Author Archives: AJ Dyer - aka Visionaire

Take the challenge – 50 transitions a day

  While riding my green horse Monster, I reflected upon our never-ending, yet always-improving struggle to balance off the forehand, avoid pulling, stay in front of the leg and light off my seat. Walking around in warmup while moving him off my right leg to left rein, I decided to challenge myself to 50 Transitions A Day. Could I do 50 good transitions in a ride? How would it help? I outlined the rules to myself: a “good” transition didn’t have to be perfect, but it had to be soft, light, and willing. Transitions within gaits counted (free walk to…

Scroll for more top stories on Eventing Connect

The best thing you can give a horse

  What’s the best thing you can give a horse? Apples? Carrots? Mints? No, it’s not food. The best thing you can give a horse is CONFIDENCE. No matter what job a horse is asked to do, he will do it best if he his prepared, understands his role, and has confidence in himself and his rider. Not all horses are destined to be brave, calm in unfamiliar situations, successful at the highest levels. But all horses can improve their performance when they trust their rider and believe in themselves. Some horses are born with a mountain of confidence, and…

Scroll for more top stories on Eventing Connect

Friday’s Five – Steps to take when your horse loses a shoe

  If your horse wears shoes, it’s inevitable that, at some point, your horse will pull one off.  Usually, such occurrences happen at the worst time, like the day before a show or the day after your farrier goes on vacation.  Though my career of managing horses, I’ve been lucky to have a few with excellent feet who rarely ever lost a shoe.  And then there were those others I’d rather forget: the ones with crappy feet who routinely ripped their shoes off and made the farrier cringe each time I called. Fortunately, I’ve got some decent-footed horses in my…

Scroll for more top stories on Eventing Connect

Why all equestrians should pause to enjoy a great weekend

  Have you ever had one of those events where every jump was great? I’ve competed at dozens of horse trials and FEI events, I’ve had some awesome performances and memorable moments, but finishing my stallion’s first Preliminary a couple weeks ago was one of the best ones. Not because we won – we finished 8th – but because every jump was just about perfect. We hit every distance in show jumping and on cross-country, maintained a great rhythm and balance, and for possibly the first time ever (for me, as a perfectionist) I don’t think there is one jump…

Scroll for more top stories on Eventing Connect

Five questions you need to ask yourself in every show jump warm-up

  When it comes to jumping warmups, I’ve always been a minimalist. Maybe I’ve just been lucky to have good horses, but over the years I’ve been successful with a “less-is-more” approach. If you sit at the edge of warmup, you’ll notice many riders jumping-jumping-jumping for 10-20 minutes before they enter the arena. They canter the vertical, then the oxer, then bigger, then again, and again, and bigger, and again…yes that was good, one more time…and I wonder, is all that really necessary? I rarely ever have help on the ground, so I’m at the mercy of someone else’s jump…

Scroll for more top stories on Eventing Connect

Don’t underestimate this important part of selling horses

  Sometimes, selling a horse is less about marketing the animal, and more about marketing yourself and your program. Recently, a gentleman scheduled a visit to try one of my horses for sale. As usual, I went through a lot of effort making the horse look its best; I pulled his mane, braided it over the night before, gave him a bath, and had him neat and shiny, ready to go at the arranged time of 9am. 9am came and went; I sent a message asking if the man was running late, or perhaps lost. I heard nothing back. At…

Scroll for more top stories on Eventing Connect

An important reminder for all equestrians – Did you thank your coach today?

  What makes a great teacher? Is it someone accomplished at a high level?  Someone who has won blue ribbons, Olympic medals, traveled the world, and has a barnful of expensive horses? Success is surely a plus, but not a guarantee that one individual can improve another. Of all the attributes a teacher can have, communication and dedication are probably the most important. Great riders have one thing in common: FEEL. They feel things. They sense things.  They have an innate sense of timing and natural instincts that are honed with hours of practice and use. Yet, those very attributes are perhaps the most difficult…

Scroll for more top stories on Eventing Connect

Struggling to master the Monster – Latest update on this tough OTTB

  After introducing everyone to my giant OTTB “Monster,” I figured some of you may be interested in a little update. The big oaf went to his first baby schooling show last weekend, and I was thrilled with his performance. Sure, it was just a 2’6″ jumper round, and he pulled a rail, so it wasn’t like he set the world on fire. But for where he once was? I couldn’t be happier.     Monster was professional in the warmup, in fact he was more relaxed than at home. In the ring, he loped around like a hunter and…

Scroll for more top stories on Eventing Connect

Extreme makeover Thoroughbred edition

  I love OTTBs– getting a new one is like getting a package under the Christmas tree. You’re filled with hope, excitement, and anticipation of what could be in that mystery box. Such is how I feel when turning over rocks, poking into corners, and stumbling upon what *could be* a future nice horse. Of course, when that new horse steps off the racetrack, there may be some doubts. The skinny, scrawny, awkward animal is a long way from the average image of a dream horse. You squint, close one eye (or both), to try to imagine what that rack…

Scroll for more top stories on Eventing Connect

Friday’s Five – Tips to help riders of all levels find horse owners

  You do not need to have an Olympic appearance on your record to seek out ownership support. There are many individuals who would be interested in joining your team and supporting your riding journey even if you are not targeting a four-star in the near future. But when you head out looking for owners you need to forget the traditional model of ownership – a wealthy individual already steeped in Eventing culture – and broaden your horizons to bring new people into the sport. People who would get satisfaction and enjoyment from being part of a sports team and watching a…

Scroll for more top stories on Eventing Connect