Eric Smiley FBHS


Written by Eric Smiley

The Sport Horse Problem Solver

A simple system for figuring out and fixing what's wrong with a horse's performance.

Former international event rider Eric Smiley has brought along his own top-level horses for decades. Now he taps his immense knowledge to help riders whose horses may not have had "the right start." Every horse comes with his own "baggage"--behaviour or training issues, minor or significant, that may be difficult to pinpoint or resolve. In these pages, Smiley addresses the most common problems he has seen over the years in dressage, eventing, and show jumping, including:

  • Problems with head and neck position.

  • Connection issues.

  • Failure to follow the rules of forward, straight, and regular.

  • Difficulty with collection.

  • Lack of consistency.

Smiley teaches readers how to identify what isn't working by looking at how things should work. Then he walks us through dismantling and reassembling the issues, providing an easy-to-follow system for determining what's potentially wrong with a horse and choosing sensible exercises for fixing it. He introduces a troubleshooting five-point system:

  • Ask yourself, "What is the problem?"

  • Ask, "How, when, and why did it arise?"

  • Ask, "Why does it need solving?"

  • Formulate a plan.

  • Analyze the results in the context of "now" and what they may mean for the future.

Layers and shifts of understanding in horses combined with the physical and psychological challenges of riding can often make solving problems that arise seem complicated, and sometimes it is difficult to know where to even begin. Smiley's system helps readers find that "start point" and map out a sensible plan for future training. He shows how to determine when something may have become an issue for your horse or your performance, ways to try and avoid it happening in the first place, and of course, offers highly practical solutions to employ when you find you do have a problem. Smiley's goal is to "always leave people and horses with a positive journey to go on, with the prospect of 'better to come.'" With its usefulness, cross-disciplinary approach, and optimism, The Sport Horse Problem Solver is all you need to achieve success in partnership with your horse, wherever you are in your journey together

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Two Brains One Aim by Eric Smiley

Two Brains, One Aim

Every horse person strives to grow in ability and understanding over time, whether in the saddle, on the ground, or in the stable, whether in ways that are small or those that are significant. This effort, when done right, lasts a lifetime, and along the way requires the addition of knowledge and experience gleaned from numerous others. Where does one find leadership within the equine industry? How does one know to whom to turn for information? Does riding require an instructor, a trainer, a coach? Can you get by with part-time guidance? Can you effectively learn on your own, with just the occasional directive, and still find personal or competitive success?

With this book, renowned clinician and international team coach Eric Smiley intends to fill the gap when it comes to these questions and others, providing a reliable resource and educational companion for the aspiring equestrian. Smiley addresses fundamental topics pertinent to riders, with philosophical discussion and practical exercises applicable to all levels. Along the way he strives to educate them on being taught, and perhaps, one day, becoming teachers.

His aim is to bring together the mind of the rider with the mind of the horse, while highlighting the key component in their synergy: understanding. It is how that understanding is acquired, retained, and put to use that is the key to success. Available in UK from:

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The Sport Horse Problem Solver by Eric Smiley FBHS

Look No Hands

In Look... No Hands! Eric Smiley has set out to simplify the concept of going cross country and this clear and concise guide with specially commissioned illustrations and photographs will be invaluable to instructors at all levels. At times too much thought and analysis slows the natural responses. By explaining how both horse and rider learn, we can train the partnership to produce instinctive responses. These exercises can be conducted with minimal thought and thus produce a clear decisive response when needed. As instructors and coaches we play a vital role in guiding the human and equine partnership to enjoy this experience as safely as is possible. The exercises described are simple yet can be used at all levels of riding. Poles on the ground can become jumps. The author has focussed on the rider/trainer relationship on producing a better canter and line and allowing the horse to jump the fences. By doing our homework both in the arena and in the country over small jumps, partnerships grow in confidence. Riding across the country, whether it be hunting, eventing, hunter trials or just being out in the country is one of the most exhilarating experiences we can have with our pony or horse. There is always the sense of the excitement of the unexpected, the bigger than normal fence, the uncertainty of direction or line to be taken. To make the most of this experience it is important to understand what makes it all such fun, and for both horse/pony and rider to be prepared.

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