They all say this is no secret. They claim it isn’t news. And yet somehow, it seems right to put it out there—again, if that is indeed the case—with the good of the horse in mind.

That is: You don’t need custom boots and expensive tack; it doesn’t take a fancy indoor and an underwater treadmill. Instead, it’s about putting the horse first, even when striving for competitive success.

Here are 6 surprisingly simple tips from some of the world’s best and most successful riders, as they have shared in the book SPORT HORSE SOUNDNESS AND PERFORMANCE by Dr. Cecilia Lönnell:


1  “Good hay is the basis of our feeding regime…. Before you spend a lot of money on supplements it is important to first be sure that you have done everything right for the horse regarding the fundamentals: roughage feed and hard feed.” —Beezie Madden

2  “When buying a horse, always try to take into account that the horse’s strengths compensate for your weaknesses, and the other way around.” —Kyra Kyrklund

3  “When you have planned your competitions, make a point of still listening to the horse and skip one or more shows if the horse feels tired and weary. If you push on in spite of the horse not being 100 percent, the big problem injuries occur.” —Jan Brink

4  “Ration your jumping. Don’t compete too much…. Some riders jump and jump and jump.” —John Whitaker

5  “Vary the riding and use different surfaces, so that the horse does not work on the same surface day after day.” —Carl Hester

6  “A horse is like a book, and you must start on the first page. Many riders start in the middle, and then they get problems. They do not understand the horse.” —Nelson Pessoa

And did you know…

In Sweden a horse, by law, must be allowed out several hours a day and be able to move at walk, trot, and canter.  

Food for thought, don’t you think?

SPORT HORSE SOUNDNESS AND PERFORMANCE is available now from the TSB online bookstore, where shipping in the US is FREE.

CLICK HERE to download a free chapter or to order.

Trafalgar Square Books, the leading publisher of equestrian books and DVDs, is a small company based on a farm in rural Vermont.