Starting Colts, Snaffle Bit vs. Hackamore

Round Table Discussion with Martin Black, Buck Brannaman, and Bryan Neubert. This article originally appeared in issue #81 – Jan/Feb 2015 issue of Eclectic Horseman Magazine. Learn how to subscribe. Often people use either the snaffle bit or the hackamore when putting the first few rides on a colt, but is one a better choice than […]

Pas De Deux With a Cow: Cow-work for the dressage horse

Written by Sylvana Smith We dressage riders pride ourselves on riding with precision, executing transitions and figures with accuracy and accountability.  The sport of dressage calls for riding very precise tests with specific attributes.  We must therefore have a particularly good connection and harmony with our horses, right? However, riding a known pattern is one thing. […]

Should You Start Your Own Colt? Some ideas to consider if you’re wondering whether to do or delegate

Written by Sylvana Smith This article originally appeared in Eclectic Horseman Issue No.28 Spring is finally here, and that homebred colt that was born in your pasture is now two years old and ready to do something.   He might be a little immature looking, and he still has some growing to do, but you’d […]

Conversation With a Critic

Written by Sylvana Smith This article originally appeared in Eclectic Horseman Issue No.14 If you’ve been around “natural horsemanship” circles for any length of time, no doubt you’ve come across The Critics. They’ve never been to a clinic, never read an issue of Eclectic Horseman, but nonetheless they’re sure this horsemanship is a bunch of […]

The Mental Connection – When you and your horse operate as though of one mind

Written by Sylvana Smith This article originally appeared in Eclectic Horseman Issue No.7 A new tack catalog arrived in the mail today. More than 100 pages, filled with bridles, bits and reins… halters, lead shanks, cross-ties and trailer ties… martingales, sidereins, and cavessons… a smorgasbord of devices designed to hold, tie, push, pull, restrain, shape, […]

Ground Games for Kids – Turning serious horsemanship into kid-sized fun

Written by Sylvana Smith For her 12th birthday a few years ago, a young friend received the gift of which most little girls dream: a dainty, pretty 15-hand filly. Her non-horsey mother had chosen the green-broke 3-year-old as the perfect gift because the filly “had the prettiest little face.” I might deem other qualities more […]

The Biggest Schooling Arena 40 Things to Do on a Casual Trail Ride

Written by Sylvana Smith This article originally appeared in Eclectic Horseman Issue No.5  “What did you work on today?” asked a friend, who knew I’d volunteered to work a four-year-old Thoroughbred mare that has been head-shy, bucking, bolting, pulling, rooting, spooking, balking, and traveling hollow with her young rider. “Sounds like you had a lot […]

The Ten-Minute Horseman

Written by Sylvana Smith This article originally appeared in Eclectic Horseman Issue No.2 Those quick feeding-time or social visits can build—or undermine—your relationship with your horse. I would love to spend my days immersed in horsemanship, but that’s not what I do. I commute two hours to a corporate cube, work all day to pay […]

Integrate your horsemanship clinic exercises into showday schooling

Written by Sylvana Smith This article originally appeared in Eclectic Horseman Issue No.1 It was a Wednesday schooling show in January, halfway between Aberdeen and nowhere a perfect opportunity to field-test progress with a project horse who had a reputation for completely losing her cool at horse shows. I expected that our good work at […]