Horsemanship 101: Why Does it Matter?



Horsemanship is an often-overlooked aspect in many equestrian arenas. Many riders think being a good enough rider is the most important and only thing that really matters. After all, you are not going to be recognized for how well you brush your horse or how clean your saddle pad is – are you? The truth is, you are. At some horse shows, they even award prizes for the Best Turned Out.

Think about the last time you went and visited a different barn. Was it nicer than yours? Or maybe not as nice. Now, think about the last horse show you were at. Did you walk the barn aisle? Did you notice that people who kept a neater, more organized barn aisle also kept a cleaner, tidier stall? Their horse’s braids may have looked just that much better than the next horse. And how about those leg wraps? Wow, are they well done!

Top grooms for riders like Ralph Hill, Buck Davidson, Phillip Dutton, Leslie Law, William Fox-Pitt, and Michael Jung are masters at horsemanship, but I guarantee the riders themselves can do everything their grooms do – and sometimes better.

Horsemanship as a whole is defined as the art or skill of caring for and riding horses.

The most important aspect of that simple statement is that caring for horses is an art or a skill. The United Stated Pony Club sees this aspect of equestrianism as so important that they have three volumes filled with information on how to properly care for and ride the horse. However, in each book the riding sections are much, much smaller than the approximately 80% of each book that discusses daily care, feeding, veterinary, husbandry, and any other necessary services that enhance a horse’s ability to live with us happily and comfortably.

It is because I believe so strongly that great horsemanship produces great horses – even before we ever step foot in a stirrup, that I am going to present a series on how to improve your horsemanship skills. Many skills you probably already possess, and some you may have never seen, heard, or thought of. I encourage you to comment on our blog or email me throughout the series with any thoughts, questions, suggestions; topics you would like to know about, or concerns you have as you begin to put these skills in to action.

The Horsemanship 101 Series will consist of the following topics – and we may add more as we go:


  • Bridle wrapping
  • Horse Stretches on video – Why and How to
    • -Before Rides
    • -After Rides
  • Proper Hoof Picking Techniques
  • Proper Brushing Techniques
  • Proper Mane Pulling Techniques
  • Proper Tail Brushing Techniques
  • Tail Grooming Tips and Tricks
  • Braiding with Needle and Thread
  • Saddle Pad Identification
  • Proper Saddle Placement
  • Standing Wraps
  • Shipping Wraps
  • Spider Wrap
  • How to Ride a Proper 20 M Circle
  • How to Practice Dressage Test on Paper


Many more topics can be discussed, and I promise, we will. Please send you suggestions or questions to



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