Lorna Leeson's Blog (47)

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

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

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

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

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

Riding Haunches In or Travers

Do you find that when you ask your horse to perform haunches in or travers, the forward movement tends to get a little 'stuck'?  It feels as though he is on his tippy toes, pottering along with no inclination to get to the other end of the arena?!

The Daily Strides Podcast on this topic is …

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Added by Lorna Leeson on September 2, 2015 at 10:00pm — No Comments

Refining Your Walk to Canter Transition

Do you find that when asking your horse for canter, you tend to 'over do' some aspects of your aids?  Perhaps you throw your reins at your horse, or you try to 'push' too much with your seat or upper body...  You are shoving and bumping about in the saddle and when your horse eventually 'strikes' the canter, you are so far from where you want to be position wise, that it takes the first 5 to 10 strides just to get your limbs back listening to you before you can even begin to turn your mind…

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Added by Lorna Leeson on August 31, 2015 at 1:08pm — No Comments

Increasing Your Horses Suppleness

Have you ever ridden a horse and they feel so wonderfully loose and pliable underneath you?  Perhaps you can remember how your horse was able to really and truly use his body and how the suppleness made it feel like he was performing movements in the best possible way that his body, fitness and confirmation allowed?

The Daily Strides Podcast episode on this topic is …

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Added by Lorna Leeson on August 29, 2015 at 2:00pm — No Comments

Asking Your Horse to Bend

Riding through a bend is something you will have to do every time you get in the saddle, whether it be the 4 corners of your arena or just the route you take to get from point A to point B.  It therefore makes good sense to work on your ability to navigate those bends successfully, without losing balance, rhythm, energy and focus each time you encounter a bend.

The Daily Strides Podcast episode for this topic is …

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Added by Lorna Leeson on August 26, 2015 at 9:30pm — No Comments

Maintaining Control of Your Body After the Jump

You've just popped the fence and in your mind it was a success, mostly because you managed to stay on board for it!  However, as soon as your horse lands, you are beginning to think that your 'upright seat' is becoming more and more of a fantasy; in fact every stride your horse takes is literally bumping you further and further onto his withers... You lower leg is coming up and back, your sure that you have just lost your stirrups!  Who knew that jumping meant such an up close and personal…

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Added by Lorna Leeson on August 25, 2015 at 9:30pm — No Comments

Harnessing The Power of the Half Halt

The half halt should be one of the earliest things that riders learn to master when learning to ride their horse. It is a vital part of riding well and being able to performing accurate, balanced movements with your horse. However, while many riders understand the concept of the half halt in theory, unfortunately the carrying out of the actual movement leaves a lot of room for improvement.

You can listen to the audio version of this blog post…

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Added by Lorna Leeson on July 30, 2015 at 11:00am — No Comments

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