Bluebird Lane Blog
Bluebird Lane Blog

Posts in Category 'Riding Tips'

Rider Biomechanics Clinic with Russell Guire

by Lori Albrough on April 5th, 2014

I must say, we are really lucky to live in this area where we can take advantage of so many opportunities to train, learn, and improve!

I just came back from riding in a Biomechanics clinic this past Thursday, April 3rd, with Russell Guire of Centaur Biomechanics. It was held at Whitaker Stables near Orangeville, Ontario.


Transition Your Way to a Better Ride

by Lori Albrough on November 7th, 2012

If we’re giving out medals for the most effective tool that a rider has for improving their horse’s way of going, the gold would have to go to “Transitions”. The humble transition has the ability to improve the horse’s balance, build his strength, increase his adjustability, as well as tune his focus on, and his reactions to, his rider. The secret to gleaning these benefits from transitions is (no surprise!) all in how we ride them.

The truth is (and this can either strike you as a sobering fact, or a liberating realization) you are one of the most important factors in your horse’s way of going.


Soft Eyes: Tap Into the Power of Your Gaze

by Lori Albrough on September 19th, 2012

The concept of soft eyes is nothing new. Sally Swift, in her landmark 1985 book, Centered Riding, was responsible for introducing riders to this way of looking, but the soft eyes principle has long been taught as a central precept in various martial arts, like Aikido and Tai Chi Chu’an.

Rather than thinking, “Yeah, yeah, soft eyes, got it”, take a moment to revisit this concept and think about whether you are using it fully to benefit your riding. Sometimes, the smallest things we change can give us the biggest results. Soft eyes just might be that thing for you.


Warm-up for a Supple Topline

by Lori Albrough on July 25th, 2012

The warm-up is one of the most important, and often overlooked, parts of the ride. Sometimes people approach the warm-up as something to be gotten through in order to get to the good stuff, but this line of thinking can be a mistake. Giving attention to warming up properly can set the tone for your whole ride, and really increase your chance of successfully achieving your goals that day.


Reprogramming Your Mental Computer

by Lori Albrough on July 4th, 2012

A reader, Katie, wrote to me after she had read my Gumby article on using the power of visual imagery to help with your riding and training. Katie shared her experience with her own horse, who can be difficult at times, and I wanted to discuss part of her comment, because she raises a really important point:

I don’t know as I’ve come up with an image for my young mare and I, but I think your urging us to do that, and your example of how the image of Gumby worked well for you, is very important and useful. Whenever she’s difficult, the line: “This horse could hurt me”, comes to mind. It feels rational and careful, but it may not be.


Using the Astonishing Power of Visual Imagery

by Lori Albrough on June 27th, 2012

I have this horse who is a real over-achiever. He’s like an intensity-junkie in a horse suit. He takes his work so seriously, only wanting to please his rider and be a good boy, that at times he can get tense just from trying so hard. This can show up in the walk, the hardest gait in which to maintain the necessary quality of relaxation.

Since I know this about him, in an important situation like a dressage test or a clinic, we can go into the walk with me thinking ahead, “I must have him relax. I need to be able to ride this walk. He’s gotta let me in there.” But with all these musts, needs, and gottas going on in my head, it’s not a wonder there’s tension!


A Practical Image for Use of the Outside Rein

by Lori Albrough on June 6th, 2012

When she was nineteen, my coach’s daughter left home to further her riding skills and experience, by working for a trainer in Germany for a year. All of the students left behind thought this was terrifically exciting and we vicariously enjoyed the adventure through hearing her reports whenever she would call home.

Her mother was relaying one of these phone calls back to us, telling us that her daughter was having a great time, was riding all sorts of top-trained horses, and felt she was well on her way, in fact, to unlocking the mystery of the perfect half-pass. We all hung on every word with bated breath, waiting to hear the great mystery de-mystified! “Well, what she has figured out is…. “


The Third Pillar: Fitness

by Lori Albrough on May 23rd, 2012

The Three Pillars of Your Riding Foundation is how I describe the basic building blocks that you use to create a strong platform for your success as a rider.

  • The first pillar is Focus, and it’s all about your mindset and the power of your attention in making daily progress towards your goals.
  • The second pillar, Fundamentals, is about true mastery of the basics, for both your horse and for yourself.
  • And today’s Pillar, Fitness, covers the whole physical side of things, ensuring that you are preparing your body to be able to actually ride the way you want to.