Jackie Cochran's Blog (447)

School Horses



During my youth, I used to read dressage books that insisted that a person could learn to ride dressage only by riding an already schooled horse. I used to dream of finding a stable full of these wonderful equines who could transform me from my usual slightly effective riding to become a polished top rider.



And guess what? I never found that dream dressage riding stable, not that I would have been able to afford lessons at one. When I finally got to go to a…

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Added by Jackie Cochran on June 28, 2009 at 12:00pm — No Comments

One Way to an Educated Halt



Most of my riding life I have been trying to lighten my aids, especially with my hands. Since I ride the Forward Seat system I had a wonderful beginning by following their system of riding with loose reins part of the time and hewing to the ideal that no hand aid should ever alter the head carraige of the horse. I accomplished alot, and as I got better my horses got happier and happier with me, giving me quiet and smooth slow-downs and halts. However I wanted to get better and…

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Added by Jackie Cochran on June 19, 2009 at 6:00pm — No Comments

Adjusting to the heat



Summer has now truly begun here in the South. Days in the high 80's and low 90's with extremely high humidity. I go outside and it is like stepping into a sauna. Next month I face temperatures in the high 90's and possibly up to the 100's.



High temperatures and high humidity make all MS symptoms worse. Within a matter of minutes, on a bad day, I can lose up to a third of my IQ, become almost totally unable to coordinate my body, greatly increase my tremor, and lose…

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Added by Jackie Cochran on June 12, 2009 at 12:30pm — 4 Comments

Facing my limitations



In 1993, after years of puzzling symptoms, I finally got diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. Finally I had the answer to why I could never ride as well as I wanted to. I tried to get back to riding my horses, but the exhaustion, muscle pain, and lack of emotional control when exhausted that come from MS defeated my first attempt to get back riding. Due to owning 4 horses at the time I did not have the money for lessons, or the endurance to take them.

Several years later I…

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Added by Jackie Cochran on June 5, 2009 at 12:00pm — 3 Comments

Behind the bit



Back in 1970, when I began riding seriously, my BHI (graduate of Morven Park) instructor introduced me to the concept of behind the bit quite early in my riding career. What she said:

1) DON'T DO IT

2) It was a sign of bad horsemanship

3) Good riders NEVER rode behind the bit, at the top levels it JUST WASN'T DONE.

Almost 40 years later, everywhere I look, horses ridden behind the bit are EVERYWHERE, in all disciplines, winning top prizes, including medals at…

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Added by Jackie Cochran on May 28, 2009 at 9:00pm — 2 Comments

Why the heavy hands?

When I started riding seriously 38 years ago, one of the top achievements of any serious rider was to develop SOFT & EDUCATED hands. Beginners rode with loose reins until they developed an independent seat, advanced beginners through intermediate riders concentrated on developing soft hands, and advanced riders were acknowledged for their soft, educated hands. In fact if you did not have soft, educated hands you were NEVER considered an advanced rider, and were spoken of just as a…

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Added by Jackie Cochran on May 20, 2009 at 2:30pm — 6 Comments

A Matter of Comfort

For the last two years I have been experimenting with various bridles, both bitted and bitless on five different horses. Although I tend to be picky about the fit of my tack, and read and follow directions well I have noticed various degrees of resistance to rein contact with each different piece of gear. Lately I have been riding two mares (Arab and Arab-Welsh), trying out various bitted and bitless systems. I find that mares often express their displeasure a bit more emphatically than…

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Added by Jackie Cochran on May 11, 2009 at 4:30pm — 2 Comments

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