Where tradition ends and horse welfare begins

Tradition, in many respects, is a wonderful thing and I personally think it is great that we still ride in jackets and stocks despite the new and fancier options that we could potentially have adopted. I’m such a stickler for tradition that I still wear my stock under my XC colours in the cross-country phase and have an older style jacket for showjumping (to the despair of my friends who tease me about it frequently!). That said, the training system we use, while it still includes many of the traditional ideas, is completely new age, science based and built on…

Bitless Riding Differences

Is it the same as riding in a bit? When riding with a bitless bridle, there are some perceived, and a couple of real differences to riding with a bit that will help with your transition and training. Confident riders and well educated horses who have a good basic foundation generally won’t have a problem adapting to a bitless bridle because essentially the principles are the same – ride with your mind and seat first, then legs and hands second, keeping the feel soft and light. But if you lack confidence or knowledge and are not riding a responsive educated…

What’s Happened to Good Horsemanship?

By Ross Jacobs Most of my clinics are attended by people with a wide range of experience and interests. As well as many amateur and occasional riders I often meet very experienced horse people at my clinics. Many have been riding most of their life. Some have even competed successfully at a high level in various disciplines. I get a smattering of trainers from various horse sports. A few have been judges in various disciplines such as dressage or jumping, reining, halter breed classes etc. These are people will a lot of experience and many skills in their chosen field.…

The Beginning of the End?

By Minna Talberg If I were a media strategist, I would have done it on purpose. Adelinde Cornelissen couldn’t have hoped for better luck than the [false] rumour spreading like wildfire: That her horse Parzival had suffered a hairline fracture to the jaw which caused the need for the rider to pull up in the middle of the Grand Prix in Rio.

Liz Halliday-Sharps’ Thoughts on Why

Following another death in the sport of eventing this year, this time of Liz Halliday-Sharp’ horse HHS Cooley when competing in the CIC*** at Burgham Horse Trials, UK, on 31st July, calls for a serious discussion into the safety of the sport are again being made.  More than just discussion, we need action and implementation.  It was raised in a conversation I was having just yesterday the opinion that courses are being designed to “trick” the riders, but not taking into account how horses see or perceive depth.  While riders have multiple chances to walk and analyse the course, it’s…

Unconscious Incompetence and Wilful Ignorance

I was recently talking to a life coach about an interesting theory known as the four stages of competence. A subject highly related to the practice of horsemanship. I won’t go into great details here about all the stages of competence, but want to focus specifically on the first stage – Unconscious Incompetence. Every horseperson goes through this stage at the start of their journey. But the tragedy is that a great majority of horse people (amateur horse owners as well as professional trainers and instructors) will never actually leave this stage.

10 Reasons You Should Buy Your Daughter a Horse!

Sorry Mums and Dads of the world, but I’m about to make your life difficult. I am such a believer in the fact that growing up around horses is just the best upbringing, for so many reasons! It’s character building, it’s healthy and I feel that it taught me so many lessons that I’ve taken with me through life and have made me a better, more well-rounded version of myself.

Is Equestrian Sport Ready to be Disrupted?

When my daughters expressed an interest in ponies I couldn’t believe my luck. Ah wonderful, a way to live my dreams vicariously through my children! You see I have always been fascinated by horses & the relationship some humans have with them. As a child I had riding lessons once a week, but my brother’s serious chronic heart condition and consequent death rendered any dreams of being one of those “horsey girls” defunct. Life kind of fell apart. Anyway, despite some difficult times, my love for horses continued and I took great solace in those darker days spending time in…

Feel- Part 6 The Rider Training Scale

As equestrian enthusiasts we should all understand the principles of riding and the training scale for the development and education of our horses. What is not often discussed is that there is also a ridden scale of training that assists rider progression in the development of an independent seat. Over the next few months I hope to explain and break down the Rider Training Scale from a physiotherapy perspective giving you insight into becoming a more effective and efficient rider.

[VIDEO] Reconstructing the Dressage Horse

More from FourPlusTwo contributor, Shelley Appleton of Appleway Performance Horses.  This is a great case study video sharing the journey Shelley went on working with one of her clients.  If you enjoyed our previous discussion on ethical horse training, you’re going to really enjoy this one. – Ed.