The School Your Horse Blog
Schooling is just another way of exercising your horse and anyone can do it. You don’t need to be competitive and your horse doesn’t have to be the next Olympic hopeful. The more ideas you have the more interesting it becomes. There are over 100 posts on here to choose from. No horse needs to be on the bit to do any one of them. Better still they’re absolutely free!
Use the search box to find posts on a particular pace or problem. There’s more than one way to school your horse and hopefully you’ll find one of them here.
To read a Spanish translation of this blog check out this site – http://www.puntoecuestre.com/tag/schooling/
Who comes first at Christmas – your family or your horse? Would you even dare to say the answer out loud? As the holidays stretch out in front of you it may feel as if you have all the time in the world but with family and festive commitments time available for riding can be harder to find than you thought. There’s nothing quite like being short of time to send your stress levels through the roof! What starts out as a good idea can rapidly end up being the worst decision you’ve ever made – and one that spoils the rest of...read more
Is getting your horse on the bit a compromise between energy and shape? You’re not alone! But if a horse isn’t going forward he was never on the bit in the first place. On the bit has less to do with the bit and more to do with your horse’s body – and his straightness. Your rein contact acts as a dam that your legs drive his hocks, body and hips towards. As they push up behind his shoulders his back has to round. If his quarters and shoulders aren’t in line his body will swing to one side as you push on. It won’t matter...read more
When things go wrong what do you do? The chances are you decide you need to battle on, get your act together or try harder but sometimes it’s far more helpful not to. If, like many other riders, you’re equipped with an inner nagging voice that makes you question every aid you give when things go wrong all that voice does is convince you it was right all along! OK, sometimes you are but you’re not useless! Sometimes it’s just a bad day and whatever you do isn’t going to help. It doesn’t matter if you’re...read more
Does your horse like to hang on one side of the bit? Have you ever wondered why? When he does what do you do? A lot of riders do one of two things – either they drop the rein (‘give it away’) to get their horse off it or they bend their horse’s head in the opposite direction to soften him up. Both these methods have varying degrees of success in the short term but they don’t tackle the underlying cause. Many horses get the blame for getting hold of the bit or being reluctant to carry themselves but before you blame your...read more
Do you worry about falling off? Why wouldn’t you? It can really hurt! But sometimes the more you worry about something the more chance there is of it happening. You are your horse’s biggest influence. He’ll only make an issue out of something if you do. He may well have spooked/bucked or shot across the school last week but if you’re the one that tightened up this week it’s you that’s creating the problem. The Crash Position! There are two varieties of this popular position. The foetal crash – the rider curls...read more
Do you ever look at a rider and wonder why their horse puts up with them when your horse seems to get upset by your every move? It’s frustrating to watch someone who appears to have not a care in the world bouncing around an arena on a horse that appears to be oblivious (and yet is moving beautifully!) when you’re trying your hardest to work on your leg position, your contact or your seat. Those horses you think are the most tolerant horses on the planet are often some of the happiest! There’s a reason they seem unbothered...read more
It’s amazing how easy many horses find the flying change easy – when you’re not asking for it! Some horses change behind and become disunited, others swap onto a favoured leg but the one thing they have in common is balance – or lack of it. If your horse is a master at a quick change when you least expect it then be careful. The very thing you’re doing to try to keep him on the correct leg could be the thing that’s causing him to change. Your horse is most likely to throw in a change of leg going into a corner or coming out it...read more
Do you ride your horse into a corner – set him up so he stays balanced? Do you push on coming out of one too? Most riders do but stop and think about what you do halfway round that same corner. Or what you don’t do … Imagine you’re cantering a 20m circle. See yourself doing it – sitting in line with the curve of the circle; back on your seat; riding forward into a steady contact that’s even in both hands. You’re on a continuous curve and you wouldn’t want to break the flow of your canter so there’s absolutely no...read more
Are you struggling with your canter transitions? You’re not alone! There are three common problems that regularly occur your horse is slow to react your horse is too quick to react your horse doesn’t react at all! All three of those things can be improved if you sharpen up your aids. Canter aids are often misunderstood – and used. Do you think “sitting trot in a corner and outside leg back”? Despite what many riders think moving your outside leg back isn’t the aid to canter. It’s the leg that tells your horse which lead you...read more
Do you ever start out full of good intentions only to lose enthusiasm once you’ve warmed up? You wouldn’t be the first rider to set out thinking you really ought to ride and then wish you hadn’t bothered. Your horse will take his lead from you – the second he knows your heart’s not in it he’ll start to lose interest too. What you need is a ‘no brainer’. Some fail safe way of getting you through at least twenty minutes of constructive exercise. Look no further! The best thing you can do when you’re feeling less than enthusiastic is get...read more