Hunter Jumper

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There are no shortcuts - “Riding is like digging a swimming pool with a spoon,” says John Madden. “It’s really hard work and takes a long time.” On July 6, 2022, the Canadian Sport Horse Association (CSHA) hosted The Madden Method Symposium at Eventyre Farms, southwest of Calgary, Alberta. “This was a one-off event,” says Marie MacAuley, the symposium chair. “It will never happen again.”

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Every Time, Everywhere - Wrong lead! It’s one of the earliest alerts a young rider hears from her coach. One’s heart sinks to hear that same alert from the coach calling over the show ring rail. The novice rider learns the outside leg back and kiss cue to canter but I’ve found that riders are often unsure why they should use this cue. Let’s break it down. We’ll review the phonics of teaching your horse to pick up the correct lead and some hints to help the rider recognize it.

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The first step to any clipping job, whether a full body clip or just a quick tidy up, should be proper clipper maintenance. Using clean, sharp blades that are well-oiled will improve the results of your clip and increase the lifespan of your clippers. Always inspect the clipper and any extension cords you are using to ensure they are in good repair.

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Gail Greenough was born in Edmonton, Alberta in March of 1960. She started enjoying equestrian sports at age 11 and by the time she was 23 she had competed at World Cup show jumping events and had been selected to the Canadian Equestrian Team. Then at the 1986 Championships in Aachen, (then) West Germany, as a relative newcomer, she made her first appearance in an international team championship.

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Most of us intend for our daily rides to improve our horse at some level, either by adding to his physical conditioning or progressing his training skills. But whether or not your horse actually makes these gains often comes down to the amount of time you spend on each phase of the ride. The format of your ride determines the outcome of physical improvement.

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A hot humid day. One rider. One horse. Both are exercising at a moderate level. Who is more likely to overheat? It might surprise you to learn that your horse gets hotter much faster than you and is more susceptible to the negative effects of heat stress. Prof. Michael Lindinger, an animal and exercise physiologist at the University of Guelph, explains: “It only takes 17 minutes of moderate intensity exercise in hot, humid weather to raise a horse’s temperature to dangerous levels. That’s three to ten times faster than in humans. Horses feel the heat much worse than we do.”

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One of the simplest ways to improve athletic output is to ride your horse at different speeds within every gait throughout each week. Moving through a range of gears stimulates the neuromuscular system to create fuller metabolic function within muscles.

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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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