Horse & Rider Weekly #9: Tips to boost your confidence while riding

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Being confident when riding is one of the core components of riding. And when you’re a beginner, you won’t be that confident. So here I am, giving you some tips to boost your confidence. Remember, these won’t take your confidence to a 100%, but they should help you a bit. Practice makes perfect!

  1. Don’t let your trainer/instructor’s horror stories about your horse get the better of you.
    For some reason they have this annoying – call it “precautional” – habit of saying all sorts of things about your horse. Listen to them, but don’t let them overcome you. They have this habit and they (well in my experience anyway) exaggerate about the horse. Jonty for example, “he kicks hard” and “he has the tendency to stop and start walking backward any moment!”. Name one time Jonty has tried to kick my sister’s horse. Never. But still, the fact remains that he kicks. So do keep a precautionary check, but don’t let it overcome you.
  2. Think positively.
    Think positively about you and your horse. It’s another key component in horse riding. Think positively and be assured that your horse is going to do what you want it to do and will not disobey you or try to run away with you. Trust me, if you feel assured about your horse, your horse will do what you want it to do. Because naturally, when you are feeling assured about something, your body language changes, and – sometimes without you knowing it – you end up MAKING the horse obey you. So thinking positively and feeling assured help A TON in gaining confidence.
  3. Don’t bother what others have to say about your riding.
    When riding/taking lessons at a yard, there will definitely be that one person who stands by the fence passing mocking and sarcastic, sometimes even discouraging remarks about everyone’s riding. And thankfully I haven’t come across any of that sort of a person, but it is a norm. Almost everyone I follow on Instagram have something to say about that kind of a person. So if you ever do bump into that kind of a person, IGNORE HIM COMPLETELY. Just focus on what your trainer/instructor has to say. And even if you don’t have that kind of a person, your other friends might have something to say about your riding. If they’re encouraging comments, well and good. But if they are mocking/discouraging comments, just ignore them. Peer pressure is what affects our confidence; you’ll always be worried about “how do I look?” or “what will my friends say when they see me like this?”. Just ignore them, pretend they don’t exist.
  4. Ask your trainer/instructor for tips.
    I don’t have that many tips to share with you today, but your trainer/instructor should have some that will help you!

So yeah, that’s all what I have for today!

And sorry if today’s post is quite out of point or ungrammatical, I am really typing as ideas come to my mind so it may not make sense.

With that, see you guys next post 🙂

Horse & Rider Weekly #8: Tips on surviving the fall

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Falling off is something that defines the sport of Equestrianism itself. And sometimes you can just land on your legs, but sometimes there are falls that are far more dangerous and scary than just falling on your legs. Obviously, falls are unpredictable. When you are beginner then they are more unpredictable than ever, but as you get more advanced and more experienced, you can 8 times out of 10 tell that something’s going to happen. And also, you can’t pretty much predict exactly where your horse is going to propel you off. You could land pretty much anywhere. But there are some general tips to help you survive the fall in general.

  1. Don’t stand up right after falling off, even if you feel you’re OK.
    There could be any small injury in your neck or back that you cannot feel, but if you move your body and that injury dislodged, it could lead to a lot of problems or even paralyzation. Keep lying on the ground, and if you’re riding at a yard and there’s no one around you, shout for help. If you’re out of the yard and have fallen on the road, immediately get up and take your horse to the side, and if you feel like sitting down, sit down. If you have your cellphone handy, call someone who can assist you. Remember, don’t mount on right away, a tiny little injury could lead to paralyzation. It’s a good idea to have a trainer/instructor check you since they have basic first aid skills, and then mount on if you feel okay. Remember, if you’re even in the slightest doubt that something’s wrong, don’t take chances, call the ambulance. They’ll take you to hospital and they’ll give you a go-ahead if everything’s alright.
  2. If you’re thrown in front of the horse and the horse doesn’t look like it’s going to stop…
    Immediately roll to the side. Curl yourself in a ball with your head tucked in (just like the jockeys do) and roll away. Once you’re at a safe distance from your horse you can unroll yourself. Then again, shout for help, someone to catch your horse and someone to see to you. Don’t be embarrassed to say “I’ve fallen off! Can someone please help me?”. A little embarrassment is better than a really serious injury.
  3. If you fall with the horse’s rein in your hand…
    Immediately let them go. If your horse is trained well, he won’t wander away, and even if he does, let him. If you keep holding the rein, then 1) The horse will feel uncomfortable and will try to pull back, and 2) If the horse takes a run, you’ll be going with the horse. Rather let the horse wander away and as always, call for help.
  4. Try to avoid falling on your neck.
    Some people will try and take the shock out of falling by stretching their hands out to the ground so they fall on them like a handstand. DON’T do that! It can damage your wrists, arms, and/or shoulders! ONLY DO THAT IF YOU’RE APPROACHING THE GROUND HEAD FIRST, THEN LAND ON YOUR HANDS TO AVOID NECK INJURY. Otherwise if you’re landing on your knees etc., let it be that way, the knees are better to land on than your arms.
  5. Take your time getting ready to ride again.
    If you’ve fallen off and are feeling pain, or just not feeling ready enough to ride again, or are feeling like throwing up, take your time in doing everything you need to and get ready again. If you feel like taking a bit of a rest, do so. If you want to have a bit of a drink or a snack before hopping on again, do so. Take your time in doing whatever you want to in order to feel ready again. And if in the middle of a lesson your trainer/instructor is urging you to come back up, tell them straight forward that you aren’t feeling comfortable enough to ride yet and that when you’re ready you’ll get back on. It’s their habit; they’ll urge you to come back on so they save time and get over with it quickly. Look at yourself first, it’s their habit. And you have a right to even tell them, “I’m not feeling comfortable to ride today, let’s pause the lesson here, we’ll carry on next time.” They ABSOLUTELY CANNOT say no.

If I’ve missed any important point, let me know in the comments and I’ll put it up!

I think that’s all what I have to say about surviving the fall! All of these tips except no. 4 are from my experience. No. 4 was inspired by Young Rider Magazine and just edited a bit.

Hope you guys enjoyed! And I know you guys were waiting for this yesterday but I couldn’t complete it yesterday so here it is!

With that, see you guys next post 🙂

Horse & Rider Weekly #7: General tips for improved riding

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So I really didn’t know what should today’s article be on, so I decided to put some general tips for improved riding, in general.

  1. Stay relaxed. Don’t tense up. It gives your horse a command to go forward.
  2. Don’t round your shoulders or hunch your back. Sit straight and tall. It will help in keeping your balance.
  3. Don’t dig your heels into the horse’s side. It only squeezes the horse to go faster. 
  4. In spooky conditions, verbally comfort your horse. It does help, trust me. 
  5. Many people tell you to force your heels down. DON’T do that. The correct way to keep your heels is more or less level.

    This is not how to keep your heels. Unfortunately most people will tell you to keep them like this.
    This is not how to keep your heels. Unfortunately most people will tell you to keep them like this.

    Your heels should be more or less like this. Even slightly higher will do.
    Your heels should be more or less like this. Even slightly higher will do.
  6. Look where you want to go when turning. If your horse is obedient, he/she will turn in that direction without you needing your reins. 

Short post, I know 🙁 also, sorry for late upload. You’ll get a proper post on Friday.

Minecraft tips & tricks weekly #2: A tip for surviving in Hardcore mode

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Today’s is gonna be a short post about a tip from my experience in Hardcore mode. And that is:

Make sure you’re in your house by sunset time. The moment the sun is half way down the horizon, sleep. That will make you sleep and get over the night because the mobs don’t get an oppurtunity to spawn, and you slept and made it day, they couldn’t spawn.

Just a little small post for today thought id share it with you 🙂

Horse & Rider Weekly #6: Keeping your horse standing still at the mounting block

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Horses that refuse to stand at the mounting block can indeed be frustrating. Especially if you’re in a hurry to mount on, and aren’t tall enough to mount on without a mounting block. And I have some tales of the past to tell you with, Vanja once again, leader of all horsey struggles. And in fact when it comes to not standing at the mounting block, Vanja is a champ. He is an expert at it. So here’s a few things that a lot of us face trouble with:


  1. He’ll walk over to the mounting block sweetly as if he’s the sweetest horse in the world. When you come over and ask him to stand, he’ll stand. But when you shorten the reins and hold the saddle, ready to hop on, he’ll turn, head towards the mounting block, leaving you with only 2 choices. 1) Turn the horse around and bring him to the mounting block again, or 2) mount on without a mounting block. Obviously, the first one can get quite tedious because you’ll bring him over to the mounting block to repeat the same exercise again and again. And obviously the second one is impractical if you’re too short.
  2. When he sees that you’re taking him to the mounting block, he’ll get stubborn and start to pull back and raise his head. He’ll also get mouthy.
  3. He will walk over to the mounting block and as you get ready to hop on, he’ll start walking backwards.

Neither of the above are pleasant. They can really frustrate a lot of us. If you’re taking lessons, then your instructor will hold the horse. A lot of the instructors won’t bother telling you how to keep the horse still, but my instructor was kind enough to tell me that, so here I am, sharing those tips with you.

  1. Be firm
    If your horse is doing either of the above, tell your horse that what he is doing is not appreciated. Don’t beat him, but give a little pull jerkily in the bit, or just verbally say in a firm, strict (remember, not scolding, just firm and strict) way “Stop it!” or “Stand!”. If you have a well-trained horse who’s just being plain naughty, he’ll understand what you’re trying to get across. Remember, don’t be too gentle at this stage. A horse judges you by your intelligence. Meaning, if you know how to handle a horse correctly, the horse will admit you’re the boss, if you’re being foolish with him (i.e in this case, being very gentle, patting your horse, still being affectionate towards it) he thinks he’s the boss and he won’t ever listen to you. At this stage, the horse is playing around, testing your mental level. If you be gentle and kind, he’ll be like “Oh this is easy. He’s a fool. I’m the boss now”.
  2. Shorten the rein which he turns on
    What I mean is, if your mounting block is to the left of the horse, which it definitely is, and if your horse is doing the first issue (turning his head to the mounting block), Then shorten the rein which is on the right of the horse. So the horse cannot turn his head toward your side. If he does turn, he’ll turn his back toward you, which is not so easy for him to do. So before he tries it, you’ll usually be on.
  3. Use your crop to straighten the horse at the mounting block
    If your horse does the first issue (turning his head to the mounting block), if shortening the right rein does not work, try this: Your horse is standing, head toward the mounting block. Come to his right side, start poking his right hind flank muscle with the crop and click your toungue. That will force (if not encourage) your horse to make his back straight and turn his head away from the mounting block. Now quickly return to the mounting block and mount on. You might need to repeat this exercise a couple of times before your horse really has had enough.
  4. Be quick at the mounting block
    Something I lack, hence to why Vanja always played up at the mounting block with me. You gotta be quick, else the horse gets uncomfortable.
  5. Ask your trainer/instructor for tips
    These tips are those that my instructor gave me. Maybe your trainer/instructor has some better tips that will work for you!

I think that’s all what I have to say regarding this matter 🙂
Thanks for reading and see you guys next post 🙂

Horse & Rider Weekly #5: Horses that spook on outrides

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If you frequently go on outrides or trail rides, this is an important skill to have handy. Anytime in your riding life, you’re bound to bump into a horse that’ll spook and buck and rear the moment you go out on an outride. Vanja, for example, spooks of something, I don’t know what, but something at the gate of the yard. He just raises his head up and nearly rears and turns around. You gotta steer him around again for at least 3 times before he goes out. The only exception was on an outride on 26 Apr, probably due there were horses all around him. Front, back, probably even on the side because when we were going through the gate all lines were disassembled. Then after we went out everybody assembled the lines again. So during that outride I didn’t deal with Vanja being his usual self; he was quite calm. He even stood at the mounting block, which indeed, is a very big accomplishment with Vanja. Then, he didn’t spook at the gate. Neither did he do anything funny on the outride. So I have no experiences from that outride although that was the most fun outride I’ve ever been on. So, instead, I’ll share with you my experiences on an outride which had only me and my sister, but Vanja was a complete jerk.

  1. Relax
    Most important factor in outrides. In fact in everything related to horse riding, you need to stay relaxed. And that’s one of the things I lack. Never tense up, because your horse is already nervous. On top of that you’re tensing up and stressing, so that makes the horse more nervous and he’ll be a complete jerk.
  2. Talk to your horse
    Comfort your horse. Tell him/her that there’s nothing to be afraid of. You might think it’s pretty lame but your horse actually understands your tone. Trust me, it really helps.
  3. Keep away from the road
    Vanja hates cars. Especially around Linbro Park, because the speed limit is something around 40-60 kmph, but the drivers there are swishing past at around 100-120 kmph. And especially if you have a bakkie (Afrikaans for what you American folks call pick-ups) that is speeding past, it definitely makes quite a bit of noise. On top of that, it can really spook a horse if this giant monster comes screeching past. So make sure you’re at a distance from the road, else your horse can spook and you can fall on the road, which indeed is very dangerous. Also, keeping away from the road gives your horse a little comfort like “They’re far from me. I think I’ll be okay”. Remember, horses are extremely intelligent creatures, so little things do make a difference to them.
  4. Don’t punish your horse for spooking or bolting
    If your horse is afraid of something, it’ll naturally spook and bolt away from it. Don’t punish your horse for doing so. That’ll make your horse scared of you and will also develop a hatred inside of him for you. He’ll associate you with danger. If he bolts away from something, keep calm, pat him, and talk to him. Comfort him. He’ll then understand that you do care about him and you will not purposefully take him into doom. Then eventually he’ll get over the fear.
  5. Take him on outrides more frequently
    If he sees something more and more frequently, he’ll learn to get over the fear. If you keep repeating the thing excessively, he will soon get used to it. Don’t be one of those people that will keep the horse from getting near that fear if he is afraid of it.

So those are some tips from my side about spooky horses on outrides! If you have any additional tips, write ’em in the comments below!

Thanks for reading 🙂

Also, what do you think about the updated blog theme? It looks much better than the previous one right?

Horse & Rider Weekly #4: Slowing down a fast horse

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I know this was supposed to be uploaded yesterday, but I was busy this week so I couldn’t upload it! Anyway, here it is now.

Admit it – we have all, at some point in our lives, been on a horse that scares the living daylights out of us. It really doesn’t matter when you are in an arena, but when you mount on, and your horse starts running at the speediest canter towards a barbed wire fence. Now that’s something to really make you scared. See, in an arena, you know you’re not going anywhere. Even if you do fall, it’s just on the floor in the arena, nothing dangerous. But out, when you’re approaching a barbed wire fence, thoughts can really flare up in your mind. And I’ve been in both the cases, so I decided to put up some tips for slowing down a speedy horse. Now, these are not for staying on, they are for slowing down.

Also, you got to determine whether your horse is naturally fast, or something is disturbing it and making it fast. If your horse is the former kind, you gotta sit back, relax, and know the fact that nothing can change it. Your horse is fast, and will remain fast. Deal with it. But if it is the latter kind, then there are some tips here that might help.


  1. Sit back in the saddle and straight. Put your weight in the saddle.
    This is indeed the most crucial part of slowing down a speedy horse. Put yourself in the horse’s shoes. Would it be easier for you to run faster if the person on top of you is sitting back and putting his weight on your back, or would it be easier for you to run faster if the person on top of you is sitting forward and isn’t putting any weight on you? Obviously the latter. Sit straight. Put your weight in the saddle. Remember though, DO NOT shorten your reins more and more. Something I always did, I learnt the hard way. In fact, lengthen the reins. Not too much that you’re holding the reins by the buckle, but lengthen it. See, if you had a metal thing pulling in your mouth harder and harder, wouldn’t you want to run away from it? Remember, I also learnt the hard way, I was doing everything I am writing now.. Also, one more thing. Relax. A horse is intelligent, and can realise when the rider is nervous or tensing up. As such, he won’t feel comfortable and he will be nervous, he thinks that you don’t know how to handle him correctly, due to that he’ll take you for a ride. Relax, breathe in, breathe out. Don’t stress.
  2. Pull & release (also knows as half halt)
    As its name sounds, you basically pull the reins, then release. Don’t hang in the mouth, just softly pull, then release. However, it’s important to remember that not all horses are trained for half halting. So it’s best to ask your trainer/instructor if the horse you’re riding is trained for half halt. Even in 1 yard, there could be horses who are trained differently. For example at Byerley Stables, Vanja (pronounced Vaan-yah; Dutch name), Pumpkin, and Shianne, will never slow with half halting. You really gotta pull, hang on till they slow down, then release. Dez, Olivia, Afro, and Dot, on the other hand, will only go faster if you hang on. Pull, and release right away. And you won’t master half halt at the first try, since all horses have different tendencies to respond to half halts. Some need a shorter pull, while others need a little longer. So it depends on the horse. Once again, best to ask your trainer/instructor how is the horse you’re riding trained for half halting.
  3. Make a circle
    Circling toward the inside can really help, no matter what kind of horse you’re riding. Think about it, you’re running a race. Will you be able to run faster if the track is straight, or will you be able to run faster if the track is a bunch of circles. Obviously the former. If your horse is going too fast, circle it to the inside. REMEMBER! DO NOT make a very tight circle, you’ll only injure the horse. Make a good wide circle, the horse is guaranteed to slow. It just can’t go faster. And one more thing, this tip also applies to a horse that is naturally fast, as it really can’t go that fast, so you can control it a little better.

Remember, also use your voice. Talk to your horse, comfort it verbally. Remember, talk to it in a comforting tone, not a scolding tone. Talk calmly to your horse, he’ll feel more comfortable with you on his back.

Thanks for reading and hope these tips help 🙂

Are you guys enjoying these horse & rider posts? Is there anything I can do to make them better? Please comment your thoughts below!

With that, see you guys next post 🙂

Minecraft Tips & Tricks Weekly #1: Random tips for survival

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So guys here are some random tips for Minecraft survival! They’re not gonna be plenty, just a few.

  1. When you start off in survival mode, grab wood and only make a pickaxe. Run to the nearest stone available and craft the rest of your tools with that. Don’t waste wood on tools that serve no purpose.
  2. Endermen are neutral mobs unless eye contact is made with them or you hit them. They however need to be killed to get Ender Pearls. The best way is, only hit it with a diamond sword. And look down at it’s feet so it won’t teleport and attack you from behind.
  3. When you attack a creeper with a diamond / iron sword, don’t run back after every hit, just stay glued to it hitting it. It’ll die without exploding. (ONLY APPLIES TO EASY DIFFICULTY AND WITH A DIAMOND OR IRON SWORD)
  4. Besides longer durability, diamond armour and iron armour have no difference. So don’t make diamond armour unless you have a super abundance of diamonds.
  5. NEVER fight a skeleton with a knockback enchanted sword. Use sharpness, smite, or whatever but NEVER knockback. You’ll just be chasing the skeleton around the entire place and he’ll shoot you from where you possibly can’t reach.
  6. Gold hoes are completely useless.
  7. In your house make a 2 block high roof. Endermen will not be able to teleport.
  8. Blaze rods can also be used as fuel in a furnace, with 12 uses instead of 8 as with coal or charcoal.
  9. Use your first 3 diamond to create a pickaxe not a sword. Pickaxe also has attack damage. It’s kind of more economic.
  10. Out of resources? Yet don’t know the way home? Well, just arrange the compass in the crafting table and it’ll point to the spawn point. No crafting required!
  11. Don’t go near that cactus. If you touch it, you’ll get attack damage. (Note that you can punch it even barehand, just don’t go too near it)
  12. Want to protect your house from endermen without compromising on the roof? put water around your house. Endermen will die.

First Minecraft weekly post phew!

Enjoy these, I didn’t have much to write. Also, half of these tips are taken from Minecraft Wiki. So all credits go to their writers!

Horse & Rider Weekly #3: Sitting the canter

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Sitting the canter is one thing many riders face trouble in, and as for me I still haven’t mastered it completely. The canter is a rocking gait, so your hip needs to be relaxed. At the same time, your torso should be still and you shouldn’t be rocking with the horse on the top part. Here are some tips that will help you sit the canter better, and eventually you’ll get better at it, with practice. The saying goes on: “Practice makes perfect.”


Forcing the heels down will NOT help!
For some reason, all the riding instructors that I’ve been through tell me one thing. “You’re bouncing in the saddle while cantering. It’s due to your heels are not down” okay. Let’s pause here. Their definition of ‘heels down’ means your heels should be like this:

Image from Google, not mine
Image from Google, not mine

Obviously this is not the correct way to keep your heels. ‘heels down’ means your heels should be more or less level. Like this:

Image from Google, not mine
Image from Google, not mine

When you force your heels down, like the first pic, what you’re doing is bracing and exhorting your body to push the heels that down. Try it. Even when sitting on a chair. That removes the shock absorbing tendency from your ankle (or Tendon, whatever is the fancy term in your eyes) which is a crucial part in keeping your balance. Keeping your heels level will let your leg relax, and moreover your whole body, as well as your hip.

Don’t tense your hip. Relax.
Remember, the canter is a rocking gait. If you tense your hip, you won’t be able to go with the horse. Keep it relaxed. Remember though, your torso should be still. Your torso shouldn’t move with the horse, just your hip.

Also relax your overall body
Don’t tense your body either. Keep it relaxed. But remember, relaxed doesn’t mean that your entire body is going back and forth with the horse.

Look up, not at the ground
Looking down at the ground will make you nervous and as a result you’ll tense up. Look up. Breathe in. Breathe out. Don’t stress.

So those are some tips that might help with sitting the canter. I find these useful but I also haven’t mastered it completely, but I am definitely improving using these!

Thanks for reading and hope you liked it 🙂
See you guys next post!

Horse & Rider Weekly #2: Dealing with mouthy/biting horses

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Dealing with mouthy horses is an important life skill around horses. Since you’re bound to bump into a mouthy horse sooner or later, here are some tips from my experience with a couple of horses. One was Arnold, the other was Magnolia, and Jerry, and some more that I can’t remember their names right now.


  1. Be firm
    If your horse tries to bite you while you’re leading her with a bridle / halter, immediately hold her back, right by the mouth. And give a slight jerk, not hard, just a soft jerk at the mouth to tell the horse that she is being admonished for her deed. Then carry on walking as usual and repeat if necessary. Remember, you got to be firm.

Basically rule #1 applies to all sorts of biting. Basically when riding you will pull the reins a little harder than usual with a firm (not yelling but firm) “stop it” and if need be a little tap (remember, don’t beat to your heart’s content now that you have an excuse that your horse tried biting, just a tap) with your crop on the shoulder. However this isn’t usually necessary and your horse will stop it once you pull the reins hard. But if your horse doesn’t listen to you then a slight tap on the shoulder with your crop. Otherwise a third option that I was sometimes advised to do was circle the horse to the inside and then carry on riding. However at that time I was a REALLY BEGINNER and I couldn’t understand the reason why that was done. Maybe to distract the horse, maybe to let the horse ahead go further, I don’t know.

That’s all what I can say about this topic as I don’t have much experience with it. However I can point you to some YouTube channels / webpages that can give you more and better info!

  1. CRK Training
  2. Young rider magazine

Thanks for reading!

Second horse & rider weekly post 🙂

I don’t know if you guys will like this post because there isn’t much content in it! But I’m not that experienced with this topic so I don’t have much to say!

Random post comin’ your way folks, stay tuned!

With that, see you guys next post! 🙂