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Posts Tagged ‘Wendy Murdoch’

TSBStreamingFB-horseandriderbooks

The way we watch our favorite television shows and movies is changing—we want access to the programming we love where and when it works in our busy lives. Nothing could be truer for the active horseperson: Whether we want to illustrate a point for a student on our smartphones, cue up a training video on the tack room television on a rainy afternoon, or enjoy a horse movie on our tablets when traveling to a show, having viewing choices literally at our fingertips and a link-click away is not a luxury anymore—it’s what we all expect.

Trafalgar Square Books believes that equestrian education and entertainment should evolve in order to maintain its necessary place in each of our horsemanship journeys, so we are pleased to announce the first online streaming programs now available from our expansive video library. Beginning with six of our bestselling videos and gradually growing to include the other popular titles we produce and distribute, we hope to continue to be able to offer accessible, quality information about horse care, training, and riding to all those seeking knowledge and looking to improve not only their skillsets, but also their connection with horses.

Visit TSB’s online bookstore at www.HorseandRiderBooks.com and click on “DVDs” to find our Streaming options (or CLICK HERE). Purchase from our site via our video streaming partner VHX.tv, a division of Vimeo, means you will own the streaming rights to your program of choice and can view it whenever you wish—on your smart TV, computer, tablet, or smartphone. VHX/Vimeo provides specific instructions (as easy as a click on a link or the download of a free app) on how to set up to watch on any device, as well as excellent support when customers have questions.

TSB is leading off its streaming offerings with the following bestselling equestrian videos:

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CENTERED RIDING 1 by Sally Swift

CENTERED RIDING 2 by Sally Swift

IS YOUR HORSE 100%? Resolve Painful Limitations in the Equine Body with Conformation Balancing and Fascia Fitness by Margret Henkels

DANCING WITH HORSES: The Art of Body Language by Klaus Ferdinand Hempfling

HORSE AGILITY: A Step-by-Step Introduction to the Sport by Vanessa Bee

WENDY MURDOCH’S 5-MINUTE JUMPING FIXES: Favorite Solutions for Better Jumping Performance in No Time by Wendy Murdoch

More streaming options will be added in the coming year. Join the TSB mailing list at www.HorseandRiderBooks.com to find out about new releases and forthcoming titles.

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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EquineAffaireMA17-FB

That’s right…it’s that time of year again. We’re loading the books and DVDs in the horse trailer (yes, literally) and getting ready to head south on Interstate 91 for four days of horse-centric fun at Equine Affaire in West Springfield, Massachusetts.

From Thursday November 9 through Sunday November 12, 2017, the Eastern States Exposition is transformed into an equestrian wonderland. With educational clinics and demonstrations, entertainment, shopping, and most importantly, lots and lots of HORSES,  Equine Affaire is an event you don’t want to miss. TSB is proud to have seven authors presenting this year, including:

Phillip Dutton, author of MODERN EVENTING WITH PHILLIP DUTTON.

Sharon Wilsie, co-author of the groundbreaking bestseller HORSE SPEAK.

Wendy Murdoch, author of our popular 5-MINUTE FIXES series.

Margret Henkels, author of IS YOUR HORSE 100%? book and DVD.

Cat Hill, co-author of WORLD-CLASS GROOMING FOR HORSES.

Joyce Harman, author of THE HORSE’S PAIN-FREE BACK AND SADDLE-FIT BOOK.

Jochen Schleese, author of SUFFERING IN SILENCE.

CLICK HERE for the Equine Affaire schedule to see when TSB authors and other top equestrians are presenting.

FergusTSBWarehouse

TSB Warehouse Manager Marilyn Tobin with the new 6-foot Fergus!

The TSB booth is located at 846/847 in the Better Living Center—come by and see us! We’d love to meet you! Plus, we’ll have our newest releases, our bestselling favorites, show specials, a chance to earn further discounts, product giveaways, and author signings throughout the event.

And the 6-foot Fergus the Horse is BACK! We have a new Giant Fergus Photo Op to celebrate the release of FERGUS AND THE GREENER GRASS, so be sure to swing by and click a pic. Post it and tag it #FERGUSea17ma…we want to see your photos!

See you all in W. Springfield!

 

 

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Did you know your knees can obstruct your horse’s ability to go forward? It’s weird to think about—but true! Your seat bones and feet  play a role, as well, but they are secondary to the knees.

You can use this easy test with an exercise ball to identify bad habits that may explain why your horse does (or doesn’t) respond to you in certain ways.

“The exercise ball has no brain and only does what you do,” explains biomechanics expert Wendy Murdoch in her bestselling 40 5-MINUTE JUMPING FIXES. “The ball’s movement is created by the student—intentional or otherwise. Therefore, the ball illuminates habits, offers explanations as to why the horse responds as he does, and provides an environment in which to learn new patterns. It also allows both the instructor and the student an opportunity to sort out problems before attempting to resolve them on the horse.”

1. Start by sitting in the full seat position on the ball. If necessary, place a marker to the side to see which direction the ball is rolling. To begin, individually isolate the movements of your pelvis, knees, and ankles, then combine them to determine which has the greatest influence on the direction the ball rolls. At first, you may think your ball is not reacting as it should. But the ball doesn’t lie. Have someone watch you (or work in front of a mirror) to discover what you are doing so that you can control the ball and explore the various combinations accurately.

2. When you maintain a 90-degree angle at the back of the knee without making the knees rigid, you will find that hollowing your back rolls the ball slightly back, while rounding rolls it slightly forward.

3. Beginning from a 90-degree angle at the back of the knees, straighten your knees and the ball will roll back; bend them again and it will roll forward.

4. Now lift the front of your feet and press on the floor with your heels. The ball will roll back. Lift your heels, leaving the front of your feet on the ground, and the ball may stay in place or roll forward, depending on how much you bend your knees.

5. You can override the effect of your pelvis and feet by straightening or bending your knees. Round your lower back, lift your toes, and let your knees bend: the ball rolls forward. Straighten your knees: it will roll back. Hollow your lower back, lift your heels, and bend your knees: the ball rolls forward. Straighten your knees: it rolls back.

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Note that when you straighten your knees with your feet in the stirrups, you are bracing against your horse’s forward movement regardless of whether your lower back is hollowed, rounded, or flat, and whether your foot position is heels down or toes down.

For more exercises that illuminate riding position habits in interesting ways, check out 40 5-MINUTE JUMPING FIXES by Wendy Murdoch, 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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40-5-Min-Jump-Fix-300Popular clinician and biomechanics expert Wendy Murdoch has a way with words…and body parts. In 40 5-MINUTE JUMPING FIXES, the second book in her bestselling 5-Minute Fixes Series, she talks booty happiness—that is, the “Smiley Butt” vs. “Frowny Butt” phenomenon.

“There is an anatomical limit as to how much space the rider’s seat can offer to the horse’s back,” says Murdoch. “I developed the terms ‘smiley butt’ and ‘frowny butt’ to illustrate two of these positions: the former when the femurs are in a neutral position, and the latter when they are in external rotation.”

The femur (the bone of the thigh) has a wide range of movement because of the hip joint’s ball and socket design. External rotation is when the ball rotates in the socket so the legs turn outward (and internal rotation the opposite—ie, pinching with the knees), but there is only one position where the femur distributes the rider’s weight over the greatest surface area along the horse’s back and around the rib cage—and that is neutral.

“For the most width across the seat, the greater trochanters [the tops of the femurs] must be the farthest distance away from each other,” explains Murdoch. “This occurs when the thighs are neutral between internal and external rotation. The pelvis (via the hip sockets) moves around the ball without restriction. When viewed from the back, the bone shape of the greater trochanters and seat bones across the seat of a skeleton looks to me like a smile.

 

The skeleton folded into jumping position and viewed from behind. The shape of a smile is formed when the femurs are in neutral.

The skeleton folded into jumping position and viewed from behind with the femurs in neutral: “Smiley Butt.”

 

“When the femurs are externally rotated (knees out) seat width is decreased at the back, reducing the amount of space for the horse’s back underneath the rider. This position also limits the movement of the pelvis. As the greater trochanters rotate back and come closer together, the bones look like a frown on the skeleton when viewed from the back.”

 

FrownyButt

The same skeleton shown with the femurs externally rotated: “Frowny Butt.”

 

So remember the Booty Happy Test, riders. Because if your backside is smiling, you and your horse probably are, too.

 

Wendy Murdoch’s 40 5-MINUTE JUMPING FIXES is available at the TSB online bookstore, where shipping in the US is FREE.

CLICK HERE to download a free sample chapter.

Trafalgar Square Books, the leading publisher of horse books and DVDs for 30 years, is a small company based on a farm in rural Vermont.

 

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Varying the "tone" of your calf muscles results in better leg aids.

Varying the “tone” of your calf muscles results in better leg aids.

A few of us might picture a buff blonde in a bathing suit when we see the words “toned calves”…but don’t worry, this particular post is about riding better—not about muscle development! You can “give greater strength or firmness” to any muscle, momentarily, to change the way it feels, works, and impacts your movement (or lack of it), and when it comes to your legs and your horse, how your leg muscles “feel” can affect his response to your aids, as well as his overall way of going.

In her book 40 5-MINUTE JUMPING FIXES, instructor and creator of the Sure Foot Equine Stability Program Wendy Murdoch says the rider can increase the strength of the lower leg (when needed) by “toning” the calf muscles. This firming of the calf muscles is achieved by varying the depth of the heels.

“But, when the heel is always pressed down as far as it will go all the time, this valuable aid is lost,” explains Wendy. “A constantly hard calf can makes the horse tense or dull to the lower leg aid because it is at maximum hardness (“volume”) without letup.

“From the basic position—that is, when the rider’s heel (not the boot’s heel but the foot inside) is level with the stirrup—the calf can give a soft leg aid. Pressing the heel down strongly makes the calf hard, which you can do when a stronger aid is required.”

 

To improve your ability to control the “tone” of your calf muscles, try this exercise from 40 5-MINUTE JUMPING FIXES:

1  Feel this while sitting on the floor. “Stand” one foot flat on the ground with the knee bent, and relax your calf.

2  Place your hand around the calf about midway between knee and ankle. Feel how the muscles are soft and pliable.

3  Lift the front of your foot off the floor, and feel muscle tone changes. It is somewhat firmer but still pliable. This position simulates your heel lower than your toes in the stirrup. The calf muscles can lengthen to allow the heel to sink without the muscles hardening.

4  Now, press your heel against the floor. What happens to the calf? Feel how it hardens due to the increase in muscle tone. This will create a stronger leg aid against your horse’s side. But you want to go back to the softer position for this subtle aid to be effective. If you keep your calf toned as firmly as possible all the time, the more subtle leg aid is lost.

 

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Learn more great 5-minute exercises for improving your riding in Wendy Murdoch’s 40 5-MINUTE JUMPING FIXES, as well as her other bestselling book and DVDs, 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 horse books and DVDs, is a small, privately owned company based on a farm in rural Vermont.

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Equitana15

Equitana 2015 in Essen, Germany, is just around the corner! Join more than 10 TSB authors March 14-22 for a spectacular event, combining education and entertainment in an exciting European setting.

TSB authors presenting and exhibiting at this year’s Equitana include:

Uta Graf: See her new DVD FINE RIDING as well as the JOY OF DRESSAGE DVD series.

Linda Tellington-Jones: Check out her stirring and unique call to change DRESSAGE WITH MIND, BODY & SOUL, in addition to her other bestselling books and DVDs from TSB.

Ingrid Klimke: TSB is proud to have the New Edition of the classic book CAVALLETTI as well as Ingrid’s newest DVD SUCCESS WITH CAVALETTI-TRAINING, as well as her many other  training DVDs.

Eckart Meyners: Eckart’s newest book RIDER + HORSE = 1 is available now, as well as his popular fitness book and DVD.

Frederic Pignon: Frederic makes an annual appearance at Equitana, both to perform and teach. The latest book from Frederic and his wife Magali Delgado BUILDING A LIFE TOGETHER–YOU AND YOUR HORSE is a gorgeous tribute to their experiences with horses.

Gerd Heuschmann: His books TUG OF WAR and BALANCING ACT, and his DVD IF HORSES COULD SPEAK have help raised awareness as regards the well-being of dressage horses the world over.

Philippe Karl: Check out his CLASSICAL DRESSAGE DVD series, and other DVDs available from TSB.

Lorenzo: He awes the crowds with his performance during Equitana’s “Hop Top Show,” and you can read his story in LORENZO: THE FLYING FRENCHMAN.

Britta Schoffmann & Klaus Balkenhol: KLAUS BALKENHOL: THE MAN AND HIS TRAINING METHODS is a fascinating read.

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Wendy Murdoch: TSB is very pleased to announce that Wendy, author of the incredibly popular 50 5-MINUTE FIXES TO IMPROVE YOUR RIDING, 40 5-MINUTE JUMPING FIXES, and new 5-MINUTE FIXES DVDs has been nominated for the prestigious Equitana Innovation Award for her new Sure Foot Equine Stability Program! Sure Foot is a revolutionary way of improving your horse’s balance, confidence, movement, and performance by allowing the horse to experience his own habitual patterns of movement and providing an opportunity for him to explore and learn new ways of standing on his feet and utilizing the ground for greater ease, comfort and confidence. Wendy will have her Sure Foot products in Hall 7, Booth D 10.

We wish Wendy the best of luck, and hope many of you will have the opportunity to learn from the fantastic horsemen, riders, trainers, and equine experts gathered for the 2015 Equitana event.

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Closing the ring finger on the reins is like completing an electrical circuit.

Closing the ring finger on the reins is like completing an electrical circuit.

In her book 40 5-MINUTE JUMPING FIXES, expert riding instructor Wendy Murdoch explains the “Ring Finger Connection” when you hold the reins while riding. According to Murdoch, when you hold the reins and activate your thumb and index finger, there is a pinching action. This action causes the front of your body to flex forward; you round your shoulders and drop your chest. Plus, you are vulnerable to being pulled out of the saddle due to the tension created in your biceps and shoulders.

The muscles attached to the ring finger, however, connect closer to the point of the elbow, so when they activate, they in turn initiate a line along the back of the arm rather than the front. Using the ring finger, you can resist a a pull from your horse with your triceps rather than your biceps. You sit wide and open in the chest and allow the horse to pull you into rather than out of the saddle.

Closing your ring finger (or middle finger when your ring finger is too short to manage the reins) on the reins is like completing an electrical circuit that runs from your horse’s mouth through the rein to your hand, along the underside of your arm to your back, down to your seat (which deepens in the saddle), and cycles through the horse from back to front and to the mouth once again. An “open” hand, in contrast, does not complete the circuit; the horse can easily pull the rein from your hand.

 

Try this simple exercise from 40 5-MINUTE JUMPING FIXES to better understand the actions of your fingers on the reins:

1  Hold your right hand in riding position and pinch your right thumb and index finger together. Now, use the fingers of your left hand to feel how this pinching tightens the muscles on your right forearm. Pull on your pinched fingers with your left hand. Feel how you resist by tensing your biceps and chest. Notice the tendency to round your shoulders as you resist.

2  Now close your right middle and ring fingers firmly against the palm of your right hand and slowly “pulse” the pressure. Feel the lower part of your right forearm with your left hand. Notice how the muscles contract and relax.

3  Wrap your right ring finger around the index finger of your left hand, keeping all the other fingers slightly flexed. Pull against the ring finger with your left hand. Feel how you pull back with your elbow to resist rather than tensing your shoulders. Notice how your collarbones widen and your chest expands.

 

Now think how these minute movements translate through the reins to your horse, and how your hands affect your position and performance when you ride.

 

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Wendy Murdoch’s 40 5-MINUTE JUMPING FIXES, as well as her bestselling first book and companion DVDs, are available from the TSB online bookstore, where shipping in the US is FREE.

CLICK HERE TO SHOP NOW

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The winter sun rises over the TSB warehouse in Vermont.

The winter sun rises over the TSB warehouse in Vermont.

As we wrap another year in the Trafalgar Square Books offices here in Vermont, it feels good to pause and look back at the results of our hard work, as well as ponder the things we learned about horses and horsemanship over the last 12 months.

We take great pride in our authors and in the horse books and DVDs we have published and released over the years—now over 600 titles. Here, at a glance, are the new books and DVDs we added in 2014:

 

Click the image above to get a quick review of the TSB 2014 books and DVDs.

Click the image above to get a quick review of the TSB 2014 books and DVDs.

 

3-Minute Horsemanship

by Vanessa Bee (January)

The Riding Horse Repair Manual

by Doug Payne (March)

Games for Kids on Horseback

by Gabriele Karcher (April)

Centered Riding 2 Paperback Edition

by Sally Swift (April)

Good Horse, Bad Habits

by Heather Smith Thomas (April)

Dressage Solutions

by Arthur Kottas-Heldenberg (May)

The Riding Doctor

by Dr. Beth Glosten (June)

Building a Life Together—You and Your Horse

by Magali Delgado and Frederic Pignon (June)

Collective Remarks

by Anne Gribbons (July)

Creative Dressage Schooling

by Julia Kohl (September)

When Two Spines Align:Dressage Dynamics 

by Beth Baumert (September)

Kids Riding with Confidence

by Andrea and Markus Eschbach (October)

Success through Cavaletti-Training DVD 

by Ingrid Klimke (November)

5-Minute Fixes to Improve Your Riding DVD

by Wendy Murdoch (November)

5-Minute Jumping Fixes DVD

by Wendy Murdoch (November)

Beyond Horse Massage Wall Charts

by Jim Masterson (November)

The Art of Liberty Training for Horses

by Jonathan Field (December)

Rider+Horse=1

by Eckart Meyners, Hannes Muller, and Kerstin Niemann (December)

 

Trafalgar Square Books (www.HorseandRiderBooks.com) is the leading publisher of equestrian books and DVDs. CLICK HERE to visit our online storefront or DOWNLOAD OUR NEWEST CATALOG.

 

Have a wonderful, safe, joy-filled New Year!

–The TSB Staff, North Pomfret, Vermont

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EA2014

 

The 50th Annual Equine Affaire in West Springfield, Massachusetts, is just around the corner! Make sure you make time to visit the Eastern States Exposition Grounds November 13-16, 2014, for four days of superior equestrian education (not to mention all the fantastic pre-holiday shopping).

The staff at Trafalgar Square Books will be on-site with a large selection of our bestselling horse books and DVDs, and we look forward to meeting YOU in person when you stop by our booth #846/847 in the Better Living Center. And here are 5 more reasons to be sure to visit us next week:

 

Visit the TSB booth #846/847 at EA MA and sign up to win a complete set of 7 CLINICS WITH BUCK BRANNAMAN!

Visit the TSB booth #846/847 at EA MA and sign up to win a complete set of 7 CLINICS WITH BUCK BRANNAMAN!

1  WIN. That’s right. Swing by and sign up for your chance to win great prizes, including a complete set of the acclaimed 7 CLINICS WITH BUCK BRANNAMAN DVDs and a shopping spree at the TSB online store www.HorseandRiderBooks.com.

2  DEALS. We’ll be running show specials on our biggest titles, so save money on books and DVDs for yourself, for your barn or club, and for other horse people in your life. The more you buy, the bigger the bargain.

3  SOMETHING FOR EVERY HORSE LOVER. TSB has books and DVDs that will appeal to every rider, trainer, and horse person. Whatever discipline you enjoy, whatever breed you prefer, if your aim is to learn and improve in your riding, training, and management “for the good of the horse,” then we are…yes, I’m going to say it…on the same page!

4  FUN FOR YOUNG RIDERS. In honor of the 50th Annual Equine Affaire and the wonderful books on horses we all enjoyed as children (thank you, Marguerite Henry…thank you, Walter Farley and Mary O’Hara and so many others…), TSB invites all attendees ages 14 and under to write a short story or essay (fiction or nonfiction) about horses and bring a copy to our booth #846/847 in the Better Living Center. We’re accepting story submissions all four days of the event. Please include your name, age, mailing address, phone number, and an email address where you can be reached. Following the event, we will choose a winning story or essay to publish here on our blog, on our website www.HorseandRiderBooks.com, and on our social media feed. The winning young horse author will also receive a $50 Gift Certificate to use at www.HorseandRiderBooks.com. We look forward to lots of good reading!

5  TOP AUTHORS. TSB is proud to announce the following authors presenting at the 50th Annual Equine Affaire—below, please finds the dates and times and where on the show grounds our authors appear. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter, or stop by the TSB booth #846/847 in the Better Living Center, to find out when special author signings are scheduled.

JANE SAVOIE
Author of DRESSAGE 101, THAT WINNING FEELING!, IT’S NOT JUST ABOUT THE RIBBONS, and the RIDING IN YOUR MIND’S EYE and HALF-HALT DEMYSTIFIED DVDs

Thursday, November 13: 10:00 am Youth Pavilion, 11:00 am Mallary Arena, 5:30 pm Mallary Arena

Friday, November 14: 10:00 am Nutrena Seminar Stage, 2:45 pm Mallary Arena, 5:45 pm Mallary Arena

JIM MASTERSON
Author of BEYOND HORSE MASSAGE and the BEYOND HORSE MASSAGE and DRESSAGE MOVEMENTS REVEALED DVDs

Friday, November 14: 11:00 am Young Arena, 1:00 pm Absorbine Demo Ring

Saturday, November 15: 1:00 pm Absorbine Demo Ring, 4:00 pm Absorbine Demo Ring

WENDY MURDOCH
Author of 50 5-MINUTE FIXES TO IMPROVE YOUR RIDING, 40 5-MINUTE JUMPING FIXES, and the 5-MINUTE FIXES and RIDE LIKE A NATURAL DVDs

Thursday, November 13: 10:00 am Young Arena, 2:00 pm Young Arena

Friday, November 14: 2:00 pm Absorbine Demo Ring, 4:00 pm Nutrena Seminar Stage

JOCHEN SCHLEESE
Author of SUFFERING IN SILENCE

Thursday, November 13: 3:00 pm Absorbine Demo Ring

Friday, November 14: 12:00 pm Absorbine Demo Ring

LINDA SNOW MCLOON
Author of CROWN PRINCE and CROWN PRINCE CHALLENGED

Friday, November 14: 11:00 am Youth Pavilion

NANCY LOVING, DVM
Author of ALL HORSE SYSTEMS GO and GO THE DISTANCE

Saturday, November 15: 11:00 am Nutrena Seminar Stage, 5:00 pm Nutrena Seminar Stage

Sunday, November 16: 11:00 am Nutrena Seminar Stage, 1:00 pm Nutrena Seminar Stage

 

See you at Equine Affaire!

See you at Equine Affaire!

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Softening your jaw can improve your rein contact, and your horse's forwardness and suppleness.

Softening your jaw can improve your rein contact, and your horse’s forwardness and suppleness.

I’m a tooth grinder, a jaw clencher, a cheek-chewer—my masseters are where anxiety and pressure get together and wrestle, while frustration punches the walls of my mouth in the background. I know I can blame my afternoon headaches on this tension lollapalooza going on right below my brain, but it never occurred to me my horse might be shaking his head because of the tightness transferred to him from mine.

In her immensely useful new book 40 5-MINUTE JUMPING FIXES, biomechanics specialist and riding instructor Wendy Murdoch explains that softening your jaw will improve your rein contact, inviting your horse to stretch down and be more forward.

“You might be surprised by how much effect your jaw has on your horse,” Wendy says. “Horses often mirror the rider’s behavior and movement. If you are having a problem getting your horse to stop leaning on the bit, bracing his neck, or tensing his jaw when you ride, it is time to examine what you are doing with your jaw.”

Next time you ride, notice your jaw. Do you clench your teeth? Do you hold one side tighter than the other? Do you pull your jaw in and up in order to “sit up straight”? Do you push your chin out as you ride transitions or go over jumps? Do you tense your tongue or push it against the side of your mouth?

The masseter muscle is the strongest muscle in your body.

The masseter muscle is the strongest muscle in your body.

Relaxing the jaw frees your head, neck, upper chest, and shoulders—the horse’s too. Your jaw needs to be relaxed and moveable when you ride. Clamping on one side or both sides increases your body tension, especially in the shoulder area. Excessive protraction (sticking your chin out) or retraction (pulling your chin in) will create tension along the back and front of your body. Your horse feels this tension through the saddle, causing him to react in a similar way by tensing his jaw, shoulders, and back.

Try this 5-Minute Fix to improve your rein contact and encourage your horse to let go of excessive tension in his body.

 

SOFTEN YOUR JAW

  1. Observe what you do with your jaw when you drive your car, work at the computer, or watch TV. Find out how often you tense, retract, or protract your jaw. Does the angle of your car seat make you stick your chin forward? Put a sticky note on your computer to remind you to let your jaw soften while you type.
  2. How many fingers (one on top of the other) can you insert in your mouth? If you can’t get more than two, then your masseter muscles are really contracted! Practice sliding your lower jaw forward and back with your teeth parted. Use the tips of two fingers placed just inside your mouth as a guide to prevent you from closing the jaw.
  3. Slide your jaw from one side to the other side. Which direction is easier? Think of making flat circles (parallel to the ground) with your lower jaw as if it were a plate sliding around below your upper jaw. Rest and feel how these movements help you soften your jaw, tongue, neck, and shoulder area.
  4. When mounted, notice what you do with your jaw. Do you clamp your teeth? Does the tip of your tongue press against your palate? If so, allow it to rest behind the lower front teeth. This will relax your tongue.
  5. Practice sliding your jaw forward and back and from side to side while in the saddle. Observe your horse: What does he do with his back and neck when you soften your jaw?
  6. Keep your teeth just slightly parted, consciously relaxing your masseter muscles. You can touch them occasionally as a reminder to stay soft. Feel how this softens your neck, shoulders, and upper back. How does this affect your contact?

 

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Find more great 5-Minute Fixes in Wendy Murdoch’s 40 5-MINUTE JUMPING FIXES and her bestseller 50 5-MINUTE FIXES TO IMPROVE YOUR RIDING, available from the TSB online bookstore, where shipping in the US is FREE.

CLICK HERE TO SHOP NOW

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