Being a Caring Rider

Are you a caring rider?

Horse looking out of stable window. Picture wa...

The Horse is Always Right (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The horse is always right

We have heard this statement many times, from some of the great riding masters. I’d like to add, the horse never lies. If he doesn’t like something he will let you know. It may be resistance in the way of tail swishing, teeth grinding or worse – bucking.

This has been proven to me over and over again. When I teach I often say, “Your horse is talking to you. What is he saying?”
S/He may be saying:

  • “I don’t know how to do that?” or “I don’t understand what you’re asking me.” Meaning they have not been trained how to do the movement.

 – OR  –

  • “I know how to do that, but I can’t because you are sitting wrong.”

    English: A Standardbred horse going nicely in ...

    Why does my horse <fill in the blank here>? (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


  • “I know how to do that, but I can’t because I’m not strong enough.”

Day after day, lesson after lesson I see this. Riders punishing horses for not understanding what is being asked of them.

Riders ask me, why won’t my horse move away from my leg? I say because you haven’t trained him to move away from your leg. You’ve successfully trained him to IGNORE your leg.

My goal is to share my passion for horses, for training and to encourage riders to listen to their horses and understand the questions they have.

Equestrian Skill Builders, Laura Kelland-May, Thistle Ridge STables

Why would a horse want to willingly do that?

A better question may be is why would a horse want to do any of these things willingly?

The answer is what is his motivation to do them. What is the payoff? The “What’s In It For Me? Question.

This is more than “because I am the boss and I asked you to.”

This type of dominant, “I am the boss” dominant relationship with your horse will not result in a compatible relationship. It will be one a one sided affair and your horse will not feel safe and comfortable with you. At the first sign of trouble your horse will take off and leave you behind.

Think of building a trusting relationship with your horse.

A relationship built on mutual trust and understanding will from horse’s point of view will

The diving horse at Hanlan's Point

provide a safe secure environment in which the horse feels comfortable. This will lend itself to a learning relationship.

Horses are naturally curious animals and will investigate new surroundings. Their lives depend on it. Horses are social creatures and are ready to follow and give their loyalty to a worthy herd leader.

A leader who will take care of them and who keep them safe.

Any questions? I’d love to hear from you.



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Cold Weather Riding Tips for Hearty Winter Riders.

Well, I hate to admit it but the cold weather is going to come and we have to be ready for it.

The shoes and pads are on but what about what to wear? Here are a few tips to keep the cold out when you are out riding this winter.

winter horse back riding tips, Thistle Ridge Equestrian, Laura Kelland-May

Winter Riding Mittens

  • Get a pair of winter riding mittens. These puppies are great. They keep your fingers warm and provide a pinkie pull out so you can hold the reins proplerly. Failing that, use some mittens.
  • Get a grip. If you plan to ride, like me, outside then provide your horse with some decent grip. Get some screw in caulks or have permanent ones put directly into your horse’s shoes.
  • Have a plan. If you are riding, like me, outside, then plan your ride to account for the conditions. Riding in the snow can be hard work for a hore. You may get more work done but ride for less time. Take into account the conditions.
  • Don’ t Sweat it. Cooling down is important and if you ride enough to sweat then take the time to cool down and dry off your horse. Here is a tip. Have a spritzer bottle of alcohol. Spritz the sweaty parts with alcohol and the horse will dry faster and leave the hair so it is smooth and clean. Not matted with sweat.
  • Keep them warm. Keep the horse warm for warm up as well as cool down. Here’s a tip: put a blanket on your horse if it is warm and sweaty after a ride. The wool will keep them warm and pull the moisture away from the horse. You can tell because the top of the wool blanket will have beads of moisture on it. If your horse is being turned out, put him out only after he is dry.
  • Dress in layers. If you happen to get warm then you can peel off a layer and keep your temperature consistent. Here is a tip: wear wool socks. Cotton socks make your feet cold. Wool socks will keep your feet warm even if your feet sweat.

more winter riding tips.

  1. Three tips for winter blankets – Winter blankets
  2. More winter tips – Riding in Florida
  3. What to do in the winter – hot weather riding tips

Do you have any winter weather riding tips? I’d like to hear from you.


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Be a Better Rider – Start Now!

Are you interested in getting ahead with your riding, but you feel like you are riding around in circles (literally)?
Would you like to have efficient training sessions as well as have a set of proven training tools and techniques to ‘ramp up’ your development?

Put your email address in the form below and you will be sent the 3 free gifts. Go ahead and put your best email address in the form and the gifts will be forwarded to you via email.

Get the strategies to transform yourself and your horse. Receive your 3 free tools to get you and your horse where you want to be:

  1. Free video outlining specific equitation comments and corrections.
  2. Free E-book – “Three Powerful Exercises to Improve Your Position Immediately”.
  3. Free report “Horse Show Guide – Top 10 Horse Show Tips”.

All this plus a monthly inbox magazine crammed with proven training techniques to continue to develop your unlimited potential.

Thank you!

Thank  you, Thank you for commenting Thank you for taking the time to be a participant rather than a silent reader. Your input is important and we welcome you into the discussion. If you have something you would like to see here… Then please let us know. This blog is successful due to people like you. Thank you. Join the Thistle Ridge Skill Builders Network and get tips on healthy living directly to your inbox. Now is the perfect opportunity to sign in and sign up. Besides getting horse training and showing secrets sent directly to your inbox you can recieve a free video analysis of your riding and horse from a senior judge for free (regular $30 so don’t delay!)Put your email in the form and you will get your free analysis.

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Thanks and see you soon. ~Laura

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Horse Partnership – Does it matter? Three Tips to Improve Your Bond With Your Horse

We have seen those perfect partners. Having a willing horse partner is part of being a successful equestrian.

I often get asked, “why does my horse do that?”
And by “that” it could be pick up the wrong canter lead, step just far enough away from the mounting block, or nudge you with his nose.

My answer is usually, “BECAUSE YOU TRAINED HIM TO!”

Three tips to improve your partnership with your horse.

  1. See your horse daily
    The No. 1 way to establish a close relationship with a horse is to spend time with


    Provide Leadership(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    him. It may mean brushing, riding or just hanging out.

  2. Provide Consistent Leadership
    This goes hand in hand with number 1.
    It doesn’t matter what you are doing, just that you are there and interacting with him in a way that makes him feel secure and in a manner that reinforces you as his leader. This should not be interpreted as being harsh or punishing the horse but rather being in the horse’s presence and interacting with your horse in a way you provide security and show leadership to him. It really doesn’t matter what you are doing. What matters is you are there and make him feel content and secure.
    Horses, for their own safety and livelihood, have an instinctual ability to size up and test people. They will take advantage of people who allow little cracks in the armor to become naughty and spoilt at best and unmanageable at worst.
    Horses always look to the herd leader and test the herd leader to make sure they have the leadership qualities to keep them safe. This is  how horses establish their pecking order. This also happens between horses and people.
    For example, if you let a horse take a few steps as you mount, he is leading and you are following. You would like him to ‘stand’, and he would like to move forward. If you allow a horse step forward without a correction, he has established he is the leader and you are the follower. He has really established a pecking order above you.
  3. Don’t always feed treats
    Horses are driven by their need for food, security and social status. Giving treats in moderation is fine, but go overboard with them and you will create a mouthy equine monster.

    English: Any chance of a carrot? Friendly hors...

    Hand fed horses usually begin to nip and route for treats (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    I personally have a ‘no treat’ rule in my small, private stable. Only because I know hand fed horses usually begin to nip and route for treats rather than accepting a treat for  a ‘job well done’. This searching and rooting can become an ingrained habit and will have to be corrected.


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