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By: Galadriel Billington

4:16PM Apr 12, 2004

I teach horseback riding in a dressage-based balanced seat. I teach and also train flatwork and jumping. I believe that working in cooperation with your horse works better than working antagonalistically against your horse. If you ask properly, and you are alert to his reponses to your aids, you can achieve much. The majority of learning to ride is the study of how to ask properly, and how to adapt your aids to get the precise amount of response.

Most of the time, a horse is a willing creature. If we can find a way to ride quietly and calmly, most horses will be delighted to oblige. Interactions should be pleasant for the horse, as well as for you.

So much can be accomplished if you simply know how to ask. A horse can give you exceptional feedback if you just sit and experiment with aids. A shift of weight, an application of leg or seat; your horse's response will tell you what that aid means to him. Much of my instruction is based on what I have learned in lessons and in study, but also I pass along what my horses have taught me. When you can ask with subtlety and kindness, why should you bother with force? Knowing how to ask is the key.

Any resistances should be examined to find the cause; badly fitting tack, undetected injury, misunderstanding of the rider's cues (training), or imprecision on the part of the rider (riding) all may contribute to a horse's resistance. However, such examination must also take into account the horse's nature. A horse may resist through dominance issues or sourness. A horse is a herd animal, and should be treated accordingly; he cannot be regarded in the same light as a human, or a household pet. Some resistances are based on a dominance conflict, and these resistances must be ridden out and conquered. But before you decide that you have a problem horse, it's important to check and make sure that his protest is unfounded.

In addition to live instruction, I also offer advice on online forums. While some questions are very specific, I have noticed that several topics come up again and again. Since communicating online can be much less precise than an actual demonstration, I began looking for better ways to explain these topics. Graphics can help to explain principles of riding, even when you can't actually demonstrate with a live horse. My articles are more in-depth and hopefully more clear than most simple forum posts.

I also wanted a more centralized location for these articles, so that I could give the link rather than answering the same questions multiple times. And finally, I was hoping that my articles might benefit many people, not just those on the various forums. Therefore, I have provided this site, to provide more access to my articles. So I hope you enjoy!

Articles in this section

Handling and Training

Ground manners, handling from the ground, is the root of all training.

In order to teach a horse a new command, you must set up the situation so the horse can perform that command, use the aids you wish him to associate with the command, and reward him for it. Eventually he will come to associate the aids with the command, but first you must devise a way to *show* him what you want him to do.


Ah, jumping. Exhilarating, exciting, ever so much fun; as far as I'm concerned, it's the best part of the ride.


Owning and Managing

Horse owning is wonderful, tremendously so; but it is important to be well aware of the potential expenses of regular upkeep, and also to be informed about proper care of the horse.

Horseback Riding

I teach horseback riding in a dressage-based balanced seat. I teach and also train flatwork and jumping. I believe that riding is best accomplished by working in cooperation with your horse; if you ask properly, and you are alert to his reponses to your aids, you can achieve much.

Fitting a Saddle to a Horse and Rider

A saddle is composed of some parts that flex and bend, and some parts that are fixed. The flexible parts may be adjusted, but the parts which are fixed must fit both horse and rider well. a saddle which does not fit a rider can cause problems with the rider's balance and stability. A saddle which does not fit a horse well usually causes pain. Bad saddle fit can contribute to "problem horse" behaviors such as resistence or acting out, bucking, rearing, "girthy"-ness, putting ears back or biting when saddled, not wanting to be caught or ridden, refusing to stand for mounting, and many more.

What is Equine Sports Massage Therapy?

When we think of massage, we often think of a relaxing "spa" experience: a pleasant and luxurious massage. That's not sports massage; sports massage is a therapeutic method intended to support and enhance performance.
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2004 Galadriel Billington. All rights reserved.