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The way of it is, as most of you have noticed I’m sure, come September, the days are getting shorter.

But that’s just a matter of sunlit hours. The hard-working riders, trainers, and horse professionals we rely on at TSB to write our books and create our DVDs don’t experience shorter days in any way other than maybe slightly larger electricity bills (as the lights in the barn and indoor stay on longer!) They are still up early (in the dark, now) and in bed late (yes, dark again) and on the move every minute in between.

TSB author and Master Saddler and Saddle Ergonomist Jochen Schleese spends much of his year on the road helping clients with their and their horse’s saddle-fitting needs, giving lectures, and presenting about horse and rider anatomy, health, and the saddle-fit factor at clinics and expositions worldwide. In his book SUFFERING IN SILENCE: THE SADDLE-FIT LINK TO PHYSICAL AND PSYCHOLOGICAL TRAUMA IN HORSES, Jochen delves into the issues horses—and their riders—have long dealt with due to poor saddle fit, including damaged muscles and nerves along the horse’s vertebrae; pain and impotence in male riders; and backaches, slipped discs, and bladder infections in women. Jochen has devoted his life to alleviating these problems so that horses and riders can perform their best—and enjoy it—over the long-term.

In this installment of TSB’s Horseworld by the Hour Series, we follow along (and try desperately to keep up) with Jochen as he strives to educate and ensure comfort for horses and riders.

 

sparkle24hourJS

A TYPICAL DAY ON THE ROAD WITH JOCHEN SCHLEESE: VISITING CLIENTS AND TEACHING LECTURES

 

5:00 a.m.  At this point of the day I am usually still fast asleep (thank goodness!) especially when I have been shifted out of my usual EST time zone.

5:30 a.m. Okay, now I’m usually getting up because I like to exercise before heading out to visit clients and starting my day. I get dressed and go for a run, chanting my “gratefulness” mantra that I learned from working with Anthony Robbins. “I am grateful for the health of my children and my wife, I am grateful for the love of my wife and my children, I am grateful to have a job that fulfills my passion.” This I repeat for the next 20 minutes while I move—being able to keep saying it keeps me at a speed that allows me to still talk.

 

Jochen Schleese and his family.

Jochen Schleese and his family.

 

6:00 a.m.  Quick shower and morning routine to get dressed and meet whichever associate I am working with for breakfast. I truly believe breakfast IS the most important meal of the day, especially since our days are usually filled with so many clients and appointments and squeeze-ins that there will be little time after to eat, pee, or even rest.

6:30 a.m.  Breakfast—usually at whatever hotel we’re staying at, or occasionally we’ll splurge and go have a ‘real’ breakfast somewhere in a restaurant.

7:00 a.m.  Last-minute check to make sure the car is packed with everything we need, and we’re on the road driving to the first appointment, which sometimes can be right next door, but more often entails a bit of a drive.

7:30 a.m.  We have reached the first barn; time to set up and pull out the saddle “tree machine” and measuring tools, the sizing saddles for clients to try, and any wool we’ll need for reflocking, as well as our paperwork and pile of evaluation forms. The clients are already at the barn, and the horses are anxiously “chomping at the bit” (pun intended!)

8:00 a.m.  First client has already warmed up her horse and is ready to be seen. I generally don’t like people to ride their horses “warm” because sometimes this warmup can hide saddle- fit issues: The back of the horse gets numb to any pain during this warmup. This one, though, is an old client who has been riding in our saddles for years, and she just wants me to check her saddle to make sure everything is working as it should. Needs a wee bit of reflocking, but other than that it’s fine.

8:30 a.m.  The next client is a brand new boarder at the barn and comes to me with a horse that shows all sorts of symptomatic issues that immediately indicate to me the saddle she is using definitely does not fit. I watch as she rides, her horse stumbling, giving a couple of bucking kicks out the back, and seemingly lame on the right hind. I take the next 1½ hours to work with her and explain all of the problems that I see her saddle is causing, and we adjust one of our sizing saddles for her to try out. Immediately, her horse seems to become a whole different horse—everyone watching can see it!

9:30 a.m.  By this point the client has tried out a couple of other saddles fitted to her horse and has now to make a decision: She realizes her current saddle absolutely won’t work for her horse—it’s too long for his back, it pinches him at the withers, and the gullet channel is barely an inch wide. She decides to buy one of the saddles she has tried out on him. It’s comfortable for her and fits her well, and with a few little tweaks to make it fit even better, both horse and rider are now happy and able to ride together in harmony. She gives me a hug, which to me is the biggest thank you of all.

10:00 a.m.  Several boarders have come to watch “what’s going on” in our corner, especially since I have started to use our brand new “Horse Shape” Laser to determine the horse’s three-dimensional back shape. Two of them ask if we have time to see their horses. I ask my assistant to see if there’s room in the schedule—fortunately, this time we can squeeze them in just before we have to leave for the next barn, but it means we forego lunch (again). Oh well.

10:30 a.m.  Between now and 1:30 we see another five people with appointments (and the two that were squeezed in) and things work like well-polished clockwork. While one of us watches the client ride, the other is taking measurements and making adjustments for another, and the next client in line is busy tacking up her horse. It becomes a very efficient “assembly line” so that at any given time we can actually work with two to three clients at once. This is especially important to be able to do for appointments, which can easily run into each other, but also to accommodate the “squeeze-ins,” which invariably happen when other riders become interested in seeing what’s going on!

1:30 p.m. We have finished our first stop for the day and managed to see a total of eight clients at this barn. We normally schedule 45 to 60 minutes for each client, but because some of them were simply “re-checks” and only two were new clients who were buying saddles, the timing worked out fairly well. So we pack up, munch on an apple and a granola bar, and head out for an hour’s drive to the next barn on the list. Thankfully, this barn will be the location for an evening lecture, and our hotel is just five minutes further down the road, so it will be our last stop for the day.

2:30 p.m.  We have reached Barn Number Two where we again set up and see clients from 3:00 to 6:00 p.m. This barn has four scheduled appointments; hopefully any interested parties will be able to stay for the evening lecture to learn more, as we absolutely cannot squeeze any more people in this afternoon. The afternoon’s appointments manage to go off without a hitch and we have four more happy riders.

6:00 p.m.  We clean up and move our stuff to the viewing room, which is where our barn hostess is offering an evening educational lecture for her boarders and their friends. It’s going to be a good evening—26 people have signed up to attend, of which 17 are possible new clients and for whom we have actually left the morning of the next day open for any appointments they would like to schedule to have a personal evaluation for themselves and their horses. Our hostess feeds us sandwiches and water, and we feel a little better.

6:30 p.m.  I set up my projector and organize my thoughts in preparation for the evening’s lecture, which is scheduled from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. My associate puts out my book and DVD, brochures and other materials. People start to come in; some of them already have my book and ask for my autograph. This is always a really cool feeling I have to admit! (It’s hard to get used to being “somewhat of an equestrian celebrity,” but it’s fun to hear them behind my back saying, “That’s Jochen Schleese. He wrote that book about saddle fitting, you know!”)

7:00 p.m.  The seminar begins and the next two hours pass in a whirl. I love to teach, I love to bring across my points with humor, and I know that people appreciate what I have to offer.

 

Jochen admits that he always winds up his lectures reluctantly--he says he could go on and on!

Jochen admits that he always winds up his lectures reluctantly–he says he could go on and on!

 

9:00 p.m.  I wind up the lecture (reluctantly I might add, because I could go on and on!) My associate compliments me on keeping focused (sometimes I do tend to get sidetracked and go off on tangents…) and the attendees come up to ask questions and wanting to hear more.

9:30 p.m.  We are starting to clear up; six more people have signed up for appointments the next morning, which is great, and I am happy to be able to say, “See you tomorrow!” We leave the barn and head out to the nearest restaurant for a late, quick, light supper. Tomorrow will come early.

10:30 p.m.  We finally reach the hotel and say goodnight. I know my assistant will head to her room and work on compiling the information from the day’s evaluation forms and lead cards into the computer while my associate puts together her saddle orders and information. I will spend the next hour catching up on emails and writing the sales report for the day, as well as forwarding any specific issues and observations to head office for follow up.

11:30 p.m.  Okay, finally—lights out. This is a relatively early night for us on the road (I kid you not!); some days we literally work 14- to 16-hour days. It’s tough when there is longer distances to drive between appointments, but honestly—it’s always fun to meet new people and know that we’re making a difference in the lives and health of horse and rider.

 

CLICK HERE to download a free excerpt from Jochen’s book SUFFERING IN SILENCE.

CLICK IMAGE TO ORDER

CLICK IMAGE TO ORDER

 

 

 

Check out the other installments of TSB’s Horseworld by the Hour:

HEATHER SMITH THOMAS

LYNN PALM

DANIEL STEWART

DOUG PAYNE

JANET FOY

CLINTON ANDERSON

Photo by Gabriele Boiselle from Building a Life Together--You and Your Horse by Frederic Pignon and Magali Delgado

Photo by Gabriele Boiselle from Building a Life Together–You and Your Horse by Frederic Pignon and Magali Delgado

The sun changes this time of year…the light feels softer, pensive, less insistent. In many places this signals a shift of routine with our horses as competitive seasons wind up and our partners get a few weeks of well-deserved turnout before the frosts hit the late summer grass and fallen leaves hide any remaining morsels beyond reach of all but the most insistent grazers.

It is a good time for deep breaths, deep thought, and a few reminders of what this horse thing is all about. Here then are three messages from TSB authors to carry with you to the barn this week:

 

“On numerous occasions I have been confronted with the intelligence of horses in the course of their training. They rewarded the patience with which I tried to understand their characters by giving their best, just as they manifested their unwillingness when I demanded too much or had been unjust or too fast in their training. These are the moments of truth when the rider has to pause and reconsider his line of conduct. Whenever there are disagreements, it is best to seek the fault in oneself.”

–Alois Podhajsky, My Horses, My Teachers

 

“The art of training young horses is learning how to be fresh every day and not let their problems overwhelm your own spirit. Good training exalts the horse and the rider. When you realize how lucky you are to live the life of a horseman, there is nothing about the lifestyle that should be constantly depressing. Any authentic life will have some rough patches…You cannot control fate, you can only control your reaction to it. Training horses gives you chances to practice this every day.”

–Paul Belasik, Nature, Nurture, and Horses

 

“Everyone wants instant results but horses have their own rhythm, closer to nature, and at variance with any ideas involving deadlines, profitability, or even over-enthusiastic pressure toward some goal. Whether it concerns a horse being prepared for a show, or someone who has invested in a Grand Prix horse, or just an amateur rider with one hour per week to spare, there is only one rhythm to work to and that belongs to the horse.”

–Frederic Pignon, Building a Life Together–You and Your Horse

 

Find more horse wisdom from Trafalgar Square Books in our online bookstore–CLICK HERE TO VISIT NOW.

George&Queen

In 1960, a rising equestrian star named George Morris won the Horse and Hound Cup at the White City Stadium in London and received the cup from Queen Elizabeth. Check out this flash from the past!

George Morris joins liberty specialist Jonathan Field, reining champion Craig Johnson, and colt-starter Bruce Logan at the Jonathan Field and Friends International Horsemanship Education Conference THIS WEEKEND, September 20 and 21, 2014, in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. CLICK HERE for more about the event.

And here’s that little-seen video of George Morris meeting Queen Elizabeth:

FieldFriends

THIS WEEKEND, September 20 and 21, 2014, horse lovers from all over will be lucky enough to participate in a one-of-a-kind event at the Agrium Western Event Centre at Stampede Park in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

The inaugural Jonathan Field and Friends International Horsemanship Education Conference brings together four remarkable horsemen under one roof: natural horsemanship and liberty trainer Jonathan Field; former Olympic show-jumping coach George Morris; champion reiner Craig Johnson; and cutting and cowhorse specialist Bruce Logan.

“The passion I have for sharing horsemanship is further ignited by getting to do it with some of the top horsemen in the world,” says Jonathan. “It is hard to comprehend the level of expertise that will be assembled, from varying backgrounds, working together at the same event and at the same time.  I will be there as much a keen spectator and student as I am a clinician! These presenters have gold medals and carry respect in the horse industry around the world. I am especially excited knowing that we are all personal friends and share the common objective of putting horses first.  The care towards both the horses and helping people achieve sound knowledge is an approach that will help you build a stronger connection at any level.”

Listen to Jonathan tell you about his friends, the presenters, in his own words:

 

 

For more information about Jonathan Field and Friends International Horsemanship Education Conference or to purchase tickets, CLICK HERE.

 

Jonathan Field’s new book THE ART OF LIBERTY TRAINING FOR HORSES will be in stock SOON! CLICK HERE to pre-order now and be the first to get it!

 

CLICK IMAGE TO PRE-ORDER NOW!

CLICK IMAGE TO PRE-ORDER NOW!

 

To check out the DVDs DRESSAGE FOR JUMPERS and TEACHING AND TRAINING THE AMERICAN WAY by George Morris, CLICK HERE.

Linda Tellington-Jones with Dablino at the 2011 Xenophon Symposium.

Linda Tellington-Jones with Dablino at the 2011 Xenophon Symposium.

 

From DRESSAGE WITH MIND, BODY & SOUL by Linda Tellington-Jones with Rebecca M. Didier

Miracles surround us, on a large and small scale. It is on a personal level that we ascertain whether an occurrence qualifies as miraculous. My life has been full of what I consider miracles—from the simple unexpected to the extraordinary. Many of these have had to do with the animals, in yards, pastures, and lakes, on mesas, steppes, and mountaintops, both those in the wild and at home, who have graced my life with their essence.

While the extraordinary is easy to recognize, it is the more commonplace miracles that you must be sure not to take for granted. On many occasions, the most seemingly insignificant of moments can either indicate a tidechange (one small step in a succession of small steps that eventually equal an evolution) or it is, in itself, so integral to progress that your horse learns and performs in an entirely different manner from that moment forward.

Riding a horse is a series of small miracles. It is a miracle that this powerful animal allows you to sit upon his back. It is a miracle he chooses to follow your direction (in most cases), to earn your friendship, your praise, and your loyalty in an intense form of reciprocity seen in few other human-animal relationships. But the miracles don’t end there—each time you ask for the most specific of movements, each time you focus on the most subtle of cues, each time you brush your leg against the horse’s side and receive a gentle, controlled response, you have experienced a small miracle for which you should be thankful. Remembering to give thanks and express your gratitude for these things should be something you work at daily. I remind myself of this each morning when I rise and each night before I journey into the dream world.

Although whether or not miracles are brought about by divine power may be a point of debate, it is not one that concerns me in this book. Instead, I prefer to acknowledge that events do happen in life that are surprising, inspiring, and in every estimation “good,” and in these instances I choose to recognize them as “miraculous.” With this attitude as part of your day-to-day existence, an unparalleled relationship with your horse can be the result.

 

DRESSAGE WITH MIND, BODY & SOUL is available from the TSB online bookstore, where shipping in the US is FREE.

CLICK HERE TO ORDER

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CLICK IMAGE TO ORDER

Today, we are remembering those we lost.

 

 

Beauty Boy print BW

 

From RIDING BARRANCA by Laura Chester

Round Pond

Perhaps because of the solemnity of the day, September eleventh, the air seems particularly still, as blue and clear as it was nine years ago when the world was left in shock by the attacks on the World Trade Center.

I saddle up Barranca and decide to take him out alone, heading along the top of the ridge, planning to take a new path down toward Round Pond. Riding through the sarsaparillas, a tunnel of grey opens to a chartreuse splash at the end. Soon, the new path disappears into unmarked woodland, but we continue bushwhacking along. No one has been down here in a long time, and there are lots of branches to break.

We reach a treacherous slide of rocks, but with a little urging, Barranca makes it over. I keep expecting to spot a glimpse of the pond, but all I see is palomino-colored bracken, the magnificent forest dressed up in green and gold. Finally, I spot a bit of blue through the leaves and know we are almost there. I feel a definite thrill, riding this new trail for the first time. I’m inside the moment, and Barranca is all fired up. When we hit the dirt road at water level, we canter to the end of the lake where there is a manmade dam. Standing there, looking out over the pond, I hear someone shooting a gun, target practice, getting ready for hunting season, no doubt, and it is disturbing. Guns, ammunition, explosions, crashes, towers collapsing—why is there so much destruction when peace can surround us?

By the time I get home, Barranca is covered with pine needles. As my feet hit the solid earth, I feel grounded, as if I have somehow absorbed my horse’s sure-footedness and a powerful surge of energy moves through me, passing into my core.

 

 

 

To read more from RIDING BARRANCA by Laura Chester, CLICK HERE.

Top10

Working toward being a show-stopper in the show pen? Ready for the cheers, whistles, and hollers to take over as soon as you and your reining horse step through the in-gate? Here are TSB’s Top 10 Tips for riding better reining patterns.

 

Circles: Bend your horse’s body in a slight arc so you can see just a little bit of his inside eye.

Transitions: To speed up, lean your torso forward and lift your seat slightly out of the saddle (DON’T flap your arms!) To slow down, sit up straight and deeper into your “pockets”—the area of your behind near the back pockets of your jeans.

3  Rundowns and Sliding Stops: Time your “Whoa,” so it is when your horse reaches his peak speed in the rundown, and ask for the stop as the hind leg opposing the leading front leg is just leaving the ground.

Rollbacks: Use only the cueing leg, keeping your other leg completely off the horse to avoid confusing him. Lean forward slightly to avoid getting behind the motion and left in the dust—literally!

Spins: Look out over the tip of your horse’s outside ear—do not focus on it. And don’t look down! This will make you feel like the entire world is moving. Don’t rely on the hollers of the crowd to count your spins—watch the judge and use him as your point of reference as you keep track in your head.

6  Back-Ups: Stay out of your horse’s way. Don’t lean back or pull on your horse, or he’ll just pull right back. Come to a complete stop, lift your rein hand slightly and make contact with the bit, push your feet forward, and cluck. Bump the horse softly with your heels if necessary.

7  Hestitations: When a pattern calls for a hesitation between maneuvers, complete the first maneuver then effectively “pause”: keep your body still and take a deep breath or two before asking for the next. This demonstrates that your horse is waiting for your cue rather than anticipating.

Be Aware of Your Free Hand: Do not tense, curl, or flap your free arm during your pattern. Every movement in that limb can affect movement in the rest of your body. It also detracts from the overall picture you and your horse present.

Memorizing Patterns: Break the pattern into sections, rather than individual maneuvers. Write the summaries on index cards to keep in your pocket, and “ride the sections in your mind,” then double-check your accuracy on your flash cards.

10  Don’t Overpractice! It can be tempting to practice your pattern over and over, but this teaches your horse to anticipate the next maneuver before the one he is doing is complete. Practice one or two maneuvers during a practice session, and trust that when you do link them all together in competition, your hard work will pay off.

For more great reining, riding, and horsemanship tips, visit the TSB online bookstore, where shipping in the US is FREE.

CLICK HERE TO SHOP NOW

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CLICK IMAGE TO ORDER

 

Did you get our Thank You Coupon for our blog readers? If not, CLICK HERE to get a special discount on your next book or DVD purchase at www.horseandriderbooks.com.

 

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