Currently available to judge any non-sanctioned competition abroad. E-mail for rates and scheduling.

Best Winter Livestock Tank Heater

Ice Chaser, submersible ice tank heater; available at Home Hardware stores for around $100, plus tax. You can also get Aeroplan points.

Cornering

When you’re riding around corners, treat them like ten meter half-circles to help you achieve the correct bend.

Trail Whistle

If you are alone on a trail, always carry a whistle. Secure it to your belt-loop with a keychain. That way, if you fall off it is attached to your pants. Cell phones aren’t the answer as they could break, be out of cell reception, or run out of power. The whistle is the answer.

The Half-halt

The half-halt is an aide that asks the horse to wait, listen, and rebalance. It’s ridden in a similar way to how you would ask for a halt, but without stopping. To ride one, keep your leg on your horse’s sides, then squeeze the outside rein. Maintain contact on the inside rein to keep the neck straight. Half-halts remind your horse to be ready for your next command. They engage the hindquarters, rebalance him, regulate the tempo and set him up for his next task, whether you’re jumping or riding a transition. When ridden correctly, you should feel a gathering of your horse’s energy, and you’ll be able to guide him into his next movement with more fluency and ease.

Best Corn Broom for Your Barn

At TSC Villager for $22.00, and use your OEF card for a 10% discount. It is contractor and farm grade. AAA Industrial, Premium Corn/Rattan Broom.

Having a problem?

Does your horse seem unsettled during a halt, or repeatedly steps sideways? Perhaps you have ridden the transition with too much hand, or ridden it too abruptly. Next time, try riding the transitions quite gradually. When your horse stands still, reward him. Gradually ask for clearer transitions again. As soon as your horse halts, remember to be light with your hands.

Training Exercise for Halts

Aim for a balanced halt, where your horse’s legs and body stop at the same time, and remember, you have to be the one who decides to stop.
If you feel your horse is taking-over, correct this by walking forward for a few steps, then asking for the halt again. This is why a progressive halt, through walk, is a good idea.
Make sure your hands aren’t too high and you have an elastic contact.
A progressive, balanced transition is the aim. If your horse isn’t quite square, don’t fret.
Note that a good halt will up your marks in a dressage test.

Winter Warm-up Tips

1. Always warm-up your horse’s bit in cold weather (invest in a bit warmer).
2. A massage mitt can increase your horse’s circulation before you ride, you will both benefit from this activity.
3. Layers are a great way for both horse and rider to stay warm. For rider, modern thermal clothing is thin, comfortable, and effective. For horse, use an exercise sheet when you first mount – and also when cooling down. This will keep the heat created by your horse’s muscles close to its body.
4. Cooling your horse down after exercising is just as important as warming them up. Use a cooler or quarter sheet when you warm-up and cool-down. This will keep the horse’s major muscles covered.
5. Prevent snowballs! If snowballs form in hooves while you ride, give the bottom of the hooves a coating of vaseline.

Riding Corners Correctly

 Try to make it an effort to help prevent your horse from drifting around the corners. If your horse isn’t the most supple or balanced horse at this point of their training it will benefit you when riding a dressage test. Don’t worry if the horse loses its balance or comes over the bit when you start practicing. This is a learning experience and it’s about teaching the horse to carry itself in balance. If you try to push or pull your horse into a corner with your hands and legs, the horse will learn to rely on you too much. Instead, simply guide your horse, keeping the horse forward between your leg and rein hands.

Straightness Defined

When working on a single track, the aim is for the horse’s hind hooves to follow exactly the corresponding front hooves, and for the hind-legs to work equally. Thus, when the horse’s back lifts and swings, the rider feels on even contact in each rein. If riding a turn or circle, then there should be a uniform curve along the horse’s spine that runs from the root of the tail to the poll. This will give you a “straight” or aligned horse, which is vital for the even gymnastic development of your horse.