Journey Horse

Quality instruction and compassionate training methods for equestrians and their horses. Welcome to Journey Horse! Looking to enhance your connection with your horse?

Want to improve your horse’s performance?

Operating as usual


Being a living tradition, the art of riding survives only as long as those cultivating it have a passion for purity. Living traditions cannot be assimilated solely through books and films; they live through their practitioners. If we were only to read about dressage but not practice its principles, the art could disappear, Unfortunately, the gymnastic principles of dressage are often compromised by either ignorance of complacency.

Recognizing and rewarding that which is correct and punishing that which is false is the primary function of judges. They are not just responsible to the contestants in the show they judge, but also should serve the art they evaluate. The rider who is successful represents the closet approximation to the ideal that the judge is there to uphold.

Not only what is being said, but also who says it matters. Those contestants who hold dressage dear will appreciate a judge who scores the rider according to principles. Such a competitor will appreciate the comments that will help him abandon the wrong directions in his riding. The serious rider is dedicated to the art of dressage and will accept Machiavelli’s dictum “Guard the end”; i.e., pay attention to the results. Ultimately, the rider who contributes significantly to classical horsemanship is the one who wins internationally. Who would not trade a hundred blue ribbons won at county fairs for an Olympic gold medal?
- Charles de Kunffy

Read more in Training Strategies for Dressage Riders


Simply wearing a halter and lead rope and having a young horse follow you is not the same as teaching a horse to lead. Being consistent with expectations and boundaries. In my experience the only horses that lack clear boundaries have been subjected to imprint training.

A horse that's dragging people, pushing on you, pulling the on you and steps on your toes is disrespectful. Right?

You need to toughen up and teach your horse respect. Right?

Maybe not. Probably not.

In fact, horses actually only do 3 things:

- What their instincts tell them to do
- What we tell/ask them to do
- What we allow them to do

When a horse pushes over you or steps on your feet and drags you along, it might simply be because you didn’t “tell” him what to do instead or because something triggered his flight or fight instinct.

Horses can’t read our minds. Horses aren’t born knowing how to be “respectful”.

Horses aren’t born knowing that they shouldn’t play with people or push on people.

Many horses I get in training are pushing on me, pulling on the lead rope and trying to graze all the time.

They are also not relaxed and not happy.

Many owners describe them to me as “she has got quite a character” or “he lacks respect and leading/giving the feet/standing for grooming are difficult for him.” or “I always have to negotiate with her.”

What I experienced again and again, actually with every single one of them, was that they have never been really explained how to do those things.

It’s simply a matter of explaining and asking your horse what you want him to do - and what not.

How often do you “let” your youngster to drag you to a nice patch of grass?

How often do you “let” your youngster to rush and overtake you when leading?

The problem is that we humans tend to be very inconsistent.

One time we are tolerant and the next time we decide “now it is enough” and we correct the horse way too strong - because he should know by now, right?

Well, if you look at it from the horses perspective, this is quite unfair and confusing.

One moment he is allowed to walk in front, next time he gets punished for it.

One minute you give in when he drags you to graze, next time you get annoyed and loud about it.

It’s so easy to blame the horse. It’s so hard to see our own responsibility as a leader to always communicate clearly.

How should the horse know what you want if you don’t communicate it?

Your horse will be confused, a confused horse will be tensed, a tensed horse will show more unwanted behaviours.

Try for a few days to focus on the little everyday moments:
Take the time to explain to your horse how to synchronize with you when leading.
Reward him when he walks nicely next to you, stops with you and backs up with you.
Do you think that this might change your relationship to the better?

Maria Klementieva Out of Olympic Race for Russian Team Spot 06/27/2021

Maria Klementieva Out of Olympic Race for Russian Team Spot

A true amateur keeping her horses best interest first.

Maria Klementieva Out of Olympic Race for Russian Team Spot Russian Olympic hopeful Maria Klementieva has withdrawn from team consideration for the 2021 Olympic Games in Tokyo.

Russian Long List for 2021 Olympic Games in Tokyo Set 06/27/2021

Russian Long List for 2021 Olympic Games in Tokyo Set

American bred, Doctor Wendell MF long listed for Russian Dressage team. He has 2 licensed sons in the US. Debonair MF, Dionysus MF both in training and for sale. 'Doc' is also the sire of Danae MF Grand Champion SHIH, Dressage at Devon.

Been a great pleasure for me to know have spent time with all of them. Marydell Farms breeding program has produced so many stellar horses!

Russian Long List for 2021 Olympic Games in Tokyo Set The Russian equestrian federation has drafter a long list of combinations from which the final team for Russia will be selected that will compete at the 2021 Olympic Games in Tokyo on 23 - 28 July 2021.

Photos from MGO Photography's post 06/27/2021

Photos from MGO Photography's post

Photos from Snowman: The Eighty Dollar Champion's post 06/26/2021

Photos from Snowman: The Eighty Dollar Champion's post


I see you.
I see your worry.
I see your thresholds.
I see when you don't fully understand and I need to explain more clearly.
I see when you are upset.
I see when you are worried about the wind.
I see when you are worried about a friend who is leaving and you are left behind.
I see when you have difficulty to coordinate your legs for a complicated exercise.
I see when you feel a bit stiff and need a little longer to warm up.
I see when you feel fresh and want to just play!
I see when you are happy!
I see when you want to connect!
I see when you have an urgent itchy spot you would like me to scratch.
I see your need for friends.
I see your need for movement.
I see your need to forage.
I see your need for mental stimulation.
I see your need to feel safe no matter what we do together.
I see your need for routine.
I see your need for me to be coherent and clear.

I see YOU.

What a difference it makes to a horse once she knows I SEE her.
Not just me and my needs, my desires, my goals.

But her. What does she want? How does she feel about what I do with her? How can I present things to her that she will happily accept?

You and Me, Together.

It's about the Relationship.

Timeline Photos 06/24/2021

Timeline Photos


Did you know Jackie Robinson was a Buffalo Soldier?

Jackie Robinson became the first African-American in Major League Baseball when he played his first game with the Brooklyn Dodgers April 15, 1947. But before he was a Dodger, he was drafted in 1942 and assigned to a segregated Army Cavalry unit the 9th Cavalry Regiment, making him a part of the historic "Buffalo Soldiers". Robinson attended Officer Candidate School at Fort Riley and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in January of 1943. He was honorably discharged from the Army in 1944.
He is pictured on top of a cavalry horse at Fort Riley.


Grateful mine did 💜💜💜

Grateful mine did 💜💜💜

Marydell Farm June, 2014 06/18/2021

Truly special set of foals....


Announcing your #USADressage Olympic Team joining Team USA in Tokyo! 👇 🇺🇸


Recent studies conducted by the Institute of HeartMath provide a clue to explain the bidirectional "healing" that happens when we are near horses. According to researchers, the heart has a larger electromagnetic field and higher level of intelligence than the brain: A magnetometer can measure the heart's energy field radiating up to 8 to 10 feet around the human body. While this is certainly significant it is perhaps more impressive that the electromagnetic field projected by the horse's heart is five times larger than the human one (imagine a sphere-shaped field that completely surrounds you). The horse's electromagnetic field is also stronger than ours and can actually directly influence our own heart rhythm!
Horses are also likely to have what science has identified as a "coherent" heart rhythm (heart rate pattern) which explains why we may "feel better" when we are around them. . . .studies have found that a coherent heart pattern or HRV is a robust measure of well-being and consistent with emotional states of calm and joy--that is, we exhibit such patterns when we feel positive emotions.
A coherent heart pattern is indicative of a system that can recover and adjust to stressful situations very efficiently. Often times, we only need to be in a horses presence to feel a sense of wellness and peace. In fact, research shows that people experience many physiological benefits while interacting with horses, including lowered blood pressure and heart rate, increased levels of beta-endorphins (neurotransmitters that serve as pain surppressors), decreased stress levels, reduced feelings of anger, hostility, tension and anxiety, improved social functioning; and increased feelings of empowerment, trust, patience and self-efficacy."

Photo is of our wonderful friend & colleague, Annette Garcia, Founder of Coachella Valley Horse Rescue, with Sunny, a rescued mustang.


If the hind leg stays behind due to relative weakness in its development, the remedy will be yet different. Humans too often support their weight on a stronger leg, resting the other while standing idle. . . . Horses will rest a weaker leg too. The longer they do it, the stronger the supporting leg will get and the more reluctant they will grow to use the ever weakening tardy leg. If such a case is the cause of your problem, you will have to strengthen the weaker leg.

Strengthening exercises for the weak, tardy hind leg may be as follows:
A. Shoulder into the weaker side;
B. Half-passes to the strong side;
C. Canter departs to the strong side;
D. Halt-trot transitions on a circle ridden on the weaker side.

Do all of the halts when on the rail or circle when you are riding on the “weak hand.” Precede your halts by two steps of shoulder-in.

Sing a combination of these solutions would be the most advisable. I just separated the activities into different phases according to possible causes to make the explanations clearer and to offer some logic in solving the problem. In short, rider your strengthening exercises, then prepare a halt from two steps of shoulder-in. Yield the rein particularly on the weak side as the halt is performed. Then, if he still remains behind with that hind leg, drive it into place by a touch with the whip.
- Charles de Kunffy in Dressage Questions Answered

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Photos from Dr David Marlin's post 06/14/2021

Pay attention to the heat index! Living in the Deep South taught me horses standing still doing nothing with fans blowing on them could still be soaking wet with sweat and not able to cool off. So very different than horses in the Desert where you need to pay attention that they drink enough as the sweat is constantly evaporating.

Photos from Da Vinci Creations's post 06/14/2021

Amazing work

Timeline Photos 06/14/2021

Timeline Photos


Danish Road Safety Council / Helmet has always been a good idea 06/10/2021

Danish Road Safety Council / Helmet has always been a good idea

WEAR the Helmet!

Danish Road Safety Council / Helmet has always been a good idea


Is this true for the mares and geldings in your care?

Timeline Photos 06/06/2021

Timeline Photos

“I am always saying to the riders, give give give. But the problem is that the riders do not feel secure enough so they close the horse in front. That is wrong, you close the horse from behind, that is the first thing and give rein and the horse can go in front.”

~Klaus Balkenhol~

Equitopia presents Jochen Schleese - CMS, CSFT, CSE - Proper Saddle Support Area Protects your Horse 06/05/2021

Equitopia presents Jochen Schleese - CMS, CSFT, CSE - Proper Saddle Support Area Protects your Horse

Equitopia presents Jochen Schleese - CMS, CSFT, CSE - Proper Saddle Support Area Protects your Horse Preventing Scapular Damage - Check the Tree Angle of the saddleBy Jochen Schleese German CMS CSEIn this video excerpt from a demonstration at Equitopia in F...

Wild Horses Belong to the American People - Wild Hoofbeats 06/04/2021

Wild Horses Belong to the American People - Wild Hoofbeats

Wild Horses Belong to the American People - Wild Hoofbeats I was invited to go on the Tucker Carlson show last night to talk about wild horses and the Adoption Incentive Program last night. Here is […]


USLF History

The Herrmann family traces their ancestry back to the Knight Ritter von Schoebel, who rode his Lipizzans into battle in the Thirty Years' War in the early 17th century. The story goes that the Habsburg emperor Ferdinand II gifted the knight a number of Lipizzans. His descendants would follow in his footsteps as equestrians skilled in the art of Haute école. Centuries later in 1945, family member Colonel Ottomar Joseph rounded up his family and horses and eventually emigrated to the USA (1962) following the government seizure of his ancestral land, a decision that likely saved the family’s Lipizzans from becoming victims of the war.

Once established in the United States the Herrmann’s put on performances to exhibit their horses’ aptitude for Haute école, both on tour around the country and at their home stable in Myakka City, FL. The late Carmen Brigetta Herrmann, a daughter of Ottomar Herrmann Sr., was one of the first women to perform caprioles and courbettes. Eventually her niece Gabriella Herrmann Lester would follow in her footsteps until her recent passing in early 2021. Rebecca Mccullough is Gabriella’s daughter and will continue the family tradition. Her daughter, Sydney (12), is currently learning to ride the levade.

The Herrmann Lipizzans certainly play a large role in the history of these majestic steeds in the USA, not only through their performances but also their breeding program.

#lipizzanexperience #lipizzanhistory #uslf

Please reach out to the USLF History Committee at [email protected] if you have additional stories or facts relating to this post!

Photos from Tamarack Hill Farm's post 06/03/2021

Photos from Tamarack Hill Farm's post

Timeline Photos 06/03/2021

Timeline Photos

In honor of Memorial Day we remember Black Jack (1947-1976)

Black Jack was the “riderless” horse in more than one thousand full honor military funerals at Arlington National Cemetery. The riderless horse, or caparisoned horse, is led behind the caisson of any Army or Marine Corps commissioned officer holding the rank of Colonel or above. The riderless horse wears an empty saddle with the rider’s boots reversed in the stirrups, symbolizing the deceased will never ride again.

Black Jack Riderless Horse JFK Funeral Black Jack, a black Morgan-Quarter Horse cross is only one of three horses to be buried with full military honors (the other two, Comanche and Reckless, are mentioned below). Black Jack was named to honor General of the Armies, John J. (Black Jack) Pershing who is the only person to be promoted in his own lifetime to the highest rank held in the United States Army.

Black Jack not only took part in the funerals of Presidents John F. Kennedy, Herbert Hoover, Lyndon B. Johnson, and five star General Douglas MacArthur, but more than one thousand others at Arlington National Cemetery during his 24 years of service with the Old Guard. Black Jack passed away on February 6, 1976, and is buried on the parade ground of Fort Myer’s Summerall Field.

Timeline Photos 05/31/2021

Timeline Photos

Bouncing----And how not to----A conversation with "Centered Riding" author Sally Swift.

A few years ago, I was driving down to Northampton to visit my aunt and uncle, both in their 90s, and as I passed through Brattleboro, I decided to visit Sally Swift as well.

Sally was then about 91 or 92, but still "sharp as a tack", and we got onto a favorite topic, the importance of the independent seat.

Sally made the comment that if we humans didn't have an "independent pelvis" we couldn't have an "independent seat" for riding, and elaborated as follows---(Not actual quotes, as this is as I remember. I didn't tape this, but wish I had)

Sally said that the best riders do much of their riding from that part of the body bounded at the lower end by their knees (She called them "stubby knees"), and at the upper end by their short ribs.

This central portion of the human body "belongs to the horse", so that the rest of your body can "belong to you." This is made possible by the fact that our pelvis can "tip" forwards or backwards, independent of any other part of the body. Sally said to think of the seat as having four contact possibilities, In front, the pubic arch, in the middle, two seat bones, at the back, the lowest part of the spine, the coccyx bone.

When you ride bareback, said Sally, you "rotate" or "tip" with every stride from your two seat bones BACK to your coccyx, forward to the seat bones. This is comfortable, but it has the side effect of kicking your legs out in front of you, so for dressage work, the angles are working the wrong direction. (You see some Western riders sit the gaits this way)

In dressage work, so that the rider can have legs below her to employ the aids, the rider must learn the feeling of tipping FORWARD from the seat bones to the pubic arch, back to the seat bones, tip-tip-tip-with every stride.

This control of the pelvis and control of our "middle" becomes possible as we develop a sense of timing to go WITH the motion of the moving back of the horse, and as we develop greater core strength to move the pelvis independently forward and back without bouncing, almost "glued" to the horse, but flexibly glued, not rigidly attached.

Anyway, these are some of my recollections of that discussion. It would be the last time I saw Sally. She died later that year. A great teacher and probably one of the most innovative modern thinkers about the relationship of two bodies, human and horse.

Hope I got this right. but it's close to what Sally told me, I'm pretty sure.

Our Story

Welcome to Journey Horse!

Emphasizing cooperation through the use of sound training practices




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