Eventing

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Preparation is the key to success in every sport. One of the best ways to prepare to jump your course at a horse show is by walking it first.

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Keys to an effective horse training session. I’ve trained a lot of horses. After nailing up my sign as a “professional horse trainer” several decades ago, I learned quickly that overhead is high in the horse business so you’d better make some hay if you’re going to pay your bills. Consequently, I rode many horses each day, breaking young ones and tuning up show horses.

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Do you ever wander away from the mounting block, still adjusting your stirrups, pondering what to work on in today’s schooling session? Does your coach ever ask (I always do) what you’ve been working on since your last lesson, and you admit mostly logging miles on your horse’s odometer?

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Sharing Costs, Spreading Risks - Racehorse syndicates have been around for a long time, but it’s only in the last 20 years that sport horse syndicates have become more common. In the horse world, a syndicate is generally a group of people who pool their funds to invest in a horse together and share the horse’s annual costs. Everyone who “buys in” is a shareholder and owns a portion of the horse for a set period of time, or until the horse is resyndicated or sold.

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I smiled, walking past the airport hat kiosk, en route to a judging adventure at an exhibition in Eastern Canada. I’d be wearing several hats and judging a kaleidoscope of classes at the show — equitation, road hack, reining, Western riding, working hunter, pleasure driving, driven dressage, conformation, showmanship, miniature horses… and more!

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A recent study has identified factors associated with an increased risk of falls during the cross-country phase of eventing and has suggested modifications that could reduce the risk of injury, making it safer for horse and rider. Higher-level events, longer courses, more starters in the cross-country phase, and less experienced horses and athletes all showed an increased risk. Identifying these risk factors allows riders and event organisers to assess the level of risk for individual horse, rider, and event combinations.

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When it comes to cantering, riders seem to divide in two camps. In one camp are those who favour it above all else, while the other camp includes those who find it scary or unpleasant. I would like to add a third camp: riders who understand the unparalleled physiological benefits of cantering their horses. Beyond the obvious cardiovascular conditioning, cantering can improve muscle tone, symmetry, and flexibility more than other gaits. Let me explain this further, in addition to offering some tips and guidelines.

Walking the Cross Country Course

One of my favorite parts of an eventing competition is that first course walk. I can't wait to see what the course designer has in store for us competitors! But walking the course is serious business - your course walking skills can mean the difference between success and failure out there on the course.

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Sadly, ponies get a lot of bad press. Even so, their reputation as being lazy, stubborn, and difficult to train, plus their seemingly inherent displays of poor behaviour, have less to do with their innate nature and more to do with a lack of training.

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For generations, riders and horse lovers have been enthralled by the mystique of horsemen (and women), but many struggle to define what a “horseman” actually is. Is a horseman someone with a laundry list of skills such as starting young horses, nailing on shoes, being knowledgeable about horse care, and having the ability to train horses to the highest levels? Or is a horseman someone who lives in the moment, has mastered their emotions, and understands a horse’s mind? Perhaps a horseman embraces all of these attributes; perhaps none.

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