IT'S TIME TO MAKE THE FLY SPRAY!
I expect Arizona isn't the only place where the flies are out in full force this month. Time to get mixing those fly repellent products. If you're like me and want to cut down the chemicals to which you're exposing yourself and your animals, try these recipes for fly spray and fly-repellent healing ointment. I have been using these with good results for more than a decade now. The ingredients are easy to find, inexpensive and long-lasting (which you can't say for most commercially available repellent products!).
ROCK BACK TO MOVE FORWARD
Part 4 of Longing in Balance. Start here if you're new to the series.
By now you’ve got your horse moving forward without bracing his topline and you’ve mastered the basic “dance” of the bending S-turn exercise. There is one more dance step to learn before we go out on the longe circle. While the S-turns exercise prepares the horse by introducing the basics of impulsion, this next work will help you access the engine to gather up power and guide it straight.
First, stand directly in front of your horse, facing him, with two or three fingers of each hand hooked down through the noseband just in front of the two “T” connections with the cheekpiece. (This exercise assumes it is safe to stand in this position; if your horse is prone to biting or striking, you’ll need to go back and do some more basic ground training before you can perform this work safely.)
Ground both of your feet, breathe into your lower back and keep your knees soft to help you stay balanced so your horse doesn’t feel the need to counterbalance you. Now, leading with your hips, put a little even pressure on both sides of the noseband and ask your horse to rock backward. Send the energy of the push from your hip level toward the horse at an upward angle, imagining it entering his body at the chest and shooting out of the croup. He will probably feel the need to back up a step or two.
Keep practicing until your feel is so subtle that you can sense him rocking his weight from his forehand to load his haunches before any feet move. read more
DESERT HORSE RECOMMENDS:
Classical Dressage Notebook
Worcestershire dressage instructor Sue Morris has put together an incredibly information-dense site rooted in classical dressage, but applicable to good riders in any discipline.
Lots of good stuff for riders on alignment and posture and even a basic stretching routine. Plus, for you anatomy fanatics, great detail and illustration of the muscles used in riding.
Equine Studies Institute
Speaking of anatomy fanatics, the well-known functional anatomy expert, Dr. Deb Bennett, shares a number of gems on her site.
One of my favorites is her classic Who's Built Best to Ride?, which details the differences in male and female anatomy as it applies to sitting astride. This information has helped me as both a rider and an instructor, and I recommend you check it out. Also interesting, the gait analysis "lectures" on the forum, which you can join for free.
This is a new find, and includes some very detailed classical dressage how-tos (sadly without illustrations) by clinician Thomas Ritter. But I have found myself more drawn to the zen information posted by Shana Ritter. And when I read The Horse is Your Mirror, I felt like someone had been eavesdropping on my lessons. Nice to find others who share a point of view.