Hunter Jumper

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Where Should You Start? By Jec A. Ballou. When spring finally arrives, the sunny riding season ahead can greet riders with both excitement and anxiety. Where do I start, you might wonder as you calculate how unfit your horse has become from a winter of being off work. How long will it take to ease him back to fitness? What sorts of exercises and timelines should I use? In this article, I’ll answer these questions plus offer a simple schedule in addition to some rules you never want to break.

Head injuries are the most common reason for admission to hospital or death among riders. Sobering statistics reveal the high percentage of equine-related accidents resulting in traumatic brain injury, and helmets have been associated with reducing the risk of traumatic brain injury by as much as 50 percent. Yet many riders still do not wear a helmet.

World-renowned saddle manufacturer Schleese has done it again! Together with former eventer and new General Manager of the company, Miriam Boutros Dale, the Schleese team has designed and made an incredibly light and comfortable new jumping saddle. The new “LightFlight” has been tested by Canadian Olympian Edie Tarves, who said, “this saddle affords me the closest contact I have ever felt and lets my horse move with wonderful freedom!“

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Each of the horse’s gaits offers a unique tool when conditioning for performance and, used correctly, can accomplish results that might otherwise be missed. Optimally, horses should spent equal time in all three gaits during training sessions in order to achieve both looseness and strength. Certain conditioning phases, though, sometimes necessitate prioritizing one gait over another. This article will clarify how and when individual gaits can serve the equine athlete, especially the way he uses his back, and how cavalletti routines can help.

It had been three months since Laura, a junior rider, had sustained a simple concussion during a fall from her horse. Her parents were becoming increasingly concerned that she was not progressing in her recovery. Laura was having difficulty focusing at school, disrupted sleep patterns, and intermittent headaches. Fearful of creating any further escalation in her symptoms, she had not returned to riding or any activity.

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When watching gymnastic competitions, we look for athletes competing in gymnastics to “stick the landing” before the eagle-eyed judges who will discount marks for even the slightest waiver in form. While this phrase is rather commonplace in our understanding of these athletic events, it is not so in our equine world… at least not until you have read this article.

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Function follows form, according to Dr. Trisha Dowling. It’s the conformation or structure of a horse that ultimately determines its athletic function.

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