1. dressage-masters:


    Tips from Carl Hester

    Elite dressage rider Carl Hester’s 35 top tips on everything dressage – from finding the right horse, to training and stable management techniques!

    1 Dressage is not just for competition. It is gymnastics for horses and all horses can benefit from it, as they are more likely to stay sound with a long, stretchy neck, soft body and easy movement.

    2 You don’t have to spend a fortune on a horse for dressage - as long as the basic paces are there, the rest can be acheived through training. The main paces to look at are walk and canter, as with a bit of work a horse with a very normal trot can trot beautifully.

    In walk, the horse should use the whole of his body and have a good overtrack, where the hind foot lands in front of the print left by the front foot. A good canter has a bounding stride, with the hindleg jumping right underneath the horse and the front end lifted. Above all, though a good, natural rhythm is essential and is always more important than big movement.

    3 When a horse is tired, he’ll try to stretch down. Let him do it for a while as it’s something you want to encourage. To stretch your horse, lengthen the rein, lower your hand and massage his mouth with the bit by gently squeezing and releasing each rein. Stretch him regularly throughout your training sessions to relax him and reduce the risk of tension.

    4 In canter always ride forward – imagine there’s a big jump at the end of the long side that you’re going to take on!

    5 Dressage is about repetition, repeating exercises over and over again until it becomes part of the horse’s way of going. It takes dedication, but is simply about producing a well-schooled horse – something we’d all like to have!

    6 Even if your thing is dressage, mix your horse’s schooling up with hacking and jumping as it will keep him relaxed and interested. 

    7 Always compete at the level below the one you are working on at home, so that you are able to cope at the competition where there are many more distractions.

    8 Mirrors are a huge help in training as they enable you to see what your horse is doing – for example, how do you know whether he is straight without being able to see him?

    9 Working-in is one of the most important aspects of dressage. You want your horse to be long, round and stretching before you start more taxing work, to get the muscles in front of and behind the saddle soft and working – gymnasts don’t hop straight onto the top bar! Ideally, walk for 10 minutes to start with, but if your horse is fresh, it is best to trot on to settle him down. 

    10 Your horse must work in front of the leg. This means that he should move forward of his own accord and not expect you to keep motivating him – for example, if you ask for canter, he must learn to stay in canter without any leg pressure, until you tell him otherwise.  

    11 If your horse is not responsive to your leg, ask for halt and with a loose rein, give him sharp quick taps with your leg until he moves forward – it doesn’t matter what pace he goes into, just let him move forward.

    12 Create a work station on your yard, where everything to do with work happens – for example, tacking up and washing off – and keep his stable for relaxation only. Then your horse knows he can totally relax when he’s in his stable and won’t be expected to work.

    13 If your horse is too sensitive to the leg, work on lots of downward transitions. 

    14 Lots of transitions between canter and trot will help to improve the trot by getting him to carry more weight on his back end.

    15 To maintain balance while you’re working your horse, use lots of 
    half-halts. Think about using one before you ask your horse to 
    do anything.

    16 Give your horse sugar during training sessions as a reward and to help him mouth the bit, which will encourage him to salivate and make him lighter in the hand.

    17 Riding your horse ‘on and back’ involves asking him for a few lengthened strides before asking him to come back to his working pace, then repeating it several times. This will help you to get him to carry his head and neck, and achieve self-carriage. 

    18 When doing tempi changes – a series of flying changes – with more advanced horses, we ride along the wall of the arena to help keep the horse straight.

    19 With a horse who is trained to do collected canter, you want to 
    aim for a speed where someone can walk alongside you.

    20 Use leg-yield in canter to make your horse more aware of your legs.

    21 To help you maintain the rhythm while riding, keep a song in your head and sing it 
    to yourself while 
    you ride.

     Get someone to video you riding so you can see what’s working and where things are going wrong. Sometimes it’s more beneficial than having someone on the floor telling you what you’re doing wrong.

    23 A good trot is all about suspension. When our horses are strong enough, we teach passage and use it to get suspension in the trot. We rise while doing this exercise, as it makes it easier for the horse and encourages lift. From passage, we take the trot forward until he realises that he needs to keep the suspension that he had in passage. If he loses the suspension, we halt, ask for passage and then try it again until he maintains the suspension in trot.

    24 As a test of 
    your training technique, go into rising trot and drop your reins. Your horse should stretch down, but if he sticks his head up, something needs adjusting in 
    your training.

    25 Never tell your horse off when teaching him flying changes, just keep repeating them until he gets it right, or he’ll start to get nervous and tense about doing them. 

    26 If you can’t halt square on the centre line, it’s your fault! It requires training, so to make sure you can do this, teach your horse that he must always stand square, even for mounting and dismounting. To teach your horse to stand square, ask for it along the side of the school. Trot, ask for a few steps of walk, then step forward into halt. He must step forward to halt, not back to halt.

    27 Hacking up hills will help with fitness and muscle development.

    28 In walk, try not to interfere too much and remember that during a test, a long walk on a free rein is not a time for a break! It requires as much attention and concentration 
    as the other movements.

    29 Don’t rush your schooling and ask for too much, too soon. It’s important that your horse is strong enough to be able to do what you’re asking him to do, or he could suffer injury. It normally takes four to five years to get to Grand Prix level, without any problems along the way, as it takes that long for the horse to become strong enough to perform the movements required at that level. If you have any setbacks, it can take longer and often does.

     When you stop and salute the judge at a competition, remember 
    to smile! 

    31 Get to a show in plenty of time and hack your horse around the showground on a loose rein, so he has time to get used to his surroundings before he is expected to concentrate.

    32 Plenty of turnout allows your horse time to relax and he’ll be more relaxed during his training.

    33 At competitions, wear clothes and tack that you and your horse are used to and comfortable in. Suddenly using different equipment on competition day can affect your performance. If you have special show boots and tack, have a few dress rehearsals at home just before the show date.

    34 The key to training horses is patience and consistency – you will get there!

    35 If possible, recreate the type of arena you’ll be riding your test in at the competition and have a practice in it. For example, check what size the arena will be and measure one out the same size at home to practise the test in, or if you usually work in a school, but the competition is on grass, practise riding the test on grass.


    (Source: horseandrideruk.com, via piaffe-passage)

  2. jesus christ just look at that bit

    (Source: susandawes, via unhappyhorses)

  3. hazelwood-equestrian:










    fucking animal abuse

    This is the ugliest, sloppiest jumping I have ever seen in my life.

    What is this girl doing with her life 😳 even her hair is a freaking mess
    What a saint of a horse

    for when we feel like bad riders….  I agree with sarah… what a treasure of a horse

    Please get off his mouth and stop yanking him around then hitting him with the whip, ugh

    That was gross. Someone slap me if I ever look like that.

    Honestly I hate seeing riders at the Grand Prix level do this shit. It’s dangerous, unprofessional, and really doesn’t showcase the good in our sport.

    someone needs to teach this chick what an independent seat is

    oh god it hurts

    Pulley reins, chicken elbows, LITERALLY HOLDING ON TO HER HORSE’S FACE TO STAY ON, unstable seat…this horse is incredibly tolerant.

    (via heartofhorselords)


  4. big-cat-network:

    The following statement is concerning the whole outdoor cat argument that has been going on for the past few days, please know that this is not meant as a personal attack on anyone. The following was written by admin Leopard and approved of by the rest of the network.

    Not normally my thing, but what a load of B S.

    Cats aren’t allowed outside because of danger to species?

    well holy shit and suck my wing wang, better lock all humans up in cages then.. i mean, they haven’t caused any dangers OR extinctions.

    yep…lock up the humans.

    (via bigcatwildcat)

  5. myhunnyhendrix:

    That’s way too much bridle.

    what the actualy holy ducking shit fuck is this?!

    (Source: 3deventing, via badriders)

  6. thecityhorse:



    This is horse-tripping.  It is considered a great sport at rodeos across the US and Mexico.  Fast-moving horses like Thoroughbreds off the track and Arabians are bought cheap at livestock auctions and “rented out” for these events.  

    Horses are fast-moving animals with a high center of gravity and long, fragile legs.  Tripping ends in leg injuries, shattered limbs, dislocations, a rifle bullet out in back where the crowd can’t see.

    Before it was made illegal in California one feedlot owner leased out 75-100 horses a season to local events, the last year only 2 horses survived to the end.

    Horses sent on trucks to slaughter houses in Mexico are often diverted to these events, where they will go through this until they are too injured to run or until it’s time to get back onto the truck.

    Raise your voice.  Let it be known that horse tripping and slaughter are not acceptable. 

    Video:  http://youtu.be/qIBlz2ifQNs

    (Source) (Source)

    If you support this in any way then you can just hop right off my blog and go fuck yourself with a cactus.


    I’m always shocked to hear this is STILL a thing. 

    For fuck sake. HUMANS DISGUST ME!

    (via badriders)

  7. badriders:

    The draw rein is even pulled through the throat latch…shocking and awful

    The sadness in that horses’ eye….

    (via badriders)

  8. rollkuralert:

    oh sure, you’re riding in a curb bit but you still need a tie down. I don’t really get how people can combine things like that. then again I don’t understand the necessity of a tie down if you do it right and have the patience to allow the horse to learn how to get there

    ergh… such a pretty horse too

    (Source: showgirlglitz, via badriders)

  9. i hope he broke his neck!

    (Source: rowanberries, via badriders)


  10. theclassicalhorse:



    so… people are actually defending this stud:


    lyke omg so bootyful





    I strongly agree with the first comment. Most people that do not own/work with/are familiar with saddlebreds are VERY, VERY, VERY harsh on them. This is a fantastic example of a…

    Ummm i dont think you get the point of this post. If you think this stallion is an excellent example of the saddlebred, then please go away and never return.
    I love the breed and i will stand by the original type and body form. I will not condone and praise such ignorant breeding.

    That’s one of the worst conformation fuck ups ive seen

    (via badriders)

  11. badriders:






    This girl was eliminated because she was bitless, she still got to ride the course and after the judge told her she probably would have won the class if she had a bit.. 

    The horse world is so stupid

    Geez! That’s ridiculous!

    How sad, that the only allowed bitless bridle is the mechanic hackamore (on competitions)… The most harsh of all - it can easily break a jaw - the longer the shanks, the harsher it gets
    the irony is, that bitless bridles are’nt allowed (except for the hackamores) but for bridles with bit there is no Limit… as seen here :


    im actually pissed

    Some of these pictures don’t even go with the point you’re trying to make. Check the rules before and know what equipment is permitted.

    Well, except for the Thing in pic one which is not a real bit more an additional tool and pic 4 all these bit / bridle combinations are allowed on competitions, I don’t know what your prolem is ? The pont I’m trying to make is that it is absurd that the most soft bitless bridles aren’t allowed but some harsh bitless and nearly everything else is (on competitions).

    These poor horses. What is the world coming to?!

  12. - Child on hot blooded horse.
    - Martingale
    - over tightened flash
    - GAG bit, and on the lowest ring.

    Where is the sense, people?

    (Source: equinephotographs, via badriders)

  13. sophiestclair:

    NAYEL NASSAR at HITS Thermal week 5. I had the pleasure of interviewing the talented Nayel Nassar for Sidelines Magazine. He was so gracious to allow me to meet with him and grant us access to shoot him over several days. Photo creds as always to my awesome Dad, Bret St. Clair.

    Watch for the article in the May issue of Sidelines Magazine. Oh and were you aware that Sidelines has gone digital. Pick up your copy through the App Store today.

    Jesus christ…

    (via badriders)

  14. thesaddleseattruth:

    Hello! I use draw reins, chain saw bits, and tongue ties on my saddlebred. I love him so much and all of his action is natural.

    holy shit

    (via badriders)


  15. Anonymous said: We (well the barn i take lessons at) have that bit too, what's so bad about it? Just because they can't open their mouth or? I've only seen it used on one horse though. I think it's cause he's so big and the others don't fit. And it's only for the lessons so yeah, idk. But what's so bad? Referring to the post about Bramble.

    That bit, not only does it have a long shank, adding double pressure on the horses mouth, but if you look at the mouth piece, it’s twisted. Put one in your mouth and yank, i neednt say more