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Every year as we turn the page on one year and look forward to the next, we glance back through the months prior and the books and DVDs we published. It is always rewarding to review the results of our work and to know that hopefully, there are a few happier, healthier horses out there.

We hope that 2017 brings you many great rides and peaceful moments with your horse. Happy New Year!

 

TSB 2016 Books and DVDs

 

THE DRESSAGE HORSE MANIFESTO by Yvonne Barteau

A Grand Prix dressage rider and performer, Barteau lets her horses do the talking in this book about it truly takes to train through the levels, according to each horse’s individual needs.

 

JOURNEY TO SOFTNESS by Mark Rashid

The renowned horseman shares personal anecdotes, as well as stories written by others in his life, that shed light on the concept of softness between horse and rider.

 

UNRELENTING by George H. Morris with Karen Robertson

The autobiography of the “Godfather” of American equestrianism—the real story of his life, told in his own words, while tracing the trajectory of international equestrian competition over the past 70 years.

 

FIT TO RIDING IN 9 WEEKS! by Heather Sansom

A certified fitness trainer and riding coach, Sansom provides a specific workout to improve your riding skills and abilities with only 30 minutes, 3 days a week, for 9 weeks.

 

LONG-REINING WITH DOUBLE DAN HORSEMANSHIP by Dan James and Dan Steers with Kayla Starnes

The popular Australian duo explain basic long-reining techniques that anyone can use: safe, controlled groundwork to improve communication with and responsiveness in the horse.

 

OUT OF THE WILD by Mark Rashid

The first novel by master storyteller Rashid, now a major motion picture, about down-and-out cowboy Henry McBride, dude-ranch owner Jessie King, and an injured Mustang.

 

HORSE SPEAK by Sharon Wilsie and Gretchen Vogel

Sold out before the first print-run even reached our warehouse, this instant bestseller is the first equine-human translation guide, with easy steps to having conversations with horses in their language.

 

FERGUS: A HORSE TO BE RECKONED WITH by Jean Abernethy

The world’s most popular cartoon horse is back, and this time a Lad tries to convince him that being partners might not be so bad—for ages 5 to 95!

 

HORSE MASSAGE: LIGHT TO THE CORE by Jim Masterson

The Masterson Method that takes do-it-yourself bodywork “beyond horse massage” has helped horses achieve comfort all around the world. Now Masterson provides “Light Touch” options that are incredibly effective.

 

BRAIN TRAINING FOR RIDERS by Andrea Monsaratt Waldo

Tame that “Lizard Brain” with fun, effective techniques that ease anxiety, improve performance, and overcome fear from psychotherapist, riding coach, and competitor Andrea Waldo.

 

MINI SCHOOL by Sabine Ellinger

A paperback re-release of the bestselling how-to training book for Miniature Horse and small pony owners, with in-hand work, dressage, conditioning, and favorite tricks, plus so much more.

 

ACUPRESSURE FOR HORSES by Dr. Ina Gösmeier

The veterinarian for the German national and international equestrian teams gives readers acupressure basics anyone can use to help keep horses comfortable and performing their best.

 

UTA GRÄF’S EFFORTLESS DRESSAGE PROGRAM by Uta Gräf with Friederike Heidenhof

Grand Prix dressage rider Uta Gräf has made a name in international dressage circles for her wild hair and happy horses—here she outlines her diverse and natural training concepts.

 

FINDING THE MISSED PATH by Mark Rashid

Rashid returns to explain the art of restarting horses—the first of his many popular books to include color photographs.

 

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

Here’s what we published in:

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

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pool

The year winding to its close in a flurry of parties and family and (at least here in Vermont) snow often inspires nostalgic glances back while perhaps ambitious resolutions are cast forward. It is a time when those of us who ride or work with horses on a regular basis may evaluate goals met (or not), consider the steps gained with a particular project and where they’ll lead in the months ahead, or perhaps ponder the role that horses play in our lives now, and the one we’d wish for them in the future.

In her book COLLECTIVE REMARKS, FEI and USEF dressage judge Anne Gribbons shares how competing on horseback eventually came to hold less importance, as the satisfaction of figuring out each individual horse while adding to her own “pool of knowledge” gained significance. At TSB, we aim to support those who spend their lives striving to learn more about horses, to appreciate different approaches from different disciplines and schools of philosophy, and to consider new ideas while respecting the tried-and-true of classical equestrianism. As we add to our own “pool of knowledge,” we hope we have a chance to add to yours, too.

All orders from the TSB online bookstore placed before noon on Thursday, December 18, ship FREE in the US in time for Christmas.

SHOP NOW

 

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“Full Circle” from COLLECTIVE REMARKS by Anne Gribbons

When I was a kid and started riding, competition was the farthest thing from my mind. All I wanted was to be around horses, to breathe in their wonderful sweet smell—to me more exhilarating than any other fragrance on earth—and to touch their velvety coat, to look into their sad and all-knowing eyes. Riding them was a privilege and a joy beyond anything else I could desire. In short, I was just like any other horse-crazy kid in the world. Years later, my whole life became involved with horses, and with serious training arrived the need for competition; the fire it lit in my blood was a whole new aspect of riding. Jumping and eventing keeps you on your toes, but even dressage can be exciting when there is a good class and you have a long-term goal in mind.

Today, after many years of competing and after obtaining some of those goals, I must admit that I look at showing differently. The few minutes in the ring still makes my blood run faster (although the reasons may vary from joy to alarm), but the rest of the scene can appear as just “more of the same.” The planning, packing, traveling, loading, fussing, waiting, re-packing, and traveling again is a lot of work, and when I think of all the weekends in my life that were absorbed by horse shows, I sometimes wonder about my sanity….

After all this time, I have almost returned to base. Although, thankfully, more experienced, I am back in the mode where I am totally satisfied staying at home with my horses. The training, which has always been the true motivation for diligently showing up at the barn every day, is the constant that never becomes monotonous, uninteresting, or exactly the same two days in a row. It would be impossible to stay inspired while training horses but for the fact that every single horse has something new to offer, which gives you reason to add to your pool of knowledge and meet the challenge of dealing with that specific individual.

My triumphs today are not measured in ribbons and scores, but in the satisfaction of having a day when a horse who had a problem suddenly catches on and performs a movement with ease, or a particular sequence of exercises feel just like you know they should: no tension, no resistance, and no effort, just horse and rider gliding together. The ultimate satisfac­tion is to look at a horse you have known from the time he was broken and watch him grow more beautiful every year because of the building of his muscles and strength. The finished, happy, and sound Grand Prix horse is a work of art, and all the time it took to bring him there is well worth it. Things of quality take time, and your trained horse does not have to go to the Olympics to give you an enormous amount of pride and joy in your accomplishments together.

 

COLLECTIVE REMARKS is available now from the TSB online bookstore.

CLICK HERE TO ORDER

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ponypresent

 

Who among us doesn’t remember the ache of wanting, wishing, hoping, even believing that THIS year would be the year that Santa persuaded a pony to wait quietly and patiently under the tree until Christmas morning? It is not a wish unique to one girl or boy, or to one particular state or country. The truth is, there are far more pony dreams out there than Santa’s (probably) palomino-centric breeding facility can fulfill.

If it’s been a while since you remembered the longing you once felt—back before hiking through the snow each morning to feed became more of a chore than a celebration—or if you can’t even remember life before horses…or perhaps if you long ago shelved riding fantasies alongside your worn copies of National Velvet and Thunderhead, take a moment to share in these real-life, pony presents. I promise, it will all come right back to you.

At Trafalgar Square Books, the leading publisher of equestrian books and DVDs, we might not be able to fill holiday orders for ponies, but we can help prepare horse lovers of all ages, interests, and experience levels for the horse of their dreams, whenever and wherever he finally appears.

Visit our online store now to browse our fantastic selection of horse books and DVDs. You can still get FREE shipping in the US in time for Christmas…and we promise our products sit very quietly and patiently under the tree.

 

The Pony with the Middle Name

 

2  The Girl Who Can’t Believe It

 

3  The Dance and the Tears

 

Roxy

 

5  Oh My Gosh, It’s a Pony!

 

6  And We’ll Leave You with…Hannah’s Surprise

 

 

CLICK HERE TO VISIT THE TSB ONLINE BOOKSTORE NOW

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HolidayBooks

Click image above to hear recommendations for 5 horse books that make great holiday gifts.

 

Have you started your holiday shopping in earnest? Are there a few horse lovers on your list this year? Check out last week’s episode of The Whoa Podcast for 5 great horse book recommendations appropriate for all disciplines and all levels of experience. CLICK HERE to listen now!

And you still have until MONDAY NIGHT (DECEMBER 8) to take advantage of TSB’s three-day, 20% off sitewide sale PLUS FREE SHIPPING in the US!

 

HolidaySale-2014

Visit to see our newest books and DVDs—including Jonathan Field’s THE ART OF LIBERTY TRAINING FOR HORSES and Jim Masterson’s BEYOND HORSE MASSAGE WALL CHARTS—and order today!

CLICK HERE TO SHOP NOW

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Upward transitions are all about thrust and reach. They reinforce the "Go." Downward transitions are all about engagement. They reinforce the "Whoa."

Upward transitions are all about thrust and reach. They reinforce the “Go.” Downward transitions are all about engagement. They reinforce the “Whoa.”

 

“The purpose of transitions,” says Beth Baumert in her new book WHEN TWO SPINES ALIGN: DRESSAGE DYNAMICS, “isn’t to get into the gait of choice, but rather to do it with grace, in a way that improves the horse. Transitions can improve the connection and collect him.”

Transitions not only make life fun and interesting for the horse, they also put the rider in the position of leader. Here are Beth’s tips for riding good transitions:

  • Make one change at a time.
  • Convert the energy.
  • Monitor the frame.
  • Relax the neck.
  • Monitor the bend.
  • Monitor the rhythm.
  • Monitor the speed.
  • “Look for the possibility”—feel for the right moment to make the transition.

 

Exercise: Looking for the Possibility
“Looking for the possibility” of a transition is all about gaining access to the horse’s hindquarters and keeping connected to them.

Step 1  Do a trot-walk transition and immediately do a leg-yield or shoulder-fore. Then trot off again.

Step 2  Next, halt briefly and do a turn-on-the-forehand or a turn-on-the-haunches. Then trot off again. The turn or movement teaches the horse that he needs to stay connected and listening with his hindquarters in the walk. Even if the turn or the movement isn’t perfect, it improves him, making the next upward transition more supple, engaged, and obedient. It makes the next transition more possible.

Step 3  Do variations of the same theme: Leg-yield or confirm your shoulder-fore before the transition to canter. These transitions help you retain the ability to “Go” in downward transitions, and they help you retain the ability to “Whoa” in the forward work. When the circle of aids is working you can easily adjust your horse within that circle, making anything possible. You want to be in the “land of all possibilities.”

 

Find other great insight and exercises in Beth’s new book WHEN TWO SPINES ALIGN: DRESSAGE DYNAMICS, available now from the TSB online bookstore.

CLICK HERE TO ORDER

 

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Here’s what top riders, trainers, and judges are saying about WHEN TWO SPINES ALIGN: DRESSAGE DYNAMICS:

“Sometimes when I’m teaching I find myself thinking my student really needs to read Beth Baumert’s book. The perspective and the words she’s chosen give a welcomed fresh approach to describing the theories behind training.” —George Williams, Member, US Dressage Team and President, United States Dressage Federation (USDF)

“I absolutely LOVE this book! It grabbed me from the moment I read the words ‘perfect balance’ and ‘that place where two spines meet’—you get such a great visual from this! When teaching, it can be a struggle to help riders who can’t seem to balance themselves. This is where author Beth Baumert provides a valuable tool: She explains why the rider’s balance is the key to the horse’s balance and how a controlled interaction of balance ultimately leads to success and harmony. This book is where the magic begins.” —Debbie McDonald, Two-Time Olympian and USEF Developing Dressage Coach

“Beth Baumert and I are on the same wavelength when it comes to horses and dressage training. Now she has created the best guide I’ve seen for those who really want to grasp the ins and outs of dressage—I’ve never read a book covering all facets of dressage in this detail. With all that is going on in our sport today, I hope that riders—now and in the future—will pursue dressage as it is described here by Beth.” —Henk van Bergen, Former Chef d’Equipe, Dutch National Dressage Team and British National Young Riders Developing Team, and Member, FEI Judges Supervisory Panel

“This book is truly timeless. I can humbly admit that it clarified some subject even for me, after a lifetime of being involved with dressage. It is the equivalent of countless clinics given by some of the best in the world.” —Axel Steiner, FEI 5* Dressage Judge (Retired), USEF “S” Judge, and USDF “L” Program Faculty Member

“Beth Baumert’s book is desperately needed. I see many riders going down the wrong road, often because of a dubious understanding of the term ‘dressage’ and a limited view of its importance. Whatever you are riding—whether hunters, ponies, jumpers—I recommend that you learn about and use dressage in your schooling, if only for reasons of maintaining soundness. I’m lucky that, in my life of riding and teaching, there has never been jumping without flatwork. But that’s in my own little world. Today’s riders are too consumed with cosmetics and competition. Even riders at the top have somehow lost what the Masters knew centuries ago! Every rider needs to know the basic tenets of dressage, and so I recommend When Two Spines Align: Dressage Dynamics. I can’t say enough good about it.” —George Morris, Former Chef d’Equipe, US Show Jumping Team

“This is a great book! It mirrors what I see in Beth Baumert’s students—they all demonstrate a very classical way of riding and training horses. When Two Spines Align: Dressage Dynamics clearly explains the classical foundation of how the rider should balance and sit so that he or she can then educate the horse. Beth has provided a valuable tool for all kinds and levels of riders.” —Bo Jena, Chef d’Equipe, Swedish Dressage Team and FEI 4* Judge

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ThxBlogImage

 

As we cross into the land of “hundreds of thousands” of faithful blog readers, TSB just wants to say thank you! We hope your visits to the TSB blog provide you great riding, training, and horse-care tips, as well as information about exciting equine events around the world, fun glimpses behind-the-barn-doors in the lives of top riders and horse experts, and up-close-and-personal interviews and features with our amazingly diverse, talented, and experienced authors.

Trafalgar Square Books and our online storefront www.HorseandRiderBooks.com remains devoted to providing horse lovers everywhere with the very best in riding and horsemanship education. As a thank you for visiting us as you further your equestrian skills and knowledge, please use this coupon on your next book or DVD purchase:

 TSB Warehouse Coupon

 

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“At the outset of any new relationship, there is the joy of getting to know someone and of doing things together. A horse develops his interest partly because he likes to play or just hang out with us. With very shy horses, a glance is enough to tell me what I need to know: I get an idea of his nature and want to make contact even if it is not in the way I had originally planned. If there is a certain spark that tells me he wants to make contact, then I know I have enough love and patience to create the right working relationship and achieve a good conclusion—even if it takes years.

“It is precisely this preparedness to devote hundreds of hours of work over many years that is important. If you have not felt this divine spark and do not believe strongly enough in the journey to devote all the time and love that is required then it will only be boring—both for you and for the horse—but, if you have felt the spark and have faith, then it is my conviction that the horse will always do his utmost to work with you and win your love.

“When I have found myself just assessing a horse’s merits rationally, the relationship has always remained platonic. This is, of course, a perfectly reasonable basis for a good working relationship for some other people, but not for us. It would not be satisfactory either for us or for the horse. In order to be properly content, a horse must have a real attraction and be in the position to forge a firm bond.”

—Magali Delgado in BUILDING A LIFE TOGETHER–YOU AND YOUR HORSE

 

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“Ethologists hold up their hands in horror at he concept of anthropomorphism, but I am convinced that you have to put yourself into the horse’s skin if you are to gain an understanding. This does not mean that you can assume the horse will react to every situation similarly to a human reaction. It is more a matter of being aware of the difficulties the horse experiences in communicating with a human and sometimes of the conflicting demands made upon him.

“What is evident and causes problems is that a horse has a developed sense of fairness and justice. We have to be fair in the analysis of a situation and in our actions that result from this. Some horses will rebel against what they perceive as unjust. They notice immediately if their own signals have not been received and decoded, but react wonderfully when they know they have. It is not a matter of giving in to their wishes but of acting justly and taking into account their interests, their comfort, and indeed ours at the same time!”

—Frédéric Pignon in BUILDING A LIFE TOGETHER–YOU AND YOUR HORSE

 

Magali and Frédéric gained international fame when they toured North America and Europe as the founding stars of the hit show Cavalia, from 2003 to 2009. They are currently performing a new show in Europe, with a hand-picked cast of 50 horses and 30 performers. Check out EQUI:

 

 

Both BUILDING A LIFE TOGETHER–YOU AND YOUR HORSE and GALLOP TO FREEDOM by Magali Delgado and Frédéric Pignon are available from the TSB online bookstore, where shipping in the US is FREE.

CLICK HERE TO VISIT US

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Doug kicked off the spring season by marrying Jessica Hampf. Photo by Kristyn DeCaro Mangano

Doug kicked off the spring season by marrying Jessica Hampf. Photo by Kristyn DeCaro Mangano

TSB author and top event rider Doug Payne has had an intense and exciting start to the year! Doug kicked off 2014 with nothing less than nuptials: He wed Jessica Hampf in March. One celebration followed the other, with his fantastic new book released in early April. THE RIDING HORSE REPAIR MANUAL is already receiving glowing reviews, and we’re hoping that Doug’s insightful (and fully tested!) advice helps all those riders out there with four-legged “problem children.” Check out the fab Horse Junkies United review below for more about Doug’s book!

Next up: Doug and Crown Talisman—the 2003 Holsteiner/Thoroughbred gelding he owns with Larry and Amelia Ross—are headed for the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event. Rolex runs Thursday, April 24, through Sunday, April 27, 2014, at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington. And Doug and “Tali” were one of two horse-and-rider combinations awarded Land Rover Competition Grants to compete at the Saumur CCI3* in Saumur, France, May 22 through May 25, 2014.

So who is this “Tali” horse that Doug has taken to the top of international eventing competition?

Doug tells us about Tali and the challenges they faced together as they learned to become successful athletic partners in THE RIDING HORSE REPAIR MANUAL. Here’s a short excerpt:

Doug and Crown Talisman ("Tali") at the 2012 Fair Hill International CCI**. Photo by Shannon Brinkman

Doug and Crown Talisman (“Tali”) at the 2012 Fair Hill International CCI**. Photo by Shannon Brinkman

“Tali stands 17.1 hands tall and is a striking, dark bay…just about the perfect physical specimen and the most talented horse I’ve ever had the pleasure of riding in dressage. Not only is he good there, but he’s an exceptionally good, brave jumper as well.

“Tali didn’t have a malicious bone in his body, but he was a bit of a rogue. The first day I rode him I just walked and picked up the trot for a short while. I knew from longeing him and from what I’d been told that he was athletic, but someone can tell you that all day long and it just doesn’t seem to sink in until you experience it firsthand. My introduction to Tali came in the form of noise: I’m still not sure what it was but some loud sharp bang in the background sent us into the air. Unlike any horse I’ve ever ridden, he could ‘levitate’ himself on a whim. Not a buck or rear, just all four feet off the ground at once, without warning. It took me a while to understand what was happening.

“Horses are creatures of habit. Most behaviors will repeat themselves. It didn’t really dawn on me until we were at his first event in Aiken, S.C. that spring exactly what was happening. If he heard a loud noise or bang, regardless of the gait, he’d levitate and spin so that upon landing, he would be facing the direction of the noise, planted like a statue, with his ears pricked to figure out where exactly it came from. I can’t find the words to describe how strong he was and how it’s possible to be trotting along, then in the air doing a 180-degree turn, then landing absolutely still. All other horses would be struggling for balance, or take a few steps to get planted into the ground—not Tali.”

You can read the full story of Tali and some of Doug’s other horse “success stories” in THE RIDING HORSE REPAIR MANUAL. Doug shares these real-life case studies as proof of how the toolbox of tips and techniques he offers in his book can work for you. THE RIDING HORSE REPAIR MANUAL just got a rave review on Horse Junkies United:

“This book is a must buy!” says reviewer (and rider!) Tracy Porter. “Whether you have a seasoned schoolmaster, a greenie who is just learning the ropes, or a problem child like my boy you will appreciate Doug’s honesty and vast knowledge in your pursuit of the perfect horse!”

You can read the full review on Horse Junkies United by CLICKING HERE.

 

CLICK IMAGE to read the full review of THE RIDING HORSE REPAIR MANUAL on Horse Junkies United

CLICK IMAGE to read the full review of THE RIDING HORSE REPAIR MANUAL on Horse Junkies United

 

Doug will be signing copies of THE RIDING HORSE REPAIR MANUAL at the Practical Horseman and Bit of Britain tents at the 2014 Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event. Watch the TSB Facebook page and follow TSB on Twitter for times and locations to be posted next week. Not going to Rolex? Doug’s book is available to order from the TSB online bookstore, where shipping in the US is FREE. CLICK HERE TO ORDER NOW.

 

Follow TSB on Facebook for signing times and locations at the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event. Click the image above to follow TSB.

Follow TSB on Facebook for signing times and locations at the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event. Click the image above to follow TSB.

 

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Screen Shot 2014-04-14 at 8.56.58 PM

 

“How the horse responds during training can be influenced not only by its affective state (mood) and arousal (alertness) level, but also by how attached it feels to the trainer,” says the August 2013 article from the International Society for Equitation Science (ISES) Arousal, Attachment, and Affective State. Is the Horse in a Learning Frame of Mind?

Andrew McLean, PhD, Director of the Australian Equine Behaviour Centre (AEBC), and Professor Paul McGreevy of the University of Sydney, Australia, examined the complex combined impact that mood, alertness, and bond with a human can have on a horse’s training. McLean says that because horses possess the largest amygdala of all domestic animals, “… they have a very significant flight response…they are very fearful animals.”

As many of us have now learned from numerous clinicians and trainers, understanding how to temper the horse’s fear is of primary importance to those who wish to form an attachment or “bond” with their horses.

“One way to modify this fear may be in how we touch the horse,” the article says. “Historically, horse training hasn’t involved much touching of the animal, yet horses find security with one another through touch. Recent studies have shown the positive effects of grooming on lowering heart rate. Dr. McLean proposed that such primary positive reinforcement may be another tool in the training toolbox that can be used to overcome fearful insecurity in the horse. Touch may be an important way to develop attachment between human and horse.”

 

Click image for more information about the Tellington Method for Dressage Horses clinic in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Click image for more information about the Tellington Method for Dressage Horses clinic in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

 

Renowned animal behaviorist and horse trainer Linda Tellington-Jones made her name as the founder of the Tellington Method, a three-part training system that centers around her now famous Tellington TTouch. Tellington TTouches are a collection of circles, lifts, and slides done with the rider’s or trainer’s hands and fingertips over various parts of the horse’s body. These TTouches have, over the last 40 years, been proven to enhance trust, release tension, increase flexibility, overcome habitual “holding” patterns that lead to resistance, and aid a horse in recovery from illness or injury. Linda has long maintained what Dr. McLean and Dr. McGreevy have asserted in their recent findings: that how we touch the horse matters in training. And, the right kind of touch can lead to enhanced learning and improved performance.

 

Try this Tellington TTouch:

Llama TTouch: Use the back of your hand, from where the knuckles meet the back of the hand to the fingertips, with the hand softly open (a less threatening way of making contact) to push the horse’s skin in a full circle-and-a-quarter clockwise, or in some cases, to stroke. Apply a very light pressure on the horse’s face, ears, or neck. This TTouch builds confidence in timid horses, soothes, nervous ones, and helps when you are approaching a horse you don’t know for the first time.

 

Linda is the author of numerous books. Her most recent is DRESSAGE WITH MIND, BODY & SOUL, which provides innovative ways to improve performance and longevity in dressage horses. Linda is giving a Tellington Method for Dressage clinic at Ashwin Stables in Santa Fe, New Mexico, April 17-19, 2014. For information on how to attend or audit, CLICK HERE.

Linda tells you about her upcoming clinic in the short video below:

 

For more information about Linda’s book DRESSAGE WITH MIND, BODY & SOUL, CLICK HERE.

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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 (www.puterbaughdressage.com)—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.

CLICK HERE TO READ A FREE EXCERPT AND ORDER NOW

 

–Rebecca Didier, Senior Editor

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