Category: Training


Competition: is there another way?

Part of my job as a riding coach and trainer is to take the young riders under my care to local show jumping competitions once in a while. My normal routine, before we set off to a show, is to have conversations about putting the needs of our horses first, and how doing our best is what counts, etc. etc. And that is all very well…. but usually, once we arrive at the competitions, it becomes apparent right away that ‘putting the horses’ needs first’ doesn’t always happen.


So, the question that comes up in my heart is: Do I keep taking these children to competitions and try to spread awareness that there is a softer, kinder way with horses?
Am I condoning the suffering of the other horses by attending the shows and not saying anything?(Or perhaps this blog could be my way of saying something?)


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Maintaining Softness in the Saddle

About Nosebands and Bits….

The Facebook equestrian pages and groups that I follow have been quite busy with the subject of nosebands this week. A lot is being said about whether they should be allowed or not, how tight they should be, if they have a place or not in training. So I tried to join in and contribute with my tuppence of experience, only to find that I, too, use a noseband. You see, I don’t use a bit – so I have a noseband instead!

An important Scandinavian dressage championship has been brought to the lime light and an important Horse Welfare TV Station has reporting on what they saw there. The photos are disturbing, to say the least. Even if they were to be “just a moment” and “out of context”. So I tried to join in and contribute with my tuppence of experience, only to find that I, too, use a noseband. You see, I don’t use a bit – so I have a noseband instead!

From bit to bitless with nosebands

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Shaman’s Story: From “Stuffy” to “Softy” in 10 Short Sessions



From Stuffy to Softy
A nice soft walk on Handover Day.

About 2 months ago, Anna and her Mom were sitting on the terrace enjoying a cool drink after having a riding session with Shaman. Shaman is a 6 year old appaloosa gelding they have been sharing time with for about 2 years.  Shaman is at livery on the ranch in Spain where I am based.

Little did I expect the tears and emotion that that question were going to elicit….

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About Monica Andréewitch

Does your horse really want to be caught?

One of the first things most of us do every time we arrive at the yard is go and catch our horse.  This might be it in the field, a smaller paddock, his stable. We go up to our horse and either halter him or touch him, hug him, rub him. Usually we do something else after that, too – depending on our agenda for the day.

The majority of horses are very compliant with this request from our part and stand still as we approach them. Others let us know in varying degrees that they are not so happy with this plan!

Some “put up”, others “speak up”!

Sometimes the only difference between the first group and the second group of horses menAbout Monica Andréewitchtioned above is that one “puts up” and the other “speaks up”! And yes, a “puts up” horse makesfor an easier day…. but is that what we really want?

Wouldn’t we rather have a horse that is totally with us, in body and in thoughts? A horse that is 100% willing and happy to share our agenda for that day?

Catching his body or connecting with his thoughts?

So how can we tell how “willing” our horse is to be caught? Is standing still whilst we approach a true indication that our horse wants to come and play? I would like to share some excerpts of an article I wrote after a coaching call with one of my students on this subject….

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