while on the ground or hear him be nervous under saddle with noises like grinding his teeth. Relaxed and soft eyes indicate acceptance, while bulging eyes show alarm. His breathing is an im-

Palm Partnership Training™ Get Results You Can Use

“Reading Your Horse”

By Lynn Palm Before we start train-

ing outside the box (a con- fined area), it is important to recognize and learn how to read the horse to tell if he has inner energy and play- fulness that needs to be re- leased through forced exercise like longeing. Many riders do not re-

alize that any healthy, fit horse has some level of inner energy that must be re- leased before he can con- centrate on the task the rider will be asking him to do. The level of inner energy can vary among horses, but is always there. It may be

present in a healthier dose in higher strung or sensitive horses. Most riders will also

face another issue when training outside the box. Their horses may be overly sensitive and more high- strung than usual when taken into new surround- ings. Riders tend to expect that the horse will work and perform in new surround- ings in the same way as he does at home. They do not realize that a horse will nearly always be different in a new and different environ- ment. This is especially true of horses that are not ‘sea- soned’ - - those who have

not become experienced in going different places and traveling many miles over many years. Probably one of the

hardest, but most important, things to learn is how to read a horse to know if he has inner energy that should be released or is calm and ready for schooling. One of the most obvious signs of inner energy are his ears moving very fast and his head moving side to side. Under saddle the ears and head are an easy indicator to observe because they are right in front of the rider! We can see tension or relax- ation of the horse’s mouth

portant indicator, especially when riding outside. A horse will always try to smell with big breaths if he is unsure or afraid, before he spooks. His skin, whether it is re- laxed or tensed tight and twitching like there is a fly on it, communicates his mood. Also, another very obvious indicator of alarm in your horse is his tail. If the horse is wringing or switching the tail, he is irri- tated or frustrated. While doing a forced

exercise, like longeing, a horse will tell you if he is playful and has inner energy to release through these common signs: (1) shaking his head, like he is saying “no”, (2) flicking his ears with tight or tense muscles in his neck and body, (3) drastic loss of attention, and (4) wanting to run, buck, kick up heels, or kick at you. If the horse is commu-

nicating with one or any of these actions, it is important to work him to release his energy, instead of trying to calm him down. Working him means making the horse go forward, but not running like a maniac.

While longeing, if he starts to run out of control, put both hands on the longe line, lean back and use a checking pull, instead of a constant pull, to bring him back to a controlled speed and keep his head to the in- side. Get him to exercise at the trot, then walk, back to the trot, then back to canter. Trot should be a square trot, not a jog. Do not let your horse cross-canter (left lead in front, right lead behind). If he does, bring him back to trot, balance and get organ- ized, then go back to canter. Let the forward motion

help you evaluate his level of inner energy. When the horse begins releasing it, his stride will


smoother. The tenseness in his body will relax. His tail will relax and swing with his gait. His nostrils will flare and the veins in his neck will pop out, even in cool spring weather. These are signs that inner energy is releasing. His head, eyes, and ears will lose their tenseness or quick move- ment. When one ear cocks toward you, his concentra- tion is coming back to you. He will begin to respond quicker to commands. When you think his

inner energy is released, test him by stomping your feet or clap your hands while he is longeing. If he shows any

of the four signs of inner en- ergy, he needs more work to get it out before schooling.

Your Next Step… If your horse’s past re-

actions or behavior while schooling outside the box surprised or concerned you, prepare to deal with them by bringing longeing gear along on the next ride. At- tach the longe line to the saddle, leave the halter on the horse, stick a shorter 3- foot longe whip in the back of your pants or some other place where it will be safe and easy to carry. As soon as the horse

shows signs of nervousness, or becoming high strung or distracted, get off, control him on the ground, and longe him when you can find a safe place on the trail. Lead him to an open area where he can be worked. Don’t worry that getting off will cause him to repeat a misbehavior just to get you off his back. This will not happen if the rider has a plan to take this action. However, if the rider jumps off in fright or worry, the horse will sense it. This will reinforce to the horse that misbehaving will intimidate the rider. Remember, a horse

knows what we are think- ing. We are all afraid of falling off; it is a natural re-

James Hood Joins

Equestrian Canada As High Performance Director

The video and social community for horse people just like you! Wherever you live and however you ride •

Ottawa, ON, Jan. 10, 2020 – Equestrian Canada (EC) is pleased to announce that James Hood has joined the team in the position of High Performance Director, ef- fective Jan. 8, 2020. Hood has an extensive

and successful track record in sport organizations, spe- cializing in providing strate- gic leadership with a focus on high performance and sport development. He has served in various roles within Swimming Canada and Swim Alberta, where he supported high performance planning and leadership, in- cluding aligning sport sys- tems from grassroots to high performance, and engaging a wide range of stakehold- ers, including coaches, inte- grated support


provincial partners and vol- unteers. Most recently he has been the Vice President Sports Markets with joe:media group of Calgary, AB, supporting sport organ- izations with both broadcast and video production. Known for his strong

ability to develop and en- hance relationships with ex- ternal sport systems and

business stakeholders, Hood also excels at building teams and fostering teamwork. Well versed in single-sport and multi-sport major games, he has developed ex- pertise in areas from logis- tics to team management to broadcasting. Hood’s career high-

lights include taking on the role of Head Coach for the 1992 Barcelona Para- lympics, Team Manager for the 2012 London Olympics and Team Leader for the 2016 Rio Paralympics. He has also performed as a Technical Delegate, Official or Classifier at more than seven major games, includ- ing the Paralympics, Pan Am and Parapan Am Games, and FISU World University Championships. In addition, Hood has been inducted into the Ontario Aquatic Hall of Fame and the Alberta Swimming Hall of Fame in the Builder cate- gory, and is a recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Dia- mond Jubilee Medal. As the EC High Per-

formance Director, Hood will be responsible for im- plementing EC’s high per-

formance vision, strategies and policies. Key elements of the role include leader- ship and alignment of stake- holders

toward high

performance initiatives. “I am excited to be

joining EC with such a long and decorated history of performance, and look for- ward to having the opportu-

nity to apply my passion for sport to the equestrian land- scape,” said Hood. “My goal is to create a platform and environment that sup- ports equestrian athletes and coaches in consistently de- livering world-class per- formances and achieving success at the elite interna- tional level.”

action. Get the horse’s inner energy out first. If you are worried or frightened in the saddle, get on the ground and take charge of the horse. Riding with a friend on a very seasoned horse will help your ‘green’ horse on the trails. It will make schooling outside the box safer and more fun for you and your horse.

Lynn’s Training Tip… Are your longeing ses-

sions going around in cir- cles? My Longevity Training Tape #5 - “The Art of Longeing” will teach you how to use longeing to im- prove a horse’s body posi- tion and balance, exercise through different speeds and gaits, condition him, and evaluate his readiness for riding or training. If you are planning on training “out- side the box” (a confined area) or out on the trails, longeing is one of the best ways I know to help the horse to release his inner en- ergy so he can safely con- centrate on the lesson. Learn more about “The Art of Longeing” and other Palm Partnership Train- ing™ educational products, services, and equestrian schools


PHOTO – On Jan. 8, 2020, Equestrian Canada welcomed James Hood to the position of High Performance Director.

PHOTO CREDIT – © EC/Gerry van Blokland

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