Rising or Posting Trot. What say you ?

So which term do you use? Rising or Posting Trot. What say you?  I mostly use the term RISING.  I guess because if I’m teaching a beginner about it, the term Rising is something they already understand; as opposed to the term Posting, which a rider is not going to immediately get.   Rising means “get up”, so that gives students a bit of a clue.  And then the term just carries over into my teaching of more advanced riders.

In Dressage though the term Rising is used.  I’m probably dating myself now, because the wording is different today, but…Back in the “day” there were tests that began with “A enter working trot RISING” OR “H-X-F lengthen stride in trot RISING”.  Today both Training and First Levels may be ridden either sitting or rising.  In fact there is a note at the top of the tests that says “All trot work may be ridden sitting or RISING unless otherwise stated.”  Inserting the word POSTING there would sound funny, cause it’s just not said that way by “us dressage folk!”

I do teach riders that are headed to their first Hunter show to expect the word POSTING (in lieu of Rising) to be called out by the announcer, and that it means the same thing.

funny story

I was at a hunter show with a very young rider, I think she was maybe just 7 or 8 years old.  This was her first horse show and she was just doing a Walk / Trot flat division.  I had prepared her for hearing the term Posting instead of Rising.  I was confident she would be fine when she would hear the term Posting.  However…I hadn’t clued MOM in on this change of terminology!  So when this young rider was in the ring, and the announcer said “POSTING TROT, ALL GO INTO POSTING TROT” this young rider did what she was supposed to do, and began her rising trot.

Well Mom who was on the other side of the Arena, from where I was standing, starts yelling at her daughter STAND UP, STAND UP !!  Unfortunately the rider was closer to where Mom was standing and hearing her Mom telling her to STAND UP, she assumed she missed hearing something sooooo  she goes into her TWO POINT POSITION.  Poor Mom got confused when she heard a new term “Posting”, and mistakenly gave her daughter wrong advice !  So now I try to make sure the parents are clued in as well ! Rising or Posting Trot.

Which term are you accustomed to using?  And tell me your background is it hunter or dressage?  Rising or Posting Trot–What say you?  I’ll be curious to see if there is a connection…


Collection and Feel–Easy?

Collection and Feel–Easy ?  Difficult?  or more like Mysterious?  Honestly a little bit of all 3!  But to really understand each, let’s explore what each one means.  When I google COLLECT the definition is “bring or gather together”.   FEEL is defined as “being  aware, thru touching”

Depending on the discipline you are referring to Collection and Feel can really hold different meanings.  But let’s talk about this with Dressage in mind.  In the Dressage Pyramid, COLLECTION is at the top of the pyramid.  So that tells us that Rhythm, Relaxation, Connection, Impulsion and Straightness are all criteria that lead up to collection.  Now there are different levels of collection.  A First Level horse will not show the same degree of collection as a Third Level horse or a Grand Prix Level Horse.  When a horse is appropriately collected for the level they are doing the work is way easier.  Basically collection with a horse is when their hindquarters start carrying more of the weight, and the horse begins to travel in a more uphill manner.  Simple right? I’m sure there are thousands of books or articles out there talking about Collection and how to achieve it and just as many exercises to help us and our horses get there.  But how does it Feel, when we achieve that Collection?


A metaphor that often comes to mind concerning Collection and Feel  is:  Imagine a large ball inside your horse’s body.  When you are riding where does that ball seem to be located?  If it feels like it’s up in the horses head or neck your horse is probably too much on it’s forehand.  Does it feel like that ball is right under you?  Then your horse is starting to get more balanced.  When you start to feel that ball back in the hindquarters then you are starting to FEEL COLLECTION.

“if it were easy, everyone could do it”.  It’s not easy! But totally achievable!  The rewards of riding a horse when you can FEEL that COLLECTION is so worth it !!   And it’s all about the journey.  So enjoy the journey!

If you have other great metaphors to help with feel and collection I’d love to hear them !!




This is your horse blog too !!!

I’m so excited to be able to share, my thoughts and ideas and memories all about horses on this blog. This is your horse blog too!!

short bio

Here’s just a little bit about me and what I do.  I’ve been married to my high school sweetheart for almost 40 years now !  Together and with the help of several other dedicated horse enthusiasts we run a lesson program, and board a few horses.  Dressage is my passion.  I  got started with horse when I was just 6 years old.  I rode Western in the beginning.  In my teens I became an “English” convert and began riding Hunters.  When I discovered Dressage that was it!  Our barn attends a lot of shows each year, with students.  We compete locally, regionally as well as nationally.  We also raise German Shepherds and in my free time I love to cook and bake !

But it’s not just about me !  I want to hear from YOU !

So feel free to share your horse experiences, or ask questions, on this blog.  I love to answer questions–I don’t always know the answers–but it’s a great way to start dialogs and sometimes we can discover the answers together.  Bouncing ideas off of other horse minded people can be AWESOME.

So come on share any tips or ideas you have, ask questions–This is your horse blog too !!!

I want to share stories from my many years of teaching riders.  I’ve often been told “you should write a book”!  Well, this is my way of doing just that!  But I would like your feed back on what to write about too.  Training Tips?  Bio’s on horses both past and present?  Reviews of products?  You tell me…

PS: I’m not the most tech savy out there–so if the comment section isn’t working (let me know) or shoot me an e mail  wildwin@comcast.net

Welcome !! How it all began–Horse was my first word



HOW DO YOU LIKE ME NOW.  What a fitting show name for a very sweet mare in my barn.  Joy has been with me now for probably upwards of 6 or 7 years.  She is one of my favorite lesson horses, well technically a pony, standing at about 14.1 hands.  She’s taught hundreds of riders.  And I say “she’s taught” them, because I’ve always felt the horse is the best instructor!  My job is more of a translator between the horse and the rider–But the horse is always the ultimate teacher.

Joy came to us an abused horse.  And as such she was very fearful of people.  When I first met her I would never have ever guessed that she could or would become a lesson horse.   Within minutes of being here at our farm, she pinned a person in her stall, knocked my husband over, and literally stepped on him (he had a huge bruise on his thigh as proof !) and got loose, not once, but twice!  Which left us all thinking “what have we gotten ourselves into?”

We were told first hand from the woman who was getting rid of Joy, what the problem was.  It was two fold in her opinion.  First she was afraid that her significant other was going to KILL her.  One evening unbeknownst to Joy the drunken significant other climbed up into the barn rafters and jumped down onto her!  Aside from the fact that it had to hurt, it had to have scared Joy!  She promptly, bucked him off, and the drunk then got a 2 x 4 and proceeded to beat her, for bucking him off.  Which led to the second reason they were getting rid of her–which was they deemed her dangerous!

Even from the first few minutes in our barn, where Joy gave us all cause to not like her, we could tell she was just scared of people and obviously with GOOD reason!

My assistant instructor, who owned Joy when Joy first came to our farm worked slowly and patiently with her.  And we discovered she was actually a nice horse.  The abuse and her lack of trust did not qualify her at that time to be a lesson horse.   She was eventually sold to a nice family, we kept track of Joy and her progress and even got to see her showing in Hunter classes with her new family.   Eventually the family outgrew her and we were able to buy her back.


When Joy came back to us, she was a different horse than when we had met her a few years prior.  Gone was the lack of trust and apprehension she used to show with people.  We were still cautious with her, but very quickly we realized what a GEM of a horse she was!  So she started working in our lesson program, and we were thrilled!  Joy was a very forgiving horse when riders would make mistakes, and she was so patient.  She would just do her job, even though it was boring and mundane lots of times–Just doing round after round while a rider was learning their diagonals or patiently going over jump after jump, while riders were learning about balance and proper equitation.  And her canter is so nice and balanced and almost like a lope, that she’s the perfect horse for riders to learn to canter on.

I don’t remember what Joy’s name was when we first met her.  We probably even just called her “Mare” when she first arrived.   But it wasn’t long before this Paint Pony got her “Joy” in life back and her show name of HOW DO YOU LIKE ME NOW serves to remind us of where and what Joy WAS like and what an amazing teacher she became !

Do you have an abused stories of horses you would like to share?

Horse KNOW DOWN in my living room !

When I invite newcomers to their first horse KNOW DOWN, their  response is usually a “HO DOWN”?  a  “NO what”?  It’s a KNOW DOWN.   I got the idea many years ago, when I was invited to teach at a PONY CLUB camp.  I’ve been having the KNOW DOWN ever since.  The KNOW DOWN is always in February.  February is my least favorite month. February is cold and dark and dreary.  In February football season is over, Horse show season hasn’t  begun, so it’s a perfect time of year to get together with students and learn !  In it’s infancy stage different students would host the annual February event in their homes.  For the last 20+ years I host it, in my living room.


But you ask–What is the  horse KNOW DOWN?  The Know Down is  a horsey type game played similar to Jeopardy.  Students are put into teams, according to their horse knowledge level. Then they get to pick a category. HORSE HEALTH, BREEDS, DRESSAGE, EQUITATION are just a few of the choices.  Students then  choose a question in that category.  Students can choose to answer the question themselve for the full point value.  If they are unsure they may request help from their teammates for half the value.  Parents of students as well as spouses are also encouraged to come and play–we have slightly easier categories for them!  We play for an hour or so and then there are a few Bonus questions at the end to help boost the points.  The winner gets BRAGGING RIGHTS till the next year!  Oh and the admission price–Everyone brings a snack, baked good, appetizer or ??  And after the questions and the announcement of the winning team–We all get to pig out !


Echo, living the good life at age 39

Echo is a 39  year old equine and  has been a staple here at our farm for MANY years.  He came here as a young 5 year old, that was back in 1984.  That makes him 39 years old this spring !   He’s not much to look at,  just a 14.1 hand chestnut pony, but I can’t imagine him not being here.

Echo’s history

Echo’s  been thru a few owners while here.  First owner who brought him here, had dreams of him being her show horse. The owner had some personal problems and that necessitated his sale.  Another woman bought him, pretty much just to give her nieces pony rides.  That didn’t last for long as that owner ran into financial problems and was forced to sell him. Actually she just gave him away.

Echo did leave here at that point, but was only gone for 2 or 3 days.  The people who took him to their home, had a run in shelter.  I believe it was too small for the number of horses using it and as Echo was adjusting to this new life, he kicked at another horse in the run in shed, pretty severely injuring it.  These new owners contacted me and said “If you don’t come get him out of here–WE WILL KILL HIM!  So…Echo came back home.  So technically I owned him for a few days, until I found a student who wanted him.  He’s been with this owner now for probably close to 30 years.  In the beginning of their partnership she rode him, then he eventually became her pet.

Most of his life, he was sound and healthy.  He has had a thyroid condition from the day we first met him, but that’s always been controlled with daily med’s.  Over the years he has developed a heart murmur and he bowed a tendon , and for the most part now he doesn’t see or hear very well.  But he still kicks up his heels, when he’s turned out in his familiar paddock and he loves the attention he gets from everyone!

A Toast to Echo

We are hoping he gets to spend many more years here, gracing our farm with his quiet ever steady presence.   To Echo ….

If you practice horseback riding

If you practice horseback riding, you could get to be that good.  That was a statement said at a horse show, by a father of one of my students.  It was really hard not to just burst out laughing at that time.

Let me share though what happened, leading up to Dad saying “If you keep practicing your riding”.


My assistant instructor was sitting on her horse, Johnny,  just outside of the In Gate.  Near her was a lightweight table with a huge box of ribbons.   All of a sudden this big gust of wind, seemingly comes from nowhere and picks the lid up off of the box.  Ribbons go flying everywhere and the table even blows over.  Johnny is not amused and does a 360 spin.   I bet he wanted to just bolt and run off. There were literally ribbons all thru the air. That kinda foiled his plans of high tailing it out of here! So in an effort to avoid the flying ribbons, he literally does a 360 spin.

Now Johnny’s  rider, who is very accomplished, was also taken totally off guard by this, manages to stay on thru most of the spin.  But the momentum of it and the suddenness of this, picks her legs both up and she is swinging above the saddle.  It was actually kind cool to watch !  About 2 seconds later when the spin is done the rider is actually standing on the ground, by Johnny’s shoulder, holding the reins, as if nothing ever happened!!  We just look at each other and are both thinking WOW, THIS COULD HAVE ENDED SOOOO DIFFERENTLY !!

In conclusion

We knew it was nothing more than dumb luck, that allowed her to land, on her feet, looking very in control !  And that’s when Dad said to his young daughter If you practice horseback riding you could b that good someday !”


Cold Feet

Do you ever get Cold Feet?  I have in lots of ways!  Like Cold Feet, when I’m getting ready to try something new.  Cold feet showing a young horse for the first time.   Cold feet Making a speech or public speaking.

This post is about PURE and SIMPLY  cold feet.  The kind you get when you are out in this freezing cold weather.  Many years of being outside in the cold temps teaching lessons, I’ve had cold feet.   I’ve tried practically everything to keep my feet warm.

What I’ve tried

I’ve tried, with varying degrees of success  Battery operated socks, insulated socks, heavy socks, 3 pairs of socks, wool socks. I’ve tried expensive winter boots and baggies over my socks.  Tried little heating things you shake and then put in your gloves or boots.  Each  has worked a little, depending on how long I was out.

My discoveries:

What I’ve discovered that works for me are thin socks.    Thin socks  work inside a pair of good insulated boots.   The reason this works is warm air can now surround your foot.  If the shoe/boot is filled with sock material, there is no room for warm air to circulate.  This sounds contradictory to what most of us have been told.  This is what I’ve done for years though.  I can honestly say IT WORKS.  I’m also in love with my OVATION WINTER RIDING BOOTS.   They are reasonably priced at roughly $50.-  They offer great traction.  When I wear a thin pair of socks inside them my feet stay warm outside for hours !

Last winter  I was dealing with a severely pulled Achilles tendon and had to wear an Achilles boots on my right foot.  Obviously I couldn’t wear a winter boot.   I found some “booties” on Amazon (I could go on and on about my love affair with Amazon!) that zip up over your foot, they are made for Hunters, to keep their feet warm.  Now they are very difficult to walk in.  but…I had no choice in the snow and cold, wearing just an Achilles boot would have gotten me frost bite in minutes !  Walking outside on uneven ground was a challenge anyways. So upping the level of difficulty wasn’t really a big deal, by adding this hunting bootie.   And my foot stayed warm!

I’m anxious though to hear what’s worked and hasn’t worked for others–So please feel free to share your tricks and tips !

One more tip–When you are riding in the cold weather, take your feet out of the stirrups every so often and move your foot around to get the circulation going into your toes–IT HELPS !

Here’s the link to the Ovation Winter Riding Boots


Full Cheek bits–Love ’em or Hate ’em?

As I  was helping a student tack up this morning, and I was holding the bit (a Full Cheek bit) in my bare hands, to take the chill off of it–I was dreaming of warmer weather.  Have I ever mentioned that I want to move to Florida and become a wealthy heiress?  So as my mind is drifting back to warmer summer days.  I remembered two incidents with Full Cheek bits that makes me HATE them.

The job interview

When I was interviewing for my first job as an apprentice in a Hunter/Jumper barn I was asked to tack up a horse for the head instructor.  How hard could that be?  I was young, but still pretty dang good at tacking up.  I was nervous though, and wanted to make a really good impression.  Things were going well. UNTIL the bridle.  I accidentally catch the “spikey” part of the bit in the poor horses nostril on the right hand side !!!

Now I can’t see that, but the horse is now fussing and not at all happy.  I’m struggling to get the crown piece up over the horses ears.  Which isn’t happening and the horse is getting more and more upset !  Finally I go to the other side, and see what I’ve done, and quickly fix it. The head instructor is scowling at me.  I’m thinking ‘great–not getting this gig’.  That was the start of my HATING Full Cheek bits.  On a side note–I DID GET THE APPRENTICESHIP !!

My 2nd  “adventure” with the Full Cheek, came at a Rated Hunter Show.  I was coaching a young rider on one of my lesson ponies.  Yes,  the pony had a Full Cheek Snaffle on.  I was standing very near the pony,  going over some last minute course pointers with the rider.  It was a HOT summer day and I had a sleeveless blouse on.  The PONY leans over to rub on me. The “spikey” thing of the Full Cheek snaffle, catches in the armhole of my shirt.

Of course feeling her face caught the pony immediately starts to pull back.  And there were a few moments that I’m thinking ‘my shirt is going to b ripped right off of me, here in the middle of this VERY BUSY show !!  Fortunately  I was able to make some quick and agile moves to free myself from the clutches of this DANGEROUS bit!   So yes,  I Hate Full Cheek Snaffles.  As I’m writing this I’m wondering ‘ Why do I still have any in my barn???’

Do you love ’em or hate ’em?

Get your heels down more

Do you want to get your heels down more? I’m not really into gimmicks or fads.  When I saw the Equicube advertised a year or so ago it really “spoke” to me.   Its claim that it could help lots of rider problems sounded very promising.   I’ve owned it for a while now and I DO like it.  Yes it can help strengthen a riders core muscles, and I’ve found that it really keeps a riders hands way more quiet.  The horses also seem to like it, because the rider is not fussing so much.

But where I saw the most dramatic improvement was with riders heels.   One student in particular just had the worst time, getting her heels down.  The normal advice I gave, the normal exercises I would suggest just were not getting thru to this rider.  But after about 10 minutes of carrying the EQUICUBE this rider started to finally drop her weight down into her heels and she actually began to stretch her leg and lowering her heels!   The EQUICUBE conveyed the message, that I wasn’t able to convey.  That’s all it took was those 10 minutes.  Once she was able to lower the heel, now everything that I was telling her started to make sense.  And she  now had a point of reference as to what i wanted her legs/body/heel to do.   This rider only used the EQUICUBE that one time.  I’ve had other riders who ride with it on a semi-regular basis, to help develop better core muscles.

In conclusion

It’s a tool, that I’m sure I will use many times over the coming years.  I believe its also come down in price, from when i first bought it.  Product helps to get your heels down more.


Anyone else have an opinions good or bad on the EQUICUBE?