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The Importance of Transitions: Transitions dictate everything. They dictate how well you jump, how well you can adjust when approaching a ditch wall, and how well you do your half-pass across the dressage court. If you strive for the perfection of each transition in warm up the better the transition will be at the show. However, this is not saying every transition you will do will be perfect but if you are warming up or having a lesson and the transition wasn’t very good, Do it again. There is no harm in doing it again.

It’s all About the Ribs: The ribs of a horse dictate everything. Not having control of their ribs when riding results in losing movement or hitting the rail. Ribs are the middle point of the horse. When you have the correct bend the horse should make a C-shape if a picture was taken from a birds-eye view. If the horse is potentially leaning on you around the circle, it’s the ribs. I always think to push the ribs out and bring the shoulder around when doing a circle or a lateral movement. It is also good practice to isolate ribs when warming up. In other words, doing exercises such as leg yields, serpentines, small circles, and figure-eights will help isolate the ribs allowing you to have control over the movements and the entirety of the horse.

Experience is a Value: Learning is always a good thing. Good or bad? It doesn’t matter, you are still learning and growing from the experience. Training with multiple different trainers across dressage, jumpers, and eventing gives you a unique perspective. Riding with people who are experts in their discipline allows you to become a universal rider and build up your cafeteria.

Create Your Cafeteria: Most people tend to use the phrase “putting more tools in your toolbox”. I like to think of creating a cafeteria. Each day when you sit on a horse there is a new combination needed to be put together to make an educated ride. Every day is different so new combinations are needed. As you grow as a rider, the bigger the cafeteria becomes. Eventually, there will be certain combinations that will be thrown out or meshed into a new combo. The important idea is to keep building the cafeteria and keep trying new combinations.

Riding is Supposed to be Fun: It’s easy to forget that riding is fun. There is so much physical and mental stress in this sport. And that is not going to change. Being burned out in riding is a thing and it’s easy to get wrapped up in it. This sport is filled with perfection. That’s what we strive for and we want it so bad we forget why we started riding in the first place. Riding in jumpers, dressage, and eventing reminded me why I started riding. It’s because I love it and at the end of the day there is nothing I rather do. It is all worth it in the end.

By: Lexie Barrow

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