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…

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.

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…

Freak Riding Accident? Hardly

The horse world has lost some good riders in the last few weeks. Sadly, it happens all too often. Horses can be unpredictable and people get hurt. Some of it is unavoidable and some of it is totally preventable.

The Nervous, Anxious, Spooky, Reactive Horse- Part 2

Understanding the Worry Cup Part 2 of this series from Shelley Appleton: I am now going to provide a short description of each category but please make sure you consider each of these dimensions of stress in each individual horse as a worry cup can be clog up with more than one type of stress and to address the problem you may need to target more than one issue. 2) Lack of Trust or Obedience or both I could write pages and pages on this issue and this sits at number #2 worry to discuss regarding the worry cup because…

“He Really is My Everything”

This is the first of a new photo series for FourPlusTwo, where you can share the memories that surround your favourite photos of your beloved animals. From Beth Noble:  “This is one of my all time favourite photo’s. Taken when my daughter was only two, it perfectly captures the softness that they have for each other. I love his closed eyes, her hands on his muzzle, the softness in his face and how she is reaching on her toes to kiss his nose. This horse is really is my everything.