10000 fans


*Updated to add: Deadline will be tonight (Jan. 4, 2016) at midnight EST as we've blown over the 10,000 "likes" point already!

Dear readers,

The Horse Listening Facebook page is less than 100 "likes" from 10,000 fans! Wow! It's hard to believe that the blog has garnered such a following!

HL Five Years
HL Bundle
HL Goal Setting
HL Book 3
HL Book 2
HL Book 1

When I first thought about opening a Facebook page, I wasn't quite sure what I was going to post on the timeline. At first, I only posted alerts about new articles when they became available on the blog. Then as I wrote more, I realized that I could highlight one post a day - old or new - as a way to give readers a topic to think about each and every day.

As the archives became more robust, one post became two posts and this is where we are today. The morning post is a more practical article while the afternoon post is more conceptual. I have some plans for the Facebook page this coming year, but I will continue to mainly use the page as a vehicle to disseminate information so you can have ideas and thoughts (literally) at your fingertips each and every day.

To thank you for your readership, I want to mark this amazing occasion with a random giveaway of two free books shipped directly after the giveaway deadline. 

All you need to do to enter is to answer the following question in the comments below:

What horse goals are you working on right now? These goals can be riding goals or not - but they must be relevant to you learning about horses somehow. 

  • The deadline for entry is midnight (Eastern Standard Time) of the day that the Facebook page reaches 10,000 likes! We are only 90 likes away at the time of writing this, so enter quickly, as it may happen within the next few days!
  • Only one entry per person.
  • The draw will be completely random, based only on the comments below (*comments on Facebook will not be valid*). Winners can pick the book of their choice.
  • Be sure to enter using the comment section for this post. Winners will be announced the next day right here on the blog. Make sure you come back to check for winners on the blog or the Facebook page if you aren't already subscribed to the email list.

In the meantime, canter over to our Facebook page and give us a "like" if you haven't done so already, so you can get daily articles on your own Facebook timeline. * To get updated regularly according to the new Facebook options, click on the "Like" icon and update your preferred notification frequency.*

Good luck, and thanks for Horse Listening!



  1. I am working on improving my sitting trot and really taking the time to learn from my horse. He is a lovely KWPN, dressage horse who trained up to PSG. I am so lucky to have him, “Lucky One” my ‘Luc’ has made me more confident as I move from training level to 1st level. He turns 23 in March and I want to really listen and learn all I can from him.

  2. My current horse goal is to get ON my horse regularly!!! It’s been too many years of teaching other people how to ride without ever taking the time to do it for myself!

  3. My main riding goal right now is to keep my arms “soft” and lose the tension, especially at the canter where I tend to stiffen up. I have found your articles very beneficial over the years. Thank you

  4. I am working with my horse on his learning to use his body better, reaching with his rear legs to overstride the hoof prints of his front hoof prints. He is a Tennessee Walking horse, and needs to use his back end better, and all along his topline. He had been allowed to move strung out and hollow and his learning to move in a more rounded frame has been a challenge for both of us.

  5. I’m working on not talking to my horse during my ride so we can get through our first dressage test without getting in trouble :). We’re also working on her not anticipating what comes next and the tempo in the canter.

  6. At 45 I’m learning to ride for the first time so I’m working on everything! I bought a young Dales Pony and have the most amazing trainer!! We have come a long way together in our first 7 months and look forward to many years to come!! I enjoy your blog very much and have learned so much!! Thank you!!!

  7. My mare and I are working on using our bodies equally and getting her to round and come under with her hind legs naturally, versus hurrying forward with her head up and back hollow. She is a draft cross and heavy on the forehand. I also work on getting her to respond to light leg aids versus constant leg aids. My other mare is recovering (successfully) from a tear in a tendon, which has been an extremely slow process, stall rest for months, then hand walking, and now turnout (yay), with riding to follow. Fingers crossed!

  8. My current goal is to learn to ride better (I started riding 3 y ago, at age 59); I help out in a dressage barn in exchange for lessons, and am having great fun with a wonderful trainer. As I see it, I am now in round 2: “now that your balance is OK, it is time to focus on accurate riding . . .”

  9. Recently began problems lunging after doing fine 3 months with new horse, 5 year old Arab gelding. Going one way he turns toward me & resists letting me get back towards his hip to firm that triangle. also, both of us tense, under saddle, riding, rein pulling & trouble getting round.

  10. My rescue mare has a sticky stifle and hasn’t been worked consistently since I had a baby. We’re starting to do more now but she is slightly overweight so we’re basically starting over. We’re also going bareback working on balance for both of us. 🙂

  11. I recently purchased the horse of my dreams. My first goal is to enjoy him. He just turned 5 and I am taking baby steps and let him get to know me and I him. My second goal is to not put pressure on myself to get him into the show ring. By focusing on solid basics I will have a strong basis for consistency in learning the slow gait and the rack. My third goal is to learn to relax and not be a REACTIVE rider but a proactive one. Since the canter has always been my nemesis regardless of the horse I rode, I find that once I RELAX, good things happen. To learn more patience and not be so hard on myself would be icing on the cake. As an older adult rider, these are 2 difficult obstacles to overcome. With the start of the new year if I concentrate on these goals, the rest will easier to accomplish. Much success in 2016 to all you riders whether recreational or competitive.

  12. I am an older adult amateur who has just taking up Eventing after years of supporting my daughter’s riding (she is in University now). I had a great first season and really improved my confidence and riding and for next season I’d like to continue to improve as I have been doing, but especially with my dressage. I am riding a older TB (19 yrs) who is quite forward but very stiff, so it is really difficult to get him in a frame and especially to relax and be supple and in front of my leg. I think I need to be stronger as well so any tips for anything I can do to assist with this during the long Cdn winters when riding is more sporatic would be of great help.

  13. I am working on getting my horse to reach for the bit and arch her neck, not just drop it down. At the same time, lifting her back and reaching farther under from behind.

  14. I am currently working on improving my horses’s passage and flying changes, as well as introducing him to Working Equitation.

  15. I’m working on applying Marijke de Jong’s Straightness Training in-hand work (bought the online Home Study course as a Christmas/New Year’s/winter gift for me and my horse!)… today we accomplished shoulder-in and are beginning work on haunches-in (and even some liberty work) with our groundwork. My relationship with my horse is being taken to a whole new level! Enjoy your articles immensely and always find them so timely. Keep ’em comin’!!

  16. As we have entered winter, the days are shorter and cold. My goal is to just get to the barn and ride

  17. I’m working on softening ALL my joints and obtaining a stretchy trot with my Zweibrucker mare. We both are serious over-achievers and always a little in the over stimulated mode. Relaxing and softening anything for either of us is a major accomplishment. I just forwarded your newsletter to several friends. Hope to get you to 10,000 followers soon.

    1. Hi Karen,

      Thanks for the referrals! I completely relate to your comment of being a “serious over-achiever”!! One of my goals is to recognize when I’m in that mode and then slowing everything down to compensate (and make things nicer for my horse). Thanks for reading!

      Actually, I’d love to write a post about that one day. Do you mind if I use the topic?

  18. What horse goals are you working on right now? Keeping my 25 yr old QH mare fit and comfortable during our MN winter. She has mild arthritis and we have no indoor arena, so have to watch for ice, so riding is minimal (even for us).

    I’ve entered a 12 week Challenge with over 1200 other people to challenge myself to get out there in the cold and do things with her, even if riding is a minimum.

  19. I have an older mare that I purchased 9 months ago. She has had something horrible done to her in the past and has a lot of trust issues and is pretty much totally “shut down” I am working on building her trust again and giving her a reason to be happy. Its a slow process but I am seeing small glimmers of hope shining through

  20. I’m working on getting my horse to relax during our ride, and to improve her transitions from a walk to a faster gait. She’s a beautiful Tennessee Walker who tends to tense up when asked for a faster gait. I’m working on improving my use of aids to help her transition more gracefully.

  21. Within the past few years, I have started rescuing horses of all types, especially Arabians. I love this breed. But then I love any horse. My goal is to understand the fears of rescued horses better. They come in at times with so much emotional damage, and I would like more help with getting the trust instilled in them quicker. I do natural horsemanship, definitely. I would just like to win their hearts and help them erase the negative history that, so far, is still showing up in some of them.

  22. I continue to learn with my lessons and by reading and watching just about all I can take in so I can better train my 3 horses from age 2 to 20. I’m excited to be participating in a musical freestyle clinic with my instructors something I’ve always wanted to do! My horses all appreciate what I learn and share with them ! It’s enough for me to feel the harmony we enjoy together but would really like to someday compete in classical musical freestyle with one and western musical freestyle with another! They young one has plenty of time yet to grow and figure out what she ll like as she’s not yet under saddle. I think they all shine! And they make me so happy!

  23. I just broyght my horses home from boarding. I hope to build more trust and learn to ride more with my seat and less with my hands. I also would like to learn to canter.

  24. With over 30 inches of rain here this December and no indoor arena, my goal is to just get on my horses and ride them correctly even if it is just for working cattle. My husband and I own/operate a commercial cattle ranch. It would be lovely if the mud was shallower and I did not have to always wear rain gear. My leather equipment pays the price. On a clear day I practice basics…transitions, lateral movements, supplying (in the firmest pasture.) 🙂

  25. My goal is to learn to canter. Right now it is so bouncy and unpredictable. So learning to canter also means improving my seat. I have a tremendous relationship with my horse and she is ready, willing and able to canter. Right now I get so much, “up in my head” I brace myself and it is just not graceful. Wish me luck.

  26. I am training an older mare that was used as a broodmare until she was 8 years old. A friend bought her after she had 30 days of riding by a trainer.. The friend started riding as an adult I am trying to train the horse and rider at the same time Keeping them at a learning level so they can progress at the same time. Teaching them to trust and understand each other. How fun it is when I see the make take care of the rider, and then just a little bit later see the rider take care and reassure the mare.. Makes my heart smile..

  27. I’m working on the counter canter and lead changes with my American Warmblood mare. My goal is for her and I to be a solid 2nd level team at the beginning of show season and hopefully by the end of the show season be a solid 3rd level team.

  28. My horse made much improvement at the shows with his resistance (bucking at the shows, but not at home). this was a big hurdle, since I could not work on this outside the 3 events I go to a year. He and I have made a much better team. We have worked hard on improving ourselves and compromising. I have become much softer and more of a leader in our driving. I am hoping to start to ride more so I can improve my riding and
    his driving dressage even more. I love driving and spending time with my red headed boyfriend.

  29. My goal is to continue to hone my skills in International Mountain Trail and Working Equitation. I’d like to train a variety of breeds for these new sports to show how horses of any kind and any background can enjoy the versatility, excitement and challenges these two sports introduce. This is my way of helping horses that need a new career, to reduce anxiety, and to give value to horses that may not be able to excel in the job they were originally intended for. I have a new OTTB as my first project of the year. Love, love, love these projects!

  30. I would love to ride a musical freestyle. Now that this can be done at the training level, I think it is a goal I can accomplish. My schoolmaster will be 30 in April and I will be 65 !

  31. My ‘baby’ turns 4 this spring and my goal s to be riding her by summer. She has had a few short rides last fall and has been handled daily since I got her, at weaning . She has learned a LOT of groundwork in the years since and now it’s time to actually canter off into the sunset together

  32. I’m working on the concept of “forward” in every movement – even the halt (and cantering with confidence, of course).

  33. I am working on improving our canter departures. Also working on her being more relaxed during our ride and not trying to anticipate what is coming next. She anticipates because she is trying so hard to please!

  34. I’m working on really being able to hold all body parts still yet flexible that are not giving an aid. And I’m working on teaching kids to use their weight and legs more than the rein.

  35. I am relatively new to riding (1.5 yrs) and am leasing a 6 yr. old racking horse. She’s a little “hot” so I am working on being a calm rider and helping to keep her calm. I am also working on using less hands and more leg.

  36. My MFT mare, Bliss and I started cowboy dressage together last year, including a 3-day clinic with Eitan Beth-Alachamy in October….our goal this year is to improve our transitions and turning on the forehand and haunches, all with improved lightness. We will also be attending monthly cowboy dressage clinics and will be competing in our first show in March. We also intend to do as much trail riding and camping as we can squeeze into the Summer.

  37. I want to work on improving my relationship with my horse, communicating better, and being able to keep her round consistently. I also want to get a more solid seat and hopefully begin jumping!

  38. I am hard at work learning to communicate with my horse through my seat, getting her to use her hind leg from my seat and move into the bridle from behind. She can do it, I just have to ask correctly with an activated core. She is worth every minute of practice and study. Your articles are spot on and I always love reading them. Thank you from me and my lovely mare.

  39. My goal for both Dan & I is to find a saddle that fits us both properly so we can enjoy our rides more. We plan to ride with friends and enter a Western Style Dressage show!

  40. 1. Ride without tension.
    2. Learn to maintain a neutral spine while keeping head balenced and breathe from the diaphragm.
    3. Become more cognizent of changes in the seat to improve communication with that aid.

  41. My goal is to find a good dressage trainer and literally start over in my riding. I’ve been riding off and on for 20 years but I haven’t had the best instructors and I’m really feeling the gaps in my knowledge now. I would like to find a trainer who can help me start over from scratch so I can finally grow as a rider and a horsewoman. Also, now that I’m done with college and in a slightly better financial position, I hope to buy a horse this year and work on forming a lasting bond with him/her 🙂

  42. I dont own a horse, but I lease a beautiful rescue Mare. She was a cart horse, and then after being rescued was abandoned. She is 11 years old, has no balance, and is quite stiff. This year is all about getting her straight, and supple and giving her lots and lots of love 🙂 I am also learning (there is always something new to learn) and Honey and I are going to help each other!

  43. I don’t own a horse yet, but am taking lessons twice a week. This year I’m working on improving my seat and balance, and lots and lots of transitions!

  44. This year I will be working on regaining my confidence with my horse after my injury and to build a nice relationship with her. I’d like to be able to keep her on the bit and to not duck behind the bridle during our ride. Also I’d love to learn how to half halt. The list of mine is so long but one step at a time. ?

  45. I saved up to take a career break to fulfil a dream to event. I am producing 2 youngsters to event and often refer to your writing on topics I’m developing. My goal this winter is to improve our suppleness and contact with regular dressage training by visiting a trainer once a week, hiring arenas to practice and hacking. Thank you for what you do, it’s insightful and inspiring.

    1. Hi Gemma,

      I did the same thing for a few years when I was at a facility without an indoor, I’d go to my friend’s arena (luckily just down the rode so I could ride there) and pay a fee each time I rode. It was an excellent opportunity to keep riding in the winter. Thanks so much for reading!

  46. I’m 43 and only beginning to take horse riding lessons. It’s very hard to pinpoint why I love it so much but maybe, somehow, I feel like my old self again(in personality).I have taken lessons since last June.3 weeks ago I had a really bad fall. Thank god my helmet and body protector worked.A light concussion & bruised ribs. I’m rather shaken but I hope to go back to riding soon.My new year goal is to develop a good seat, to learn how to ease tension, to listen to the horse & myself and most of all, to have faith in the horse and myself to keep riding. Thank you for your wonderful articles.I wish u & family a fruitful & blissful & safe new year.

  47. My goal is to improve my seat and sensitivity to be able to learn better with my horse, in schooling lessons, hacking and dressage. Ride more stress less! I am 62 he is a 10 year old warmblood and we have found the horse listening posts really helpful.

  48. I’ve got too many little goals to count, but they all focus around helping Barney relax in the school and start realising work can be fun. And for me, I want to continue to improve my seat, not to mention my confidence. By the Spring I’d like to enter our first dressage test.

  49. My goals (I have two) are to work on my perfectly dreadful hands and to achieve a soft, consistent contact where my hands don’t move all over the place and go up and down in trot. The second is to get my horse out to a competition competing at the lowest level. My horse is well capable of this but my nerves make me forget the test and go more tense and rigid and we get into a downwards spiral.

  50. My horse goals are learning to “read” my horses better, and continuing to expand my self-awareness of how I impact my horses, both riding and on the ground.

  51. Well, I wanted to start about dressage, but after riding a little I understood that that is not my main goal.
    Ofcourse I want my big friend to get fit, healthy and happy. I bought him about half a year ago after being his second rider for a year. We had so many stuggles in riding that I gave up many times. I have never ridden a horse that is so difficult in both mental as fysical issues. He is the best learning master I have ever known and I love him for making me aware of every second I spend with him. Every breath, every feeling, every movement. I can’t even lie about my intentions, cause he knows. He knows when my my belly or back hurts, he knows when I am sad, he knows…
    But in the meantime he has some trauma as well and not stable in his mental and fysical health. What I love about him is that even while his mouth has been shut down for years, he had a lot off pain and not much fun, he still wants to speak to me and try everything I ask from him even if he is afraid or insecure.

    I also had a difficult year and now the new year has started I just want to enjoy everything. Because improving my seat, his balance and a lot of challanges that come with that will always stay. We will always learn and I am sure we will always improve in some way.

    So my goal at this moment? Learning to be fully together again with no goals at all.
    Just looking at the sunset together, listening to the birds. Look through his eyes and start noticing a hiker in the feelds far, far away.Taking a walk in the forrest and let him lead for a change and discover new things. Creating a loving and playfull togetherness is our goal now. And actually I hope it will always be.

    1. Oh dear… I made a lot of spelling mistakes I think… sorry! 😀
      Here is a renewed post:

      Well, I wanted to start about dressage, but after writing a little I understood that, that is not my main goal. Ofcourse I want my big friend to get fit, healthy and happy.

      I bought him about half a year ago after being his second rider for a year. We had so many struggles in riding that I gave up many times. He made me feel insecure and not able to train a horse(wich feels quiet stupid when you are an trainer and instructor yourself). I have never ridden a horse that is so difficult in both mental as fysical issues. He is the best learning master I have ever known and I love him for making me aware of every second I spend with him. Every breath, every feeling, every movement. I can’t even lie about my intentions, cause he knows. He knows when my my belly or back hurts, he knows when I am sad, happy or whatever mixup of feelings is present, he knows…
      But in the meantime he has some trauma as well and not stable in his mental and fysical health. What I love about him is that even while his mouth has been shut down for years, he had a lot off pain and not much fun, he still wants to speak to me and try everything I ask from him even if he is afraid or insecure.

      I also had a difficult year and now the new year has started I just want to enjoy everything. Because improving my seat, his balance and a lot of challanges that come along with all off that will always stay. We will always learn and I am sure we will always improve in some way.

      So my goal at this moment? Learning to be fully together again with no goals at all.
      Just looking at the sunset together, listening to the birds. Look through his eyes and start noticing a hiker in the feelds far, far away.Taking a walk in the forrest and let him lead for a change and discover new things. Creating a loving and playfull togetherness is our goal now. And actually I hope it will always be.

  52. I am working on being braver with my horse. He has a good mind however he looks to his rider for confidence. I’m trying to give him that. Being 64 it’s probably not a great time to be training a green horse, however, I feel confident in my ability and my trainer. So, we’re working on making my boy the best he can be.

  53. I am working on connecting with my horse and “listening” to how she is responding when I ask her to do something. In other words, what does her body language tell me as far as how she is feeling about what we are doing. I want to be as light as possible to get the job done.

  54. I ride a fun, catty little mare who’s teaching me body control- to be soft, still and smooth in my movements and reactions. Any physical tension I have manifests almost immediately in mental tension in her that then gets displayed physically: head tossing, rushing jumps, swapping leads as some examples. When I get it right and she’s going properly she’s the most amazing ride. 🙂

  55. I am working on lightness and straightness while keeping the horse supple and relaxed. My horse can get anxious very easily and I’ve worked for a year to get him to really relax and maintain light contact. I refuse to just pull him into a frame.

  56. I have just gotten a really troubled horse comfortable under saddle and my goals are to continue our journey with me staying soft and respecting him for the special, but misunderstood, horse he is. I need to work on being a better rider while working on getting him to canter without being so octopus like 😉

  57. I am 58 and even though I rode Western since being a young kid I am now learning English style. I am working very hard and trying to become one with the horse as I listen to her and my body. I love your articles and they help so much. I would love to own a horse someday but if that isn’t possible then to take lessons and to be around such a beautiful creature is simply amazing. . . .

  58. I’m working on consistency of connection. My mare goes beautifully for a little while,but she’s not strong enough to carry a proper trot all the time. My goal is to get her fit so she can consistently go on the bit.

  59. My goal for 2016 will be to put my poney back on track from a stretched ligamnet as well as getting me back on the said poney aftersuffering an hankle fracture last spring. All this takes time and a lot of patience and determination but we will get there together, slowly but surely!

  60. I just signed up for a Distance Education Course with my horse Jack, a 7 year old Rocky Mountain. I am very excited to start this. I have been working with Jack on gait and wanted some fun exercises that would keep his happy and looking forward to seeing me. The course runs from Jan to April so will help pass the winter months as they can be long and cold in Ontario. It is -15 today!!! Brrr I look forward to all the Horse Listening articles and keep referring back. Thanks Ann

  61. I am working on doing as little as possible and as much as necessary to lighten and simplify my aids for a more harmonic ride

  62. Ride with less tension and more feel – develop harmony and Oneness that can only be achieved with riding primarily with the seat and less with legs and arms. Also to better understand the biomechanics of the horse to apply aids correctly and to “aid” the horse and not to “demand” and “control” but to ride by “intent” and very light aids.

  63. As a mature rider (started riding at 57 and got my horse 6 months later) I strive to become the best rider within my abilities. My 15yo DWB x Morgan and I are learning together as he also began his dressage training later in life! With the help of a wonderful trainer we are working on straightness and connection with an ultimate goal to compete in freestyle. There is such a beautiful synergy between music and riding – it takes me to a different plane when I ride to music!

  64. This Winter, I’m taking lessons at a new-to-me barn with a new-to-me discipline with a new-to-me horse. My goal is to finish the Winter refreshed with a new perspective while continuing to get some saddle time during my own horse’s Winter vacation.

  65. I am working on whispering my AIDS to my horse. My previous horse taught me to shout and nag at him. This lovely boy is better trained than I am and I must be quiet and whisper.

  66. In the immediate future trying to turn my mud colored Arab back to white then we’ll be working on moving up to first level (dressage). Sue,(A Boy Named:) is a retired endurance horse.

  67. My main goal right now is to get through winter! Keep up with chiseling the manure out of the paddocks… When Spring finally comes, we try to get all the horses back into shape. I joined the gym so that I will be fit to ride and to overcome the aches from the farm chores.

  68. I am working on strengthening my two Welsh D’s on their road to recovery, one from injury and one from surgery. My goal is to get the first one to canter and the second one to be able to ride her again! My personal goals are to continue on my journey of learning from my horses and to improve my riding (relaxed ankles and shoulders, soft even hands and using my core to make my front longer than my back- all of the above for longer than a few strides!!!!)

  69. I am restarting my riding and training, not far from sixty, so now’s the time! Always ready to learn more. Thank you for your help.

  70. I have many goals but first and foremost I’m working on my core and visualizing it as a very strong wall that centers me and keeps me in balance.

  71. I am looking forward to purchasing my first horse in a couple of months (most likely an OTTB)! I have been riding for 18 years, and wishing for a horse of my own all of that time. My goal is to train my horse using classical dressage. I am excited to begin this journey of learning from my horse how to become a better trainer. My first goal is to follow the training scale, and focus on getting rid of tension so the horse can move with looseness and rhythm.

  72. Cortado and I are now working on getting a basic lateral suppleness. Hunches in on a circle, hunches out, shoulder-fore… As my young horse tends to stick to my leg, I’m working on myself to give him logical and constant cues so he can understand the more easy way what I’m asking him to do. Since Horse Listening book 1, we did a huge progress I could have not imagined. Your blog is a precious reference to me so I feel really thankful. Cortado and I are more happy together because of you 🙂 Happy 2016 for you and your horses!
    Marie-Joelle, from Québec

  73. I have been a reader and fan of Horse Listening since the beginning. I have 2 Shagya-Arabian geldings. Both enjoy competitive trail and dressage. I am learning to become a dressage rider, to improve my posture (sitting up straight! rather than leaning forward in an ‘endurance’ seat) and learn sitting trot. One of my boys, Vino, has huge suspension so this should be a challenge. Thank you for helping me learn. Thank you for posting and publishing. Most of all, thank you for being a cornerstone of my horse reading.

  74. I am a timid rider. This year I am working on my confidence. I know my horse is a sweetheart, but he likes to go like a giraffe and that is what makes me nervous (ready for an explosion that isn’t really there). Therefore, to gain confidence, I will work on helping him lower his noggin and relax. 🙂

  75. I am working on sitting the trot more freely, getting my horse to balance better, and moving up to Novice this year. I finally bought the right horse for where I am in my riding and look forward to enjoying my time in the saddle this year!

  76. I’m working on the eternal riding problem: tension. In particular, I’m learning to better control my own body to reduce creating tension in my gelding and to more quickly and quietly address his tension when it occurs

  77. As a rider without a horse, my goal for 2016 will be to keep my legs and abdomen in shape, so that when I’m able to ride I won’t have muscle fatigue and pain.

  78. I have a young horse that is working to learn manners and basic ground skills. We are also trying to establish a good relationship.

  79. It have more a horsemanship question. ‘ve been dealing with fear issues since I got injured this past year. I have read your books and posts and I always learn something that helps me focus. The one thing I need to learn is how to let my beloved AQHA quarter horse go and trust I can find another quieter, less reactive horse to ride. He’s 17 yrs old and he’s 98% perfect…except for that little hot, reactive streak. I’ve had him for 2 1/2 years and have learned so much with him. I promised him I’d keep him to the end. It’s a very tough decision. If you know how to help me do that, I’d be grateful.

  80. I have several horse-related resolutions: (1) Use my free time to ride more, even if it’s only a 30 minute ride; (2) Build my horse’s topline; I’ve read that it takes a full year with consistent work, regardless if the horse is 3 or 13; (3) Become more bonded with my horse; I already look at him as a soul like me, just housed in a horse’s body. 2016 will be an exciting year.

  81. From cold northern Canada: I grew up on horseback, including ranch and rodeo; English with some dressage and up to 3′ jumping as a young adult; then natural horsemanship through the original level 2. I grew up with American Saddlebreds and since have had a Quarter Horse; a part Belgian; a Hannoverian; and am now the owner of a small herd of Paso Finos. That all sounds impressive but winters are mostly a no ride for me, as there is no indoor arena close by and some years stunted my horsey time just by being “life”. Then, at age 59 came the “biggy”, open heart surgery to replace a faulty valve. Two years slid by in a difficult recovery that left me with arthritis. This last summer I spent quite a bit of time just being with my herd and doing a little groundwork. I have one gelding that I raised from a foal who I have trained and is safe for me to ride, at this point. The others vary from well started to just beginning. Each and every horse I have is a “keeper” but I really need to put some more finish on them. My balance and agility is just not the same as it used to be due to the surgery and long time spent not riding. I have confidence on my trained gelding and confidence doing ground work with the others but I definitely have a goal this summer, of bringing my balance back by lots of bareback riding on him and then bringing the others to a point that I can be confident getting on their backs. Paso Finos are a delight but when they react to something scary, their speed is faster than any horse I have ever owned before. This is my challenge, to have the time, patience, and savvy to bring each horse to where that will not pose a problem to this senior rider.

  82. Working on ground work, lunging and have gotten on my 3 year old three times now with my daughter leading me around.

  83. My goal is to keep on progressing in the development of a balanced, following, independant and effective seat. I recently learned how to half-halt from the seat alone. I don’t have a horse, but I have a wonderful instructor and great horses to learn from!

  84. My goal is simple, to be able to confidentially go on a trail ride. I love my horse but he was a problem from the start. Our relationship has improved greatly, but he is stubborn.

  85. I am learning to be consistent with my 5 yr old draft. Asking in the same manner, releasing with a thank you in the same way, thoughout my time with her, from the box, to grooming her feet, to mounting, to riding, to relaxing after and back to the box. Offering the same consistent feel, no matter the weather, where we go or who we ride out with.

  86. I am an older professional: a Centered Riding Instructor & Clinician. My own horse has “aged out” ( he turned 40 this year) so I am riding and schooling our lesson horses. One, in particular, gives me a great deal of joy. She is probably a Morgan cross and knew practically nothing when she came to us. She has been a willing student and almost has a balanced canter, has become very light in the hand at walk and trot, has developed straightness, though she is still a little stiff on her left side, and now understands leg aids, going forward willingly with the lightest touch.
    With the use of lots of gymnastics she is learning how to jump in balance. On the trail and over cross country fences she is bold and fearless. Winter has put a hiatus on our outside jumping so we will have to return to that in the spring.
    My goal is to show her Training Level Dressage this year and to take her to her first Horse Trial as well as make her a good mount for one of our students to ride at the Youth Dressage Festival in August.

  87. I am just bringing my 18 year mare back into work after a tooth removal which was also infected. She has been using her body incorrectly due to the pain. So I am slowly doing inland work followed by ridden work to re educated how to use her body and in the process build up strength and fitness

  88. My goal is to become an Equine Veterinarian. I am only 1.5years away from getting my degree, so hopefully I can survive these next couple of years so that I may be able to help many riders and their horses. I also would like to keep training my quarter horse to be a heel horse and continue my jumping lessons at school. I love all these blogs because they are very informative and remind me on why I want to keep going on this journey.

  89. My goal for 2016 is getting to know my horse (that I bought two months ago) very well so that we can become a team. I would like us to go in the same direction instead of different ones (literally as well 🙂 )

  90. I recently moved and ended up moving my horse as well to be closer but in doing so had to leave my trainer due to the distance. This year I will be working on how to continue my training with my 8 year old draft cross without our weekly lessons. Having clear, well written articles such as the ones you provide will be a giant help for us as we progress together.

  91. I am working on becoming a better rider. I want to have more feeling of the horse beneath me, be more aware of what the horse is doing and more awareness of what my body is doing. I want to develop faster responses to changes in the horse and my self, so I can correct them before things fall apart. I am working on becoming stronger so I can hold my position and be clearer with my aids.

  92. I am working on thinking “forward” with my hands/reins so my mare will carry me more fluidly through all gaits.

  93. I have a young OTTB that I plan on eventing this year. My past has been dressage and show jumping, and eventing is a new thing for me. I’ve really been enjoying working with this sweet boy and I hope he will turn into a solid horse for my daughter to ride in a year or two as she outgrows her pony. My goal is to do beginner novice, maybe novice by the fall, and move up in 2017.

  94. My father was a professional, hall of fame breeder trainer, my brother as well, and I have always been a backyard trainer, not professional. I have been relatively successful as an amateur trainer and rider in the show ring and on the trail. When my father retired, I acquired the last filly that had been bred on the farm. I started her and when she was old enough, I bred her to a jack. The result is a palomino molly mule, now 2 1/2. I have spoken horse all my life and now through Miss Fiona, I am being taught horse with a different accent. Make no mistake, it’s the same, but very different. So my goal for the year will be to continue making progress in becoming fluent in mule and working with Fiona consistently so that we may hit the trails with confidence. By the fall, I hope that she and I will have establishes a trusting partnership that will enable us to participate in a charity beach.

  95. First goal is to get and keep my horse sound. I’m hopeful!

    After that, I have two main goals. First, is when my horse does one of her enthusiastic spooks my goal is to say ‘so what’ and not carry my tension/nervousness anticipating the next spook into my future rides. Just let it go.

    Second, is to get my middle-aged hip flexors soft and flexible to leave my chair seat behind once and for all!!

    Those two things alone will really make my riding in 2016 so much better!!

  96. I’m working on basic fitness for me and my horse. I was sick for 10 months and am now well. My gorgeous horse has been waiting for me, and the time is NOW!

  97. Simply ride more! After this weekend of having to ride a good buck & a few “crow hops,” I vowed to my QH & myself that we were going to spend more saddle time together! He & I are just too old for that nonsense! 🙂

  98. My goal is to continue building my confidence, let go of tension and to stop worrying about what could go wrong so the school horses I ride can be confident with me. I’d also like to find time to ride more often, but that will happen somewhere down the road and hopefully bring me to a horse of my own someday.

  99. Love that your blog is doing so well, Kathy. I recommend your work to my studenst and they all find good stuff in there, every day!

    My current horse goals are getting my gelding consistently trusting my hands, as well as more attentive outside of the arena; bringing along a TB gelding for a client and bringing her riding skills along so they meet somewhere in the middle; coaching a terrific rider with some pretty severe physical issues to relax and release her lovely sensitive mare, more, and later this year, I’d like to breed my really nice Perch mare to a sweet Andalusian stallion, to hopefully produce a sizeable, talented competitive dressage mount for my later years. 🙂

  100. I am working on training my horse and myself to work together as a combination. She was started a year and a half ago and we are on our journey of learning. Reading all your posts helps me in our journey.

  101. I want to improve my (independent) seat. I currently do a lot of training on the lunge line–hands-free (no reins) and often without stirrups to achieve this goal as well as to increase my balance so that I don’t tip forward or backward during up and downward transitions.

  102. As someone with severe rheumatoid arthritis, recently spending much of my time in a wheel chair, I now have a goal to learn new ways to interact with my Percheron mare (Kassie), other than riding or driving. I have been looking into liberty training as a possible alternative. Although Kassie is huge (17.1 and 1800 lb), she is very athletic and agile.

  103. My current goal is to learn to ride the English discipline. I have ridden Western all of my life and I have so much to learn! I do have soft hands but there are so many other areas with the seat, posture, cues, legs etc. I will get there!

  104. I am working on so many things, but the primary goal this year is to become comfortable with cantering my mare. After years of canter phobia, I started working with an amazing trainer who helped me get over my fear and canter her horses. I even rode Intro C in schooling shows and won high point for the year in my dressage club. Now, I need to ride my own horse at the canter. She’s a great horse, but her canter is stiff and difficult, so it will be a challenge, but with help, I think I will be up to it.

  105. I am working at Training level with my Endurance horse for cross training. Working hard on my independent seat, and softening my hands.Love your posts, so clear and easy to understand.

  106. My horse is a Tennessee walker and we are learning together how to get him gaiting and holding his gaits. Very challenging.

  107. My goal is to become more fit for dressage, as well as to get out on the beautiful trails more often!

  108. Working on being still at the mountain block and meanwhile straightness training from the ground!

  109. I am working on building my geldings confidence up and getting him to relax. He is a beautiful talented horse but had a messed up beginning to his life, so slow and steady for us. We have the rest of our lives to work on it 🙂

  110. Thank you for your inspired supportive blog. I am priveledged to own a very gentle, talented thoroughbred who knows far more than I. I want to become the rider he deserves.

  111. I’m working on building my stamina and recapturing my youth while staying on my horse, a fun young Quarter Horse teenager.

  112. I have one pet pieve,- flying lead changes, I can teach my horse up to piruettes, all side work, incl transitions within/in/out/etc, but I can’t teach and do not really know how to do a flying change as I was never taught. Someone else sits on my horses and because they have all the prep work done can do it in a matter of couple of tries and I still can’t. When we jump, my horses do lead changes on a fly but when I need to think about them on a flat I hit a wall. This has been preventing me to moving into hunter/equitation territory, so I have been doing jumpers and dressage all up to a lead change. SO I hope I can get them just as seamless and start kicking some (you know what) in the other rings!

  113. I am working on training level dressage and my biggest goal is getting my horse to relax through his back during the free walk. My other goal for the next few months is to read all of the horse listening books. 1 a month ideally.

  114. I have a young filly that has been started and I want to learn some basic groundwork techniques for confidence, responsiveness and respect and then move on to good basic riding tools to develop her further. I want to provide a good foundation for her future.

  115. I have multiple goals for this year, all of them pretty modest. First…to gain my confidence back after a nasty fall with hip fracture + complications last year. I have started with a sweet lesson pony & have revisited some issues already. Second, to wipe out bad habits with my new trainer whose skill I admire. Third, to acquire enough of a seat to sit out the “wrinkles” encountered with my more complex mount. Enough for now.

  116. Hi Kathy, I have just started riding again after a gap of more than 20 years and am totally loving it! Why didn’t I come back sooner? My goals are to not only get back the techniques I had as a 20-something year old but to improve upon them, to get back my independent seat, my timing and more importantly my “feel” then find my all round equine partner. I’d love to start doing ground work and just continue to enjoy being around and learning about these beautiful, patient and forgiving animals.

  117. I have been taking dressage lessons for a little over a year and a half and finally can do a trot, sitting trot, walk transitions relatively smoothly. I have never ridden a horse other than 3 trail rides in the last year and a half, but now want to just ride to be able to see how much I really know without being instructed all the time so I can apply what I
    “know” with a different horse. I have an opportunity to ride with friends who have an extra horse. I want to be able to feel the rhythm of other horses and develop my feel even more so. I am now 61 yrs young I have only been taking 1 lesson a week, so this will be a challenge for me. My goal is to eventually be able to canter, but I want to really get the trot down which is finally coming along nicely! I want to have the confidence to be able to do simple things with different horses on my own and enjoy the relationship between horse and human.

  118. After several “wrecks” in my early years, I have now developed anxiety in mounting and tense up (even more) if my mount gets frisky. I’ve gone back to the basics on ground work, and am practicing everything up to mounting. Anxiety is lessening, the horse is quietly standing for any commotion at the mounting block, and I should be mounting with little fear very soon.
    My much older body does not have the flexibility it once had, and I will be re learning some positioning. I am excited as I have goals to join the local riding club on camp outs and trail rides.