horse moving forward. Do this enough and you’ll notice you are less reliant on your stirrups when you go to post the trot in the future and will use your legs and core muscles to stabilize yourself a whole lot more.

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fear Making friends with

Learn to embrace and overcome your fears, one step at a time ...


ear is a fickle thing. Just when you think you’ve mastered it, it comes back and rears its ugly head.

Many riders have and will struggle with fear for a variety of reasons. Our sport lends itself to fear – we ride around on flight animals that are large and powerful, taking them over big fences or running fast down a track. Horses are friendly yes, but also unpredictable, you never know what’s going to happen. Let’s face it, most baseball players don’t have to worry about their bat suddenly deciding that baseball is going to eat them and then watch as it sprints widely in the opposite direction you think you were going. All riders know they may have to encounter, and overcome, fear at some point. Here are our tips for understanding, coming to terms, and dealing with it. The Common Causes Fear and anxiety regarding riding and/or working around a horse can be caused by a range of scenarios, but the most common causes are: • Fear as a result of a fall or injury • Performance anxiety (e.g. regarding competition)

The Essentials • Making Friends with Fear

Important Factors for Overcoming Fear COMMUNICATE

Effective communication is a great tool to help you overcome your fear. Being able to clearly communicate your goals and communicate with your horse can make your partnership more effective. Though don’t forget communication goes both ways, understanding and listening to what your horse is saying (e.g. through body language and behaviour) can have an positive result on your partnership and make you more confident. For example, it may help you to realize that that buck may not have been your horse being naughty, but may be because he was sore or injured. Effective communication makes it easier to see, understand, and discuss the potential causes for fear and potentially root out explanations that can help resolve your concerns (or provide strategies and solutions for overcoming them).


Trying to deny and/or hide your concerns, fears, or anxieties won’t help to solve the problem. While many riders want to act tough and bottle up their emotion, it will actually result in more stress. By accepting your emotion as sane and rational you can begin to more effectively communication where you stand (mentally and emotionally), which will allow you to start building a plan to address your fears.


If you’ve accepted that you are afraid or anxious, have you sat down to assess why this may be the case? Knowing what exactly it is you are afraid of (e.g. getting thrown off) will make the fear seem much more manageable, and indirectly far less scary.


It’s really easy to let your mind wander down that fear “road” and get lost in a lot of negativity and concern.

It’s important to understand what you are afraid of and communicate a plan to overcome it, and part of that plan should involve strategies for redirecting your mind when it starts to stray down that path. Are you task oriented? If so, think of a way to quickly redirect your mind to a task at hand when the fear arises, or if calming words (or mantras) are your thing – think of something you can repeat in your mind to keep yourself focused on the job at hand and away from the fear.


If you have a strong fear or aversion to something, often throwing yourself at that problem won’t necessarily resolve it. While this approach may work for some, in many cases it will just make the issue worse. As you approach training with your horse, so to should you approach your own re-conditioning (away from fear) – be patient, and take it as slow (or fast) as you need to. For example, if you have had a bad fall and now fear getting back in the saddle, spend a few lessons working with your horse on the ground. Once you’ve re-established communication with your horse from the ground, and better understand how they operate (e.g. how they respond to pressure), it will boost your confidence and help prepare you to take the next step to addressing your fear by getting back in the saddle.


Sometimes the easiest way to help overcome your fear is to seek support. This support can come in a variety of ways, and what you need may depend on the level of your fear. Spending some time chatting with barn friends who have had similar experiences may help; your coach and/or trainer is also a great resource to leverage as they may have dealt with (personally or with other clients) the same concerns before, and can help coach you through your fears. There are also sports psychologists whose job is to help you overcome your fears and perform at your very best.

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You can do it ... With a little effort, self-reflection, and support you can overcome your fear no matter when (or why) it surfaces. You don’t need to fear it, as it is a regular part of the equestrian sport and something all riders have or will experience at some point in their careers. Accept it, understand it, and make a plan to get through it – you’ll be making friends with fear in no time.

A Note on Sports Psychology & Sports Psychologists It’s an industry that has been around for a while, and is becoming more popular as athletes recognize its value and relation to overcoming hurdles and achieving goals in sport. Generally speaking the discipline is a type of science that draws on a range of fields to consider how psychological factors can influence and affect performance. Sports psychologists work with athletes to help them consistently perform at their best and are trained to engage in activities that work within the fields of emotional and mental knowledge, skills for athletic excellence, and diagnosing (and preventing) psychological, emotional, and behavioural issues that could restrict or reduce performance.


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CONTENTS 22 #SockPonyAdventures Lola takes the Royal once again. 24 Get your #ROOTD On Must have wearables for that

perfect riding outfit

26 Longines FEI World CupTM Jumping Toronto The course that tested the best. 32 Royal Dressage Invitational & The International Accumulator Thursday night @ The Royal. 38 The “Weston” Canadian Open It’s all about precision and speed. 42 Rodeo Sunday Thrills, spills, and good old

fashion family fun. Featuring the Canadian Cowgirls.

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Lola takes the Royal Once Again ...

#SOCKPONYADVENTURES That’s right Toronto, Sock Pony correspondent extraordinaire, and official The Eloquent Equine mascot, Lola was once again let loose on the RAWF grounds to give readers the inside scoop on all the exciting events of the fair. From fine dining to event set up Lola had your behind the scenes look at all the fair fun. Here’s some of her best moments from our social media feed. ...

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Regardless of whether you fancy yourself an equine fashionista or not, the Royal is a great place to brush up on the latest trends and styles, and find easy access to range of brands you may not have experienced before.


/ROOTD/ : Defined as

riding outfit of the day, growing phenomenon amongst equestrians everyone. Art of capturing and sharing your perfect look for the day, be it for competition or schooling.

The vendor area of the fair is filled with big names brands intermixed with local small business, each offering a range of styles and their take on the latest trends. We’ve taken an inventory of some of our favourites from around the fair, and compiled a few looks to inspire your next #ROOTD.

THE SASSY JUMPER Top: Phyllis Stein Equestrian – Metre Sixty: Because Size Matters ($43.99 CDN) Bottom: Struck Apparel – 50 Series Jumper Breech ($299.94 CDN) Accessories: Dreamers & Schemers – Phyllis Stein Spooktacular Knee High Boot Socks (15.50 USD), C4 Classic Belt with Black Buckle ($39.95 CDN), Loriece Fox Earrings ($80.00 CDN) Why we love this combo: If you like to think outside the box and make a big statement, this combo is definitely for you. A little bit sassy, super stylish, and ultracomfy this outfit will have you rocking it in the ring, and even while out running errands in the “real” world.

FEEL THE PONY POWER Top: My Barn Child – More Ponies T-Shirt ($39.95 USD) Bottom: Kerrits – Ice Fil ® Tech Tight in Black ($89.99 USD) Accessories: Dreamers & Schemers – Eden’s Pony Ninja Princess Knee High Boot Socks (15.50 USD), Noble – On the Bit Belt ($59.99), Loriece Pony Pendant ($49.95), Spiced Equestrian IPhone case in Pepper Pony ($29.95) Why we love this combo: Whether you’re still a pony kid, or an adult recollecting fondly (or not so fondly) on your younger pony years this fun and comfy combo will have you looking snappy in the saddle without feeling too formal.

GET YOUR BLING ON Top: Chillout Horsewear – Snooty Fox Lace Front Show Shirt (£59.99 / ~ $100 CDN) Bottom: Cavallo - F/S Calandra Breeches, Grey ($189.00 CDN) Accessories: My Barn Child – Grace 18K White Gold Crown Charm ($20.00 CDN), Samshield V-Skin Gloves (~$95.00 CDN); Ariat -Regal Reversible Belt ($74.99) Why we love this combo: If you’re looking to spoil yourself a bit and want a more regal combo these items will give you that look (without totally bankrupting you). Plus, mix it with a pair of jeans instead of breeches and you’ve got yourself a total barn to boardroom (or ladies night out) look!

The Eloquent Equine • 25

THE $130,270 LONGINES TM WORLD CUP JUMPING TORONTO The heat was on in the Ricoh Wednesday night as the top international competitors went head to head to earn themselves the Hickstead cup in the Longines FEI World Cup. Rails came down quickly, and rider after rider came out of the ring with a few faults under their belts. First out of the gate, Canada’s own Jonathon Millar, finished with 16 faults aboard Bonzay, and it wasn’t until British rider Nick Skelton aboard Big Star, took the ring that we saw our first clear round. Rails continued to fall as the round progressed, and in the end only 5 riders, in a field of 22, went clear and into the jump off. As the second round commenced, Nick Skelton (first rider out the gate) scored 4 faults and a time of 37.26 seconds; setting the bar for the riders who came after.

FEI World Cup National Recap & exclusive video and photo content

In the end, McLain Ward once again took the title with a final score of 0 faults and 36.02 seconds. This was the fourth time McLain Ward has won this competition at the Royal, and he did so with another stunning performance aboard the 10 year old Belgian mare HH Azur.

THE TOP 3 1. McLain Ward & HH Azur (USA) 2. Kent Farrington & Creedence (USA) 3. Nick Skelton & Big Star (GBR)

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THE ROYAL INVITATIONAL DRESSAGE CUP & THE INTERNATIONAL ACCUMULATOR CHALLENGE Thursday night was a grand affair in the Ricoh that brought the sparkle and shine with the Six Horse Hitch, Grand Prix Freestyle, and an exciting Pas de Deux demonstration. The best of the best went head to head in competition once again, and it was a night of elegant performance and sheer speed as the $20,000 Royal Invitational Dressage Cup gave way to the $35,000 International Accumulator Challenge. Following the Irwin’s Pas de Deux performance came the conclusion of the two round $20,000 Royal Invitational Dressage cup, where 4 Canadian competitors went head to head with a range of technical freestyles to try to win the top honour. In the end Megan Lane aboard Caravella took the top spot with a score of 76.752% on top of her winning Grand Prix score of 71.633% from Wednesday’s arm of the competition. Coming in a close second was Brittany Fraser aboard All in with a score of 75.250%. The $35,000 International Accumulator Challenge, aka the Gambler’s choice, followed. This competition is about speed, agility, and most of all points. The field consisted of 11 jumps total (including the Joker) and was designed by Bernardo Cabral (POR). Riders had 69 seconds to steer their horse over the most jumps to gain the most points, with the choice to finish your course by taking the dreaded Joker. This year’s Joker was a very tall skinny fence with

Thursday Night Recap

widely spaced rails that would pop off at the slightest rub. Competition was intense, with a field of 16 top international riders pushing their horses over tall fences and through tight turns to get the most points in the least amount of time. In the end it came down to fractions of a second as 5 riders scored the maximum 65 points. Jos Verlooy (BEL) held the lead momentarily with a score of 65 points and a time of 48.67 seconds, which seemed the score to beat until German rider David Will aboard Cento du Rouet finished their ride with 65 points and an impressive time of 45.46 seconds – the quickest time of the night. In the end that stellar speed and agility earned the pair the top honours and the title for the night.

THE TOP 3 1. David Will and Cento du Rouet (GER) 2. Shane Sweetnam and Cobalt (IRL) 3. Jos Verlooy and Caruso 472 (BEL) The Eloquent Equine • 33

The Eloquent Equine • 35

THE $50,000 “WESTON” CANADIAN OPEN The competition pressure continued Friday night as the top international riders went head to head once again in the $50,000 Weston Canadian Open. There were 11 obstacles on the course designed by Bernardo Cabral (POR), with a time allowed of 69 seconds, and a height of 1.5m. Vanessa Mannix (CAN) aboard Winslow Bay was the first, and set the round to beat as she went clear, posting a time of 56.70. Of the field of 22 riders, 10 went clear and victory came down to a matter of seconds. In the end it was Germany’s David Will, aboard Calista, who took the title with a clear round and a time of 51.20 seconds.

THE TOP 3 1. David Will and Calista (GER) 2. McLain Ward and Malou (USA) 3. Jessica Springsteen and Tiger Lily (USA)

The “Weston” Recap

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The Eloquent Equine • 41


The Eloquent Equine • 43

Congratulations to everyone who competed at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in 2016.

Holiday E D I U G GIFT 2016

The Eloquent Equine • 47


Rock that Pony Power


Horse Lovers Math

Inject life into your wardrobe with the latest in unique looks from Phyllis Stein Equestrian, My Barn Child, and Dreamers & Schemers.

The perfect gift for horse crazy kids that will also help them improve their math skills.


Horsey Goodness, right to your door

56 60

Gift Ideas for the Rider


Make it your Own


The Library

Pony Express Girls. We Deliver.

Gifts to Spoil your Pony Tips and products to help you accessorize your ride.

Gift ideas for the reading obsessed pony lover in your family.

. . . r e v o c e h t n O

Festive fun at Nature’s Run Equestrian in Port Perry, Ontario [Canada] PHOTO | Walter Skof

Rock that Pony Power! Dreamers & Schemers - Eden’s Pony Ninja Socks

Never has your wardrobe had so much potential. Whether you want to show your sassy side in the training ring or rock your pony love in the “real” (aka non-horse) world - the possibilities are far more endless then they were even a decade ago. S mall business innovators are changing the equestrian landscape, one tee (or sock) at a time. ROCK THE STEIN

Phyllis Stein Equestrian - I’m The Fox Tee

If you want to add a little sass to your schooling wardrobe, or your everyday, Phyllis Stein is the way to go. While some tees may cater to a more adult audience, all styles are fun and often funny and allow you to express your equine love in more humorous and subtle ways than a traditional horsey T-shirt. The latest collection branches into all realms of the equine world with something for the hunters, jumpers, and even dressage lover out there. Looking for something less discipline specific … well there’s something there for you as well (we recommend the horse chicks are weird sweater).

Make sure you get them while they’re hot, as popular styles tend to sell out fast. SPREAD THE PONY LOVE Looking for a tee that expresses exactly what you were thinking? Then you want to check out My Barn Child’s latest foray into the equine fashion scene. Their tees are sweet and sassy, and say exactly what you were thinking. Embrace you inner pony rider (regardless of your age) with fun shirts such as: • • • •

Ponies over everything All the Ponies. All. of. Them. Ponies – Cute by Psycho I’m thankful for the psycho ponies for they have made me.

but also fulfill their primary directive as a solid sock that has good stretch and stays up (bonus). Thicker than the traditional nylon style boot sock these bad boys are way softer than most boot socks on the market (and that’s a good thing). With arguably dozens of styles to choose from, you’re going to have a sock wardrobe of your own in no time. PSST... Be sure to check out our site as well be featuring reviews of MBC and Dreamers & Schemers over the next few weeks.

And yes … they do come in adult sizes. SAY GOODBYE TO PLAIN JANE AND DARE TO DREAM Never have boot socks looked this spectacular. If you can dream it, you’ll likely find it in the Dreamers & Schemers inventory. From pony ninjas to sushi they have a sock set to fulfill each one of your sock desires. Plus there’s substance with all that style, as these socks not only look good My Barn Child - More Ponies Tee

The Eloquent Equine • 51

Horse Lovers Math Here’s a perfect book for horse crazy kids to improve their math skills as they learn about the real world of horses. This 175 page workbook is richly illustrated with photographs and hand drawn illustrations. The coil bound, soft cover opens flat, making it easy for kids to make calculations, measure angles and follow instructions in the Things to Make and Do section. The workbook is comprised of seven sections: A Day in the Life, A Trip to the Tack Store, Horse Science, Stable Management, Sports, Horse Facts and Math Games and Things to Make and Do. A summary page appears at the end of each section listing both the information about horses and the math used in the section. Elapsed time, 24-hour time, money, measurement, fractions, patterns and graphs, angles, and more, it’s all part of the real-world of horses and its all here in the Level 1 workbook. WWW.

Math is at the grade 4,5 level, the horse information is for all ages.

The Eloquent Equine • 53

Pony Express Girls Surprise subscription boxes have taken the nation by storm, and equestrians are no exception. Looking for a unique gift for that pony person in your life, young or old? You just may want to check out Pony Express Girls (PEG). This Canadian company has everything equine you could possibly want (and some practical stuff too), all jam packed into one little cardboard box that gets dropped right on your doorstep. What more could you ask for?


Based out of small town Ontario, PEG is owned and operated by two self-proclaimed “hard working mares� Deb and Danielle, who work hard to curate boxes that horse and rider are bound to love.

PEG boxes are available as a one-time purchase or an annual subscription. Inside each box you’ll find a range of items, including new-to-market products, grooming tools, gourmet treats, rider accessories, and more! They focus on eco-friendly and Canadian made products, and make a perfect gift for any equestrian in your life (you can even include a personalized card in the box – check their site to learn more!).

CLICK HERE Photo (above & below) | C. Sharpe

In addition to their boxes, PEG also sells a range of horse, rider, and home products each with a uniquely equine theme. Available products can be viewed and purchased directly from their website.


The Eloquent Equine • 55

2. 3. 1. 4. 6. 5.





Gift Ideas for the Rider 1.


Ariat Equestrian


$49.95 - 54.95 USD

2. ON THE BIT BRACELET Noble Outfitters $22.95 USD




$115.95 USD

8. AYR8 CLASSIC Charles Owen $420.25 USD



Dreamers & Schemers

Annie’s Equestrienne Apparel

$15.50 USD

$229.00 - 279.00 USD

4. HEY SUGAR LIP SILK Ecolicious Equestrian $5.95 CDN




$89.00 USD


Chillout Horsewear £59.99


C4 Belts

$29.99 USD The Eloquent Equine • 57

11. UNICORN CHARGER Personally Preppy


$34.99 USD



Luv Inspired

Tucker Tweed $119.00 USD


$22.95 USD


14. 15.




Spiced Equestrian $54.99 CDN




Spiced Equestrian

$52.95 USD

$29.99 CDN





My Barn Child

$48.95 USD

$25.00 USD


SSG Gloves $39.99 CDN


11. 12.

14. 15.

16. 17. 18. 19.

The Eloquent Equine • 59




1. 5.



Gift to Spoil your Pony 1.


Bambay Bonnets


$60.00+ CDN

2. EQUIGROOMER EquiGroomer

$16.95 - 19.95 USD




$59.50 USD

Back on Track

$199.00 - 249.00 USD

6. HOOF HI-LITES Pony Glam $20.00 USD



Snaks 5th Avenchew $15.00 USD


4. Woof Wear £22.00

The Eloquent Equine • 61

Make it your Own

Accessorize your Ride

MBC Charms

Gone are the days of bland ill-fitting breeches and velvet helmets. As the equestrian realm has embraced its inner fashionista, brands have been popping up to satisfy your (or your pony’s) every accessory need and whim.

Photo | Bambay Bonnets

Feeling like your style is lacking, or need a bit of inspiration to take your equine accessory game to a whole new level? Well look no further, we’ve got collected a range accessorizing tips and recommendations right here to help you better embrace your inner equine fashionista! MONOGRAMMING AND CUSTOM EMBROIDERY

Spiced Equestrian Stock Pin

Make your wardrobe stand out with some subtle (or sassy) options that can take generic tack and rider apparel to a new level that more uniquely expresses your personality. Try vinyl / stick on monograms to give your helmet a bit of extra sass and style, or stick them on bags, technology (e.g. your phone) or just about any item of clothing or accessory you can get your hands on. If you are looking to make more of a commitment, there are a range of specialty stores and even tack shops that now offer embroidery options you can use to put your signature style on clothing items (hats, coats,

shirts), Accessories (leather bracelets), and tack items (saddle pads, sheets, blankets). The possibilities are rather endless, whether you are looking for simple names and monograms, to barn logos, to the emblem of your favourite super hero (or super heroine!). Brands / Businesses to check out: Letter Perfect Embroidery, Personally Preppy, The Houndstooth Horse BOOT / BRIDLE / BELT CHARMS AND OTHER BLING Equestrian wardrobes are getting shinier as riders continue to equip themselves and their horses with a range of glittery accessorize that help them stand out in the show ring. More popular accessories you’ll see in the ring include braid bling (typically elastic rings with crystals to add to button braids) and charms that can be clipped almost anywhere (boot buckles and zippers, bridles, belts, braids, you name it). With often hundreds of styles to choose from, you’ve got lots of options to mix and match, and something to align to your every mood (or daily style!). As an added bonus, there are also multiple ways to coordinate wardrobes you and your pony’s style are in sync! Brands to check out: My Barn Child, Spiced Equestrian CUSTOM BONNETS If you’re looking for a more traditional way to customize your wardrobe without going

too wild, custom fly bonnets are a great option. They allow you to coordinate your colours (e.g. match it with your favourite saddle pad or barn colours), but also serve a purposeful function than just a fashion statement. Brands often have a range of colour and material options, as well as different styles, embroidery options, and some custom crystal options as well. Brands to check out: Bambay Bonnets, Fun Bonnets, De La Coeur CUSTOM SPUR STRAPS That’s right, they really have thought everything to accessorize you from top to toe. If you feel like your regular old spur straps are just a bit too bland for your tastes and want to take your riding outfit to a whole new level, then be sure to take a look at the range of custom spur straps sold by some tack shops and local small businesses. Most custom styles feature an English style spur strap with decorative options ranging from cute charms to crystals and pearls which are adhered to the keepers (where the strap feeds through after buckling) on the strap. If you are a western rider there are also a wide range of glittery crystal and embroidered / embossed options available from a selection of retailers. You can even take it to another level with crystallized and decorative spurs for both English and western disciplines. Brands to check out: Spur of the Moment The Eloquent Equine • 63

The Library THE HORSE


The Horse: The Epic History of our Noble Companion Wendy Williams Travel through history in Wendy Williams’ latest book, which traces the evolution of the modern horse through the ages; illuminating the longstanding relationship between horse and man, and dispelling some age old myths in the process. Part history, part travelogue, this book is an exhilarating and unique look into the past for equestrians and non-equestrians alike.

THE EIGHTY-DOLLAR CHAMPION The Eighty-Dollar Champion; SNOWMAN, the horse that inspired a nation Elizabeth Letts There are horses who have become household names, from Seabiscuit to Northern Dancer. You’ve followed their stories closely, cheered their victories and contemplated their defeats, but have you heard of Snowman? Bought from a truck bound for slaughter, Harry de Leyer taught his new horse how to fly and the pair quickly soared to victory against exceptional odds. Letts explores Snowman and Harry’s partnership in this touching and extraordinary story of an unlikely duo who challenged, and beat, the best of them. Did you know? This great story has also been made into a documentary by Ron Davis, entitled “Harry & Snowman”. You can learn more about the film, and grab yourself a copy of the DVD here. Off the Shelf • Books to Curl Up With

MISTY OF CHINCOTEAGUE Misty of Chincoteague Marguerite Henry Another must have for the younger equestrian on your shopping list, this timeless tale takes place off the coast of Virginia and focuses on a band of wild ponies. Follow the story of two children who become determined to make the mysterious and wild Phantom part of their lives. While she may forever remain a wild pony at heart, her foal Misty is a completely different story …

BLACK BEAUTY Black Beauty: The Autobiography of a Horse Anna Sewell This is a timeless classic that never gets old, and is a must read for any young pony lover in your family. Deeply moving, it is a tale of a horse’s life and experience and a revelation of human conduct. The most celebrated animal story of the 19th century, this is a novel every equestrian’s book collection should not be without. Keep your tissues handy though, this one’s a tear jerker.

PONY PANORAMA & PONY CAVALCADE Pony Panorama & Pony Cavalcade Normal Thelwell Young or old, the classic pony tales that cartoonist and illustrator Norman Thelwell created never get old. Certain truths never change and the Thelwell pony is a creature you’ll not soon forget. While Norman Thelwell published a range of books on the topic, these two are classics and are filled with advice and humour that any rider can appreciate. Other recommended Thelwell titles: Thelwell’s Riding Academy, Thelwell’s Gymkhana, and A Leg at Each Corner: Thelwell’s Guide to Equitation

The Eloquent Equine • 65

Happy Holidays!

Find them at [theeloquentequine.com]


SNAFFLE & LEVERAGE BITS All you ever wanted to know about common bit types, in one location. Check out our handy HoofNotes Infographics!


Patience FACTOR



et’s face it, not everyone can afford to purchase a “made” horse with all the training, experience, and knowledge we as a rider may need. Even then, there will always be learning curves to overcome, and training exercises to ensure our horses (and ourselves) stay at the top of our game. SO WHAT’S THE MOST IMPORTANT PART OF THE TRAINING PYRAMID THAT IS SOMETIMES EASY TO FORGET IN OUR RACE TO THE TOP? It’s time, and more specifically the ability to be patient and take the time to allow our horse’s learning (and our own) to progress at a healthy pace that will have long term positive effects. Everyone has a training horror story (or two, or three) under their belt, so the best way to avoid repeating that history is to take the time to ensure that these mistakes aren’t made – and possibly more importantly – it is import to understand the long term impact that rushing training can have on horse and rider. In addition to considerations of health and age (especially when training young horses), timing plays an important role in how fast a horse picks up a new concept, and the emotional association that gets linked to that activity. A horse that is given time to slowly learn a new concept (e.g. over a period of weeks), and does so in a positive environment (e.g. with verbal praise or other rewards) is less likely to be predisposed to negative behaviour in relation to that concept

The Essentials • The Patience Factor

in the future. For example, if a horse is afraid of walking over a brightly coloured cross rail, gradually desensitizing him to that cross rail by exposing it to him for a few minutes, once a week, over a period of weeks (and rewarding him for getting progressively closer to it, investigating it, and/or standing near it and ultimately crossing over it), will lead to a better outcome than “flooding” (the act of overstimulating and forcing the fear item on the horse until he submits) in a short period of time. The horse who has had the fear drilled out of them by flooding techniques may not appear to be afraid of that pole anymore, but they are at a higher risk of acting out negatively towards that stimulus in the future (e.g. they may suddenly spook at a similar style fence on course weeks, or months, later). THINK ABOUT IT IN TERMS OF YOUR OWN LEARNING. Everyone has a different learning style and pace, and it’s very rare for you to learn a new concept as soon as it’s introduced – horses are the same way. Training that is consistent and follows a logical progression is going to yield better results (and less resistance and confusion) than an inconsistent and forced one. When you first learned math your teacher taught you your numbers, then how to add the small ones and then built up the complexity from there over a period of lessons, correct? What would happen if you suddenly needed to multiply 10 by 200, but didn’t even know what the numbers meant? You may get frustrated, not want to learn anymore, or ask questions. Horse’s unfortunately don’t have the third option, so they are left acting out behaviourally – in what we often take as a negative fashion – simply as a way of telling us they don’t understand (or we are moving too fast). In order to be good trainers, riders (regardless of your own or your horse’s skill level) need to be cognisant of the “patience factor”, aka how fast they are moving and the impact it is having on their

horse. It’s very easy to get excited about learning something new and about progressing your skills to a more advanced level; which can make us eager to push forward on to the next thing without first making sure our foundations (e.g. the core skills, and those that are pre-requisite to move advanced learning) are solidified first. WE NEED TO ALWAYS BE SELF - REFLECTIVE OF OUR TRAINING AND TAKE A PAUSE ( BE PATIENT ) TO ASSESS IF THE TRAINING HAS “STUCK” BEFORE WE MOVE ON. Plus, with patience at top of mind (and not an active drive to the next big “goal” – though goals are still important), riders tend to have a much more calm attitude and demeanor which can help making problem solving in training much easier, and help to diffuse potential trouble situations or challenges before they become issues that could impact our horse and/or his learning.

The Mental Checklist/ Flow Chart Sometimes it’s easier to be patient when we have a checklist of items we can run through to help assure ourselves we are still on track, and making progress.

Think about it in terms of your own learning. Everyone learns differently, and horses are the same way ...

While each situation is different, depending on the horse, rider, and experience, here’s an example of a mental flow chart you can use as a foundation to guide you and your horse’s learning and help yourself exercise patience more effectively. Remember, every situation (and horse) is different, so there is no perfect solution – simply guidelines to follow. You’ll often need to adapt and troubleshoot as you go depending on how your horse reacts. TRAINING A STRAIGHT GYMNASTIC LINE ( E.G. TROT POLES ) [assuming your horse is broken to ride] FAMILIARIZE YOUR HORSE WITH THE POLES Does he spook away from them? Yes? Work on desensitizing him No? Go over them again. Still calm? Praise him and move onto another activity. Later on, or during the next lesson, move to the next step WALK OVER THE PAT TERN ON THE GROUND Does he spook away? Yes? Go back and work on desensitizing No? Try it once more and if the reaction / action is the same, praise him and move on to something else. Then revisit this step multiple times over the next few lessons IS YOUR HORSE CONFIDENT WALKING OVER THE POLES FROM THE GROUND? No? Repeat the previous step (walking over on the ground) gradually over some more lessons until he is Yes? Time to try walking it over while mounted. DOES YOUR HORSE WALK OVER THE POLES ( WITH YOU RIDING ) QUIETLY? No? Go back to working it through on the ground Yes? Try it once more and if the reaction / action is the same, praise him and move on to something else. Then revisit this step multiple times over the next few lessons IS YOUR HORSE CONFIDENT WALKING OVER THE POLES WITH YOU RIDING, AND IS HE DOING EXACTLY AS YOU ASK? (E.g. is he straight, supple, etc.) No? Go back to working it through on the ground Yes? Try it once more and if the reaction / action

The Essentials • The Patience Factor

is the same, praise him and move on to something else. Then revisit this step multiple times over the next few lessons until you are confident he is comfortable and understands the steps. After a while, as you’ll see, the steps become fairly repetitive with new layers of challenge added in. As you go you can continue to add to the training request when you are confident your horse understood the step before. With a little patience, time, and determination you will get your horse trotting, then cantering over those poles, and then you can move up to small jumps and any other training goal you have mind.

--When it comes to horse training, doing it slowly (while it can be hard) is the best approach to ensuring a successful and positive outcome. Regardless of your long term goals or discipline, the foundations of training (for horse and rider) are always the same. Once you’ve locked down the foundations, it will be much easier to teach and learn the more complex skills, and once you’ve learned and understand the pace at which you both learn you’ll be able to develop a training approach that suits both your needs. Remember, as you learned to crawl before you could walk, so too does your horse need time to work through those baby steps before he can learn to jump 1.5 m high verticals.


HeroEQ Tips from equestrians for equestrians ... Equestrian sport is a constant pursuit of learning, and the training never ends. Sometimes the training journey can be glorious, and some days it can feel like you’ve hit an insurmountable wall that can’t be overcome. To help you will a little extra motivation, we collected some thoughts and anecdotes from equestrians across our network. These horse heroes are everyday equestrians, barn owners, trainers, professionals, and amateur or sometimes riders and we are grateful that they offered to share their thoughts. We asked them: What was the greatest piece of equestrian advice you’ve ever received? And/or what was one piece of advice you wish you had (/what do you wish you knew)?

“My first instructor always emphasized how well horses sense emotions / affect. She used to say that they know what you feel even before you do. This helped me so Nat much during training” a lje

“The horse you lead is the horse you ride” Jesse

“From one of my first riding lessons as a child: Your horse’s eyes may be facing ahead but their ears will be turning to you. They listen and understand more than we often realize and it’s up to a good rider to lead and reassure audible as well as anything else. This helped me a lot too and I wish someone had said this sooner: Eventually if you ride enough, you will fall. Try to accept it and relax. Trust yourself and your horse.” Rebecca

“Basics first – always! For instance, if it’s hard to handle your mount riding, go back to ground work. Taking a step back in your training in an attempt to regain understanding and clarity can be key in overcoming riding / communication struggles between you and your horse” Becka

"Best Advice on challenging horses and life in general, "Don't step back ... step up!" Diana

From the Community • Being HeroEQ

Find them at [theeloquentequine.com]


Improve your anatomy knowledge and train your brain with these DIY adult colouring pages!




here are a range of tools you can add to your training arsenal, and one you should never neglect is training on the lunge. It may look like a basic skill, but training on the lunge line can sort out a range of problems long before you ever need to deal with them in the saddle.

What is Lunging? Lunging is an on the ground training exercise in which the trainer / rider stands on the ground as the horse moves in a circle around them at the end of a tool called a lunge line (essentially a long rope with a clip on the end). Aids can be given verbally, via body language (an important part of lunging), and the whip (which guides but never hits the horse). The amount of time you spend lunging is highly dependent on the individual horse. A young or greener horse may require up to 30 minutes on the line, a more experienced horse simply needing a warm up may only require 5 to 10 minutes. It’s important to remember that lunging is a training exercise and not just an outlet for your horse to run about and ignore you.

What equipment do I need? • • • • •

At minimum you will need: A lunge line A lunge whip A halter and/or bridle Gloves (highly recommended to protect your hands) • Brushing boots / over-reach boots (especially for young horses or horses prone over tracking)

The Eloquent Equine • 72

WARMING UP, FOCUSING AT TENTION, AND RELAXING THE HORSE If your horse is more traditionally cold backed, or simply stiff at the start of a ride, lunging is an excellent way to encourage your horse to focus as well as be able to warm up the body and go forward off aids without having to worry about balancing a rider. The goal here isn’t to let the horse run for the sake of running, but to move forward off the aid and start working, to work towards a working and relaxed gait on the ground beforehand. Lunging helps to warm a horse up and get them thinking about work before you step into the saddle.

Always ensure that equipment is properly fitting, attached correctly, and that you know how to use it correctly before using it as training aid for your horse.

Why should I consider lunging my horse? Young or old, lunging has a lot of benefits for your horse that can improve your training program and make a horse more attentive under saddle. Here are a few things to consider: DEALING WITH EXCESS ENERGY Lunging is an excellent way to expend that extra bit of energy your horse may have; especially when training younger horses. Or, if you are not riding and training your horse daily, he may have a bit of extra energy he’s not burning off during turnout or lessons. A horse with excess energy is less likely to be focused on the task at hand, and to avoid having to deal with a horse turned bronc due to excess energy – lunge him. Working on a long lunge line is a productive and safe way for your horse to expend his need for a run and a buck, while also encouraging him to start thinking and paying attention to you as a rider – warming him up before you get in the tack and making for a more enjoyable ride down the road.

TRAINING PROCESS For young horses, lunging is a beneficial tool for beginning to expose them to work, gaits, and bend. You can also leverage lunging to improve a horse’s overall fitness and muscle tone. Lunging is also a safe and effective way for building obedience and awareness of voice commands in a horse, increasing familiarity with tack, increasing confidence and communication between horse and rider, and allows for you to easily observe the gaits and progress of a horse’s training / movement from the ground.

What should I keep in mind? YOUR HORSE SHOULD BE ENCOURAGED TO MOVE AWAY FROM YOU Never step back from the horse but use your body language (e.g. moving toward them) to push them out into a larger circle BODY POSITIONING WHILE LUNGING IS ESSENTIAL The key to keeping your horse out on the circle and moving forward is all about aids and body language. • There should be a triangle between the lunge line (in one hand), the whip (in another hand), and the horse. The rider should form the peak of the triangle, and the horse the base (with the line and whip as the two sides)

• The lunge whip should be held at the same height as the lunge line • Stay with your body behind the horse’s shoulder to drive them forward (most horses will stop if you get in front of them). CIRCLE SIZE IMPACTS TRAINING A larger circle will allow a horse to move more forward with less stress on the muscles / joints, a smaller circle will force him to be more collected and will place more strain on the muscles. LUN








MAINTAIN CONTACT A lunge line that is too loose will be of no benefit as training tool. Steady connection between the horse and trainer is essential as it encourages correct bend, increases attentiveness, and encourages the horse to stretch and align themselves correctly.


STAY STEADY Avoid jerking or yanking on the lunge line to get the horse’s attention. Often if the horse is pulling excessively or leaning on the line it is due to a lack of fitness and misalignment, and with proper training can be remedied.

--IF YOU ARE EVER UNSURE OF YOUR POSITION, it helps to have an observer who is experienced with lunging lend a hand for the first few sessions. They can offer advice on your position, and help you troubleshoot any issues.







Before long you’ll be lunging without issue and have a great new training tool to help you and your horse reach your next goal!


The Eloquent Equine • 74

In Pursuit of Life Long



iding doesn’t begin and end in the tack. While this is where many of us spend much of our horse time, its only one of many opportunities where we can enhance our knowledge, build our skills, and become a better rider. Whether it’s part of your regular routine, or something you try in your down time (or off season), here are some ways you can continue your learning when not in the saddle.

Working Student A staple of many young equestrian careers, working student positions are a valuable way to get hands on experience in the horse industry. While each role and barn is different, typically working students are responsible for a range of everyday barn and horse care chores in exchange for riding and training time. Depending on your experience and the facility you may be responsible for grooming and tacking up horses, riding / training young horses, turnout, and barn chores (e.g. feeding, mucking, etc.). If you don’t have a lot of experience with the operational aspect of a horse farm, this is a great opportunity to gain these skills, and get experience working with a range of professionals (instructors, coaches, barn managers, vets, farriers, etc.). Even if you have previous barn work experience, working student positions are often a great way

Training Tips • In Pursuit of Life Long Learning

to be able to work with top riders and gain valuable experience in horse show and competitive environments, and networking with equestrian professionals from across the community.

Horse Show Circuit Expertise Simply being in attendance at and around a horse show environment is an excellent learning experience, especially if you are looking to compete (regardless of your level). At the very least, spend some time attending shows and talking to participants to gain key insights in how they are run and what is expected. If you are able, volunteer some time to help groom for other riders at your barn, or your coach (if they are a competitive rider), it’s a great learning experience and will give you the ability to gain hands on experience on the circuit that you can use in your own training and riding career.


then stream some videos of professional riders and/ or competition through services like FEI TV and the USEF Network.

Equine Education If you really want to take your equine experience and knowledge to another level, there are a range of equine training programs offered by equine organizations and universities across the globe. Even if you are not looking to complete a formal education in equine studies, there are plenty of locally hosted learning events and eLearning courses to select from to help you become more knowledgeable about horse health, nutrition, biosecurity, first aid, and more!

--LEARNING DOESN’T HAVE TO BEGIN AND END IN THE SADDLE ANYMORE – there are near endless ways to continue to advance your knowledge without breaking the bank, and you and your horse just might learn something!

Whether you attend as a rider or an auditor, clinics are excellent learning experiences and a chance to work with (or learn from) professional equestrians and trainers you might otherwise not get exposure to. Additionally, clinics are a great way to continue learning and gaining training insights and ideas in the off season when you may not be riding or competing as much. Check local barns and tack shops, as well as social media and the equine governing bodies (e.g. USEF, Equine Canada, and OEF) in your area for advertisements listing upcoming clinic details.

Homework Training your eye is as important as physically training on horseback. It may sound weird, but watching other riders is actually a good educational experience. It often makes it easier to apply concepts back to your own riding if you can see them executed correctly by other riders. Can’t get to a horse show in your area anytime soon,

The Eloquent Equine • 76

Digital Equestrian Magazine THANKS FOR READING!

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Issue No. 13 - Fall 3-in-1 Spectacular  

Possibly our biggest issue yet (over 70 pages!), it's filled with tips & tricks to help you build the foundations for a good training plan f...

Issue No. 13 - Fall 3-in-1 Spectacular  

Possibly our biggest issue yet (over 70 pages!), it's filled with tips & tricks to help you build the foundations for a good training plan f...


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