Buying a Horse
Before making the ultimate decision of buying a horse for yourself or for your child, you might want to have an external assessment of the future couple horse/rider made with professional and constructive feedback.
Flo could either go onsite to observe the future rider trying the horse, or she could also review and evaluate a video of the couple. In that latter option, please make sure the video contains a good length of riding time (at least 20 minutes with sound on), but also ground interactions (any other interaction with the horse like grooming, lunging, getting the horse in the pasture, etc).
Flo will interview the future owner, watch the couple (live or on video), and then she will write an evaluation with training recommendations for horse and/or rider.
Flo, Stubbs & Cy
Horse’s Video Evaluation
Due to the high demand that makes her schedule quite tight, Flo cannot travel far from her area anymore.
Since she still continues to receive requests to train horses that are too remote, Flo has been now offering a new service of “training through a video”, where you send her a video of your horse (preparing a dressage test, jumping, or even just when you train your horse) and she will return in exchange a complete assessment of the horse and rider with training recommendations.
Here too, please make sure the video contains a good length of riding time (at least 20 minutes with sound on).
Freckles & Bogart
Far too often, people see horseback riding as a sport with a single athlete: the horse. This misconception of seeing a horse running while the rider “simply sits on the horse’s back” is easy to get … until that person gets on a horse too! Indeed, the horse needs to be considered as an athlete; but the rider too! Whether you want to ride for pleasure, or compete in any riding discipline (eventing, jumping, dressage, etc.), you will need to acquire a minimum of physical skills in order to stay on top of that moving and jumping animal as long as you want, … and without pain.
Fitness will bring to the horseback rider a better balance, more flexibility and, above all, will develop what we call the “seat”. The academic equestrian definition you would typically find is the following one: The seat is the skill that allows riders to control and maintain their balance in all circumstances, independently of the horse’s reactions. Stillness, appropriate use and ease of use of the riding aids – the rider’s hands and legs –will clearly depend upon the quality of the horseback rider’s seat. Note that the aids of the rider are the means the horseback rider uses to communicate with the horse, whether they are natural aids (legs, hands, seat, voice) or artificial aids (whip, spurs).
So, in other words, the seat is that critical skill horseback riders use in order to control and maintain their body on the horse, and simply put, to make one with the horse. Different riding disciplines will eventually require different types of fitness exercises, but there is still a core training and conditioning that applies to all. First, let’s talk about the “easy” part: the cardiovascular conditioning. Cardiovascular conditioning is a common element to about every single sport. In our case, this will take care of keeping your level of energy throughout your ride, and teach you to keep breathing when riding, which, as surprising as it appears, is still a trivial detail for some people until they cry for a break to catch their breath while riding.
The other type of workout you would look for, when you want to improve your horseback riding skills, are the ones that help you develop your seat: balance and suppleness exercises. Those exercises are also made to stretch your muscles and help you get more flexibility in your joints in order to get more comfortable in the saddle; it is indeed not natural to stay for a while in that seated position, sitting up tall, with open shoulders and arched legs! This workout will teach you how to develop and maintain a correct posture while riding, and, at the same time, how to use your aids independently.
When you take horseback riding lessons with Flo, you know that you cannot avoid those lunging lessons without stirrups, and sometimes without saddle, where you only focus on improving your seat. Whether or not you resent those fun but hard exercises, you know that this is the only way to improve your riding skills.
Well, Flo has great news for you! In association with Los Altos Training Studio (LATS), Flo is working with the 2005 CitySports Magazine's Best Bay Area Personal Trainer Al Painter BA, NASM, CPT to develop equestrian specific fitness programs. They will utilize the most effective methods of functional training to increase:
- Core strength Postural stability Balance Flexibility
- Performance and enjoyment in the saddle
These exercises have been reviewed and approved by Flo.
Al is a graduate of Santa Clara University and a member of both the National Academy of Sports Medicine and USA Cycling with over 10 years of training experience. His clients range from Ironman and collegiate athletes to “every day athletes” in need of more strength to pick up their kids, or sit at their desks all day pain free. He specializes in the elimination of joint pain, and improving the way your body moves on a daily basis.