Great Lakes International 2016
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APRIL 6-9, 2017
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Fabulous Horses, Phenomenal Opportunities, Unforgettable Experiences... • Enjoy an unparalleled program of clinics, seminars and demos • Explore the largest horse-related Trade Show in North America • Discover dozens of breeds or horses and horses for sale in the Breed Pavilion, Horse & Farm Exhibits, and demonstrations • Experience the Fantasia—Equine Affaire’s signature musical celebration of the horse on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights sponsored by Absorbine® • Compete in the Versatile Horse & Rider Competition on Friday—Equine Affaire’s ultimate test of horsemanship with $5,500 at stake! • Ride in a clinic through our Ride With The Best Program • Consign and Shop for equine and equestrian items at The Marketplace—located this year in the Voinovich Livestock & Trade Center • Acquire basic horse and horsemanship expertise through demos, video presentations, interactive exhibits, and activities for new riders and horse owners of all ages at the Equine Fundamentals Forum • Ride a Horse for the first time! Equine Affaire is partnering with the American Horse Council’s Time to Ride program to give attendees the opportunity to ride a horse at the show. • Win one of several hefty cash prizes, gift cards to popular equine retailers, tickets to the event and other prizes in Equine Affaire’s Free Raffle. Enter online through April 15.
FEATURED CLINICIANS Guy McLean Julie Goodnight Brandi Lyons Sandi Simons
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© 2017 Equine Affaire, Inc.
Publisher Jim Hargrove Editor John Hawfield Advertising Sales Kristina Goulet and Colt Williams
• 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 2016 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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I’m not coming out
until you get me a
what are you
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Feeding the and Growin Part One, Pregnancy
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In the first four months the foal grows to approximately the size of a beagle but the placenta develops to its full size. Additional calorie requirements are low during this period but protein quantity and quality (with all essential amino acids) is critical. Mares receiving low quality protein are five times more likely to have low progesterone levels and early pregnancy loss.
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The minute the egg is fertilized, it begins dividing at a dazzling pace, going from 1 single cell to the approximately 100 trillion cells present in a newborn foal, each with a special purpose. All the raw materials for producing these cells and the organs and structures they form have to come from the diet. First and foremost: meet protein needs
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It’s a huge relief when your mare is confirmed in foal, but it’s no time to relax. The job now is building the best foal possible while keeping your mare healthy. Nutrition has a major impact on the health of both the mare and the developing foal. And it is something that is 100% within your power to control.
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For mares receiving a diet of both grain and hay, use a protein requirement of 1.8 x body weight in kilograms. If on hay or pasture only it is 2.2 x body weight in kilograms. This requires an 11% protein hay for a horse eating 2% of her body weight in hay daily. A good quality hay is the foundation of the diet. If hay protein is under 11%, you will be short 100 grams of protein per 10 kg of hay consumed (22 lbs) for every 1% below 11. You can supply this with about a pound of a 25% protein supplement. Use a
e Pregnant and Lactating Mare ng Foal high quality protein source such as milk/whey to guarantee good essential amino acid intake. Even if hay protein is adequate it is wise and inexpensive insurance to supplement key amino acids such as Lysine (10 grams) and Threonine (2 grams). Meeting mineral needs Even if the foal is only the size of a small dog, the minerals needed to create and grow that organism have to come from somewhere, and if not from supplements, then the mare’s body will break down its own reserves to provide them. For the first half of pregnancy, I recommend a minimum intake of 150% to 175% of maintenance requirements. Keep Ca:P at 1.2 to 1.5. Don’t forget salt, at least 3 tablespoons/day. Adequate salt is essential to preventing dehydration. Dehydration causes uterine irritability and increases the risk of colic and impaction. Vitamin needs While very important for all metabolically active tissues and dividing cells, there is currently no evidence of B Vitamin deficiencies during pregnancy. Supplementation is not harmful but likely not necessary either, as long as the mare is eating well and has no digestive issues. Mares with diarrhea or greatly decreased feed intake should be supplemented. Because of Vitamin C’s critical importance to connective tissue and joint cartilage formation, supplementation with 1000 to 5000 mg when not on pasture is reasonable.
Vitamin A supplementation of 30,000 IU/500 kg of body weight when hay is older than 6 months old is advisable. Mares with exposure to sunlight in the warmer months and cured hay in winter should have adequate vitamin D. Conservative supplementation of 300 IU/kg of diet can be considered for hays older than 6 to 12 months. Vitamin E’s influence on the immune system of pregnant animals has been recognized in other species for a long time but only recently confirmed in mares. Always supplement E unless the mare is on good pasture. 2 IU/lb of body weight is a good ratio. Don’t worry about over-feeding in early pregnancy Solid nutrition in early pregnancy is the best way to protect your investment. During the first part of the pregnancy, feed enough to meet protein needs and don’t worry about a few extra calories. Many mares drop their food consumption by 20% or more in late pregnancy. They can use energy reserves to see them through to foaling without excessive body condition loss.
If you know your mare will not eat enough forage to supply needs later in pregnancy, you should give some thought to how you will be increasing her intake of concentrates and start feeding small amounts in the first half of pregnancy to avoid digestive upset. Below are some ballpark figures for mineral supplementation based on common grass hay profiles. However, only an analysis of your own hay or pasture can be precise. For example, if feeding alfalfa you may not need any Calcium and if feeding plain grains, brans or small grain hays instead of balanced commercial feeds you may not need phosphorus. The amounts below are for an 1100 pound mare, nonpregnant weight. Calcium
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Late Pregnancy For the second half of pregnancy, we are looking at providing for the growth and development of a fetus growing from the size of a small dog to a 100 lb newborn foal. Consider this; if the mare is not provided the additional calories, vitamins, protein and minerals she needs to build this foal, she will take as much as she can from her own body. Muscle will break down to supply amino acids. Minerals will be leached from bone and liver stores. Vitamins will be partitioned between the fetus and the dam, with insufficiencies causing problems with tissue development and potential anemia and immune system weakness for both. As an example, Copper and Zinc deficiencies are very common worldwide. When the dam is deficient, she can’t provide what the growing fetus needs and only becomes more deficient herself when pregnant. Copper deficiency in mares has been linked to uterine artery rupture during foaling. In foals, Copper deficiency impairs their ability to heal OCD lesions. Other consequences include of coat 2017.pdf 9 “bleaching” 1/4/17 12:26 PM and black manes, anemia, poor hoof quality,
exaggerated inflammatory responses, tendon/ ligament issues and development of allergies.
Feeding for ultimate quality While it is very common to build the diet for a pregnant mare on fairly high grain feeding as above, it’s expensive and there is another way. Most people describe their feeding program in terms of their bagged feed. If you are feeding 5 lbs/day (roughly 5 quarts by volume) of a supplemented and balanced 14% protein feed, you are only providing roughly 35% of your mare’s late pregnancy protein and mineral needs if her pre-pregnancy weight was around 1100 lbs.
more than fill in the gaps in minerals but will still leave her short on protein, unless it is at least 11% protein. A good quality grass hay, with a calorie level of 0.9 Mcal/lb and 11% protein can support an 1100 lb mare through pregnancy at only 24 lbs/day even in the last month. Calorie needs are met and protein actually exceeds requirements. During pregnancy it’s very easy to unwittingly short change a horse on nutrition. However, inadequate nutrition for your pregnant and lactating mare and growing foal can have a major negative impact, and is completely preventable. Optimal nutrition offers major returns for very reasonable costs
If you add 1 lb/day of an at least 25% protein/mineral supplement she will be getting only about half of the protein she needs and only as much as 75% of minerals (depending on the product) from the combination of grain and protein/mineral supplement. This is a good start on minerals, but quite a way to go yet on protein. This mare will also be eating 10 to 15 pounds of hay, which should
STUDENTS IN GRADES 6-12: TAKE THE REINS AND JOIN THE IEA
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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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Staying Motivate An Amateurs Guide to Overcoming the Winter Doldrums By Kristina Goulet In continuing our conversation about goals, I was thinking that the New Year brings so much promise, so much excitement towards building better habits, reaching for our goals and maybe even trying new things. It seems too that everyone is so motivated around us it’s almost contagious. Then… February happens and only one month into it things already start to slow down. I don’t know about you all, but for my riding goals, especially here in the Midwest, the weather certainly has an influence. I’m lucky to be able to ride through the winter, with an indoor, but riding around in small circles gets a little monotonous for me and my little mare. It’s been a while since the last horse show or even nice weather trail ride (snuck one in right around Thanksgiving luckily), and it’s a while out yet for the new show season to start and for those trails to be rideable again. So what do we “up north” horse folk do to keep ourselves
and our horses in tip top shape for when the weather does break? I’m very fortunate to be able to have my main ride, the “show horse” at a training barn where there is an indoor arena. So we bundle up and keep riding, (minus a few of the really blustery days that is). I do still have my regularly scheduled lessons and then the “homework” that I have to practice, but I try to stick in a few fun things to do in between. Well, at least I think they’re fun. The mare might have other ideas, but she hasn’t given me the angry face yet! To break things up a bit, I’ve been trying to incorporate some obstacle and trail type things in my “fun” day rides. Even though I haven’t shown this horse in trail or versatility type stuff, it’s fun to incorporate some simple, easy, things that I can get a hold of and that are quick to set up and take down. The other day I set up some trot poles in the center of the arena. This simple exercise was fun and I could tell was so beneficial for me and my trusty steed, and guess what, I learned some things too. I learned that I had to use more leg to keep a good, steady rhythm over the pole without ticking them. I had to sit up nice and tall and keep my horse between my hand and leg aids and make sure to stand up her shoulders in order to come in straight and get out straight. My horse had to learn to pick up her feet and engage her hindquarters to hold herself up in frame and
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balance…. Wow, all of that and more from just 4 or 5 poles lying on the ground! And, the poles have nothing to do with reining, but, all of those other things sure do. Some other things I try to do is “nonreining” pattern work like serpentines or circling at the trot in the corners. I want to make sure I can steer and control the hind quarters and shoulders in any maneuver, not just my spins and circles and run downs. I’ve gotten a tiny bit better at this stuff and it sure does help in the show pen. A few other ideas would be things like walking over bridges, tarps, weaving through cones or barrels, dragging things like little logs or poles, even doing flag work like the cutters if you have access to one. Or, you can play with a friend and take turns one being the cow and one being the cutter, so much fun! So, my friends, whatever you do with your horses this winter, keep at it! Bundle up, get out there and have some fun. Keep working towards those goals we’ve been talking about, even if it’s with a fun little detour off your main goal path. Remember, every moment you spend with your horse is a training session, make it fun and enjoyable for both of you! See you next month for more of the Amateur’s Guide!
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How to Put Your Horse in Balance Through Proper Bending Part 3
In our last PPT Training Tips, “How to Put Your Horse in Balance Through Proper Bending – Part 2”, I reviewed what a correct bend of your horse’s body looks like, and the aids sequence used to ask your horse to bend correctly. I then introduced an exercise to help train your horse to bend correctly. I hope that you have enjoyed practicing this exercise at home and are gaining confidence with riding on curves and keeping your horse balanced! This is such an important step in improving your riding skills. In this week’s “How to Put Your Horse in Balance Through Proper Bending – Part 3”, I will review Exercise #1, and will discuss common problems that often arise from bending exercises such as this and how to correct them. I will also present a new exercise which builds on Exercise #1 and is more advanced for improving bending on either side. Your horse will love this exercise too as it follows the same consistent guidelines to stay balanced! This will help advance your horse’s suppleness, strength, responsiveness to your aids and balance! Review of Bending in Exercise #1
In this introductory exercise we set up a large circle that used cones as a guideline to ride the curve consistently with a proper bend. Common Problems Solutions Hips swinging out
Outside supporting leg, slightly behind
girth to support bend
Shoulder going out
Outside neck rein for horse to yield and
keep the shoulders on track
Head flexing too inward Outside open rein to straighten head Horse moves inward
Inside leg aid behind the girth to move the
horse outward and inside indirect (neck)
rein to yield the forehand outward
Most often problems with a horse’s performance, like the ones above, are due to rider error. In order for your horse to bend properly
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and be balanced on a curve both reins and both legs must be active for every stride. When you are able to control the bend at all times, including throughout upward and downward transitions, can stay in the middle of the track, and can stay balanced while changing direction, you are ready to progress to Exercise #2! Exercise #2 Part 1 - Begin with the same size circle that we used in Exercise #1 (eight sets of cones on a circle with a diameter of 70’ with one cone in the middle). Again, as a review on how to correctly measure your circle, start at the middle cone and walk large steps. Go 12 large steps and place a cone (approximately 36’) then walk two large steps and place a second cone (approximately 6’). This is your first quarter of the circle. Continue with the other three quarters of the circle. Finally, make sure your quarters line up with the other half of the circle. The difference with this exercise is that we will now add another degree of difficulty with poles on the ground. Start with one pole on your circle in the middle of one pair of your cones. Let’s begin by tracking to the right at a walk. Make sure you ride in the center of your pole. Continue this same exercise at the trot once you are comfortable at the walk. Your goal is to be able to feel any slight change of speed in your horse and to control that speed. If your speed increases, more than likely your horse is too far inward on the pole or cones. On the
other hand, if your speed decreases, more than likely your horse is too far outward. Maintain the correct body position over the pole as you would if the pole were not there. When you have mastered this exercise at the walk and trot, add another pole on the half circle, followed by a third pole on your quarter circle, then finally, the most advanced is four poles on the quarter circle. Do not attempt this exercise at the canter until you have absolute control of your horse’s bend and balance at the walk and trot. Once you are confident at the trot, pick up your canter from the trot. Of course, the same bending aids sequence at the trot applies to the canter. Control the bend through your upward transition! Your horse should maneuver smoothly through the circle, without hitting the poles or changing speed. If this happens, your horse is balanced and in total control! If your horse hits a pole, then your speed was not consistent. You have to concentrate and not let your eyes go downward at all to be able to feel a very slight difference in a change of speed. If your horse is going to change speed, it will usually take place a few strides before the pole. Your horse can change speed over or after the pole too. If you continuously control your horse’s bend and balance, you will have a much easier time controlling speed. When a horse is balanced, he maintains the same speed on his own! However, if the pole was hit with the front of the hoof of either the front or hind leg, the speed is usually too fast. If the pole is hit with the back of your horse’s heel or if your horse steps on the pole, the speed is usually too slow. Trust me, if you ride the center line consistently, then you will control speed too! Part 2 - To challenge both you and your horse, try this work on your transitions. You can put your cones closer together, or put three sets of cones in a row. Place the cones in a pair three feet apart, and each pair of cones three feet apart from one another, on a quarter of your circle. Do upward and downward transitions between these cones, to help keep your horse bending and balanced correctly. Practice this exercise in both directions, but remember not to work more than three circles in each direction. Acknowledge which side is more difficult for your horse and work more in that direction to strengthen muscle for a more even balance. Again, to change directions, change through the middle of any quarter of the circle and change to the opposite side of the circle. If you make sure you have time to get your horse straight and stay close to the center cone of the circle your change of direction will be balanced! Key Points As always, keep your horse from being bored! Change your poles on the circle for each lesson. If you have difficulty with two poles, go back to one on a circle. If you have difficulty with four poles, go back to three. Don’t drill your horse! Practice another skill or figure in between and then return to this exercise. To end the day, think of how it went and where you need to improve the bend or speed for your next lesson! Condition your horse so that he is able to bend properly and be balanced in BOTH directions. When your horse is balanced, this exercise will be easy, comfortable and fun for both of you! Your horse will be happy and willing to perform!
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Great Lakes Int
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nternational 2016 Download and View FREE on-line at www.horsesmagazine.com • February 2017 • HORSES MAGAZINE • 17
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BUUR NASK N ATIOABOU DL N T IN WIDE G!
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Do You Have A Question?
Equine Law Topics What You Wish You Considered for Your Equine Lease Equine lease transactions have become increasingly popular. Surprisingly, some people continue to lease horses merely on a handshake or use very short lease agreements, only to encounter costly problems later. Over the years, several people who have contacted us with equine lease disputes wished their contract had been more detailed. Detailed contracts can help avoid disputes, which can save very substantial amounts of money. Recognizing that equine lease transactions differ, here are a few items to consider: PAYMENT OBLIGATIONS (AND WHEN THEY STOP) Does the document make clear what the lessee is expected to pay during the lease term – and possibly afterwards? Aside from mentioning who pays for the horse’s routine veterinary care, does the lease address non-routine veterinary expenses the lessee must pay, and for how long, if the leased horse becomes injured, lame, or ill during the lease term? RESTRICTIONS ON USE AND LOCATION Equine leases can address restrictions on use of the horse, such as: Training and showing. Can the horse, for example, be jumped over 3’6” in training or showing? Recreational uses. Can the lessee take the horse on trail rides? Permitted riders. Can the lessee allow others to ride the horse? Some lessors, usually due to liability concerns, forbid this.
STANDARD AND QUALITY OF CARE Lessors fear that the lessee will skimp on important veterinary or farrier attention or, worse, neglect the horse. (This blog has written on this issue.) In an effort to avoid these problems, equine leases can specify a standard of care that the lessee is expected to follow in the horse’s care and keeping. As one example, for valuable, well-trained show horses, the lease can specify that the lessee agrees to provide the horse with “a high quality of care and humane treatment that is customarily given to top quality show horses in (a particular breed or discipline).” In addition, lessors may want to detail the type of care expected of the leased horse, such as the type and quantity of feed, required supplements, type of hay, turnout (individual or group), blankets, use of splint boots/protective wraps, and more. ONE LAWYER REPRESENTING BOTH LESSOR AND LESSEE? Lessors and lessees have different interests in equine lease transactions. Certainly, the jurisdiction’s ethical regulations might permit a lawyer to represent both sides, with proper advance disclosures, waivers, and written consent, but the risk exists that protections could be compromised if both parties use the same lawyer. For their protection, lessors and lessees should secure separate counsel. ATTORNEY FEES When people enter into equine leases, they don’t expect to become embroiled in a dispute. Yet, disputes occur. Lawsuits are expensive and, with very few exceptions, each party must pay its own legal fees. Because of this, the parties can consider including an attorney fee clause in their lease. This blog has discussed attorney fee clauses, and how they differ. Learn more here. CONCLUSION Equine lease arrangements can be complex, generating a host of risks, disputes, and liabilities. Plan ahead, protect yourself, and consider securing knowledgeable legal counsel.
Permitted horse show events. Does the lessor want to restrict the type or number of events in which the horse can be shown Breeding. Is the lessee allowed to breed the horse? Can the lessee flush an embryo from a leased mare and keep the resulting foal? Can the lessee collect the stallion and freeze semen for the lessee’s use, or sale, later on? Although some leases specifically apply to breeding stock, the parties can consider restrictions, if any, in the document. Restricted trainers. Is the lessor opposed to allowing certain trainers to ride, handle, or work with the leased horse? Location. Do the parties intend to keep the horse only at a specified location, except in emergencies? EQUINE INSURANCE Equine insurance can pose troublesome issues for lease transactions. As a matter of law, lessees do not own the horse they lease, and they cannot buy equine insurance for themselves. Insurers have issued mortality policies naming both the lessor and lessee as insured parties. The parties might want their lease agreement to address who pays the insurance premium and how insurance proceeds (if any) from claims are to be distributed.
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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Use What You
Dealing with a horse that tries to race ahead of others is not only frustrating, but tiring. The first step to fixing your horse’s speed demon tendencies is to unders.
When it comes to training your horse, your imagination is your greatest tool. The more creative you can be in your lessons, the more interested your horse will be in his job. You’ve heard me say, “Consistency is your greatest ally and inconsistency is your greatest enemy.” And that’s absolutely true. It will take you a very long time to train your horse if you’re inconsistent. However, just as important as consistency is, you have to be sure to include variety. Variety means mixing it up for your horse and keeping him guessing at what you’re doing. It keeps him interested in his job and on his toes. However, you have to learn to balance the two. Too much consistency and the horse will get bored and resentful in his job. Too much variety and he will never learn anything. I love to incorporate objects laying around the ranch into my horse’s daily training. Here I’m using two camping chairs to practice suppling exercises, but you can use any object that you have at home. Although I’m practicing exercises I normally do on a daily basis, by incorporating the chairs into the exercises, I’m adding variety. Always keep in mind that your imagination is your greatest tool, so use it! If your horse is initially frightened of the new object, practice rollbacks into it. What’s the secret to controlling a horse’s mind? Moving his feet forwards, backwards, left and right. Horses can only think about one thing at a time. Your horse is either thinking about how scary the object looks or is concentrating on moving his feet. Each time he rolls back, he’ll get closer and closer to the spooky object. His fear of the object will really make him
pick up his front end. Rollbacks are great to do because they teach the horse to work off his hindquarters and elevate his front end – key ingredients to collection. You can also back your horse around objects. Here I’m backing my horse in a figure-8 around the two chairs. Notice how light he is? I love backing my horses in circles because it gets them really soft throughout their entire body. I practice backing circles a lot with my reiners because it’s a great exercise to prep them for spins and rollbacks. When you back the horse in circles, his inside front foot steps back and over – just the way it must when executing a spin or rollback. You can mix it up for the horse by backing serpentines around the chairs so that he has to constantly shape and bend his body in different directions. You’ll know your horse is really soft when he doesn’t lift his head or neck above his withers when he’s changing directions. Riding circles is one of the most basic ways you can teach your horse to develop rhythm and learn to relax while you’re riding him. Teaching your horse to carry himself in a circle has endless benefits, including strengthening and stretching muscles and teaching the horse to carry himself in balance. Here I’m practicing different sized circles. Circle in tight to the object and really make your horse bend his ribcage and step up underneath himself, then make the circle larger. Test the horse to see if he’ll stay in a round circle by himself. The object will help you gauge how round of a circle you’re doing. By the end of the session, not only did I get my horse more responsive
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and soft, but I desensitized him to another object. Remember, your job as a horse trainer is to desensitize your horse to as many objects as you can. The more objects your horse is desensitized to, the larger his Comfort Zone becomes and the more he’ll use the thinking side of his brain.
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 Downunder 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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Are You And Your Horse With Richard Winters Diligent people prepare for the future. You might keep a blanket in your car this winter in case of a breakdown on the lonely stretch of highway. I have watched people in Florida board up windows in preparation for an oncoming hurricane. Good students take time to study and prepare for an up coming test. Here is my question for you: Are you and your horse prepared? I ask this question because of two short video clips I recently watched on Facebook. Both of them involved a rider mounting their horse. Both of them ended in disaster. The first rider was seen quietly lunging his saddled horse around in a round pen. He then walked up to the horse, stepped on and was immediately, violently, bucked off. The second rider attempted to climb on his horse in a very small-enclosed area. This consisted of three panels put together in a triangle. There was barely enough room for the horse to turn around. However, there was still plenty of room to buck his rider off while crashing through the panels. Were these riders on “outlaw” horses? Was it simply their unlucky day? No. As I watched both videos, it was evident to me that neither of these riders had their horses prepared properly. It is true that you cannot prepare for everything with horses. There is an inherent risk in dealing with these animals. However, 90% of the wrecks that I’ve seen, or have been involved in, could have been avoided if there had been better preparation. What was the cause of crash? “Pilot error.” Here are a few things to keep in mind when preparing your mount for a successful ride. 1. Ask yourself: When was the last time this horse was ridden. There are some horses that you can leave out in the pasture for weeks. You can pull them out and get on and it’s like you’ve never missed a day.
was ridden, the more diligent you should be in
changes relaxed and soft. As one horseman put
taking the time to warm them up properly before
it, “When their tail is in the air, keep your feet
on the ground.” Whether it takes five minutes
2. Do the majority of your groundwork and warming up with your horse saddled. I see people make the mistake of spending a lot of time lunging their horse on the ground unsaddled. Then they saddle the horse, step on
or twenty-five minutes, you need to take the time it takes to have your horse warmed up and thoroughly prepared. 5. Consider your environment and conditions. When I conduct clinics I have had people tell
and get bucked off. If you need to work your
me, “My horse doesn’t act like this at home.”
horse on the ground before saddling, that’s fine.
I am convinced that is true. He’s not at home!
But you must continue to work your horse with
Horses are creatures of habit and being outside
the saddle on to truly have them prepared.
of their familiar surroundings can be enough to
3. Whether you are lunging your horse on a line, or free lunging them in the round pen, they must go through the full range of motion. That means you need to send your horse out at the walk, trot and lope. They also need to change directions with some energy and impulsion. The saddle on their back feels different at the trot than it does at the walk. It also feels different at the lope compared to trotting. And when your horse turns, pushes off and goes in another direction, it’s an entirely different sensation. 4. Is your horse traveling efficiently? As he moves through the full range of motion, is he putting 50-pounds of energy into a 30-pound job? If so, your horse is not prepared or ready
These kinds of horses are the exception and not
for mounting. I want to observe my horse
the rule. The longer it has been since the horse
transitioning through all the gaits and directional
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in the least distract them, and at most have them buck you off. Also know that if it’s 40° and the wind is blowing twenty miles per hour, there is a chance your horse is not going to act as nice and gentle as he did on that warm quiet summer afternoon. This is only a partial list. It’s up to you to read your horses and know what it takes to have them prepared. Don’t let your mounting experience be the next to go viral on YouTube!
Photos By Paul Mutch
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The Way of the Horses
4-H & Your Child Encourage your child to join a gang--it can
lead to success!
Go to http://4-h.org/parents/programs-at-
a-glance/ for a list of projects offered by 4-H.
4-H clubs are run by the young members,
with adults only stepping in when advice or guidance is needed. “Learning
Youth join gangs to achieve
by doing” is 4-H’s educational
a sense of community, self-
philosophy. 4-H empowers
esteem, recognition and moral
youth to reach their full
code. 4-H provides all of
potential, working and learning
these things, plus educational
in partnership with caring
There are more than 6
If you have a young adult
million young people in the
interested in joining a “gang”
United States who are members
look into the great programs
of 4-H. These young adults are
offered by 4-H. Go to
developing leadership skills, self-
http://4-h.org/find/ to find the
confidence, communication and
Cooperative Extension office in
public-speaking abilities while
learning about their 4-H project. In 1902 A.B. Graham started
a rural youth program based in Ohio. In 1914 the United
I pledge my head to
States Congress created the
Cooperative Extension Service
My heart to greater
which adopted the boys’ and
My hands to larger
The extension service saw the
service, and my health to
youth club as a way to introduce
better living, for my club,
new agriculture technology to
my community, my country,
adults who may not embrace
and my world.
new ideas and techniques for managing a farm. The young adults would “experiment”
* Take the online course
with the new ideas and share
“Nutrition for Maximum
the successes with adults and
Performance” taught by 4-H
alumna Eleanor Blazer. Earn
As America became more
certification or work toward
urban, 4-H evolved to include
a Bachelor of Science degree
programs that were needed for youth who did not live on a farm. Science, technology, communications, shooting sports, photography, small engines, child development and many other projects are now offered, in addition to the animal projects.
in Equine Studies. Go to It is no longer necessary to live on a farm and have access to animals in order to be a 4-H member. More than half of the 4-H
www.horsecoursesonline.com for more information.
members now come from large cities and their suburbs.
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SafeChoice® products help support your horse’s topline health. To learn to evaluate your horse’s topline and get a customized feeding recommendation with products like SafeChoice®, go to www.toplinebalance.com. *Only at participating retailers. Free product must be of equal or lesser value.
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