There are only two kinds of people in the whole wide world: Horse-Lovers and… the other kind.
However, there are seven different types of horse-lovers, and they are start with ‘N’.There are Naturals, Normals, Nuts, Nuisances, Nerds, Nervous—and finally—the Negative Knockers.
We all have our own personalities based on four things: innate characteristics, environmental influences, learned behavior, and spirit. Winston Churchill rightfully said, “There’s something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man.”
So, what is the difference between and English and Western riding foundations with horses? Well, I have been saying for the last four decades that the only real difference between English and Western riding done naturally is the same difference between a fiddle and a violin. In other words, horsemanship is a foundation based on psychology. It’s based on more scope than depth—more lateral thinking and less linear thinking. Regardless of whether we have a horse that is bred to be English or Western, we give them the same foundation. The Seven Games in the Four Savvys to Level Four is a great start for a horse.
As a horse enthusiast, you probably care a lot about how your horse feels about you. If you’ve been wondering whether you can tell if your horse is connected, you can! And if you don’t think that your horse is connected to you yet, don’t fret. Horses are relationally dynamic animals, and we will share what you can do to start building your connection today.
Bareback horse riding is simply riding without any saddle on your horse’s back. Riding bareback can yield many benefits for you and your horse; but learning to do it well is not quite as simple as just removing the saddle and hopping on. Read on to learn how to prepare for riding bareback and our top tips to make the most of this exercise.
Horse lunging is simply the practice of moving your horse around you in a circle at a walk, trot, or canter. Typically, it is used to burn off excess energy before riding your horse or to do some structured exercise between riding sessions. Horse trainers will also use it to develop a horse’s balance at different gaits or to teach new riders who aren’t ready to go out on their own in the arena yet.
But there are so many more benefits, particularly if you don’t limit your horse to just running around in circles, but instead use the Circling Game. The Circling Game is one of the Seven Games used to build a partnership with your horse and is the best way to develop mutual responsibilities of the partnership. Contrary to the potentially mindless work of lunging, this game stimulates your horse mentally, emotionally, and physically and teaches him to stay connected to you. It keeps a softness in the line between you and your horse, and develops your horse’s lateral muscles while establishing your leadership dynamic.
However you came about horse ownership, you likely have some goals in mind for you and your horse. Whether you have your sights set on a competition or simply a peaceful ride out on the local trails, a good ride is founded on harmony with your horse. Harmony in horsemanship isn’t some elusive concept that we chase. You can actually achieve harmony and build on it daily with your horse. Read on for tips to make your future rides your best yet.
Many of us horse owners are accustomed to working in the round pen, arena, or on the trail. Yet the incredible thing about working with horses is that every moment we spend with them is a teaching moment. Horses are never not learning, so your work together starts not when you swing your leg over, but from the very moment your horse sees you.
You plan weeks in advance to take that incredible trail ride on the beach. Your trailer is packed and you’re excited to hit the road with your barn buddies. Everything goes to plan up until the day of the ride, and your horse refuses to load. After a fit of pulling back, kicking, and finally just halting as far away from the trailer as possible, you give up and commit in your mind to working on trailer loading before the next group ride.
Perhaps the most common sticking point in developing a partnership is when your horse reacts with a big “no” to what you ask of him. Understanding equine behavior doesn't have to be a mystical phenomenon reserved for those with decades of experience in the horse industry. Getting a fundamental blueprint for understanding a horse's reaction will significantly improve your ability to address the behavior and work towards a solution (minus the frustration).