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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!

 

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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.

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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.

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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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As we cross into the land of “hundreds of thousands” of faithful blog readers, TSB just wants to say thank you! We hope your visits to the TSB blog provide you great riding, training, and horse-care tips, as well as information about exciting equine events around the world, fun glimpses behind-the-barn-doors in the lives of top riders and horse experts, and up-close-and-personal interviews and features with our amazingly diverse, talented, and experienced authors.

Trafalgar Square Books and our online storefront www.HorseandRiderBooks.com remains devoted to providing horse lovers everywhere with the very best in riding and horsemanship education. As a thank you for visiting us as you further your equestrian skills and knowledge, please use this coupon on your next book or DVD purchase:

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Who hasn’t struggled with walk-to-canter transitions sometime in his or her riding life? While our earliest engagements with walk-to-faster-FASTER-FASTER trots can be owed to short legs, lack of riding experience, and smart ponies, later on it is generally a fault (or two) in our aiding or position, and poor preparation of the horse for what’s necessary: activity of his hind end and the “lift” he needs to get his legs and body in order so the desired transition is actually biomechanically possible.

Here’s one exercise from CREATIVE DRESSAGE SCHOOLING, the new book by FN-licensed trainer and instructor Julia Kohl, that helps us, and our horses, get organized and fit for seamless walk-to-canter transitions.

 

LEG-YIELD CENTERLINE TO TRACK AND CANTER

Where You Go
Ride in walk, tracking right, onto the short side, and turn up the centerline. Leg-yield your horse off the right leg toward the track. (Note: The leg-yield should begin in the first third of the centerline.) Upon reaching the track, ride a transition to right lead canter.

Why You Do It
This exercise helps prepare the horse for the transition from walk to canter. The horse is suppled on the inside (right) rein, the inside flexion improves, and the horse is “sent into” the outside (left) rein making it possible for the rider to soften the inside rein in the moment of the canter transition. This allows the horse’s inside hind leg to reach forward, well under the horse’s body, with good activity in the transition. (Just to clarify: The outside hind is the first leg to strike off in the canter depart.)

 

Leg-Yield Centerline to Track and Canter--an exercise from CREATIVE DRESSAGE SCHOOLING.

Leg-Yield Centerline to Track and Canter–an exercise from CREATIVE DRESSAGE SCHOOLING by Julia Kohl.

 

Here’s How
1 Ride at the walk, tracking right, and when you come onto the short side of the arena, turn up the centerline at A or C.

2 Ride a few steps straight on the centerline before beginning to leg-yield to the left—off your right leg. If you leg-yield directly out of the turn, the horse may “fall through” his outside (left) shoulder.

3 Increase the weight on your right (inside) seat bone, along with the use of your forward-and-sideways driving right leg to send your horse forward and to the left. Give and take on the right rein to flex your horse to the right.

4 When necessary, use your left rein and left “guarding” leg to keep your horse’s left shoulder and haunches from falling too much to the left. As a reminder, your horse’s body should remain nearly parallel to the track as he moves, with this forehand leading just slightly.

5 When you reach the track on the long side of the arena, end the leg-yield. Use your left (outside) leg to prevent the horse from stepping further sideways. Return your right (inside) leg to the girth and continue to drive the horse into the outside rein, maintaining a minimal inside flexion. Your right seat bone should remain more heavily weighted than the left, but it now “swings” in a forward direction rather than forward-and-sideways. Even when you are riding in an arena with a wall or fence that prevents the horse from continuing the leg-yield, it is important to actively use the aids to end the leg-yield in order to prepare for the canter transition that comes next in this exercise. These aids should be ideally applied in one step while also giving a half-halt.

6 Become passive for a brief moment with the driving aids, then ask the horse to canter by pushing your right (inside) seat bone forward, sliding your left (outside) leg back, and giving on the right (inside) rein concurrently. It is important that you do not lose focus after completing the leg-yield (Step 5), because then the “positive tension” that the horse has built up as he moved from the centerline to the track will go to waste.

7 Send your horse forward in the canter by driving with your right leg, not your left (inside leg, not outside). Overuse of the outside leg in canter sends the horse’s haunches to the inside. If there is a mirror in the corner on the short side of the arena, it is easy to check if your horse’s haunches have fallen in as you canter down the track toward it.

8 Repeat this exercise a few times in each direction.

 

For 55, detailed, meaningful exercises to make schooling your horse interesting, fun, and productive for you both, check out CREATIVE DRESSAGE SCHOOLING by Julia Kohl, available now from the TSB online bookstore, where shipping in the US is FREE.

 

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If we are lucky, we find a way to construct our lives around the things we love most, and if we’re blessed, we get to do those things for many, many years. Heather Smith Thomas, prolific writer and author of GOOD HORSE, BAD HABITS, illustrates this ideal so well–at 70, she is still at her desk typing in the wee hours before chores need to be done, and in the saddle moving cattle a large part of each day. Hers may not be an “easy” life in comparison to some, but it is one filled with the joys of family, beautiful landscapes, and of course, horses.

As part of the TSB “Horseworld by the Hour” series, Heather shares with us the details of one typically busy, but utterly satisfying, summer day.

 

24hrHST

 

A TYPICAL SUMMER DAY IN IDAHO

5:00 a.m.  At this time of day I am usually at my typewriter, typing a phone interview taped the day before, or creating an article or story about horses or cattle. I write for several horse magazines and a lot of farm and livestock publications, so I am often doing phone interviews with people all over the country, on various topics.

5:30 a.m.  I have an assignment to do an article for The American Farrier’s Journal on the value of apprenticeships and mentoring programs, so I send e-mails to a few of my favorite farriers around the country, to see if I can line up interviews with them on this topic.

6:30 a.m.  If it’s winter, I am still typing at this hour. If it’s early April, I may be heading out to check on the calving cows if I see one in labor (looking out the window with spotlight and binoculars, checking the maternity pen near our house). Right now, however, it’s summer, and daylight enough for me to go out and feed my horses. We have 7 horses. Rubbie (27 year old ¾ Arab mare) and Veggie (28 year old 7/8 Arab gelding) are now retired, as of this year, after putting in many years and miles as ranch horses and then kid horses for my grandchildren. Breezy, a 23-year-old Morgan mare, has been my daughter’s best cowhorse for nearly 20 years. Ed is a 20-something grade mare (part Arab) that has been a good cowhorse and now a mount for my 9-year-old granddaughter. Sprout is an 8-year-old Quarter Horse mare that my daughter rides. Dottie is a 4-year-old Morgan mare that I’m riding and training, and Willow is a 2-year-old Morgan filly just starting in training.

7:00 a.m.  When I get in from chores I grab a roast out of the freezer to put in the slow cooker. The roast is from an old cow named Freddie that we butchered last fall, and the meat will be much more tender if it cooks all day. I also quickly make some Jello—adding a can of fruit and a couple bananas.

7:30 a.m.   A quick breakfast (mixing 3 or 4 different kinds of dry cereal, with a banana on top), then back to typing.

8:00 a.m.  If it’s winter, my husband Lynn and I are out doing morning chores by this hour, and then feeding the cows (me driving the feed truck and him feeding off the hay). Morning chores start later because it’s dark so long, and take longer in winter because we are feeding the horses, feeding the group of heifers in the field below the barn, breaking ice out of the horse’s water tubs and refilling them, breaking ice on the creek for the cows, etc.

8:30 a.m.  At this time of morning I am often hurrying back to the house to do a phone interview. Sometimes I’m doing an interview earlier than this, if I’m talking to someone back East (2 hours ahead of us). I may be talking with a researcher at a university for an article about the latest findings on a horse or cattle disease, or reasons for early pregnancy loss in mares, or ways to collect semen from injured bulls. I might be talking with a farrier (this week I’m doing an article on club foot in horses) or a rancher (I’m writing an article on the benefits of low-stress cattle handling, and another article on various weaning methods for calves). One of the most interesting things about being a freelance writer is the many topics I write about and the things I learn from all the people I talk to.

9:30 a.m.  My daughter and a couple of my grandchildren have driven down to our place from their house on the hill above our hayfield, and are now getting their horses brushed and saddled, to ride with me. Nine-year-old Dani is proud to be able to catch, brush and saddle Ed by herself, and clean out her feet.

10:00 a.m.  We are riding through our hill pasture, checking our cows and calves. We’ve found most of the cows but are missing a bunch of calves. When we get to the top of the pasture, Dani is delighted to find that her favorite cow, Maggie, is babysitting 11 calves while their mamas are on the other side of the mountain, grazing. Dani tells me the ear tag numbers of all the calves so I can mark them off on the list in my little “cow book” that I always carry in my back pocket.

10:30 a.m.  We’ve seen all the cows and calves, to make sure they are all there, and healthy, so we go out through the top gate onto the range to make a loop through that range pasture to see if we can find some stray cows.

11:00 a.m.  Our range neighbors gathered and moved their cattle a few days ago, but missed a dozen pairs. We’ve found them at “Antelope” trough, so we start moving them around the hill toward the pasture where they belong. We let 11-year-old Samantha (riding Breezy) follow the cows on the main trail, and the rest of our horses scramble through the rocks and brush to gather the outlying cattle.

Breezy has only one eye, but manages very nicely in the mountains. She developed a cancerous growth on her left eyeball last fall and we opted to have the eye surgically removed so the cancer wouldn’t spread. Our vet removed the eye in late December and we spent the next weeks changing bandages as it started to heal. We kept it covered and protected from the cold weather for several months, using a fly mask with 2 layers of denim sewn onto that side to cover that part of her face. It was fully healed by this spring, and we started riding her again. We’re hoping that by removing the cancer (a growth that would have metastasized and killed her) she will have several more good years and can continue to be a good horse for Sam.

Breezy knows all the trails in our mountains after checking and chasing cows out there for many years, and has always been an agile cowhorse. In handling Breezy this summer, Sam has become more conscientious in her horse handling and riding, and is learning how to think ahead and be careful to not get close to obstacles on Breezy’s blind side. Watching that pair, you’d never know the mare had only one eye.

 

Heather Smith Thomas began shoeing her own horses when she was 14--here she shoes one of her ranch horses in the seventies.

Heather Smith Thomas began shoeing her own horses when she was 14–here she shoes one of her ranch horses in the seventies.

 

11:30 a.m.  My daughter Andrea trots on ahead as we bring the little herd around the mountain, so she can hurry down the steep slope to open the gate into the middle range pasture. The kids and I bring the herd. This is good experience for the green mare that I’m riding; she hasn’t had much interaction with cattle yet. The grandkids are proud to be able to help hold the herd together, learning how to be good little cowgirls. Dani trots Ed through the tall sagebrush to head some wayward pairs the right direction, and the cattle funnel down the steep trail to the gate—where Andrea keeps them from going on down the canyon and heads them through the gate.

12:00 p.m.  Now we are trotting toward home. On another day we might take a lunch and make a longer loop through the middle range pasture, checking gates, fences and water troughs, but today I need to get home to do a couple more phone interview this afternoon, and the girls want their mom to take them to town to the swimming pool.

12:30 p.m.  We are putting the horses away in their pens, except for Sprout and Ed. We’ll let Sprout “mow” the backyard for a while first, and Ed is grazing the tall grass by my hay shed. Rather than mow the tall grass (that would soon be a fire hazard after it dries out), we’re letting the horses eat it. This serves a double purpose because we are running low on hay and won’t have our new crop baled and stacked until late July. I’m currently letting the two retired horses (Rubbie and Veggie) graze the pens around our calving barn. This is saving hay and is good for the old horses (with their old teeth they do better on green grass than on hay), and utilizes the tall grass around the barn and in the maternity pens. Later, I’ll move these old horses to our ditchbank “pasture” above the house, to let the grass regrow in the barnyard pens—so it will be lush and green when we put our calves in there to wean in October. We wean them there, right next to their mamas in the field below the barn, where they have fenceline contact with their mamas and are not as distressed.

1:00 p.m.  My husband and I have a quick lunch (leftovers from the pot of chili I cooked yesterday). I usually cook a big meal in the evenings so we can have enough left for an instant lunch the next day when everyone is too busy to cook. We can grab lunch whenever it’s convenient—whether it’s 11:30 a.m. (maybe after I finish a phone interview and my husband gets done irrigating, and before he drives to town–12 miles—to get the mail and groceries and tractor parts) or at 2:00 or 3:00 p.m. after I get home from a range ride. If I’m too late getting home, he can help himself to the leftovers!

1:30 p.m.  I lie down for a quick rest. At age 70, I don’t have the endurance I used to, and it’s hard to get everything done unless I take a little break after lunch. Sometimes grandma doesn’t get a nap, however, if I’m out riding range with my daughter or grandkids through most of the day.

2:00 p.m.  Another phone interview, this time talking with a veterinarian in Virginia who has done several years’ research on back problems in horses, looking at better ways to diagnose and treat them.

2:30 p.m.  My oldest granddaughter (Heather Carrie Thomas, age 23) arrives to work with Willow, and I watch out my window while doing the phone interview. I bought Willow as a weaned foal 2 years ago this fall, along with her half-sister Dottie (then 2 years old), to be future horses for Dani and Sam. Andrea and I spent time that fall and winter gentling the two Morgan fillies and leading them a lot. Last summer young Heather started Dottie under saddle for me and then I rode her for 5 months–until it got too icy in December. Now young Heather is working with Willow. She’s done a lot of groundwork with this filly and has started riding her. At my age it’s nice to have a granddaughter help start these young horses!

3:00 p.m.  One more interview, with a family that has a pasture dairy in southern Idaho and sells their milk products (including fresh-made ice cream) through their own farm store.

3:30 p.m.  I talk with my granddaughter Heather about Willow’s progress.

4:00 p.m.  Typing interviews. I usually spend 6 to 10 hours a day at my writing—during whatever time I am not working with the cattle or horses. My writing has become a full-time job that I can do at odd hours. My husband and I had 180 cows for more than 30 years, but during the past dozen years or so, we’ve sold most of our cows to our son and his family to help them get started in ranching. Now my husband and I have just a small herd, and depend more on my writing income than the cattle income.

4:30 p.m.  If it were winter I’d be going out to do chores before dark, but right now I can keep typing.

6:00 p.m.  I peel some potatoes to cook while I’m doing the horse chores.

6:30 p.m.  Evening chores are simple and quick, just feeding the horses in their pens, since I watered them during morning chores.

7:00 p.m.  Supper is roast beef, gravy and potatoes, with Jello and green beans.

7:30 p.m.  My son Michael comes down here from his house on the upper place, to put new shoes on Sprout in the cool of the evening, and I hold her for him to shoe. Sprout is a horse we bought 2 years ago, and when we got her she was very resistant to having her feet handled, let alone shod. After a season of working with her (and my son shoeing her for me), she became much more at ease and better behaved, but I still prefer to have my son shoe her. If Ed or Breezy’s feet get a bit long I may reset their shoes myself because those horses are easy to shoe. I’ve been shoeing my own horses since I was 14, but now it’s kind of nice to let my son do most of the shoeing!

8:30 p.m.  We finish with Sprout and I put iodine on her soles (to toughen them up so she won’t become tenderfooted traveling through the rocks tomorrow when we ride) and put her back in her pen.

9:00 p.m.  To bed, even though it’s still daylight, since I always get up early. Once in a while my husband and I watch a movie in the evenings (we enjoy a good drama, romance, suspense or comedy if it has a good plot and good acting), but tonight it’s too late and we’re too tired.

4:00 a.m.  At my computer again. I like to do a lot of my typing in the early mornings before the day’s activities. There are no interruptions this time of day, and also my brain is MUCH fresher than it is in the late afternoon or evening!

 

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Heather Smith Thomas’ new book GOOD HORSE, BAD HABITS is available from the TSB online bookstore, where shipping in the US is FREE.

CLICK HERE TO SHOP NOW

 

And check out all the top riders, trainers, and equine experts we’ve featured in our “Horseworld by the Hour” series:

LYNN PALM

DANIEL STEWART

DOUG PAYNE

JANET FOY

CLINTON ANDERSON

 

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