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…

Helmets- Personal Choice or Community Standards?

Every now and then something happens to stir up the helmet debate. Images like the one above always look more glamorous and romantic sans helmet.  This year, it’s the changes that are being brought about in terms of what standards are permitted at competition, and what standards no longer qualify.

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…

[VIDEO] Stories of Greatness: Boyd Martin, Three-Day Eventer

If you haven’t heard the Boyd and Silva Martin story yet, get a cup of tea and a box of tissues ready.  Boyd grew up in Australia and moved to the states to pursue his career as an professional event rider, and took up citizenship with the USA.  He’s now a regular USA Team member at international competitions, including the most recent Olympics. This video was created by the Martin’s sponsors, Purina, and tells an inspiring story of perseverance, dedication, talent and love.  Enjoy!

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.…

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.

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.

The Overweight Horse Who Won’t Stop Eating

Your horse is overweight. You’ve been told to feed him a lot less hay and you’re desperately trying to do the right thing. But it won’t work! It won’t work for your horse any more than a strict diet would work for people. We have known this for years when it comes to human obesity. The reason is simple – dieting restricts calories, which lowers the metabolic rate. Weight loss may occur at first, but the body goes into “survival mode” and starts to hold on to fat and becomes sluggish in burning calories, making it extremely easy to put all…