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You've found the Mary-Dixon page about horsemanship.  Horses are my passion and my obsession.  They have helped me become a kinder, more confident, more patient person.  What they have taught me about them and taught me about myself is immeasureable.  I now try to teach folks about the nature of horses and how to understand each other which leads to a more confident human and a more confident little darling.
Adventure Horse Riding in NYS


It Simply Takes the Time It Takes !

Going down a steep step.

This is one of the better lessons in horse riding that I have learned.  The actual quote goes as follows:  it takes the time it takes and it will take less time
The translation of this is that every single horse is different.  What may take one little darling only 5 minutes to learn, it may just as easily take another horse 5 days or 3 weeks or whatever to learn the same darn thing. 

So, it can be frustrating.  And aggravating.  It is  really Important to remember that when you are teaching or training your horse, it is NOT about the GOAL – it is about the partnership.
Once we adults get that darn GOAL THING in our heads when it comes to horses we get stressed out, crappy, impatient and all kinds of bad things.

We got into horses because we love them and to relax and have fun.  Once we start doing the stupid goal thing we’ve negated all the reasons we got into horses in the first place
So, spend the time needed with your horses – take breaks – you don’t need to do “drill” sessions that is bothersome to  you and your darling.  Try to make it a game.

Each session generally, though not always, gets better.  And takes less time.

When you stick with it for however long you need to do it, it will go from maybe 3 hours to do something to just 5 minutes, then pretty soon, it takes no time whatsoever.

Sacking Out.

Adventure Horse Riding in NYS            Smilla13@gmail.com  (Mary Dixon)         www.RideNYS.com


The Living Patience Pole !

My hot Paso Fino has a really tough time standing still – especially on her way back to or simply facing the barn.

 I request her to stand still – she can stop but when wound up  she jigs around – then I ask again – she jigs again – then I ask again. 

Well, you get the picture.

Clinicians use what they call a patience pole to teach their horses to stand still and learn to be patient.  They stand there for hours at a time.

I, instead, have become the living patience pole.  When, eventually and finally she stands still, we just sit there and wait – and wait – and wait – for 5 minutes or 10 minutes which feels like an eternity – can you say boring?

We do this over and over and over and over again at various places where she gets jiggy.  It takes bunches of repetition but it works.  She is getting it.  Sometimes.

HINT:  You do not want to be crabby when doing this – and you can just spend 10 or 15 minutes at a time on it –however much you can stand without going crazy.

Adventure Horse Riding in NYS            Smilla13@gmail.com  (Mary Dixon)         www.RideNYS.com


BACK AGAIN to the Walk-Stop Exercise - and Hanging in There !!!

On Jan 13 thereabouts I was talking about the importance of the walk stop exercise – 2.5 months ago -  walk 3 or 5 steps, then a complete stop, then again.   The exercise teaches them to listen to you.  It is good for the go go go horse and for the slow slow slow horse.
I learned this from John Lyons years ago and have always used it in training or retraining one of my darlings.  It has always worked.

BUT, my goodness, it takes PATIENCE, but sure worth it in the end.

Back to my crazy little high speed 18 year old Paso Fino that I bought this fall.  I now have 32 hours on her.  I do get a tad discouraged and a bit frustrated in teaching her to slow down.  So, a while back, and it did take forever, she would be able to get to the 60 steps in just walking but no more and not consistently
So,  weather permitting – it has been a bear with snow, ice and cold in upstate NY , I just kept working on it when I could .  Can you say boring ?  and frustrating, etc. ?

Well, today we broke the 200 walk step and complete and wait stops – twice !

This may not sound like a BIG DEAL with a lot of folks – but it shows you the patience and repetition and consistency you need when it comes to working with the little darlings.  You just can’t give up.

My Jose was similar to Cassie – and he was my greatest & most difficult  partner ever – and I got it done with Jose and I have no doubt I can get it done with Cassie.

Cassie and Mary

So, I guess, as I blather on and on, my advice to you is just hang in there.  It will happen, even with a heck of a hot horse.

This is the stuff  I breathe,  love and live for.  

Adventure Horse Riding in NYS            Smilla13@gmail.com  (Mary D ixon)        www.RideNYS.com


Leadership: Nature's Way

Nature’s Way: Every Herd Needs A Leader

It is THE LAW of nature that every herd needs a leader.  If you and your horse are together, then there must be a leader and that leader had best be you.  There is  always what we call “testing” by a horse.  What he is actually doing every single time he tests you is actually checking out who is the leader of the herd.  Since it is you and him  together, you have a herd of two. 

If you allow him to ignore you or do his own thing, he is then the leader.  This is not a good position for you and soon you will have a rambunctious, and possible dangerous horse on your hands.  You will not trust him because he does not trust you.  
Tiffy - the leader of our herd

                  Adventure Horse Riding in NYS 
          Smilla13@gmail.com  (Mary Dixon)                                                                            www.RideNYS.com