Blog


Here We Go Galloping

Here We Go Galloping Gulp. I tried to work up the nerve to let the reins out another inch or two as we cantered around, but I was having a really hard time doing it. First of all, my horse might run off. Second, if I got lucky and she did not run off, she would definitely fall on the forehand and careen about like an untrained plodder. A conversation with Dr. Gerd Heuschmann kept playing through my mind, during which he insisted on the value of galloping dressage horses while riding in a light seat with long reins. He Read the full article…

Filed Under: Horse Training & Exercises, Horse Health & Fitness | Tags: ,

Blissfully Backwards by Horseback

The Schaukel By my instructor’s amount of hand wringing, you might have thought I had no idea how to back up my horse while mounted. To the contrary, I felt well schooled in the fine art of rein-back. But I had never backed horses up this much. Here in Portugal, it seemed like a fourth gait: walk, trot, canter, and backing up. And evidently there was a minutia of the movement that I failed to get right, although honestly I had no clue what it could be. When our instructor Georges told us to back our horses up, which he Read the full article…

Filed Under: Horse Training & Exercises, Classical Dressage | Tags: , ,

The Magic Behind the Poles

Walking Ground Poles For years, they sat on one end of our indoor arena—five ground poles anchored by concrete blocks. With unwavering consistency, we worked our horses over them once a week, either ground driving or riding. But it was not until the winter when my mom and I watched Dr. Reiner Klimke videos over and over that I realized why our ground poles remained set up all the time. Their purpose was not to alleviate the monotony of training sessions as I assumed but to physically improve the horse. As I sat in Mom’s office and watched the videos Read the full article…

Filed Under: Horse Training & Exercises, Horse Care & Upkeep, Horse Health & Fitness, Classical Dressage, Western Dressage, Learn Dressage | Tags: ,

Winter Training in the Round Pen

Ever since first building my own round pen in the late 90’s, rough posts splintering my fingers and refusing to sink in to the rocky Vermont soil, my use of these training areas has ebbed and flowed over the years. As an equine fitness specialist, I avoid movements and exercises with a lot of repetition, which often steers me away from the circling necessitated by round pens. There have, however, been times when I am drawn to what can be accomplished in these small training environments, like the first season I spent in California where I introduced fundamentals to young Read the full article…

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

The Silver Lining of Rehab

As an equine fitness enthusiast, I occasionally end up helping students develop rehabilitation programs for their horses after injury or prolonged layup. This is never a bright time. Faced with wasted muscles or lower legs mottled with inflammation or hooves with sections missing, owners look at their steeds warily. How will they ever perform normally again? While optimism can be a challenge, I take every chance I can to remind students that this phase has a silver lining. By the fact that so much confinement and downtime has robbed your horse of movement and muscular tone, you now have the Read the full article…

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