Check Out TSB Authors at Equine Affaire Ohio April 10-13



Be sure to catch all the TSB authors who are featured clinicians at the 2014 Equine Affaire at the Ohio Expo Center in Columbus this weekend! This year’s EA provides another diverse and inspiring group of leading riders, trainers, and equine experts to help us all learn to be better horsemen and women.





FEI and USEF dressage judge, and author of the acclaimed DRESSAGE FOR THE NOT-SO-PERFECT HORSE

Janet’s dressage clinics and demonstrations take place on Thursday, April 10, in the Voinovich Arena and Voinovich Seminar Stage. Check your EA program for final times.

Dressage Today magazine calls Janet’s book “an inoculation against training despair.” And The Chronicle of the Horse says it is “well-organized and easy to understand and makes for a good read.”






Famed horseman and creator of THE AMERICAN HUNTER/JUMPER FORWARD RIDING SYSTEM DVD series and founder of

Bernie’s jumping clinics take place on Saturday, April 12, and Sunday April 13, in the dotHorse Arena and Voinovich Arena. Check your EA program for final times.

Check out the trailer for Bernie’s DVD series by clicking the image below:








Certified master saddler and saddle ergonomist, founder of Saddlefit4Life, and author of the new book SUFFERING IN SILENCE

Jochen’s saddle-fit demonstrations are in the Cosequin Demo Ring and on Thursday and Friday. Confirm in your EA program.

Click below to watch Jochen in action:






Veterinarian and author of GO THE DISTANCE

Dr. Loving’s horse management sessions are on Friday on the Voinovich Seminar Stage. Confirm in your EA program.

“This is a very good book,” The American Quarter Horse Journal says about GO THE DISTANCE. “Loving covers equipment for the horse and rider, stable management, and camp care techniques, and training, both for conditioning and schooling purposes. This book earns a blue ribbon and best condition.”





Masterson Method Certified Practitioner and coauthor of the bestselling BEYOND HORSE MASSAGE with Jim Masterson

Stefanie’s horse wellness presentations take place on Sunday in the Cosequin Demo Ring and Voinovich Seminar Stage. Check your EA program to confirm final times.

Here’s what Natural Horse magazine says about Stefanie and Jim’s book:

“The reader is introduced to a method of unique, interactive bodywork that is done with the horse, not to the horse, and horses love it. . . . A must-have for horse lovers and guardians as well as professional bodyworkers!”




Also be sure to find the Puterbaugh Dressage Sport booth on the trade show floor and say hello to Douglas Puterbaugh, author of THE SEVEN DEADLY SINS OF DRESSAGE.



We at TSB hope EA Ohio is fabulous fun for all who get to attend this weekend!

Horses Are Like Kids: They Need Discipline with a Purpose

As I’ve learned to be a parent over the last five years, I have often noted—admittedly, not always with joy—the parallels between being “mom” to a son and “mom” to a horse. The constant need for food and poop removal, for example, stands out rather vividly in my mind…

But it of course takes far more than basic physical care to raise a child or train a horse:

  • We must constantly deconstruct our requests—both the simple and the complex—and translate them into a language our pupil can understand.
  • We must recognize a “try” and reward quickly and accordingly, even if it isn’t exactly right…yet.
  • We must constantly monitor behavior in the hopes that a gentle correction early can prevent an uncomfortable confrontation later.
  • And we must be prepared to be firm when necessary, because the establishment of boundaries and respect for you as leader/teacher/parent is ultimately integral to the safety of the child or the horse, as well as necessary for either one’s success when venturing forth into the world without you.

“Just as good parents find within themselves the strength to correct their child, you have to find within yourself the strength to keep your horse under your authority,” writes trainer and dressage rider Douglas Puterbaugh in his book THE SEVEN DEADLY SINS OF DRESSAGE. “In both cases, the intent is entirely proper. For his own good, a child must learn to distinguish between behaviors that are acceptable and those that won’t be tolerated. Horses are similar…Like a child, they look to your leadership to show them the right way to do things.”


Douglas Puterbaugh, the author of THE SEVEN DEADLY SINS OF DRESSAGE has a new website--click the image above to check it out.

Douglas Puterbaugh, the author of THE SEVEN DEADLY SINS OF DRESSAGE has a new website–click the image above to check it out.


Douglas says that horses require “discipline with a purpose.” This phrase stands out in that it doesn’t advocate being a teddy bear or a nag or a tyrant. As parents and as horse owners, we must cultivate the ability to correct at the appropriate moment, to sometimes leave our pupil alone and give him time to “figure it out,” and we must always be in control of our temper.

“When your horse misbehaves you have to act quickly,” writes Douglas. “You must get your horse’s attention and immediately give him direction. This should be done firmly but gently because unwanted behavior does not necessarily mean a horse is deliberately misbehaving.  It just means he’s doing something you don’t want him to do.

“You must always rule in favor of the horse. You must always be clear about what you want him to do.  You must always be clear with your aids, and you must always carefully measure your response.  Any reprimand must be proportional to the offense. Furthermore, a reprimand is deserved only when the horse knows better and is willfully disobeying….Never reprimand a horse that doesn’t understand something.  You want to teach your horse, not bully him.  A docile horse will tolerate being bullied, but a noble horse won’t.  A noble horse will bully you back.  Either way, you lose.  You lose the trust and confidence of one that’s sweet, and awaken the doubt and defiance of one that’s a king.”

Again, Douglas’ last point rings true to the parent in me as well as the rider! How often I’ve seen children cower in fear beneath a sharp reprimand, while I’ve witnessed others volley screams until it was the parent who retreated in defeat.

In truth, wielding discipline in the barn or arena is a delicate balance, like so much else we do with horses. It has a necessary place in good training, just as it does in good parenting, but it must always be conscientiously applied, and it must always have a purpose.


Douglas Puterbaugh’s THE SEVEN DEADLY SINS OF DRESSAGE was featured in the Dutch magazine BIT this month. And Douglas has also kicked off the new year with a new website (—check out his beautiful stables and training facilities in Howell, Michigan, by CLICKING HERE.

7DeadlySins-250THE SEVEN DEADLY SINS OF DRESSAGE is available from the TSB online bookstore, where shipping in the US is FREE.



–Rebecca Didier, Senior Editor

10 Signs You’ve Found a Great Instructor/Trainer…for Yourself and for Your Horse!

FEI dressage trainer/rider Yvonne Barteau with Douglas Puterbaugh, author of THE SEVEN DEADLY SINS OF DRESSAGE.

FEI dressage trainer/rider Yvonne Barteau with Douglas Puterbaugh, author of THE SEVEN DEADLY SINS OF DRESSAGE.

THE SEVEN DEADLY SINS OF DRESSAGE is a unique and special book,” says FEI dressage trainer/rider Yvonne Barteau. “I have been a collector of equine literature for many years, and this book has earned a spot on the ‘top shelf’ in my library. I have recommended it to all of my students as a ‘must read’ and will continue to do so. Author Douglas Puterbaugh covers vital and important rider information in an entertaining, engaging, and compelling manner.”

What kind of “vital rider information” will you find in THE SEVEN DEADLY SINS OF DRESSAGE? Check out the attributes Douglas lists as the 10 qualities of a good instructor/trainer—something every one of us should keep in mind as we spend our lives striving to improve our horsemanship and become better partners to our horses.

“Find a good trainer is like finding a good mechanic,” says Douglas. “When you do, embrace him/her because he/she’s the difference between your satisfaction and disappointment.”


A good instructor/trainer should:

1  Treat you as an individual and recognize that different personality types require different approaches. He/she should tailor teaching style accordingly.

Evaluate your training goals.

3  Be well-rounded him/herself. A good trainer is constantly trying to improve in his/her own right—studying, practicing, learning from others.

4  Help you improve. A committed student taught by a good trainer should experience skills that improve steadily over time—that is, if the trainer is given enough time and the student is giving enough effort.

5  Work well with you. A comfortable relationship will yield more results than a difficult one. Better to look forward to your lessons than to dread them.

6  Be able to improve diminished gaits or correct spoiled horses. This is a skill, beyond the abilities of many otherwise capable trainers.

7  Not be a bully. A trainer should encourage your potential, not discourage your efforts.

8  Display infinite patience with both horse and pupil.

9  Never grow tired of repeating things that need to be repeated.

10  Be inspiring and kind, for even the most talented trainer will find it difficult to instill confidence in his/her students when prickly or unapproachable.


THE SEVEN DEADLY SINS OF DRESSAGE is available from the TSB online bookstore.


Happy Halloween! Four Ways to Conquer FEAR On and Around Your Horse

“From time without beginning,” writes Douglas Puterbaugh in his chapter on FEAR in THE SEVEN DEADLY SINS OF DRESSAGE, “man and horse have shared something in common: an ancient and deeply rooted emotion called fear.”

Interestingly, although mankind evolved as a predator and horse hung on in the role of prey, both rely on fear to save them via fight or flight. It is this natural and powerful response that can divide horse and rider, that can cause the horse to jig, shy, and bolt, and the rider to quake, tense, and fall off.

And while fluttering white ghostly figures and things that go “bump” will surely send many a horse (and rider) into a whirling, spinning, tizzy, it isn’t just Halloween that gets us spooked. We come face to face with outer and inner demons every day, and our fear response holds us back as we strive to achieve partnership and higher levels of performance with our horse.

How can we conquer our own anxieties and our own fears, so we can help instill a greater sense of confidence in our horse? Here are four tips from top riders and trainers for saying, “BOO!” right back:

1  Practice, Practice, Practice

“There’s a direct correlation between study and test performance,” says dressage trainer Douglas Puterbaugh in THE SEVEN DEADLY SINS OF DRESSAGE. “There’s a direct correlation between practice and performance in competition. The only way to perform at the best of your ability is to practice diligently…when you’ve practiced so thoroughly that your movements have become almost automatic, that old nervousness won’t the fear it once was.”

2  Scare Yourself…a Little

“If you are trying to build your self-confidence,” writes USEA Hall-of-Famer Denny Emerson in HOW GOOD RIDERS GET GOOD, “don’t hurt yourself, and don’t scare yourself—too much. You have to scare yourself a little to give yourself something to build on, but only a little. Keep doing the slightly scary thing until you have had so much success that you know success is inevitable. Then make whatever it is that you are trying to do a little harder…You can be timid, or shy, or indecisive, or reticent. You can be burdened by any one of many afflictions that result from a lack of self-confidence, and you can improve every one of them if you can figure out a way to scare yourself just a little bit. Too big a scare, and you will find your self-confidence in pieces on the ground.”

3  Employ “Thought Stopping”

“When you find yourself visualizing imminent disaster,” says Olympic coach, dressage rider, and popular motivational speaker Jane Savoie in IT’S NOT JUST ABOUT THE RIBBONS, “break your pattern by doing some ‘thought stopping’ right away. As soon as the alarming picture pops into your head, use an action word to quiet your mind and erase it. Your action word might be something like: ‘Clear,’ ‘Focus,’ ‘Stop!’ ‘Relax,’ or ‘Breathe.’ Replace the negative thought with a positive one. This is an important step, because if you don’t fill your mind with a positive thought, the negative picture will creep right back in.”

4 Create Safe Habits

“Learn what you need to do to be safe on the ground and in the saddle, and then do those things the same way every time you work with your horse until they are as automatic as the safety habits you use when driving a car,” says Melinda Folse, author of the bestselling THE SMART WOMAN’S GUIDE TO MIDLIFE HORSES. “Even experienced horse handlers can unwittingly grow careless over the years, so it never hurts to take a good look at your habits to make sure you are doing everything you can to keep yourself safe to ride another day.”

Melinda gives us a few ideas of the kind of “safe habits” we all should employ on and around horses:

-Teach your horse to respect your space.

– Pay attention to where you’re standing.

-Wear a helmet.

-Practice the one-rein stop and the emergency dismount.

“Fear is a conquerable thing,” Melinda reminds us—and indeed, all the featured authors remind us in their respective books, “and being safe around horses is something we can be proactive about.”

So don’t stay scared. Get busy!

And Happy Happy Halloween!

Be sure to see what Buck Brannaman says about fear in yesterday’s post CLICK HERE

Check Out These TSB Authors at Equine Affaire Ohio, April 12-15, 2012

If you are in the Columbus, Ohio, area, or if you plan to be this coming weekend, swing by the Ohio Expo Center for a day or two of great equestrian educational opportunities. Equine Affaire Ohio offers a wide variety of experts and professionals, covering every area of horse care, training, and riding, plus super shopping and great deals on clothing and equipment. Whether you are finding horses for the very first time, or riding for the ten-thousandth time, EA is a great experience, for kids and adults alike.

Three Trafalgar Square Books authors will be at EA Ohio. Be sure to find their booth, say hello, and get them to sign a book or DVD…for you and all of your horse-loving friends!

Brenda Imus, author of the book THE GAITED HORSE BIBLE and the DVD set GAITS FROM GOD, will present on Saturday and Sunday (check the Equine Affaire website for times and locations), and you can meet her and view her gaited horse saddles and bridles in booth #201-202 in the Bricker Building.


Jim Masterson, author of the bestselling book and DVD BEYOND HORSE MASSAGE, will present on Saturday and Sunday (check the Equine Affaire website for times and locations), and you can meet him at his booth #H2 and H1 in the Voinovich Livestock and Trade Center.


Douglas Puterbaugh, author of THE SEVEN DEADLY SINS OF DRESSAGE, will be signing books and answering questions in booth #427 in the Bricker Building.


Books and DVDs from all three authors are available from the TSB online bookstore, where shipping in the US is always FREE.

BLOG BONUS!!!!  Enter the coupon code TSBBLOG15 at checkout and get 15% off your entire order!





TSB Talks to the Author of THE SEVEN DEADLY SINS OF DRESSAGE About Provocation, the State of Dressage Today, Friends with Tractors, and Playing the Cello

This week, TSB had an opportunity to catch up with Douglas Puterbaugh, author of THE SEVEN DEADLY SINS OF DRESSAGE (alongside writer and photographer Lance Wills) and ask him a few questions about the inspiration behind the book, how and when he started riding, and why Hawaii is a pretty darned sensible dream vacation for a horseman.

THE SEVEN DEADLY SINS OF DRESSAGE, the book readers say “touches raw nerves yet leaves you with great hope for redemption,” is available now from the Trafalgar Square Books online bookstore, where shipping in the US is always FREE.

TSB: Can you share a little of your history as a dressage rider and trainer and what precipitated the writing of THE SEVEN DEADLY SINS OF DRESSAGE?

DP: I rode horses when I was younger, but really only for fun, like so many riders, but when I had the opportunity to really dig into it, and do it all day long, I really took it seriously and put in an enormous effort. I had some excellent teachers and influences. My past is not glamorous; it really only involved sacrificing a lot of time and other interests. For me, and I’m not trying to say that others should do this, but I basically eliminated all things that had social value, and trained instead. I did this pretty fanatically, actually. Richard Wagner was asked one time what made him a composer and what made him take up music. He simply answered: “I once heard a performance of a Beethoven symphony, whereupon I was struck with a fever, and when I recovered, I was a musician.” I felt this way about dressage. I immediately became “in love” with it and interpreted pursuit of this love as working at a feverish pitch and putting in a real effort, and along the way you can’t help learning a thing or two.

TSB: Your book title and cover are quite provocative. Can you tell us about how you came up with the idea behind THE SEVEN DEADLY SINS OF DRESSAGE and what you hope the publication of your text will accomplish?

DP: I never planned on writing the book. It was the furthest thing from my mind, although I’ve read quite a few of the books out there and some I studied quite seriously. The idea came from my wife who had many times made the suggestion, “You should write a book,” and I’d say “I don’t know what I would say other than ‘train a lot and read and study many other good books.’” And Richard Waetjen already said that. It wasn’t until my friend of thirty years—my coauthor Lance Wills—was visiting that she changed the suggestion to, “You guys should write a book.” With Lance on board my confidence grew.

We thought it would be helpful to look at ourselves as riders and see what we might be doing to muddy the waters. Students always want to know what to do; I thought it would be helpful to know what not to do. I was thinking about writing down all the things that don’t work with horses and calling it “151 Ways to Guarantee Your Failure as a Rider” or “37 Ways to Make Things Even Worse,” or something like that, but it sounded too negative. Then I realized that all these mistakes I was thinking of could be condensed down into “human negative tendencies,” which we all commonly call “sins.” “The Seven Negative Tendencies” wasn’t nearly as catchy as “The Seven Deadly Sins,” so we went with the latter. I hope that riders will find it helpful. For example, if someone rides in fear, it could give him or her the hope that through a certain strategy one could overcome or minimize that fear, or if someone was frustrated that things were progressing too slowly, for example, it could remind him or her that dressage is also not that easy to learn, and all riders struggle. If the things I write about seem rather obvious, I hope that readers still enjoy the book and find enough little bits that resonate with them.

TSB: Have you ever been or are you now guilty of one of the Seven Deadly Sins of Dressage? If so, what did you do or what are you doing to combat its residence in your life and work with horses?

DP: Oh sure. I quote Mark Twain in the chapter on fear: “Unless a creature be part coward it’s not a compliment to say that it is brave.” You can apply this quote to any of the ”sins.” Our salvation (as riders) is found in our willingness to persevere, not in denying that we have these tendencies, but in our efforts to claim mastery over them. I’m not trying to set myself apart, and most sensible horse people recognize that they must continue to grow. The important thing is that whatever “sin” we might have a tendency toward, that we recognize it so we can continue to learn. By knowing, we have a way of preventing the onset of any of the Seven Deadly Sins of Dressage.

“Sins” might even be a little severe a term, but we want to avoid having to admit to ourselves when we are older that we might have ruined a good horse or something, somewhere along the way. We can help each other in this. Also, we can remind each other that we really have more power to transform negative tendencies into positive ones then we believe, when we recognize and resolve to squarely challenge these tendencies. Remember, WE ARE ALL TRYING TO LEARN. The deadly part of the title of my book only means that these sins or tendencies can serve to “kill,” or at least slow, your development as a rider.

Douglas Puterbaugh's new book THE SEVEN DEADLY SINS OF DRESSAGE is available now from the TSB online bookstore

TSB: What do you see in the future for the modern pursuit of dressage?

DP: I believe the interest in dressage in this country is growing, and the breeding of sport horses is always improving, but we should take to heart Charles de Kunffy’s book The Ethics and Passions of Dressage, where he talks about the arrival of the “super horse” and the age of the “minimal rider.” The more we try to understand horses and this old discipline, the better we will become as riders, and if, as a result, we do develop as horse people, we will be on the right track. But if we are defeated by our impatience, egotism, and other negative traits, then we will fall short and dressage will eventually vanish, or in the words of Gustav Steinbrecht, “be reduced to philistinism or puppetry.” This is particularly the case as regards the tendency to always place blame first on something outside ourselves when faced with frustration or failure.

TSB: You are a trained classical musician, are you not? Are their similarities in your study of music and your study of equitation?

DP: Yes, I had the opportunity of studying with a really great musician. I came to music later in life, at age 26, but was lucky enough to have a great cellist in my neighborhood, the late Barton Frank. He was a world level player, and a prodigy of the legendary Gregor Piatigorsky. But this doesn’t speak anything of me or my ability, other than to say I really did have a great teacher…(I don’t know if I want to saddle him with the blame for my playing!) He was really great! So, I was quite a fan, as I am of all my riding influences. I hope that my ability will someday be half as high as my respect for those who really mastered the cello.

I must admit, I’ve spent more time with horses. I still practice the cello as much as I can and continue to make progress. There are, I think, some parallels with the learning of techniques, as there are with learning any exacting discipline, with regard to studying, seeking out knowledge, or playing with someone good at teaching you how to practice in order to get the most out of your time. The big difference is the instrument doesn’t resist you in the same way a horse might. It doesn’t have feelings, and it doesn’t behave differently if it’s been played well or poorly by someone for a long time. You can’t really spoil the cello unless you get frustrated and break it over your knee!

TSB: If you were trapped on a desert island with a horse and a book, what breed of horse would it be and which book would you choose?

DP: To me, that’s a scenario that I would care not to find myself in. I suppose if I were stuck, most certainly the horse would have to be a hardy one. And my book? Probably of the religious nature—if you were ever going to deepen your faith in the power of prayer wouldn’t this seem like a good time to get started on that?

TSB: What’s in your refrigerator at all times?

DP: An open box of Arm&Hammer baking soda and a bottle of Ivermectin.

TSB: What is your idea of perfect happiness?

DP: For me, perfect happiness is to have an abundance of energy, stamina, and physical fitness to continue studying dressage and music, but even this may be a form of relative happiness. Also, that people could love one another, learn how to transcend their differences, and try to find the good in others.

TSB: Tell us about the first time you remember sitting on a horse.

DP: don’t think I remember sitting on a horse until I was 12. I had a pretty little girlfriend, who had a not-so-pretty little pony. I think that’s the first time I ever did sit on a horse.

TSB: Tell us about the first time you remember falling off a horse.

DP: The same time I first sat on one. You asked earlier if I am guilty of a riding sin? That was the first one. It was then that I learned to tighten the girth!

TSB: What is the quality you most like in a friend?

DP: That he or she owns a tractor and a pickup truck, and that he or she always answers the phone. Nothing annoys one as much as a friend who won’t answer the phone!

Author Douglas Puterbaugh, working with a student in Michigan.

TSB: What is the quality you most like in a horse?

DP: An excellent temperament and talent. These are the two nicest things. Who could want more? Except for maybe outstanding gaits.

TSB: If you could do one thing on horseback or with a horse that you haven’t yet done, what would it be?

DP: I would like to have enough time with a horse of superior quality. Don’t get me wrong, I love all horses, and always feel they are talented in their own way, and that every horse can teach you something, but it would be a dream come true to have a super-talented horse for long enough to see what we could possibly achieve together, without any time constraints or other pressures.

TSB: What is your idea of the perfect meal?

DP: Well, now that depends on who is paying for it. If I’m a guest, I should like steamed foie gras and shiso for starters, followed by thinly sliced breast of duck, and meringue cake with tangerine from the Pyrenees Region for dessert…Oh! And may I have a look at the wine list?

If I’m buying …I don’t know, I think I might have a coupon for Denny’s in the glovebox

TSB: What is your idea of the perfect vacation?

DP: It’s difficult for farmers to really take vacations, but I have never taken a Hawaiian vacation and think I would like to do that, just to see what everyone is talking about. Perhaps lying on the beach, soaking up the sun, and doing nothing might do me some good. I’m afraid I would get to missing the horses, but I would still like to try it sometime.

TSB: If you could have a conversation with one famous person, alive or dead, who would it be?

DP: With horse people, when we read other equestrians’ books, in a way we are having a conversation with them, although it’s a one-way conversation (which is not so bad!) Remember Thoreau: “It takes two to speak truth—one to speak, and another to hear.”

I think if I had the chance it would be someone whom I don’t know much about. Someone like François de Lubersac who was said to possess the ability to train only at the walk and yet turn out perfectly trained horses! I would like to know how much of this is steeped in legend? But General L’Hotte said of de Lubersac that “his infinite tact enabled him to feel at the walk all resistances, and with his marvelous skill he extinguished it at its very roots.” I don’t know if tact like that can even be learned without divine intervention, but I would sure like to shake the hand of the man that can do it! And who knows, maybe he might slip me the answer.

TSB: What is your motto?

DP: Never believe any form of discouragement!