Para

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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.

Love Your Horse, but Riding Scared?, April Clay, M.Ed., afraid of horse, fearful of your horse, anxious horse riding, overcoming horse riding stress, breaking up with your horse, make up or break up with your horse

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?

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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.?

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.”

As I learn about para-equestrianism and work with people with disabilities in my own fitness training practice, I never cease to be humbled and impressed by the sheer athletic spirit I encounter: discipline, determination, winning attitude, and pure hard work. When I look at athletes for examples we can all learn from, it’s hard to miss noticing the achievements of our Canadian Paralympians.

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