Archive for January, 2011

6 Steps to a Schooled Horse

January 21st, 2011

learning how to ride horses
Schooling your horse is done in six basic steps, relaxation, rhythm, contact, straightness, impulsion, collection (and extension)


Once you have got your horse backed and are starting to ride him, the first step to focus on is relaxation (lack of tension, response to aids etc).
On the top of neck and back the horse has a group of muscles that, when in contraction cause the horse to hollow its neck and back and a hollow back is a weak one, a rounded back is a strong one. When in the field a horse does this when alert (so we will refer to these muscles as the ‘alert’ group). When riding contraction of this group of muscles is caused by fear, resistance to an aid, confusion or heavy handed riders.
When the alert muscles contract the muscles on the underside of the horses belly and neck (the ‘relax’ muscles) relax using hollowness but when the relax muscles contract and the alert group relax the back is rounded and the head held in desired position.


In riding rhythm is essential. The sequence, as well as the timing of footfalls should be correct, even and movement should be smooth.
Some ponies have naturally smooth gaits, while others have naturally bumpy or uneven paces.
For regulating an uneven pace, walking and trotting poles greatly come in useful. Ride circles, curves and straight lines using correct spacing. Using short thick poles like old telegraph poles also encourages engagement of the hocks.


Contact is how the hands hold the reins. The reins should not be taut, nor should they be slack. The reins should be held gently but firmly. Imagine you were holding two gerbils. Don’t squash them, but don’t allow them to get away.
In the more advanced stages of riding, the horse should ‘seek’ the contact.
If the pony are riding is going too fast for comfort do NOT put a constant pull on the reins, instead sit up look ahead and sponge the reins or else the pony will fight your hands and hollow his back.


Horses are born naturally with a dominant side where the muscles are shorter, thicker and more bunched meaning that they naturally bend better to this side. On their other side the muscles are longer and weaker and stretch more easily than they contract.
Do lots of supplying exercises, and stretching exercises for the shorter side but don’t do them equally on both sides or else the horse will muscle up evenly on both sides causing one to still be predominant.


Impulsion is the surge of strength produced when the hindquarters are engaged, but it must never be mistaken for speed.
A young, green or unfit horse should not be asked for impulsion as they cannot produce it correctly.
Before you can ask a horse for collection he must be fit, and have completed every ‘rung’ on the training ladder(that is except collection(and extension!))
To ask for impulsion half halt then give the forward aid while the hands ‘contain’ the energy to avoid increase in speed, and the result should be a surge and lift and hind legs should be pushing off from the ground.
You can tell if a horse is moving forward by looking at their back legs. If their back legs form an upside down V the horse is using his hind quarters.


Before collection can be achieved the horse must have achieved impulsion.
To ask for collection ask for impulsion but use your hands to limit the forward movement there fore shortening the strides.


The opposite of collection, extension is produced by lengthening rather than shortening the strides.

None of the rungs in the schooling ladder should be missed out. Every single rung and all its exercises completed is the only way to go right to the top. If your horse can’t cope on a certain rung, go down a rung and redo the whole rung till there are no problems.

For more information you can read Successful schooling: Training your horse with Empathy by Karin Blignault or 6 steps to a schooled horse by Susan Mcbane.

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Find out how to boost your overall happiness in 2011

January 17th, 2011

jumping happy girl
Whether 2010 was a good year or not, 2011 might be the one for achieving your goals and dreams, from finding your true love, learning how to ride horses like a pro or even making some career upstream movements. There are three major aspects of each and anyone’s life and this are love, money and work, let’s take a look and see how each of those can really improve our happiness.


First things first, love will be our main focus in this article. We all know how difficult it is to spend Christmas alone, New Year’s party with other happy couples, but also one thing is sure: these times have finally went by so you should make room to a new year where anything can (and will) be possible. Right from the start you should dedicate some time to yourself, get to know what you want most from a partner, what do you expect from a relationship and so on. Want to improve your chances of getting noticed on Horse Lovers Dating site? Have a look at your profile and try to do these changes that can definitely make a difference:

–          Update your profile: you should definitely add some photos that show the best of you, maybe you had a great outfit for Christmas’ Party so highlight it on your profile
–          Start a new diary and express what are you looking forward to achieve this new year
–          Go chatting and change memories about how the New Year’s party was for you


On the other hand, think about how many hours do you spend each time at work…Maybe you even have some extra-things to solve at home, maybe you are doing extra-hours, you will end up seeing that you spend about 10 hours each day with your job, maybe more, a whooping 2,600-3,000 hours each year. Of course, there is not much to be done when it comes to earning a living but you could change the way you are at work – be happy all the time. Avoid office gossips, try to stay positive, neglect negative people and smile more often. Another fantastic way of meeting new people can be related to your job: go out with your co-workers, maybe they have some friends you might find attractive and before you notice, you may end-up within a happy relationship with the person you have always dreamed about.


Money are such a sensible subject, especially when we are talking about January, the month where we start looking on our previous month expenses on gifts, parties and so on. But if we consider than January is also a month of sales and discounts, it might be a great time to catch some bargains and once again improve your happiness levels from a financial perspective. Check out clothes’ discounts, find restaurants that offer real bargains, find some fantastic coupons on discounts websites or even participate to free events in your area.

All these might seem so simple at a first-view but they are also fantastic ways to start a new year and definitely improve your happiness from those three points of view.

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