Thursday, January 29, 2009


Ads space is purchased, logo has been completed, copy has been written for articles, and the push is on to grow Clear Vision Equine into the successful business we know it can be.

From the first 'lightbulb' last summer, we have been on a singular track to make this idea work. It is a unique one and has the potential to make a very positive difference in the lives of any rider who subscribes to our services. Not limited in the geographical sense, CVE is global in scope yet as intimate as an intense one-on-one private riding lesson in the client's backyard.

We seek to provide affordable constructive critiques and suggestions to those riders who choose to work their horses on their own, are cutting back on expenses, are wanting to deepen their relationship with their horses, might be working through a particular training issue, or simply want another perspective. Our eye for detail is excellent and we have a lifetime of experience on which to draw. We have a teacher's need to share knowledge, to see our clients grow as riders!

Critiques include both work on the flat and over fences. We will comment on the rider's position and how it affects the horse's way of going, suggest exercises for both horse and rider to improve their partnership, discuss the benefits of gymnastics, use of equipment, and strategies for a smoothly jumped course or successfully ridden lower level dressage test. We encourage a free flow of questions and feedback throughout the process, so our clients are not limited to our completed final reports. We are dedicated to our clients and seek to provide as much support as they deem necessary, including referrals to other trainers.

Clients may subscribe to packets of 3, 5 or 10, in DVD form or good quality YouTube video. This allows clients to receive timely follow up from us and most importantly, to have a record of their progress.

We, in turn, will critique each submission via email, or, if preferred, via hard copy. We pledge to be available, via email, to clients for the duration of the specific service.

Contact, pricing information and other services are available at

Look for our advertisements in upcoming issues of Equine Journal, Horseman's Yankee Peddlar and Creatures Corner News (VT, NY, MA region).

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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Lessons from the Golden Mare

Watching as Boo ate her dinner last night and beginning to form plans for the warmer weather, we were moved to give her a grateful hug. The boys each got one, as well, no less appreciated.

So what? Let's see.

We have a new gig, helping exercise some wonderful school horses at a local barn. Most are older, many Western trained Quarter Horses, a couple of appendix or Thoroughbreds, a couple of ponies - all safe for this oldster to literally get back in the saddle. Two of these we have known for some time in different contexts, and are pleased to find these two have a meaningful and supportive life. We have ridden four of the nine so far, and are impressed with their willingness to move forward, bend, respond to light aids and body language. The barn manager has done a wonderful job developing these diverse mounts as well-schooled and reliable equine teachers.

Regardless, our rides have produced horses who understand us and work with impulsion, softness and flexibility. We realized this is significant as all have ridden the way we want our horses to ride.

And Boo is the reason for this new consistency in our riding. We have changed as a rider because she has made us listen to and feel the total horse. Boo has instilled in us the language of correctness and fairness, correct because we have to be so in order for clear understanding from our partners, fair because we are a team only when there is this clarity between us.

We began riding at 5 years old, 57 years ago. What had been instinctive was disrupted in adulthood by fear and caution and the need to control. Now, the instincts are returning, tempered with growing wisdom and deep love for our equine partners.

Thank you, Sunshine PeekaBoo, for sharing your wisdom.

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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A day of celebration

So through dithering and jumping the gun, we have made a committment to our little yellow dog, Bhuie, and she will be staying with us after all. We had become too blind to her needs for play, exercise and challenge, and had developed unrealistic expectations for a young dog. Totally unfair for her, and we looked into those beautifully open and innocent eyes and hung our heads.

Forgive us, little one.

Our birthday today, shared with the extraordinary swearing in of Barak Obama as our 44th President. What a day to celebrate the joy of so many who have prayed for this day all their lives! While we do not embrace his policies and vision, we wish this young man strength, integrity, courage and wisdom in the years to come. He holds in his hands the truly unique opportunity to forge a new chapter in American history. He can take us further ahead in the dream of the founding fathers in a wise and positive way. Or take us off track, away from the principles of a Constitutional Republic. He spoke with strong words and force of conviction to 2 1/2 miles of multitude and brought tears to the eyes of many of us.

We place you in God's hands, Mr President. May he be your guide.

Slowly, surely, we are beginning to find our way back into the world of riding. We have found a small stable wherefrom we can teach and ride. We feel at home there, and hope to be able to make a valuable contribution to its programs. Two horses yesterday, two more tomorrow and so forth.

Just a note, here. More later.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

A difficult decision was made today, one which we have had in the back of our mind for some time.

Our dear Bhuie will be rehomed, as we simply don't have the kind of life this lovely, intelligent and talented young yellow Lab deserves. Her positive bounce and energy demands a home which can channel this into a structure that is dog focused. She would be a fabulous field dog as she has an abundance of all the necessary qualities. Persistence, intelligence, loyalty, an incredible nose, strength, heart and energy - we believe she would shine with a job.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

So, the winter continues with fat and content horses enjoying the occasional sun, eating and engaging in their carosel antics that remind us often of the tale of the tigers chasing each other around the tree so fast they became butter. These three don't go fast, mind you, but their movement is consistent enough to exercise their legs and lungs. Dime and Boo held little races yesterday, through the snow up to their mid cannon bones. Snorts and head shakes, pirouettes and puffed up necks, bright eyes. Dime a youngster again, his lovely canter breaking out. A joy to watch, these three. Rusty remains the king, aloof, confident and noble, a far cry from the dejected broken old horse who arrived here 18 months ago. And dear Boo, now at the bottom of the pecking order, often chased out of the stable yard by the boys, and always on her best behaviour.

They know where they are at all times as they meander down the slope for their morning hay, crossing rock ledge and picking through deep ruts hidden by the snow. When the deliberate gives way to the carefree, their feet fly without misstep. We are reminded of the last time they had their teeth done and were sedated. When finished, they were able to negotiate their way in and out of the stalls in their sleep, surefooted as mules in the Grand Canyon.

Proprioception, that mysterious extra sense which allows us to maneuver over uncertain ground without undue concentration. Horses have it in spades for their survival depends on it. Without a well developed sense of where they are, of where their feet are, they would not be able to flee. Sometimes they might stumble or slip: in the wild it would mean instant death.

As riders, we cannot risk the horse's security and ability to feel the ground. We must allow our mounts to carry us efficiently and safely.

We wonder if we learn to tie into our horse's proprioception by giving ours up for the ride.

It would surely allow us to feel the ground!

Friday, January 2, 2009

And so it begins - The Base

The base of good, effective riding is the establishment of the seat.

The seat is the rider's primary connection with the horse, affecting the its way of going. The seat determines whether the horse will move with impulsion, whether it will pull itself along with the front legs, whether it can perform correct and clean flying changes or concise sliding stops. A well developed seat provides security for the rider as it can follow the motion of the horse freely and not be in danger of losing that essential connection.

We once observed with wonder as our mentor and friend, Leann, rode a young draft cross in the field on a gusty, cold November day. The horse, feeling the wind beneath its tail, lept and bucked bucks upon bucks. Leann's body never budged in the saddle. She was never in danger of becoming unglued. She, in fact, was laughing, as happy and high spirited as her mount.

Her confidence came from a secure following seat, a base which, in a sense, belonged to the horse. In no way did her body demonstrate any resistence to her horse's actions. She felt the ground under the horse's feet. She allowed him to do what she was asking him to do, to carry her in balance.

The fundamental dilemma of riding is finding the balancing point between two totally opposite beings. One is horizontal in orientation, balanced on four legs. The other, vertical, with a narrow two footed base. As a rider settles on the horse's back, his body exerts concentrated pressure on a spine not made to carry weight. Imagine a pressure point massage utilized on a tight muscle, not for the painful aspect, but for the small area which is being stimulated. A young horse, whose carrying muscles are not yet developed requires a rider whose seat is in balance, whose body forms the intersection with the horse's at the optimal point to avoid stress to the youngster. On the other hand, a novice rider can reliably find her center of balance, or intersection, with the horse once that horse has already developed its carrying strength.

This is the primary reason a 'green' rider and a 'green' horse together is not a good idea. Each is attempting to find a comfortable balance when neither is strong or educated enough to do so. The result, too often, is an unhappy combination of fear, tension and unsoundness for both horse and rider. We have seen too many promising, quiet horses ruined, body and mind, by a lack of training support, of correct gymnastic strength training, all the while expected to teach learning riders. These unfortunates will shut down, refusing any direction from the rider. They might explode in frustration and become dangerous. Beginning riders, feeling unsafe and fearful, will simply quit riding.

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