For All Riders

Posted by Emily Bertrand on January 13, 2015 at 10:20 AM

Here is an exerpt from a recent staff and voulenteer training session we had. This portion applies to all riders.

Being an employee or volunteer of Royale Equestrian Centre is not only a great opportunity to learn what goes into the daily running of a large equestrian facility but is also a great responsibility. It is a very important role to care for these incredible animals and one that takes; hard work, dedication, attention to detail, great attitude, as well as the drive, motivation, and determination to excel in the equestrian world.


The experience you can gain from being around horse people and working with the horses, even simple tasks such as feeding, water, mucking etc.. will provide you with much knowledge and insight into proper horsemanship. To be a successful equestrian it takes more than just riding in lessons, it takes many years of experience working with and around horses from the ground and becoming a student of your discipline.


Every chance you get to be in and around the barn is an opportunity to learn! For example; If the vet or farrier is out, listen and pay close attention to what they are doing and have to say. Ask lots of questions!!

Who. What. When. Where. Why??? If you see us working with the young horses observe, if we are checking the broodmares, ask what we are looking for and why? Memorize what the horse’s legs particularly tendons should feel like and learn to feel any minor changes. Get to know what a tendon injury feels like if there is an injured horse, or perhaps one with scar tissue. Are you able to tell the difference between and infection and wind puffs or stocking up? Can you identify what leg a horse is lame on? Study horse’s teeth and try to figure out how old they are or if you notice any issues or imperfections. Watch a horse from front and behind walking to the paddock what do you notice about the way it moves. What are the conformation and personality traits differences from the top athletes v.s the quiet beginner school horses and what key conformation qualities make great athletes. There are a million other examples…. Observe and ask questions!


Simply showing up isn’t good enough being here and approaching your work with a great attitude, strong work ethic, and the motivation to do your best and to learn every single day will set you apart as well and benefit you by developing your eye for details and your education.

 Flaming enthusiam, backed up by horse sense and persistence is the quality that most frequently make for success.

Any chance to ride no matter the level of the horse is at is a privilege and opportunity to improve your skills. Never turn down an offer to ride unless it is unsafe. Whether you get to ride multiple horses or just one in a day every time you sit in the saddle it’s a chance to achieve “perfect practice” and improve your skills. As with your work in the barn the attention to detail and perfect practice is what will enable you to become not just a good rider but a great rider. It takes hundreds of thousands of hours learning from the ground and practicing in the saddle to achieve greatness. Every single horse you work with or ride will teach you something. Learn, grow and improve a little bit every single day!


Horses can be our greatest teachers and they are incredibly patient and forgiving. Learning to asses and read the horses, paying attention to their reactions from the ground will help you to better understand how to handle, treat them and ride them. They are similar but all so different. The ability to quickly assess a horse and know how to deal with it in a variety of situations is a skill very few possess yet one that is very easily attainable if you spend enough time around the horses and pay close attention.


Long story short. If your going to be a rider you need to put your best foot forward every single day, make the most out of every ride and lesson. Make the most of every chance you get to spend time at the barn.  Work hard  to reach your goals and if you pay attention learning just 1 new thing every single day, before long you will have a weath of knowledge and experience to draw on. 

Hard work is never easy, it's not always fun, and somtimes we have to do the things we don't love to do so we can enjoy the things we do love to do. Your not always going to feel like it, some days will be difficult and trying, the difficult days are tests; are you going to rise up to the occasion and pass your test  or will  you take the easy option and quit and ike so many others just because its getting difficul? Nothing worth having comes easy!!

So lets get to it!! 


Categories: Emily's Point of View, Challenge: The 10,000 hour quest!

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1 Comment

Reply Cynthia Contini
2:22 PM on January 13, 2015 
Emily, just reading your blog, I was wishing I was a young girl again, ready to learn and do all I could to be around horses and learn about them. Back in the day I would have jumped at a chance like this, but at the time none of riding schools were accessible by OC Transpo and so close to the city.

What a great opportunity you have created for the youth in our city that have a passion for horses. Who knows, maybe when retirement comes I can live out some of these long ago dreams....