Arabian Horse Show Michigan State University
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• Horses Magazine has no liability for content, representations in advertisements, and articles may not express the opinion of the editors/publishers/owners. It is the buyer’s sole responsibility to clarify any and all advertising representations. We cannot be held responsible for any representations concerning a horse’s health, eye status, disposition, gait or any other aspect of the horse. Any burden of proof rests solely on the advertisers. • Horses Magazine reserves the right to edit or refuse any advertising or articles submitted for publication. We do not assume any liability for errors, but will correct it in next issue or a credit will be negotiated. Designs by Horses Magazine are the property of Horses Magazine. • Articles, editorials opinions in Horses Magazine do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the staff of Horses Magzine or the publishers. • Address changes must be sent in 6 weeks in advance, magazines are not forwarded by the U.S. Post Office. • Copyright 2017 by Jim Hargrove Creative, Inc. All or part of Horses Magazine, including logos, cannot be reprinted without permission. • Horses Magazine is published twelve times a year by Jim Hargrove Creative, Inc., 2730 Lansing Rd., Bancroft, MI 48414
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The Brands You Know & Love
Always at Your Favorite Tack & Feed Store
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Horses Calendar JULY 28-30
NMQHA HORSE SHOW
Midland County Fairgrounds, Midland, MI, www.miquarterhorse.com
Would you like your event included in the next Horses Magazine and on our web site for no charge? Just send your information to jim@ horsesmagazine.com
AUGUST 25-27, 2017
MSU Pavilion, East Lansing, MI, www.miquarterhorse.com
Mason County Fairgrounds, Ludington, MI, www.miquarterhorse.com
Reining Michigan Inc., Midland Fairground, Midland, Michigan www.mrha.org SEPTEMBER 1-3
HENRY COUNTY FALL SHOW & IQHA FUTURITY
IQHA TOM WILSON MEMORIAL
Rochester, Indiana, www.iqha.com
Since shedules can change, be sure to confirm the event’s date, time and location before you travel!
New Castle, Indiana, www.iqha.com
MQHA BREEDERS FUTURITY & GREAT LAKES CLASSIC
IQHAA FALL SHOW
Henry County Saddle Club, New Castle, Indiana, www.iqha.com OCTOBER 3 - 29, 2017
ALL AMERICAN QUARTER HORSE CONGRESS
Ohio Expo Center, Columbus, Ohio www.quarterhorsecongress.com
IGHAA SUMMER FUN SHOW
Rochester, Indiana, www.iqha.com
AMERICAN SADDLEBRED HORSE ASSOCIATION FALL CHARITY HORSE SHOW
LISA TERRY I’m not coming out
until you get me a
what are you
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Since shedules can change, be sure to confirm the event’s date, time and location before you travel!
Would you like your event included in the next Horses Magazine and on our web site for no charge? Just send your information to jim@ horsesmagazine.com
Horses Calendar Would you like your event included in
Michigan State University Show Pavilion Email: email@example.com More Info: www.asham.org OCTOBER 27-29
ALL BREED YOUTH SHOW
MSU Pavilion, East Lansing, MI, www.miquarterhorse.com NOVEMBER 11-12
MQHA HARVEST CLASSIC
MSU Pavilion, East Lansing, MI, www.miquarterhorse.com
the next Horses Magazine and on our web site for no charge? Just send your information to firstname.lastname@example.org
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What’s Up With “Cowboy Dressage?” With Richard Winters Horsemanship I want to take a trip down memory lane and share a fun memory of a unique horse show experience. This is how I remember it to be: Last night I rode with over thirty other riders in the preliminary round of the Top Hand Competition. I know that I have qualified as one of the top 10 riders. We are now waiting to see who will make the top 5 cut and ride in the finals tomorrow night. I wasn’t judged on how far my horse slid or how fast he could spin. I don’t believe there was even one cow on the premises. This weekend, I’ve tried something brand-new, Cowboy Dressage. This horsemanship discipline is really taking off. At this show there will be over 900 individual goes with three arenas
continuously active for three days. Although this event has its roots in Classical Dressage it has evolved into something very specific unto itself. Its organizers would also want to clarify that this is not “Western dressage”. Cowboy Dressage has developed its own unique set of principles, guidelines, courts and tests. It’s been a huge learning experience for me and has challenged my own horsemanship skills. Below are just a few things that I’ve learned. It’s All About Transitions There were probably over twenty different transitions that I had to execute during my test. Transitioning from the working walk to the free walk, on to the working jog then the free jog, asking for the lope and back down again. And of course, all of these transitions had to happen at a very specific mark on the course.
Bending And Straightness Every circle was judged on how well the horses were bent and how consistently they traveled in the circle. Then aligning the horse’s body on straight-lines was also closely scrutinized. “Kind of, Sort of” just didn’t cut it. I really had to strive for perfection. Poles And Cones In many of the challenge tests, poles and cones were set up for the rider to navigate in different gaits. This was helpful in some ways in that it gave us a frame of reference of where to ride. In other ways, it was tricky to keep my horse riding correctly over polls that were spaced at different intervals. Callers Although it was important to be familiar with the particular test that I was riding,
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every rider was allowed a caller to announce the next maneuver in the test. Having a good caller, that stayed in the rhythm and flow of your ride was vital for success. It also relieves a lot of pressure of trying to memorize a test that can last up to seven or eight minutes. Should a rider go off course, a cowbell is rung and the judge helps the rider find a new starting point. This makes the event very rider-friendly. There’s only a small penalty for this happening twice but getting lost a third time is a dismissal. Bits And Headgear Unlike other disciplines, Cowboy Dressage allows you to ride a horse of any age in a Bosel, Snaffle or Leverage Bit. It is strictly the rider’s preference. You can also ride with a Leverage Bit using two-hands. However, if you
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start two-handed you must ride the entire test with two-hands. If you begin your test one-handed you must ride the whole test one-handed. Levels For Everyone This weekend I competed in the “Top Hand” Division. This perhaps was the most challenging and difficult test of the weekend. However, there are classes for every level of horse and rider. Youth classes, Novice classes, Amateur and Open classes. There were many classes offered for just those who wanted to walk and jog. Then many more that also included the lope and more challenging maneuvers. Cowboy Dressage Handshake This is an agreement that every rider makes: They will always put the horse’s welfare above any competition or goal. The show management insists, and enforces, that no equipment can be used, or training techniques implement, in the warm-up pen that would not be allowed in the show arena. Although almost every club and association talks about and attempts to put12:26 the welfare 2017.pdf 9 1/4/17 PM of the horse first, I have not seen any group
practice what they preach any better than Cowboy Dressage Soft Feel Although the technical aspects of each test are critical, there is also a more subtle area that is judged just as importantly. Riders are judged on the “soft feel” that they exhibit while executing each maneuver. That means; riding with light contact without over-flexing the horse. If a horse’s head and neck get too low, or a horse’s nose gets behind the vertical, penalty points are assessed. Without the soft feel that exemplifies harmony, balance and partnership, it is difficult to do well in Cowboy Dressage. Personally, I love the tradition, athleticism and discipline of the Reined Cow Horse. However, Cowboy Dressage has added a new dimension and challenge to my own horsemanship. This weekend I observed riders of many levels riding many different breeds of horses. The common denominator was that each rider was trying to ride with more finesse, feel and accuracy. This is the first Cowboy Dressage show that I have ever attended and I think I can share
a pretty objective opinion. It appears to me that horses and riders are both winners in this deal. Cowboy Dressage is an opportunity for any rider, at any level, to bump up their horsemanship game and refine their skills. It’s also a place where each horse can step up to a higher level of performance without being compromised physically or mentally. Here’s the rest of the story: I did indeed make it back to compete in the top 5! We rode a mystery test and then had to switch horses with another top 5 contestant and re-ride the test. My horse Whiz secured the Championship win for a veteran Cowboy Dressage competitor, which was beautifully executed. Whiz and I placed fourth, which my wife assures me is more than respectable for my first endeavor with a brand new discipline, having entered the toughest class, at their year-end finals. I had fun this weekend and learned a lot. Hopefully I’ll get a chance to do it again. You can find out more by going to cowboydressageworld.com
STUDENTS IN GRADES 6-12: TAKE THE REINS AND JOIN THE IEA
“Team spirit and confidence! This has been a wonderful experience for all of us. Highly Recommended!” -Parent, Westborough, MA
“As a coach I feel incredibly lucky to work with an organization that offers young equestrians so many opportunities! Our riders have developed such a strong sense of sportsmanship and horsemanship because of the ideologies and practices of the IEA! -Coach, Chatham, VA
Riders in grades 6-12 can compete with teams in the Interscholastic Equestrian Association (IEA). School-age equestrians, with various levels of experience, compete in Hunt Seat and Western disciplines throughout the school year. Riders not only compete for individual points, but for their team as well.
Founded in 2002, the IEA has more than 13,500 riders on over 1,500 teams competing in hundreds of shows across the United States each year. For more information, please contact Jennifer Eaton, IEA Membership Coordinator, at 877-RIDE-IEA (877-743-3432) or Jenn@rideiea.org.
It’s fun and challenging – and there is no need for any rider to own a horse! The IEA is available to public or private schools and barn teams. Horses are provided to each rider at every event. All mounts are selected by a draw. Parents like that the IEA provides an affordable format for their child as he/she builds riding skills. Many of our riders receive scholarships based on their performance throughout their IEA years.
A N N I V E R S A R Y
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Dan James Returns to Road to the Horse He’s no stranger to Road to the Horse. The crew loves him, the fans love him, let’s just be honest, everyone loves the charismatic Australian horseman, Dan James! Since his very first appearance at Road to the Horse 2012, fans have had a front row seat to the colorful life of Dan James and his beloved grey 6666 Ranch bred gelding, fondly known as Swampy.
horse. James first traveled to Hokkaido, Japan, then to Celina, Texas, working for cutting horse trainer, Punk Carter.
Dan James will join the Road to the Horse 2018 line-up with Kiwi sensation Vicki Wilson, who will return to defend the title she courageously captured in 2017. International showjumper Vicki Wilson, was not only the first cowgirl to capture a Road to the Horse title from her homeland of New Zealand, she was also the first competitor from an English discipline.
After winning his Road to the Horse World Championship title in 2012, as one half of Team Australia, James purchased his winning 6666 Ranch bred colt REMEMBER SUNSET and both have embarked on nothing short of an unbelievable journey. Thousands of horse lovers around the world have been left speechless by the unbelievable bond that has formed between Dan James and Swampy, obvious in their mesmerizing liberty demonstrations.
Road to the Horse 2018 tickets are available online at www. RoadtotheHorse.com or by calling 877772-5425. Follow Road to the Horse on Facebook for the latest information. For sponsorship opportunities at Road to the Horse 2018, contact Tammy Sronce at 940-859-6512 or email tammy@ roadtothehorse.com.
“For our Fifteenth Anniversary, we’re bringing fans the best of the best from around the globe” proudly states Road to the Horse Owner/Producer, Tootie Bland. “Road to the Horse has been privileged to witness Dan James grow as a horseman, husband and father, and as a past Road to the Horse World Champion, there’s no denying, Dan James is one of the greatest horseman of our time.” “I can’t wait to be a part of such a milestone at Road to the Horse and help kick off the 15th Anniversary celebrations” states Dan James. “Road to the Horse has always been such a special event for me and I couldn’t be more excited to return as a competitor in 2018.” Born in Queensland Australia on a small cattle farm, Dan James first began his lifelong passion with horses at six weeks old. The family milking goat would suffice until he got his first pony. Starting his first colt in his early teens sparked his hunger to understand more about the horse’s thinking patterns. After studying at Longreach Pastoral College, James began traveling the world to gain a better understanding of the
Double Dan Horsemanship at the Australian Equine Performance Center, based in Midway, Kentucky. James is joined by his wife, Elizabeth and new-born daughter, Isabella.
About Road to the Horse (March 23-25, 2018 - Lexington, Kentucky):
In 2008, James joined his good friend, Dan Steers, in Western Australia at El Caballo Spanish Horse Centre where they performed together each weekend in the ‘Dan and Dan Show’ developing their horsemanship techniques. In 2009, Steers and James relocated to New South Wales and Double Dan Horsemanship was born. After winning Road to the Horse 2012, James has continued to excel as a horseman, collecting multiple Kentucky Gold Cup and AQHA Congress Freestyle Reining Championships. Now based in the United States, Dan James continues to perform, teach and inspire horse lovers continuing the legacy of
A vision of Steven and Tootie Bland, Road to the Horse was created with passion and perseverance. Steven and Tootie were believers in a message they wanted to share with the world. The message: create a relationship which is based on a foundation of trust with the horse, and everything else can be accomplished. Fans at Road to the Horse, follow the journey and witness an accumulation of a lifetime of passion and knowledge be put to the test as elite clinicians from around the world face off for the coveted World Championship of Colt Starting title. Fans witness partnerships develop before their very eyes, they witness the setbacks and witness the triumphs, as competitors build a relationship with an untouched 3-year-old American Quarter Horse which will then be put to the ultimate test, where only one can walk away with the World Championship of Colt Starting title.
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Do You Have A Question?
Equine Law Topics Should You Buy a Horse Sight Unseen? People occasionally buy horses, sight unseen, based on an ad over the Internet or the recommendation of a friend. Many buyers are completely satisfied with their purchases. Unfortunately, some are not. Legal disputes sometimes follow from settings like these: The horse was represented to be of a certain height, but the horse was actually significantly shorter. The horse was represented to be “bombproof” or “kid safe,” but instead the buyer found the horse to be dangerous and insufficiently trained. The horse may have arrived unsound, and the buyer strongly suspected the problem pre-dated the purchase. In some instances, the buyer was convinced that the horse that came off the trailer was a completely different horse than the horse represented in an advertisement. Added to the complexity, the parties to these sales frequently have no sales contracts.
Get a drug screen. During the pre-purchase examination, prospective buyers should consider having the veterinarian arrange for a drug screen of the horse. Consider requesting the horse’s veterinary history. Buyers can always ask sellers to produce the horse’s veterinary records before making the purchase. If the seller is willing to do this, the sale contract can specify the names of the veterinarians who attended to the horse while the seller owned horse and that the seller has allowed release of the horse’s veterinary records. “As-is Contract Language.” Horse sellers sometimes include “as is” clauses in their contracts, through which the buyer agrees that he or she is buying the horse “as is.” As this blog has addressed in the past, these types of clauses may be enforceable but not for all claims. Consequently, buyers and sellers should confer with knowledgeable legal counsel regarding the scope of “as is” clauses before making assumptions on how they impact a party’s rights. CONCLUSION To avoid legal disputes involving horse sales, the parties can protect themselves by using carefully worded written sales agreements. Buyers, even if they cannot examine the horse in person, have numerous options to more fully evaluate the horse before agreeing to make the purchase. Careful advance planning could help avoid legal disputes later.
AVOIDING DISPUTES Legal disputes can be expensive. Here are some options for the parties to consider in an effort to avoid horse purchase disputes when the buyer does not physically examine the horse before making the purchase: Get it in writing. If the seller offered the buyer an opportunity to examine the horse in person before the sale, such as allowing the buyer a certain amount of time to hire a veterinarian of his or her choosing, the sales contract can reaffirm this. The contract can also specify whether the buyer has waived this option. If the buyer is relying on the seller’s promises regarding the horse, such as a promise that the horse has not been lame or ill, the buyer should insist on including these promises in the purchase agreement. Buyers who are denied opportunities to examine the horse before making the purchase should seriously consider whether to buy the horse. For buyers who cannot see the horse in person but want to buy the horse, consider hiring an independent professional to evaluate the horse. Buyers who cannot inspect the horse in person can nevertheless hire professionals to do the evaluation for them, such as a respected horse trainer and veterinarian. Technology also exists for these people to video rides and evaluations as they occur, allowing the potential buyer to see remotely how the horse behaves and ask questions while the inspections are in progress.
Julie Fershtman is one of the nation’s most experienced Equine Law practitioners. A Shareholder with the firm Foster Swift Collins & Smith, PC, based in Michigan, she has successfully tried equine cases before juries in 4 states. She has also drafted hundreds of equine industry contracts. She is a Fellow and officer of the American College of Equine Attorneys. Her speaking engagements on Equine Law span 28 states, and she is the author of three books on equine law issues. For more information, please visit www. fershtmanlaw.com, www.equinelawblog.com, and www.equinelaw.net.
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Arabian Horse Show Michigan State University July 29, 2017
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14 • HORSES MAGAZINE • August 2017 • Download and View FREE on-line at www.horsesmagazine.com
Arabian Horse Show Michigan State University July 29, 2017
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“The Spooky Horse” By Lynn Palm We are continuing our series on “training outside the box.” To review, we have discussed important steps to prepare for training on the trail, including reading the horse to recognize his inner energy level and working with him to release it, preparing the rider through warm up and stretching exercises, and building safety and confidence on the trail. We covered training tips for dealing with two of three common trail training issues: the horse that wants to always be in the lead and the horse that wants to run up from behind.
horse his head to let him study the obstacle and swing his head to see it with both his left and right eye. After he studies it and seems to ignore the obstacle, take a few steps toward it. Stop and let the horse study it again. When he appears to ignore it again, continue the process until you reach the spooky spot. Allow him to
When dealing with a spooky horse, go back to the routine we suggested in previous articles before to prepare him for his first trail ride. If he is spooky on a trail, it is better to work on overcoming spookiness issues there rather than moving on to a different trail. If he has been on a trail before and he has spooked or resisted, stop and figure out the reason why this happened. Was he reacting to something permanent that cannot be changed along the trail like a tree stump or a water crossing? Or did he spooked at something temporary, like a gush of wind, a grouse that flushed in front of him, or a sound in the bushes? If it was something permanent, to improve his training on the next ride get off his back and on the ground before reaching the object he spooked at. One key to controlling a spooky horse is that you must stop him before he decides to stop and spook. In this way you keep control so the horse can address the offending obstacle before he stops and spooks in fright. How do you do that? By being alert to the horse’s body language. Watch for these cues that tell you he is getting ready to spook. His ears are alert. His eyes get bigger. His breathing gets stronger. As soon as you hear stronger breathing than normal, this is the point where you want to stop and dismount. While on the ground be sure to give the
smell it. This will really give him confidence. Once he seems to accept it, the lesson is not over yet. He must learn to accept the obstacle when 1) it is behind him, and 2) when approaching it from the opposite direction. In the first situation the scary obstacle that he accepted and walked past is now behind him. Horses sometimes show more spookiness when an obstacle is behind him. This is because a horse is a flight animal. His reaction once he has passed a spooky spot may be to flee or overreact to spook away from it. In the second situation, a horse may be spooky approaching an obstacle he has already accepted when he comes at it from the opposite direction. This is because a horse sees things differently from each direction. If you get him accustomed to the scary obstacle coming at it only from one direction, when he approaches it from the opposite direction he may ignore it, spook with the same level of concern as before, or spook even worse. Be sure to accustom the horse to obstacles from both directions! As you start to leave spooky spot, such as
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walking past a scary stump, take a step or two and stop. Let him look and swing his head and let him look at the spot with each eye. If he moves and does not stand still, reposition him exactly where he was standing. Do not circle to reposition him. If he moves to the right, reposition him to the left. If he moves left, reposition him to the right. If he moves forward, back him and vice versa until he is positioned right back to where he was originally standing. This is very important to do to keep his respect and keep you in charge of the situation. Get him accustomed to approaching the scary spot from the opposite direction. Remember, when on the ground, be ready to use the “move away from me” commands. The horse’s first instinct will be to herd or get close to you. This is dangerous, and puts him in control of the situation. Do not let him move on top of you! Make him move away and respect your space as he learns to accept the obstacle. When you are between 15 to 20 feet away from the obstacle you can remount and move on to whatever you were doing prior to the spookiness. Continue with the same short segments if his spookiness returns. Take a few steps, stop, study the obstacle, etc. The more time you take time to let him study an obstacle, the shorter time it will take him to accept it. On the other hand, if you rush this process or force him, it will take you longer to get him to accept it. The way to handle spooky behavior while mounted is basically the same as on the ground. Stop before getting to the spooky object and allow the horse his head so he can see it with both eyes. Once he seems to ignore it, take a few steps towards it, stop, and let him look again. If he does not stop, but starts “dancing” around, reposition him to the exact point where you asked him to stop. Instead of using the “move away from me” command, use your seat, leg, and hand aids to put him back in position. If he goes to the right, use your
aids to make him come back to the left and vice versa. If he backs up, send him forward to the spot where you asked him to stop. What to do when a horse spooks? Turn him with the inside rein quickly and just as quickly loosen the outside rein. Keep him turning in as tight a circle as possible until you get control. Be very careful not to keep a tight outside rein. The horse may react to this by rearing. Do not pull on both reins either. The horse will only “run” through the reins. Don’t look down at whatever the horse is reacting to, instead look up and away from it. Hold the saddle horn with the same hand that is holding the outside rein. For example, if the horse spooks and moves to the left, quickly shorten the inside left rein to turn him tightly to the left while loosening the outside right rein held in the right hand. Look over your left shoulder as you turn him to the left. Grasp the saddle horn with the right hand. Keep the horse in as tight a circle or turn as possible until he submits to you and control is regained. Then go back and address the obstacle again. If you have a horse that tends to be spooky, go with a rider with a gentle horse who can give your horse confidence. Or teach your horse how to pony on a longe line next to a calmer horse that will give him confidence while he is training outside the box. Make a note that the next time you plan to go out on the trail, exercise the spooky horse by longeing him before riding more than may have been done prior to past rides. The goal should be not to get him tired out, but just to make him more humble to accept his new surroundings while on the trail. If possible make arrangements to out on the trail ride with another rider mounted on a quiet horse or try ponying your horse with a calmer partner. Repeat the same trail, but hike it before going out with your horse. Analyze spots where you may need to stop to allow him enough time to accept areas he might be unsure about. By doing this, you will be prepared to help your horse accept spooky obstacles while staying in control of the situation.
for the horse to be positive, too. 4. When riding away from the barn or trailer, make sure you and your horse are well exercised and warmed up. The horse should be walking quietly. Schedule “forward” work when going away from the barn or trailer. Forward work includes walk to trot, trot to lengthening trot, trot to canter, and yielding at the trot both to the left and right. The more often you change gaits, and speed within gaits (transitions), the more it will improve the horse’s concentration on you rather than being worried about the outside surroundings. 5. When coming back to the barn, trailer, or turning around on the trail to return “home,” do “slow down” work to keep his focus on you rather than mindlessly rushing back, and possibly discovering something to spook at. Slow down work includes slow trot to walk, walk to stop, yielding at the walk both right and left, stopping, turn on the haunches and forehand, mounting and dismounting. 6. Don’t get frustrated if a horse continues to spook over an object or situation. Some horses simply take longer to get over these issues than others. The longer it takes and the more patient you are, the more you are building a foundation for advancing his training outdoors. The key to solving the issue of a spooking horse is not allowing the horse to take charge of his rider. If he does, the horse is being allowed to go out on the trail prematurely. Both horse and rider need to go back to work in a big field or arena until they gain more confidence and skill together. Until then, follow your dreams… Lynn’s Training Tip… Remember… a horse knows what you are thinking. You have to be a positive rider to bring out the best in your horse!
Riders must understand that when a horse is taken into a new environment, his level of sensitivity and tendency to overreact will tend to increase. He is being placed in a new situation or being asked to do something he has never done before. Often riders who are surprised at their horse’s spooky reactions will say to me “my horse has never done this before.” Chances are that is exactly what is causing the spooky behavior. Because the horse has no experience with the situation, he becomes overly sensitive and reactive. It is the rider’s responsibility to anticipate that these situations may happen, and be prepared to handle them effectively. Your Next Step… Here are some tips for the rider when dealing with a spooky horse. 1. Don’t look down at the spooky areas. Always look over and beyond obstacles that could have the potential to spook your horse. Why? Because when you look down and have negative thoughts about the obstacle, the horse picks up these negative feelings. He knows what you are thinking. Give him positive thoughts instead. Say to yourself: “I am going over to the other side of this water crossing.” “I am going to keep my horse responding to my aids and commands.” Be confident and build your horse’s sense of security. 2. If you are hesitant about dealing with issues of spooking, or if you are inexperienced, trail ride in a western saddle. The security of a western saddle, with its easy-to-grab horn, will give you more confidence than an English saddle. 3. Take every negative or nervous thought and turn it around to a positive statement. It is important that the rider has positive thoughts
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Best Foot Forwar Stop Your Horse from Stumbling It’s normal for a horse to trip or stumble every once in a while. Just like us, sometimes they take a misstep, especially if the ground is rough or uneven. But if stumbling in the arena or on the trail is becoming a regular occurrence, your horse is in need of help. First, rule out any physical problems that could be making your horse trip such as poorly trimmed feet, soreness and lameness issues or EPM. (EPM, or Equine Protozoal Myeleoncephalitis, is a neurological disease that often causes horses to lose coordination and stumble.) Once you’ve done that, then the culprit of the problem usually lies in a lazy horse not paying attention. And like everything we do with our horses, the more you let them trip, the better they get at it, and soon it becomes an ingrained habit. Who’s Responsible? No matter what you’re doing with your horse, he’s responsible for his feet – where he places them and how fast he moves them. Stumbling is a sure sign that your horse is letting his mind wander and not concentrating on the task at hand. If he’s not paying attention, you’re going to give him a reason to. When he stumbles, immediately pick up on one rein, thump his belly with the heel of your boot or roll your spur up his side and bend him around in a circle, hustling his feet. Make it clear that he needs to wake up and pay attention. If he ignores your leg, spank his hindquarters with the end of your reins or a whip. When he’s moving with energy, is alert and focused on you, put him on a loose rein and go back to what you were doing. It’s important to put your horse on a loose rein so that you dare him to make a mistake. Get out of the habit of babysitting him and trying to micromanage his every step. Put him on a loose rein and let him commit to the mistake. If he trips again, repeat the same steps. Make the right
thing easy and the wrong thing difficult. As long as he’s paying attention to where he’s placing his feet, you’ll leave him alone. But if he chooses to get lazy and let his mind wander, you’ll wake him up and make him feel uncomfortable by hustling his feet. Keep Him Interested When a horse constantly stumbles, he’s basically telling you that he’s bored to death. Keep things interesting and challenge him by incorporating more variety into your lessons. You’ve heard me say time and again that consistency and repetition are keys to teaching your horse, and that’s certainly true. You can’t expect your horse to learn anything if you’re only working with him once a week. But you also have to be sure to add variety and keep things interesting for your horse. Remember that if you include too much variety the horse will never learn anything because he never gets to practice a lesson long enough to get good at it. But if you have too much consistency (you practice the same thing every single day) the horse will get bored and resentful. Set poles on the ground and ride your horse over them so that he has to think about where he’s placing his feet. Get out of the arena and ride him outside. Canter him down the road or around the pasture to free up his mind and get energy in his feet. Ride him over uneven terrain so that he really has to concentrate on where he’s placing his feet. I love working my horses over the obstacle course on my ranch because it allows me to work on exercises but offers a new challenge to the horses and keeps them on their toes. The more you can keep your horse guessing, the more attention he’ll pay to you, the more interested he’ll be in his work and the more fun you’ll both have. Don’t be Part of the Problem Stay balanced in the saddle. Constantly leaning from side to side or back and forth
can throw your horse off balance and make it harder for him to keep a steady pace without tripping. Don’t put your horse on autopilot and just forget about him. Give him a reason to pay attention to where he’s placing his feet – practice serpentines, sidepassing or two-tracking. Not only will you keep your horse engaged, but you’ll be suppling his five body parts as well. You can never
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get a horse too soft or supple. If you’re on a trail and going through rocky or rough terrain, give your horse his head and let him pick his way through. Horses use their necks to balance themselves, so having freerein will allow him to raise and lower his head and neck as he needs. For great ideas on how to train your horse
on the trail and keep him interested in his work, refer to my Correcting Problems on the Trail DVD series. Visit www.downunderhorsemanship.com to learn more. Author note: Clinton Anderson is a clinician, horse trainer and competitor. He’s dedicated his life to helping others realize their horsemanship dreams and keeping them inspired to achieve their goals. The Dow-
nunder Horsemanship Method gives horse owners the knowledge needed to become skilled horsemen and train their horses to be consistent and willing partners. Discover for yourself how Clinton and the Method can help you achieve your horsemanship dreams at www.downunderhorsemanship.com.
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Ride With The Best It’s been repeated by such great coaches as football’s Vince Lombardi and U.S. Olympic show jumping’s George Morris because it’s true: Practice doesn’t make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect. The perfect step to your personal best is to sign up before September 8 for the Ride With The Best Program at Equine Affaire Massachusetts, November 9-12, at the Eastern States Expo in West Springfield, MA. The Ride With The Best Program at Equine Affaire delivers an unparalleled opportunity for a select group of riders and horses to access individualized instruction from some of the world’s most proven horsemen and women over a four-day series of more than 50 clinics across a range of disciplines.
“This is an all-access pass to excellence,” said Coagi Long of Equine Affaire, Inc., confirming this year’s line-up includes national and world champions and Olympic, WEG and Pan American squad riders. Ride With The Best Program applicants can practice with such perfect representatives of their sport as Greg Best (hunter/jumper), Phillip Dutton (eventing), Craig Johnson (reining/ranch riding), Steffen Peters and Vitor Silva (dres-
sage), Barbara Schulte (cutting), Suzy Stafford (driving), Robin Gollehon (western pleasure), Liz Graves (easy gaited), Jeff Wilson (cowboy dressage), and overall horsemen Ken McNabb, Julie Goodnight, Van Hargis, Chris Irwin, Steve Lantvit, and Wendy Murdoch.
Under saddle, in-hand and at liberty, Equine Affaire learning opportunities like the Ride With The Best Program can match applicants with presenters seeking candidates who represent specific skills or challenges, as well as those seeking to build overall horseand-rider harmony. The experience is as economical as it is educational as expenses normally associated with traveling for just one specific clinic are invested in so much more at Equine Affaire: four days of equestrian education, entertainment and shopping. Ride With The Best Program fees start at just $75 and include clinic participation, event admission and 24 hours of on-site stabling. Applications are reviewed and selected based on written applications and videos. The perfect answer to practicing perfectly, the Ride With The Best Program and its world-class clinicians can help you and your horse add that plus to your reining test, im-
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prove your dressage or cones score, deliver a better round over fences, and strengthen your overall partnership in the arena and at home. Don’t miss the September 8 deadline to apply! Find details and the Ride With The Best application at equineaffaire.com. Click the Massachusetts event and follow the Participate link to Ride With The Best. Prefer a personal touch? Information packets and applications are available through Alison Scott, ascott@ equineaffaire.com or (740) 845-0085 ext. 105. Bookmark equineaffaire.com to follow Ride With The Best Program announcements and updates about Equine Affaire speakers, seminars and demonstrations. Equine Affaire will again bring 100’s of retailers (just in time for the holidays) with the largest horse-related trade show on the East Coast; plus its Fantasia musical/theatrical celebration of the horse – sponsored Thursday-Saturday nights by Absorbine®; an engaging and often handson Breed Pavilion; Horse & Farm Exhibits; Equine Fundamentals Forum; and the Friday-afternoon favorite, the Versatile Horse & Rider Competition. Find event schedules, ticket information, and discounts to Equine Affaire host hotels at equineaffaire.com.
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24 • HORSES MAGAZINE • August 2017 • Download and View FREE on-line at www.horsesmagazine.com