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MovementQuizFB

Can you tell which movement this rider is “riding” from the correct position in the left photo above, and the common mistakes depicted in the middle and on the right?

When correctly positioned (left photo), the rider is looking to the inside, her shoulders and pelvis are likewise turned to the inside and aligned. The left leg (when on the left rein as shown here) drives sideways and the right leg is guarding the horse’s hindquarters.

Common mistakes when riding this mystery movement include: collapsing to the left in the waist with the weight shifting too much to the right, with the shoulders and pelvis lower on the left side (middle photo); and leaning to the left away from the direction of movement, the rider’s weight on the left side as she pushes the horse away, and crooked shoulders and pelvis (right photo).

Which movement is she riding?

 

shoulderin

 

The answer is the shoulder-in!

In the shoulder-in, the horse’s inside hind leg and outside front leg are on the same track (as you can see here). The rider’s upper body is turned slightly toward the inside of the arena without collapsing or succumbing to the other common mistakes mentioned above.

In classical dressage authority Anja Beran’s new book THE DRESSAGE SEAT, she breaks down the physical requirements of the rider’s seat on the horse, as well as its responsibilities during various movements—from the gaits and paces to lateral work, lead changes, piaffe, passage, and pirouettes.

Watch the trailer here:

 

THE DRESSAGE SEAT by Anja Beran is available from the TSB online bookstore, where shipping in the US is FREE.

CLICK HERE to download a free chapter or to order.

Trafalgar Square Books, the leading publisher of equestrian books and DVDs, is a small business based on a farm in rural Vermont.

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neckmuscles

 

Many riders have neck and shoulder tension, which derives from the body’s reaction of “turning on” the trapezius muscle (see illustration above) in their daily lives. When there is a neuromuscular “highway” to an unproductive area such as the trapezius, there will be an almost automatic physical reaction, collecting tension in that area, regardless of what the rider is trying to do. Shoving tense shoulders back during a ride only makes the problem worse: Exertion used to “fight” a tense muscle area creates additional tension.

The answer is not to fight the muscles that are involuntarily tense, but to reduce tension with a) extensive stretching, and b) to learn to use the muscle’s “off” switch, which is found by training the body to make better use of other areas.

Believe it or not, stretching your neck muscles makes a difference. Stretching your neck actually stretches the elevator scapula as well as the trapezius muscles, in addition to neck muscles. If you carry tension in your shoulders and neck, this exercise is especially important, but if you are relaxed and supple, doing quick neck stretches on a regular basis can just be part of healthy spine maintenance.

Holding your arms down to keep your shoulders down, tilt your head from side to side, bringing your ear toward your shoulder with a deep breath each time.

 

neck stretch

 

You can also tuck your head forward as if looking under your armpit on each side.

Do not roll your head back because this compresses your neck vertebrae. If you have a lot of tension in your neck and shoulders, you can help release it by taking a free hand and squeezing your trapezius muscle or pushing down on it gently as you lean into the stretch. Do not hold the stretch very long before switching to the other side. These stretches should be done slowly and rhythmically.

A rider with shoulder tension can make a habit of doing this stretch, holding it longer, at the end of the day. When doing a deep neck stretch (any stretch can be turned into a “deep” one by holding it longer), it is important to use your hand to help raise your head afterward, since a deep stretch in the neck muscles will stretch the fibers and you can strain something by trying to lift the weight of your head using the same muscles that you just elongated.

For more from Certified Fitness Trainer and Riding Coach Heather Sansom, check out her bestselling book FIT TO RIDE IN 9 WEEKS!, available from the TSB online bookstore, where shipping in the US is FREE.

CLICK HERE for more information.

 

 

Trafalgar Square Books, the leading publisher of equestrian books and DVDs, is a small business based on a farm in rural Vermont.  

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top10

One of the best perks of working for an equestrian book publisher (assuming you are just the littlest bit horsey) is the constant immersion in equine-related theory, philosophy, and how-to. There is so much opportunity to absorb the ideas of great horsepeople and to try their techniques and methods for oneself—or to come to understand their intentional lack thereof (yes, that happens, too). Because really, if I’ve learned anything in this job, it’s that there isn’t just one main highway to our destination. There are many, less traveled, circuitous back roads, and finding them, and being willing to venture down them to see where they go—that is the true journey of horse and human.

Here are 10 important lessons from some of TSB’s top authors:

 

10  When there’s not enough time, do 10 to 15 minutes of liberty.

“Many people don’t get to their horse in a day because they feel it is too big a task to gear up for,” says horseman Jonathan Field in his book THE ART OF LIBERTY TRAINING FOR HORSES. “So they don’t do anything. Short and fun liberty sessions can bring you out to your horse more often. You will be amazed at how your horse starts to meet you at the gate.”

 

9  Our own riding fitness enables the horse to perform what we ask of him.

“The way a rider uses her body greatly impacts the way the horse is enabled or blocked from using his,” explains certified personal trainer and riding coach Heather Sansom in FIT TO RIDE IN 9 WEEKS! “The relationship is biomechanical….both species can impact one another. This is why the rider’s role of leadership through physical contact is so important, and why a rider who is fit for the task can ride better—and with greater resilience or prevention of injury.”

 

8  Sometimes, don’t ask for anything.

“The horse follows you with a lowered head and filled with a spirit of freedom…the result of your not asking for anything, just being, even if only for a fleeting moment,” writes renowned horseman Klaus Ferdinand Hempfling in THE MESSAGE FROM THE HORSE. “To be devoted without asking for devotion in return, to be friendly without demanding friendship…that is when the horse can give us trust and closeness.”

 

TSB author Jonathan Field. Photo by Robin Duncan.

TSB author Jonathan Field. Photo by Robin Duncan.

 

7  Control your emotions.

“Try not to go overboard,” recommends Grand Prix dressage rider Yvonne Barteau in THE DRESSAGE HORSE MANIFESTO. “Don’t gush, fuss, and fiddle about…Be quiet, polite, and still, inside and out. Clear your head and self from all that troubles you, and give your horse your undivided attention.”

 

6  Invest in self-kindness.

“When you miss a lead change in a pattern or test or forget to schedule the farrier before your horse throws a shoe,” explains author and horsewoman Melinda Folse in RIDING THROUGH THICK & THIN, “extend to yourself the same warmth and understanding you would to a close friend who has suffered a setback….If you’re not enjoying yourself, you’ll probably struggle with riding to your true potential.”

 

5  Use all your senses to observe and explore your horse’s body.

“Be on the alert for symptoms such as body soreness, uneven gait, a tight neck, a sour attitude, explosive or resistant behavior, stocking up, and pinned ears,” writes equine expert Linda Tellington-Jones in DRESSAGE WITH MIND, BODY & SOUL. “All of these problems, and others, can be avoided by alternating your training schedule with trail riding, ground driving, or other types of cross-training…expand your training routine, and keep your horse interested and engaged in his work.”

 

TSB author Yvonne Barteau. Photo by FireandEarthPhoto.com.

TSB author Yvonne Barteau. Photo by FireandEarthPhoto.com.

 

4  When it comes to the show ring, be flexible.

“One of the risks of competition is becoming so focused on achieving success that you miss the signs that your partner is unhappy,” says psychotherapist and riding instructor Andrea Waldo in BRAIN TRAINING FOR RIDERS. “Horses have different rates of development and different levels of stress tolerance. Just because one horse is ready for a particular level at age five doesn’t mean that the next horse will automatically do the same. Some horses can show every weekend without a problem, but some horses need to compete less often.”

 

3  Be okay with “eventually.”

“Everything moves so fast in our modern world,” say horse trainer Susan Gordon and veterinary pioneer Dr. Allen Schoen in THE COMPASSIONATE EQUESTRIAN. “Our expectation is to get instant results. Creatures of low technology, such as our animals, suffer the most for our desire to have everything happen in a virtual instant. On one hand, you need a quick, flexible mind to respond to a horse’s instinctive prey-animal tendencies during training, but it is also important to understand the value of repeating those responses with a lot of patience and consistency.”

 

2  Use dynamic friction instead of static friction.

“Whereas static friction relies primarily on force, mass, and energy to first stick an object before moving it,” writes world-renowned horseman Mark Rashid in JOURNEY TO SOFTNESS, “dynamic friction relies on establishing subtle movement first, then adding energy to build on that movement…establish contact with the horse, followed by the development of subtle movement to establish a flow of direction, and finally put the proper amount of speed into that flow so as to accomplish the desired task.”

 

1  Be willing to have a two-way conversation.

“When you are truly in a dialogue, you can never predict how a horse will answer you on any given day,” explains Sharon Wilsie in her groundbreaking book HORSE SPEAK. “Many of you value your relationship with your horse as much as you value his performance. Deeper bonds of friendship will blossom as you show your horse you are willing to listen and learn his language instead of just expecting him to respond to yours.”

 

 

For more information about any of these books, CLICK HERE to visit the TSB online bookstore, where shipping in the US is FREE.

Trafalgar Square Books, the leading publisher of equestrian books and DVDs, is a small business based on a farm in rural Vermont.

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fit2ridebackside

It’s the point that comes in contact with the horse and the saddle (and sometimes the ground)…the part of our bodies we eye with disgust in the tack shop mirror when trying on breeches…the area we want the fringe on our chaps to accentuate when we’re young and camouflage when we’re…not-so-young. Our bottoms, our backsides, our glutes—the butt can’t be an afterthought, as much as it might trail behind us. Its shape and its state of “flab or fab” matters—to our riding and to our horses.

In her new book FIT TO RIDE IN 9 WEEKS! certified fitness trainer and riding coach Heather Sansom explains that the rider’s “backline” includes the gluteals, hamstring, and calf muscles, and all of these are necessary to a balanced, straight, and supple equestrian who can communicate clearly and efficiently with her horse.

“Due to our seated lifestyle,” says Heather, “these muscles are often undeveloped, causing them to be short and tight, which has a negative impact on the rider’s position and her ability to have tension-free, full body usage.”

So does this mean we have to ramp up our rump work? Heather says it isn’t just about conditioning this area of the body, it’s about doing it the right way for riding.

“The large muscle on your seat, the gluteus maximus, is a primary muscle responsible for powering human movement,” she explains. “It needs to be strong and powerful for nearly all sports because you cannot run or transfer energy or motion up through your body without strong glutes. It is common for exercise trainers who are not riders to think that posting is just the same as performing squats, lunges, or pliés, and that the engine of the motion is in the rider’s leg and seat as it would be for all other similar looking movements where the rider is springing from her feet. In actuality, the energy from posting only partially comes from the rider’s leg and hip. The rest comes from the momentum of the horse transferred to the rider through the inner leg contact.

Certified Fitness Trainer and Riding Coach Heather Sansom shows us how fitness can improve our abilities in the saddle, enabling our horses to perform their best.

Certified Fitness Trainer and Riding Coach Heather Sansom shows us how fitness can improve our abilities in the saddle, enabling our horses to perform their best.

“For a rider, gluteal strength is important, but not for the reasons often supposed (such as above). The strength in the gluteals is not for powering motion so much as it is for first, supporting rising-seat postures, and second, anchoring back positioning muscles as well as controlling leg-aid strength. Unfortunately, most riders spend a great deal of their day sitting, which causes this large and important muscle to atrophy. Also, since riding itself is a more or less seated activity, riding does not condition the muscle sufficiently.

“Many riders have weak ‘glutes’ accompanied by tight and short hip flexors. The combined problem creates a chair-seat leg, and when the rider tries to correct the chair seat by force, it creates a locked-down hip due to muscle tension. It also makes it difficult for the rider to hold her spine neutral when the hip flexors (psoas and iliacus muscle), pulling on the lower back, and weak glutes provide no counter-support. The gluteus maximus is included as a core muscle because without tone in this area, the rider’s hips cannot be supple and straight, and the torso has no base of support.

“Many exercises that train the gluteus maximus also often train the hamstring muscle. I like riders to use bodyweight exercises such as lunges because they train proper folding at the hips, and use of the hamstrings along their length (as well as gluteals). Although popular in fitness gyms, exercises using machines or equipment to target the hamstrings alone are often not as useful for riders or others training for application to movement (functional training), because they do not train the hamstrings functionally. In some cases, they train just one small segment of the muscle, which creates a ‘bunchy’ muscle that is not useful for riders.

“Generally, I don’t recommend exercises for riders that create ‘bunchy’ muscles since these can cause issue with proper seat and leg position, as well as with proper body usage in riding. A rider can be quite strong, and should be if she also does farm work since strength training protects joints from strain. But bulky or unevenly developed muscles get in the way of the rider and also don’t engage efficiently.

“I do not recommend that most riders do exercises like leg presses (lying backward on a machine and pushing great amounts of weight with your feet), for example, because the weight loading can far exceed the rider’s bodyweight. Besides creating a risk of hip injury, this type of exercise creates bulk which, again, is not functionally useful, and may even impede a nice leg position.”

To find out the simple ways you can get fit to ride for your horse in 30 minutes a day, 3 days a week, for 9 weeks, check out FIT TO RIDE IN 9 WEEKS! by Heather Sansom, available from the TSB online bookstore, where shipping in the US is FREE.

CLICK HERE to download a free chapter or to order.

 

Trafalgar Square Books, the leading publisher of equestrian books and DVDs, is a small business based on a farm in rural Vermont.

 

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Even when you are already fit and an active rider, tension can gather in specific muscles in your body, ultimately affecting your horse.

Even when you are already fit and an active rider, tension can gather in specific muscles in your body, ultimately affecting your horse.

Are you out of breath after a long trot session? Are your muscles sore the day after a lesson? Are there some days you’re just too tired to clean the barn, never mind get on your horse? Certified fitness trainer and riding coach Heather Sansom (founder of Equifitt.com) has developed a new fitness training program that caters to the unique needs of the equestrian. Even better, it doesn’t require huge scheduling sacrifices: just 30 minutes, 3 times a week, for 9 weeks!

Even if you are already a fit person and ride regularly, in all likelihood you have issues with balance, symmetry, and straightness on occasion, and perhaps deal with tense muscles in certain areas of your body. All of this is communicated to your horse, of course, and translates into compromised performance, or even discomfort on his end. Luckily, Heather Sansom’s FIT TO RIDE IN 9 WEEKS! program is intended to help anyone who rides horses—regardless of fitness, preferred discipline, ability, age, or experience level, you can improve your partnership with your horse while helping your own body be the healthiest it can be with specialized retraining.

“Making muscle areas that carry tension more supple and relaxed is only half the equation in achieving a more consistently neutral upper body,” says Heather in her book. “First, it involves training the muscles that have become weak and less toned as a result of infrequent stimulus; then it’s about teaching the brain to trigger tonality in different muscles, instead of the ones that carry tension.

“One way to think about the retraining is to liken it to teaching vocabulary. To get the brain to use other ‘words’ (pathways to different muscles), it has to learn them. Otherwise, the brain always resorts to the ‘words’ (muscles) it knows best, especially when under tension. Increasing your neuromuscular vocabulary of response involves activities that also build strength. By building strength through exercises targeting the balancing muscles, you are also wiring or widening the pathway of response to that area. By practicing new muscle-engagement patterns on the ground, you increase the probability of your body using those new patterns automatically while you are busy focusing on riding tasks.”

 

Heather Sansom's FIT TO RIDE IN 9 WEEKS! program is designed to work for any rider who wants to improve her riding and her partnership with her horse.

Heather Sansom’s FIT TO RIDE IN 9 WEEKS! program is designed to work for any rider who wants to improve her riding and her partnership with her horse.

 

Find out how you can improve your riding while making your horse happier and more comfortable when you’re in the saddle in FIT TO RIDE IN 9 WEEKS! available now from the TSB online bookstore, where shipping in the US is FREE.

CLICK HERE to download a free chapter or to order.

 

F2Rhere

 

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

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PILATESDR10

A lot of things can happen in 10 years of riding. Common goals shared by most riders are to have improved their seat; advanced the training of their horses while maintaining soundness; and nurtured connection and communication with their equine partners—that is, find harmony.

There was a time Janice Dulak couldn’t sit a trot. She had great riding instructors, but as one teacher put it, “You just don’t have harmony yet.” Terribly frustrated, Janice realized something was wrong. How could she, a former professional dancer, a Professor of Dance, and a Certified Romana’s Pilates Instructor, not be able to learn how to sit a trot?

 

There was a time when Janice Dulak couldn't sit the trot--all that changed when she developed Pilates for the Dressage Rider.

There was a time when Janice Dulak couldn’t sit the trot—all that changed when she developed Pilates for the Dressage Rider.

It dawned on her that a dancer’s vocabulary was much more specific than riding vocabulary. A riding instructor says, “Use your leg.” A dancing instructor says, “Turn your leg out and lift it to the side with the foot flexed and knee bent.” Exacting vocabulary to create exact movement. This “ah-ha” moment led her to begin asking her mare India “questions”: Janice would create a feeling or movement in her body and listen for India to respond. Within a week, Janice understood how she needed to use her body so her horse could be comfortable, and at last, Janice was able to sit the trot.

Janice began teaching her work to riders around the country, and PILATES FOR THE DRESSAGE RIDER was published in 2006, establishing a new vocabulary that helped riders understand how to use their bodies to create a more harmonious ride. As her methods caught on, Janice was invited to teach Linda Parelli and her students, and to co-present clinics with USDF Gold medalist and Certified Instructor Sarah Martin, which propelled her to the frontlines of a new form of training that ensured happier, more comfortable horses, as well as better, more satisfied riders.

“From Intro to Grand Prix riders, I see that my work elicits change,” Janice says today, reflecting on the past 10 years. “I see horses stop swishing their tails. I see riders learn how to open their hips and stay in the saddle at the sitting trot and canter. I see horses round up without being cranked down with the hands. I see riders learn how to have a steady contact. I see happy horses. I see happy riders.

“In the 10 years since PILATES FOR THE DRESSAGE RIDER was published, my riding and my life has changed. I’m now a USDF Bronze medalist, working toward the Silver this year, and with all the wonderful comments I have received on my books, DVDs, and clinics, I am inspired to continue researching and sharing what I learn. Moving up the levels, it becomes apparent that my work is not done. There is so much more to explain and teach to help riders. For all of you struggling dressage riders, there is hope.”

Janice’s Pilates for Dressage program took her from being unable to sit the trot, to within reach of her USDF Silver, as well as helping thousands of others. She gives us more than hope…she gives us a way forward.

In honor of the 10th Anniversary of PILATES FOR THE DRESSAGE RIDER, the book and DVD are both 20% off from the TSB online bookstore, where shipping in the US is FREE. (Offer good until June 15, 2016.)

CLICK HERE for more information or to order.

 

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Not many of us come to riding with the anatomical understanding of a medical doctor, and so it is often our aids and position are caught somewhere between a mystery and a miracle—we’re not sure how or why they work, but we are thrilled when they do! Dr. Beth Glosten does have that knowledge of the human body and how it functions, and she found that it was integral to her progress as a rider when she came back to horses after years away to pursue her medical degree and residencies.

In Dr. Glosten’s flat-out fantastic book THE RIDING DOCTOR (available from the TSB online store CLICK HERE), she provides clear, practical explanations of the realities of the human body and how it can be trained to accommodate the shape and movement of the horse, as well as the skills necessary in all riding sports. More than 50 easy-to-do exercises help develop fitness and mechanics specific to riding. It has been described as “a more technical, practical Centered Riding…sort of Centered Riding for the rest of us” and “a wonderful resource.”

We recently caught up with Dr. Glosten before her busy season of teaching and clinics begins, and asked her a little about her path from “Doctor Doctor” to “Riding Doctor,” as well as how she hopes her book will help other riders in their own journeys.

 

TSB author Dr. Beth Glosten and her horse Bluette.

TSB author Dr. Beth Glosten and her horse Bluette.

 

TSB: You grew up riding; then there were a number of years while you were in medical school when horses couldn’t be part of your life. When you came back to horses you were in your thirties, and found riding wasn’t as easy as it used to be! What discoveries did you make about yourself, your horses, and riding at this time?

BG: I was reminded how learning a sport comes relatively easily when we are young. When I came back to riding in my 30s, I was uncoordinated, out of shape, and all “in my head.” I had been in school for so long, everything I did revolved around thinking, not moving! As you might imagine, this approach doesn’t work very well with horses and riding. I was pretty frustrated for quite a while!  I didn’t realize this at the time, but looking back I can see how disconnected I was from my body, and as a result, struggled to move with and communicate clearly to the horses I rode.

 

TSB: How did being a medical doctor impact your pursuit of riding and eventually dressage?

BG: I was hooked on horses and riding before going to medical school. Horses were not a part of my life during my medical education, and I wasn’t sure at that time that they would be a part of my life again, I was so busy and consumed by my training. It wasn’t until I started to have some time for myself, after medical school and residency training, that the idea of riding again entered my mind.

While I did do some jumping when I got back into riding, dressage proved to be the perfect fit. It matches my detail-oriented, perfection-seeking mind! While a practicing physician, I was an Anesthesiologist—again, a detail-oriented profession—and one would hope every Anesthesiologist seeks perfection in their practice!

 

TSB: When did you discover Pilates? Why did you choose to become Pilates-certified and teach other riders Pilates exercises?

BG: I found Pilates after back surgery for a herniated disc. I knew I needed an ongoing fitness program so I could go back to horseback riding. I tried Pilates when I saw an article written by a dressage rider in a local magazine. Like dressage (and medicine), Pilates is detail-oriented, so it fit my personality. But more important, the instructor I had was quite good at sorting out my movement habits that likely contributed to my underlying back problem. I was really intrigued with how difficult it was to sort through and change these habits! But the real selling point was my rides after my Pilates sessions were my best rides, by far! I was amazed at how much better I could sit in balance, and move with my horse. I knew I hadn’t gotten stronger in the session, but clearly the session had made a profound difference in how I could use my body.

It was also at this time that I had made a decision to leave the practice of medicine. As you might imagine, I really needed something “to do.” I was not at all used to having so much time on my hands! I was so impressed with how Pilates helped my back and my riding that I wanted to share it with other riders. Plus, for me, it was wonderfully empowering to recognize how I could help myself heal from my back problems with this program of mindful movement (as opposed to having someone work on me).  In the end, this is what inspires me the most today—helping people help themselves move through their day more mindfully and comfortably.

 

TSB: How do you feel your medical career and knowledge of Pilates principles helps your riding and the riding of your students?

BG: Understanding a bit of anatomy helps me solve my riding position problems and the horse’s training problems. While riding can feel magical, being successful does not happen by magic. I believe that wonderful feeling of riding in harmony comes from thoughtful consideration of what is going on. There is a great deal of this kind of problem-solving in medicine.

Many of my clients come to me because of prior injuries or pain issues while they ride. My medical education helps me understand their problems, and hopefully pin down movement or riding habits that could contribute to their problem. My own history of injuries, I hope, helps me approach the issues that my clients have with compassion and patience—at least this is my goal!

 

Dr. Glosten with a student.

Dr. Glosten with a student.

 

TSB: What is the most common issue you see in your riding students? What is the usual solution?

BG: I would have to say it is a rare rider that doesn’t have some postural issue to work on. Posture is so fundamental to a balanced position in the saddle, both front-to-back, and side-to-side. Problems with front-to-back posture (being arched, or rounded, in the spine) can interfere with staying precisely with the horse’s movement, and not being left behind. Lateral, or side-to-side, imbalance is also very common—that is, a rider sits heavily on either her right or left seat bone, all the time, rather than staying balanced over both seat bones.

The usual solution is first helping the rider to be aware of the problem, and with feedback from mirrors, help her recognize that what feels “normal” is not correct alignment. Activating the relevant muscle groups to help stabilize correct alignment helps the rider keep the good posture. Feedback from the horse, by way of improved movement and responsiveness, is the most powerful, positive reinforcement for keeping, and believing in, the prescribed postural changes.

 

TSB: What are three things you hope riders can take away from your book THE RIDING DOCTOR?

BG: I hope riders are empowered to take seriously the important role their posture and balance plays in the success of their horse’s training.

I hope that riders come to believe that they can change posture and movement habits that interfere with their riding and performance.

I hope that riders come away with a system to consider their position every step of the ride. That they can ride along asking themselves, “Where am I? Where am I?” to maintain awareness of their own body while riding.

 

TSB: You are an active competitor. What are your training and showing goals for 2015?

BG: I am looking forward to 2015 as a training year. The horse I ride now, Donner Girl, is one-year post-rehabilitation for a ligament injury. It has been a slow journey back to training, but she is going really well right now. I don’t want the pressure of the show ring to change the path we are on. Maybe we’ll be back there in 2016. Also, this summer is pretty booked for me teaching clinics on the weekends—which I thoroughly enjoy.

 

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

BG: I’m not sure I remember the very first time. But I do recall, when I was perhaps 7 or 8 years old, friends up the road came by with their horses. I remember thinking that they were HUGE! Now, they might have been 16 hands or so, but for a kid, it was a long way up! I definitely recall the wonderful smells of leather and the horses’ sweaty coats and warm breath. I remember feeling both fear and joy as the horse I sat on walked off, marveling at how natural it was for the horse to move this way, but how foreign it felt to me.

 

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

BG: This I do recall! The same friends I mentioned, who lived in our neighborhood just during the summer, not only had big horses, but they also leased two ponies. Perhaps a year or so after my first ride, I remember going to their house to ride the ponies. There was a little trail through the pasture we used to ride on, back and forth. One day the pony I was riding “took off” on this trail in the downhill section. I landed face first in the dirt, with a bloody nose. But I was back on the next day!

 

Dr. Glosten and Donner Girl ("DG").

Dr. Glosten and Donner Girl (“DG”).

 

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

BG: I don’t think I can name just one quality. Sincerity and honesty come to mind, but also the willingness to simply bear witness—that is, just listen to my story. Give advice only if asked.

 

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

BG: I really appreciate a horse that tries hard to do what you are asking. Donner Girl is this way— and of all the horses I tried when looking for her, it is the characteristic that made her stand out.

 

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

BG: Breeze a racehorse.

 

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

BG: 1% milk for my morning coffee, mirepoix (carrots, onions, celery), eggs, cooked brown rice, vegetables, cheddar and parmesan cheeses.

 

TSB: What is your idea of perfect happiness?

BG: Good health, good companionship (people and/or critters), and acceptance.

 

TSB: What is your idea of the perfect meal?

BG: First, it must be made from real, natural ingredients. I am a committed omnivore, but care that any meat I eat comes from an animal that was humanely treated.  While I’m a meat-eater, I love vegetables. The perfect meal is satisfying but balanced so I don’t feel grossly full afterward. And the perfect dinner is always accompanied by a lovely wine—an Oregonian or French Pinot Noir would be delightful, thank you!

 

TSB: What is your idea of the perfect vacation?

BG: A perfect vacation inspires me, and exposes me to new ideas, new art, new food. Relaxing is not what I seek—I want something different. Recently I traveled to Thailand on my own. It was nearly the perfect vacation, except that I sprained my ankle halfway through.  If this hadn’t happened, however, I would have never experienced Thai acupuncture!

 

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

BG: Siddartha Gautama, or the Buddha. His teachings weren’t written down until 400 years after his death. I wonder how close they are to what he really taught.

 

TSB: What is your motto?

BG: Perfection is the enemy of good.

 

CLICK IMAGE TO ORDER

CLICK IMAGE TO ORDER

Read more about Dr. Glosten’s book THE RIDING DOCTOR and download a FREE sample chapter on the TSB online bookstore, where shipping in the US is FREE.

CLICK HERE

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