Youth learn trail skills with the buddy system [video]

You’ll often see our students riding with a buddy, especially on their first rides out of the arena. A little ground support goes a long way toward helping riders (and horses) build confidence. Plus, it’s just fun to take a herd hike around the ranch.

Focus gives you feel

Some of our advanced adult students worked on their focus in a recent group lesson. This included riding along as if nobody was throwing balls at them or waving pool noodles at their horses. Or bouncing the giant soccer ball. Or flapping a tarp and doing jumping jacks. When the riders focused on their destination…

Youth field trip to the trail

Our youth students have put a lot of dedication and effort into developing their horsemanship this year. They put it to the test on the trail and everyone did great! They learned how to prepare their horses emotionally, physically, and mentally for the trail. They learned how to pack the trailer with all of the…

Horsing around outside the arena

Our trail preparation lessons aren’t just for trail riders. Getting out of the arena is important for all equine pursuits — and if you put the relationship first, the outside playtime will improve your arena skills as well. Our ranch offers a safe and controlled environment in which to explore different terrain, choreograph new patterns,…

On pattern in the group lesson

One of our group lessons this week featured our interns Jan and Lisa BB (aka BB) and our working student Jessica. We played with patterns — a figure 8 the size of the entire arena — and ground poles and practiced transitions between the gaits. SPOILER ALERT! DO NOT READ ON IF YOU’VE NOT WATCHED…

See, feel, and think like a horse for better results, in and out of the saddle

The first session of our Secrets of Horsemanship clinic series focused on bridging the gap between ground work and riding. We shared stories from our experiences and research, introduced some new ways of thinking about the horse-human relationship, and took to the arena for simulations and demos. As you can see from the smiles in the photos,…

Journey to Gymkhana

Our Friday afternoon lesson students share a common goal: to participate in the gymkhana series at the local rodeo grounds while putting their horsemanship first. To work toward that goal, we are practicing all over the ranch, helping humans and equines develop the skills to remain calm, connected, and focused regardless of any distractions or commotion that occurs around them….

Riding with one rein

Lisa and Jan have been practicing one-rein riding. Riding with one rein helps riders master the emergency stop — bending the horse’s nose to your knee — and overcome their instinct to pull back on two reins, creating imbalance in the rider and something to brace against for the horse. To ride with one rein,…

Youth Summer Program 2015

The 2015 EPI Youth Summer Program takes place from June 15 – June 25. Daily Activities Group horsemanship lessons Balance exercises Ground play and riding Groom and care for horses Play time on the ranch The Program Our horsemanship program emphasizes safety and fun in all aspects of handling horses.  Our summer program gives young people…

Cooling down with a trail ride around the ranch

After an intense learning session in the arena, it’s nice for the horses — and for us! — to take a walk around the ranch to cool down, stretch, and relax before the trailer ride home.

Learning the Flying Dismount

The Flying Dismount is fun to do and fun to watch, and what’s more, you don’t have to be a professional vaulter or spectacularly athletic to learn how to do it. Here is Elizabeth practicing a Flying Dismount at the trot during the June 2014 youth summer camp: [vimeo http://vimeo.com/99164977] We teach this move for several reasons, but most…