Natural Horsemanship

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In Part 1 of this series (Footwork to Free Up the Shoulders) I wrote about remembering what it is like to be a student, and shared some of my personal trials from joining a boxing club this past winter when I stepped into a completely unknown field. These lessons illustrate that horses benefit when their riders are more patient, just as students benefit when coaches are patient.

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When I was younger and hardier I was happy enough to ride in all kinds of weather. If truth be told, I have made my living riding and maybe I felt more obligated to ride rather than being happy to ride. Now that I am a bit older I’ve become a fair weather rider — or at least I’m not an extreme weather rider.

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Footwork to free up the shoulders - During the past few months I’ve been teaching and developing my young horses and my program. Each year I take time to gain new skills and insights, mainly because I’m an avid student and always benefit as a clinician if I take time to become a student myself. I believe that leaders and mentors of others must never lose sight of what it feels like to be a student.

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3 Rules to Maximize Time Off - Periods of downtime come as realistic parts of horse ownership, although how a rider uses these stretches of poor weather or busy schedules contributes profoundly to a horse’s long-term soundness and performance. Recent data from biomechanics researchers and veterinary schools shows that large vacillations in fitness can be detrimental to overall health, particularly for horses past their mid-teen years. Most notably, periods of lesser activity lasting over a month can weaken deep postural muscles and supporting soft tissue.

Every so often you encounter a story that really sticks with you. You find yourself reflecting on it as you’re going about your daily routines. You wonder, “Why did that happen? How can I help?” That’s what happened when I first heard about a young horse named Noel.

What is the drive line? In this excerpt from my book, I will explore the drive line and how important it is for you to understand where it is on the horse’s anatomy and how the horse responds to it when working at liberty, or when the horse is loose in the round pen.

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One rein riding is simply riding your horse without a bridle, using instead a regular halter and lead, with the lead as your single rein. It’s a simple tack change, but a great way to brush up on the basics with all levels of horses. It will very quickly reveal to you how well started your horse really is.

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