Author Archives: Ema Klugman

A touchy subject – Body image in equestrian sports

  Equestrian sports are unique in that they involve two athletes working as a team. However, let’s be clear: the horse is the one doing the heavy lifting. The horse is the one running, jumping, dancing, and breathing like a freight train at the end of a cross-country course. The rider has to be athletic as well—to stay in balance and to be strong enough to control the horse. That said, the rider expends most of his energy directing the horse’s energy. She’s like the conductor for an orchestra; she uses body language and cues to guide the rhythm and…

Scroll for more top stories on Eventing Connect

How should riders and trainers avoid speed faults? – Sponsored by Back on Track

  Great for muscles, ligaments, tendons and joints. Products for horses, dogs and people. Visit www.backontrackproducts.com   At a local event a few weeks ago, I saw something that got me thinking. A young rider competing at Novice or Training level brought her horse from canter to walk about 200 meters from the last fence on the cross-country course. She proceeded to take her time to walk a large circle, looked at her watch, and then picked up a sluggish canter to approach the last fence. As you might imagine, she had no rhythm or impulsion and the horse was…

Scroll for more top stories on Eventing Connect

The art of cross-country schooling – Making your horse feel like Superman

Phillip Dutton, Mark Todd, Andrew Nicholson, Ingrid Klimke. These riders have seen a lot. Riding successfully around cross-country courses at the four-star level for 30 years or more means that they have studied, experienced, and reflected on thousands of different questions that course designers have posed. When I rode with Phillip for the first time, it was clear that decades of competing at the highest level had made him think like a course designer. His creative, challenging exercises — with angles, narrows, turns, and variable striding—taught horses and riders alike how to think in the moment. Asking a question on…

Scroll for more top stories on Eventing Connect

How the ‘dog-paddle’ mentality will make you a better horse trainer

  In my last article, I described how the “dog-paddle” mentality can help us succeed at new tasks. Rather than adopting the extreme of “hope I float” on the one hand or “perfection only” on the other, we can take the middle-road approach and aim for completion. Dog-paddling means you can stay afloat, and staying afloat means that you can learn a more elegant, faster stroke in time. Applying this thinking to training horses, especially inexperienced ones, can help us produce willing, confident partners. Horses have astonishing memories. They can recall experiences they’ve had, feelings they’ve felt, and even things…

Scroll for more top stories on Eventing Connect

Why equestrians need to master the ‘dog-paddle’

  I think people (including me) fail at new things for one of two reasons. When the task ahead of us feels too hard, we tend to either approach it with abandon, ignorance, and crossed fingers, or we approach it with the expectation that if we don’t do everything right, we are a complete failure. These two extremes rarely represent the best options. In the first instance, we are basically jumping into a pond and hoping that we’ll float—we don’t care who is watching, all we want is to survive. In the second, we are trying to swim in perfect…

Scroll for more top stories on Eventing Connect

How equestrians can learn more from the bad days – Sponsored by Back On Track

  Great for muscles, ligaments, tendons and joints. Products for horses, dogs and people. Visit www.backontrackproducts.com   No matter how good of a rider you are or how nice your horses are, some days in this sport don’t go as well as you hope. I think that we learn more from the bad days than we learn from the good ones. In both cases, however, shifting our thinking can help our riding and results. First, it’s important for everyone to define what their goals and hopes are for each event. For one person, staying in the dressage ring and making…

Scroll for more top stories on Eventing Connect

Why eventers should embrace Arena Eventing

  I was reading the comments on a news story last week about Devon’s arena Eventing class that was held on Sunday night. To my surprise, most of the comments were negative. People weren’t saying “cool, this is great for the sport!”. Instead, they were writing things like, “this is dangerous” and “arena Eventing is NOT Eventing.” They are correct. Arena Eventing is not real Eventing. It is also dangerous, like every horse sport. That does not mean it is not fun, exciting, and a useful way to spread awareness about our sport. I took two horses to Devon last…

Scroll for more top stories on Eventing Connect

The reality of the horse world’s social media rat race

  Social media has changed our sport. I think many of us are unaware of how online commentary and images affect how we view ourselves, our horses, and our goals. It’s been well-documented and noted that social media, in general, tend to produce a skewed view of people. People showcase their best moments—posing at prom, smiling at graduation, hugging friends against a beautiful backdrop when they’re on vacation. Horse people, for the most part, do the same. We post pictures that make ourselves and our horses look like winners. We sometimes put up unflattering moments—spectacular falls can provide comic relief!…

Scroll for more top stories on Eventing Connect

Five tips to own your cross-country warm-up every time

  I was talking to a friend the other day about how funny it is to discuss our sport with non-horse people. She said that her friends couldn’t understand why she was still taking lessons. “Don’t you already know how to ride?” they asked. “Well, yes,” she said. “But I’m always trying to get better.” Competing in this sport successfully means you at least know the basics and can perform them well the majority of the time. But as we all know, beyond the basics there are so many intricacies on the path to success. Each time you move up…

Scroll for more top stories on Eventing Connect

How do equestrians make the magic happen?

  If there was one word to start every question about what training, riding, and competing horses was like, it would be “How?” Everyone wants to know: “how do I get my horse on the bit?” and “how do I see a distance?” and “how do I win a four-star?” Spectators and friends wonder: “how do you tell them to cross their legs when they’re moving sideways?” and “how can they jump over these things that are 4 and a half feet tall and 7 feet wide and don’t fall down?” The questions that riders ask are only more sophisticated…

Scroll for more top stories on Eventing Connect