Photo Credit: NBanaszak PhotographyDeconstructing Riding

When we sit back to ponder for a moment, we make connections and come to new realizations that were perhaps not clearly evident before. In our quest for riding "perfection" (we all know there is no such thing!), we find ourselves analyzing, critiquing, and elaborating on various topics ranging from the riding experience. Please read through these musings and (as always) feel free to add your experiences and thoughts in the comments sections.

In Praise of the (Horse Riding) Hand: How to develop hands that sing poetry in your horse's mind!

20 Ways Horse Riding Becomes Life Itself: You could say that horses are our teachers. Not only do we grow in terms of physical ability, but perhaps even more so, we grow in character.

First, Plan Your Ride. Then, Scrap It: Even though you are inspired to get that horse to do the next cool thing, your horse might simply not be ready.

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What Being On The Forehand Means to the Horse: The idea here isn’t to cause guilt and doom and gloom; instead, we should learn all we can and take steps to avoid known problems.

3 Questions to Consider Before Riding Bareback and Bridleless: What should be in place before you take off the tack?

What to Do When Your Horse Isn't Being Cute: Part 2 of the post below, giving more concrete solutions.

When Your Horse Isn't Being Cute: You have probably seen it so many times – the horse being pushy and the handler either letting the behavior go or honestly not being aware of the problem.

What Responsible Horse Ownership Really Means: We need to keep in mind that horses are prey animals and long-time domesticated livestock. If we listen well enough, we discover that what we think of as giving might not be what the horses truly need.

10 Tips for the Average Rider: Are you an average rider? Then join the club!

How to Make Horseback Riding Particularly Difficult! We all know people who seem to try to make riding difficult on themselves – maybe without even knowing it!

Why An Active Stretch is Nothing Like A Neck-Down: The problem with the passive stretch is that it is merely a posture.

Move to Stay Still on Horseback: How do we begin to look like we’re sitting still, doing nothing on the horse’s back?

Start the Year Off Right By Giving the Gift of Exercise: Do remember that the horse is hard-wired to move. Nothing pleases him as much as doing what he is supposed to do!

Do You Want to Own A Horse? Answer 'yes' to these questions and you are on your way!

5 Life Lessons From Horses: How can horses help us grow and develop in our own lives?

Dressage As A Healing Tool: Even at its most basic level (or perhaps, especially at the most basic levels), dressage holds a value to horses of all disciplines.

Cultivating Your Multiple Riding Personalities: In daily life, assuming different personalities might be frowned upon. However, if you can can channel several different personas while riding, you might actually be doing your horse a favour!

Breaking the Cycle: It Might Not Be What You DID Do…: ... but rather what you DIDN'T do!

Perfecting Perfection in Horseback Riding: We will never really find the perfect horse, nor will we ever be a perfect rider. However, of course we try for perfect! 

The Dreaded Rein Lame: A Mystery: What to do when your horse has an on-again, off-again lameness that isn't due to an obvious injury.

The Pinnacle of Horseback Riding: Riding toward the ultimate release – this is the stuff riders dream of.

Finding Your Comfortable Un-Comfort in Riding: Being uncomfortable is often a good place to be in riding.

23 Ways to Solve the Riding Problem: Of course, we rarely speak of the one "true" way...

On the Use of Artificial Aids - The Method Behind the Madness: The list of artificial aids can be endless. Just when you think you know it all, you discover that there are new and improved “must-buy” pieces of equipment that will change the way you ride. Or will they really?

Dark Room Doors and Dressage: A metaphor for the learning process.

Horseback Riding the Yoga Way - Practice! Find a balance between achieving and letting go. How to include the concept of "practicing" in your riding.

Riding is Simple, But Not Easy! Let’s face it – all we want is for the horse to do what we want, when we want, where we want, with suppleness and strength!

Ride Backwards, But Ride Effectively! Although the rider had developed the correct “look”, the horse was telling a different story.

How Do You Know Your Horse Is Using His Back? In the long run, our primary motivation for self-improvement in riding is for the sake of the horse’s health. We want horses that live well, staying strong and vigorous long into their old age.

Frame, Round or Collection? Do you know the difference, and in a pinch, would you be able to identify it in a moving horse?

Take the Credit, Bad AND Good: In our quest for balance (not just on the kind on the back of the horse), it is essential for us to look at our achievements from both angles.

Doing It Because It Makes You Feel Good: Have you ever done something around/with/for your horses in a “feel-good” way for YOU?

Ten Habits of Competent Riders: This is our most popular post by far. What do great riders have in common that makes them appealing to watch, steadily develop their riding skills and become role models for others to aspire to emulate?

The Dynamic Dependency of Horseback Riding: Why is it that riding can become so difficult at times? In riding, nothing can be done in isolation.

When Do You Start Riding Your Horse? This question was being posed to me by a very respected and horse-wise mentor one day long ago, early in my riding development.

How To Be An Active Horseback Rider (a.k.a. Riding With Intention): What do you do when your ride isn’t going as planned? How do you respond when your horse scoots out from under you, spooks at the horse-killing object, or flat out ignores you?

When "Good Enough" Just Isn't Good Enough In Horseback Riding: We come up with all sorts of excuses to explain why we don’t want to or can’t get past the problem.

Too Good to be True? Finding Your Horse's "Happy Place": Did you know that through riding, you can help your horse achieve a happy, content outlook on life? Sounds ridiculously far-fetched? Too good to be true?

Stepping "Forward" in Horse Riding: The term ‘forward’ is used liberally in horse riding but is often misunderstood.

A Cautionary Horse Tale: Once you decide to ride horses, you put into place a domino effect of consequences, which will occur whether you are conscious of them or not. It's like a rule of nature.

The Truth About Balance: We all strive for balance – in our position, our seat, our movement with the horse.

Blueprinting - the Good, the Bad and the Ugly: Blueprinting, in the riding sense, refers to the muscle memory that is developed in both the horse are rider. Going on "autopilot" when riding horses can be a good thing... or not!

Muscle Memory Matters in Horse Riding: Many small muscle contractions act within split-seconds in order for us to keep ourselves in the saddle and moving in tandem with the horse. Anyone who has ridden for even a short time can attest to the development of ‘muscle memory’.

How Do You Develop "Feel" in Horseback Riding?  Developing 'feel' in horseback riding doesn't have to be an impossible dream! If you can ride with feel, you will be able to respond immediately to your horse's needs.

What you Ought to Know About Instant Gratification in Horse Riding: There is no such thing!

Quit To Persevere: Quitting isn't always a bad thing in horse riding - sometimes, it may just be the ticket!

In the Beginning (riding): Part I - What to expect when you first start riding.

Riding (with a capital R): Part II - When riding becomes more than just riding.

On Enjoying the Path: I can hear you now – you’re groaning… the path?? How can “the path” be fulfilling?

It's All About Listening: Where it all began for this blog.