12 Horsemanship Gems We Learned at Equine Affaire

Clear, concise and right to the point.

With over fifty presenters and clinicians lined up for the 2015 Equine Affaire of West Springfield, Massachusetts, you might well imagine that my two friends and I were running about like headless chickens attempting to fit in as many as we could (between endless amounts of shopping and snuggling baby Friesians, among other distractions.)

Between the three of us, we were able to attend only a bare fraction of the seminars, discussions and mini-clinics offered over four days at the Eastern States Exposition — there were so many to choose from that it was impossible to see them all. Out of the sessions we did attend, we gathered our favorite minute-clinics or one-liner gems of advice that apply to many equestrians in a range of disciplines. Some of them are amusing, some of them may be familiar material, and some of them may make you sit up and say “AH! Why didn’t I think of that?” You’ll also notice some repetition in names — some of the clinicians we visited were so good that we had to come back for a second or third helping.

“First you go with them, then they go with you, and then you go together.” Warwick Schiller

“Instinctively, we know falling forward is a bad idea.” Joyce Harman

“You are training the horse’s thought, not the action.” Ken McNabb

“The release and the reward is just as important as the ask.” Doug Milholland

Warwick Schiller

Warwick Schiller

“You need to work with what a horse needs, not what you want.” Warwick Schiller

“A wool felt pad will buy you some time to figure out where your saddle’s pressure points are. After that, it makes a great dog bed.” Joyce Harman

“In order to take slack, there has to be slack.” Doug Milholland

“One thing I notice as I get older is that my horses get shorter.” Julie Goodnight

Doug Milholland

Doug Milholland

“The only two sports where men and women compete together in the Olympics are sailing and equestrian. Sailors figured it out thousands of years ago that you can’t change the wind or the waves, so you have to work with them [ … ] Men don’t have a physical advantage to being strong — you have to adjust to the conditions.” Chris Irwin

“Most of us don’t fall off until we stop riding.” Ken McNabb

“In order to learn that the right thing is easy, you have to allow them to make mistakes.” Warwick Schiller

And lastly, this, by Sylvia Zerbini: (video by Alex Scott: must be logged in to Facebook to view.)

This utter ridiculousness courtesy of Alexandria Scott.

Posted by Kristen Kovatch Bentley on Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Did you attend the Massachusetts Equine Affaire? What did you learn from your favorite clinicians? Shout out to us in the comments!

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