The Riding Blog

A.K.A. "Michael's Meanderings"

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2024 Adult Amateur Grant Announcement announcement grant Feb 21, 2024

*MAJOR ANNOUNCEMENT*

The Equine Academy by Michael Willham Announces the 2024 Adult Amateur Education Grant
 
While it is important for the top levels of our sport to foster the...
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Rein Length: Part 3 - Bad Distances theory tips Feb 16, 2024
Rein Length: Part 3 - Bad Distances
Again, I'll let the pictures do most of the talking, but I felt this was a good educational moment to discuss. Did I ride as well as I would've like through...
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Rein Length: Part 2 - Examples theory tips Feb 14, 2024
Part 2 of Rein Length
While as I've said in many posts, there is a lot more nuance and complexity to riding, let's talk about some generalizations with rein length.
In this post, I'm providing...
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Rein Length: Part 1 - Discussion on Long Versus Short Reins theory tips Feb 13, 2024

A while back, I heard an Olympic level rider explain that cross country reins should be somewhat long in order for you to throw yourself back on downhill landings. 

And let me start off by...

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The True Cost of Horses psychology tips Feb 12, 2024

Every now and then, I've had an interesting conversation with another horse person about the cost of something to do with horses. 

It frequently goes along the lines of them saying that...

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Analysis Paralysis Part 2 goals psychology theory tips Feb 07, 2024

So in the previous blog post (read here if you haven't), we talked about what analysis paralysis is, how it affects our riding, and why we should avoid it.

But now you're probably...

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Analysis Paralysis Part 1 psychology theory tips Feb 06, 2024

This has been a frequent item I've addressed in lessons I've taught, as well as something that I have to work to overcome myself.

In a nutshell, the term "analysis paralysis" is used to convey a...

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How an NBA Player Means a Lot to Your Riding goals psychology theory tips Jan 31, 2024

Today I want to talk about retired NBA player Brian Scalabrine.

You probably don’t know his name, or if you do, it is for all the wrong reasons.

He played in the NBA from 2001 to 2012 and was...

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Blanketing Do's and Don'ts tips Jan 16, 2024

Winter is officially upon all of us and I wanted to take this time to have a reminder for horse owners and extra education for new horse owners who are going through their first winter!

Here are...

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3 Ways to Improve Your Dressage Test Score dressage tips Jan 09, 2024

Here are 3 ways you can improve your dressage test scores.

These are mistakes that I myself have made in years past, as well as seen others make either by watching rides or when I have judged...

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Three Tiers of Riding Lessons goals theory tips Jan 05, 2024

To start, let's talk about the 80/20 rule. It is a concept that broadly states that the first 80% of a skill takes only 20% of the time/effort to learn. But the last 20% of that skill...

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Winter Breaks mental health tips Jan 01, 2024

Growing up learning to ride in the hunter/jumper part of the horse world, I don't remember horses really getting breaks. Sure, they may have had 2-3 days off, or maybe a week off, around Christmas....

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Beginning of the Year Annual Tasks organizing tips Dec 30, 2023

At the beginning of each year, there are things I like to do to ensure that I am all set for the upcoming year with horses. These range from memberships to trainings to horse care items. 

I...

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Being Aware of Your Energy Around Horses psychology Dec 28, 2023

There's a meme that makes its way around social media every now and then. It says: 

"Life with horses: Only one of you gets to freak out at a time, and it's never your turn."

 

While it's...

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Teaching Your Horse Dec 23, 2023

Trainer - What day is it?

Student - Monday

Trainer - What day is it?

Student - January 12th

Trainer - What day is it?

Student - I TOLD YOU, WHY DO YOU KEEP ASKING?! I DON'T KNOW WHAT YOU WANT FROM...

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Stirrups - they make a huge difference Dec 21, 2023

Today I want to talk about something that I have only just recently learned.

I have ridden in stirrups with the twisting top for years (as shown on the right side of the picture). I picked them...

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Motivation Monday: Using Bad Times to Improve Dec 11, 2023

Following up on my recent blog post about having issues and setbacks, I recently came across this quote unrelated to horses and jotted it down in my phone to remember and to pass along.

"If the...

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Change Your Mindset Around Embarrassment with Horses mental health psychology tips Dec 09, 2023

It is just a plain fact that if you ride horses, you will have bad days.

You will have bad rides.

You will fall off.

This sport is too demanding, too technical, too difficult, and relies on not...

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Taking, and Making, Your Own Opportunities goals tips Dec 06, 2023

Let me just start with saying that I have been extremely lucky and fortunate to have the opportunities and support from many people (but particularly my parents) over my riding career.

However,...

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A Happy Horse is a Better Performing Horse goals mental health psychology tips Dec 01, 2023

There are so many directions and ideas on this subject, but let's start here with this brutally honest fact:

If you want to get the best out of your horse, they need to be happy.

A happy horse will...

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Yearly Competition Planning goals organizing tips Nov 28, 2023

How do you plan out the competition year with when/where/levels/etc?

This is something I've done for many many years now. I make an excel sheet with all possible competitions, then start narrowing...

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When To Move On From A Horse That Is Not Right For You Oct 04, 2023

There are a lot of “Big Pieces of Advice” I give out. Overarching ideas/concepts/theories that are transformative and foundational to success with horses.

But if I had to choose, there...

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The 3 Most Common Mistakes Riders Make In Their Dressage Tests And How To Avoid Them Sep 14, 2023

Aside from watching countless dressage tests at competitions, teaching dressage lessons, and making my own mistakes over the years, I also had the opportunity to be the dressage judge for a local...

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Most Things Are Not Black and White Sep 12, 2023

I've been seeing a trend lately on social media. And by recently, I mean for several years, although it only appears to be getting worse.

We have lost our ability to understand that *almost...

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