Vaquero Horsemanship with Jason Hicks By Kathleen Comstock
he modern day greats such as Bill and Tom Dorrance, Ray Hunt and Buck Brannaman are strongly influenced by the long traditions of the California Vaqueros. To trace Vaquero horsemanship as we know it today, we have to return all the way back to medieval Europe. When we look at the function of the war horses in medieval Europe, you will see a parallel to the skills we see in a modern day reined working cow horse – a turn on the forehand, spin, stop and roll back. The modern day cow horses all owe their existence to the methods used by the old time vaqueros. Today, we can see these maneuvers used in two distinct disciplines, dressage and the reined working cow horse. The philosophies adopted from the wisdom of the past put the horse’s mind, body and dignity first. It allows the horse to think and be an active part of the horse/rider team, creating a confident mind.
By Corrina Dickens
I recently had a bad fall and shattered my arm. My confidence is basically zero so I wrote a little something to think about now that I’m back in the saddle - just thought it’s worth sharing if I can give someone else a little confidence.
Who needs the bottle when you’re down and in pain? When I’m unsteady and waiver I reach down and grab mane. When forecasts are hazy and I’m unsure in my wander I place my hand to warm hide and we laugh through the thunder. Laced through your fingers hold tight and sit up. Don’t get mad when they stumble or give quite a buck. Understand when they’re uneasy and above all be kind. Then when you’re off by a stride your horse won’t leave you behind.
The Nelson Riding Club has had Jason Hicks (of Rathdrum Idaho) coming to our area for 4 years; starting horses, riding seasoned horses and teaching clinics and lessons. We are pleased to welcome him back this year for clinics on May 15-18, July 10-12 and September 18-20. His style and methods have always remained true to the dignity of the horse and many of us who ride with him have learned that there is usually a deeper meaning to everything he teaches than what is obvious. “I have been riding horses for the public about 15 years. I’ve worked with and started just about every breed. I am a student of Buck Brannaman, but have also rode in a Ray Hunt clinic and have rode with many others. I’ve spent my entire adult life studying horsemanship and learning bridle horse type movements, reining, very heavy into dressage, and lots of roping including calf roping. I put more focus on the horse’s mind, feel, timing and balance more than anything. What I have to offer can be applied to any discipline or horse activity. But a big thing of mine is getting the horse to where you can truly use the horse’s athletic abilities.” - Jason Hicks (on Facebook) For information on the upcoming clinics and/or our club, please contact Leah Hope 250-368-2002 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. 34 • Saddle Up • May 2015
So if you feel about to fall, if hand slips from rein, know you’re in this together… just reach down and grab mane!
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