Tag Archives: Riding

How to Explain Horseback Riding to Anyone

We all have friends, and friends are awesome.

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Some of our friends are horse people, and totally get what we are talking about all the time. For instance, you can say your horse “was a little up today, but only bucked a few times and was otherwise fine” and these horsey friends will nod in understanding..because that’s not jargon to them.

But we also have non-horsey friends…and to them that is pretty much a foreign language. Your non-horse friends are also awesome, but sometimes they try to ‘get hip with your lingo’ and stumble…and sometimes they just stare blankly and pray you talk about boys, or ice cream, or the latest episode of The Bachelor so they won’t have to listen to you talk about your horse again. And this can be tricky to manage, but here are some things you might hear, and how to address them nicely:

  1. “How was your race?” – Because mainstream media touts racing as the ‘horse sport’ of choice, this tends to cause many people to wrongfully assume that all riders are racers (kind of like how everyone assumes that anyone who lives in Texas must be a Country music fan). It’s ok to correct them a few times, but be nice. As a hobbyist group, we tend to not realize how defensive we are about our beloved sport…and can come off as jerks. So don’t be a jerk. If your friend feels the need to always ask ‘how fast’ you went, or if you raced anyone today…just smile and re-explain that your discipline has nothing to do with going fast (unless you actually do race horses, or are a jumper).
  2. “But doesn’t your horse do all the work?” – Don’t flip out, this is a common misconception. Because most actions that involve sitting are commonly misconstrued as ‘easy’, horseback riding is an easy target. For the same reason that Nascar is belittled for just being about going fast and turning left (see Talladega Nights), many people assume that things you do whilst sitting on your butt require little to no effort. Just calmly explain that what you do is a challenging physical activity, and that no, riding a horse is not like driving a car. If you still have difficulty letting this concept sink in, find a good ‘thrills and spills’ video on Youtube, and try having them watch that.
  3. “You horse is brown, so it’s a clydesdale, right?” – This one probably will only happen once, as once you’ve established that not all brown horses pull beer carts you should be good to go. Because Budweiser uses clydesdale horses in their ads, its only natural that most people assume horses that are big and brown must be clydesdales (your average person might have caught wind of the Romney horse and be aware that warmbloods exist, but it isn’t likely). If you ride a warmblood, feel free to explain what that means…and if you have a thoroughbred, be prepared for a renewed believe that you race and go fast. See 1. again.

For the most part, these are the only 3 annoyances you will probably experience. The exception to any of these, is the person that firmly swears by what they find in a Google search or from ‘sources’ like Yahoo answers and comments in YouTube videos. In the case of these, just don’t bother trying to explain to them that:

  • Spirit Stallion of the Cimarron is just a movie, and your horse is fine with being ridden
  • The Parelli method is not the only effective method out there
  • No, they cannot ride your horse without permission
  • Yes, even if they have been taking notes from old western movies
  • No, rearing and kicking out is the opposite of what should happen (those were stunt horses)
  • No, you cannot ride your horse on the highway
  • Yes, you are sure you cannot ride your horse on the highway, its illegal

Hopefully this helps!

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Famous Last Words: Equestrian Style

I thought to cheer you all up (and after that thrillingly long hiatus) I’d share a few funny possible equestrian ‘famous last words’:

  • “Oh he doesn’t need ear puffies, he was fine yesterday”
  • “I don’t think I’m going to lunge him today, I’m sure he’ll be fine after that month off!”
  • “It’s going to rain? Quick, open that umbrella!”
  • “Oh its fine, your boyfriend can ride him without a helmet, experience, or supervision. I’m sure he’ll be fine.”
  • “Well I saw it work in this movie once, so I’m going to try it.”
  • “This guy at the dude ranch told me it worked with his horses, so I’m going to try it in my clinic with George Morris.”
  • “I’m sure you can text and ride, it’s not like that’s as unsafe as texting and driving.”

Got any great ‘last words’ to add? Tell me int the comments!

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Modern Pentathlon: What Did I Just Watch?

Perhaps its because I rode in the IHSA during college, and have witnessed similar “oh crap” moments when riders pull ‘that horse’ whose description reads something to the tune of “hold on and Jesus take the reins”, but after watching a clip sent to me by a friend of the 2012 riding portion for the Modern Pentathlon…I am genuinely curious to know why the riding is that horrifically bad.

Um….What…The….Shit? Image courtesy of VC Star.

If you are offended by pictures of terrible riding and some foul language….yea just keep reading anyway.

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This One’s For Switzerland

As you may have heard, the Swiss ended their 88-year long stagnant streak in the individual show jumping portion of the London 2012 Olympics.

It’s a pretty big deal

Image courtesy of Vaterland.li

Swiss rider Steve Guerdat rode the talented Nino des Buissonnets to win the individual gold medal. Guerdat’s success was the first in over 88 years, the last individual gold from a Swiss rider was in the 1924 Paris Olympics.

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HITS Day 2

Final Summation:

  1. Crackers jumped in a ring
  2. Crackers jumped out of a ring (don’t worry he was supposed to)
  3. Crackers had a smashing good time

Skye and Nina looked fabulous

The Powers sisters, no surprise to anyone, looked fabulous

Taxicab and Abby rocked it out

Troy and Anastasia guided George and Maaaaaavelous beautifully, as expected.

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Monsters In The Corner, And Other Horse-Eating Creatures

Anyone who rides has inevitably encountered the equine version of the ‘Bogeyman’

Image courtesy of Horse Junction

Whether its the shadowy corner of the indoor, the flapping plastic bag in the wind, or the wild animal running past the outdoor ring, horses can get scared pretty easily. Even the bravest of equines fall victim to the shadowy creatures of their fears inevitably, but there are some great ways to avoid falling on your butt when they turn tail and run. Here are some things to keep in mind when the evil creatures of the shadows descend upon your horse (or when you horse thinks they are):

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The Humbling Sport of Riding

Horseback riding isn’t for the faint of heart.

In this world there are many sports that take charisma, athleticism, and a certain amount of humility to undertake. Horseback riding is certainly one of them. Whether you are having a gorgeous course or having the worst ride of your career, both should be approached as learning lessons. One minute you could be floating around a hunter course, flawless and fabulously making the entire class jealous; the next you could float face-first into an oxer and break a flower box. Horseback riding doesn’t care much who you are or how fantastic you think you are, because at the end of the day, personal victory generally outweighs the color ribbon you leave the show grounds with.

Today I had that heart-sinking moment of realization that I had cantered up to a distance, that in no known universe existed, and promptly crashed directly into a fence right in front of my trainer, my parents, several of my barn mates, and worst of all the barn owner Tim. It was a moment of public embarrassment, humiliation, and probably the best dose of character-building I’ve gotten in a while. Apparently karma wasn’t sure I’d gotten the message because I did it again in the next course.

What I learned today however, was that humbling oneself is the only true way to achieve anything in a sport where at a moments notice the wrong sound or movement could send your horse cartwheeling into deep space, and you into the dirt. Thankfully, I avoided the dirt today. It does not matter how fabulous your horse is or how magical a connection you have, at the end of the day, its how humble you can be about it that counts. Today I went in expecting perfection and had a moment of pure hubris and the result was a literal smack to the face. The full-kilter hand-gallop non-existent distance will not happen again, and I will remember to take my morning dose of realness before going in the ring.

Sincerely,

Chaz
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Hello Heatwave

As some may have noticed the weather seems to get hotter and hotter this summer with each passing day. At least for Crackers and I, that means constant bathing and shorter and shorter rides.What are some things we use to cool down? Check it out!

CJ and I showing in the summer heat! Image courtesy of the ever-talented Roger Wang.

In this heat, you can expect a lot of sweating, tired muscles, and plenty of greenheads waiting to swarm you and your horse. Here are some things we use at Duncraven to help us through the blisteringly hot summer months:

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Horse Dancing for Breast Cancer

Pictured: Julio Mendoza of Mendoza Dressage. Image courtesy of Friesians Direct.

Julio Mendoza of Mendoza Dressage is renowned for his talent with horses. Whether it is performing the “garrocha” or more traditional dressage maneuvers, it demonstrates a high level of professionalism and talent. On June 23rd, he will perform for the Potomac Valley Dressage Association Ride for Life’s Dancing Horse Challenge which will be held to benefit the John Hopkins Avon Foundation Breast Cancer Center. The event is set to take place at Prince George’s Equestrian Center, in Upper Marlboro, MD.

(A short clip of Mendoza’s 2011 performance has been embedded below)

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Dixon Rocked By Equine Scandal

UPDATE: Rita Crundwell has pleaded ‘not guilty’ to the fraud charge against her.

Of Glitz And Bling And Embezzled Things

In the quiet town of Dixon, Illinois, long-time comptroller Rita Crundwell is alleged to have embezzled over $30 million to fund a private horse farm, a lavish motor home, and expensive jewelry. The horse farm in question, Meri-J Farm is well-known for its high-quality quarter horses that were predominantly local champions in the western riding scene. Crundwell was well-known for her elite horses, most recently praised for her mare ‘Pizzazzy Lady’, who won the 2011 American Quarter Horse Association World Championship Show in Oklahoma City.

Pictured: Rita Crundwell and one of her horses. Image courtesy of The Atlantic.

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