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Help, my Horse is Stumbling!

Help, my Horse is Stumbling! The most obvious place to look when a horse begins to stumble regularly is his feet because they are after all what he is tripping over, right? While he might be stubbing them, his toes are infrequently the source of this problem. In fact, a tripping problem that shows up acutely often has nothing to do with his feet. Before you call your farrier, rule out faulty mechanics in the rest of the body. Tripping and stumbling often develops from poor movement patterns that restrict the front limbs, progressing sometimes to the extent that a horse Read the full article…

Filed Under: Horse Training & Exercises, Horse Care & Upkeep | Tags: , ,

Round Pens: training for good posture…or bad?

Believe me when I tell you that I love freedom as much as anyone. I love trimming away boundaries, living widely in each moment. And, yes, I love to watch a beautiful horse running free across a meadow with his legs surging and his expression content. That, to me, is a wonderful sight. On the other hand, a horse careening around a round pen with his neck twisted sideways and his body misaligned disgruntles me. The reason it disgruntles me is that this practice forms—and strengthens—poor movement mechanics that can have pretty significant consequences. Primarily, when a horse travels around Read the full article…

Filed Under: Uncategorized, Horse Training & Exercises, Horse Care & Upkeep | Tags: , , ,

Single Sport vs. Cross-Training

Why DO we Cross-Train? The search for mastery brings with it the question of specificity. If you are trying to master a particular sport, should you focus on and practice that sport exclusively? Or might cross-training, and using tools from outside that sport, benefit you in some way? Certainly, there is a lot to argue in favor of practicing only your sport in order to get better at it. From a physiological standpoint, there is even more to argue for multi-disciplinary training. Most simply, cross-training allows you more tools to accomplish the job. And isn’t it always better to have Read the full article…

Filed Under: Horse Health & Fitness, Classical Dressage | Tags: , ,

Power in Interruption

In the following photo, Roxy demonstrates what I call the power of interruption. This describes the benefit of momentarily altering the horse’s movement patterns for the sake of improving them. Not unlike their human pals, horses generate movement through patterns held in the neuromuscular system. These patterns serve them well, allowing them to move and perform various tasks with utmost efficiency and limited active brain recruitment to move limbs. While indeed efficient, these patterns are not always optimal. For instance, Roxy has a pattern of trailing her hind legs out behind her when she trots rather than swinging them well Read the full article…

Filed Under: Horse Training & Exercises, Horse Care & Upkeep | Tags: , ,

Value in Being Forever a Beginner

The longer I stay in this profession, the more I value experiences that facilitate what Zen teachers call Beginner’s Mind, which recently took the form of an early morning listening to Corazon chew his hay. Becoming an expert in any field often entails specializing your knowledge and skills to the point of abstraction. You end up operating on a level that is detached from those with whom you are trying to serve and relate. Beginner’s Mind tethers you to the openness and fascination, the receptivity, of beginners in a sport. Remaining relatable may or may not be important to every Read the full article…

Filed Under: Horse Care & Upkeep, Horse Health & Fitness | Tags: , ,