All Blog Posts (4,490)

The Fine Art of Cantankery.

I’ve had a hard time acting my age. That’s not it, exactly. It’s more like I’m straddling the Grand Canyon between my usual teen angst and dealing with the fact I’m supposed to be wearing support hose. It all started with my birthday. Two years ago.

Then recently a donkey came to the rescue that I work with.…

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Added by Anna Blake on August 26, 2016 at 9:00am — No Comments

Improving Your Dressage Scores - Part 2

You leave the arena on a long rein at A and to say you feel a little disheartened is putting things mildly... Dressage can be difficult, there's no doubt about it, however what tends to stack the odds even more so against a good dressage score is the fact that many riders see it as 'boring'; a means to an end of sorts.

Are you the sort of rider that thinks the most challenging part of dressage is memorising your test? For many riders, this is the be all and end all of dressage. Is it…

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Added by Lorna Leeson on August 22, 2016 at 5:00pm — No Comments

Communicate with Your Horse Through Groundwork - Part 2 Pressure & Release

Groundwork, when referring to horses, simply means working with your horse from the ground in order to train and increase communication skills.  In this blog post we are going to focus on 'Pressure and Release' and how you can begin to correctly and fully understand the concept in order to further your horse's training from the ground.

This is part 2 of a full series dedicated to Groundwork from Strides for Success. Part 1 which explains the basics and then moves into…

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Added by Lorna Leeson on August 20, 2016 at 9:00pm — No Comments

Riding a Bounce to Improve Overall Strength

Have you ever experienced popping over a jump with your horse, when he suddenly realises he needs a little 'more' if he is going to clear the jump?  He stretches, or pushes, a little farther than you expected and suddenly you find yourself very much behind the movement and bracing for the inevitable 'thud' that your backside connecting with the saddle will create on landing!

Or perhaps your horse has a frustrating habit of hanging a hoof here and there over fences, which leads…

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Added by Lorna Leeson on August 19, 2016 at 5:00pm — No Comments

Judging Dressage: Hyperflexion in Dressage

Dressage isn't perfect, but what part is baby and what part is bath water?

Watching the Dressage competition at the Olympics was inspirational. And horrific. There were impeccable riders with fluid bodies and invisible cues. And riders who were brutal, with hard hands and cruel methods. There were…

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Added by Anna Blake on August 19, 2016 at 9:00am — No Comments

Improving Your Dressage Scores - Part 1

You halt, salute and as you exit the arena in your best 'free walk on a long rein', you find yourself wondering how well your dressage test went...  That one circle may have looked a little more on the triangular side, but on the plus side you aced the canter leads each time and you're almost sure the halt was a square one.  However, when the actual test scores are handed out, you realise things did not go that well - at all!

Riding a dressage test can be a nerve wrecking…

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Added by Lorna Leeson on August 18, 2016 at 3:30pm — No Comments

Building Confidence in Your Riding Abilities

Have you ever had the misfortune of a plan going awry when in the saddle?  Perhaps something small such as a refusal or run out, or maybe something a little 'bigger' such as a fall or stumble?  Either way, since it happened, you find that whenever you are in a similar situation or are reminded of it... Things are just, well, different.

Losing your confidence when riding is one of those things that no matter how small or insignificant the initial incident, has all the potential…

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Added by Lorna Leeson on August 17, 2016 at 8:30pm — No Comments

Teaching Your Horse to Rein Back

Have you ever found yourself out on the trail, or even in the arena and, for any number of reasons, your horse reversing in a calm, quiet fashion would be a really useful achievement in that particular moment. You ask him to go back, but rather than the smooth, no fuss reverse you were imagining, it rather feels like you left the handbrake on and he begrudgingly edges 'back', head raised in protest, hooves seemingly glued to the ground beneath them. By the end of the exercise, your…

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Added by Lorna Leeson on August 16, 2016 at 4:30pm — No Comments

Oakley Diaries - 29: Not the Same Horse

That is the phrase for the week, that I have heard from three different people: "He is not the same horse." It is a complement, and a vindication of all the careful work I've been doing for the past 5 years, and particularly the last one.

One friend who has not seen Oakley in over a year came up to watch me ride & do some simple figures. She doesn't know a lot about horses,…

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Added by B. G. Hearns on August 16, 2016 at 8:45am — No Comments

Weight Aids & Seat Bones for Turning & Bending

The bend is approaching and you begin preparing both you and your horse to ride straight and accurately through the turn. However, as you 'shift' your seat bones into 'position' your horse begins, well, almost side stepping... The further you get through the turn, the further your horse is from the path you had planned; in fact, he has derailed altogether from the ideal 'train tracks' you had intended to stay on as you rounded the bend.

As riders we learn early on about how…

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Added by Lorna Leeson on August 15, 2016 at 2:00pm — No Comments

Engaging Your Horses Hindquarters

Have you ever looked at photos or videos of your horse and it looks like his hind quarters are, literally, being left behind? They are dragging out behind him, rather than working underneath him. Or perhaps you have gotten the feeling that when you ask for 'more' when in the saddle, there is just no way he can provide 'more' without speeding up and becoming long...

Knowing how to activate and then engaging your horse's hind quarters is vital to his long-term training and…

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Added by Lorna Leeson on August 14, 2016 at 2:30pm — No Comments

Riding a Horse that Chips In at the Jump

You are cantering towards the jump... 3... 2... 1... But instead of the 'Jump' that should have followed the 1; it seems like your usually trusty horse decided to test both of you by inserting a little 'half stride' in there before take off!   The result is you doing a great Thelwell impression and your horse doing his best helicopter move, straight up and straight down...  Not a good feeling for either of you.

Riding a horse that chips in or adds an extra half stride in…

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Added by Lorna Leeson on August 13, 2016 at 4:30pm — No Comments

Bingo Responds Favorably to the Guidance...

Bingo Responds Favorably to the Guidance of my Thighs

Bingo, at 22 years of age and having a lot of bad riding in his life, has strengthened the muscles that help him ignore/disobey/and actively resist all rein aids. His upper neck is THICK, vertically and horizontally, with all the muscles he has built up to resist improper rein aids. If I am not very, very careful I can trigger a super…

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Added by Jackie Cochran on August 13, 2016 at 1:00pm — No Comments

Communicating with Your Horse through Groundwork - Part 1 Touch

How much time do you spend strengthening your relationship with your horse while on the ground?  Many riders only think 'riding' when they think of communicating with their horse, however there are many other ways you can begin to not only create a stronger sense of trust but also to improve your horse's training.

You can listen to this episode of the Daily Strides Podcast …

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Added by Lorna Leeson on August 12, 2016 at 4:00pm — No Comments

I Smile....

Yesterday was our last day of summer camps for this year. It went really well despite being so very hot. Of course having my niece with me at the stable made the day automatically great.

My niece helped to groom the horses before going off with her group of kids to color T-shirts and play games. While they played I helped to lead horses on trail rides and in the arena during lessons. When we finished with that the…

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Added by Paula Stevens on August 12, 2016 at 2:53pm — No Comments

A Trailer of One's Own

WM trailer Nova

A horsewoman told me that, at sixty-three, she was the proud owner of her very first horse trailer. I let out a congratulatory yell and I’ve been smiling all day. Trailers add a layer of independence to the freedom we feel with horses.

Do you remember your first horse trailer? Mine was a navy blue two-horse straight load. It was the late ’80s and no one I knew wanted to…

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Added by Anna Blake on August 12, 2016 at 8:00am — No Comments

Exercises to Improve Your Horses Coordination

Have you ever experienced moments when 'lack of coordination' seems to be the best description for you while in riding  your horse?  It often leads to feelings of clumsiness and a general lack of confidence in your abilities, right?  Well, imagine how it feels when your horse suffers a similar lack of coordination; lack of balance leading to an uncomfortable ride for both of you.

This lack of coordination in horses is often associated with fitness and general conditioning, and…

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Added by Lorna Leeson on August 11, 2016 at 3:00pm — No Comments

Reforming a Horse with a Habit of Running Out

You canter along, the jump firmly in your sights, getting ready for your horse to take off...  When all of a sudden he begins to 'veer' a little off course and before you know it, the jump flies past you, to one side, as your horse once again proves he is the master of running out at a fence!

Frustrating, right?  Particularly when it seems to happen regardless of what you do and how you do it.  In fact for many riders, it feels like they spend more time running out at fences…

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Added by Lorna Leeson on August 10, 2016 at 10:00am — No Comments

Improving Rider Coordination

Coordination; It's always a wonderful feeling when you can do something effectively without having to put too much thought or effort into it. Being able to cultivate this skill, regardless of what is being done, takes a large number of hours invested in practice. However in order for that practice to be beneficial, it must be correct or perfect practice.

This is the one element that trips many riders up when it comes to having more coordination in the saddle. Hours are spent…

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Added by Lorna Leeson on August 9, 2016 at 4:00pm — No Comments

Canter to Improve the Trot

Have you noticed how, very often, there are only two 'gears' when trotting; a good, forward trot or a bland, shuffle trot? However changing from the latter to the former can often be one of the more difficult aspects of trotting.  If so, have you ever considered using the canter to improve the trot?

Sounds too good to be true, but very often a good, forward canter can be the simple catalyst from that mediocre flat shuffle, to that wonderful springy and engaged trot.…

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Added by Lorna Leeson on August 8, 2016 at 4:00pm — No Comments

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