Category Archives: Riding

Olympic Three Day Eventing Cross Country

If you are like me, then you are missing most of the Olympics. We can still enjoy this music video of Olympic Three Day Eventing Cross Country competition. I recommend, if your computer can handle it, maximizing the quality to HD and playing on full screen.

“A collection of horses and their riders who made it to the 2012 Olympics from recent competitions in the US. It includes a few internationals and the entire US and Canadian Three-Day Event teams. Crank it up!”

Ginny Howe and Cavort at the Sunken Lane during the cross-country phase of Badminton Horse Trials 2009.

Ginny Howe and Cavort at the Sunken Lane during the cross-country phase of Badminton Horse Trials 2009.
Photo by sffubs on Flickr (Creative Commons License)

FEI Eventing

2. Cross-Country Test The focus of the entire event is on the Cross-Country test, the objective of which is to test the ability of athletes and horses to adpat to different and variable conditions (weather, terrain, obstacles, footing etc…) and jumping ability of the horse, while at the same time demonstrating the rider’s knowledge of pace and the use of his horse. Exceeding the time allowed and refusals result in penalties. All penalties are added together and recorded for inclusion in the final classification. Fall of a horse and/or of a rider entails immediate elimination.

Video length: 13 minutes 33 seconds (can enjoy any small section)
Published on Jul 28, 2012 by 
Buzzterbrown is Lance. He films upper level eventing and jumper shows in USEA Area II with a Lumix GH1 camera. The camera can do lovely clear slo-mo. Lance has a great eye and steady hand for filming.

London 2012 Equestrian

Horses & riders in order of appearance in the video. They are amazing athletes. The horses really seem to be enjoying their runs.

The good horses love it! When you take them up to the lorry or dress them up [to go to an event], it’s like they’re off going to a party. – British equestrian, Mary King (interview)

Opposition Buzz + Nicola Wilson (WEG 2010)
Miners Frolic + Kristina Cook (WEG 2010)
Imperial Cavalier + Mary King (WEG 2010)

HP Leilani + Chris Burton (WEG 2010)
Rutherglen + Andrew Hoy (Rolex 2012)

Oncarlos + Tim Lipps (WEG 2010)

New Zealand:
Nereo + Andrew Nicholson (WEG 2010)
Clifton Promise + Jonathan Paget (WEG 2010)

Sam + Michael Jung (WEG 2010)
Butts Abraxxas + Ingrid Klimke (WEG 2010)

Hidalgo de L’ile + Nicolas Touzaint (Rolex 2009, WEG 2010)

Gazelle de la Brasserie + Karin Donckers (WEG 2010)

Mister Pooh + Niklas Lindback (WEG 2010)

Tom Bombadill Too + Ruy Fonseca (WEG 2010)

Canada: (5:40)
Riddle Master + Rebecca Howard (Rolex 2011, WEG 2010)
Gin & Juice + Hawley Bennet-Awad (The Fork 2012, WEG 2010)
Exponential + Jessica Phoenix (WEG 2010, Rolex 2011)
Kilrodan Abbott + Peter Barry (Rolex 2011, Rolex 2012)
Amistad + Michelle Mueller (Fairhill 2008)

USA: (9:18)
Twizzel + Will Coleman (Fairhill 2008, Redhills 2011, Rolex 2011, Rolex 2012) Mr. MedicottKaren O’Connor (The Fork 2012, Rolex 2012)
Ringwood Magister + Tiana Coudray (Rolex 2011)
Mystery Whisper + Phillip Dutton (The Fork 2012)
Otis Barbotiere + Boyd Martin ( Fairhill Spring 2011, Fairhill Spring 2012, Rolex 2012)

“The primary mission of the FEI is to advance the orderly growth of equestrian sport worldwide by promoting, regulating and administering humane and sportsmanlike international competition in the traditional equestrian disciplines” – FEI Mission Statement.

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Blind horse dances – Music

Cash, from last Wednesday’s ‘Just for Grins’ post, showed that a blind horse can have a good life. This music video is of Filur Horsdal, a 22 year old blind Knabstrupper stallion, trained by Bent Branderup at “The Art of Academic Riding” school in Denmark.

Filur Horsdal, a 22 year old blind Knabstrupper stallion, ridden by Bent Branderup at "The Art of Academic Riding" school in Denmark.

Filur was born in 1990.

Video length: 3 minutes 40 seconds
Music: Classical piano
Uploaded by  on Sep 21, 2011

Filur has a companion named Hugin, who is also a blind Knabstrupper stallion. Hugin was treated to some tasty flowers for his 25th birthday. He is blind, but knows his treat is coming.

Hugin, the blind Knabstrupper stallion, is treated to some tasty flowers for his birthday by Bent Branderup.

Hugin, the blind Knabstrupper stallion, is treated to some tasty flowers for his birthday by Bent Branderup.


Video length: 4 minutes 1 second
Music: Classical piano

Hugin, the blind Knabstrupper stallion, rolls with enthusiasm on his 25th birthday.

Hugin enjoys a roll and a shake on his 25th birthday.

The Knabstrupper breed registry was established in 1812 starting with a single chestnut blanketed mare purchased by a Danish butcher from a Spanish cavalry officer. The mare was bred to a Fredricksborg stallion and produced a wildly colored stallion son. These two horses became the foundation of the Danish breed. American Appaloosas were introduced in the 1970s to add genetic diversity.

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Hoof boots – Tread

Twistur has had Spring grass induced ‘sore foot’ episodes. Last year we got him a pair of Cavallo Simple Hoof Boots Size 1, which were intended as a therapy boot. They can be a therapeutic, as well as a protective boot. As advertised, they are easy to get on and off for the horse and the human. After he appeared normal we took him out on various walks and some rides with the boots. He didn’t particularly like wearing them. He seemed to tromp along and had a few stumbles. If his mind wasn’t busy and just standing, then he would cross his front legs and rub the boots or bite at them trying to scratch. He might prefer a hoof boot that doesn’t go up onto the pastern. I think they would just take a little getting used to for him.

He was definitely more comfortable on rocks wearing the hoof boots. If it is a trade-off between comfort on rocks vs itching or clomping, then definitely wearing them is worth it. Two of the nearby trail heads have large white granite rocks. He didn’t want to back out of the trailer and went sideways to stand on the ramp to avoid the rocks. I put on the hoof boots prior to loading next time, so he could have them on when he backed out. The hoof boots definitely helped him with standing on and travelling over rocks.

This Spring the hoof boots wouldn’t go on Twistur anymore. We need to go up a size. The hoof boots were too snug. After a trim they just squeezed on, if I made him stand to push them on. This is too tight. His front hooves are now more slightly oval in shape due to a longer toe. The difference is probably only 1/4 inch or so, but the fit was already on the snug side. The need for a new set of hoof boots has given me the chance to re-evaluate the options.

*** Update: November 10, 2012 – Twistur has grown out a flare on his front hooves that were no doubt from the laminitic episodes. The original hoof boots started fitting again. In between trims they are still getting snug, but I can get pre-set onto his hoof and his weight standing on the hoof boots pushes them on all the way. He is not clunking in the hoof boots and less tripping, which may indicate some of those issues were also from the laminitic feeling feet. We have been making several diet and management changes to try to resolve the laminitic episodes. There has been no evident hoof soreness in over a couple of months. We were still having some minor soreness during summer with weight shifting and not wanting to run around. He has been happy to move and no weight shifting. We are now getting out again wearing the hoof boots including rocks and concrete. Twistur hasn’t been tested with blood work, but he sure seems to have IR (insulin resistant syndrome). The Cavallo hoof boots continue to be a good choice for us. ***

During the last year Easyboot has come out with “The Trail”, which is similar in ease of putting on to the Cavallo hoof boots. It is recommended for “medium-distance riding of up to 25 miles per week (usually an average of 1 – 1 1/2 hours a day)”. Easycare says they are 20% lighter weight than the Simple Boot. The Easyboot Trail has the same tread as the Old Mac’s G2.

The Delta Hoof Boot looks like the same tread as the Cavallo Simple Boot, plus similar design overall. Turns out they are both made by Cavallo.

“Delta Horseshoes merged with the Mustad Group as of January 1, 2009 to become Delta/Mustad Hoofcare. They are now including the Delta Boot, developed and manufactured by Cavallo Horse and Rider Inc., in their range of hoofcare products. The Delta Boot will be offered in Delta/Mustad’s farrier supply channel throughout their worldwide distribution chain.” – Southwest Horse Trader July 23, 2009

I have been unsure about the treads on the hoof boots interfering with ‘gaiting’. The Icelandic tolt is a single foot racking gait. I’m not sure how much of a tread is really necessary or if too much tread could interfere with movement. I have been unable to find weights listed for the various boots. The weight of a hoof boot could affect the gait.

A couple of the hoof boots have an option to add studs for snow / ice, such as the Marquis and Renegades. This isn’t a concern where we live.

If you use hoof boots, then what type do you use or recommend? Pros / Cons? How does the traction of the tread affect your horse? Please leave a comment with your experience or opinion.

I couldn’t find a single place that showed the various treads of the horse hoof boots, so have put together this gallery. Clicking on a photo will open up a new tab for the website of the hoof boot.

Gallery of bottom of Hoof Boots showing Tread

Bottom of Cavallo Simple Hoof Boot

Cavallo Simple

Bottom of Delta Hoof Boot


Bottom of Cavallo Sport Hoof Boot

Cavallo Sport

Bottom of Easyboot Trail Hoof Boot

Easyboot Trail

Bottom of Old Mac's Hoof Boot

Old Mac

Bottom of Old Mac's G2 Hoof Boot

Old Mac's G2

Bottom of Easyboot Epic Hoof Boot

Easyboot Epic

Bottom of Easyboot Bare Hoof Boot

Easyboot Bare

Bottom of Easyboot Glove Hoof Boot

Easyboot Glove

Bottom of Easyboot Edge Hoof Boot

Easyboot Edge

Bottom of Easyboot Grip Hoof Boot

Easyboot Grip

Bottom of Renegade Hoof Boot


Bottom of Boa Hoof Boot


Bottom of Marquis Hoof Boot


Bottom of Hoofwing Hoof Boot


Bottom of Swiss Horse Boot

Swiss Horse Boot

Bottom of Equine Jogging Shoe

Equine Jogging Shoe

Bottom of Horse Mocs Hoof Boots

Horse Mocs


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Magic Ride – Waterhole Rituals under saddle

There is an upcoming video series featuring a student of Carolyn Resnick’s gentle horse training methods. Stina’s videos are very beautiful with relaxing music filmed on a Caribbean island (St. Vincent) where she lives with her herd of horses. The horses were originally rescued from a sad situation and quite wild and distrustful. She has been working towards the “magic ride” using Carolyn Resnick’s Waterhole Rituals under saddle. Stina was born in Norway.

Last year, Stina and two working students filmed the journey of starting three of her horses to be ridden at liberty.

She will be presenting one video every week available to watch for one week.

Stina requests a voluntary payment/ contribution to protect the
environment in St. Vincent and the Grenadines through the Climate Compliance Conference in return for watching the videos.

Go to Stina’s blog

Go to Carolyn Resnick’s blog with Stina’s introduction as a guest blogger

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Balance in motion

These graceful athletes are learning vaulting and practicing their balance and strength.

Meanwhile… I’m trying to improve my balance by standing on one leg for as many seconds as possible, which isn’t very many seconds. I am rather wobbly and practice while gently touching a chair or a wall to give me needed stability. I practice standing beside my horses while they munch hay using them as a wall. This gives me quiet hang-out time with them and also balance practice.

How many seconds can you stand on one leg? Give it a try and find time to practice. Try the exercise while standing in line or brushing your teeth.

Stand and raise one leg up about a foot off the ground.
Hold for count of 10 seconds.

To increase the challenge stand on one leg with your eyes closed.


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Our horses mirror us

How we move will affect how our horses move.

Alexander Technique while riding horse. Marie and her horse, Gabriel (Dabs).

To follow the horse’s back at the walk, you must have a deep, mobile receiving seat. Your balance and mobility can directly affect the quality of your horse’s walk.

Be a spruce tree. The roots grow down from your center as the trunk grows up.

You should allow your body to extend upward from your center as your legs grow down around your horse from that same place.

– Quotes from “Centered Riding” by Sally Swift

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Horse outing

Over the holiday I most definitely ate way too many cookies and delicious dinners with family and friends, but I don’t regret it. Life is too short to miss eating holiday cookies with family. A few sugar coma days are okay, but perhaps it is time to bring out my former Weight Watcher member knowledge to re-group. I don’t dare weigh myself. No doubt my body is quite skilled at processing cookies into more fat.

My visiting brother isn’t a horse person, but enjoys hiking. We went out for a mid-winter hike along a nearby trail that runs beside a lake. The drought has the lake lower than we’ve ever seen it. My brother led Bangsi. I led Twistur, who was feeling spunky being out on such a beautiful Spring-like day. Twistur became a bit excited watching some other horses being cantered up a hill.  I was unsure whether I could handle even that level of enthusiasm, if was up on his back.  Behavior on the ground will translate to under saddle, so gently reminded Twistur that his job was staying with me. No, Twistur… we were not going running after other horses.  Moved his feet (not yanking on head) by driving him around me in each direction in a few small circles. This provided a “Yes, Ma’am” thinking shift and we proceeded down our path.

We met a family with 2 kids and a dog later on the trail. When leading we will often stop and give kids the opportunity to pet a horse. Our horses seem to enjoy the attention particularly from children. They always are very gentle and stand quite still. Later met the family at the trail head before loading up and the kids really enjoyed having more time to pet the horses. Our horses are sweet and adorable after all!

The day was shirt sleeves weather. Bangsi and Twistur in their Icelandic coats  were sweating, even at our leisurely pace. Bangsi wanted to go slower and slower on the return loop. My brother got Bangsi tolting along beside him (definitely not a trot) to catch back up. That was neat! We had saddled Twistur to have option to ride. The plan was that I could ride being led by my husband giving me a chance to concentrate on my balance and relaxing into the feel of movement.

I’ve taught Twistur to “sidle up” beside me when standing on a step-ladder or spot on trail for mounting. There was a large downed tree by the trail. I put on my riding helmet and managed to climb up and balance on the tree. I asked  Twistur to come along side and he was quite happy to do so. He stood like a rock for me to mount ungracefully and wiggle around searching for my stirrups. He’s such a good horse! We gave him a treat for being patient.

I am not confident and don’t feel secure in riding, so I sang “Oklahoma” by Rodgers & Hammerstein to help me breathe and relax. Twistur didn’t seem to mind me being up on his back. Had a bit of unexpected “touching toes” riding exercise when my hubby failed to realize that even sitting on a 13.2 hand horse that some branches were overhanging a bit low.

Touching toes
Here is an exercise that can help you become limber. You learn to sink into your joints, keeping your balance and improving your leg position. Take the reins in your right hand. Reach down and briefly touch your toes on the left side with your left hand…
Figure 17.17 A-D

– Sally Swift in “Centered Riding 2: Further Exploration”

Unlike from the yoga practice, I didn’t get sore from the riding session. That surprised me, so maybe that meant I wasn’t clinching or straining to sit in the saddle.

We’ve gotten out only twice more, but hope to get out for more horse hikes and rides.

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4 Basics of Centered Riding

Understanding of human and horse anatomy, balance, movement, and the mind body connection are foundations of Sally Swift’s method. Centered Riding uses centering and grounding techniques from the oriental martial arts, along with body awareness, mental imagery and sports psychology.

Through increasing body awareness, inhibiting old patterns, and replacing them with a more balanced, free, and coordinated use of self, both horse and rider can move more freely and comfortably, and develop their best performance.

The Four Basics of Centered Riding

  • Soft Eyes – Encourage visual and physical awareness, better peripheral vision, and improved “feel.”
  • Breathing – Using the diaphragm and breathing correctly for better posture, relaxation, and energy.
  • Balance or Building Blocks – Aligns the riders body for improved balance, straightness, and ease of movement.
  • Centering – Using the center of balance, movement and control, located deep in the body, gives quiet strength, harmony and power, as in the oriental martial arts.

Sally Swift developed “Centered Riding”.

Available limited preview of book “Centered Riding 2: Further Exploration” on Google Books:

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Start from where you are

Before I can work on my riding skills, then I need to get my body more in shape and flexible. BUT… how do you obtain the fitness, balance and mental state to work on the skills necessary to achieve the proper principles of good riding?

I often hear how every movement and stiffness in my body will translate directly to my horse. This presents a daunting problem for my aging body with health issues. I need to find ways to optimize what I am capable of doing and not worry about matching a level others with more vigor can strive towards. Folks ride with worse problems than mine, so where there is a will then there is a way. I need to foster lowered expectations and to not fret over my inability to do what others can do. I must start from where I am. Perhaps I can do more than I imagine.

What about my horses? They are not youngsters either. Horses are prone to become sore carrying unbalanced weight on their backs. With such fears of hurting my horse in my mind by putting my stiff body on their back, then no wonder I keep fretting. I’m stalled out and life is passing us all by.

Starting from where we are and taking a next small step each day is the key to moving forward.


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