S Riding and Training Centre

Riding Lessons for various abilities and ages. Training for horses. Re-training available as well. English, Wester, Driving, show and pleasure.

Sybille Murray is a PATH International Certified Riding Instructor and Equine Specialist. She has been a riding instructor and training horses for pleasure and for show for more than forty years. She began to share her passion for riding and horses with others at the early age of fifteen and soon realized that each student was struggling with something other than trying to learn to ride. With this she learned that each person has their own way of learning. She has used horses and riding as a path to learn life skills and self confidence to use in daily life for the moment and the future. Sybille is a competitive and professional horse woman that has been riding since early childhood. She has been involved with numerous disciplines including, dressage, eventing, western pleasure, trail riding and driving


Is It Ethical to Keep Riding During the COVID-19 Pandemic?

horsenetwork.com I have a confession. As the US enacted social distancing and lockdown policies because of the rapid spread of the Coronavirus, most equestrians bemoaned the loss of the spring show season. But I felt secretly relieved that I didn’t have to prep for shows and could focus on training at home. My t....


Playing The Odds

This is the third article in 3 weeks regarding the chance we take and putting ourselves at risk to COVID-19.

There is ground work we can do to keep the horses fit, and yet not take as much of a risk to landing in the middle of COVID-19 at the hospital.

Let's stay safe and wait to take chances with riding and a fluke accident until after the COVID-19 risk isn't so high high. Guard your health. You are worth the wait.

chronofhorse.com On Tuesday, after watching the numbers rise, after seeing the growing numbers of states restrict movement, and after listening to recommendations from the CDC and other medical experts, I felt I had no choice but to close my barns in Florida and Virg...


On Barn Closures due to Quarantine Orders

We are still providing the same quality of feed and care.

tailsoffaithandlove.com In the past few days, many states have announced stay-at-home orders. In many places, this has meant that equestrian facilities, as “non-essential businesses” have had to close, cancel lessons, and…


Education of the hand

A horse 'on the bit' means feeling the poll flex, the back rising and the haunches becoming active ( N.Oliveira)

The contact between the riders hand and the horses mouth is through the intermediary of a steel object.
The respect of which, can only be attained through precision and lightness.

If you respect a horse's mouth it will respect your hands.

If the soft mobility of the jaw continues at every gait the horse's movement will be dependable, precise and gracious ( Baucher ). On both the riders hand and the horses' response to the bit.

One can see all too often the driving of the horse onto the bit in the hope he will finally understand and become light!!
However, we must learn to bring the horse to it's bit by lateral flexion, not by pushing the horse onto the hand ( Colonel Christian Carde)

It has been agreed that any considerable nervous or muscular energy the horse expends against his rider, is detrimental psychologically and physically and is simply 'wasted' effort. Effort which can be otherwise used for the benefit of the performance.
This use of energy can be very obvious by way of a horse tossing his head, or less apparent, just appearing as a heavy resistance in the hand.
Both lead to deviations to the proper play of muscles causing an impairment of movement in some way in either the horses equilibrium or in his locomotion.
General L'Hotte observed that lightness in equitation was personified by the submission of the jaw which resulted in the flexibility of the neck and in turn, the remainder of the horse and if the horse is impulsed, you don't need strong legs, and if he is balanced, you don't need strong hands ( Philippe Karl) and he will be balanced if he is first made light.

Many today talk about the riders seat, legs and weight, whereas the mere mention of the hand is highly criticised and /or overlooked completely as if it was totally unacceptable to use it!
The only use it generally perceives to have is to hold!! (Or worse still – to pull)

Yet all problems start and end with the mouth ( Philippe Karl) and it was Oliveira who advised us of course we must engage the hindquarters with the clever use of gymnastic exercises’, and that by use of these exercises we must activate the hindquarters, but at the same time we must understand how much the mouth moves and functions ; and it was Salomon de la Broue ( 1530-1619) who told us lightness in the mouth is a pre-requisite for the overall lightness of the horse.
However despite this, one must realise there are many roads to Rome.
This is something I feel is important to talk about so that in the very least, more riders and trainers are aware that these teachings exist.
Simply, education of the riders hand is of paramount importance to the training and the welfare of the horse where a light hand is one which never feels the contact of the bit with the bars ( Francois Robichon de la Gueriniere ( 1730).
Bearing also in mind the quality and level to which a horse is trained is dependent upon the finesse the rider develops in his own skills to subtly influence the horse.
The hand therefore itself, needs to be educated, and the horse needs to be educated too, to respond to the pressure of the hand, where modern riders only know the *firm * hand. It is a lack of opportunity which renders their equitation coarse ( Jean Claude Racinet).

"Schooling is convincing and not forcing." General Decarpentry

I'd like to share with you an extract by Jean Claude Racinet which will describes the use of the hand :
In the style of lightness, "the reins are primarily held by the "pincer" thumb-index (the thumb applying by its tip onto the rein), and the reins after adjusted in length without the intervention of the other fingers. Then, when the reins are carefully adjusted in this way, the other fingers after gently "posed" on the reins, in an ajar position, so that the hand can give more (by opening) or take more (by closing). This gives three "nuances" for the action of the hand, which can "give" (opening), "resist" (fingers ajar), or "act" (fingers closed), and in this way we can ride with an immobile hand with mobile fingers, where the small and ring fingers can yield but * never * the thumbs ( N.Oliveira)

[03/14/20]   Effective Monday, March 16, 2020, all USEF owned events, selection trials, training camps, clinics, and activities will be suspended for the next 30 days. Additionally, USEF strongly recommends that competition organizers suspend all USEF licensed competitions across the country for the next 30 days and that equestrians do not compete for the next 30 days.

For those competitions that do run, there will be no accumulation of points, scores, money won, qualifications, or rankings toward any USEF awards programs, USEF owned event, or selection to a US team during this 30-day time period. This includes USEF National Championships.


How to Create a Bold Horse - Heels Down Mag

This is one of the things we eventually add to our advanced ground work sessions. When the horse is comfortable and relaxed eventually the rider is added. Creating a bold team with sensitive timing.

heelsdownmag.com Creating boldness and confidence in the horse is a work in progress. Olympian Selena O'Hanlon breaks down how she has developed courage in her own horses.


How to Correct a Horse Who Gets Heavy and Leans into Contact

dressagetoday.com Alex Wortmann answers this reader question, explaining how to correctly apply driving aids in conjunction with restraining rein aids.


A Long Neck Equals a More Rideable Horse

dressagetoday.com Successful riding at the upper levels of dressage begins with teaching your horse to come through his back with a long neck and go to the hand.


Empower Your Horse’s Personality: An Excerpt from ‘Training Horses the Ingrid Klimke Way’ - Eventing Nation - Three-Day Eventing News, Results, Videos, and Commentary

One of my favorites !

eventingnation.com In this excerpt from Training Horses the Ingrid Klimke Way, Olympic eventer Ingrid Klimke explains her views on respecting each horse as an individual and the superior results you can attain when you allow a


Coronavirus (COVID-19) Results in Horse Event Cancellations

horseillustrated.com Due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in the United States, the first big equine industry event cancellation has been announced.

Dressage Instructors

When do you think a rider is ready to understand this concept? For example, do you think beginner riders are ready for this when they are still trying to understand how to balance their riding position and control the horses speed and direction at the same time?

This is a terrific idea. The only change I would make is to use a wooden address sign on top of the rural mailbox to help keep the saddle from sliding off.

Check out this brilliant idea for DIY saddle rack/stuff storage for your tack room at Kelsey Farm in Greenwich, CT!




Holling Eventing

Let’s all do something to make a change. We have come a long way in safety. Let’s keep pressing forward. Here’s the link to donate
https://useafoundation.org/donate/ #useventing #usef #eventing #frangibletechfund

Pegasus Equestrian

Pegasus, proposed as the most comprehensive and largest equestrian venue in North America, is set up to stimulate more participation and lower costs through it's size, year round use, location, professional full time management, wide equestrian offerings, full resort/spa facilities, other profit centers and many more factors. The typical venue can no longer afford to survive on part time use. If your interested in knowing more, partnering or investing in Pegasus please contact us

#pegasuseq #westcoastequestrianvenue #equestrian #resortandspa #federalopporutnityzone #investing



The Miracles of Systematic Dressage Training

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Liverpool Fears Be Gone: How To Train Your Horse To Jump Water Properly - Heels Down Mag

heelsdownmag.com There are few other fences that draw as much spook out of a horse than the shallow waters of a liverpool in a show jumping course.


Most Annoying Horsemanship Pet Peeves - Heels Down Mag

heelsdownmag.com Pet peeves, everybody's got them. Even at the barn. They can be annoying and irritable and also dangerous for the horses if you're not careful.


How to Ride with a More Supple, Open Hip to Enhance Your Horse’s Movement

dressagetoday.com Equestrian biomechanics expert Susanne von Dietze critiques a horse-and-rider pair at Training Level.


When Your Friend Stops Riding | HORSE NATION

horsenation.com "More than once I recalled feeling great sadness in learning that someone I knew, even a casual acquaintance, chose to hang up their spurs." Horse Nation r...


How to Improve Dressage Basics

Excellent description a of what it's all about and what we are training the horse towards and why.

dressagetoday.com Delving into the Training Scale

Nice reference

Interesting! - From your DreamHorse.com account, you can save searches which include age range and other details you want to find in your #dreamhorse...


YourDressage.org Nailing It! Riding with Success Through the Levels – Part 2

yourdressage.org Based on USDF’s On the Levels videos, our new training series debuts. Part 2: Training Level. By Beth Baumert Reprinted from the January/February 2020 issue of USDF Connection magazine. The Purpose…


The Scales of Training: Scale 1 – Rhythm

howtodressage.com As the first of the dressage training scales, we need to have a really clear understanding of what rhythm is before we can move on.


Four simple rules for preventing winter colic

equusmagazine.com When the weather turns colder, certain types of colic are more common. But four measures can help protect your horse from seasonal pains in the gut.


What school horses taught me

equusmagazine.com I was not one of those privileged young riders who competed at shows with a horse of my own that I could ride when I wanted. No, my time in the saddle was

[02/10/20]   From an excellent mentor of mine:
Cowboy Dressage Education - The Snaffle

“The most common bit choice in Cowboy Dressage for all ages and stages of horses is the snaffle bit. The Western snaffle bit consists of two rings and a jointed mouthpiece.When used alone, the snaffle is the simplest of bits that applies just as much pressure to the mouth as the rider applies by hand, meaning there is no leverage effect that increases the pressure on the horse’s mouth or poll. It is the most common choice for young horses because it simplifies directions by causing direct guiding pressure to the side of the horse you would like to communicate with.

When affixed with reins that can slide up and down the ring of the snaffle, you can use three levels of communication to the horse.

You can talk to the bottom, middle, and upper portion of the bit, effectively separating messages to different parts of the horse’s head, neck, and shoulders and, eventually, speaking directly to the front legs of the horse. At the bottom of the bit, you encourage the horse to both soften and lower his head. By lowering your hands and allowing the rein to slide to the bottom of the bit, you change the weight of the bit in the horse’s mouth, as well as weight on the poll. Even rein weight on the bottom of the bit will eventually signal to the horse to relax and drop the head and neck to stretch out the topline in the free frame.

The middle of the bit is used for lateral flexion, creating bend, and guiding the horse’s head, neck, and shoulders in the direction of travel. When connecting to the middle of the bit, the horse learns to seek the rider’s hand, looking into the bend. Connection to the middle of the bit allows you to create lateral flexion as well as direction

of travel. Pressure created on the middle of the bit transmits a signal to the tongue and bars on the inside of the direction of the horse’s bend and to the contralateral cheek. The inside rein tells the horse to look to the hand and to inside of the bend, while the outside rein connects to the outside shoulder completing the turn.

When riding in the snaffle, it is wise to use one hand�at a time on the reins. If you hold the horse, pull with both hands without first preparing the horse, or if you fail to use release and reward, you

can create bracing in the horse. With the traditional two-piece snaffle, pressure on both reins simultaneously will also cause a nutcracker effect, pulling the two pieces of the bit close together and causing the joint to poke into the upper pal- let of the horse’s mouth. “Over-bridling,” during which the horse’s head is behind the vertical, is a form of evasion and can be the result of methods that have inflicted pain in the horse. The Cowboy Dressage horse should travel with his head in front of the vertical line.

It is also important to remember not to create pain or discomfort as you teach the horse to soften and bend in the snaffle. Instead, be gentle and consider the horse is learning to trust the rider’s hands and the bit. Fear and pain are the enemies of long-term learning.

Snaffle Bit Action

There are three rein positions on the snaffle: The top of the bit is for raising the horse’s head and shifting the horse’s weight back to the hindquarters. The middle of the bit is for lateral flexion and direction. The bottom of the bit is for lowering the head and softening at the poll.

The top of the bit has less to do with direction and more to do with helping the horse elevate his head, neck, and shoulders, and shift his weight back onto the hindquarters. You can communicate with the top of the bit by raising your hands and applying upward pressure with the reins. When used with good timing and feel, you can help a horse that naturally tends to carry his head too low, raise his head and move to a better balance. Making contact with the top of the bit creates a signal on the horse’s lips rather than on the bars of the mandible and tongue. A quick soft lift that contacts the lips can encourage the horse to follow that pressure upward into your hands rather than over-bridle and shift his weight toward the forehand.

This is a good time to talk about placement of the bit in the horse’s mouth. Traditionally, the school of thought with the snaffle bit was the “two wrinkle” rule. The idea was to place the bit in the horse’s mouth so that it raised the corners of the mouth creating two wrinkles. Instead, we like to place the bit comfortably within the horse’s mouth so that he can pick the bit up and carry and support it himself with the tongue. This increases the horse’s feel of the bit so that the slightest change in rein weight will be conveyed to him with lightness. With this bit placement, you can raise your hands slightly and make connection to the top of the bit and the corners of the mouth. If the bit was already raised to that position and held there, the raising of the hands and change in rein weight would be less significant to the horse”.

From Dressage the Cowboy Way

American Association of Equine Practitioners


You've probably heard this a million times. But do you ACTUALLY know what a person is talking about if they use this expression to describe lameness in horses?

The reverse also applies: if you've ever said a similar expression yourself, do you know how to use it correctly?

Because each horse has unique performance characteristics, evaluating lameness can be challenging. Experienced riders may detect minor alterations in gait before they are apparent to an observer. Lameness may appear as a subtle shortening of the stride, or the condition may be so severe that the horse will not bear weight on the affected limb.

With such extremes of lameness possible, a lameness grading system has been developed by the AAEP to aid both communication and record-keeping. The graphic below illustrates the zero-to-five AAEP lameness scale, with zero being no perceptible lameness, and five being most extreme.

Read more about evaluating the lame horse on our website at https://aaep.org/horsehealth/lameness-exams-evaluating-lame-horse, and consult your veterinarian to learn how you can become a better observer and steward for your horse.

#aaep #equinevets #horsedoctors #veterinarymedicine #equestrianlife #thatslame #lameness #lamenessscale #lamehorse #thatlookslikeachristmastree

Our Story

Sybille Murray is a PATH International Certified Riding Instructor and Equine Specialist. She has been a riding instructor and training horses for pleasure and for show for more than forty years. She began to share her passion for riding and horses with others at the early age of fifteen and soon realized that each student was struggling with something other than trying to learn to ride. With this she learned that each person has their own way of learning. She has used horses and riding as a path to learn life skills and self confidence to use in daily life for the moment and the future. Sybille is a competitive and professional horse woman that has been riding since early childhood. She has been involved with numerous disciplines including, dressage, eventing, western pleasure, trail riding and driving.

Always wanting to improve Sybille has returned to school to earn her Masters degree in Psychology. She believes in education and that a person truly never stops learning. She sees a connection between physical, cognitive and emotional development. While in school she still instructs applying her new sources through education to reach each client as an individual and adapting a riding/learning program that addresses each person so they can achieve not only on the back of a horse but in real life as well.

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22812 NW 102nd Ave
Alachua, FL

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