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Author: Lynn Reardon Page 1 of 3

Blink and Baby Talk

How I found hidden teachers

I once rode at a barn with a varied (and wonderful) clientele. Every kind of horse seemed to be there. Dressage, team roping, hunter/jumper, polo — and even a few endurance mounts.

The riders were from equally varied backgrounds — from weekend trail riders to upper level competitors. I enjoyed the mix. Everyone loved their horses and wanted only the best for them.

I often saw certain people frequently there. Our schedules overlapped. The adorable pre-teen with her first ever horse (a mellow senior citizen paint). The retired military man with the Belgian draft cross. And then there was Ginger (not her real name) — a vivacious and outgoing real estate agent. Ginger owned a kindhearted Andalusian mare. They were both learning how to do working equitation (and garrocha pole wielding).

All Work and No Play

Do it again. Just one more time, to make sure we get it right. So we can be perfect for the (insert here) show, the clinic, the trainer, my parents or that group of onlookers over there.

There are two things wrong with this approach to working with your horse. First, it’s drilling. You’re asking your horse to repeat a movement over and over again. With this mindset, you rarely are rewarding your horse for trying harder or making incremental progress on something new for him. Instead, you are just telling him to rinse, repeat, rinse, repeat endlessly. There is no nuance or recognition that your horse might need a break from the task, mentally or physically.

Under Pressure

Many of us were taught to use pressure and release when working with horses. You apply pressure to the horse, they move away from it and you then release/reward them. Half-halt rein aid, the horse slows its pace and the rider releases the rein.

Sometimes riders forget to fully release when the horse moves away from pressure. They ask the horse to halt, the horse stops and the rider gives a little with the rein. But then they continue to hold the rein, even while the horse is at a halt. I see this quite a bit. The rider thinks they’ve released when they give 10% of the rein. But the horse feels that other 90% as continued pressure.

Rainy Day Horsemanship

Many Texas horse people are feeling frustrated now due to all the rain we’ve been having. To help, here are some fun exercises to make progress with your riding and horsemanship goals. Even if you can’t visit your horse.

Paid Video Internship

Horse Wise® is seeking a part-time video intern to help create educational content for social media and online learning.

Horse Wise helps people learn horsemanship. We don’t give traditional riding lessons. Instead, Horse Wise teaches people how to observe and understand equine behavior, personality and biomechanics. Whether clients are novices or a seasoned riders, Horse Wise helps clients “see” horses from a new perspective.

Horse Wise Creates Special Prize for 4-H Youth

I’m excited to announce the launch of the HorseWise® Horsemanship Buckle for 4-H Youth Groups!

The Horse Wise Horsemanship Buckle will reward junior equestrians for learning good ground work techniques, becoming more aware of their horses’ physical signals and understanding how to prepare their horse for performance work.

It also gives participants with green or less experienced horses an opportunity to win a buckle (while giving their horse more training during the show season).

Best of all, it’s FUN – and encourages camaraderie, sportsmanship and good horsemanship!

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