Horses began at 5 years old with a pony ride from Kathie Moulton. Kathie worked with my dad and they had a meeting at Kathie’s house in Woodberry, VT, where Kathie had her small Connemara breeding farm. That was it for me, after one lap around it was “look mom no hands”.
The rest is history as they say. I am sure my mom cursed Kathie for years after that until she (Jeannette) got on her first horse…
Listening and Learning at Home
Music began before that as my Dad (Con Hogan) played in a bluegrass band and my mom was a singer in the band. As a child, I learned to play a bunch of instruments and to read and play music. For me however, I learned the fastest by listening to music and then trying to make it myself.
Listening to the music had a huge impact on how I felt and how began to play the music myself. I think this is how and when the effects of music started to have an impact on my riding much later in life.
In the Early Days of Musical Freestyles
The first freestyle I made was in the mid 80’s on my horse Valentino, before there were freestyles made for competition. I rode that freestyle anywhere I could and did demonstrations and exhibitions where ever I was invited.
It was a terrible freestyle compared to today’s standards, but people loved it and it lured non horse folks and non dressage riders to watch dressage!
Many years later, I made my own freestyle to the Titanic on a horse named Aristocrat on a little cassette player with no real editing except the stop start button. It won at Devon in 1997!
That experience made me want to learn more about music and the editing and technical aspects of creating better freestyles for myself and for others.
Music and the Benefits of Listening to Music
Along the way, these are a few things I learned about music and the effects that music has on us.
- Studies show that music affects our physiology. Slow music slows the heartbeat and the breathing rate as well as brings down blood pressure. Fast music speeds up these same functions.
- Listening to your favorite music is good for your cardiovascular system.
- Researchers have shown that joyful music has a healthy effect on blood vessel function.
- Riding to music increases your endurance and stamina. Studies show that exercising to music improves endurance by 15%.
- Music affects both sides of your brain. So, whether you’re a left-brain logical thinker or a right-brain artistic thinker, music helps you ride better.
- Music puts you in a more positive state of mind, and helps to keep depression and anxiety at bay.
- Music brings lasting benefits to your state of mind, even after you’ve stopped listening.
- Music filters out background noises so that you and your horse can concentrate better.
- Music acts as an INTERNAL metronome to help you maintain a regular rhythm.
The bottom line is that it is fun to ride to music, and we ride better when we ride to music!
Who knows how much the music effects you as the rider or how much the music effects your horse directly, the point is… it’s fun, it works and it’s something that you feel in your soul when you and you horse are dancing along exactly to the beat of the music. There is nothing like it.Ruth Hogan-Poulsen
Nerves disappear, gaits get better, movements flow from on to the other and there is motivation!
I have spent the last few years teaching a lot of clinics on how to ride to music, and time after time I am ALWAYS rewarded and amazed on how much fun everyone has and how much improvement each horse and rider show at the end of a session.
I get excited even after my 8th hour of teaching to find that perfect piece of music for someone who has not yet experienced the feeling of riding to the right piece!
Are you struggling to find the right freestyle music for your horse?
I created several albums of music for riders to “try on” various music styles and tempos with their horses – some albums also including narration to help guide you through the new experience of riding to music!