As 2021 draws to a close, I would like to thank you for subscribing, and I hope that you have found the features have helped improve your skill as a natural horsemanship practitioner. In 2021 we have touched on horse psychology, horse behaviour, our mindset, riding and handling skills, and horse health. We are grateful to have talented horse trainers, coaches and health professionals share their knowledge with us.


All of us here at Horsemanship Journal wish you a wonderful Christmas and a fantastic 2022 🎅


Stay safe and happy trails!



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Horsemanship Journal December 21December's Cover Stories


Get Good at Understanding Lightness


Discover examples of lightness and how you can achieve this with your horse so that it gets better each and every day with Zoe Coade.


Lightness can lead to a much healthier and happier horse, not just in the sense of using their body better, but also to help eliminate confusion in their daily activities and interactions with us.



Step Away from the Saddle with Ross Cooper


Did you know that it is okay to own a horse and not want to ride? Yes, really it is!

There are multiple reasons you may choose not to ride your horse. That may be due to age or injury, your riding confidence or simply that you don't want to. You know what? Each one is absolutely fine! However, every horse benefits from physical and mental stimulation, which is lacking in domestication. In this article, Ross gives you twelve alternatives to riding.




Challenge and Growth


Hanna Walton reflects on a year with an unexpected twist and the positive impacts of using the time to pause and reflect.


Early in 2021, Hanna broke her pelvis and was out of the saddle for a total of twelve weeks. But the healing process would take much longer; Hanna's horse training and competing plans were gone for the year. 


However, she came to realise that it gave the horses the time they really needed to get the real fundamentals of movement solid, in a deeper way than if they just kept pushing on. Perhaps, pushing stop on everything wasn't too bad. Learn more about Hanna's experience in the December edition.


Hanna is offering clients the chance to join her on this mission in her online 'Winter relationship booster'.


If you are interested in this and would like to join us, Hanna offers Horsemanship Journal readers a special discount of 15% off the course using the code HMSJOURNAL. and check out 'online courses' to see all the info to book your spot!



Regular Features


Finding Your Equine NicheFinding Your Equine Niche


"Niche - A job or activity that is very suitable for someone" Helen O'Hanlon explores how finding your horsemanship niche can help you focus on the activities you enjoy and find uplifting.


As equestrians, our challenge is in creating a partnership that works well for both horse and human, and the Activity Audit process allows us to get clear on what works for both parties.


Complete your Activity Audit in the December edition. You'll still have to do the mucking out and haul copious amounts of hay from pillar to post, but when you find your niche, the energy it provides will help to sustain you for all the heavy lifting of a long winter of horse chores.



The Future of HorsesThe Future of Keeping Horses


In the final instalment of this series, Anna Blake shares her vision for the future. Recognising that over 90% of horse owners are women. For the men reading, Anna appreciates you're faced with the same challenges and has empathy, but Anna wants to speak to women just for this article.


The future of horses is up to women - the 90%'ers who hire trainers, farriers and vets. Pay membership fees, organise clinics and are the majority of competitors.


Horses need help in this world of harsh training methods, destructive horse training, and rider/owner shaming. In this empowering article, Anna encourages women to change the world for horses by making ripples every day in small barns in remote places and large urban show barns.



Natural Horsemanship Directory


Are you ready to start your natural horsemanship journey? You can find the perfect trainer, coach, tack and equipment to help you explore gentler methods that allow you to build a positive relationship with your horse. Our UK Horsemanship directory is a complete guide to finding a horse trainer, riding coach, saddles, tack and horsemanship equipment.



Riding Confidence A to Z


Natasha Fountain continues her riding confidence A to Z. In article one; we covered Anxiety, Bravery, Confidence and Denial; in Article two, we covered Enjoyment, Frustration, Guilt and Hobby. In article three, we covered Image, Jealousy, Knowledge and Luck, and in this one, we are covering Motivation, Neediness, Overcome and Perception.


Motivation: We owe it to ourselves, our horses and those close to us to understand our own needs, desires and flaws to have a chance to stop them sabotaging our progress.


Neediness: According to the dictionary, neediness is due to low self-esteem and needing attention and emotional support to feel good about yourself. A lack of confidence is low self-esteem; you doubt your ability to achieve your goals.


Overcome: Being overwhelmed by emotion is part of losing confidence, and many tell-tale signs in a person's body language show the level they are becoming overwhelmed.


Understanding these emotions helps us to overcome confidence challenges.



Coffee ☕


Coffee may seem like a strange top for a natural horsemanship magazine article, but it helps us explore the topic of sleep and, more importantly, the impact of lack of sleep on behaviour and health.


What helps you to keep going? Coffee? Exercise? Rest? A chat with a friend? How do you cope when you can't get these things?


How about our horse? How well does he rest? And what affects his ability to get good quality sleep? Does lack of sleep affect his behaviour?


Sue Palmer MCSP shares her learning from a recent webinar with Dr Joe Bertone, an expert in sleep disorders in horses, which the Equine Behavioural Training Association hosted.



Body Language


What are you doing, and what does the horse read?


A horse will read everything from what you are looking at to your weight distribution. Your body language is the ultimate tool in communicating with your horse because, after all, it is their language!


Freddy Steele shares his favourite things to look out for when watching how your horse behaves and interacts and how subtle some of those might be.


We study their behaviour, but they also study how well we know their behaviour, so the slightest movement might even be an aid, and you might be telling your horse something without you even knowing. Your horse may understand more about what your body is doing and saying than you do!