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Cat Hill grew up in upstate New York on a working farm. Her earliest memory is of the day her parents got her a pony for her birthday. She grew up on that pony, which was followed by a series of Arabian show horses. In college, she started riding show hunters through the Intercollegiate Horse Show Team at the University of Geneseo. After receiving her degree, she followed her love of horses to Ireland to be a working student at Mullingar Equestrian Center, where she became barn manager before returning to the States. Hill has been a working student for a Grand Prix dressage rider, worked the Winter Equestrian Festival for a Grand Prix jumper rider, managed a AA hunter barn, and managed top eventer Mara DePuy’s barn. She now freelances as a groom, as well as teaching lower level riders in dressage, jumping, and eventing. Hill co-authored the bestselling TSB book WORLD-CLASS GROOMING FOR HORSES with Emma Ford, who runs Phillip Dutton’s barn.

“After three years of struggling with my balance and struggling to find myself and being told I would never make it in the horse world,” Hill says, remembering when she first learned of Sally Swift’s methods, “I was just about read to quit when somebody handed me [CENTERED RIDING].”

Hear what else she has to say about CENTERED RIDING as she helps us celebrate our 30th Anniversary in this short video:

 

 

Share your own CENTERED RIDING  memories and “aha” moments online and tag them #CenteredRiding30! And remember, all CENTERED RIDING books and DVDs are 30% off, the entire month of November.

Trafalgar Square Books, the leading publisher of horse books and DVDs, is a small, privately owned company based on a farm in rural Vermont.

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In her acclaimed book ANNE KURSINSKI’S RIDING & JUMPING CLINIC, the five-time Olympian and two-time Olympic silver-medalist provides step-by-step descriptions of 20 exercises to improve your position and your feel. We can all—whatever discipline we favor or breed of horse we ride—put the following lesson in lengthening and shortening the horse’s stride into practice:

Once you have the basic tools for controlling speed and straightness, the next step to master is basic lengthening and shortening of your horse’s stride length. I’m not talking about extension and collection here, but simply about developing your ability to get (and to know you’re getting) a longer stride and a shorter stride—covering more ground or less ground with each of his footfalls. For this work, you may find it useful to have a helper on the ground to confirm and correct your impressions about how you’re affecting the horse’s stride.

To emphasize the importance of “forward,” begin with lengthening:

1.     In the working walk, increase the feel in your legs with a “squeeze-soften-squeeze” sequence that almost asks for a trot, then softens, and squeezes again, in rhythm with your horse’s steps.

2.     Let your hips swing forward to follow the walk, as they should naturally do, while you close your legs and feel your horse gaining more ground by taking longer strides.

3.     And yet, your hands don’t allow him to trot, nor do your legs push quite that hard. As he stretches and nods his neck, watch this motion and allow your elbows to open and close, so that you follow with your arms but don’t drop the contact. Don’t smother him so that he can’t lengthen, but don’t let him trot. (Think of him as an accordion, expanding and contracting.)

Now that you’ve pushed your horse into a longer stride (make sure your helper on the ground confirms that you have), teach him to shorten his stride by using your retarding aids more than your driving aids.

4.     With both hands, take more contact in rhythm with the stride, as if you’re going to stop …

5.     … but keep your legs squeezing and softening to tell him, “No, don’t stop. Stay active—take a shorter step but don’t stop, a shorter step but don’t stop, almost stop but don’t stop, almost stop but don’t stop.” Keep the movement rhythmic, so you get regular short steps, not choppy ones.

6.     Keep alternating the length of steps you ask for—short, short, short, then working (regular), working, then long, long, long, and back again, in the walk and then in the trot and canter so that you feel the different lengths and rhythms and develop your horse’s understanding of your aids.

7.     As you squeeze your legs, especially in the trot and canter, be sure your contact with the horse’s mouth is elastic, so that he can stretch into the longer stride. Remember that he can only lengthen his stride as far as his nose is poking out. If he’s overflexed or very short in the neck, he may throw his front leg forward, but his stride will still be short because he has to touch the ground at a point beneath where his nose is.

Listen to your horse’s strides. In each pace, try to make them as consistent as a metronome. With practice, as you get to know how his lengthened and shortened gaits feel and what balance of leg and hand aids produce them, you’ll be able to choose and then maintain whatever rhythm you want.

 

Get more great lessons on the flat and over fences in ANNE KURSINSKI’S RIDING & JUMPING CLINIC, available from the TSB online bookstore, where shipping in the US is FREE.

CLICK HERE TO ORDER

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Setting courses in indoor arenas can present challenges in terms of space. TSB author Susan Tinder does not use wing standards in her indoor arena (pictured here), and she only uses 10-foot poles. Shorter poles not only conserve space, they have the added training benefit of forcing you to jump the center of each jump. You will find that after regularly schooling over 10- or 8-foot poles, the 12-foot poles used at horse shows appear very inviting.

Setting courses in indoor arenas can present challenges in terms of space. TSB author Susan Tinder does not use wing standards in her indoor arena (pictured here), and she only uses 10-foot poles.

 

Unless you’re in Wellington, February is often the month of semi-desperation. Spring IS only a month away, and yet has never felt more like fantasy. This is particularly true this year for those who, like the TSB crew, live and ride in New England.

But if you’re a hunter-jumper rider or eventer looking to sharpen your ride for the upcoming season, or if you’re just trying to spice up the interlocking circles you and your horse are both quite bored with tracing in the indoor by now, there’s no need to despair. In her acclaimed book JUMP COURSE DESIGN MANUAL, Susan Tinder—a hunter-jumper rider and owner of Tolland Falls in Colorado—provides an entire section for those with smaller arenas or minimal jump components (or those stuck schooling indoors!).

Although courses you might set in a small indoor might be unconventional, at least in terms of what you typically see at horse shows, they should still follow basic course design principles (which Susan covers in her book). As with larger courses, you should have at least one change of direction and at least one single vertical fence. When you have a limited jump inventory, you will most likely have to use more vertical fences to allow you to create more jumps for your course. Another way to increase the number of jumping efforts in your course when you have a limited amount of equipment or space is to set the fences so they can be jumped from both directions. This means you will need ground lines on both sides of each fence.

The distances between related obstacles are just as important over courses designed for small spaces, if not more so, as when you set up in a larger space. Be aware that the horse’s stride naturally shortens when the space is small, and pace and the quality of the canter is harder to maintain. The narrow width of the arena forces you to ride tighter turns (causing a natural loss of impulsion), and you have less time on the long sides or across the diagonal to get your horse straight to the jumps. Fences and lines set on the diagonal will most likely have sharper angles to them.

Taking all this into consideration, inside courses and those in small arenas often need to be set on a 10- to 11-foot average stride length in order for them to ride comfortably. In addition, the light level will probably be low. Use white or brightly colored poles and fill elements so the obstacles are easier to see, and avoid anything that blends in with the footing or the color of the walls. If the indoor you use for schooling has windows or skylights, take note of how shadows and sunspots may affect the visual aspect of the jumps.

Here is one free sample space-saving configuration from JUMP COURSE DESIGN MANUAL. The “Y” gives you two single fences, one off either lead so you can practice changing to/from both directions. This sample course is not drawn to scale—you must determine how to use the space you have for your schooling while staying safe.

TheY

 

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CLICK HERE for more ideas from JUMP COURSE DESIGN MANUAL.

 

“I’ve spent time with this book and find it very correct. Author Susan Tinder did an excellent job putting together a useful collection of courses.”— George Morris

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Click the image above to register for the FREE webinar with Anne Kursinski!

Click the image above to register for the FREE webinar with Anne Kursinski!

 

TSB is excited for “Prepare to Show,” a FREE webinar with five-time Olympian and two-time Olympic silver medalist Anne Kursinski, presented by Practical Horseman magazine on April 9 (tomorrow!) at 8 p.m. EDT. Anne is the author of ANNE KURSINSKI’S RIDING & JUMPING CLINIC, the acclaimed book, featuring 20 exercises to improve your position, your “feel,” and your overall understanding of how to confidently and successfully master a jump course. In her webinar, Anne will provide guidelines for the beginning of the show season, including: at-home preparation, show-day necessities, how to plan your round, mental preparation techniques, warm-up tips, and ideas for making your first trip, and all those thereafter, successful.

“Anne Kursinski really has had it all,” says George Morris, former Chef d’Equipe of the US Show Jumping Team. “Very few people in the hunter/jumper industry can boast such a comprehensive background. There is no question that her system and ideology work for the hunter, jumper, and equitation horse and rider.”

Sign up for this FREE webinar by CLICKING HERE.

 

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TSB also congratulates the 10 show-jumping enthusiasts who are now one step closer to winning a day of training with Anne Kursinski in Practical Horseman’s “Training with the Stars: Win a Day with Anne Kursinski” contest, in partnership with Finish Line, Back on Track, and Nutrena.

“More than 800 people submitted thoughtful and inspiring essays about why they should win the day of training with Anne, so narrowing down the group to the top 10 was difficult,” said Practical Horseman’s Editor Sandra Oliynyk. “We believe our finalists represent wonderful examples of the hunter/jumper/equitation community, and we’re excited to give one of them this once-in-a-lifetime experience.”

The 10 finalists will receive a copy of ANNE KURSINSKI’S RIDING & JUMPING CLINIC and one lucky winner will receive the grand prize: A clinic for him/her and nine friends with Anne Kursinski. The grand prize winner will be announced in early May.

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pracreviewDec13

 

“There’s no need to take a break from lessons when inclement weather makes it difficult to ride this winter,” says the December 2013 review of THE AMERICAN HUNTER/JUMPER FORWARD RIDING SYSTEM in Practical Horseman Magazine. “This new DVD series from acclaimed rider, coach and clinician Bernie Traurig explores the building blocks of the American Hunter/Jumper Forward Riding System and offers easy-to-follow, step-by-step exercises.

“Each disc in the set details an essential aspect of the system, which focuses on three fundamental principles—rider position, controls and the schooling of the horse. Traurig begins with a basic explanation of the system and a look at its history. He moves on to discuss how to develop perfect position in the saddle and use rein and leg aids to control a horse. Then he demonstrates how to use the skills he has outlined while working over fences at beginner, intermediate and advanced levels.

“Traurig describes an exercise or position while at the halt, then demonstrates it through various gaits. This approach makes it easy to see the work’s intended effect on both rider and horse.”

 

For a glimpse at what this terrific new DVD series has to offer, check out the trailer below:

 

THE AMERICAN HUNTER/JUMPER FORWARD RIDING SYSTEM is available as a COMPLETE SERIES 6-DVD SET, or in three individual parts, from the TSB online bookstore, where shipping in the US is FREE.

CLICK HERE TO ORDER NOW

 

TSB loves EquestrianCoach.com! This phenomenal website is a portal to a broad selection of extremely well demonstrated equestrian tips, techniques, and sport-specific know-how.

EquestrianCoach.com was born out of my desire to reach people who are hungry for more riding and training education,” says founder Bernie Traurig.

Check it out HERE

And don’t miss Bernie Traurig at Equine Affaire in Columbus, Ohio, April 10-13, 2014!

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QHCongress 2013

TSB author Susan Tinder will present a class based on her bestselling book JUMP COURSE DESIGN MANUAL at the 2013 All American Quarter Horse Congress.

 

This weekend kicks off the 2013 All American Quarter Horse Congress at the Ohio State Fairgrounds in Columbus, Ohio. Congress is the World’s Largest Single-Breed Horse Show, receiving more than 17,000 horse show entries during its three-week schedule and attracting more than 650,000 people to the Columbus area.

Trafalgar Square Books is pleased to announce that Susan Tinder, author of the JUMP COURSE DESIGN MANUAL and owner of the premiere equestrian facility Tolland Falls in Colorado, is giving a class on designing practice courses on Saturday, October 12 at 2:00 p.m. in the Lecture Hall.

Immediately following her presentation, you’ll have a chance to meet Susan, ask her questions, and buy her book, which has garnered rave reviews from esteemed publications such as The Chronicle of the Horse and Practical Horseman and top horsemen such as former US Show Jumping Team Chef d’Equipe George Morris and USEF “R” Judge Geoff Teall. The author meet-and-greet and book signing will take place at the Blue Ribbon Books booth in the Main Exhibit Hall around 3:00 p.m.

This special event at the All American Quarter Horse Congress holds particular meaning for Susan, who grew up in Columbus riding and showing Quarter Horses. We caught up with Susan before she heads to Ohio and asked her about her book, her presentation, and her history with the Quarter Horse breed (not to mention what it is like to have George Morris review your book!)

 

TSB: Your new book JUMP COURSE DESIGN MANUAL has garnered rave reviews from publications such as Practical Horseman and The Chronicle of the Horse, as well as top professionals like Geoff Teall and even George Morris. What inspired you to write the book? Can you tell us a little about how it came to be?

ST: The book came about out of necessity, really. I was paying for a trainer’s time, and we spent most of it moving jumps around and setting up gymnastic exercises before I could begin my lesson. So, I decided to be proactive and set exercises up ahead of time.

Moving jump components around is hard physical work and especially hard when I had to move components multiple times because I was making up the course on the fly! It didn’t take long before I realized that I needed help gathering, moving, and adjusting the fences.  That’s when I knew I had to come up with a better way to communicate how I wanted the course to be set. I started researching course design and found that a book on the topic just didn’t exist, or it existed but it was for designing Grand Prix jumping courses (way out of my league!) Most books on jumping have parts that address course design issues and gymnastics, but I couldn’t find anything comprehensive or appropriate for my level of riding skill.

At first my design education was “trial and error” with professional oversight from my trainer, and I saved all the diagrams that I created in Powerpoint. The book started as a compilation of the course designs and gymnastics that I have set up for myself over the years. I have used most of the courses, and all the gymnastics, from the book in my own program, so I know they can be ridden by just about anybody.

I also found that designing and setting courses by myself was a great learning tool because I had to create the “questions” for the “test” of jumping the course. I was able to practice answering the questions and really work on the ones I was having a problem with through the use of the courses I designed.

I didn’t really start out with the intention of writing a book, but it kept getting longer and longer and I was encouraged by Eliza McGraw to forward the rough manuscript on to you (Trafalgar Square Books) to see if you had an interest in publishing it. And the rest, as they say, is history.

 

TSB: What was it like to hear that George Morris thought your book was “very correct” and that you did “an excellent job”? Have you ever met George or ridden with him?

ST: When you told me that you had sent an advanced copy of the book to George Morris, I felt sick, actually! But then, I figured that George Morris would never read something from a “nobody” like me or, at the very least, he would think it was just awful and not waste his time to say anything about it at all.

I was wrong. As Mr. Morris would say, “You know NOTHING!!”

Yes, I have met Mr. Morris. I have ridden in his clinics. I even fell off in one of his clinics and the photographer published the picture of it in a magazine! I have learned so much from his books, his articles, his videos, and his professional advice. I believe that he has contributed more to our sport than any other individual ever has. He can ride, he can teach, he can demonstrate, he can speak, and he can write. He will leave a great legacy to all of us involved with these wonderful creatures we call horses.

I wrote Mr. Morris a thank you note after he made his gracious comments about my book. I felt it was also an opportunity to tell him how positively he had impacted my riding career and to thank him for all he does for the sport. About a week later, I got a postcard from him, in his own handwriting, saying that “yes, he enjoyed reading my book and he thought that it would be good contribution to a lot of people.” I just stood at the mailbox in disbelief! I was so flattered—his personal note means so much to me—and who in this day and age has the kind of class to actually make the time to hand-write and address a note? I read it to all of my friends and clients at the barn. I plan to frame it and hang it in my office!

 

TSB author Susan Tinder on her Quarter Horse mare, Lady Biddersweet, back in the day!

TSB author Susan Tinder on her Quarter Horse mare, Lady Biddersweet, back in the day!

TSB: You are presenting at the 2013 All American Quarter Horse Congress at the Ohio State Fairgrounds in Columbus, Ohio. Can you tell us a little about your history with Quarter Horses and why this event is important to you, your discipline, and the Quarter Horse breed?

ST: I am originally from Columbus, Ohio, and showed horses throughout the state. I showed during my late teens and early twenties, and in my last year of showing on the circuit I won numerous national All-Around awards and ended the year as Reserve All-Around Amateur for the State of Ohio.

The last show I competed in before “retiring” and selling my mare Lady Biddersweet was at the 1982 All American Quarter Horse Congress. We built the first commercial exhibit booth for the Ohio Amateur Quarter Horse Association in my parent’s garage, and I painted the logo of the foal with the tag line “Young and Growing” for the back wall of the booth. In the booth we displayed all of the old scrapbooks with articles about the association. I also worked in the All American Quarter Horse Congress press box for a couple of years.

In a way, lecturing at the Quarter Horse Congress is sort of coming back full circle for me. Columbus is home and that is where I started riding and got my first taste of what competition was all about.  It is where I learned the basics. But more than that, I see so many things that the Hunter/Jumper industry could learn from our Quarter Horse colleagues, especially how to create incentives for breeding and bringing along and marketing young horses. I also think that the philosophy of Youth Activity classes and judging teams could be a model for equestrian education across all disciplines.

And finally, this lecture is going to be special because I am lecturing on Saturday, October 12th.  This was my dad’s birthday and I know he would have been very proud.  I will also be able to share this with my 92-year-old mother who is planning on being in attendance to hear me speak.

 

TSB: What will you be presenting at Congress and what can people hope to learn from your talk and apply in their own arenas, at home or at their boarding/training facility?

ST: My 45-minute lecture is going to cover the material that TSB made me delete from the book because the manuscript was too long! It will address some of the common questions that I have been asked by people who have read the book and walk though the basics of what to plan for in designing a schooling course. I will then use one course setup to also create gymnastics and practice exercises.

The presentation will demonstrate how you only need about three or four jumps to accomplish your training goals. Following the Congress Presentation, the content of the class will be available on the Tolland Falls’ website at www.tollandfalls.com. In addition, a book signing will immediately follow the presentation at the Blue Ribbon Books booth in the Commercial Exhibit Hall.

 

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?

ST: I don’t think the breed of horse would matter.  But I would want one that was calm, friendly, and an easy keeper! If I could choose one of my horses to be with me, I would probably choose my horse Rueben (a Westphalen). Rueben would stand beside me with his chin resting on my shoulder, drooling down my neck (he does this all of the time) and listen to me read A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin.

 

A three-year-old Susan on the first "horse" she remembers riding--she remembers him being a lot bigger!

A three-year-old Susan on the first “horse” she remembers riding–she remembers him being a lot bigger!

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

ST: I think I must have been around three years old and it was an old white farm horse. I was told I cried when I couldn’t take him home.

 

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

ST: I gotta tell you, I have fallen off so many times that a better question would be if I remember the last time I fell off a horse?!!?

 

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

ST: Acceptance and honesty.

 

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

ST: Acceptance, forgiveness, and honesty.

 

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

ST: I think any day you can do something from the back of a horse, it’s a good day. I just hope I get to have many more of those days.

 

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

ST: Bertalan deNemethy.

 

TSB: What is your motto?

ST: Aim for the moon, because even if you miss, you will still land in the stars.

 

What They’re Saying About JUMP COURSE DESIGN MANUAL:

 

“I’ve spent time with JUMP COURSE DESIGN MANUAL and find it very correct. Author Susan Tinder did an excellent job putting together a useful collection of courses.” — George Morris, former Chef d’Equipe US Show Jumping Team

 

“Susan Tinder has put together a very thoughtful and thorough manual to help anyone in all aspects of course design. I find the sections designed to help people with their gymnastics and course design for training at home especially helpful — we all find ourselves getting a bit stale with our work at home, and this manual will help us come up with fresh ideas. I love that Ms. Tinder covers all aspects of course design, jump construction, and even storage and maintenance of jumps. I look forward to studying her book in more detail, and putting some of her ideas to use in my own training program.” –Geoff Teall, Trainer, Author, and USEF “R” Hunter and Hunter Equitation Licensed Judge

 

“An incredibly useful book…perfect for taking to the ring…perfect for anyone who does a lot of riding on her own or for the instructor who’s looking for some new ideas to spice up lessons.”  –The Chronicle of the Horse

 

“It would be wise to pick up a copy of JUMP COURSE DESIGN MANUAL before you hurt your back moving standards for the umpteenth time.” –Practical Horseman

 

Click image to order!

Click image to order!

JUMP COURSE DESIGN MANUAL is available from the TSB online bookstore.

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD A FREE EXCERPT OR TO ORDER

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EC DVDs HERE

 

TSB is thrilled to announce the release of seven fabulous new DVD programs in conjunction with the amazing online riding and horsemanship education portal EquestrianCoach.com. These DVDs feature the best in riding and horsemanship instruction from legendary horsemen George Morris and Bernie Traurig, and USEF “R”-rated hunter and hunter seat equitation judge Cynthia Hankins.

George Morris

George Morris

What’s new from George Morris?

Teaching and Training the American Way (CLICK TO ORDER)

Spend an hour with former Chef d’Equipe of the US Show Jumping Team George Morris and demonstration riders Cynthia Hankins and Darragh Kenny as they illustrate the most fundamental aspects of the American Hunter/Jumper Forward Riding System, a system endorsed and taught by George and advocated by the USHJA Trainer Certification Program. Includes a bonus video, “The Roots of Forward Riding in America,” where George introduces the American style of riding and its evolution.

Dressage for Jumpers (CLICK TO ORDER)

Join George as he demonstrates his favorite dressage exercises as they apply to jumping sports. In this schooling session, George uses his system of training on the flat and over fences to produce a relaxed, supple, and attentive equine partner.

Bernie Traurig

Bernie Traurig

And what do we get from Bernie Traurig?

The American Hunter/Jumper Forward Riding System–The Complete Series (CLICK HERE TO ORDER)

Acclaimed rider, coach, and clinician Bernie Traurig presents a unique DVD series explaining the building blocks of the American Hunter/Jumper Forward Riding System, a system endorsed and taught by George Morris and advocated by the USHJA Trainer Certification Program. In Developing Perfect Position; Fundamentals of Flatwork; and The Controls of the Horse, Bernie shares step-by-step exercises, on the flat and over fences, that are proven to bring success. Available as a complete series or individually—the complete series includes a special introductory DVD on the history of the sport.

Cynthia Hankins

Cynthia Hankins

What about Cynthia Hankins?

Form Follows Function with Cynthia Hankins (CLICK TO ORDER)

First on the flat and then over fences, USEF “R”-rated judge Cynthia Hankins discloses the common position faults she encounters and presents the correct, classical form of the American Hunter/Jumper Forward Riding System, endorsed and taught by George Morris and advocated by the USHJA Trainer Certification Program.

About EquestrianCoach.com

EquestrianCoach.com is a phenomenal online portal to a broad selection of extremely well demonstrated equestrian tips, techniques, and sport-specific know-how. The subscription-based site was created to make quality education accessible and affordable to every equestrian, regardless of their background, their level, or their geographic location. It rounds up the most talented equestrians on the planet, captures their expertise, and delivers it directly to you on your computer or mobile device in high definition. CHECK IT OUT HERE

TSB is excited to team up with EquestrianCoach.com to bring you excellent instruction from the world's top equestrians!

TSB is excited to team up with EquestrianCoach.com to bring you excellent instruction from the world’s top equestrians!

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