Friday Reading

Well that was an interesting first week of 2021. So far it’s definitely starting to feel more like 2020 The Sequel.

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I have zero brain power left at this point, so instead of trying to pull a post out of my butt that won’t make any of us happy, I wanted to repost an article I saw this week that I thought was extra worthy of sharing.

Five Training Philosophies for Young Event Horses

It’s rare that I agree with an entire article on a subject like this, but this one managed to do it. I had a lot of YES happening while I was reading it.

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Certainly a million times better than the article a couple weeks ago that I refuse to link to that said (at least before someone went back and edited, which was after I got screenshots) that all horses should be started over fences with: a standing martingale so that they can’t hit you in the face when (when, not if) they resist, a “firm”-fitting flash noseband (because drop nosebands “can’t control the jaw” and a simple cavesson “isn’t enough noseband for a horse that gallops across the countryside”, and rubber reins (of which women need thinner ones for their small lady hands – clearly he hasn’t met me, I wear a size 8.5 glove). I’m still hardcore glitching over that one. Not over it. Utter load of complete garbage. I hope no one actually took advice from it, JFC.

But the article I’ve linked to above is actually a really good one IMO – it’s solid advice and good info for anyone with a young horse or a re-start, really, no matter the age or discipline.

Also have to give a shout out to Practical Horseman magazine. It’s been YEARS since I got any print magazines (well except the magazines that come with USEA and USEF memberships) and even longer since I’ve read a Practical Horseman. PH was one of the first print publications to come out with a strong stance in favor of increasing diversity in the equestrian world, and dedicating themselves to do better to further said cause. Because some folks are garbage, that statement brought PH a lot of heat and people declaring that they wouldn’t be renewing. I wanted to support their efforts and counteract some of the negative backlash so I bought a year subscription (it was only $15, why not), and while I’m only two issues in, so far I’m relatively impressed with the content. There are at least a few articles in each that have been worth the read. Now we just have to see how/if they stick to their diversity pledge.

PH will send you this issue if you message them and ask for it!

Read anything this week that deserves a shout? Drop a link in a comment. We could all use a little distraction I think.

7 thoughts on “Friday Reading

  1. Thankfully I missed that article, but I recently attended a clinic with a 5* rider who was talking about how he puts all of his horses in standing martingales. Supposedly, he uses them for every jump school but not every ride. While I enjoyed the rest of the clinic, it definitely did not align with my opinions on starting young horses and put a bit of a bad taste in my mouth.

    I really enjoy seeing the progress that Shannon makes with her young horses–she’s pretty active on Facebook and I started following her when Jessica Redman started sending her Benchmark horses.


  2. I saw that article and cringed. I’m a hunter and even though standing martingales are considered “essential” for most hunters I don’t use them. And my baby horse was started over fences without one, in a regular cavesson and braided reins.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I follow a Facebook page called Keystone Equine. It’s the musings of a Canadian trainer, Lee McLean, and she believes in really sound horsemanship and teaching and exposing horses to everything you can regardless of your discipline. She put out a book last year and I received it for Christmas so I’ve been reading it, and it’s great! Find it here:

    As for martingales: there’s a time and a place and a PURPOSE, and it’s not “whenever I ride” and “just because”. I personally prefer running martingales. I used one as an aid to address a rearing issue: for a bit more safety for me while I was simultaneously addressing the root cause of the issue as best I could. It now only comes out when I go “foxhunting” (which is actually coyote chasing in my area, no animals are harmed!) because I need a tiny bit more brakes in that setting! I can’t imagine throwing one (standing OR running) on a baby, or really any horse, without first taking the time to see what they’ll do without it!


  4. When I was learning about horse care, tack and horsemanship in the ‘70-‘80s, I was taught to not use more tack/severity/pressure than needed. It still baffles me to see every single rider these days with figure-8, flash or drop nose bands, no matter what. It seems like a fashion thing rather than using the correct tack for your horse. Kids these days (I’m feeling old.)


    1. A drop is often used on young horses to avoid having a strap running across the bottom of the jaw, since that area can be sensitive when they still have activity in their teeth. Adjusted correctly it can actually be kinder than a regular cavesson. I don’t like ANY noseband to be tight though.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m not opposed to using drops or even more severe nose bands if it is for a good reason, and the right tack for a particular horse. It just seems to me their use these days is more about fashion than common sense. “Everyone is doing it, so I will too” mentality. I rarely even see bridles for sale that don’t automatically come with a flash nose band instead of a plain one.


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