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We at TSB are very honored to have been part of the team that brought the 7 CLINICS WITH BUCK BRANNAMAN DVD SET to life. Together with Director Cindy Meehl and Cedar Creek Productions, we immersed ourselves in this remarkable horseman’s world of working with horses and the people who want to be with them. Along the way, you can’t help but notice what a fine orator Brannaman is, and when you randomly pull snippets from his lessons, you find that every thought, even shared in a different venue, in a different state, at a different time, with different students, flows seamlessly into his overarching message. Here, then, find 20 of Buck Brannaman’s best quotes. When you’ve read them all, don’t be surprised if you feel like you learned a little something. Even after hearing them and reading them again and again, we still do.

 

“The essence of preparation is to position your horse to where the one thing that he’s most likely to do is exactly what you had in mind…which makes it a perfect time to ask him.”

2  “The horse needs to respect you, but sometimes people confuse respect and fear. And they’re not the same at all.”

3  “Make sure that every time you take a hold of the horse, you have a point; you have a legitimate reason for doing it rather than it just being accidental or you not being aware.”

4  “When riding, ask yourself, ‘What will my horse get out of this if I get what I want?’ Many times, human nature is to take and to not give anything back.“

5  “It’s just like learning how to dance with another human being. You might think you’re really getting something done when you’ve both mastered the hokey-pokey, but depending on how much you want to dance and your passion for dancing, you’re probably going to work your way through the hokey-pokey and move on to something else.”

6  “I don’t believe in waiting for a horse to do the wrong thing and then punishing him after the fact. You can’t just say ‘No’ to a horse. You have to redirect a negative behavior with a positive one—something that works for both of you. It’s as though you’re saying, ‘Instead of doing that, we can do this…together.’”

7  “Fear has to do with helplessness. The only thing that conquers it is knowledge. When you learn about how a horse thinks and makes decisions, that helplessness goes away.”

8  “I’m just trying to get people to understand horses. You have to be consistent and logical, use your brain, and not be emotional and not lose your temper.”

9  “Feel for the horse. I can’t stress how important this is.”

10  “Respect the fact that he’s thinking, that he’s searching… if he ever found that out about you, he wouldn’t dream of bucking you off.”

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11  “You can be a leader without being intimidating. The horse can be your partner without being your slave. I’m trying to keep the best part of the horse in there. I’m not trying to take anything away from him.”

12  “The horse isn’t so different from us. In order to learn, you have to make mistakes. Then you recalibrate, make a decision, try something different, and try again.”

13  “To me, there’s nothing more beautiful than seeing a horse think…and someone allowing a horse to think.”

14  “The idea with a horse is when you see things going in the wrong direction, then you redirect his mind. You don’t wait for him to get into trouble…you try to keep him out of trouble.”

15  “A lot of people, they want it all to be fuzzy and warm and cosmic, but it’s no different with a horse than with a kid…You can’t always be the kid’s best friend. First you have to be the parent.”

16  “You can be strict, but that doesn’t mean you have to be unfair.”

17  “The horse responds to comfort, they respond to peace better than about anything else you could do. So if the horse responds to you and you give him a little peace and comfort that means more to him than anything.”

18  “Where you end up your ride on a horse is so important. It’s a little bit like when you were young and you were dating—that last two minutes of the date can be a real deal breaker. With these horses it’s the same thing…You got to quit on a good note.”

19  “I’ve always wanted to do the right thing by a horse, that’s never changed, its just that as my knowledge grew I’ve been able to offer the horse a better human being.”

20  “I’m still on the move, I’m getting better because I’m still studying. I still want to be a better horseman.”

7 CLINICS WITH BUCK BRANNAMAN is available from the TSB online bookstore, where shipping in the US is FREE.

CLICK HERE to order now.

 

Trafalgar Square Books, the leading publisher of equestrian books and DVDs, is a small business based on a farm in rural Vermont.

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Do you relish that extra five or ten minutes in bed each morning, snuggling down for a bit more slumber after the alarm goes off (for the first time)? Are your favorite social hours well after dark, with a couple drinks, dinner, and television or movies keeping your eyes open and brain ticking until close to (or after!) midnight? It has become very clear in TSB’s “Horseworld by the Hour” blog series that the horse professional’s day starts early and ends early: When you’re in the tack or teaching for a living, you rise with (or well before) the sun, and value your bedtime as soon as you can get it!

TSB continues seeing “what’s up” in the life of our top authors in one 24-hour period, this week with Superhorseman (top level eventer, dressage rider, and jumper rider) Doug Payne, whose new book THE RIDING HORSE REPAIR MANUAL was released in April. How did Doug get so good? The man rides A LOT of horses! Our leg muscles are sore just reading his schedule. Check it out:

 

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A TYPICAL “HOT” MONDAY

4:30 a.m. Alarm goes off and the automatic coffee maker gets going. When the temperatures are in the mid 90’s or higher, we prefer to get an early start, keeping the horses welfare in mind.

5:00 a.m. Feed the dogs (Nolin and Bacon) and eat breakfast. Jess (my wife) and I are big fans of breakfast (well, of food in general, for that matter). Our usual is two eggs over medium with three strips of maple bacon and a slice of toast along with fresh OJ—all made at home.

5:15 a.m. Leave for the barn.

5:30 a.m. We arrive at the barn. On hot days I try to be on the first horse by 5:30. On typical days, Michelle Novak my groom has the first horse tacked and ready to go as we pull in.

Ryder, Michelle’s German Shepherd, is the first to greet us as we arrive. He can hardly wait for the door to open and Bacon (our dog, not our breakfast) to roll out. Of course this is soon followed by Nolin, the 3-pound Chihuahua, who is not far behind, barking after the two of them. The “fun police” have arrived.

Michelle always fills in Jess and I regarding updates on any medical conditions or farm issues that may have arisen overnight. Nothing significant today…

As for the order of horses. I like to ride the most consuming (time and concentration) horses first. 90 percent of the time that means they tend to go in order of descending levels, with experienced horses first and the babies last to go. This always is subject to some variation mid-day and beyond, based on turnout schedule, farrier, and anything else. But the first few are almost always the same. Today I’m riding 10 horses total with one lesson shipping in during the afternoon. The number of horses varies at different times during the year, but in general I ride between 10 and 15 a day, on average.

Tali (Crown Talisman owned by myself and Larry and Amelia Ross) is first on this list today—he is just coming back into work after a well deserved vacation following the Saumur CCI*** in France at the end of May. [Editor’s note: Doug and Tali were named to the USEF 2014 Eventing High Performance Summer/Fall Training List as a World Class Combination.]

 

Doug and "Tali" clearing a ditch. Photo by Shannon Brinkman from THE RIDING HORSE REPAIR MANUAL.

Doug and “Tali” clearing a ditch. Photo by Shannon Brinkman from THE RIDING HORSE REPAIR MANUAL.

 

6:45 a.m. Big Leo (Lysander owned by myself and Kristin Michaloski). Today is Monday, and generally all our horses will do dressage today. Fitness work is generally Tuesdays and Saturdays, and the ones who jump would generally do so on Thursdays.

7:35 a.m. Little Leo (Cellar Door owned by Jane Dudinsky). Flatwork—he was quite good today so we ended up in the ring for only 25 minutes or so and then went for a short walk.

8:15 a.m.  Snack time: Power Bar and water. In consultation with the US Olympic Committee’s nutrition experts, I try to make sure to get 15 to 20 grams of protein roughly five to six times a day.

8:20 a.m.  Rio (Cossino Rio owned by myself and Fred and Wendy Luce). Flat.

9:00 a.m. Eli (Eli owned by Mike Rubin). We primarily did flatwork, but with some cavalletti and small bounces intertwined. I’m constantly working to get him a little quicker and more responsive to allow for quicker more balanced turns and a consistent rhythm when jumping.

9:45 a.m.  Rex (Lisnahall Imperier owned by the Virtus-DPE Syndicate). Flat

10:35 a.m.  Prodigy (Royal Tribute owned by myself, Kristen Burgers, and Larry and Amelia Ross). Flat.

11:15 a.m. Lunch: Grilled chicken sandwich and a few fries with water.

 

Click the image to listen to Doug Payne on the Whoa Podcast--a super interview!

Click the image to listen to Doug Payne on the Whoa Podcast–a super interview!

 

11:30 a.m.  Bear (owned by Eliza Woolf). Flat.

12:10 p.m.  Eva (owned by Katie Imhof). Flat.

1:00 p.m.  Annabelle (Absaluut Annabelle owned by Jane Dudinsky). Flat.

2:00 p.m.  I give my ship-in lesson, and have a Power Bar and water.

2:45 p.m.  Wrap up lesson and get together with Michelle to figure out a plan for tomorrow, as well as get a list of supplies that are needed for the barn (detergent, etc).

3:15 p.m.  Leave the barn and head home to clean up.

3:40 p.m.  Run upstairs for a shower, followed by a quick episode of NCIS (or often ESPN’s PTI from the night before) while surfing the web, then a nap.

5:00 p.m. Wake up and return emails and calls.

6:00 p.m.  Jess and I head out to meet up with a few friends for dinner at the local hangout bar in Apex.

7:45 p.m. Return home, feed the dogs, and get ready for bed.

8:00 p.m.  Hop into bed and turn on a some more NCIS, which I inevitably see the first 10 minutes of before falling asleep. There’s nothing better than going to bed early! We oftentimes try to get to bed this early, and while we do not often succeed, I do plan for at least eight hours when at all possible. If I can work out nine hours of sleep, that is preferable. Without enough sleep I’m just not quite as sharp for the second half of the day.

 

Doug’s book THE RIDING HORSE REPAIR MANUAL is available from the TSB online bookstore, where shipping in the US is FREE.

CLICK HERE TO ORDER NOW

CLICK IMAGE TO ORDER

CLICK IMAGE TO ORDER

 

Click these links to check out 24 Hours in the Life of Dressage Judge Janet Foy and 24 Hours in the Life of Horseman Clinton Anderson for more of the inside scoop from TSB’s top authors.

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WPTZ Channel 5 News Anchor George Mallet and his OTTB Brahma Fear.

WPTZ Channel 5 News Anchor George Mallet and his OTTB Brahma Fear.

George Mallet is something of a local celebrity to those of us who live and work in Vermont. Our WPTZ News Channel 5 anchor offers a familiar and comforting presence as he counsels us on the day’s occurrences from our television, computer, or mobile device.

But for those of us at TSB, there’s something important that sets George apart from other news personalities: He’s a horseman. And his horse of choice is an off-the-track Thoroughbred.

In 2005, George was working as a television reporter in Philadelphia when he heard that a grandson of Secretariat had been born in Pennsylvania’s Chester County, and he decided to chronicle the little colt’s arrival. While George’s crew took photographs for the story, the colt—named Brahma Fear—pressed up against George’s leg.

“I scratched the distinctive Secretariat white star on his forehead,” George writes in his October 2010 article in the Journal Sentinel. “…A paternal instinct overtook me as I stood in that lush Pennsylvania paddock. I was a goner.”

George followed the trajectory of Brahma Fear’s racing career, and as is the case with so many young Thoroughbreds, by the summer of 2009, Brahma was losing cheap claiming races. In August that same year, George found himself writing a check and handing it to the colt’s trainer.

“I paid more for my laptop computer than I paid for a grandson of the legendary Secretariat,” he writes.

It isn’t often we can so clearly see how a single, fleeting moment can change the course of a life—or of lives—forever. But in the now intertwined stories of George and Brahma, there’s nowhere else to look but at that tender exchange of touch and pressure, the briefest of communications between species, in a spring pasture.

We love that George rediscovered a childhood interest in horses late in his life, taking up riding only after he traced the faint pattern of hair on an as yet unknown colt’s forehead. It speaks to the most romantic of hearts that he then kept tabs on the young Thoroughbred’s whereabouts…the horse’s starts and finishes, his victories and losses. And we can’t help but fall a little bit in love with how it all turned out.

“Sometimes I marvel at how lucky I was to end up with Brahma,” says George. “I really knew nothing when I grabbed him off the track. I only had the memory of meeting him as a foal and just ‘melting’ when he pressed up against me. When I did that story on his birth, I wasn’t even riding yet. I broke all the rules. Green riders aren’t supposed to adopt green-broke thoroughbred racehorses. Yet somehow I ended up with a remarkably calm, smart, and appreciative thoroughbred pal!”

A true OTTB success story! Check out more about George and Brahma in this great video from Seven Days:

 

 

Trafalgar Square Books is proud of its own OTTB success story: In the books CROWN PRINCE and CROWN PRINCE CHALLENGED, young Sarah Wagner rescues a rogue racehorse and then must find a way to keep him, against all odds. Here’s an excerpt from the first book in the exciting new Brookmeade Young Riders Series:

For several moments Sarah and the horse stood looking at each other. Then she lifted the stall door’s latch and let herself inside. As Crown Prince retreated to the corner, she reached back over the door to lower the latch back into position. Slowly she approached the horse, all the while talking softly. “Good boy, good Prince,” she repeated. Once by his side, she reached to touch his long neck and stroke it gently. His coat felt like sleek satin. He turned his head toward her, seeming to know she meant him no harm…

“You beautiful Prince,” she murmured. As Sarah stroked his neck and continued to speak in hushed tones, she felt the horse become more relaxed. His head dropped down to her and gradually his eyes softened, as he clearly enjoyed her touch and gentle voice. He offered no resistance as she gently pulled his head closer and rested her cheek on his muzzle. It was so soft. With his head lowered, she caressed his forehead, tracing the white star, and gently tugged his ears. She felt like she’d known this horse forever.

CROWN PRINCE and CROWN PRINCE CHALLENGED are available from the TSB online bookstore, where shipping in the US is always FREE.

CLICK HERE TO ORDER

You can meet Linda Snow McLoon, the author of the Brookmeade Young Riders Series, on Saturday, March 29, 2014, at a special presentation sponsored by the Granby Public Library and the Granby Pony Club, in Granby, Connecticut. Click here for more information on this event.

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