Friday, June 2, 2017

Getting Fit to Ride (a series, part 1)

By Mary Gallagher

As Jess Crouch pointed out in her recent articles on preparing to ride and mounting safely, it is important to review the basics and really prepare the horse for mounting. With time and experience, ironically, it’s easy to get careless or automatic about mounting. So I got to thinking about how we should also prepare ourselves to ride. We are riders in the active sense of the word, not passengers, and riding entails muscle conditioning and balance for the human, as much as the horse.

With this idea in mind, I have begun incorporating targeted exercises for riders in many of my classes, as part of the ground work portion, or in preparation for riding. In this first article, I focus on preparing ourselves to mount safely and smoothly, and share an exercise to support both. It’s better for the horse, and it’s definitely better for us riders! -MG

Mounting a horse is an athletic act. Getting on smoothly and seamlessly, without disturbing the horse—not getting hung up on the cantle, or flinging our leg over the saddle in an imbalanced way— is a practiced motion and a real skill. We need to get good at it. Just like we use ground work to practice moves with our horse that we will repeat while riding, we can also develop our own moves and muscles while on the ground.

Beauty You Can Feel: An Appreciation

By Thomas Gallagher

Freedom Farm’s environment is a reflection of the happiness of its horses and humans. It is a place where both can learn from each other and grow together in a natural setting. As one of the premiere competition stables on the Olympic Peninsula, ‘the Farm’ is known for it’s professional yet peaceful environment. Owner Mary Gallagher maintains this balance between sportsmanship and serenity as she works alongside the like-minded individuals who help shape her vision into reality. One of those folks is Fred Voorhees, a landscaping professional who takes the utmost pride in providing the ranch with its aesthetic appeal.

When you arrive at Freedom Farm you notice Fred’s handiwork immediately.