Schooling

equitation science, how to horses learn, learning theory horses, tania millen, international society for equine science ises

What is it and how can it help horses and riders? Riders train horses to act in ways they deem positive, whether it’s jumping a jump, walking down a trail, or performing movements in an arena. But to train horses effectively and safely, riders, trainers, and coaches must understand how they learn and react. Over the past 15 years, equine scientists have researched the learning theory of horses — how horses process, retain knowledge, and learn. Equitation science applies this evidence-based learning theory of horses to horse training, and explains horse behaviour based on horses being horses – without attributing human emotions, ways of thinking, or behaviour, to them. It’s a burgeoning field that is changing the way many riders and trainers think and act.

ISES research on bits, do horses like wearing bits, stress in horses, international society for equitation science conference

New research has found that introducing the bit to a young horse for the first time can be a stressful process for them. However, this stress could be difficult for most people to identify, as the horse may not show visible stress behaviours.

how do i canter my horse, preparing a horse to canter, ways to canter, jec ballou horse training, types of equine gaits, benefits of cantering horse

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.

how to use a horse whip, whip usage equestrian sports, british show jumping, hartpury college conference, equine guelph on whips

Whip use in equestrian sports is currently a highly debated topic across the industry. Two presenters, Jane Williams and Kirstin Spencer, at the 15th Annual International Equitation Science Conference held at the University of Guelph, Ontario, shared insight on whip use and its perception in riding sports. Previous research has focused mainly on whip usage in the racing industry; however, it is necessary to evaluate all disciplines in order to effectively address whip usage concerns and any welfare issues.

jec ballou equine trainer, using the long cavesson on horse, equine groundwork, lateral poll flexion horse

Due to its effectiveness in helping the horse carry his body with good form, the longe cavesson is arguably one of the most useful pieces of equipment to own. Yet, only a surprisingly small number of riders who know about it. While early depictions from the 16th century refer mostly to its value in lateral poll flexion, its benefits for groundwork extend to a horse’s entire body. For anyone who performs groundwork it is an indispensable tool, as I will explain. Common misalignments of horses during groundwork include a twisted poll that comes from a handler using a line attached under the chin, or one-sided pressure on the bit when using a bridle. The alignment and state of positive — or negative — tension in the poll directly affects the rest of the body.

Many classical dressage masters from the past often praised the merits of long schooling sessions at only the walk. This kind of training refines muscle recruitment, releases tension stored in poor postural habits, and stimulates the slow-twitch fibers used for stabilizing the skeleton. In other words, there is big value in workouts at the walk. And note how I have used the term workouts, since that is how you should think of them. These are purposeful sessions, not strolls.

horse to lateral work Jec A. Ballou prancing dressage horses, lateral movements shoulder-in haunches-in dressage exercises, conditioning horse, offer unrivaled conditioning effects for almost any equine athlete

Why and when to introduce your horse to lateral work - While they used to be predominantly the domain of prancing dressage horses, lateral movements like shoulder-in and haunches-in offer unrivaled conditioning effects for almost any equine athlete. Exercise science has shown them to be on par with gymnastic routines like hill repeats and cavalletti routines in terms of muscle recruitment, with a bonus of altering motor sensory patterns. Below I will explain how and why you might consider incorporating them.

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