A couple years ago I attended Horse Expo Pomona, clutching my daily schedule with different clinics and presentations marked off for each day. One of the first sessions I stopped to watch was Jec Aristotle Ballou, speaking about Equine Fitness while her demo riders, one English, one Western, were put through a series of simple exercises that addressed the issues each horse was facing. The information she shared about equine physiology really connected the dots for me, demonstrating how fitness can solve many common riding issues I previously thought of as behavioral, rather than physical. I changed my carefully marked schedule right then, crossing off anything that conflicted with Jec’s other lessons that weekend!
In addition to training and giving clinics, Jec is the author of several great take-to-the-barn-and-ride exercise books (see the end of the interview for her bio). This month we talk to Jec about her newest book, 101 Western Dressage Exercises for Horse & Rider, equine fitness, and more!
1. You’ve written several very useful and informative books, but I’d like to dive right into your latest: 101 Western Dressage Exercises for Horse & Rider. You had already published a book of exercises for English Dressage riders, so what was your focus or what specific goals did you want to accomplish when you chose the exercises to help Western riders?