Introduce yourselves!

First of all, I want to thank all of the people who subscribe to my blogs and follow me on twitter, FB and all the other online places I have made friend and followers.
For this weeks blog post I have a request. I would like you to introduce yourselves and tell me a little bit about you and your horses and or other animals companions. I know there are a lot people following the blogs so leave a comment so I can get to know you better. Even ask a question or offer a topic idea for a future blog. Even if I know you already, just say hi or give me an update on your equine activities. I can't wait to hear from you!



Replay of the radio show on bitless

In case you missed it, here's the replay of the radio show on bitless bridles and riding also a link to my Bridle shop so you can take a look at the bridles mentioned.


NHN Radio show tomorrow the 19th!

 Join me and DC tomorrow at 7pm EST for another fun informative show on Bitless bridles and options.



Connection versus Collection versus Connection

I wanted to address the terms Connection (in the physical sense), Collection, and Connection (in the bonded sense).

A lot of people interpret a horse that is balanced, rhythmic, and in a frame to be Collected. This is actually Connection in the physical sense. It means the horses body is moving as a unit in harmony. The hind end is Connected to the front end through the soft relaxed back, The horses body is free from brace, left, right and over the topline. The horse is also balanced in his movement. This creates a picture that most people see as harmonious and flowing whether it is on a long rein, in a halter, bareback, dressage, jumping, reining, bridless, bitless or anything else.

Collection is a technical term. It is the last stage on the Training Scale. The Training scale follows this progression Rhythm, Relaxation/Suppleness, Contact, Impulsion, Straightness, Collection. The Training scale helps you with a guideline of what to train in what order. In other words, You wouldn't train Collection before your horse had consistent and reliable Rhythm. You wouldn't ask for Impulsion until your horse had found the Frame etc. So you try to get one area very good before you go to the next progression. Collection literally means to compress or shorten the frame of the horse while maintaining energy and power. It is not slowing down the rhythm, It is not taking the horses stride away. The horses frame and body get shorter because they go up in the poll and rounder in the back instead of longer and more extended in the stride and frame. They cover less ground because of this compression. It is challenging to the horse and requires careful preparation, fitness and foundation training to not have it be just a slower gait with a short stride. Collection is found in Western Pleasure, Reining, Dressage, Jumpers, Equitation, and any other discipline where there are changes of gait. Collection is also not just physical. It requires a horse to understand it in his mind before he can understand it in his body. Exercises that build Collection successfully teach the horse to Collect himself out of his choice.
Now Let's talk about Connection in the bonded sense. This to me is desire in the horse and rider. The horse likes and wants to be with the person working with him. The person likes and wants to work in partnership with his horse. They are both working together toward a common goal in balance and Harmony and they are enjoying it even when the work is challenging. They are enjoying it because you (the leader) are making it enjoyable and looking out for your partner's well being as you would any person you cared for.
If you combine this with your horsemanship, you will always enjoy your horse, and your horse will always enjoy you!



Vlog series: How Liberty work helped me with riding part 6

In this 6th video, I am working with Phoenix's high energy on shaping it a little. I thought I would work on Companion Moving but, It seems that this was more appropriate today. This video shows how you let the horse shape your leadership and how you build connection that way.
I started working with Sending her at speed and drawing her back in to me in the last video. This exercise helps with bringing a horses energy up and back down again and all the variables in between. You can work with transitions and coming in at different speeds. Again, this is something we need in mounted work. And as I explained before, Phoenix is not always agreeable to speed control. It is the beginning of the stage of Dancing with your horse. It is also the stage where the Heart and Desire is built in the horse to partner with you. What does that mean to me? It means, That my horse wants to work with me and give their all. It means that my horse seeks and finds the work we do as fun and interesting as I do. Ask any competitive rider what sets one performance horse apart from the other? They could both have the same breeding, conformation, training and preparation. What would make one performance higher quality then the other? They would all say Heart and Desire in their horse. But this is not just about performance. It is about any horse and person and their work together. Whether it be Show Jumping and Dressage or Trail riding and Back yard arena work. What person wouldn't want there horse to bring their heart to every ride? Until the next one...



Vlog series: How Liberty work helped me with riding part 5

In this 5th installment of my Vlog, You see how each day is different and by letting the horse shape you leadership, you allow the Liberty exercises to unfold while building the connection. There has been HUGE improvement in our ground and riding in a short time of doing this work.
In the past two weeks we have had tremendous breakthroughs in our dressage work and our connection has been building with each interaction. It makes our training work so much more fun and it feels like we are really starting to think together.
This video shows how spontaneous you learn to be and how I came in sort of knowing where we could build better connection and I found that a different exercise then I expected was what presented itself. I started working on the last exercise in the group which is Sending the horse at speed around the area and then drawing them back to you. This exercise I think will be beneficial to Phoenix and I in that it will help us practice speed control and her allowing me to influence it more. She's likes to go fast and not slow down or stop! When you and your horse get good at this particular stage, you can speed up and slow the horse down during the draw phase and continue to work on transitions.
I would say this exercise is also good for lower energy types who need to get comfortable with moving out at speed and coming back down.
There's more to come so stay tuned...