September 26, 2022
Are you struggling to connect or compete with your horse? Worried your riding skills and horsemanship might be the problem? Wondering if you’ll ever be good enough to bring out your horse’s full potential? Take heart! Every equestrian struggles with challenges—even the best riders and trainers.
So... we asked a few of the best we know to share what makes them great, what they've learned along the way, and what keeps them motivated to become better. Their wisdom and experience directly follow. We hope you'll find helpful tips to encourage confidence, elevate horsemanship, and strengthen the connection with your horse. Let’s introduce our pros and get their horse riding tips.
“Horses have defined my life since I was a little girl. They have healed, inspired, and strengthened me throughout my childhood and adult life.”
Professional Experience: Colt starting, horse training, and Gypsy Vanner-showing by day, registered NICU nurse by night.
Competitive Experience: National titles in ranch riding, trail, English pleasure, and freestyle at GVHS-rated shows.
Words to Live By: “One of the greatest gifts you can give a horse is a good education.” — Amber Russell
Q. What inspires you to become better?
Horses! Becoming one with a horse is the most incredible feeling in the world; accomplishing it takes dedication to growing and learning as a rider and trainer. Improving the connection with the horse I ride inspires me to be the best I can be.
Q. What advice would you give equestrians struggling to connect with a horse?
Enjoy the journey! Each horse that comes into your life teaches you something different. Mistakes, failures, picking yourself up and learning are all part of that journey. Every successful trainer or rider has had their share of challenging horses—but the ones that challenged me most also taught me the most. They pushed me to learn, grow, and improve. So be patient, be kind to yourself and your horse, and seek to understand before being understood.
“I started riding at three years old on cold-blooded horses in parades. Didn’t have a kid saddle so I couldn’t reach the stirrups—but I made it without falling off! After that, I was hooked. First dressage, trail ride, jumping, then onward to endurance.”
Professional Experience: Trains and conditions horses and riders through Global Endurance Training Center, offers clinics and provides full-service hoof care.
Competitive Experience: Competes in endurance races internationally. Raced at Tevis (one of the most rugged endurance rides in the world) 15 times, with five top ten finishes—including a 2nd place finish in 2022, winning the Haggin Cup for horsemanship and sportsmanship.
Words to Live By: “Ride the horse you have, not the horse you wish to have.” — Christoph Schork
Q. What inspires you to be a better horse rider?
A passion for the equestrian sport, competitiveness, and desire to be the best there is.
Q. What advice would you offer those struggling with horsemanship skills?
Over the decades, I’ve learned that working with a horse's mind is one of the most important aspects of horsemanship and success in competing. Connecting with the horse mentally, working in partnership, and doing everything possible to make your horse happy is a mantra I live by.
Becoming a good horse rider requires patience and constant work. It’s always give-and-take with our equestrian friends. So, take your time—take baby steps, never be tardy and never hurry. Always keep a clear head and don’t get frazzled by the moment.
Two important aspects I also emphasize are proper hoof care and a healthy horse gut. Both are the foundation on which good horsemanship is built—because without a healthy horse, even the best riders will not succeed. With a stable gut, ulcers stay away and the horse will love life and give you its best.
Redmond Product Tip: Daily Gold Stress Relief TM is a natural daily digestive and ulcer prevention supplement for horses. It binds toxins, buffers acid, increases nutrient absorption, and reduces the symptoms of equine ulcers. Daily Gold helps horses maintain a healthy gut year-round, including during times of training, competition, and increased stress.
"My start in horses was a humble one. I grew up your typical ‘barn rat,’ working off my pony's board, spending every spare minute and then some taking in every aspect of horses—and only ever becoming hungry for more.”
Professional Experience: Everything from running an equine therapy program to grooming on the Winter Equestrian Festival show jumping circuit.
Educational/Competitive Experience: National level certifications in the United States Pony Club; formal training and international coaching certifications from the British Horse Society program at the Stoneleigh-Burnham School. Competes in hunt seat, eventing, and classical dressage.
Words to Live By: “One of the biggest challenges of a horseman is the ability to control your emotions” — Buck Brannaman
Q. What inspires you to become better?
Horses make me want to become a better rider. The only limit to what they are capable of is how very much we still have to learn about them and how to best work in unison with them. There’s just no way to ever know it all. We could learn ten new things every day from our first day to last and still know so little in the grand scheme. That drives me to never stop learning.
Q. What encouragement would you give competitors struggling in their discipline?
Never stop trying. If you are truly dedicated to developing and improving your skills and method, you're already ahead of 90% of people. Also, seek learning. I encourage everyone, even professional trainers, to seek advice and help from outside sources. There will always be someone who's thought of something you haven’t or thought of a way to tweak something you have.
Next, have the courage to break away from your comfort zone. If your main resource for help is feeding you the same method over and over and it isn't working, if they're unwilling to guide you through different ways to improve or resolve issues with your horse—even if you just have a gut feeling something isn't right—find new help! You are your horse’s first and last line of defense. Have the courage to step away from what you know if what you know isn't cutting it.
We know many amazing equestrians who overcome big and small challenges and learn how to bring out the best in their horses… and whose horses bring out the best in them. Our equine friends have incredible hearts to give and valuable lessons to teach us as we develop our talent and tap into theirs. So stay in the saddle, never stop learning, embrace the horse you have—enjoy the moment!—and ride on.
Did you know horse behavior and attitude are affected by what goes on in the gut? Helping your horse achieve a healthy digestive system is the foundation for a good partnership and a critical step in strengthening your skills together. Natural Daily Gold reduces digestive pain and problems, helping your horse focus better and allowing you to connect and accomplish more.
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