JULY 2017 THE RIDER /15 Horse and rider – a different perspective!

tances better. A u s -

tralian, Dr Alison Harmon has done much research

into equine vision, fueled in part by a nasty accident she once witnessed in- volving two dressage horses, colliding head on in the warm up arena. They simply didn’t see each other - ridden “on the bit,” their vision was directed downwards. A horse must be more at- tentive to his rider with his head in this position, because his ability to see is limited. Vulnerable, he has to trust his rider not to run them both into another horse.

Do you notice how jumpers will

tend to elevate their heads on approach to a fence? Seeing down the plane of their faces, they need to lift up their heads to see in front of them. And they lose sight of that jump at least four feet away. No wonder a horse naturally chooses to skirt an obstacle instead of jump it. Riding your horse counter-bent on

approach to an obstacle not only hin- ders his jumping style, but his ability to see it. The same goes for loping over poles in a trail course without being al- lowed a straight approach and a low- ered head to check it out. Earn your horse’s trust by keeping

your own eyes ahead and keeping him out of trouble!

Lindsay Grice Bio: Coach, judge, speaker and equine

behaviourist, Lindsay Grice has trained hundreds of horses and riders in her 25 years as a professional. “I love to help riders solve their

horse puzzles based on the science of how horses think and learn,” she says. “Is it me or my horse?” Lindsay

shares insights into how horses tick for equine associations, riding clubs and at private farms, creating thinking horse- men of her students by teaching the “hows” and “whys” of riding.

Lindsay has taught Equine Be-

haviour classes and seminars for provincial equine associations and courses offered by University of Guelph. She teaches clinics on showing,

training and judging for horse clubs and private farms. She is an Equine Canada and

AQHA specialized judge and a Provin- cial Hunter/Jumper judge as well as a certified Equine Canada coach. She and her students have won at major shows in the United States and Canada.

For more information, visit her site

By Lindsay Grice Much horse show frustration arises

due to differences in perspective between rider and horse. I weave into every lesson the learning differences between horses and humans – the science of what makes horses tick- how they see their world. But did you ever consider how much

of a literal difference in point of view hu- mans and horses have?

“There are quite a few myths and mis-

conceptions about how horses see,” says Dr. Evelyn Hanggi, president of the Equine Research Foundation. Myths emerge when someone intro-

duces a training technique based on a the- ory about horse vision. It doesn’t take long for a theory to become an accepted “truth.” While we humans have our eyes situ-

ated on the front of our heads, horses have theirs on the sides. Pair this with having one of the largest eyeballs and longest pupils in the animal kingdom and you have the reason that the equine eye can take in a panoramic view of its surroundings. A great advantage if you’re designed to be a prey animal, but a disadvantage if you’re on top of such an animal in a bustling show envi- ronment! Your horse simply catches more activity around and behind him than you do – he’s not being “stupid” – just a horse. His binocular vision however is differ-

ent. A horse must elevate to focus on the horizon. Unable to focus as humans do, your horse will raise, lower and turn his head to view the object in the distance. When a horse switches from one eye

(monocular vision) to two eyes (binocular vision) he needs a little time to adjust his focus. It’s our responsibility to get to the jump or ground rail straight and aligned, providing our horses every advantage! Al- lowing your horse some freedom on ap- proach to an obstacle once you’ve positioned him, can help him judge dis-

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