Author Archives: Ema Klugman

Training horses isn’t math – Quit thinking like a human

sable party munchkin IMG_4558

  It’s fairly easy to think of Eventing, and horse training in general, in terms of numbers. A balanced canter departure is a 7; a very straight, prompt and uphill canter departure is an 8. A crooked or drifting horse on cross-country perhaps amounts to 20 penalties. A poor rhythm in show jumping delivers 4 or 8 penalties. But it’s beginning to dawn on me that training horses is not about numbers at all. In fact, the questions we encounter in training—the roadblocks along our ascent up the training scale—are far more like essay questions than math questions. Here’s my…

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Five simple steps to find the ideal bit for your horse

bit horse head

  The perfect bit: is it out there? Where is it hiding? No matter your level, you want to find an appropriate bit for your horse that both maximizes the quality of his performance and permits you to have enough control to train and compete safely. Follow these steps in your bit search:  1)    Know what your end goal is. An appropriate bit will encourage the horse to connect to both reins evenly. It will also provide the rider with enough influence to turn and slow down in a safe manner. If you have a particular problem that you want your bitting choice to…

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10 reasons why you need to get your butt to Rolex Kentucky

Rolex 2016

  The countdown is on until this year’s Rolex Kentucky CCI4* . You can expect to see the world’s best, vying for a coveted four-star win. There are six four-stars in the world and only one in North America – Rolex Kentucky (April 27th to 30th).  Few eventers ever make it to this level and even less are successful at it. Don’t pass up on a chance to watch the best in the world and take advantage of all these additional opportunities by attending: 1) A healthy dose of inspiration. The simplest and most obvious feature of the Rolex Kentucky CCI4* is…

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Processing disappointment – An essential skill for equestrians

Ema and Bendigo. Photo by Chris O’Hagan Quinn.

  I have had a pretty shit start to the season. I began showing earlier this year because I am living farther south. I wanted to take advantage of events in Area III that I had never competed at before. Two weeks ago, I had quite a good go in the Intermediate at Pine Top with my partner of many years, Ben. I misrode a line to a right-pointed corner off of a mound, and he ran out. I did almost exactly the same thing this week, though this time it was a right-pointed corner coming up a mound out…

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Six tips to assess a horse’s record before you buy

Ema XC

  You are looking to buy or lease a new horse. How do you consider its competition record? Before you think about going to try a horse, you should look up its record. This will save you time and travel expenses because it will give you a gauge to whether or not the horse is suited to your goals. The horse will have a published record if it has competed at recognized shows; if it has only done schooling shows you should request the results of such competitions from the owner. In the U.S., you can the find public results…

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Introducing angled fences to horses in six simple steps


  Angled fences show up on almost every upper level cross country course around the world. Even if you are currently at the novice level, it’s important to start introducing this concept to yourself and your horse so that you are comfortable with it in the future. A few things to remember about angling fences—you don’t have to be a rider to realize these, you just have to think mathematically. First, when you angle a fence you make it wider. If the table is three feet wide when you jump it perpendicularly, then it may be four or five feet…

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Pretty and effective – How you can be both in the saddle

Bendigo at Fair Hill CCI2*. Photo by Tami Beauchamp Tritapoe.

  Along with a few billion other people, last week I made new year’s resolutions. Like them, I made a few generic resolutions: exercising more, eating meat only a few days a week, limiting my time on social media, becoming more empathetic and a better listener. But I also made another one: to become a prettier rider. There are those people just look beautiful on a horse: they have long legs that seem to fall without effort into place, gorgeous posture, lengthy arms. They look like they were meant to sit on one. Their position comes easily, swiftly, to them….

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Eight ways to cut costs at horse shows in 2017


  Eventing, like all pursuits involving the fickle, fragile four-leggeds we all love, isn’t cheap. Here are some ways to make competing in this sport easier on your cheque book: 1) Plan your schedule and enter early. Almost all recognized events charge a late fee if you enter after the closing date. You can avoid paying this $50 (sometimes more) if you plan your calendar carefully. Make sure to write down not only the dates of the shows, but their respective opening and closing dates. (Some shows even have “early bird discounts” that are $50 less than the regular entry…

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LandSafe aims to reduce number of catastrophic falls in Eventing


  Danny Warrington, former steeplechase jockey and international event rider, has been studying horse sports for almost his whole life. He has trained riders and horses alike to the upper levels, and now he is working to make a difference in eventing safety worldwide. Along with his wife Keli, a former gymnast, Danny has launched the program LandSafe, which aims to save lives, reduce injuries, and educate riders and parents about safety in eventing. According to Danny, the basic idea is to “land safely over every fence” and when things go awry, to have the tools to “land safely when…

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A simple strategy for overcoming “rider’s block”

Bendigo in training. Photo by Jamie Rees.

  As riders, I think we all experience some form of “rider’s block” in our day-to-day or competitive riding. It may be getting stuck with a particular aspect of training, or not being able to explain a concept to our horses. I had a discussion at university with a friend a few days ago about different writing processes. We talked about careful outlines, hasty drafts written and re-written, and thesis statements perfected before writing the body of the essay. Then another strategy came up. He said someone had once told him to write the entire essay, copy and paste the…

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