Friday, August 21, 2009

Does Your Horse Bend in Shoulder-in?

I just posted a new video on my Youtube channel, which explains how you can tell if your horse is bending in shoulder-in. It's at:

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Response to PBS TV show on Horse and Rider

This letter outlines more of what went on during training of the horses and production of the PBS TV Show Horse and Rider.

I appreciate your passion. It’s upsetting to me to when I have no control over details like the editing. I fully explained to the PBS people about the history of both horses, but much of it got cut out in production. They even added stuff like whinnying when it wasn’t happening. I guess they thought it was “artsy”.

I wish she wasn’t overbent too, but if it makes you feel better, both horses ended up (over time) happily working in normal frames and balance. I absolutely do not advocate rollkur, but both horses were projects that needed to be “reclaimed”.

I took the mare on because even though she had been severely abused, she had a great brain. So, I thought I could help her. She learned everything in the GP, and now is a happy First Level horse for a lady who likes to ride her bareback. The lady is even trying to get some of the dressage shows to offer bareback classes because she has so much fun. So the story has a happy ending. (By the way, she has a white eye…You can see it when she’s in the stall.)

The gelding became so confident and trusting over time that he actually was a school horse for Ruth in her riding program! He’s now happily retired on her farm at 28. (Although he felt it was his “job” to take care of a neighboring mare prior to and during foaling this spring!)

Oh, yes…She has a white eye. You can see it in the stall.

Horseback Riding on the PBS Nature TV Show

I know some horseback riders were confused about a couple of things in the recently aired PBS Nature show.

Specifically, it looks like I’m clicking and treating the mare who is “behind the bit wearing a drive rein contraption”.

Also. it seems like I used the clicker to reward the gelding while he was blowing up.

The problem with TV is that stuff is edited so people don’t get to see that both horses were a work in progress.

Both horses had a very bad history. In Europe, the mare was being ridden in a double bridle PLUS draw reins and 2 whips. She was held on the spot and beaten with the two whips until she was so revved up, they let her lengthen. That was their system for teaching extensions.

She is definitely too curled in the neck in the work in hand pictures…but she was being rewarded (clicked) for “trotting in diagonal pairs” toward what will become piaffe. She wasn’t being rewarded for her short neck. She’s being worked in long lines. The sidereins aren’t there to bring her neck in. They’re there for straightness…to control the outside shoulder.

For the gelding, the PBS Nature TV show shows “part” of his evolution from a horse that used to bite his chest to one that eventually comes into a more normal outline. So when you hear me say, “better in the neck”, it’s relative to what he used to do. I did hear the click when he reared and was puzzled by it. The tv people must have added that. I didn’t even have the clicker with me that day!!

I hope this clears up some of the confusion about what was aired on the recent PBS Nature TV show.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Jane Savoie in PBS Horse and Rider TV show tonight

PBS's "Nature" is running its "Horse & Rider" episode tonight, and Ruth Hogan Poulsen and I are in it! I even do dome of the voice over. It's airing 8PM EST. You can check the Nature channel to find out what time it airs in your area.

Horseback Riders--Find Freedom from Fear by Acting "As If"

Refuse to be a victim! You don’t “get” afraid, depressed, discouraged, or angry. You “do” fear, depression, discouragement, or anger. You “do” these emotions with a very specific physiology. For example, think of the body language of someone who is depressed. He slouches with shoulders down and chest closed. His eyes are down, and his facial muscles are slack. If he were to speak, his voice would probably be soft and slow. If you mimic the physiology of depression, before you know it, you’re going to feel sad.

If you don’t like feeling depressed, “do” something else. Action precedes emotion. If you want to be excited instead of depressed, change your body language. “Do” excitement. Throw your shoulders back, smile, fling your arms in the air, dance around ecstatically, sing one of your favorite songs at the top of your lungs, and laugh hysterically at how silly you look. Before you know it, you’ll be feeling great!

Do you feel nervous or afraid when you canter, go for a trail ride, or compete? Act "as if" you're Steffen Peters or Debbie MacDonald. Sit on your horse like you're an Olympic champion. Mimic their physiology, and before you know it you'll feel poised and confident too.

For more Freedom from Fear tips, go to:

Friday, August 14, 2009

Jane Savoie's Dog Teaches Great Life Lessons

I took my dog, Indiana Jones Savoie, to the vet yesterday for some routine shots. As I watched him interact with every person (He actually curls his lips and smiles when he greets each new person!), dog, cat, and ferret, I realized that I could all live my best life by living like a dog. I think that's a great philosophy for everyone.

Think of how you could enrich your life and the lives of the people around you if you simply lived “like a dog”. What character traits do we associate with dogs? To me, they embody loyalty, joy, enthusiasm, and, above all, unconditional love.

Ahhh. Unconditional love. No matter how impatient, lazy, crabby, petty, or self-centered I might be at times, Indy still adores me. He always thinks I am the finest, most wonderful human being on the face of the earth. To him, I’m always “the best”. I certainly don’t want to let him down, so every day I plan to do my utmost to be the person he believes I am. Not a bad goal, wouldn’t you say?

By the way, if you haven't seen Indy do his "Spanish Walk" yet, go to the free dressage newsletter page at He's at the end of the video that starts with me wearing a black sweater. I giggle every time I watch it!

Thursday, August 13, 2009


In just a couple of weeks, I'll be releasing my new program, Freedom from Fear for Equestrians. I'm excited that the Freedom from Fear program will help equestrians in ALL disciplines have more fun with their horse.

Here's a quick tip from the program. Did you know that when you're feeling grateful, you can't be in a fear state? So, annihilate fear with gratitude.

Instead, find freedom from fear by adopting an attitude of gratitude. Rather than focusing on what you’re afraid of, focus on what you’re grateful for. Are you afraid to get on an airplane? Be grateful you have someplace to go. Are you afraid of getting bucked off your horse? Be grateful that you get to spend time outdoors with beautiful animals. Are you afraid of getting sick? Be grateful you’re not blind or crippled. Are you afraid of becoming blind or crippled? Be grateful that you have a sharp mind. Are you afraid you’re not smart enough? Be grateful you have a loving heart. Maybe you don’t like your job? Be grateful you have work so you can pay your bills (…and then go about finding your passion so you can do what you love and love what you do!).

As simply as I can put it, when you start to get overwhelmed by fear, remember these two little words: “Thank you”.

By the way, I'll be doing a one week introductory special for Freedom from Fear only for my newsletter subscribers. You can sign up for the free dressage newsletter and lots of other cool free stuff at