Practical Horseman Magazine Recommends New DVDs to Keep Your Riding Moving Forward When the Weather Keeps You Inside



“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.



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

Halloween Tips for Keeping the “Scared” Out of Riding and Working with Horses



When you work with or ride horses for long enough, there’s bound to be at least one moment where you find yourself with your heart pounding, your stomach in knots, and all-out fear pulsing through your body.

Scary incidents are an unfortunate byproduct of working with such large, powerful animals. Sometimes, a frightening scenario plays out because of human error. A person (often out of ignorance) may startle a horse or push him too hard or too fast. Horses are our athletic partners, and rider decisions made in training and competition can cause dangerous scenarios to unfold. Sometimes, the horse’s instinct for flight or fight is the source of danger. It does not matter how much you love your horse or how much you think he loves you—the fact remains that horses are hardwired for survival, and they possess teeth, hooves, speed, and size to make that possible.

The good thing is that we can educate ourselves to limit the number of scary incidents and keep riding and working with horses safe. The more we know about the horse and his instincts, the more we respect his power and teach him to respect our presence, the better we are at our chosen discipline, and the more secure our seat, the safer we will be. And, when we feel safe (not scared!) we can have more fun doing what we love to do.

Here’s what Buck Brannaman says about fear and how we can defeat it with knowledge in 7 CLINICS WITH BUCK BRANNAMAN:



Riding in Real Life: The Runaway

When I was ten years old I went on a hack with my riding instructor. She was on a green training project and I was on an older OTTB mare. I’d ridden since I was five and was a confident kid. I’d also ridden the mare before in lessons.

We crossed the main road and headed up a fairly steep ascent. I don’t really remember how far we had traveled when the mare I was on decided she’d just had enough. She spun, and I stuck on, but then she was off, galloping downhill on a gravel road, faster than I’d ever gone in my life. Sitting here, typing this now, I can feel my heart racing at the memory of it…of how I couldn’t stop her…how I pulled back with all my strength and seesawed the reins, but the mare just pulled back harder and ran faster.

At the time, the only answer I had to the situation was to get off. At the time, hitting the ground hard seemed less scary than plummeting downhill toward a busy road on an out-of-control horse. I’d learned the emergency dismount when I’d started riding and managed some skewed form of it, flinging myself out of the saddle and then rolling, as I remembered being taught, away from my horse’s flying hooves.

I had a helmet on (thankfully). I didn’t break anything (thankfully). I was sprained and bruised and shaken, but other than that I was okay. The mare, too, survived her skidding, sliding navigation across the road and back to the barn, where we found her with lathered chest and heaving sides, reins dangerously looped loose up near her ears.

The tool I had needed when my horse ran away with me, but didn’t have yet, was the “pulley rein” or “one-rein stop.” I needed to know how to redirect my horse’s energy. Sergeant Rick Pelicano, author of BOMBPROOF YOUR HORSE and BETTER THAN BOMBPROOF describes it this way:


The Pulley Rein

1  Hold one rein tightly, braced on the neck and grabbing mane if you can.

2  Pull the other rein straight up and toward you.

3  Lean back, push your legs forward, and sit deep in the saddle.

Training Tip: Clinton Anderson has a great One-Rein Stop exercise to help train your horse to immediately stop and soften at any gait when you pick up one rein. Check out CLINTON ANDERSON’S DOWNUNDER HORSEMANSHIP.


But what about my instructor? What could she have done in my runaway scenario? Caroline Robbins, Publisher at Trafalgar Square Books, says that some of her scariest experiences riding were out on the trail with others, watching as a horse bolted and took off, and not knowing what to do or how to help.

Sean Patrick, author of THE MODERN HORSEMAN’S COUNTDOWN TO BROKE and one of this year’s Road to the Horse Wild Card Contestants, began his career as a high-country guide in the rugged mountains of British Columbia. I asked him about his experiences in groups and what onlookers should do when a fellow rider is in trouble.


Sean says:

1  Avoid reacting yourself. When a horse is pulling a tree out of the ground, jumping sideways or bolting off, remain still and quiet. When a handler rushes toward a reacting horse or yells, “Whoa!” the result is rarely helpful. A runaway does not need another horse to run behind it as well. The fleeing reaction might continue.

2  When in the saddle, the sound of thundering hooves can initiate a startle reflex with your own mount. When you feel this anxiety building, it might be best to simply take one rein and turn your horse to face the opposite direction. A well-trained mount will be able to stand quietly, but a more-novice horse may feel influenced by the other horse’s fear.

3  When a group is together in a pasture, and one rider is having great trouble, there is very little to do except keep yourself safe. This way the runaway horse is more likely to relax, slow down, and come back to the group. If a fall happens, at least you will be in control and able to come to the rider’s aid. When in such situations, I’ve learned to sit quietly and respond after it’s over.


Horses can bring us joy, peace, companionship with other people and other creatures, and they can bring us closer to the land that surrounds us. As long as we keep learning and strive to better understand the horse and react in more appropriate ways to his own reactions, as long as we seek instruction from others with more experience so we are prepared to handle whatever happens in the saddle, then we are on our way to keeping the “scared” out of riding and working with horses, and the joy in it.

Stay safe. Have fun. Happy Halloween

–Rebecca Didier, Senior Editor


All the books and DVDs mentioned in this post are available from the TSB online bookstore, where shipping in the US is always FREE.


Check Out the Video Preview of the New DVD Series from Renowned Horseman Bernie Traurig

This puts most schooling obstacles to shame! Learn how the cavalry was involved in the evolution of the forward riding system in Bernie Traurig's new DVD series.

This puts most schooling obstacles to shame! Learn how the cavalry was involved in the evolution of the forward riding system in Bernie Traurig’s new DVD series.


How we “get over jumps” on horseback has come a long way since mankind’s earliest attempts. This evolution has enabled us to benefit from the horse’s athleticism as a means of transport, both as a matter of necessity and a matter of sport, as well as over a vast array of obstacles—from basic cavalletti in the beginner arena to fallen logs on the trail to the (sometimes!) heart-poundingly high fences seen in international show jumping and eventing competition.

Esteemed horseman and acclaimed clinician Bernie Traurig has put together a unique series of DVDs that illustrates the results of this jumping evolution: the components of what we now know as the “forward seat riding system.” Three specific areas of focus—rider position, control of the horse, and flatwork schooling—have developed over time as the world’s very best equestrians concentrated their efforts on ensuring safety, grace, efficiency of movement, and optimal performance in their jumping horses. And now, Bernie has provided a high-quality visual education in this system that can bring us all closer to attaining our riding and training goals, whatever our ability or level.

THE AMERICAN FORWARD RIDING HUNTER/JUMPER SYSTEM Complete Series includes a terrific bonus DVD where Bernie traces the history of jumping and gives viewers a glimpse of how the system evolved into what it is today.


“I give kudos to Bernie Traurig, master rider and total horseman, for taking this system of position, control, and schooling to the world,” says former US Show Jumping Team Chef d’Equipe George Morris.


Check out this FREE video preview of the DVDs:



THE AMERICAN FORWARD RIDING HUNTER/JUMPER SYSTEM  is available in one complete series and as individual DVDs from the TSB online bookstore.



Legendary Horseman Bernie Traurig Talks About Exciting Surprises Coming from, His New DVDs, and Top Gun (Yes, the One with Tom Cruise)


Legendary horseman Bernie Traurig has a new DVD series out now!

Legendary horseman Bernie Traurig has a new DVD series out now!

We were lucky enough to catch up with Bernie Traurig last week, and we asked him to tell us a little about the amazing equestrian education resource he’s put together in, as well as the seven new DVDs is releasing in conjunction with TSB. Bernie filled us in, teasing us with hints about exciting new developments coming from, and admitting along the way that he doesn’t know what else he should try to do on horseback that he hasn’t already done! (Do you have any ideas? If so, let us know here or on FB, and we’ll be sure to share your recommendations with Bernie!)


TSB: is a phenomenal website and portal to a broad selection of extremely well demonstrated equestrian tips, techniques, and sport-specific know-how. The site says it was created “to make quality education accessible and affordable to every equestrian, regardless of their background, their level, or their geographic location.” Can you tell us a little about the inspiration behind, how it came together, and what your hopes are for it and for your subscribers in the future?

BERNIE: I was really fortunate to have been educated by some of the very best Master Instructors in this country and the world. Not everyone has access to those top people. One of the reasons I travel a great deal as a clinician is because it is fulfilling to me to spread quality education. was born out of my desire to reach people who are hungry for more education, and I knew the Internet could serve that purpose. Having been a professional horseman most of my life, I was clueless as to how to go about making my vision a reality however. From the building of a viable website, to streaming content, to video editing—it’s been quite a journey and an education in itself to get to this point and there’s so much more I still want to do.  We have some exciting surprises in store for our great subscribers coming up in the next few months, but I’m not ready to go public with them just yet!


TSB: already features instruction in high definition, delivered to your computer, tablet, or mobile device, from top trainers, riders, and coaches in many of the most popular equestrian sports. The site features training videos not only from you, but from other big names in the industry, such as George Morris, Denny Emerson, Tim McQuay, Debbie McDonald, Laura Kraut, Archie Cox, Tom McCutcheon, and Axel Steiner, to name just a few, along with dozens of other experts, including veterinarians, stable management specialists, course designers, sport psychology coaches, equine dentists, and many, many more. Why do you think provides an optimal forum for sharing the knowledge and experience of such a diverse group of horsemen and women? How do you determine who best suits this method of dissemination of horsemanship? Who do you hope to include on the site in the future?

BERNIE: If you have been in this business as long as I have, you meet a lot of talented, qualified people along the way. I’m proud to have developed friendships and associations with some of the best professionals throughout the industry and prouder still to be able to call on these people to share their knowledge on our site. Because there are so many facets to the sport and so many different types of experts, I feel strongly that we should provide a broad spectrum of expertise to address the many different areas of focus. I like to keep my upcoming guest coaches under my hat, but I can guarantee we will continue to deliver the industry leaders. Whether they are riders, trainers, farriers or nutritionists, they will all be top horsemen.

Bernie with his good friend, former US Show Jumping Chef d'Equipe George Morris.

Bernie with his good friend, former US Show Jumping Chef d’Equipe George Morris.


TSB: TSB is releasing seven DVD programs in conjunction with These include your own series THE AMERICAN HUNTER/JUMPER FORWARD RIDING SYSTEM, as well as two programs from George Morris and another from USEF “R”-rated hunters/hunter seat equitation judge Cynthia Hankins. Why did you decide to take these programs, originally produced for, and release them in DVD format? What is it about these programs in particular that you felt should reach beyond the subscriber base?

BERNIE: I personally have a huge collection of books and videos by many masters of the sport that I often refer to out of professional interest or just to keep that gray matter tuned up. I thought about what videos on the site could serve as that sort of reference tool that someone could go back to time and again for information and these were my picks. They represent timeless, classical and correct forward riding, and I believe they all should be part of any serious rider’s resource library. I like having these videos in DVD format because there are quite a few serious equestrians out there who are perhaps not terribly computer savvy or enjoy watching them from the comfort of their living rooms instead of from behind the computer screen. Additionally, the DVD format is convenient for instructional purposes in places like collegiate equestrian programs where teaching solid and fundamental riding and training techniques to students is so important.

Bernie in his library at home--he has a large personal collection of books and DVDs from which he's gleaned information over the years.

Bernie in his library at home–he has a large personal collection of books and DVDs from which he’s gleaned information over the years.


TSB: You are a unique equestrian in that you have competed at the highest levels in all three international Olympic disciplines—show jumping, eventing, and dressage—as well as being inducted into the National Show Hunter Hall of Fame. What are the benefits of having such diverse experience in the world of horses and why should others seek opportunities to dabble in other disciplines?

BERNIE: I honestly believe that you never stop learning and that you can take bits and pieces of information from any discipline and apply what works for you. I know that I evolved into a better jumper rider after I took a few years to pursue dressage and to this day, there are things I learned from my youth as a steeplechase jockey that serve me as a horseman as well. The horse is the common denominator and you can learn to be a better horseman by using the best methods regardless of their origin.


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

BERNIE: The first time I sat on a horse was when my mom took me on a trail ride, just the two of us, at Whitey’s Rental String in Long Island and I was eleven years old. She had me on a lead line and… read the next question and answer to see how that went!


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

BERNIE: So the horse I’m on goes nuts, Mom freaks out, I fall off (winded but fine), she made me swear not to tell Dad and, miraculously, I wanted to ride some more!!


TSB: If you were trapped on a desert island with a horse, your laptop, and WiFi, what breed of horse would it be and which movie would you stream?

BERNIE: It would have to be a breed that wants to watch Top Gun with me! What would that be? Hmmmmmm. Maybe a Thoroughbred? Something with an engine!


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

BERNIE: It’s a three-way tie between understanding, compassion and forgiveness.


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

BERNIE: A horse that quickly grasps the language that I’m using to communicate, that gets it and wants to carry on a conversation with me as a willing partner.


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

BERNIE: I haven’t done it all, but you’ve stumped me on that one!


TSB: What is your motto?

BERNIE: Perfect practice makes perfect.


Bernie Traurig’s new DVD series THE AMERICAN HUNTER/JUMPER FORWARD RIDING SYSTEM is available now from the TSB online bookstore.


Click image to order Bernie Traurig's new DVDs from!

Click image to order Bernie Traurig’s new DVDs from!


Plus, get the new DVDs from George Morris and Cynthia Hankins!



Steady Your Hands and Improve Your Contact with Two Quick Tricks from TSB Author Wendy Murdoch


Do you have trouble keeping your hands steady? Does your instructor yell at you to keep your hands quiet? Do your hands move up and down as you post? Do you tend to drop one hand lower than the other?

Unsteady hands are a major problem for many riders. In this short video, Wendy Murdoch, author of 50 5-MINUTE FIXES TO IMPROVE YOUR RIDING offers two suggestions to quickly improve your hand position.

Be sure to visit Wendy’s newly updated website! She’s made it super-easy to find and learn from dozens of her educational articles, videos, and quick tips. Plus, don’t forget Wendy is going on horseback safari in Kenya in February! Check out more about the trip HERE.

50FIMIYou can order Wendy’s bestselling book and DVDs at the TSB online bookstore.


TSB Author Susanne von Dietze Talks About Balancing Horse Life with Family Life, Keeping Ice Cream within Reach, and Taking Two-Wheeled Vacations

Susanne von Dietze, author of the new book RIDER & HORSE BACK TO BACK, balances a busy teaching and riding schedule with raising three children.

This month, Trafalgar Square Books caught up with Susanne von Dietze, author of the bestselling BALANCE IN MOVEMENT and the new book RIDER & HORSE BACK TO BACK, and asked her what it was like juggling horses and family, among other things!

TSB: You manage to have an active teaching schedule while competing a Grand Prix dressage horse and raising three children. I’m certain many riding mothers with competitive ambitions wonder where you find the time to do it all, and if you have any advice for making a riding career work while raising a family?

SvD: I ask myself the same question sometimes! Well, one big part of my career is my husband, who always backs me up and is a wonderful father—living on a Kibbuz helps, as all the facilities for the kids (school, tennis, swimming pool, basketball courts…) are within walking distance. And, when I was pregnant with my third son, I turned my horse into a schoolmaster for a good friend. My mare taught her dressage, from elementary level all the way up to becoming National Champion in Israel at Intermediaire Level, while I rode as much as my time allowed in the training.

TSB: What are your personal riding goals for 2011 and beyond?

Susanne has made a name for herself by integrating her experience as a physiotherapist (specializing in the back) with riding.

SvD: My personal riding goal is that when I get off a horse, the horse is glad that I rode him! This season I will compete on a Dutch stallion that is a champion show jumper in Israel, and the owner now wants to see how far he can get in dressage, there are some nice young horses that I am helping along…And with the children growing up, I hope that one day I will find the time to bring a horse for myself over from Germany again!

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?

SvD: I would probably choose a Thoroughbred, even though some coldblooded Shire horse or the like would make more sense to work the “fields” (on the island)…And I have too many good books to choose.

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

SvD: Ice cream!

TSB: What is your idea of perfect happiness?

SvD: I am living pretty close to it!

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

SvD: I can´t! I learned riding before walking. We didn’t own a car, but a horse, and my place was always in front of my dad. I remember I had a little pillow that was pulled through the pommel strap to make it more comfortable, and it always came along. And Dad once told me: “Remember—on the horse you are a meter closer to heaven!”

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

SvD: It was my first attempt to jump an upright cavalletti, and I did not fall at the jump, but when I proudly turned around after the jump to look and see what it was I could now do! I fell off in the corner after the jump, when the horse turned while I went straight on! I learned not to look back at jumps in that lesson!

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

SvD: Trust and reliability.

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

SvD: Enjoying learning together with me and forgiving my mistakes!

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

SvD: Morning training on a racecourse.

TSB: What is your idea of the perfect meal?

SvD: Not having to cook it!

TSB: What is your idea of the perfect vacation?

SvD: We did a family bicycle tour through Poland this spring, and that came pretty close to it!

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

SvD: My mother. She always could put me back on my feet, and knew just what to ask. She died this May and is missed dearly.

TSB: What is your motto?

SvD: LLL (Live, Love, and Laugh)

Susanne’s books BALANCE IN MOVEMENT and RIDER & HORSE BACK TO BACK, as well as her DVDs by the same name, are available at the TSB online bookstore, where shipping in the US is always FREE.

What It Was Like Publishing CENTERED RIDING by Sally Swift–TSB Publisher Caroline Robbins Looks Back on the Events that Made It Happen

TSB's beloved first author Sally Swift.

All this month we are “Remembering Sally Swift,” Trafalgar Square Books’ beloved first author and the creator of Centered Riding the book, and the now revered organization found in countries all over the world.

How did Sally Swift’s ground-breaking book Centered Riding first come into being? Caroline Robbins, publisher at TSB and Sally’s editor (she handled both Centered Riding and Centered Riding 2) shares her side of the story here, for the first time in a long time:

“Both my husband, Ted, and I were taking lessons from Sally here at the farm,” Caroline remembers  (TSB’s editorial offices are located on the Robbins’ farm in North Pomfret, Vermont—you can read more about it here). “Ted, was a very beginning rider in his late thirties, and as a physician, he had a tendency to ask anatomical questions related to what his body was actually doing in the saddle.

“Ted’s questions led to many a discussion over meals on our back porch—and Sally’s portable ‘skeleton’ (he stars in both her books and DVDs) usually joined us. As we both pressed her for information, the effort eventually led to the revelation that Sally had something about all this ‘written down.’ Needless to say I asked to see it, and a very, very rough manuscript duly was handed over.

“You might think was the end of the story—that the original manuscript was in the hands of a publisher and ‘voila,’ a bestseller was born. But that wasn’t the case, as Sally’s work—her theories, ideas, and visualization techniques—was very much ‘in progress.’ She gave me many additions of various sorts, all scribbled on the backs of envelopes, napkins, or anything she’d had on hand while she was being driven around Vermont or flying somewhere. And of course, all this happened, in the ‘early days’—we still used typewriters, not word processors, so organizing the resulting mass of material was a bear!

“As our riding lessons went on, many questions continued to be asked, and much new material was generated and the book began to take real shape—this was a process that lasted many years. Eventually, we all came to the conclusion that the material was ready for viewing, and nervously, I decided to print a very limited number of books—about 3,000 I think (at the time TSB was a book distributor and not an actual publisher, so this was a real jump into uncharted waters for me).

“And well, the rest is history. Sally’s enthusiasm was completely infectious and there was no way anybody could ignore it. We got swept up on the Centered Riding train—in a very big way, as it turned out.“

When Caroline says “a very big way,” she is referencing the fact that since that initial run of 3,000 copies or so, Centered Riding has sold more than 800,000 copies worldwide, and Trafalgar Square Books (formerly Trafalgar Square Publishing) has published more than 350 books and DVDs. Certainly, we can say that Sally Swift started her own legacy, but in a very significant way, she was the start of Trafalgar Square’s, as well.

Sally’s books and DVDs are on sale all this month on TSB’s bookstore website. Join us in celebrating this very special lady and all she did for riding and teaching riding, the world over.