Good Horsemanship

Judy Ryder

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Who is Judy Ryder?

Judy Ryder is a long-time gaited horse owner, student of the horse, and friend / partner of many gaited horse and non-gaited horse clincians and trainers, as well as many other equine professionals.

She is an advocate of the horse; particularly an advocate of the Icelandic Horse. One of her priorities over the past decade, has been to bring good horsemanship to the breed, as well as educating owners to a higher level of horse knowledge, including saddle fit, benefits of barefoot, natural gaits, gait identification, negative effects of tack (i.e. tight nosebands, caulks, ice nails, pinching saddles), mechanical and artificial aids for obtaining gait, benefits of early handling and early learning for young horses, and more. The list is never ending.

Judy Ryder has been published in many magazines, including Eidfaxi, the Walking Horse Journal, and The Gaited Horse Magazine, not to mention the hugely education site, Icelandic Horse Connection; and the very popular IceHorses email list on YahooGroups.

Her photographs have been included in Lee Ziegler's Easy Gaited Horses book, as well as others; and she has produced several horse training videos and podcasts.

Judy Ryder is a one-woman force in getting things done, and has been able to affect many positive changes for the breed. She's a one-woman horse avenger in a world where barbaric, depersonalizing forces of riding and training are used.

However, she would be the first to give credit to all of her supporters, the people on the IceHorses email list. Many people have followed her over the past decade.

At one time, the USIHC said to her, "You can't do that" to which she replied: "Those who say things can't be done should stand out of the way of those who are busy doing them."

She has gotten more positive things done for the breed than any single individual or organization!

Judy is a very logical person, able to employ Occam's Razor to any situation. For example, at one time, the "icelandic" bridles consisted of just one strap going from the bit ring on one side to the bit ring on the other; no throat latch, no brow band.

People were paying quite a bit of money for these "icelandic" bridles... the question was "Why?" There was no good reason. And the question of tight nosebands has been a hot topic for many years. One of the responses to this "why" was that the O-ring snaffle was used, and the tight noseband was necessary to keep the bit from pulling through the other side of the mouth.

More than likely the hands are too heavy or strong! Millions of people ride horses with snaffles and no nosebands and don't have a problem of the bit pulling through the mouth.

Some of the other topics that Judy has had a positive influence on are:

[] Saddles. It used to be that you "had" to have an "icelandic" saddle to get gait from your Icelandic Horse. Of all the saddles in the world, "icelandic" saddles least fit Icelandic Horses!

[] Shoeing. It used to be that you "had" to shoe your Icelandic Horse to get gait; and that barefoot was being mean to your horse. But there were a lot of horses with contracted heels; a lot of Icelandics bolting.

[] Nosebands. It used to be that you "had" to have a noseband and it had to be tight to control the horse.

[] Gaits. It used to be that the Icelandic Horse only did "tolt" and "pace" as extra gaits. The Icelandic Horse is capable of a full range of gaits; some Icelandic Horses are only three-gaited as regular trotting horses are.

Judy is a superb leader, one who is very fair, and always considering the horse first and foremost. There are few people who have her knowledge of equine biomechanics and gait, not to mention good horsemanship training.


We met a lady on the trail one day, riding a big hairy Icelandic. She was bareback and riding with a halter.

Imagine my surprise to find out this was Judy Ryder! She is one heck of a horseman, and extremely knowledgeable, and unpretentious.

Judy is able to see things as they are, offer suggestions to make things better, and has superb foresight to benefit the horse in all ways.

She has been a fore runner in the horse world with clicker training and natural horsemanship.

Icelandic Horse and Judy

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