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62/ AUGUST 2012 THE RIDER Self Carriage By Lindsay Grice.

Q. My horse is heavy on my hands and on my legs, especially at the canter. My instructor says he’s “disorganized”. I

would like him to be more adjustable and “lighter” for equitation classes. A. Boundaries. With kids or horses, we do them a favour by establishing limits and expectations. When boundaries aren’t well communicated, or they shift, dull- ness, distraction or resentment arises. As decision makers in the horse/human partnership, riders must clearly define their expectations of the pace, path and package with which they want their horses to travel. How long a canter stride? How fast a walk? Exactly how deep into this corner will we ride? How much of a bend in the horse’s body? Short or long frame/outline? Lowered or raised neck and head?

body alignment going across the arena with an arced shape around the curves. All this in a medium frame.” When my horse extends his stride to 7.5 feet, he meets the front of the box. If he steps of the “balance beam” across the serpentine, he encounters the side of the box. When he elevates his neck and ventures above the bit, he feels the top of the box.

What kind of a “box” do you draw around your horse? My box, for example might look like this – “In the serpentine shape we’re cantering, I’d like a consis- tent 7 foot stride (collected), with straight

When my horse stays inside the perimeter without me having to hold him there, that’s self carriage. There’s freedom and peace within the boundaries. He’s discovered, by trial and error, the perimeters of the box, encountering my aids (leg, hand, voice and seat) when he makes an unauthorized change. He finds release, or negative reinforcement, within the box.

Keep it simple and clear. At first, your aids might feel exaggerat- ed and visible, but eventually they will become more subtle. In fact, if your ground person can’t see a defi- nite closed fist and backward move- ment of your elbow for a slowdown, you’re likely being wishy washy. She should also see a noticeable soften- ing of your reins (think wet pasta noodle) for a correct response. If he tries to break gait, initially your heel may nudge up into side, followed by a spur, dressage tap, or clucking until you get a forward response. Reinforce this acceleration with a lowered heel – dull horses result from riders who babysit them with a constant driving leg.

With a lighter, more responsive horse you won’t feel like you’re get- ting a workout! And in equitation classes, you’ll be able to focus on your position and poise instead of keeping your horse organized.

Lindsay Grice Bio

Coach, trainer, equine behaviour lecturer and judge, Lindsay Grice, has prepared horses and riders for wins at major horse shows in the US

and Canada for over 20 years. Start- ing her career on the hunter A circuit, she continues to actively compete in both english and western events, spe- cializing now in the AQHA circuit. Lindsay teaches Equine Behaviour for the University of Guelph Performance Horse Handler course. In clinics and coaching, she uses the science of how horses think and learn – behavioural theory- to bridge the communication gap between horses and riders, explains both the “hows” and “whys” of train- ing and showing.

Lindsay is an Equine Canada judge and AQHA specialized judge, as well as a certified Equine Canada and NCCP (multi event) coach. When asked what she loves about her job, Lindsay responds, “I love putting complex principles of riding into a language that riders can understand. As someone who’s been there – forgotten courses, made train- ing mistakes, listened to hollering coaches and still made it to the win- ner’s circle, I share with my students the keys I wish I’d known.”

For more training and showing tips, visit her site

The First Ever Ram Equestrian Derby Cross at Cidermill Farms

By Kelly Bowers How The Derby Works

This new equine sport com- bines the speed and accuracy of show jumping and the bravery and endurance of cross-country, show- cased in a spectator-friendly for- mat. Cidermill Farms is proud and excited to host the first ever South- west Ontario Derby Cross Finals at the Harrow Rock’n Horse Fest August 17th.

A unique course is created by combining features of cross coun- try and stadium jumping. Riders are scored on a combination of time and faults. • 6-10 stadium jumps • 6-10 cross country jumps • course starts and ends with stadi- um jumping

• riders will be scored first by the number of faults and then closest

to the optimum time

• optimum time will be unique to each course/venue/level • jumps may have options • willful delays are penalized So for example… you hop on your horse and stand in the starting gate. The clock starts. You do not circle but pick up the canter and go straight to the first jump in the sta- dium ring. You go to jump 2 and 3 and come back around to jump 4. Still cantering, you ride through a gate/entrance to the cross country field and head to jump 5. Go up the bank and jump 6 and 7. Gallop

around the bend and head towards cross country jumps 8 to 10. Once clear canter back into the stadium ring and jump over 11. Finish up the line to jumps 12 and 13 and the clock stops. FUN!!!!!!

The horse and rider with 0 faults and the closest to the opti- mum time is the WINNER. 2nd place goes to the next rider with 0 faults and 3rd place goes to the next rider with 0 faults and the slowest/fastest round. 4th place goes to the rider with 4 faults and the closest optimum time and so on and so forth up to 8th place. This event is open to all riders with an OEF membership and is part of the Southern Ontario Com-

bined Training Association series.

Hunter Team Challenge In Sup- port of Breast Cancer Research Equestrians from around Southern Ontario will gather at the Rock’N Horse Fest in Harrow, ON for the second annual Hunter Team Challenge to support Breast Can- cer Research. Held in honour of fellow riders, friends and family who battle the disease, spectators are invited to attend for free. The Cidermill Farms Hunter/Jumper Classic is a classic Olympic style riding competition, with amateur entrants coming from throughout Southwestern Ontario to compete for cash and prizes. The various classes within the event are open to riders of all ages and skill levels.

Horses for Hospice The town of Harrow has officially declared Sunday, August 19th, “Harrow Horse Day”. The town will host the First Rock ’N Horse Fest “Horses for Hospice Parade”. Entries in the parade will include plea- sure horses, trail riders, drill teams, leadline ponies, hobby horses, stick horses, hunter/jumper horses whose rider/drivers have raised pledges for the Hospice of Windsor and Essex County, Entry forms are available at

FYI: Horse sports are the only events at the Olympics where men and women compete with absolute equality. Also, did you know that more than 69,000 people attended to watch a single jumping event at Spruce Meadows last year? The NHL and CFL should be so lucky! Come see what the excitement is all about.

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