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Kathie P. Mautner

November 15, 2011

Half-Halts And Transitions: Dressage Terms For Life Lessons

Any time I've ever scribed for a dressage judge, the dressage test requires marks for “transitions to” various gaits. The judge is called on to award scores for the smoothness, energy and accuracy of the transition, whether from trot to canter, canter to trot, changes between collected and extended gaits or what-have-you.

September 13, 2011

Horsekeeping Around The World

No one in their right mind will tell you that the British, the Irish or the Arabs don’t know their horses.

So it came as no surprise to me when, in my travels in various parts of the world, I got to play with their horses and discovered well-muscled, alert beasts glowing with good health and energy. What struck me most noticeably, as I got older and presumably wiser, was the different kinds of care and attention these horses received and the fact that they responded so well to care that in other parts of the world would have been cause for alarm.

March 24, 2011

Life Lessons Learned Abroad

When I was in college, I spent a year in England as an exchange student. To help pay expenses, I worked as a combination au pair girl and stable manager for a woman who showed jumpers internationally. To say this was a learning experience would have been putting it mildly. The farm was five miles from the nearest village, and our closest neighbors were a mile down the lane. When I tell you that I grew up in some of the major capital cities of the world, you’ll realize the culture shock.

January 14, 2011

Lumber Scraps And Leftover Paint (Not To Mention The Pig) Created A Show To Remember

I boarded my first horse, Tory, on a 1000-acre cattle farm just outside a major city. The horse facilities, if you could call them that, at the farm consisted of a run-down barn with stalls cobbled together from old cattle pens, concrete cattle feed troughs and lots and lots of barbed wire-fenced pastures, which would have benefited from some serious fertilizer. The scant wooden fencing that existed was chewed halfway through by bored cows and horses, and then it was patched together with more barbed wire or baling twine.

October 26, 2010

Being Beautiful Was Bentley's Highest Aim

Bentley would have been a sensation as a runway model. He was stunningly handsome, moved like sunshine and had no work ethic whatsoever. He never exerted himself when good looks and charm could get the job done.

Of all the horses I have prepped for competition, Bentley was the easiest I ever presented for a jog, FEI or otherwise. There was never a hold while the panel decided whether or not to let him go. There was never a debatable moment. Oh no. If Bentley trotted out sound, you knew beyond the shadow of a doubt that he was, in fact, sound.

August 23, 2010

Ivy Colored Baling Twine: How I Graduated With A Degree In All Things Equine

The college I went to was elegant, expensive and academically ferocious. Did any of that factor into why I chose it? Of course not. It had a stable on campus and the Head of the Riding Program was kind enough to let me work off my riding fees.

“Head of the Riding Program” sounds a lot more glamorous than it was—she was the entire riding program, except for an elderly groom who’d been working at the stable since forever.

July 19, 2010

Conditioning For The Clueless: Things To Avoid When Aiming For Your First Event

Back in the days of the dinosaur, before my best buddy and I had either sense or a proper trainer (trainers were unaffordable and sense was, um, in short supply), I spent a year as an exchange student at a university in England.

June 22, 2010

Riding Ponies Isn't The Same As In The Days When We Were Young And Stupid

When I was a teenager, I was immortal. I don’t know about the rest of you, but my guardian angel worked overtime when I rode ponies. There is no real reason why we should have survived what we put our ponies through.

Advance warning: no ponies were injured, and no humans were irreparably harmed (except for egos) during these episodes. The patron saint of adolescents and idiots kept us from fatalities.

June 4, 2010

It's Only Your Brain Afterall

We do it automatically: get in the car, fasten the seatbelt. This is drummed into us from the time we’re old enough to be aware that we’ve been strapped into a car seat. When we turn 16 and prepare to test for our driver’s licenses, the instructor shows us horrible pictures of the consequences of unintentional experimentation with the laws of physics. Most people get the message, even without active campaigning by state police.

May 17, 2010

I Took A Different Approach To Eventing When I Was Young And Foolish

Back when I was very young and extremely foolish, I discovered eventing. Eventing is the equestrian adrenaline-junkie’s equivalent of any extreme sport—bungee jumping, skydiving, and driving on the interstates in Atlanta.

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