Lynn Palm Clinton Anderson The Way of the Horse
Lions Club Horse Show Owingsville, Kentucky
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Aids Communicat I want to explain the importance of the turning aids and give you some exercises to practice to more effectively use them. This information may be a revelation. It will help improve your transitions and may change your riding forever!
using my outside aids—the right leg and right rein. The job of my inside (left) leg is to keep the horse forward and out on the turn. My inside (left) rein is used to lightly position my horse’s head so he is looking in the direction of the turn. Let’s look at the function of each aid in turning or bending a horse:
Turning or “bending” aids include our hands through the reins and our legs. We use these aids to control the horse’s direction of travel and his body position. The term “bending” may be unfamiliar to some readers. When the bend through the horse’s side is correct, his body conforms the arc of whatever curved line he is on. If a horse is bent properly on a circle, we say he is “straight” because he is properly following the arc of the circle. His hind feet follow in the tracks of the forelegs on a curve. To do this he must bend. The primary aids to turn or bend a horse are the rider’s outside leg and outside rein. The “outside” is the side of the horse opposite from the direction of the turn. For example, if I want to turn my horse in a circle to the left, I turn him
Outside Rein: Functions as the turn-
keeps his hindquarters from swinging out and off the arc of the circle or turn. Inside Rein: Lightly positions the horse’s head in the direction of the turn. Do this by slightly rotate the inside hand as if “turning a key” or “opening a doorknob” and slightly opening the rein in the direction of the turn to position the head. Inside Leg: Positioned at the girth. Helps keep forward momentum and, as my friend and Olympic rider Jane Savoie describes in her wonderful book Cross Train Your Horse; “the inside leg serves as a pole for the horse to bend around.” Now that you have a better idea of how the turning/bending aids are used, here’s an exercise to practice applying them. I’ll walk you though it, describing the use of each aid.
ing rein. It asks the horse to move his shoulders to follow the arc of the circle or turn. When using the outside rein, be careful not to move the outside hand over the crest of the horse’s neck. Outside Leg: Is positioned slightly behind the girth. It helps to bend the horse’s body around the inside leg and
Figure 8’s --- Circles with Change of Direction at the Walk The goal of this exercise is to complete 2 equal sized, medium sized, round circles at the walk in a “figure 8” pattern. Start by asking the horse to walk forward. Begin turning him on the first circle to the left. To follow the circle, turn
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tion: Turning Aids the horse using the right rein against his neck, holding the right leg slightly behind the girth. The inside leg is active and keeps him moving forward as he bends around it. “Turn the key” and slightly open the left inside rein to lightly position the horse’s head so he is looking in the direction he is turning.
As you complete the circle to the left, prepare to reverse directions across the middle of the imaginary “figure 8”. Straighten the horse for a few steps while crossing the middle of the “8”. Prepare to change the horse’s body position to ready him for a circle to the right. Start the turn by applying the left leg and left rein while
My goal is to teach you how to use natural aids, not artificial equipment or devices, to control a horse’s body.
keeping him forward using the right leg. Lightly position his head to the right using the inside (right) rein. Practice this exercise, then add some challenge by asking the horse to make tighter circles within the figure 8 pattern. Remember the same principles apply: outside rein-outside leg to turn. Maintain the inside leg to keep him forward (so he doesn’t stall in the tighter turn) and lightly position his head with the inside rein to keep in looking in the direction he is turning.
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Your Next Step… Once you feel that you are solid on understanding the role of the turning/bending aids, pick up the pace and try this week’s “figure 8” exercise at the trot. The increased speed of the trot will challenge you to apply your aids properly. Here’s how to do it. Ask your horse to pick up a trot and start with a turn to the right. Begin turning to the right using your left leg and left rein. Use your inside right leg to keep horse’s forward movement at the trot, while the right hand lightly positions his head so he is looking to the right as he is bending and turning in that direction. As you approach the middle of the “8”, prepare to change direction to a circle to the left. Straighten the horse
as you cross the middle, then apply the bending aids to the left. Apply the left leg to keep the forward momentum, lightly position his head in the new direction, and use the right rein and right leg to turn. Now that you have a better understanding of the turning/ bending aids, next week I’ll give you some exercises to help teach your horse how to make transitions to the lope/canter or improve them. These exercises use a modified “figure 8” pattern. That is why it is important to perfect your turning/bending aids first and know how to control you horse’s body so it is straight on a line or on a curve. When the horse is straight and his body in the proper position, he will be able to make his transitions properly. Lynn’s Training Tip… My goal is to teach you how to use natural aids, not artificial equipment or devices, to control a horse’s body. These aids are not hard for either horse or rider to understand. The challenge is coordinating them with the horse’s action to get the response you want. Teaching your horse to respond to these aids will open up a new level of communication between you! Start “talking” to your horse today.
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S C H O O L
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Beat Help your horse stay calm and spook-free on the trail with these tips. #1 Warm Up with Groundwork Before hitting the trail, be sure your horse is in the right frame of mind, meaning he’s calm, using the thinking side of his brain and focused on you. Most of the time, horses spook because they’re fresh and using the reactive side of their brain. Don’t just pull your horse out of the pasture, throw the saddle on him and head out on the trail. Set yourself up for success by practicing groundwork and reminding your horse that you are the leader and he needs to respect you and let you call the shots. If you’re at home, practice groundwork exercises like Lunging for Respect, Sidepassing, etc. in the arena. If you’ve trailered your horse somewhere for a ride, find an open area where you can get his feet moving and changing directions. Remember, in order to get a horse to respect you and use the thinking side of his brain, you have to move his feet forwards, backwards, left and right. The more you ask the horse to change directions, the quicker you’ll get his attention. The entire time that you’re working with the horse on the ground, he should be hustling
ting the Spook
his feet. Don’t just let him lazily jig-jog around. You want to get rid of any freshness he might have before taking him out on the trail. #2 Be a Leader for Your Horse
what I call “autopilot” – he’s left on his own, which for a lot of horses means they go down the trail constantly look-
trail without paying attention to him, if he spooks, you’re going to be in a wreck before you have time to react and regain control of the situation. I’m not telling you to be paranoid and go down the trail thinking that any little thing is going to set your horse off, but you need to constantly be reminding your horse to check back in with you. When I take my horses out on the
When on the trail, a lot of people put their horse on a big, loose rein and let their mind wander or gab with friends. They put their horse on
ing for something to spook at. Horses have a very quick reaction time, and if you let your horse wander down the
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trail, I bend them around trees, sidepass them over logs, two-track down the trail, practice bending transitions – anything I can think of to remind them to focus on me and stay soft and supple at the same time. Remember, if you don’t give your horse something positive to think about, he will naturally drift toward something you don’t want him to think about. #3 Redirect Nervous Energy If your horse does spook at some-
thing, put his energy to good use. If it’s an object you can ride around, circle your horse as close as you can to it, and every one and half circles, turn him into the object and head off in the new direction. Horses can only think about one thing at a time. Your horse will either be focused on the scary object or on moving his feet and listening to you. Each time you stop the horse and turn into the object, he’ll get closer to it, until eventually, he’s so focused on you and moving his feet, he’s right next
to the object. When you can feel that he’s got his attention on you and isn’t worried about the spooky object, then you can let him rest next to it on a loose rein. If he wants to investigate it (smell it, paw at it, etc.) let him. If you can’t ride around the object, circle in front of it at the trot or canter using the same concept. When you come up to the object, stop your horse, roll back and ride off in the new direction. Each time you stop and roll your
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horse back, he’ll get closer to the object until eventually he’s right next to it. If your horse spooks and you can’t tell exactly what it is he’s spooking at, put his feet to work. Using one rein bend him in a series of serpentines. It’s impossible for a horse to use the reactive side of his brain when he’s constantly stopping and redirecting his feet. When he’s focused on you, put him on a loose rein and head back down the trail. Anytime he gets jumpy, put his feet to work. Soon he’ll be so focused on you he won’t have time to find potential objects to spook at.
riding in an open area where you have plenty of room to move his feet and keep his attention on you. The more comfortable he gets about being ridden outside the arena, the more experience he gains and the more confident you
you and him out of danger. 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.
Before hitting the trail, be sure your horse is in the right frame of mind, meaning he’s calm, using the thinking side of his brain and focused on you.
#4 Chose Your Trail Wisely Be smart about the trails you take your horse on, being sure to take his experience, your experience and the type of trail into account. For example, if you’re taking your horse out on the trail for the first time, I recommend
become, you can increase the challenge by choosing more difficult trails. Before taking a horse on a narrow trail where you won’t be able to easily redirect his feet if he spooks or gets nervous, make certain he’s confident being ridden outside the confines of an arena. While no horse is completely “spook-proof,” an experienced trail horse has learned to think before reacting, keeping both
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Do You Have A Question?
Equine Law Topics “Setbacks” And Equine Fencing “Jane,” a horse owner found her dream property. The house was just her size. Never before was a horse stabled on the property, but there was a storage barn that, Jane thought, could easily be converted into a horse barn, and the surrounding land could be fenced for pasture. Jane bought the property. Soon after, she built a stall in the barn, set up fencing, and moved in her horse. Within a few weeks, however, a serious problem occurred. Jane received a notice from the city ordering her to remove her pasture fencing because it violated the local zoning ordinance. That ordinance required fences to be set back a specific distance from the property line. Adding to the problem, once Jane read the ordinance, she discovered that compliance with it would reduce her pasture to the size of a dog run. Her plans for a stable on her property were doomed. SETBACK AND FENCING ORDINANCES Local government ordinances and building codes often create requirements that prevent property owners from placing structures or fences from being located within a certain distance from a property line or another structure. These restrictions are commonly referred to as “setback ordinances.” Some municipal ordinances also limit types of fencing and fencing heights. SUGGESTIONS TO AVOID PROBLEMS
Anyone purchasing property with plans to build a horse facility would be wise to review the applicable zoning ordinances and restrictions BEFORE agreeing to make the purchase. In this example, Jane never checked any of them before purchasing the property. People in Jane’s situation can apply for a variance seeking to allow the fencing, despite the law. There are no guarantees, however, that the municipality would approve. And although those who disagree with a municipality’s decision on a variance can file a lawsuit, the outcome is rarely certain. Careful, advance planning can make a difference.
Julie Fershtman is considered to be one of the nation’s leading attorneys in the field of equine law. A frequent author and speaker on legal issues, she has written over 400 published articles, three books, and has lectured at seminars, conventions, and conferences in 29 states on issues involving law, liability, risk management, and insurance. For more information, please also visit www.fershtmanlaw.com and www.equinelaw.net, and www. equinelaw.info.
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Lions Club Hor Owingsville, Kentucky
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How to Sell a Horse A few years ago I wrote an article on “How To Buy A Horse”. I’ve also given numerous lectures at horse expos around the country on the same topic. However, I’ve never addressed the subject of how to sell a horse. I’m not saying that I’m an expert. Our business has never been one where we buy and sell a tremendous amount of horses. However, I have sold horses for a few hundred dollars and I have sold a horse for over $100,000. We have made money on some and lost money on others. Below are a few things to think about.
I learned this lesson a few decades ago with a young Thoroughbred mare that I started and had going over some low jumps. I was hoping to sell her and took
bought her for $2,000.
Auctions can be a good place to sell a horse. There are generally numerous buyers looking and ready to purchase a horse. An auction can also be very convenient and streamline. You don’t have to take numerous phone calls or have people coming out to “try” your horse time and again. You show up at the sale with your horse in the trailer. Hopefully, you go home with an empty trailer. Paying a consignment fee and commission will be factors that you must consider if you decide to sell your horse at an auction That is how the auction
Know Your Target Audience
her to a local horse auction in my area. However, I soon learned the auction had been advertised and promoted for Western and recreational horses. There were very few people interested in a young green English jumping prospect. I think she sold for $1,500. If I recall, I
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company makes their money. They’ve covered the promotion expenses and have brought the buyers together. The consignment fee is their compensation. Trainer Commissions Even when selling horses privately, trainer and or broker commissions are commonplace. If Sally wants to look at my western performance horse, she might have a trainer come with her to ride the horse. If they decide to purchase the horse, I will pay the trainer 10% of the sale price. If I have a horse in training for a client and I help them sell the horse to Sally and her trainer, then the horses’ owner would pay the other trainer and myself 5% each of the sales price. The fact of the matter is this: If trainers begin to know that you do not pay a commission, they quit bringing their buyers to try out your horse! Of course, every situation is different and some equine disciplines may handle it differently. However, this is generally true for Rein-
ers, Cutters and Cow Horses. Take Advantage Of Technology With a little bit of “tech” savvy, you can market your horse in a professional way to a lot of people fairly easily. Digital pictures and online video can be uploaded to the Internet quickly
and sent to any inquiring buyer, anywhere. There are also sites that you can post this information for a small fee where potential buyers would be looking. You can get elaborate and have professional pictures and video taken. Yet, in all reality, you can get a lot of information to people with the capability of your smart phone. Take Pride In Your Horse If I wanted to sell my car, I would wash it before the buyer came to see it, do the same with your horse. Bath your horse. Give your horse a haircut. Make sure the feet are trimmed or shod. Weather depending, maybe have your horse blanketed. Remember, you can only make one first impression. Show that buyer that you have a horse that has been well cared for. Ride your horse. Keeping your horse on a regular riding/ training routine will help them show better and therefore sell better. Make sure your horse is in shape. We all look better when we are in shape! Disclose, Disclose, Disclose
it’s time to sell a piece of real estate. “Buyer Beware” is one thing. However, your lack of disclosing serious problems could come back to bite you. Especially if you’re planning on selling horses again someday. It might be a behavioral issue such as being cinchy or broncy, possibly some type of stable vise or physical issue. Perspective buyers need to know these things. It’s not your obligation to run down your horse and put them in a negative light. However, being forthright and disclosing pertinent information is the best policy. I’m thinking of all these things because I have two young mares that I’m getting ready to sell at a western performance horse auction this month. I’m keeping them in stalls with blankets on. I’m trying to ride them every day. I have them on a shoeing schedule so that they will be freshly shod one week before the sale. I took some good quality pictures of the horses a couple weeks ago and sent them to the sale company so they could post them on their Facebook page. I have also shot a short video of the horses and posted it on YouTube. That way people can have an idea of the horses training and performance before they ever get to the sale. Being aware of these things can hopefully prepare you to market your horse in a positive and effective way.
That’s the advice I once heard when
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Hay Before Grain? It’s feeding time and the horses know it. Feed buckets are rattling; there are nickers and the banging of hooves against gates. In most stables the concentrate or
fiber moving through the digestive system. The chewing of forage produces saliva which helps buffer the production of acid in the stomach. A horse with access
“grain” is given first - to satisfy the immediate need and calm the stable. Even if hay is given simultaneously the concentrate will be eaten first. But is that wise?
First we need to understand some basic facts regarding the equine digestive system. Horses are designed to utilize forage; they are animals that graze – requiring a constant trickle of long-stem
to adequate amounts of forage will produce five to ten gallons of saliva a day. The more he chews the more buffering agent he introduces into the stomach. The bulky mixture of forage and saliva helps protect the delicate lining of the upper stomach region from the acid. Without this protection gastric ulcers can form. Studies have shown lesions can occur in less than 12 hours if
stomach acid is not kept at bay. In order to get the protection longstem fiber and saliva provides against ulcers, an adequate amount of forage must be fed at least an hour before the grain or concentrate portion of the meal. Tossing in a flake of hay and then feeding grain 10 minutes later is not going to be of any benefit. Plus the horse will probably not eat the hay as he knows the grain is coming in a few minutes. After the feed leaves the stomach it enters the small intestine. This is where starch, complex sugars, protein from the grain portion of the diet, fat, fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, and E), and most minerals are utilized…and then it is on to the large intestine where the remaining material enters the cecum. The cecum is a fermentation vat. Within the cecum are microbes and bacteria that aid in the digestion of cellulose and fiber. If excessive amounts of starch and complex sugars reach the cecum (instead
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of being utilized in the small intestine) a condition known as cecal acidosis can occur. The starch and sugar accelerates the fermentation process leading to a high acidic level. The acid kills the beneficial bacteria and microbes which creates a toxic environment - resulting in diarrhea, colic and possibly laminitis. We do not want this to happen. Feeding high starch grain or concentrates on an empty stomach will allow it to move through the equine digestive system quickly – possibly reaching the cecum before becoming fully digested in the small intestine. The presence of fiber (forage) will slow this movement. Management and choice of feed can lessen the chances of horses developing gastric ulcers or cecal acidosis…or both. In a perfect world our horses would be allowed to roam and graze – as nature intended. But few domestic horses have that option. The alternative is to allow plenty of turn-out time with access
to free-choice long-stem forage (hay) and offer a low-starch concentrate that provides the nutrients that are lacking in the forage. Feeding schedules should be small frequent meals in a 24-hour period, instead of two large meals - morning and late afternoon. Many stables feed the evening meal around 5 pm and the next meal not until morning. This guarantees an empty stomach and digestive tract by breakfast unless an adequate amount of forage was provided the evening before. The use of slow hay feeders or nets can assist in making the forage meal last longer. Purchase one of the low-starch feed formulas on the market. These products are nutritionally balanced and are safer than high grain mixes. Find a product designed for the age, health and activity level of your horse, then feed according to the directions…this means feed by the pound - not by the scoop. Every feed
room should have a scale, and remember to make all feed changes gradually when introducing a new feed. Horses are creatures of habit. They also have very sensitive digestive systems. It is our responsibility to ensure they are fed in the healthiest manner possible. * Earn a Bachelor of Science Degree in Equine Studies or certification as a Professional Horse Trainer or Riding Instructor. Start your new career as a riding instructor, horse trainer, or stable manager. All courses are online. Visit www.horsecoursesonline. com for information.
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July 2018 Horses Magazine