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KEEP YOUR HORSE SAFE FROM WOUNDS

Today’s Western Horse Life

8 STEPS TO WORK A METAL GATE WHAT TO KNOW ABOUT TYING UP

YOUR BEST HORSE VACATION

BEDS-&-BARNS, TRAVEL TIPS

January 2018

TRUST & LET GO

THE PASSENGER EXERCISE

CURE HIS UNDERSADDLE AGGRESSION

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01.18

SPEED TRANSITIONS, REQUIRED IN MANY CLASSES, ARE TOUGH TO DO WELL. TREVOR DARE GIVES YOU A WORK-ATHOME PLAN TO BOOST YOUR SCORES; PAGE 68.

CO N T E NTS

P H OTO BY N I CH OL E CH I R I CO

Features

42

48

54

60

68

72

Under-Saddle Aggression Aggressiveness in a ridden horse should never be ignored. Learn causes and fixes.

Beds-&-Barns Travel Guide Get the scoop on 12 inviting riding-vacation destinations for you and your equine friend.

The Facts of Headshaking Learn what we really know about this complex, confusing, and often baffling condition.

Alone at the Top From the breeding shed to the saddle, winning non-pro reiner Sandra Bentien does it all.

Ace Your Speed Transitions Don’t let speed changes at the lope put you in the penalty box. Use our expert’s tips.

BY AUDREY PAVIA

BY BARB CRABBE, DVM

BY MEGAN ARSZMAN

BY TREVOR DARE, WITH NICHOLE CHIRICO

Dad, the Driver He supports his daughter’s equestrian dreams—and shared one at a private Ken McNabb clinic.

BY SANDY COLLIER, WITH JENNIFER VON GELDERN

BY KATIE NAVARRA

COVER PHOTO BY MALLORY BEINBORN

January 2018 / 3


CO N T E NTS

In Every Issue 8 From the Editor

HorseLife

SETH FENDER FINETUNES HIND-END CONTROL IN PREPARATION FOR WORKING THE TRAILCLASS CHALLENGE: A METAL GATE. LEARN HIS METHOD; PAGE 33.

i

& rain

20 Travel Red Bluff, California’s Bull & Gelding Sale.

33 Private Lesson Learn to work a metal gate safely and well.

24 Health What to know about ‘tying up’ diseases.

36 Winning Insights Why so low? Head carriage is a hot topic.

26 Solutions Tips to make riding vacations easier.

38 Trail Insights End your trail ride on a positive note.

28 Style A standout ranchriding ensemble.

40 Confident Rider ‘Let go’ with the passenger exercise.

11 Inspired Rider 14 Saddle Chat 80 My Collection

30 Horsekeeping How to guard your horse from wounds.

4 / HorseandRider.com

TOP PHOTO BY JENNIFER PAULSON; BOTTOM PHOTO COURTESY OF RED BLUFF BULL & GELDING SALE

01.18


VOLUME LVII, NUMBER 1 Editor-In-Chief JENNIFER PAULSON Senior Editor JENNIFER FORSBERG MEYER Assistant Editor NICHOLE CHIRICO Trail-Content Editor RENÉ E. RILEY Contributing Editors BARB CRABBE, DVM JENNIFER VON GELDERN BOB WELCH

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FROM the EDITOR

New Faces ABOUT SIX MONTHS ago, we introduced a revamped Horse&Rider with a whole new look and a mission to encompass all aspects of your modern Western horse life. Our transformation continues with this, the first issue of 2018. You’ll start to hear from a few voices

true cowboy, the real deal, and a good person. I was sold. I’m enthusiastic to share with you that when I met Ken at our Weaver Wina-Day event in September (story on page 72), he lived up to the lofty expectations my peers had set. I’ll add to that list of talents that he’s funny and a good storyteller. The man has literally done it all, from riding broncs to doctoring cattle to starting colts, not to mention raising two sons with his wife. We have some excellent topics for Ken to cover this year, starting with trailering tips when you leave your riding destination to ensure that the next ride is as good or better than the last (page 38). (You can start planning your dream horse-centric vacation while reading “Travel Guide: Beds-&-Barns,” starting on page 48.)

INSPIRING RIDER I remember reading about Amberley Snyder and her story of coming back from We captured Ken McNabb in his element at the Powderhorn Ranch in a horrific automoDouglas, Wyoming, for his Trail Insights contributions. tive accident to ride again, then watching her compete as a that are new to our brand in this issue barrel racer in RFD-TV’s The American and going forward. I’m excited to introrodeo in 2015. When I heard her speak duce them to you. at the Hearts & Horses gala late in 2017, I became convinced that she had to be COMPLETELY COWBOY part of the H&R voice. I hadn’t met Ken McNabb before we On page 11, you can read Amberley’s chose him as our next Trail Insights first column of four that she’ll contribcontributor. But I’d certainly heard ute to H&R in 2018. We’ve named the about his credentials—popular TV space Inspired Rider, and we’re looking personality (Discovering the Horseforward to bringing you stories and man Within on RFD-TV), Road to the positive messages from a variety of Horse competitor, respected clinician contributors throughout the year. and horseman. Topping the list of his As a bonus, you could win the opporaccomplishments, however, was that tunity to ride with Amberley thanks everyone commented on his being a to our Purishield Win-a-Day Contest. 8 / HorseandRider.com

Learn more from the promotion on page 10. Because, honestly, who couldn’t use a little extra motivation to excel in their horse life and beyond? NEW ONLINE We’ve been hard at work reorganizing HorseandRider.com and freshening its look to better align with what we’re sharing with you in print, on video, and on social media. You’ll want to check out the Where-to-Ride Guide, revamped by Trail-Content Editor René Riley and our Digital team. The photo-driven redesign provides the convenience of clicking on any state to find all listings for that state, including guest ranches. Plus, you can jump to a region from the landing page--no more scrolling! You’ll also find more trail-riding content across the entire site. While you’re there, be sure to check out Senior Editor Jenny Meyer’s award-winning blog, The Thinking Rider, as well as our comprehensive offering of horse-care topics and other training and riding tips for competitors and recreational riders. As always, we appreciate when you take the time to share feedback about what we’re doing, so send us an email. We’re here to help you have a fulfilling, successful, and enjoyable Western horse life. 

You can reach Jennifer Paulson at jpaulson@aimmedia.com.

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WIN A DAY with

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Each clinic participant will receive a prize pack with the Farnam® PuriShield™ family of products.

Picture this: You. Nine of your riding friends. Your horses. And expert instruction from Amberley Snyder—the inspirational phenom, barrel racer, and rodeo fan-favorite. It’s a rare opportunity to ride with a motivating horsewoman who can help you set your goals and map a path to achieve them. Horse&Rider and Farnam® PuriShield™ are partnering to give you this exclusive instructional experience. Here’s how to enter. • Visit HorseandRider.com/win-a-day • In 250 or fewer words, tell us a little about your riding experience and your riding goals. • Submit your essay to become one of the top-10 finalists, who will each produce a video to be chosen as the ultimate winner of the clinic. Get to writing! Entries close on January 19, 2018, and you don’t want to miss your chance to ride with Amberley. ™

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. A PURCHASE DOES NOT IMPROVE YOUR CHANCES OF WINNING. Sweepstakes will be open to those ages 18 and older as of 12/8/17 and residents of 50 USA and D.C. To enter, fill out the form on http://horseandrider.com/win-a-day. One entry per person. All entries must be received by 1/19/18. Odds of winning depend on the total number of entries received. There is One (1) grand-prize winner, approximate total ARV: $3,000. All taxes on prize are the sole responsibility of the winner. All federal, state, and local laws and regulations apply. Sponsor: Active Interest Media, LLC. Void where prohibited by law. All entrants are bound by the Full Rules. For Official Rules, visit http://horseandrider.com/win-a-day.


PHOTO BY SHYANNE STILLWEII PHOTOGRAPHY

INSPIRED RIDER

by Amberley Snyder

Meet Your Challenge ARE YOU READY for a new start, a new

year, and new goals? Ready or not, 2018 is ready for you to tackle. What do you want to accomplish? What are your riding goals? How will you work toward achieving them? Only you determine what you're capable of. It’s

the best part about goals: you get to set them and map your path!

Reality of Barriers It’s a known fact that barriers lie between us and what we aim to accomplish. These limitations tell us

the odds are stacked against us and that too much stands in the way of our success. Growing up, I was fortunate to have parents who allowed me to dream. “You can be anything you want to be, Amberley,” my parents would say. This support helped me build pillars of perseverance, optimism, and hard work. I knew with dedication, I could truly be anything I wanted to be. But on January 10, 2010, at age 18, the universe had a different plan for me, and my life took a drastic turn. I was involved in a rollover car accident that left me paralyzed from the waist down. (If you’re not familiar with my story, visit amberleysnyder.org for the details.) As a cowgirl, rodeo competitor, and active teenager, I was devastated. I felt my January 2018 / 11


INSPIRED RIDER

Amberley Snyder, Elkridge, Utah, is a barrel racer and inspirational speaker who’s fought her way back from tragedy. She inspires riders across the country by telling her triumphant story of returning to the saddle after a tragic accident that left her with no feeling below her waist. Just 18 months after her wreck, she was back in the saddle. She’s made the ultimate comeback to compete in rodeos across the western United States and shares her journey and horse life on social media and at amberleysnyder.org.

whole life was crushed in just a moment of time. I remembered back to my parents telling me I could become anything I wanted. Even with the substantial odds against me and having to relearn life in a wheelchair, it didn’t mean I couldn’t be the person I dreamed of becoming.

Meeting the Challenge We all face challenges. They might be external—something you see from the outside, like my being in a wheelchair.

They also can be hidden, on the inside, where no one else knows the struggles you face. No matter the challenge in your life, you have the strength to overcome it. You can set the goal, make the path, and achieve. For me, this past year has been tough. I had a little filly buck with me, breaking my nose and smashing my face, which caused my confidence to lag. I had to work through those feelings of being uneasy and regain my

composure on my horses. I had some ups and downs at my first Wilderness Circuit rodeos, winning a few checks but more often being off the pace. My horse, Legacy (French Open), had to take some time off, which resulted in turning out of some rodeos. Then came another hard setback. On July 3, my horse fell with me while running barrels at a rodeo in Tooele, Utah. I broke my femur. This put us out for most of the summer. Luck-

THE ORIGIN AL TRE EL SAD ESS DLE

www.sportssaddle.com | (270) 988-2684 • sportssaddle@tds.net 12 / HorseandRider.com


ily, I didn't have as much pain with my femur as someone who can feel normally so I begged to ride as soon as it was stable. We came back in August, and our timing was off. I decided we needed to take a step back. So now we're hitting jackpots and barrel races, regaining our confidence. I wanted to share this because I want you to know you're not alone in your struggles, whether they're physical or mental. Don't ever feel like you're the only one having ups and downs. We all go through those slumps, mentally, physically, and even emotionally. Don't feel bad, don't get down, and don't give up. The learning curve isn't always fun, but it's necessary.

Moving Forward For 2018, I'm focusing on my riding

and communicating with my horse, which is a unique situation for me. I want us to be a team when we enter the arena, and that takes time outside the rodeo pen to accomplish. I've gone back to the round pen to work on groundwork and the basics of communication. Sometimes we need to take a step back to move three steps forward, and that's OK! It builds our skills and strengthens our relationships with our horses. Coming into the new rodeo season, I have new goals. I want to improve our consistency in the arena. I want to train a few more up-and-coming horses I have. I want to work on my hands and my balance to be the best possible rider I can be. Of course, I'd like to make circuit finals as well. I have new goals to work toward.

So, what are yours? Do you want to improve your riding? Do you want to set a new personal record? Do you want to compete on a higher level? Make your goals specific and measurable. Know realistically where you are now, and make progress from there. Make smaller goals to accomplish along the way, and don't be afraid to celebrate those small victories. It's the small ones that build our skills and set us up to accomplish the big ones! And never forget to look to see how far you've come. Sometimes I get so caught up in where I want to be going that I forget to see how much I have accomplished thus far. You might get to that goal and realize that the journey was the most memorable part-not the end point. I can't wait to see what our next year holds!

*

January 2018 /

13


you should know

Singing Lyle's Praises

Rising Star Shines Again Sarah Dawson, one of the up-and-comers we told you about in last March’s “Trainers on the Rise,” jumped up and won the Hackamore Classic Open championship on Shine Smarter (above) at the National Reined Cow Horse Association Futurity in Fort Worth, Texas, last October (she also made the futurity’s open finals). Then, at November’s Quarter Horse World Show, the Texas trainer won the junior working cow horse championship on Shiney Outlaw with a record-setting 455 combined score for her reined and cow work (bit.ly/sdawsonworldshow). To learn the “secret” of this champion rider, see The Thinking Rider blog at HorseandRider.com.

LAWSUIT SEEKS JUSTICE Do you need a high school diploma to be a good horseshoer? Farrier Bob Smith doesn’t think so. The owner of the Pacific Coast Horseshoeing School has filed a federal lawsuit challenging a recent California law that requires him to deny admission to any student without a high school diploma or its equivalent. For insight into the importance of this case, go to bit.ly/farrierlawsuit. (And for advice on quarter cracks from this International Horseshoeing Hall of Fame farrier, go to HorseandRider.com.) 14 / HorseandRider.com

The Award: NRHA Dale Wilkinson Lifetime Achievement Award. The Recipient: Singer, songwriter, and reiner Lyle Lovett. The Reason: Starting in 2007, NRHA began recognizing members with this honor named for the “father of reining” as a tribute to Dale Wilkinson’s contributions to the sport as an educator, mentor, and promoter of reining. Lovett has raised thousands of dollars for NRHA’s Reining Horse Foundation.

“Riding instructors are the lifeblood of the horse industry.” —Ward Stutz, AQHA’s director of Breed Integrity, Animal Welfare, and Education and recipient of the Certified Horsemen’s Association’s lifetime achievement award.

“RISING STAR SHINES AGAIN” PHOTO BY PRIMO MORALES, COURTESY OF NRCHA; “LAWSUIT SEEKS JUSTICE” PHOTO COURTESY OF THE INSTITUTE FOR JUSTICE; “SINGING LYLE'S PRAISES” PHOTO COURTESY OF NRHA

SADDLE CHAT


socially speaking

#HORSELIFEIRL thepagepetposse I'm so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers. #myrrhthehorse #horsebackriding #horses #horsesofinstagram #ilove myhorse #trailriding #october #sunset #betweentheears #lifebetweentheears #horselifeirl #autumn #adventure

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FUN ON FACEBOOK

Does your horse know when it’s feeding time? Angela Bush I’ll quietly shut the house door, walk down to the barn, and somehow my horses know I am there from the other side of the barn. They’re always ready to eat. Jewel Eimer When I feed in the winter, I always go fork hay when I get home from work. It doesn’t matter what time it is, if my truck comes in the yard they think it’s feeding time. Bill Power My horses know when it’s feeding time to the minute. What’s really interesting is that it takes them only a couple days to adjust after daylight-saving time ends. Donna Pointing Mine has a tantrum if I’m late feeding him. He’ll pull the plastic protector caps off the star pickets and toss them right into the paddock.

January 2018 / 15


SADDLE CHAT

from you, the reader

WE HEAR YOU

My Magazine The November 2017 magazine is the first I’ve sat and actually read cover to cover! Great, useful articles that pertain to me! Thank you! Michelle Hemingway Morton

Big Dreams I really enjoy Bob Welch’s Riding Outside the Circle. In the November issue, he talked about the Working Ranch Cowboys Association and some of his dreams. I look forward to his column each month. Neal Heard

WTRG Win! We saw Geronimo Guest Ranch advertised in a past Where-to-Ride Guide. We visited and had the time of our lives. It’s in amazing country, and the horses were terrific. My husband and I are experienced horsemen, and the horses were perfect for us. We rode close to 5½ hours a day or a little longer. We’d go back tomorrow if we could. Nancy Stetson

82% of H&R readers have vacationed with their horse. Turn to page 48 to find your next riding getaway.

To participate in future polls, “like” Horse&Rider on Facebook.

16 / HorseandRider.com

TRAIL-RIDING RETIREMENT Thank you for all of your wonderful work in Horse&Rider. My husband and I read it cover to cover as soon as it arrives. We especially love the Krones’

trail-riding articles; we’ve enjoyed their adventures so much! We plan to travel the nation with our horses as well and see our wonderful country

from horseback. We’re planning to retire in about four years, and off we go! Kelly Vernon

P H OTO BY KE N T A N D CH A RL E N E K RO N E

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SADDLE CHAT

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“FIRST RIDING VACATION” PHOTO BY NICHOLE CHIRICO; “THE THINKING RIDER” PHOTO BY SHERI SCOTT

FIRST RIDING VACATION After years of traveling the country to ride in competition, Assistant Editor Nichole Chirico stepped away from the rail and hit the trails during her first dude-ranch experience. Read more about what she took away from her equine vacation at Smith Fork Ranch online.

ELKHORN RANCH Tucson, AZ

The Thinking Rider On tap for January: Avoid insanity and become a better rider—seriously! Follow Horse&Rider on Facebook for alerts on new posts from this American Horse Publications award-winning blog.

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January 2018 / 19


TRAVEL / HEALTH SOLUTIONS / STYLE HORSEKEEPING

The iconic Red Bluff Gelding Sale is where ranchers and competitive cowboys alike ďŹ nd well-trained mounts that can do it all.


T RAVE L

Calif. WHERE

Red Bluff, California

W H AT

Red Bluff Bull & Gelding Sale WHEN

January 23–27

Western Trifecta When is a sale not just a sale? When it’s January in Red Bluff, where ranchers and horsemen converge to indulge their love of fine livestock, tough competition, and top-notch sales. Over five days, some 30,000 enthusiasts descend on this Northern California city (population 14,000) to admire and perhaps bid on some of the West’s best bulls, ranch geldings, and stock dogs. And that’s just the beginning of the fun.

21 PHOTO BY DUSTIN J. DAVIS OLSON, COURTESY OF RED BLUFF BULL & GELDING SALE


$39K

Calif.

A Western art show and trade show backdrop this event, which begins with stock-dog working trials over the first three days, culminating with the Stock Dog Sale on Friday. Sale geldings compete on Thursday and Friday, showing at halter and under saddle in reining, cutting, reined cow horse, trail, and calf branding. Doors to the Pauline Davis Pavilion open for the Sale of Quarter Horse & Paint Geldings on Friday night, with Vic Woolery’s Famous Tri-Tip BBQ before and during the sale. The bulls go on the block Saturday morning, followed by the Cinch Jeans Buckin’ Best Bull Riding contest that night—and a dance party to cap the event.

Price of all-time high-selling gelding, first achieved in 2009 and again at last year’s sale.

1

3 4

All bark and no bite: Working stock dogs at the sale are highly trained. 2

Don’t Miss This explore. A 50-minute drive will take you to the 1. Wild Horse Sanctuary in Shingletown. Sponsor a horse or burro, or make plans to return in spring for a trail ride through the

horses’ serene pastures.

eat. For beef, try the 2. Timbers Steakhouse at Rolling Hills Casino 25 minutes south in Corning, or the 3. Green Barn

Steakhouse in Red Bluff proper. If excellent Mexican is what you’re craving, try 4. La Corona, also in town.

do. If you don’t buy a horse,

dog, or bull, you’ll have plenty to spend at the event’s amazing Western art and trade show. Or go downtown to find an assortment of cozy antique stores and boutiques.

Around Awhile This year marks the 77th annual Bull Sale, 56th Gelding Sale, and 40th Dog Sale. Though founded to draw higher quality stock to the area, the auctions have also attracted top entertainment—including, in the early days, such luminaries as Tennessee Ernie Ford, Rex Allen, and Mel Tormé. In 1957, boxing’s Max Baer auctioned off a bull for charity. 22 / HorseandRider.com

PHOTOS COURTESY OF RED BLUFF BULL & GELDING SALE

TRAVEL

The Facts


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NO GENERIC ADEQUAN

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The ONLY FDA approved equine PSGAG for the intramuscular treatment of non-infectious degenerative joint disease (DJD) of the carpal and hock joints proven to: • DIMINISH the destructive processes of degenerative joint disease • REVERSE the processes which result in the loss of cartilage components • IMPROVE overall joint function and associated lameness Available for order! For more information about equine joint health and treatment with Adequan® i.m., please visit www.adequan.com.

INDICATIONS For the intramuscular treatment of non-infectious degenerative and/or traumatic joint dysfunction and associated lameness of the carpal and hock joints in horses.

IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION

There are no known contraindications to the use of intramuscular Adequan® i.m. brand Polysulfated Glycosaminoglycan in horses. Studies have not been conducted to establish safety in breeding horses. WARNING: Do not use in horses intended for human consumption. Not for use in humans. Keep this and all medications out of the reach of children. CAUTION: Federal law restricts this drug to use by or on the order of a licensed veterinarian. Please see Full Prescribing Information at www.adequan.com.

Adequan® and the Horse Head design are registered trademarks of Luitpold Pharmaceuticals, Inc. © Luitpold Animal Health, division of Luitpold Pharmaceuticals, Inc. 2016. AHD227 Iss. 4/2016


Muscle Issues

“Tying up” is when a horse develops a stiff gait and hard,  painful muscles following exercise. He sweats, hyperventilates, and is reluctant to move. Also known as Monday morning disease or azoturia, tying up indicates muscle damage resulting from a variety of potential causes, including recurrent exertional rhabdomyolysis (RER) and polysaccharide storage myopathy (PSSM). If your horse shows signs, call your vet, as treatment may be required to prevent kidney damage. There’s no cure for tying up, but it can be managed through diet and exercise.

JC’s X-Tie Up is a proprietary blend of vitamins designed to help muscles use energy more efficiently. Doesn’t test positive in competition (finish linehorse.com/products).

Nutrition Is Key If your horse is prone to tying up:

Minimize high-carb grains in his diet. Favor a high-quality  grass or oat hay over alfalfa hay. Consider an added 

In affected horses, exercise—especially following a layoff—is the trigger for an episode of tying up.

source of fat (such as rice bran).

Keep in Mind Consider a vitamin/ mineral supplement containing vitamin E and selenium.

Know that some commercial feeds are designed for horses that tie up; check with your veterinarian or an equine nutritionist. Make sure your horse  routinely ingests enough salt. 24 / HorseandRider.com

blood test

hind end

regular exercise

A blood test for elevated

Muscles of the hind end and

Daily exercise—riding, longe-

muscle enzymes confirms a

back are most affected; pain

ing, and/or turnout—helps

diagnosis of tying up.

may persist for hours.

prevent recurrences.

LARGE PHOTO BY MLENNY/ISTOCKPHOTO.COM; "BLOOD TEST" PHOTO COURTESY OF AVMA; “HIND END” PHOTO BY CAROLINE FYFFE; "REGULAR EXERCI SE" P HOTO BY NICHOL E CHIR ICO

HEA LTH

What to know about tying up


Come and experience the beauty of Zion, Bryce and Grand Canyon National Parks. Ride through the wild and remote, undiscovered country. visit our website for more information:

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Trailer Must-Haves Make riding vacations with your horse easier.

S OLUTION S

Traveling Gear

1. Trailer-Door Organizer

Keeps grooming tools, fly spray, and first-aid supplies organized and easy to reach. $39.99; cashelcompany.com.

2. Slant-Load Water Caddy

TIP Avoid accidents by using portable corral panels with rails spaced to prevent your horse from sticking his head between them.

Holds 39 gallons, and translucent plastic allows you to monitor water level. $107.99; sstack.com.

3. Folding Combo Feeder

Trailer-Travel Prep Heading out on a riding vacation with your horse in tow? For overnight trail-riding adventures, invest in a portable corral that creates a safe place for your horse during down time, like this one from Carri-Lite Corrals ($749.99; shopspur.com). And an added bonus: This corral folds down to 1/5 its size, and easily fits in your trailer’s mid-tack or your truck’s bed. You’ll still have plenty of space for the rest of your riding gear. 26 / HorseandRider.com

Makes feed transportation easy. Load your feed, close the lid, and hit the road. $35.95; profchoice.com.


Dedicated to enriching the lives of unwanted horses. Organizations and supporters like WeatherBeeta

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A Home For Every Horse is brought to you by the Equine Network and sponsored by: ®


Ranch Riding Necessities STY LE

Ranch Wear

Western attire that looks good in and out of the show pen. 1. Bootcut Denim

Mid-rise, stretch denim with extra length to keep boots covered in the stirrup. $69.95; ariat.com.

2. Leather Chinks

TIP Learn how to tie a simple, show-ready, wild-rag knot for your next ranch riding class at Horse andRider.com.

Handmade, chocolate colored chinks with spider-stamp pattern and decorative conchos. $365; txsaddlery.com.

Ranch-Ready Outfit Colorful wild rags, handmade chinks, and well-tailored shirts set you apart in ranch  classes. While you want to avoid overly embellished tops for this class, you can still add personal flare to your look. Find a fitted shirt off the rack, or opt for a custom design, like this shirt from Rockin’ B Clothing (price upon request; rockinb.clothing). When you’re not in the show arena, untuck this shirt and pair with a wide belt for a casual, Western look.

28 / HorseandRider.com

Hand-rolled, machine-sewn scarves that can withstand rough wear and tear. $25; wyomingwildrags.com.

LARGE PHOTO BY ALEXANDER MOON

3. Silk Wild Rag


low starch for safe treating

% 80 less sugar and starch vs. leading treat*

NO added

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molasses

For a Free Sample and a coupon, check out Nutrigoodtreats.com/HR *Based on the %NSC of leading horse treat brand, tested by a third-party lab in April, 2017

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HORSEKEEP I N G

Injury Prevention

Good fences make great protectors. A horse-safe fence is central to your wound-avoidance plan.

30 / HorseandRider.com


Prevent Wounds A watchful eye and timely maintenance go a long way toward protecting your horse from injury. It’s worth the effort!

Horses are like small children; you must always be on guard against things that might hurt them. Here’s how to prevent many wounds from happening. Around the Barn Protruding nails, jutting wire, wood splinters, torn feed tubs, broken concrete—anything that can lacerate or puncture flesh is a serious danger. Get in the habit of routinely checking for such perils to catch and fix them before they can injure your horse. Your barn’s aisles and doorways should be at least 8 feet wide to avoid crowding/bumping. Ceilings should be high enough to avoid contact with a rearing horse’s head—ideally 9 feet or more. Stalls should be at least 12 by 12 feet to minimize the risk of casting (becoming trapped against a wall). Your barn’s floor should provide good traction, and all partitions separating two horses must be strong and smooth, with no place for flailing hooves to become hung up. In the Pasture/Paddock Horse-safe fencing is nonnegotiable— no cracked boards, loose nails, sagging

wire, or over-large weave (or any other means for hooves to become trapped). Barbed wire and uncapped T-posts, of course, are verboten. Because the safest fence is one your horse won’t touch, consider adding electrification at or near the top of your pasture or paddock enclosure (and stick to horse-safe products). Check your enclosure’s ground as need be for trash (as from passing vehicles) or footing hazards (sharp rocks, new holes, obscured sprinkler heads, or detritus working its way up from underground). On the Trailer Guard against unsafe flooring and torn or bent metal parts with sharp edges. Shipping boots (or wraps if you know how to apply them) are generally a good idea if temperatures permit. Close escape doors, manger-access doors, and grates/screens over drop-down doors or windows any time your horse is in the trailer to prevent attempted “emergency exits.” Never leave the ramp down while your horse is tied to the back of your trailer; the ramp’s edge is a safety hazard to your horse’s legs.

If He Does Wound Himself… • Call your vet for advice, doing as directed if need be to staunch severe bleeding. • If the wound merits a vet visit, cold-hose the injury while you wait, to clean it and reduce swelling; then bandage it lightly to keep it clean. • With your vet’s recommendation, consider wound-care products to aid in long-term healing.

Turnout Tips Follow these precautions to lessen the chance of injuries occurring during turnout. • Horses turned out together should be familiar with each other, or at least barefoot on their hind feet to lessen the possibility of a serious kicking injury. • Remove halters, or use only breakaway models, to avoid hang-ups. • Make sure any horse clothing (turnout blankets, sheets, fly masks) are adjusted properly so they won’t twist or catch on anything.

L A R G E PH OTO BY XEN I4KA/ISTOCKP HOTO.COM; SMALL P HOTO BY N I GEL BA KER /DR EA MST I M E

31


2018 W E E K E N D S

SPECIAL EVENT

March 30 – April 1: Opening Weekend! April 19 – 22: NEW Spring Ride! (3 night minimum) • Karaoke on Friday, Band on Sat night & optional meal package available.

Hoosier National Forest • Horseman’s Campground

May 4 – 6: Kentucky Derby Weekend (2 night minimum)

WWW.MIDWESTTRAILRIDE.COM

• Mint julep tasting, hat contest, live racing on the big screen. • Optional meals

May 25 – 28: Memorial Weekend (3 night minimum) • Band on Saturday night, optional meals

June 7 – 10: Christian Trail Riders Retreat (2 night minimum) • To Be Announced June 22 – 24: Wine Festival Weekend (2 night minimum) • 2 bands/ wine tasting, optional meals available.

Aug. 31 – Sept 3: Labor Day Weekend (3 night minimum) • Band on Saturday night, optional meals

September 14 – 16: Indiana Trail Riders Assoc. Annual Fund Raiser Ride (2 night minimum) • Pitch in Dinner, Silent auctions, Obstacle Course

October 5 – 7: Blue Grass & Brewskies (2 night minimum) • Blue grass band on Sat/ Craft beer tasting, • Optional meal package available

• • • • • • •

October 10 – 14: Fall Colors Ride (4 night minimum) • Four days of fun activities: Karaoke on Friday, Band on Saturday, poker ride, optional meal package available (Thurs PM – Sun AM).

October 25 – 28: Halloween Ride – (Thurs – Sun) (3 night minimum) • Karaoke on Friday night and “haunted trail”. • Band on Saturday night, trick or treating for the kids, costume contests, campsite decorating & optional mea .

Open Camping Clean modern rest rooms and shower house Trail Guides and customized trail adventures available Electric & water on each campsite OVER 100 MILES OF TRAILS!! Cabins for rent • Horses for rent Covered stalls com

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ilRide. a r T t s dwe ad ww.Mi reek Ro

ter’s C n u H 4 264 7 126 4 N I , Norman 4-6686 3 (812) 8 t t r a i l r i d e . c o m ride@m

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All special event weekends have optional extras, (live band, food options, etc.) but open camping still applies

OPEN CAMPING DAILY


PR IVAT E L E SSO N / W IN N IN G IN S I G H TS / T RA I L I N S I G H TS / CO N F I D EN T RI D ER

PRIVATE LESSON

Metal Trail Gate

IF YOU SHOW IN THE trail class, you’re probably quite familiar with the rope gate obstacle. It’s easy for show management to transport and set up, and it’s forgiving when it comes to working the obstacle. But now we’re seeing metal gates return to the show pen, which adds another item to prepare to face in a class.

January 2018 / 33


Ride&Train

PRIVATE LESSON

BY SETH FENDER, WITH JENNIFER PAULSON

Metal Trail Gate ­A metal gate in a trail pattern increases the degree of difficulty for horse and rider. In today’s tough trail classes, these challenging obstacles set competitors apart. You might be intimidated by working a metal gate; don’t be. The steps are basically the same as with a rope gate, but require more precise pivots and turns on the forehand to get it just right. When practicing at home, work gates of all heights, widths, and weights so you’re prepared for anything. This gate is lower than a traditional gate might be, but it’s a good one to test my horse’s response and my balance in the saddle.

ask my horse to execute 90-degree turns to the left and right. I use a neck-rein cue to move his front feet a couple steps at a time, and then pause, making him wait on me for the next cue to move again.

Two Next I work on moving his hind feet. I slightly block his forward motion with my hand, and use my legs to push his hind feet left or right. I work incrementally to ensure that he’s listening to my cues. His attention means I can ask him to make the small movements necessary to precisely work the metal-gate obstacle.

One Three Before working the gate, test your horse’s response to your cues to move only his front and hind feet. Beginning with moving his front end (a pivot) I

1

Now to work the gate. I ride my horse forward alongside the gate to the latch, keeping his body parallel with the gate. Be-

5 cause of this gate’s height, I must be careful with my weight when I reach for the latch. My weight will override my leg and hand cues, so practicing at home ensures that my cues are being processed correctly by my horse.

Seth Fender, Loveland, Colorado, specializes in preparing all-around horses for youth, amateur, and open competition of all levels. He’s a lifelong horseman who understands the need to tailor training and coaching programs to individual horses and riders. He’s trained and exhibited world champions and top-10 finishers in both AQHA and APHA competition. Learn more at sethfender.com.

34 / HorseandRider.com

Four After unlatching the gate, I back my horse a few steps, remaining parallel with the gate. Backing this distance allows me to open the gate and pass through it without my horse’s head getting too close to the fixed side of the gate. This is a good place to pause and let my horse relax. Frequent pauses ensure that he doesn’t rush through the gate once we open it.


PHOTOS BY JENNIFER PAULSON

Back-through rope gates are another way

Try another challenge…

judges add difficulty to a course. Learn tips for executing this obstacle online.

2

3

4

6

7

8

Five As I open the gate, I cue my horse to make a small pivot on his hind end. I isolate his front feet by lifting my hand and moving it to the right while blocking his hind end with my right leg. Moving his front feet with the gate while keeping his hind feet stationary will keep him aligned with the gate. As he moves, I push the gate to open it away from us. I keep my right hand on the gate

at all times to prevent it from swinging back on my horse or flying open, out of my control.

my hand on the end of the gate while he brings his body completely through the obstacle.

Six

Seven

After I push the gate open and ride forward to get my horse’s body halfway through the obstacle, I execute a small turn on the forehand to move my horse’s hind end out of the gate’s opening. Keeping my horse’s front feet in place means I can keep

Once we’re through the gate, I ride my horse forward, parallel with the gate, and use a small forehand turn to move his hindquarters over to stand beside the gate. I can cue him to sidepass a few steps to completely close the gate.

Eight Finally, I back my horse a few steps in a straight line until my leg is aligned with the end of the gate. Staying close to the gate, with my hand on it, keeps me in control the entire time we work the obstacle. I can latch the gate, pause for a moment, and move onto the next obstacle if I’m competing or re-work the obstacle to fine-tune all the parts if I’m at home. 

January 2018 / 35


Ride&Train

WINNING INSIGHTS

BY BOB AVILA, WITH JENNIFER PAULSON

Why So Low? HORSE 1 When it comes to headsets, everyone has opinions. Before making up your mind, consider these factors.

­You can walk around just about any horse show and hear people talk about which horses they don’t like watching, and quite often it involves discussion of how the horses carry their heads. From the Western pleasure pen to the reining arena, headset is a controversial topic that sets off many heated discussions. But the fact is, it doesn’t have to. By considering these three factors, you can form an opinion rather than make a sweeping generalization based on an event’s name. Each of the horses here compete in a variety of events, including reining, ranch riding, working cow horse, and roping. They each pack their necks and heads differently and can illustrate the three factors to think about when forming a headset opinion based on a horse—not bias against an event.

Comfort Level Is the horse comfortable packing his head where

36 / HorseandRider.com

it’s at? Or is it forced? A horseman can watch and determine which is the case. Watch the horse on a longe line, and notice where he carries his head and neck without a rider. This is why horse buyers put colts in round pens when considering a purchase. The horse will carry his head and neck—and the rest of his body—the way he’s most comfortable when he’s at liberty in a round pen. Horses 1, 2, and 3 shown here have different comfort levels when it comes to head carriage. Horse 1 has the highest natural headset. He’s being ridden in romal reins, which inherently bring a more upright body position. He packs his head and neck just above level, which is perfect for his events, including roping and working cow horse. Compare Horse 2’s level neck carriage with the fence line; they’re almost even. With the reins draped, he’s free to pack his head how he chooses. Horse 3 carries her head low no matter the situation—with a rider, on the longe line, and even when she’s turned out in the pasture. It’s where she’s comfortable and ties to her conformation

(discussed later). I can ride her without a bridle, and her head and neck carriage don’t change. If you have a horse that’s comfortable somewhere and let him go that way, he’ll do his job better.

Breeding During the last 25 to 30 years of breeding horses, we’ve taken performance mounts down a genetic pathway that favors the naturally lower-headed horse. Mares and studs that naturally pack their heads and necks lower— and are built to do so—are chosen by breeders over

those horses that don’t naturally move in that way. For each resulting foal, that head carriage becomes a stronger genetic trait. You might say, “When I was a kid, my horse’s head wasn’t like that.” You’re right. We were still working toward breeding them for the way modern horses travel. The imitators—riders with horses that aren’t bred or built in this manner but try to force it—are where the problem lies. Instead of working with what they have, these riders force a style of head carriage that their horses aren’t built for nor bred to travel in that manner.


PHOTOS BY MARC LAXINETA, DVM

Naturally low-headed horses are one thing. Those being forced to follow a fad are another. Read more from Bob Avila online.

Learn more online...

HORSE 2

Conformation A horse's build plays a role in his head carriage. It’s form to function. Each horse here has slightly uphill conformation. That means each horse’s withers are marginally higher than the point of their croup. This allows them to drive from behind and propel themselves forward with collection, packing their heads and necks where it’s comfortable. Conversely, a horse built downhill struggles with hind-end impulsion and thus comfortable head carriage. He must

HORSE 3

pull himself forward and elevate his head and neck with every stride. A horse’s neck length also plays a role in how he carries it. Horse 1’s neck is shorter than the other two shown here, and he packs his head and neck the most different from the other two. Horse 2 and 3 have longer necks that are more comfortable hanging lower because of where they tie into the horses’ bodies. Horse 3’s longer neck moves her balance point forward, leading her to low neck carriage and holding her face behind the vertical. If either of these horses’ long necks came out the tops of their

chests, they wouldn’t carry their heads in this way.

Make Your Own Call Sometimes as horsemen we have to think outside our comfort zones. I love watching good dressage horses. I don’t compete in dressage or train for that event, but I’ve taken time to understand what it entails and appreciate watching a good dressage mount. If you don’t understand something, learn about it. Ask “why?” before deciding if something is natural or forced. Then make your decision. 

Bob Avila, Temecula, California, is an AQHA world champion, three-time NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity winner, NRHA Futurity champ, and two-time World’s Greatest Horseman. He's been named the AQHA Professional Horseman of the Year. Learn more at bobavila.net.

January 2018 / 37


Ride&Train

TRAIL INSIGHTS

BY KEN McNABB, WITH ALEXIS BENNETT

In for the Long Haul Make the post-ride experience a positive one to end your trail ride on a high note.

­You’re headed back from your trail ride. You reach the trailer, unsaddle, brush off your horse, get him loaded, and head down the road. Twenty minutes! It’s a new record time. This is exactly the behavior that gets riders in trouble. After a long day of riding, and especially after multiday trips, it’s tempting to hurry up and get on your way. When you do this, you create chaos. You hurriedly go through the motions and leave yourself open to forget important things, such as a saddle left on the ground. You overlook the once-over that ensures that your horse is injury-free and your equipment is in good repair. Over time, your rushed process causes your horse to become anxious at the trailer, which makes your ride back more difficult and puts a sour tone on an otherwise-pleasant experience. Here I’ll share how you can make the post-ride trailer experience a safe and positive one.

Make sure your horse is relaxed and comfortable before you load him into the trailer following your ride.

before you leave on your trip. Include tack, an emergency kit, feed, buckets, and anything else you’ll need. Your emergency kit should include Banamine (as prescribed by your veterinarian) and bandage materials to treat minor cuts and scrapes until you make it to a vet. After your ride, use your checklist to ensure that everything you’ve brought is accounted for and put away. If you break tack or lose a hoof boot, make note of it so you can replace it.

Make a Checklist

Post-Ride Anticipation

At home, make a checklist

As you head back to your

38 / HorseandRider.com

trailer, mentally prepare yourself so you don’t become overly anxious and affect your horse’s emotional state. If you get anxious your horse will, too. You don’t rush him through the trail ride; so don’t rush him headed home. At the trailer, work your horse before you dismount; not into lather, but you don’t want him to think his job is over as soon as the trailer’s in sight. This thinking is what leads to the ridehome jig. Trot circles, bend, flex, back up, then walk him out. Make sure he’s cooled off, calm, and focused before you call it a day.

One Step at a Time Before you load your horse, he should be relaxed and comfortable. If you rush him, he’ll feel as you do when you’re rushed in and out of an appointment—emotionally run-over. Instead, tie him to the trailer and loosen the cinch, but don’t get in a hurry to jerk the saddle off. Let him relax as you prep your tack room. Organize your tack room so that when you take off your horse’s gear you don’t have to struggle to put it away. Hang up your bridle, pull out grooming supplies and water buckets, and make


PHOTOS BY JENNIFER PAULSON

More online...

Does your horse hate the trailer? Fix your driving; fix his behavior. Find “Make Over Your Bad Hauler” on HorseandRider.com.

LEFT: Keep a tidy, organized tack room in your trailer, with everything put away, so you don’t have to wrestle with your gear as you pack. RIGHT:

BIO PHOTO BY MALLORY BEINBORN

Complete a thorough check of your horse by rubbing your hands over his body after your ride to look for injuries.

sure everything’s clean and ready to use. Unsaddle your horse, then run your hands over his body to check for sore spots, broken hair, and other injuries. Then groom him thoroughly. I like to give my horse a liniment rubdown, which helps with muscle soreness. I also disinfect my cinches and hang them up exactly how I want to take them back down. This prevents girth itch and future skin irritation, and will make it easier to saddle next ride. After your horse has cooled off, but before you load up, make water available. Offer it once, and don’t let him play in it.

If you let him guzzle it, he can get a gut ache.

illuminate the doorway. Though horses have great vision at night, they don’t seem to mind a little help.

Prep Your Trailer Check your surroundings before you park your rig to give your horse the best opportunity possible to load and unload. Sometimes trailheads don’t give you many options. Choose the most level and least obstructed area possible. After your ride, inspect your trailer and the load-up position. Not all trailers have good internal lights so bring a flashlight or head lamp if there’s a chance you’ll load up after dark. Lights in the door help

Final Thoughts Keep safety top of mind at each stage of your ride. Make sure you haul in a safe trailer, free of sharp edges, poor gate latches, and other hazards. Drive smoothly; don’t jerk around corners, slam on brakes, or accelerate abruptly. Be mindful of your horse’s experience, and you’ll avoid trailer balkiness, anticipation, and other unsavory post-ride troubles.

Trainer, clinician, and lifelong cowboy Ken McNabb hails from Lovell, Wyoming. He helps riders and horses build and enjoy partnerships working on the ranch and riding on the trail. His show, Discovering the Horseman Within, airs weekly on RFD-TV. Learn more about McNabb and find his clinic schedule at kenmcnabb.com.

January 2018 / 39


Ride&Train

CONFIDENT RIDER

BY MADISON SHAMBAUGH, WITH J. FORSBERG MEYER

Let Him Lope!

­Do you micromanage your horse, especially at the lope? It’s common, particularly for riders dealing with confidence issues. The lope feels like the most precarious gait, so we want to check our horse often to make sure he’s not going to rush off or do something silly. This is the wrong approach. Instead, we should train our horses to maintain their relaxed cadence at the lope without constant interference from us. In other words, we should ask for a nice lope, and our horses should maintain that gait until we cue him otherwise. This “passenger exercise” will teach your horse to do exactly that. In the process, it also schools you to avoid the urge to micromanage. Ride this exercise in a secure arena with safe fencing and good footing. Outfit your horse in a snaffle bit or hackamore.

40 / HorseandRider.com

Start by loping your horse on a loose rein in a safe arena. The draped rein tells him you’re not micromanaging his speed, and that it’s up to him to maintain a comfortable, steady pace until you cue him otherwise.

Why It Works This exercise lets your horse discover that a nice, steady lope is his good friend. You’ll ask for a lope, give him his head, then sit back and let him keep going without further fussing from you. The instant he speeds up on his own, however, you’ll flex him and disengage his hindquarters, then send him off in the opposite direction at a lope. Over time, he learns that staying at that relaxed, even pace is easier than

stopping, turning, and starting up again. The loose rein is essential, because hanging on the reins or fussing with them just unnerves or irritates your horse. Ride this exercise for extended periods of time (without overtiring your horse, of course), over many practice sessions. If you want the best possible lope, you have to do a lot of loping!

How to Do It Start by warming your horse up as normal, then

put him into a lope on a loose rein. (If need be, work the exercise at a trot first, advancing to a lope when you feel comfortable doing so.) Sit quietly in the saddle, your hands low and relaxed (no contact!), your upper body erect, your hips swinging with the motion, and your legs hanging naturally—no gripping. Remember to breathe deeply from your belly. Most important: Don’t micromanage! Be a “passenger” and let your horse lope around the arena on a loose rein.

PHOTOS BY MARK SHAMBAUGH; BIO PHOTO BY MALLORY BEINBORN, COURTESY OF MADISON SHAMBAUGH

This ‘passenger exercise’ trains your horse to maintain a relaxed lope as you learn how to trust him and ‘let go.’


Watch Madison demonstrate the ‘passenger exercise’ at HorseandRider.com this month.

Learn more online…

TOP LEFT: The moment your horse speeds up, use your inside rein and leg to stop him and disengage his hindquarters. TOP RIGHT: When he’s still, let him stand a moment as a reward. ABOVE: Then turn and lope off in the opposite direction. Repeat whenever he speeds up.

If He Speeds Up… …immediately ask him to disengage his hindquarters. (Note: This speed increase may occur after a few laps, after just a few strides, or even in the transition to the lope.

Wherever it occurs, respond immediately.) To disengage his hindquarters, sit down in your seat as you slide your inside hand down the rein to gain purchase. Then lift your outside rein slightly for balance as you apply just enough pressure to

the inside rein to flex your horse’s neck to the inside. At the same time, press with your inside leg behind the cinch. All this stops him and causes him to cross his hind legs as he turns—this is the desired “disengagement” of his power source. Once he’s yielded in this way, give him slack and let him stand a moment as a reward. If he tries to move off on his own, yield his hindquarters again until he stops. Once he’s standing willingly, turn him the other way of the arena and immediately ask him to lope off on a loose rein. Work to increase the amount of time he remains at the desired speed on his own, achieving more over time.

deep and “stop riding” (you may even rest your hand on his neck). Your horse should slow down and come to a stop. If he doesn’t, yield his hindquarters again and carry on with the exercise. It will come in time!

Madison Shambaugh of Fort Wayne, Indiana, and Telluride, Colorado, won the 2017 Mustang Magic event at the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo. In 2015, at the age of 20,

Try a Test

she earned reserve at the Virginia Extreme Mustang

When you think he’s ready, test him. As you exhale a deep breath, sit

Makeover (mustangmaddy .com).

January 2018 / 41


UnderSaddle Aggression

Aggressiveness in a ridden horse should never be ignored. Learn the causes plus some fixes you can apply from the saddle.

 BY SANDY COLLIER, WITH JENNIFER VON GELDERN ILLUSTRATION BY SCOTT PECK

42 / HorseandRider.com


D Roots of Aggression

Surly and aggressive behavior in horses has many potential origins, including the following.

 Pain. Because pain and discomfort can cause a range of bad manners and dangerous behavior, it’s important always to rule it out first. It’s not hard to imagine how an aching back or throbbing feet could make you feel and act snappishly. More subtle ills can be to blame, as well. A full veterinary exam is well worth the price if it can explain and potentially solve your horse’s issues.  Nature. There’s a percentage of the horse population—just as there is with the human population—that tends to have aggressive personalities. Aggression can appear in stallions, mares, and geldings, and horses of any age. That said, in general stallions tend to be more aggressive than mares or geldings. Nature designed them that way with an eye toward successful procreation. Without their testosterone, geldings lose that desire to dominate in order to breed. Second most likely to be aggressive are mares, as they’re also breeding animals and often rule the roost in a herd. Mares are in charge of putting adolescent horses in their places, and can therefore perfect a stance of warning or a well-timed nip. Younger horses will test limits until they learn where they stand in the hierarchy, just as children do. They 44 / HorseandRider.com

oes your horse ever seem aggressive when you’re riding him? Does he cop a surly attitude, or even act out, posing a danger to other horses and riders around him? Here, we’ll examine why some horses act aggressively under saddle and what you as a rider can do to begin correcting it. haven’t had years of human-induced good manners under their belts as older horses have. If young horses aren’t kept in line, they learn early in life that they don’t have to behave. A young horse testing limits may display more aggression than would an older horse that might’ve had one owner (out of a series of owners) who let him get away with too much, but still has a good overall training foundation to fall back on.  Handling, training. Improper handling or training (or lack of it altogether) can result in aggressive tendencies. Not surprisingly, harsh and abusive training methods can cause a horse to become aggressive. Or, if your horse is normally agreeable but begins reacting negatively to your cues, he may be expressing his irritation and confusion.

SHOULD YOU MOVE HIM AWAY? Immediately moving your aggressive horse away from other horses and people can help keep them safe, but if you haven’t reprimanded him first, you may actually exacerbate the problem. Envision a child hitting or biting another child. If the parent simply distracts the child by taking him to a new location, the child never learns that his behavior was unacceptable.

Some renegades have had years of experience intimidating people. Although they’re a small percentage, it’s true that if there’s a lack of leadership from a handler, a horse may feel he needs to fill that void. Some horses won’t take advantage of this situation; instead, they’ll simply become dull and sloppy in their work—but never malevolent. A small percentage, however, will step into that leadership role knowing they’re intimidating those around them. There’s always a hierarchy with people and animals, and if you don’t become the leader, your horse might.

Aggressive Behaviors Here are a range of aggressive behaviors your horse might display, plus what you might see, hear, or feel from the saddle.

 Ear pinning. This action will be easy to see when you’re astride. Your horse’s ears will flatten back tightly against his head in response to something he doesn’t like—possibly another horse nearby or a cue you’ve given that he’s resisting. While ear pinning isn’t dangerous in and of itself, it’s an indication your horse is trying to intimidate you or another horse, and it can be a precursor of worse behaviors.  Baring teeth, biting. This is a potential next step after ear pinning. From the saddle, you may see his head snake around as he bares his teeth, or a quick striking motion if he actually attempts


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to bite. You may even hear his teeth snap together. This is clearly dangerous behavior: If his teeth connect with flesh, he could do severe damage.  Kicking. This highly dangerous act can also follow pinned ears. Sometimes, though, it occurs without warning. From astride, you’ll feel your horse’s hindquarters swing toward whatever he’s aiming at, then elevate as he lifts one or both hind legs to threaten or actually kick. If he kicks out and connects with a horse, human, or inanimate object, you’ll hear the impact—and the consequences can be severe.  Charging. This is one of the most shocking aggressive moves a horse can make; but, fortunately, it’s far less common than the other behaviors. A horse that charges at another horse or a human is displaying the ultimate act of aggression—he isn’t limiting himself to a quick nip or a cocked hind leg, but showing he’s ready to fully engage in a battle he intends to win. It’s rare for this behavior to appear suddenly. A charging horse has usually given ample warning, sometimes over years, that this could happen. From his back, you can’t miss his powerful and savage onslaught, and it may even unseat you.

What to Do From the saddle, you can discourage aggressive behavior by scolding your horse with your voice, legs, and hands. Many horses respond to the word “no” delivered in a loud, deep voice. For an aggressive horse that’s unresponsive to a harsh audible, however, your correction must make physical contact. Apply the correction on or near the part of your horse’s body that’s endangering others. If he snaps his teeth or bites, a tug on the reins can reroute and reprimand him. If he threatens to kick, a bump with your leg plus changing his body position might be enough. If he actually kicks out, escalate the correction with a harder kick, a spank with the rein tails behind the saddle, and pulling him around in a circle. Whichever reprimand you choose, 46 / HorseandRider.com

WHEN DO YOU NEED A PRO? If you’ve tried to correct your horse’s behavior but it worsens, get help from a professional trainer or equine behaviorist before the antics become more ingrained and harder to fix. If your horse’s behavior scares you, or if your friends think he’s dangerous, don’t let your love for him keep you from getting help. Bear in mind that you’re not doing your horse any favors by not disciplining him or not sending him for training, because if his aggressiveness worsens, so do the consequences. Someone may have to get truly tough with him to make him a respectful citizen again. Or, worse, he might end up becoming a real renegade—and the lives of such horses are never good. So make the hard choice that benefits him.

make sure it’s assertive enough that your horse backs down and accepts you as leader. When administering a correction, it’s important to remember your horse’s size versus yours, as that has direct bearing on the amount of force you’ll need to make him understand he’s being reprimanded. Your horse’s sensitivity is also a factor. A thinskinned horse could overreact to a sharp kick that would barely register on a dull mount. Novice riders tend to be matched with duller horses (so the riders’ lack of timing and balance doesn’t upset their mounts). That can also mean, however, that if such riders must reprimand their horses, they might have to tug the reins more insistently or kick with a bit more energy. On the other hand, a rider on a more sensitive horse may need to apply surprisingly little effort. The energy you put into a correction must also match the severity of your horse’s behavior. Is he being playful, grouchy, or truly aggressive? Be alert to his general disposition in order to quickly determine the difference. You don’t want to be too harsh with a mildly grumpy horse, but you do want to instantly get after one that’s being genuinely aggressive. I can’t overemphasize the importance of timing. For a correction to work, it must be associated with the behavior in the horse’s mind. Ideally, a reprimand should come during—or at least instantly after—the aggressive act. Your horse needs to connect his aggression with a loud, harsh voice;

the sting of a slap; or the jolt of a kick at his girth. All this means you should never discipline a horse more than a scant few seconds after his aggressive act. If you do, he won’t make the connection, and that’s not only unfair to him but also flat-out ineffective. It can even be counter-productive, as he may interpret it as predatory behavior on your part. 

Sandy Collier, Santa Maria, California, is a Quarter Horse world champion trainer, a member of the Cowgirl Hall of Fame, and the only woman to win the open division of the World Championship Snaffle Bit Futurity. Find information on her popular book, Reining Essentials, and her latest DVD, Secrets to Becoming a Great Horse Owner, at her website, sandycollier.com.

Review Sandy’s core horse-training secrets—including problem-solving— online at HorseandRider.com.


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www.warwickschiller .com Answers to problems such as anxiety, buddy/barn sour horses, trailer loading, bucking/rearing, lazy horses, nervous habits, worming/clipping worries.

January 2018 / 47


TRAVEL GUIDE

Beds &

Barns Here’s the scoop on 12 picturesque bed-and-barn destinations, where you can enjoy an exceptional getaway with your equine friend. BY AUDREY PAVIA

Y

our trail horse is more than a handy mount; he’s your equine companion and travel partner. If you enjoy exploring new trails aboard your familiar friend, but prefer to be pampered rather than roughing it, a bed-and-barn is for you. Following are 12 bed-and-barn getaways. We looked for places where a Western rider would feel at home, plus charm, character, and access to scenic riding trails. → 48 / HorseandRider.com


Looking for an equine-travel destination? Head to a bed-and-barn, such as Sharon’s Horse Heaven in Pennsylvania, which features well-planned horse facilities.

January 2018 / 49


ANCHORAGE FARM Pine, Colorado You are here: Anchorage Farm (anchoragefarm.com) is a small, upscale bed-and-barn and working ranch located in Jefferson County, about a half-hour west of Denver, in the Rocky Mountain foothills. For you: Choose from three handcrafted guest suites finished in cozy décor and featuring hardwood floors, feather beds, private baths, and snuggly robes. Breakfast includes a gourmet egg dish and home-baked bread or pastry. For your horse: Clean, comfortable box stalls and corrals await your equine travel partner. Warm him up and tune up his training in the farm’s outdoor and indoor arenas. On the trail: Pike National Forest, Staunton State Park, and four county parks are a short trailer drive away. Parks feature abundant trails, high-country riding, and unparalleled Rocky Mountain scenery. Why you’ll love it: The Horse Suite offers 180-degree views of horses, birds, forests, and gardens from its all-season, plant-filled sunroom. After your ride, soak in the suite’s whirlpool tub. Step outside and enjoy wildflowers, flower gardens, and water features.   Inside look: “We have wonderful views and a pristine wildlife habitat,” notes innkeeper Kris Cooper. “It’s very peaceful here.”

CEDAR CREST COUNTRY COTTAGE & STABLES, LLC Cedar Crest, New Mexico You are here: Cedar Crest Country Cottage & Stables (cedarcreststables.com) is nestled in the evergreen forests of New Mexico’s Sandia Mountains just east of Albuquerque. Open year-round. For you: You’ll stay in a charming cottage with three bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a full kitchen. Homey décor and a front porch overlooking the trees add to the private country feel. There are also hookups for living-quarters trailers. For your horse: Your horse may stay in a cozy covered stall or stretch out in a large paddock. On the trail: Cedar Crest has exclusive 50 / HorseandRider.com

ABOVE: The Quarter Horse room at Tennessee’s Clearview Horse Farm has a cowboy feel. RIGHT: The farm regularly hosts clinicians, such as John Lyons.

rights to select trails in the adjacent Cibola National Forest, where you’ll ride through evergreens and pinyon pines. Ridge trails offer views of the canyons below. Rides through the snow are popular here. Why you’ll love it: Cedar Crest offers plenty of privacy in a natural setting with spectacular trails within an easy drive from Albuquerque. Inside look: “We can custom-design rides for those bringing horses in, ranging from one to four hours,” says innkeeper Donald Romero. “There’s a canyon ride with amazing scenic wilderness. The waterfall ride starts along Canoncito Spring and climbs easily to the waterfalls.”

CLEARVIEW HORSE FARM Shelbyville, Tennessee You are here: Clearview Horse Farm (clearviewhorsefarm.com) is situated on 130 acres of rolling Tennessee countryside an hour drive from Nashville. For you: The five well-appointed guest rooms each have a unique horse-oriented theme. After your ride, relax in the Western-themed lodge. You may also stay in your living-quarters trailer. For your horse: Your visiting horse may stay in one of the facility’s 16-by12-foot cowboy barn stalls or in an individual paddock with a shelter and safe fencing. Amenities include

lighted indoor and outdoor arenas and quality grazing. On the trail: Adjacent trails are level and meander through farmland and forested areas. Why you’ll love it: Clearview is a peaceful destination that’s horse-centered in every way, from its lodging to acres of pastureland. Swim in the pool or a nearby lake. Well-known clinicians frequently holds clinics here. Inside look: “Anyone wanting a private lesson can benefit from the wide variety of disciplines and breeds that we have here at Clearview,” says innkeeper Marie Lloyd. “Our Quarter Horses specialize in reining, ranch riding, and pleasure, while a lot of folks want to experience the feel of a Tennessee Walking Horse.”

COWGIRLS HORSE HOTEL Laramie, Wyoming You are here: Cowgirls Horse Hotel (cowgirlshorsehotel.com) is located near Medicine Bow National Forest at about 7,600 feet elevation, just outside Laramie.


LEFT AND BELOW-LEFT: Wyoming’s Cowgirls Horse Hotel offers a well-stocked, shared kitchen, Western décor, and scenic trails.

Horse Sanctuary is 45 minutes away. Inside look: “We are located four miles from Custer State Park, where you can ride among the tall pine trees, cross water, skirt granite cliffs, or take in panoramic views from mountain summits,” innkeeper Kathy Mowery notes.

HORN ELKHORN BED

& BREAKFAST

us is Vedauwoo Recreation Area, composed of gravity-defying granite rock formations jutting up to 500 feet in the air, with big-sky views of up to 75 miles away of the Wyoming high plains,” innkeeper Diane Kempson effuses.

DAKOTA DREAM BED & BREAKFAST & HORSE HOTEL

For you: A guest room bedecked in modern Western décor is located at one end of the main house and has its own bathroom. Price includes a continental breakfast; you may also fix a hot breakfast in the well-stocked kitchen. Living-quarters trailer parking is also available. For your horse: Your trail partner may stay in a 12-by-12-foot box stall with an automatic waterer or a quarter-acre paddock. A full-size arena is available for a pre-trail tuneup. On the trail: The nearby Happy Jack Trail System features beautiful views of the surrounding mountains. The trail climbs to higher elevations and winds through lush forests. Why you’ll love it: The welcoming guest quarters and well-built equine facilities lend a sense of safety and comfort for a peaceful stay. Inside look: “Thirteen miles east of

Custer, South Dakota You are here: Dakota Dream Bed & Breakfast & Horse Hotel (dakota dreambandb.com) is set on 20 pine-covered acres in southwestern South Dakota’s Black Hills region. For you: The B&B features Western-themed, cedar-log décor in its two guest rooms. Each has a private bath. Guests are served a home-cooked country breakfast. For your horse: Your horse may stay in one of five large barn stalls. Amenities include outdoor paddocks, a pasture, and water faucets. On the trail: Most of the 100-plus miles of adjacent trails are covered with crushed limestone and gravel and feature pine trees and water crossings. Ride in the hoofsteps of Calamity Jane and Wild Bill Hickok on the nearby George S. Mickelson Trail. Why you’ll love it: Enjoy shopping and restaurants in Custer City, then meet a feeling of seclusion once you pull into the ranch gate. The Black Hills Wild

Mesa, Idaho You are here: Elkhorn Bed & Breakfast (elkhornbnb.com) offers panoramic mountain views in southwestern Idaho, two hours from Boise. For you: All rooms have mountain views. Each morning, you’ll enjoy a gourmet-style breakfast. For your horse: Your visiting horse may stay in an open pipe corral. Warm him up in the B&B’s round pen and large arena. On the trail: Idaho Trails, Razor River, and Old Road Trail offer spectacular views and easy terrain. Why you’ll love it: Elkhorn offers beautiful scenery with unbeatable sunset views. Fall riding is spectacular. The B&B is pet-friendly and provides a nonsmoking environment. Inside look: “Our motto is ‘where guests become friends,’” innkeeper Debra Bruckner says. “We offer the perfect atmosphere for a trail-riding vacation. We’re highly regarded for our agritourism facilities and environment.”

HOBO’S HIDEOUT BED, BREAKFAST & BARN Mancos, Colorado You are here: Hobo’s Hideout (hoboshideoutbbb.com) is located on Mountain Shadows Tennessee Walking Horse Farm in Colorado’s Four Corners region, just minutes away from Mesa Verde National Park. For you: You’ll stay in a 740-square foot, one-bedroom apartment with a private entrance, master bedroom, a queen futon in the great room, private bathroom, wood-burning stove, January 2018 / 51


full-service kitchenette, and breakfast bar. A freshly cooked breakfast is served every morning. You may also stay in your living-quarters trailer. For your horse: Seven barn stalls, three with walkouts, are available in the Mountain Shadows show barn; plus, there are two turnout corrals where your equine friend can frolic. Shavings and hay are free with stall rental. On the trail: San Juan National Forest offers miles of scenic trails, from high-desert to mountain terrain. (For more about Hobo’s Hideout and riding in San Juan National Forest, visit HorseandRider.com.) Why you’ll love it: You’ll enjoy fresh, homemade breakfasts from the farm’s home-raised livestock and poultry. Hobo’s Hideout is also pet-friendly. Inside look: “We are tiny, so there’s no crowding,” innkeeper Dimitri Schlotter notes. “We have great views, and it’s an easy venue. I tailor food for all sorts of allergies.”

RANCHO MILAGRO Elgin, Arizona You are here: Rancho Milagro (rancho milagrobnb.com) is located at 5,000 feet elevation in the middle of southern Arizona’s Sonoita Elgin Wine Country. Open year-round. For you: The spacious, pueblo-style home offers three guest bedrooms decorated in Southwestern décor. Each room has a spa-type bath and access to the guest courtyard. For your horse: A stall in a three-horse in-and-out barn and a fenced corral are available to your traveling horse. On the trail: Adjacent trails wind through 50-plus acres of beautiful grasslands. Trails are also accessible in the nearby Mustang Mountains, Santa Rita Mountains, and the Canelo Hills. Why you’ll love it: Surrounded by mountains, the ranch is in a quiet, peaceful valley in Arizona’s Mountain Empire. Here, Old West culture is entwined with art galleries, wineries, and a healthy, wellness-based lifestyle. Inside look: “The peace and quiet; beautiful landscape; clear, starry nights; great sunsets, and access to the nearby wineries for wine tastings make 52 / HorseandRider.com

ABOVE AND RIGHT: The Tudor Rose Bed and Breakfast, situated in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains, offers a luxury stay for horse and rider.

Rancho Milagro very special,” notes innkeeper Renate Kloppinger-Todd.

SHARON’S HORSE HEAVEN Marienville, Pennsylvania You are here: Sharon’s Horse Heaven (horseheavenpa.com) is located in northwestern Pennsylvania’s Allegheny National Forest, in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. For you: You’ll stay in a two-bedroom cabin with cedar trim on top of a 100-year-old bank barn. The cabin features a full kitchen, gas grill, and private bathroom. For your horse: Your traveling equine friend may stay in a 10-by-11-foot box stall or a 28-by-40-foot grass paddock. A wash rack and water are provided. On the trails: Trails accessible from the farm include 30 miles of flat terrain, gentle slopes, and steeper hills. Just 10 miles away are four more horse-trail systems; terrain ranges from flat, wide-open trails with beautiful vistas and lakes to mountainous trails with switchbacks and stream crossings to challenging trails leading to a wide river crossing. Why you’ll love it: Unique features include safe, well-planned horse facilities, abundant green space, tranquil sur-

roundings, and uncrowded spaces. The bank barn makes for cool, breezy stalls. Inside look: “The aromatic cedar trim, large windows, 10-foot ceilings, and natural gas fireplace are some of the custom features,” innkeeper Sharon Perschke shares. “The customer’s horse lives just underneath in a stall, or right outside the window in the attached paddocks.” 

TERRITORIAL BED, BREAKFAST, & BARN Junction City, Oregon You are here: Territorial Bed, Breakfast, & Barn (horsesandwineandmore .blogspot.com) is a small facility


LEFT: The Mt. Emily Room at Oregon’s Willow Creek Horse B&B sleeps two. BELOWLEFT: Willow Creek’s peaceful grounds.

deck, grill, fire pit, and large backyard. A generous continental breakfast is served daily. Hookups are available for living-quarters trailers. For your horse: Your visiting horse may stay in 12-by-12-foot panel stall with shavings. Get him trail-ready in the indoor and outdoor arenas and round pen. A turnout is also available. On the trail: Ride in the mountains, along a river, or through the local forest. Why you’ll love it: Territorial provides a safe, attractive, clean environment for guests traveling with horses. Well-behaved pets are welcome upon approval for an extra fee. Inside look: “We are within 15 minutes of more than 10 wineries, and within 30 to 45 minutes to many more, as well as craft breweries, farmers’ markets, fine dining, and cultural activities,” innkeeper Mary Schoenheit says.

TUDOR ROSE located in Lane County, 17 miles from Eugene, in the heart of Oregon Wine Country. The B&B began as Synergy Stables, which focuses on smooth-gaited Paso Fino horses and natural horsemanship. For you: You’ll stay in a cozy 1950s’ style farmhouse. Two private bedrooms—each comfortable for two— have a shared bath. There’s also a shared living room, kitchen, and dining room. Outside, there’s a covered

Salida, Colorado You are here: The Tudor Rose Bed and Breakfast (thetudorrose.com) is a once-private estate that sits atop a ridge in the eastern Rocky Mountains, adjacent to Pike and San Isabel national forests. For you: Six distinctive guest rooms are offered; all have private baths. The upper-level rooms have magnificent mountain views. Luxury-style chalets are also available. Homemade breakfasts are served every morning.

For your horse: Your horse will overnight in a four-stall, lighted barn with 12-by-12-foot box stalls. Surrounding the barn is a 100-by-100-foot paddock area. Five fenced pastures are also available. On the trail: Ride among pinyon pines and juniper to a higher altitude where aspen and Ponderosa pine grow. Above the tree line are spectacular 150-mile views. Why you’ll love it: An expansive deck with a hot tub allows guests to savor the views of the Mosquito Mountain range and Arkansas River Canyon. Inside look: “Tudor Rose provides quiet privacy on 37 secluded acres and stunning mountain views, and it’s only 1½ miles to downtown Salida,” innkeeper Jon Terrell notes.

WILLOW CREEK HORSE B&B Summerville, Oregon You are here: Willow Creek Horse B&B (willowcreekhorsebnb.com) is located in eastern Oregon, near the Blue Mountains. For you: The Willow Creek home features four guest rooms. Breakfast often features fresh, in-season foods from local farmers’ markets. There are also hookups for living-quarters trailers. For your horse: Equine guests have access to loafing sheds and separated large pens. The horse spaces can be configured to accommodate your horse’s needs. All enclosures have safe fencing, water, and shelter. On the trail: Willow Creek is a short drive from a dozen trailheads and close to the Eagle Cap Wilderness. Why you’ll love it: Access to the alpine-like mountains of Oregon’s Eagle Cap Wilderness make this cozy B&B a gem. Well-behaved dogs are welcome. Inside look: “Willow Creek is special because it’s small and personal,” innkeeper Lyndall Schick points out. “If you’re a mature rider and prefer to take a hot shower and sleep in a real bed after a day’s ride, here’s the place.”  January 2018 / 53


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syni'lrome, f.orego tlie gimlT\icks. Treatment requires-patience¡and a step-by-step approach, guided by your veterinarian's advice.

54 I HorseandRider.com

PHOTO BY MALLORY BEIN BORN


The Facts of Headshaking Learn what we really know about this complex, confusing, and often frustrating condition. BY BARB CRABBE, DVM

W

ILMA IS A SWEET, sensitive, and generally well-behaved 14-year-old Quarter Horse mare. So when she started tossing her head, her owner turned to the Internet for advice. She was especially excited when she found a Web site offering a quick-fix. When that didn’t work, she contacted an animal communicator. But poor Wilma just kept right on shaking her head. Wilma’s owner finally called the vet. “Wilma flips her head up and down, snorts, and sometimes acts like an insect is flying up her nose,” she explained. “On occasion, she even strikes at her nose with her front leg.” With the help of her vet, Wilma’s owner found an explanation for her horse’s symptoms: they’re the classic signs of idiopathic headshaking syndrome. In spite of years of research, idiopathic headshaking syndrome remains one of the most mysterious conditions that can impact your horse. As with any medical problem that’s confusing to diagnose and difficult to treat, a suspicion that your horse has headshaking syn-

January 2018 / 55


drome is likely to generate all kinds of untested theories, questionable suggestions, and questionable treatment recommendations. Here I’ll answer five common questions about this condition, discuss treatment options, and describe a promising new treatment for the condition.

GUIDE TO RECOMMENDED TREATMENTS The key to successfully managing your horse’s headshaking syndrome requires patience and a step-by-step approach. Experts agree it’s generally best to start with a single treatment and stick with it long enough to determine whether it’s really working. Keep a calendar or a journal to track your horse’s progress. The most common treatments fall into three categories: physical, nutritional, and medicinal.

What does it look like? The facts: The most common sign of this condition (reported in 89 percent of affected horses) is frequent, sometimes-violent shaking of the head in a vertical (up-and-down) direction. In fact, 88 percent of headshakers are described as “acting like an insect is flying up the nose,” while 75 percent rub their muzzles on objects such as their own front legs. Other, less common, signs include excessive snorting or striking at the nose and seeking shade in unusual ways, such as standing with their head inside a barrel or large bucket. About half the horses with this problem experience worse symptoms during exercise. If you’ve ever seen a textbook headshaker, you won’t forget it. And there’s a good chance you’ll recognize the symptoms if you ever see them again. The hard part: To an untrained eye, every case of headshaking can look a little different. Possible causes include dental issues, ear problems, or simply bad behavior. Even normal, well-mannered horses shake their heads from time to time. To complicate matters, some headshakers exhibit symptoms more often during exercise; most (but not all) are seasonally affected; and some are worse in bright sunlight, while sunlight won’t affect others at all. These variables can make diagnosing the condition difficult.

Who’s affected? The facts: Headshaking syndrome can impact any horse at any age, but the average age of onset is 9 years. Geldings are more commonly affected than mares. Thoroughbreds are the most commonly affected breed, followed by Quarter Horses and 56 / HorseandRider.com

PHYSICAL Control light exposure. If your horse’s headshaking is triggered by daylight, keep him in during the day, and turn him out at night. Ride in an indoor arena, or outfit him in a UV-blocking mask to reduce light exposure. Weight loss. If your horse is overweight, a weight-control program is a reasonable step to take. The incidence of headshaking is higher in obese horses. Try a nose net. As many as 75 percent of owners have reported improvement with use of a nose net. This device dangles over your horse’s nostrils and muzzle to stimulate the nerve to send an “up” impulse, which then prevents the nerve from sending the “out” impulses that can lead to symptoms. Nose nets are most effective in horses where exercise is a trigger; they can be worn during work. SUPPLEMENTS OR OVER-THE-COUNTER MEDICATIONS Magnesium. This electrolyte can have a calming effect and may help reduce hypersensitivity of the trigeminal nerve. To be effective, you may have to give it at a higher-than-normal dose, so it can be dangerous. Consult with your veterinarian on dosage, as monitoring magnesium levels in the blood might be recommended. Melatonin. Melatonin adjusts your horse’s internal clock and can be helpful if your horse is a seasonal headshaker with symptoms starting every spring. It should be administered every night at 5 p.m., year-round, to be most effective. Antihistamines. Over-the-counter antihistamines such as Benadryl or Zyrtec are often suggested, but rarely effective for treating headshaking syndrome. PRESCRIPTION MEDICATIONS Cyproheptadine. This antihistamine can also be used as an antidepressant in humans. How it helps with headshaking is unclear, but cyproheptadine reduces symptoms in as many as 70 percent of affected horses, making it one of the most commonly prescribed medications. Carbamazepine. This anti-seizure medication is used to treat nerve pain in humans. Some experts report that it’s also effective in a large percentage of headshaking horses. It can be prescribed alone or in combination with cyproheptadine. Dexamethasone. This corticosteroid is a commonly suggested treatment, yet studies have shown very limited effectiveness.

Warmbloods. The syndrome appears to be more common in overweight horses and has been known to start after a layup period. The hard part: A specific cause has yet to be identified, making it impossible to predict whether your horse could become a headshaker or do anything to prevent it. Considering that a horse can start showing symp-

toms literally overnight, idiopathic headshaking can be the stuff of nightmares for a horse owner.

Why does it happen? The facts: Hypersensitivity of the trigeminal nerve is at the root of headshaking. The trigeminal (or fifth cranial) nerve consists of three branches (the ophthalmic, maxillary,


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and mandibular) and is responsible for facial sensation, as well as some biting and chewing functions. Nerve pain is typically described as burning, tingling, or like an electric shock, and can be quite severe. When your horse experiences these sensations in the trigeminal nerve, he responds by exhibiting the symptoms of head-tossing, sneezing, or rubbing his muzzle against his leg or other objects. Chances are your horse is experiencing severe pain, similar to a syndrome called trigeminal neuralgia in people often described as the most painful condition known. Recent studies have led researchers to conclude that there’s no structural abnormality underlying the hypersensitivity of the trigeminal nerve. Instead it’s believed to be a functional (physiologic) problem. The hard part: Why does it happen? That remains a mystery. A wide variety of triggers have been investigated—ranging from sunlight and exercise to hormones or a latent herpesvirus infection. In fact, some experts consider a sensitivity to sunlight (referred to as photic-headshaking) to be a subset of the syndrome, as some horses exhibit signs only during summer months, and symptoms can be controlled by providing protection against bright daylight. Exercise appears to trigger approximately 50 percent of cases. Other proposed triggers such as hormones or herpes infections haven’t been supported by results of research. We don’t know what causes headshaking syndrome, nor can we reliably identify potential triggers for the majority of horses.

How is it diagnosed? The facts: If your horse shows classic symptoms, your vet will make a presumptive diagnosis based on what he or she sees. Unfortunately, there’s no definitive test to diagnose the condition. You must rule out other issues, which requires a number of tests to eliminate other possible causes of headshaking before landing on trigeminal nerve pain as a final answer. 58 / HorseandRider.com

HOPE ON THE HORIZON Researchers have recently determined that the trigeminal nerve pain experienced by horses with headshaking syndrome is due to a functional (versus structural) abnormality. This means treatments that are focused on modulating nerve function have a reasonable chance of being effective. A recent study investigating the use of percutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (PENS) as a form of treatment has been promising. Six out of seven horses in the initial study showed significant improvement after treatment, and veterinarians using the treatment in practice are excited about its success. This treatment technique, commonly used for treating neuropathic pain in humans, involves application of an electric current through small needles placed near the trigeminal nerve for a period of time. Most acupuncture practitioners have PENS units available and can apply the treatment, which is noninvasive, inexpensive, and easy to administer. Even better, after the initial treatment, PENS can be used repeatedly on an as-needed basis to help minimize discomfort and control signs for your headshaking horse. If headshaking can’t be cured, at least it might be controlled with this new therapy to elevate your horse's comfort.

Your vet’s first step should be a thorough physical exam, including a close look at your horse’s mouth, teeth, and eyes. Simple causes for headshaking such as a grass awn in a horse’s nose are rare, but possible and easy to solve. Skull radiographs can rule out tooth problems or other bony abnormalities within the skull. Endoscopic examination of your horse’s nasal passage and upper airway can identify foreign objects or other abnormalities that could cause headshaking. A CT scan of your horse’s skull might be recommended to look for other unusual potential causes such as tumors that could impact the nerve. The hard part: Because there’s no test that can diagnose headshaking syndrome associated with trigeminal nerve pain with certainty, there’s no way you’ll ever have a completely definitive diagnosis of the condition. A diagnosis depends on ruling out other possible causes for headshaking, recognizing typical symptoms, and in some cases, a response to treatment.

Is it treatable? The facts: There’s no universally effective treatment for headshaking syndrome. And there’s no cure. There are, however, a wide variety of treat-

ment options, ranging from physical changes (e.g., avoiding triggers) to prescription medications that help control nerve pain. For a rundown of the most commonly recommended treatments, see “Guide to Recommended Treatments” on page 56. The hard part: No single treatment is effective all the time. One treatment might help one horse but not make a difference for another. To make things even more complicated, headshaking can be intermittent, and symptoms often disappear for periods of time (sometimes even years), making it hard to tell when a treatment is really working. Finally, while treatments might provide some relief and reduce symptoms, the condition is rarely (if ever) cured. Trial and error is about the only way you’ll find a treatment that’ll help your horse. This can make you desperate and open the door for untested and unreliable “miracle cures” you must be cautious about using. If you suspect your horse has headshaking syndrome, consult with your veterinarian for sound advice. He or she can guide you through the diagnostic steps and help you choose treatment options in an educated, conservative fashion with your horse’s best interests in mind. 


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PH. 805-995-1894 • 4055 VILLA CREEK ROAD CAYUCOS, CA 93430 January 2018 / 59


ALONE AT THE TOP Sandra Bentien is the consummate do-it-yourself non-pro reiner, from the breeding shed to the saddle.

By Megan Arszman

C

ompetitors all dream of winning on the big stage. For reiners, that’s often at the Jim Norick Arena in Oklahoma City during either the National Reining Horse Association Derby or Futurity. Riders and trainers fantasize about being crowned the NRHA Futurity Champion, the penultimate title. Breeders hope they’ve produced the next prospect to wear the roses. Owners dream of taking those roses home to their mantels. Rarely are all four of those people—rider, trainer, breeder, and owner—under one hat. But when you’re the ultimate do-it-yourself non-pro, the stars can align for that to occur, as they did for Sandra Bentien at the 2016 NRHA Futurity.

MAKE BELIEVE Sandra doesn’t remember a time when she wasn’t horse crazy—it was literally love at first sight when she saw her first horse at age 3. When she turned 5, her dad and grandfather brought home for her a black Shetland pony she named Thunder. “It was the best day of my life,” Sandra recalls. That memorable day spurred on a friendship that would mold Sandra into the horsewoman she is today. Sandra credits the tiny wonder with teaching her important lessons and filling empty spaces in her life. Thunder would run along home next to Sandra every day, and he’d be her partner in any make-believe play action—from cowboys

P H OTO BY WA LT EN BERRY

January 2018 / 61


A pony named Thunder (top photo, black pony) spurred Sandra's passion for all things horse. The fun-sized mount took her to the local barn where she watched more experienced riders. The girls inspired Sandra to save money to upgrade her mount and begin competing in open shows. She worked her way through her horse’s perceived shortcomings by reading books and watching how other riders worked with their horses. This all led to her big moments winning major National Reining Horse Association events aboard homebred and -trained mounts.

and Indians to playing horse show to being a famous racehorse and jockey. In what might’ve been a prelude to her future horse life, the precocious pony also taught Sandra about hard stops, most times dumping the young rider in the dirt. “I spent hours every day riding bareback with a huge imagination,” she says. “There was nothing we couldn’t do.” One of their usual excursions included a ride to the local boarding barn, where Sandra watched the “horse show girls” ride their trained Quarter Horses. “The girls were very 62 / HorseandRider.com

nice to me, and sometimes they’d lead me around on their big horses,” she recalls. “Eventually, they’d allow me to walk and jog. I was about 8 years old when one of them invited me to show her horse in a couple walk-jog classes at a local open show.” That day stoked the flames of her passion. After earning top-five finishes, Sandra wanted to show more, but her parents didn’t have the money for her to take lessons or get a fancy show horse. “So my show career amounted to pretending on Thunder,” she says. Over the next few years, Sandra’s

dad brought home horses that he got cheap or as a trade-in at his car dealership. She remembers none of them being well-trained, and some were even dangerous, so they didn’t stay long on the family farm. At one point, her dad told her that if she wanted a better horse, she’d need to sell Thunder. Sandra refused. “I rode that pony until my feet were practically dragging the ground,” Sandra laughs. “One day I rode up to my dad, who was with a

SMALL PHOTOS COURTESY OF SANDRA BENTIEN; LARGE PHOTO BY WALTENBERRY


bunch of his friends, and they started teasing my dad about not getting me a ‘big horse.’ My dad made me a deal—he’d match whatever I saved up to buy my own horse.” Sandra took on odd jobs to save up $400. True to his word, her father matched her total. She used the funds to purchase an 8-year-old black Quarter Horse gelding named 3L Rackum Bar (or “38” as they called him, after Sandra’s dad’s favorite gun). The former ranch and barrel horse was

quite the handful, but the 12-year-old equestrian was determined to make him a show horse. “At times, I thought the prancing and head-tossing horse would never make a show horse,” she recalls. “He wore my patience like none other. He wasn’t a confident horse and was always very nervous, but he was what I had, and I was a determined young girl.” Sandra read horse-training books, watched competitors in the warm-up

arena, listened to trainers talk among themselves and with their clients, and absorbed everything like a sponge. “I’d think about what was being done and how it may affect the horse, and then go home and apply it to 38,” she says. “Eventually a change began to occur in the horse, and he started to blossom into a show horse.” After that epiphany, the pair competed in showmanship, horsemanship, Western pleasure, English pleasure, and equitation, amassing January 2018 / 63


Even a solid do-it-herself rider knows her limits. Sandra recognizes that achieving her goals requires insight from professionals. She turns to NRHA Million Dollar Rider Casey Deary (near-left photo, tan hat) when a horse stumps her, and she stalls with the trainer at shows. Sandra’s efforts on her own lead her to have a close relationship with each horse she raises.

many ribbons and year-end awards at local open and AQHA shows. “He wasn’t a standout in any one event, but he was good in all of them,” she admits.

REALITY CHECK During this time a local trainer took Sandra under her wing, with Sandra working off her occasional lessons at the barn. After a lot of thought, Sandra traded in 38 for a yearling Quarter Horse filly named Jiggy Bar Jasmine. At just 15, Sandra started her first horse under saddle. “Starting a young horse was such an amazing confidence builder, and it was at this time I, myself, began to blossom,” she says. “I felt empowered teaching a horse and seeing the results. It was so exciting and rewarding for me.” The pair successfully competed in all-around events through the years, until life happened. After getting married young, Sandra became pregnant. To stay active in the horse-show world, she decided to sell Jasmine and purchase a halter mare. “It was a bit easier fitting a halter horse than riding and training one with a baby,” she says. After another successful endeavor, including trips to the AQHA Open and Amateur World Shows, Sandra and her family moved from their hometown in Lancaster, California, to follow her parents to Northern California. A friend was interested in her halter mare, so Sandra traded the halter horse for another mare. This one had been shown at the National Reined Cow Horse Association Snaffle Bit Futurity and was a good ranch-type horse, being a daughter of Dry Doc. “She gave me my first taste of what a horse with a bit of reining handle felt 64 / HorseandRider.com

like,” Sandra recalls. “I was hooked.” And then life happened again. Sandra and her husband divorced, and she found herself working two jobs as a single mom. After getting remarried, she knew it was time to get her first real reiner. In January 2001, she purchased a 4-year-old stallion named Custom Slider from trainer Steve Simon. “Slider set the bar high for my future in reining,” Sandra admits. “He taught me so much and was so patient with me. Since then, I’ve never looked back.”

SLIDING FORWARD As any horse lover knows, a horse’s athleticism and movement can be captivating. One of the best ways to see that poetry in motion is by watching reining, and that’s what drew Sandra to the sport. “I loved the precision and the

beauty of what a reining horse can do physically,” she says. “Being one that was always drawn to dressage and the relationship between the horse and rider, but not interested in riding English, it was natural for me to be drawn to reining.” While she considers most of her riding ability natural and self-taught, Sandra knew that to be successful in the increasingly competitive sport of reining she needed to seek outside help. While living in Northern California, Sandra took lessons from area professionals, gathering pieces of knowledge and sport-specific skills to apply to her horses herself. “I learned a lot, but I found that I enjoyed training my own horse too much to let someone else do it,” she admits. “It might’ve taken me longer to get things accomplished, but I formed an

PHOTOS COURTESY OF SANDRA BENTIEN


invaluable partnership with my horse and knew him inside and out.” The cost of full-time training was another reason the budget-minded competitor didn’t keep a horse in a show barn.

SPECIAL TIES Doing your own training means spending countless more hours in the saddle than just a ride at the trainer’s, but those are hours Sandra wouldn’t trade for anything. She relishes the knowledge that she encouraged and “owns” every button and every maneuver. “Training my own horse makes me a better rider, a better horseman, and a better person,” she says. “When something happens in that training arena

or the show pen, it’s my doing—good or bad.” She describes the bond she develops with each horse as “spiritual.” One such special tie is with her mare, Make It With A Twist. “I’ve had lots of special horses in my 43 years as a horse owner, but she took it to a whole new level,” Sandra says. “She made me look good and made me a trainer. She showed me what it was to feel pure, raw, natural ability.” Sandra purchased “Honey” with only a few months of green training. She credits the mare for teaching her that keeping a horse mentally and physically happy is just as important as getting one properly trained. Together the team amassed close to $120,000 in NRHA earnings; Honey’s foals are now increasing her produce records. Sandra considered Honey her once-

in-a-lifetime horse until lightning struck a second time with Honey’s son, Gotta Twist It Up. “He and I share the same bond that Honey and I have; it’s a pretty intense relationship. One that I cherish and hope that everyone gets to experience.” Together Sandra and her homebred stallion have earned more than $85,000, including a tie for the NRHA Derby Non-Pro Level 4 Reserve Championship in 2017. The year before, she and “Ace” were also named the Level 3 and 2 NRHA Non-Pro Futurity Champions.

KNOWING HER LIMITS While Sandra is an old pro at being a DIY non-pro, she knows there are limits to her capabilities and reasons why January 2018 / 65


DIY Non-Pro Show Tips Sandra Bentien has traveled across the United States showing at AQHA and NRHA shows, mostly on her own or while stalling with a professional. Even if she’s with a group, she’s responsible for everything she and her horse need to be successful that weekend. “If you’re planning for a show or event, be prepared,” she advises. Here’s her prep list. • Be prepared to arrive early or at least on time. • Prior to the event, make a list of everything you’ll need. • If you’re stabling overnight, order your shavings ahead of time so they’re at your stalls when you arrive. • Have enough feed with you, or have it delivered early as well. • Know the warm-up and show schedules. • At the show, don’t override your horse. You want him happy to load in the trailer, so make the show less work and more fun. • Learn how your horse likes to be prepared to show. Is he the kind that needs to be longed and allowed to play before getting saddled? Does he need to be worked until he’s a little tired, then taken back to his stall to drink and urinate? If might take multiple classes and shows to know what your horse likes to perform his best, but it’s worth the time and trouble.

there are professionals in her field. This came in handy when Sandra suffered a serious knee injury a few years ago and couldn’t start Honey’s babies. She sent two colts to a friend to just be ridden and get exposed to the world. “I don’t like to start my young horses right off with reining maneuvers,” she explains. “I want them to get confidence going forward and staying between the reins. With these horses being bred to spin and slide, that usually just comes on naturally as you get one broke.” Then there are times when an extra pair of eyes and a different way of 66 / HorseandRider.com

thinking is most beneficial. That’s why Sandra hauls to a trainer for lessons. “Sometimes I just needed another set of eyes to tell me what I was feeling, and other times the professional who I sought help from needed to get on my horse and help me out,” she says. “I’ve even been in my arena and have made a phone call to get help over the phone.” Trainers are supportive of Sandra and her efforts. She worked with Joe Schmidt in Northern California, and now she works with NRHA Million Dollar Rider Casey Deary in Texas, where she currently lives. “When I’d travel to larger NRHA shows where the top-20 trainers were, I’d pick their brains and ask for advice,” she says. She met Casey at the High Roller Reining Classic in Las Vegas in 2015, and it was Casey whom Sandra worked with to prepare Ace for the 2016 NRHA Futurity. “Now that we’ve moved to Texas, I continue to go over and ride at Casey’s, and I’ll stall with him and his customers at the shows,” she says. “I’m not one who needs my hand held, but I like to have a support team and that other set of eyes.” Of all the things Sandra has learned in her years as a DIY rider, one of the most important is to understand what you can and can’t do on your own. She recommends seeking help from professionals or others who’ve had more success than you and not to be afraid of taking different pieces of advice and seeing what works for you. And know your horse. “I can’t stress the importance of knowing your horse like you know your child, spouse, or best friend,” she urges. “Know his body and his behavior, know what his eating, drinking, and stall habits are like, and more. If I sense that my horse is having a bad day, I may just longe him or go for a trail ride or just turn him out.” For Sandra, she knows she rides a fine line between friend and teacher with her horses, being the owner and trainer. “My horses are very special to me, and at times are big pets,” she admits. “But, I also demand respect.

Lifelong Cheerleaders While Sandra Bentien is a total DIY non-pro, she knows she can’t do it without the support and love of those around her. Her father and grandfather helped make her first dream come true, with the gift of Thunder the pony. And with every horse, her father was there, cheering her all along the way. Sandra lost her dad in March 2016. “I felt like I lost my biggest cheerleader,” she admits. “My dad was always so excited to hear about my shows, watch my videos, and look at pictures.” When Sandra competed in the 2016 NRHA Non-Pro Futurity Finals aboard Gotta Twist It Up, she felt as though he was riding every stop and every spin with her. “I really felt like my dad was watching and cheering me on,” she says. “He was so excited for me to get to show [a horse] I bred and raised myself. That night was the product of a long goal and dream. It was one of my most cherished and sweetest victories, although it was highly emotional, too.” Now Sandra’s mother is battling an aggressive cancer, and Sandra is working to make the most of each day she has with her mom. “You realize that there are no guarantees in life,” Sandra says. “Her example of strength, positive attitude, and determination are a big influence on me. As long as I do my best and have fun doing it, then I know I’ll have no regrets.”

I’m always aware of a horse’s true nature. While at times it may look like I let them cuddle with me and even be pushy, at any given moment I can take charge, and they respect me and my space. A horse has to earn that right, though, too. That all starts from the time they are born.” It might mean more hours and maybe more tears, but for Sandra it’s all worth it. 


A smooth, controlled speed transition where your horse extends his reach as he builds speed will score you more points in the pen than a rushed transition that results in quick, choppy steps.

68 / HorseandRider.com


Ace Speed Transitions Don’t let an increase or decrease in speed at the lope put you in the penalty box. Learn how to prepare your horse for these transitions at home so you can show mastery of them when it counts. BY TREVOR DARE, WITH NICHOLE CHIRICO PHOTOS BY NICHOLE CHIRICO

A

well-executed speed transition looks effortless in the show pen, but in reality requires great effort. It’s a tricky maneuver that can easily put you in the penalty box if you’re not riding each step of the way. Transitioning from fast to slow or slow to fast at the lope requires you to use your legs, seat, and hands together as one unit to keep your horse collected and in the bridle as you shut down or speed up. If you’re out of sync with your horse during a speed transition, you risk swapping leads, stopping, or breaking gait—all of which are penalties in the show arena. In competition, you’ll see required speed transitions in classes like the reining, ranch riding, and horsemanship. Outside the show pen, working on speed transitions allows you to build confidence as a rider and improves your ability to handle your horse at any gait or speed. I’ll talk about how to prepare your horse at home for fast-to-slow, and slow-to-fast lope transitions, and in turn increase your score the next time you perform a pattern that involves an increase or decrease in speed. →

January 2018 / 69


LEFT: As I ask for more speed, I look ahead and plan where I want my circle to be. I keep both legs on my horse at all times to help guide him throughout the circle. RIGHT: Here I’ve asked for my horse to slow down. I’ve released my inside (right) leg, and slowed the rhythm in my seat. When my horse doesn’t slow down, I follow through with my hands until he’s at the correct speed. OPPOSITE: Once my horse is comfortable speeding up and slowing down two-handed, I’ll test him to see how he does riding in one hand.

Leg Before Hand In a class like reining or horsemanship, you want your hand cues to be subtle and almost unnoticeable. To handle the required transitions, your horse first must willingly guide on your path. As you ride, look ahead and imagine there’s a circle drawn in the dirt to help you find and stay on your path. Hug your legs to your horse’s sides to guide him and keep him on your desired path. (Note: This doesn’t mean you need to use your spur at all times.) Use your hands as extra guide reinforcement when needed. If your horse drifts to the outside of your circle, apply more outside leg to push him back in. If he doesn’t understand what you’re asking or isn’t listening, reinforce your correction with your hand, using your leg and hand together to guide him back to the acceptable spot. This also applies if your horse drops his body into your circle. Keep both legs on your horse, and use more pressure with your inside foot to stop his shoulder from dropping in, get him to stand back up, and steer him back onto your circle. If that doesn’t work, go to your hand and use your inside rein to emphasize the correction. Once you make your correction, go back to riding with light contact in your hand, and continue to ride with your feet. You want your horse to be comfortable carrying himself without you constantly holding his face.

Build Speed If you’re new to building speed at the lope, start with two hands, and ride in 70 / HorseandRider.com

a bridle that you’re both comfortable working in. You need your horse to stay relaxed as you ask for an increase in speed. Split your arena in half and ride on one end of the arena to give yourself a large, even circle to work on. The center of your arena will be one end of your circle. In the reining, the center of the arena is the area of your circle where you’ll transition in speed and circle size. Start by loping on your circle. Once your horse is in good frame and stays collected, ask for a gradual build of speed by pushing your horse forward with your feet. You don’t want to go from zero to 100 in one stride and lose control of your horse. Instead, focus on a smooth, controlled transition that allows your horse to keep cadence in his lope and extend his reach as he builds, rather than have quick, choppy lope strides. If your horse is new to this speed, stay on your circle, and continue riding him until he’s comfortable going forward and relaxes into the bridle. It may take a few practice sessions before he’s completely relaxed.

Shift Gears As your horse becomes comfortable going forward, start incorporating your slow down into practice. Think of this transition as a downshift to a

slower speed; you want to shift gears to help you naturally slow down rather than pull an emergency brake and get a fast, jerky transition. Downshifting is a good way to build confidence in your horse’s ability to ace this maneuver and gradually build his ability to slow down in fewer strides once he gets comfortable. When you downshift, your horse is going to stay relaxed and keep cadence in his lope, and it’s also going to help you stay in control of your horse’s body so you can successfully complete the next part of your pattern. Keep light pressure in your hand, and release your inside leg slowly, as you begin to downshift. Leave your outside leg on your horse so he continues to lope on the correct lead; if you release both legs from your horse at the same time, he may think you’re asking him to stop. As you release that inside leg, sit deeper in your seat and slow the rhythm in your body to encourage a gradual transition. Plan ahead so you’ve completed your slow down by the time you hit your intended mark. For example, during a reining pattern you want to be shut down when you hit the center of the arena to begin your small circle. This means you want to give yourself at least five or six strides ahead of time to downshift to your regular lope.


Once you’ve mastered shifting gears with your horse, it’s time to increase difficulty in your slow-down. You can start asking for a quicker slow down to hit your required mark, and know that your horse has the confidence to handle that quicker cue without losing position or breaking gait.

Teach the Slow-Down For a majority of horses, it’s easier to ask for an increase in speed than it is to slow them back down. If you haven’t worked on this transition before, you’re going to have to teach your horse that when you release your inside leg he should gradually slow down to his regular lope.

Start by riding in two hands at a forward lope; ask your horse to come back to a regular lope by releasing your inside leg, while keeping your outside leg on him, and slow the rhythm in your seat. If he doesn’t start to slow down from your leg and seat cue, go to your hands and bring him back to the speed you want. Once he has slowed, release your hands, and continue at a regular lope so he understands that’s the speed he should be going. The next time you ask for a decrease in speed, release your leg and test your horse. If he doesn’t respond, you can once again follow through with your hand cue to slow him down. If your horse completes the transition from

your leg and seat cue, either complete your ride or work on something else to let him know that was the correct answer. You don’t want to overwork this piece in one ride. As you continue to work on your transitions, you can gradually begin to ride one-handed and test your horse’s ability to go from fast to slow in one hand. If your horse is more sensitive to cues, he might be tight during a transition. This means he likes to slam on the brakes when you ask him to slow down. To prevent that from happening, push him up and keep a steady rhythm in his lope. The next time you ask for your transition, be prepared for a quick response. To avoid that, release your leg a little slower, and don’t sit quite as hard when you start to downshift. When you’re working with a horse that’s more sensitive to riding cues, stay quiet in your body. If you’re fast in your cue, you’re going to get a fast, jerky response from your horse. As you incorporate more speed transitions into your riding routine, switch up where you ask him to go forward or slow down. You don’t want your horse to associate one part of the arena as the area where he increases or decreases in speed. 

PRACTICE LIKE YOU SHOW You’ve warmed up your horse and he feels great. Then you go into the show arena and start pushing for a faster circle. As you hit the center of the arena you sit down hard and release both legs to slow your horse down, instead of having the “plus” slow-down you’ve worked so hard on at home, your horse swaps lead or stops. The easiest way to keep total control of your horse’s body, and stay out of the penalty

Trevor Dare, Purcell, Oklahoma, is the

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January 2018 / 71


Dad, Driver the

Larry Weatherford describes himself as his daughter’s driver—to shows, clinics, and competitions. But he’s much more than that when it comes to helping her chase her horse dreams. BY KATIE NAVARRA

PHOTOS BY JENNIFER PAULSON

“I’M JUST THE DRIVER,”

says Larry Weatherford, referring to hauling his daughter, Christina, and her horses to shows, competitions, lessons, and clinics all over Oklahoma. They even trekked 1,800 miles to Douglas, Wyoming, to the Powderhorn Ranch, site of their personal lesson and riding experience with clinician Ken McNabb. (See “Learning, Together” on page 74.) But Larry’s much more than a chauffeur. He’s the driving force in helping Christina achieve her horse-related goals.

Building a Horse Life Larry rode occasionally as a youth, spending weekends at the local stockyards hopeful he’d have a chance to catchride. The Boy Scouts provided the most riding time for the young horse lover, with a weeklong summer camp that included daily horseback riding. His family never had the means to own or keep horses, but riding was an activity he enjoyed, and he longed for a horse of his own. After high school, he attended the University of Oklahoma, joined the Air Force, and went to work in public affairs, which led to his current position with the United States Small Business Administration. Larry’s daughter picked up where Larry left off. When horses were the farthest things from Larry’s mind, it was clear Christina had caught the horse bug. The family’s neighbor Pete kept a few young horses and welcomed Christina for regular visits. Before long, she was pitching in with chores, including grooming horses and breaking ice from the livestock tanks in the middle of winter. → 72 / HorseandRider.com


A relationship rooted in their shared horse life brings father Larry Weatherford and daughter Christina closer together as she matures as a rider and Larry returns to a hobby of his youth.


After a year of unwavering dedication, Larry decided it was time to get Christina a horse of her own. Pete offered to keep the horse on his property. Larry reached out to a cousin who trains roping horses and asked for help finding the right starter horse, one that was safe, sound, and suitable for a beginner. The family was patient during an extended search for the right horse. Docs Miss Cupcake, “Cupcake,” was the perfect fit for the then-9-year-old rider. Cupcake was trained as a cutter and later became a broodmare. At 18 years old, she was calm and unflappable and still had enough spunk and energy to be competitive in the speed events Christina wanted to compete in. The pair began competing in barrels, poles, and stakes classes. What started as a backyard foray into horse ownership soon became much more. With a borrowed old trailer, the

family hit the road first with 4-H and then Foundation Quarter Horse shows. About five years ago, the family began leasing 40 acres of land, which is home to their small herd of four horses. During that time, Christina and Cupcake found success in speed events, winning buckles at Foundation Quarter Horse events and qualifying every year for 4-H State Fair. When arthritis slowed Cupcake, Christina was determined to train a horse herself, leading her to apply for the AQHA Young Horse Development Program. (See “A Knack for Winning” on page 75.)

LEARNING, TOGETHER When Larry received the call that his essay and video entries had earned him the grand prize in the Weaver Leather Win-a-Day with Ken McNabb contest, there was no question who his honored guest would be sitting horseback beside him: his daughter, Christina. “I didn’t really think we’d win [the day with Ken McNabb] and was so surprised when his entry was chosen,” Christina says. Unsure of what to expect from the experience, Larry wondered how much time he and Christina would actually spend with Ken. But once they arrived at the Powderhorn Ranch in Douglas, Wyoming, the prize exceeded his expectations. Ken spent an entire day watching and coaching the duo, spending six to seven hours in the saddle. It was father-daughter time like nothing else, set in an amazing landscape. The pair focused on softening exercises such as figure eights and circles, an area of development Larry says he and Bubba needed most. Ken’s friendly, calm instruction made it seem less like work and more like fun in the saddle with his daughter. After working in the arena, they hit the trail. Along the way, they pushed up cattle, something Christina had been excited to attempt on her young mare. The real-life working-ranch activities gave Christina firsthand experience with the skills she needs for working ranch horse events, the discipline she focuses on. The experience was everything Larry hoped it would be, with an opportunity for Christina to learn what she needed to work on and reaffirm the things she was doing right.

74 / HorseandRider.com

ABOVE: “I’ve spent treasured time with Christina on the road pulling a trailer, at shows, and on horseback,” Larry shares. RIGHT: Thanks to Weaver Leather, Larry and his daughter experienced personal instruction from clinician and cowboy Ken McNabb on the Powderhorn Ranch in Douglas, Wyoming.

Determination at the Core “Determination has been the common theme for my daughter and I from the time we began our horse adventure when she was 9,” Larry shares. “I’d not ridden horses since college when she took an interest in and began caring for our neighbor’s horses. Her determination to keep working with those two yearling horses made me determined to get her a horse she could ride.” “A lot of other kids get into horses because their parents ride,” Christina says. “It’s cool that my parents have supported my interest in horses” even without being highly accomplished riders. The Weatherford family has largely achieved their training and showing goals without a full-time trainer. They’ve sought advice from professionals on occasion, but have found that watching shows like Ken McNabb’s Discover the Horseman Within, reading how-to articles and books, and spending time in the saddle have been the most effective and budget-friendly approaches. Larry appreciates that AQHA’s Young


A KNACK FOR WINNING This experience isn’t the first to garner the Weatherford family attention. In 2015, Christina was one of 26 young horsemen and -women selected for the American Quarter Horse Association’s Young Horse Development Program. Christina received WWR Miss King Gist, a filly bred and donated by Wagon Wheel Ranch of Lometa, Texas, as a weanling. The program required the young riders to document their progress and participate in an in-hand class at a sanctioned AQHA show. In the three years Christina’s owned “Miss King,” she’s done all the training on her own, and her hard work has been rewarded. The pair has won two in-hand trail buckles and is competing in the AQHA Ranching Heritage events. Winning the ranching bred horse was also an opportunity for Christina to try new events. “The young horse development program promotes AQHA’s ranching heritage program and brings AQHA back to its roots with versatile ranch horses,” she explains. Today, she competes in a variety of ranch horse events including trail, reining, and ranch riding. Ranch trail is her favorite because it showcases a horse’s skills and calm temperament, two qualities critical for successful working ranch horses. “I also love it training-wise because working the obstacles gives my filly a break from reining and ranch riding practice and keeps her interested by giving her problems to solve,” Christina says. “And we’re always integrating new things into our routine.” In 2018, Christina plans to add cattle classes to their repertoire.

Horse Development Program allowed the family to get Christina a prospect without a significant investment, and Christina recognizes the sacrifices her parents have made to support her horse interests. “My parents give up a lot of travel and vacations so that I can show,” she shares. “I’m lucky that they’re so supportive.” At a time when most teenagers are engrossed in social media and school activities, parents can be saddled with the chore of carving out time to interact with their children. Larry has found that, through horses, spending time with his daughter happens naturally. “I think it’s important for parents to follow their kids’ interests,” Larry says. “I don’t have to say, ‘I need to spend time with my daughter.’ It happens naturally in between classes or driving somewhere. I’ve spent treasured time with Christina on the road pulling a trailer, at shows, and on horseback. I’m determined to spend every second with her while I can and some determined Quarter Horses have made that possible.”  January 2018 / 75


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Midwest Trail Ride.....www.midwesttrailride.com ................................................... 32 Win a Day.....www.horseandrider.com/win-a-day ...................................................... 10

5 Star Equine Products.....www.5starequine.com .................................................... 15 Back On Track ..... www.backontrackproducts.com ................................................ CV2 Booma Rein .......... www.boomarein.com ....................................................................... 2 Cashel Company.....www.cashelcompany.com ........................................................... 9 Dixie Midnight.....www.dixiemidnight.com ............................................................... 17 K&B Saddlery....... www.kbsaddlery.com .................................................................... 77 Phoenix Rising Saddles.....www.phoenixrisingsaddles.com ................................... 47 Saddle Up, LLC......www.trelesssaddle.com ............................................................... 77 Shorty’s Saddles & Tack.....www.timerlinesaddlecompany.com ............................. 77 Sports Saddle Incorporated.....www.sportssaddle.com .......................................... 12 Synergist Saddles.....www.synergistsaddles.com..................................................... 59

FEED

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Big Bale Buddy.....www.bigbalebuddy.com................................................................ 77 Manna Pro Corp .. ...www.mannapro.com................................................................... 29

Warwick Schiller Performance Horsemanship www.warwickschiller.com ............................................................................................ 47

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TRANSPORTATION

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ASSOCIATIONS Equine Land Conservation Resource.....www.elcr.org ..............................................79 US Equestrian .....www.usequestrian.org .....................................................................45 Walkaloosa Registry.....www.walkaloosaregistry.com ...............................................59

EVENTS

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WHERE TO RIDE GUIDE Cross County Trail Ride.....www.crosscountrytrailrides.com .................................. 76 Flying M Ranch ... www.flyingmtexas.com ................................................................. 76 Golden Acres Foxtrotter Ranch...www.goldenacresfoxtrotterranch.com ............. 76 Hay Creek Ranch.....www.haycreekranch.net ........................................................... 76 Valley Springs Foxtrotters/Brushy Creek Lodge www.brushycreeklodge.com ......................................................................................... 76 Wyoming High Country Trail Rides .......................................................................... 76

HORSE & RIDER VOLUME LVII, NUMBER 1 (ISSN 0018-5159/USPS 523-410) COPYRIGHT 2018, CRUZ BAY PUBLISHING, INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. PUBLISHED MONTHLY BY CRUZ BAY PUBLISHING, INC., AN ACTIVE INTEREST MEDIA COMPANY. THE KNOWN OFFICE OF PUBLICATION IS AT 5720 FLATIRON PARKWAY, BOULDER, CO 80301. PERIODICALS POSTAGE PAID AT BOULDER, CO. AND AT ADDITIONAL MAILING OFFICES. POSTMASTER: PLEASE SEND CHANGE OF ADDRESS TO HORSE & RIDER, SUBSCRIPTION SERVICE DEPT., P.O. BOX 420235, PALM COAST, FL 32142-0235. CANADA POST PUBLICATIONS MAIL AGREEMENT NO. 40612608, CANADIAN GST NUMBER 12345 2781 RT0001. CANADA RETURNS TO BE SENT TO BLEUCHIP INTERNATIONAL, P.O. BOX 25542, LONDON, ON N6C 6B2 CANADA. ONE YEAR (12 ISSUES) SUBSCRIPTION RATE: $24 UNITED STATES. THE CONTENTS OF THIS MAGAZINE MAY NOT BE REPRODUCED IN WHOLE OR IN PART WITHOUT CONSENT OF THE COPYRIGHT OWNER. OPINIONS EXPRESSED HEREIN ARE THOSE OF THE EXPERTS CONSULTED, AND DO NOT NECESSARILY REFLECT THE OPINIONS OF THE EDITORS OR POLICY OF HORSE & RIDER MAGAZINE. UNSOLICITED MANUSCRIPTS AND PHOTOGRAPHS ACCOMPANIED BY RETURN POSTAGE WILL BE HANDLED WITH CARE, BUT PUBLISHER IS NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR THEIR SAFETY. PLEASE ALLOW 3 MONTHS FOR REPLY. REPRINTS: CONTACT WRIGHTS REPRINTS TO PURCHASE QUALITY CUSTOM REPRINTS OR E-PRINTS OF ARTICLES APPEARING IN THIS PUBLICATION AT (877)652-5295 (281/419-5725 OUTSIDE THE U.S. AND CANADA)

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Classifieds APPAREL/ACCESSORIES

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TRAVEL/TOURS/VACATION Double Rafter Cattle Drive. 115 years of family tradition. Week-long, 50-mile trip. Compared to us City Slickers is a pony ride. See us at: www.doublerafter.com (800) 704-9268.

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(760) 546-1192 hr@aimclassifieds.com http://bit.ly/HorseRiderads January 2018 / 79


The

The

Collector:

Collection:

Becki Peterson Wilson, Wyoming

If you happen to drive through the alpine Western town of Wilson, Wyoming, don’t miss the collection of colorful cowboy boots pinned to a barn wall at Puzzleface Ranch. “All of these boots

80 / HorseandRider.com

were used by our students over the years,” explains ranch hand Becki Peterson, a cow horse competitor who teaches riding fundamentals to locals and tourists alike. “As they grew out of them, on

the wall they went for future kids to use.” The wall, now a town icon, sports about 70 pairs of flashy footwear: “Ariat, Ferrini, Lucchese, Corral—a little bit of everything,” Peterson

notes. “Some are as old as 25 years.” And if these boots could talk, what would they say? “This is what’s left of the students who didn’t listen,” replies Peterson with a wink. 

PHOTO BY BECKI PETERSON

My Collection

SHARE YOUR COLLECTION! Send a high-resolution photo of your favorite Western items to HorseandRider@aimmedia.com.


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Horse & Rider - January 2018  
Horse & Rider - January 2018  
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