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While it might often be spoken about in artistic, aesthetic, or even philosophical ways, lightness — both of movement and also of communication with horses — is more than an abstract ideal. In many ways, it measures a horse’s current physiological capabilities.

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Recent research shows that increasing parental age at conception has a detrimental effect on race speed. When a split-second can separate the horses at the end of the race, the slightest advantage can give the winner the edge. Research from the University of Exeter found that the speed of Thoroughbred horses declines as the age of their parents when they were conceived increases.

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Simple Exercises and Routines to Reprogram Dysfunctional Movement - As tempting as it is to use our riding skills and training expertise when teaching a horse to carry his body differently or when rehabbing post-layoff, this actually slows the process down. Somehow, many of us equestrians missed this crucial fact during our educations.

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Down gravel roads in Chatham-Kent, Ontario, you can judge the changing of the seasons and the progression of time by the corn. Every July, throngs of teenagers head into the fields to detassel corn. It’s a rite of passage in Chatham-Kent — hats and gloves, thermoses full of water, corn rash, and heat stroke — all for summer wages. By August 1, Emancipation Day, the seed corn has been detasseled, and stands of sweet corn are speckled along roads and laneways to farms. A bell rings to signify the day, celebrating freedom. The rest of the corn in the area, mostly grown for silage, has reached toward the sun, and soon the harvest will come and the green of these fields will brown, marking the passage of time.

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Polocrosse players in Alberta and Saskatchewan are gearing up for a full season of competition in 2022. “We’ve got an active group here. Last weekend, we had 10 people playing 10 horses,” says Gayle Smith, the secretary of Bridge City Polocrosse Association (BCPA) near Saskatoon. She says there are also eight kids learning the game and “they’re really doing well with their little cow horses.”

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Riding the Rail - No jumps. No pylons. No letter markers. Unlike classes assessing the accuracy of patterns, the quality of movements in tests, or how the competitor meets each jump on course, flat or rail classes appraise the picture of you and your horse in profile.

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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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Podcast host Alexa Linton and Shannon Beahen of Humminghorse Equestrian chatted about everything from getting more nuanced about the “no,” to meditation and its role in our clarity, to incorporating consent into training, to track systems, and even got into numerology a little!

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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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