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How do you further your equestrian education?

Share what you do to keep improving as a rider and horsekeeper.


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How do you learn as an equestrian?
Students in a college equine science program take their equestrian education to the next level. Photo: Lesley Ward
Having a horse of your own has a lot of benefits. You develop a bond, an understanding. You learn each others' idiosyncrasies and adapt accordingly. You know your horse's personality so well that notice immediately when something is amiss. Your horse anticipates your cues so well that you think he might be able to read your mind.

These same benefits can also be liabilities when it comes to your progression as a rider. Instead of having to fix your bad habits as a rider or while working around horses, they persist as your horse has adapted to them. Likewise, you've started to ignore your horse's quirks and forget that you shouldn't let him get away with certain things.

Riding and working with horses is a never-ending learning process, but one that you might start to neglect when you reach a comfort zone with your own horse. What steps do you take to continue improving as a horseperson?

There are plenty of ways to make sure that your skills as a rider and horseperson don't become stagnant. You can take lessons on your own horse or attend clinics with different trainers to get feedback on your riding and your horse's performance. You can sign up for lessons at a different stable to get some saddle time on horses other than your own. You can have someone videotape your rides so that you can see problems that you might not catch while you're in the saddle. Even reading books and articles or watching training videos can help you get new ideas on how to improve your riding.

Click "Submit a Comment" below and tell us what you are doing—or what you'd like to do—to improve your skills as a rider and horseperson. Some of our favorite responses may be printed in a future issue of Horse Illustrated.

One selected response may be selected by the editors to win a monthly prize! If you would like to be eligible for the prize, please include your email address in the comment form (email addresses are not publicly displayed.)

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Reader Comments

sandi countryman    clinton, WI

2/23/2012 6:10:33 AM

Every day I seek out new articles,information,opinions,how to's, etc thru people I know and web-sites.My first stop is of course a no brainer, Horse I continue to educate myself when,where and how I can.Then I can feel I'm doing my part to be a responsible horse owner.Knowing and doing the right thing in every aspect of my horses;health,training and day to day care is so important me because she needs me to be knowlegable.She trusts and depends on me to make the right decisions that affect her life everyday.So when in doubt I ask,read,look and LISTEN. After all she's my Best friend forever and I want her to out live me a happy and healthy horse. Oh,she'll be 5 this spring I'm closer to 60 than 55. With a little luck thrown in maybe we'll grow old together with the wind between our ears.Thanx,Horse Channel you offer it all to us wanna-bes and dreamers.

Becki    Prince George, BC

11/11/2011 5:13:51 PM

I always try to give myself a challenge. Wheather it's raising the jump, or choosing a more difficult route of the trail, I try to do my best and NEVER give up. Also, it really helps to *think like a horse*
A fan of HC and HI

mattie    shreveport, LA

11/9/2011 9:14:38 AM

i always at each time i see my horse; i learn more and more ideas and methods to help my horse. i love this learning experience and it helps my day go better also.

Lauren    Pleasanton, CA

9/11/2011 8:14:56 AM

I've never been fortunete enough to purchase my own horse to experience with, but I have taken stride in learning how to be a handicaped-rider trainer, as well as prep horses for their new duties as a friend for these special people. It's a gift few ever consider to be real.

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