Equestrian Voices dives deep into the emotions, lives, stories, and everything we don't talk about when it comes to life as an equestrian. Join our host, Caroline Culbertson, for vulnerable, different, and sometimes hilarious chats with riders from all backgrounds. We want to get the 'human' out of horse people. Thanks for being here.
Don’t Let the Lindas Hold You Down with Sydney Collier
Need a dose of inspiration and positivity to start the new year? Meet US Paralympian Sydney Collier. You’re going to love her.
Sydney’s story truly has to be heard to be believed. Sydney was living an active, horse-filled childhood when her very rare syndrome was discovered at a routine eye appointment. The next several years included experimental treatments and surgeries, devastating strokes, and resulted in her physical disability. All the while, she remained focused on finding ways to ride with her limited left side and left arm, which she semi-affectionately named Linda.
And ride, she did. Sydney earned a spot on the US Para Dressage team and was the youngest competitor at the 2014 World Equestrian Games in France. At age 18, she won the 2016 US Para-dressage National Championships and became the youngest member in the equestrian portion of the 2016 Paralympics in Rio as a part of Team USA.
Sydney walks us through the constant hurdles, the seemingly perpetual changes to her body and her disability, and how she found ways to adapt and thrive at every turn (and even logistically, how to work with horses who are not familiar with para riding). She has become an outspoken advocate for riders with disabilities and para dressage, and finds ways to spread support and positivity to riders of all abilities, everywhere she goes.
2021 Roundup: 7 Favorite Moments from EV This Year
To close out the year, we're rounding up 7 of our favorite (and your favorite!) moments from the inaugural year of the Equestrian Voices podcast. We are so grateful for each and every one of you who listens, and can't wait for the conversations and episodes in store for 2022. See you in the new year!
In no particular order, the clips are from these episodes:
Student/Trainer Relationship: It’s Complicated with Dr. Jenny Susser Horse Market is Bananas, Let’s Discuss with Hope Glynn A Real Life Horse Nerd with Karl Cook Mental Health Roundtable What Riding in a Frame Really Means with Jacqueline Brooks Natural Horseman, Meet Practical Rider with Tik Maynard The Seen & Unseen Realities of Going Pro with Lauren Sprieser
If We Can’t Talk About It, We Can’t Prevent It: Sexual Abuse in Horse Sport
[Content Warning: Discussions of sexual misconduct and abuse of minors]. If we can’t talk about it, we can’t change it. Today on the podcast, we’re taking on a tough topic to think about, speak about, and navigate emotionally, but it’s critical to shine a light on in order to make the sport (and all sports) safer for our kids and athletes.
Host Caroline Culbertson is joined by two women who have witnessed and experienced the devastating fallout that sexual abuse of minors can have on young men and women, their families, and their communities. Carrie Kehring, creator of the #weridetogether campaign to end sexual abuse in sport, and Kendall Bourgeois, a professional equestrian who experienced grooming and abuse as a junior, discuss:
The environments in which grooming and eventually abuse can take place Navigating what to do when you hear “gossip” Why abuse is often underreported by victims or ignored by bystanders The role of SafeSport and law enforcement Why we may feel defensive when learning that someone we know did something wrong The power of sharing survivors’ stories via the #weridetogether campaign If you are in need of help, resources, or want to read stories of abuse survivors from horse sport and beyond, go to www.weridetogether.today
Can Positive Reinforcement Training Work in Horse Sport?
You’ve probably heard of positive reinforcement training or “clicker training” in the context of dog training, but what about for horses? Over the years, the use of positive reinforcement in the equestrian world has drawn attention and interest, but most of us are still unaware of exactly how this training works, and how it can fit into our own training and riding journeys.
There’s actually a lot of science backing this type of training, and it’s used to train countless species of animals in a way that promotes happy, feel-good hormones and in turn, lower levels of fear and anxiety in the training process. So, is it time we see more of this training in the horse world?
Shawna Karrasch is a pioneer in the use of positive reinforcement training in horses after extensive experience researching and practicing the training with marine mammals. She has now helped countless horses and riders reframe their training by helping riders and trainers understand the science behind R+ raining, and perhaps most notably helped Beezie Madden’s ride, Judgement ISF, overcome his fear of the water jump.
In this episode, Shawna and host Caroline Culbertson (@caroline.culbertson) discuss:
The two major components of positive reinforcement training: the brain and body Why R+ training can elicit an eye roll from some trainers in the industry, and where the negative stereotypes come from How you can borrow the essence of this training in a way that works for you How the training can work in the most competitive realms of horse sport
Passenger, Partner, Boss, Dictator: Who Are You to Your Horse?
Ever wonder what your horse thinks of you? What his personality is? How he likes for you to communicate with him?
Many (most) of us might not have given this less obvious aspect of riding and training too much thought, but it might be a big key to unlocking potential and success (whatever that means for you and your horse). International level dressage rider/trainer and Equestrian Masterclass instructor, Mette Larsen, breaks down what it means to be in successful partnership with your horse, how to determine the type of communication style your horse needs and how to bring self awareness back to your riding.
With host Caroline Culbertson, they discuss:
Mette’s personal riding journey and how it led to her a deeper understanding of this topic Determining your current communication style with your horse The problem with focusing on always asking for more with your horse Where to simplify communication with your horse How using the correct communication style with your horse can give lasting results
Live Roundtable: How Culture in Equestrian Sport Impacts Mental Health
The culture surrounding equestrian sport is, by and large, not generally welcoming to conversations about mental health, nor is it accommodating for participants who need to seek help + resources for mental illness or hardships.
There are barriers for those who struggle with mental illness that are particular to our community and to its customs and beliefs - in some cases, the culture not only impedes mental wellness, it can even degrade it. If you’re part of the equestrian community, we suspect that you can personally identify one or more aspects of equestrian culture that could exacerbate mental turmoil or illness in riders, grooms, vets... you name it.
In this live roundtable discussion recorded during Equitana USA, Equestrian Voices host Caroline Culbertson is joined by four special guests to summarize those particular challenges. Then, they look to uncover actionable ways that we can shift culture and in turn, begin to remove the barriers to help and recovery.
Dr. Jenny Susser
Carleigh Fedorka, PhD