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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Horses, competition and ego

 Last Saturday I wore my white jodphurs and rode down a center line again for the first time in about 8 years (except for a one-off outing after about 2 years ago!). I was motivated to attend the local dressage friendly competition because it is important to me that I support the community of riding centers that are local to me here in Spain. Plus, this particular event was running on a 60m arena, and that was soooo tempting!

For many years I dreamed about going down an Olympic Center Line. Everything I did around my horses was driven by that goal. Then, 8 years ago, I discovered something that brought that dream to a sudden awakening and I haven’t had that dream since. What I discovered was that my dream was driven by ‘my need’ to prove something. To be recognized, to be“the best”, to win, to be better than others and to be applauded. All ego driven motives.

With the horses needs in mind

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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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