Para

Paralympian Lauren Barwick, disabled horse rider, canadian paralympic rider, fei para-equestrian, para-dressage lauren barwick

A hay bale that launched a journey…In May 2014 Canadian para-equestrian dressage rider Lauren Barwick, gold and silver medalist at the 2008 Beijing Paralympic Games, was ranked by the Federation Equestre International (FEI) as the number one para-equestrian rider in the world. She topped the standings at a score of 1264 and remained in that position for eight weeks. The rankings are consistently compiled on a monthly basis and that year included results from January 1, 2014.

Lindsay Grice, prepare for a horse show, prepare for an equine show, showing a horse, how to show a horse, prepare for a dressage test, prepare for a jumper class, prepare for a western class

Seated at the head of the quiet classroom, I watched the students in the classes I teach write their Equine Behaviour and Equine Business final exams, noting the happy faces of smug recognition (“Yes, I studied that!”) and the winces (“Rats, I’d hoped that material wouldn’t be on the test”). I empathize with them. I know what it’s like to sit in the “test seat” – as a student in university and, more recently, writing judging exams. And as a competitive rider, every horse show is a test.

winter horse, riding in winter, training in winter, conditioning horse, keep horse fit winter, horse stretches, carrot stretch

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.

lindsay grice, winter horse riding, winter horse training, lindsay grice, horse show season, riding in winter

Fall fairs, circuit championships, and club awards banquets signal the end of another horse show season. So how did it go? Did your shows, rodeos, or competitive trail rides meet your expectations?

Horse and Rider

If you have been riding for some time, chances are you have come across a mount that challenged you. Or maybe he scared you. Perhaps the horse forced you to face that very difficult question: Is this the wrong horse for me… or is it just me? What can you do when fear cripples your riding experience?

performance horse stress, performance horse psychology

It is common knowledge that a horse must achieve optimal physical fitness in order to deliver a peak performance, but what kind of impact does psychological condition have on equine performance? In a competition environment, equine athletes in any discipline may show symptoms of stress, but to what degree does the expression of that stress affect the quality of a jumping round, dressage test, reining pattern, etc.?

Interviewed by Heather Sansom - In the previous article, we shared the first half of an interview with para-equestrians Lauren Barwick, Karen Brain, and Judi Island. In this, the second part, they share more about what they do to stay fit to ride and compete, advice for developing riders, athletes, and parents, and how to “be all you can be.”

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