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Vanessa Bee's new book OVER, UNDER, THROUGH will help you and your horse enjoy many safe autumn rides together.

Vanessa Bee’s new book OVER, UNDER, THROUGH will help you and your horse enjoy many safe autumn rides together.

Vanessa Bee, founder of the International Horse Agility Club and author of the bestselling books THE HORSE AGILITY HANDBOOK and 3-MINUTE HORSEMANSHIP, now has a brand new way to bring us more of her down-to-earth, easy-to-use horse training skills: OVER, UNDER, THROUGH: OBSTACLE TRAINING FOR HORSES provides Vanessa’s 6 Blueprint Exercises and 50 step-by-step scenarios for teaching horses to accept what they usually think is terrifying.

So what’s all this have to do with Disney’s Dumbo and his “magic feather”? Well, in her new book, Vanessa contends that although we can try and see the world from a horse’s viewpoint, as humans who can think abstractly, it can be very confusing for us as we experience our horses behaving in what often seems to be the most illogical fashion. (Yes, she means when he shies at the same fallen log on the same trail for the umpteenth-millionth time.) If we learn to put our ability to visualize an outcome without actually doing it physically to work, and if we do it in a positive way, there’s no end to what we can accomplish with our horses.

“I am well known in the horse world as having an aversion to whips,” writes Vanessa in OVER, UNDER, THROUGH. “I can see no place for them around any animal. What I do see is when people pick up a whip, their energy and their attitude change. They are no longer quiet communicators setting up scenarios in which the horse has time to seek an answer. There is a feeling of hardness, of demanding, of threat.

“I call whips ‘Dumbo’s Magic Feather.’ Dumbo, you may recall, was a really cute baby elephant who did not believe that he could fly. One day he was given a magic feather that he was told held the special magic he needed to fly. Once he was holding the magic feather he was able to take flight by flapping his fabulous ears. But, just when he needed it most, Dumbo lost the feather and, in a terrifying scene, he found himself plummeting to earth at disastrous speed.

“But his guide implored him, ‘Fly, Dumbo!’ for he knew the magic was not in the feather. The magic was within the little elephant himself! And Dumbo flew!

“The whip has become like a magic feather to riders. It is time to believe that the magic is not in the whip. Be empowered; the magic is within yourself. That human ability to visualize can help you achieve anything you truly want to do.”

 

 

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For Vanessa Bee’s “keep it simple” training exercises, check out OVER, UNDER, THROUGH, available now from the TSB online bookstore, where shipping in the US is FREE.

CLICK HERE for more information or to download a free sample chapter.

 

Trafalgar Square Books, the leading publisher of horse books and DVDs, is a small, privately owned company based on a farm in rural Vermont.

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We like to think we have all the time in the world to spend with our horses...but the reality is, we have lists of things to do and an alarm waiting to tell us it's time to do them.

We like to think we have all the time in the world to spend with our horses…but the reality is, we have lists of things to do and an alarm waiting to tell us it’s time to do them.

 

TSB is THRILLED to introduce two new books that provide easy-to-do lessons that will improve your riding, your horsemanship, and your horse…and hold your horses, folks…all it takes is 3 to 5 minutes a day!

How can this be? If there is any “one thing” the great horsemanship mentors preach en masse it is to be patient, to give your horse time, to avoid rushing, ignore deadlines, and blow off dinner dates in order to ensure you end on a “positive note.” Okay, so that all reads like more than “one thing,” but in our technologically tick-tocking modern-day existence, it all boils down to the little alarm on our phones, and I’m willing to bet that when it comes to most of us, that alarm is reminding us that we don’t actually have all the time in the world to play with our horses.

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Rest easy, folks! We can, in fact, still work with horses in a safe and conscientious manner, even when time sure ain’t on our side. And Vanessa Bee, founder of the International Horse Agility Club and author of THE HORSE AGILITY HANDBOOK, is back to tell us how with a whole new concept for achieving big changes in your horsemanship and your horse by starting very small.

In her new book 3-MINUTE HORSEMANSHIP: 60 Amazingly Achievable Lessons to Improve Your Horse (and Yourself) When Time Is Short Vanessa shows how it really is possible to carry out good quality, progressive training with a horse in only three minutes a day. She gives readers groundwork and ridden exercises, with each lesson intended to need only three minutes to be effective. Then Vanessa links together her 3-Minute Exercises to demonstrate how all the “small lessons” come together when you need them to, so you and your horse are fully prepared to deal with all kinds of “real life scenarios” in a safe and sane way.

Intrigued? Check out the excerpt from 3-MINUTE HORSEMANSHIP in the February issue of Equus Magazine to find out more, or CLICK HERE NOW to order.

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CLICK TO ORDER

And wait, there’s more! Wendy Murdoch’s 40 5-MINUTE JUMPING FIXES: Simple Solutions to Better Jumping Performance—In No Time is the follow-up to her wildly popular bestseller 50 5-MINUTE FIXES TO IMPROVE YOUR RIDING. In her new book, Wendy provides more of her cleverly conceived and uniquely effective “Fixes” so that readers can achieve better balance in the saddle, improve their body control from head to toe, and increase their influence with their seat. These tips and tricks can make a difference for any rider, whether you simply trot cavalletti in the schooling ring and hop small logs on the trail, or train to compete in the hunter, jumper, or equitation ring.

You can read a featured lesson from 40 5-MINUTE JUMPING FIXES in the February issue of Practical Horseman Magazine, or CLICK HERE NOW to order.

Equus and Practical Horseman are available wherever quality equestrian magazines are sold.

 

Trafalgar Square Books is the leading publisher of horse books and DVDs. Visit our online bookstore www.HorseandRiderBooks.com where shipping in the US is FREE.

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In this lesson from THE HORSE AGILITY HANDBOOK, trainer and founder of the International Horse Agility Club Vanessa Bee helps us learn not to pull on our horse (so he, in turn, doesn’t pull on us!) with an easy exercise to try with a friend at home or at the barn.

 

I can lead my horse Secret with a loose lead rope—she “reads” me for direction rather than relying on a tug of the lead rope.

I can lead my horse Secret with a loose lead rope—she “reads” me for direction rather than relying on a tug of the lead rope.

 

Have you ever tried to pull a horse along by the lead rope? Hard work, isn’t it? That’s because when you pull on a horse, he pulls back against you. However, it’s very easy to train a horse to stop pulling on you—just stop pulling on him. It takes two to pull! When you ask the horse to walk with you, it should feel as if he’s “floating along” on the end of the lead rope. However, he’ll never do this if you pull on him because he will always look for the lead rope to “guide” him rather than “read” the handler for direction.

By starting off with a polite request and increasing the pressure very slightly until the horse gives to that pressure—and then rewarding him by releasing instantly—you can train the horse to move quietly and softly on a loose lead.

 

The “Learning Not to Pull” Game: Human to Human

1  Find a friend and hold a lead rope between you. The person holding the clip end is the “horse” and the person at the other end is the “handler.” (It doesn’t matter who is the “horse” first because you can swap positions later.) The “horse” may find it easier to close her eyes in order to feel communication traveling down the rope.

2  The rope should be slack with no feeling of a connection between “handler” and “horse.” The “handler” then lifts and shortens the rope slowly until the “horse” can feel a connection.

 

Lucy (left) is the horse and Vanessa (right) is the handler. Vanessa "invites" her "horse" to walk toward her.

Lucy (left) is the horse and Vanessa (right) is the handler. Vanessa “invites” her “horse” to walk toward her with a little squeeze on the rope.

 

3  The “handler” then puts a tiny squeeze on the rope, inviting the “horse” to walk towards her. The aim is for the human players to see how little pressure is needed to communicate the human request to the horse. (You will be amazed how tiny this feel can be—when a real horse is trained to look for these tiny signals, communication between horse and handler becomes almost invisible.)

4  The willing “horse” feels the squeeze and walks. As soon as the “handler” feels the “horse” give to the pressure, the “handler” must release, too. If she doesn’t, there is no reward for the “horse,” who may well just pull back.

5  You can enact various real-life scenarios: a pulling horse, a “stuck” horse, an easy horse. Start the game again, but this time the “horse” doesn’t immediately walk but pulls back a tiny bit. The “handler” must hold on without pulling harder because that may well cause the “horse” to pull harder, and I can tell you, a real horse will win!

 

Lucy and Vanessa switch roles. Vanessa, the "horse," closes her eyes to really feel Lucy communicating with her through the lead rope.

Lucy and Vanessa switch roles. Vanessa, the “horse,” closes her eyes to really feel Lucy communicating with her through the lead rope.

 

6  Try that next: Start the game again, only this time when the “horse” answers the squeeze and walks forward, the “handler” just goes on pulling. Ask the “horse” how she felt about it. Ninety-nine times out of a hundred, the “horse” will say she wanted to pull back. Whenever the horse gives to pressure, the handler must release instantly.

7  Take turns watching each other as the “handler,” and notice what you do before you squeeze the rope. This is the beginning of the “horse” reading the “handler’s” body language instead of being guided by the rope.

 

Now Take What You Learned and Play with a Real Horse!

To prepare the horse to walk forward on the lead:

1  Raise your energy level (to get his attention), run your hand down the rope to set up a vibration, lean forward into the direction of the movement, lift the rope, and point in the direction you want him to go. Using very little pressure on the rope, ask him to walk with you.

2  When he takes the first step, release the pressure on the rope and take a step, too. You will find that you are walking together with a loose rope. Stay relaxed but focus on the speed and direction of the walk while remaining aware of the horse. The lead rope between you and the horse should remain loose—it is only there as a “safety belt”—it is not for dragging the horse. Walk with intention, looking forward to where you want to go.

 

THE HORSE AGILITY HANDBOOK is available from the TSB online bookstore, where shipping in the US is FREE.

CLICK HERE TO ORDER

 

 

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And watch for the NEW BOOK coming from Vanessa Bee! 3-MINUTE HORSEMANSHIP: 60 AMAZINGLY ACHIEVABLE LESSONS TO IMPROVE YOUR HORSE (AND YOURSELF) WHEN TIME IS SHORT will be released in February 2014.

CLICK HERE TO PRE-ORDER 3-MINUTE HORSEMANSHIP NOW

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Vanessa Bee, founder of the International Horse Agility Club, spent the weekend at the Buck Brannaman clinic in Colorado.

Vanessa Bee, founder of the International Horse Agility Club, spent the weekend at the Buck Brannaman clinic in Colorado.

Vanessa Bee, founder of the International Horse Agility Club and author of THE HORSE AGILITY HANDBOOK and HORSE AGILITY: THE DVD, is in the United States beginning her North American clinic tour (see our previous post for dates and locations). Part of her reason for making the cross-Atlantic trek was to see Buck Brannaman teach, in person!

“I absolutely love the 7 CLINICS WITH BUCK BRANNAMAN DVDs and have watched them over and over,” said Vanessa when she announced her tour in February. “They are completely addictive. I am so impressed, but I do have questions…and there’s only one way to find the answers—ask the man himself! So I’m flying over from the UK to watch him work in Colorado…that’s how good I think this man is!”

Vanessa was kind enough to share some of her observations from the time she spent this past weekend at the Buck Brannaman clinic in Hayden, Colorado—it is always so interesting to hear one trainer’s observations of another! Check it out:

“We flew from England to Denver and drove over the mountains in blizzard conditions to get here, but I knew it was worth it. I had already watched the excellent 7 Clinics DVDs many times and of course had a few questions. I was hoping that by watching everything in real time I would be able to see the techniques and changes in the horse more clearly.

“Fortunately, I brought my binoculars. I know some people thought this was a bit strange, but I’m an eccentric English woman so can get away with most things! Those binoculars made all the difference—I could really see the man work, when he quit as the horse got the answer—MAGIC!

“The first day was split into two parts: The morning was Colt Starting and the afternoon was Horsemanship 1. The colts were all shapes and sizes with handlers of varying ability, so Buck had his work cut out keeping everyone moving forward. First he made sure everyone could move their horse’s feet and retain a safety bubble that the horse would respect. He gave a nice demonstration of teaching a horse where the boundary was and commented that you have to learn how much to do that says STOP!

“You have to mean it but not by being mean to the horse.

“I had my first question answered on when to use the flag and how the horse knows when it means something to him and when he has to ignore it. It’s all in the hand position, which transmits the intention of the handler. I invested in my own BB Flag, and somehow I have to get it into my suitcase for the journey home!

“At the end of the session Buck gave everyone homework: They had to practice flexion, backing up, picking the rider up from the fence, lowering the head, and putting the bridle on. And they had to practice because, as he said, he would know in the morning if they hadn’t!

“It was going to be interesting to see if all the colt starters had done their homework, and they did look pretty good as they lead their horses into the arena. Buck was warming up his horse first thing. He talked about how he was looking for ’weightlessness’ as he was working. It was quiet and precise, the way he worked. Disengaging the hind end, moving the front over, backing up just seeking the moment when there was no weight and he instantly quit.

“I used my binoculars zoomed in on every move. I don’t know how anyone could see the finer details and understand when the quit was valid without being close up. That’s why the 7 Clinics DVDs are so good. I shall certainly be studying these in even more depth on my return home.

We're lucky to have Vanessa Bee reporting back from this fabulous Buck clinic experience!

We’re lucky to have Vanessa Bee reporting back from this fabulous Buck clinic experience!

“Buck is direct, I like that. He made a few choice comments, including: ‘If I could get my students to spend less time on ’Wastebook’ and more time with horses they’d have a stable full of bridle horses.’

“I’ve watched a lot of horse clinics and horsemen and I can tell you that Buck is the only person I’ve seen whose feet are the horse’s feet. He just moves those feet like they were their own. It’s smooth and you never feel a wince or a jar as you watch him work. His timing is fantastic.

“He was very honest and direct and I really enjoyed his style of teaching. Buck said, ‘Everything I do with a horse is incremental that’s why I’m successful with them.’ In other words, he tries never to overwhelm the horse and give him too much to think about.

“Buck told us that Ray Hunt was always saying to him: ‘Do less sooner, then you won’t need to do more later.’

“I and my binoculars are beginning to see that now.”

Thanks, Vanessa, for making it feel like we were at the clinic with you!

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Click image to order!

You can order the 7 CLINICS WITH BUCK BRANNAMAN DVD SERIES, plus Vanessa Bee’s HORSE AGILITY HANDBOOK and HORSE AGILITY DVD at the TSB online bookstore.

CLICK HERE FOR THE BUCK BRANNAMAN DVDS

CLICK HERE FOR THE HORSE AGILITY BOOK/DVD

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horseagilitygrowing

Over the past few decades, an evolution in how we go about training horses has encouraged horse owners to spend more time handling their horse on the ground in order to achieve good behavior, mutual trust, and a healthy partnership—before they ever think about getting in the saddle. This has created a generation of horsemen and women perfectly poised to pursue the competitive and social benefits of the sport of Horse Agility.

Thanks to the International Horse Agility Club and its founder, Vanessa Bee, Horse Agility is now the fastest-growing new equestrian sport in the world. Horse lovers from North America, Europe, Great Britain, Australia, and indeed, all over, are discovering the joys and benefits of competing their horse from the ground, over obstacles. The sport is a natural evolution in today’s age of natural horsemanship: fun, exciting, competitive sport with the well-being of the horse in mind.

Vanessa Bee is working tirelessly to bring Horse Agility as an organized sport to new heights, and with her bestselling book THE HORSE AGILITY HANDBOOK and brand new HORSE AGILITY DVD, she provides clear, step-by-step instruction on how to get started with your horse.

Ready to give Horse Agility a try? Here’s how to practice one simple obstacle at home—and as an added benefit, this obstacle helps “bombproof” your horse so you have a more enjoyable and safe partnership, whatever you choose to do together!

Learn how to master The Curtain obstacle in THE HORSE AGILITY HANDBOOK by Vanessa Bee.

Learn how to master The Curtain obstacle in THE HORSE AGILITY HANDBOOK by Vanessa Bee.

Passing Through a Curtain

From THE HORSE AGILITY HANDBOOK by Vanessa Bee

The goal of this Horse Agility obstacle is that the horse trusts the handler enough to pass through a curtain of plastic or fabric ribbons.

 

Equipment

You will need a “curtain” of ribbons at least 4 feet (1.5m) wide supported on a frame at least 7 feet (2m) high. The archway I use is made of push-together plastic plumbing pipe with straight lengths and elbows to create a frame about 7 feet (2m) high by 5 feet (1.5m) wide. Ribbons can be made of plastic or fabric—I’ve used butcher’s shop fly curtains and also had great success with an old shower curtain cut into strips. Be inventive, as long as it is safe. Make each ribbon between 3/4 in and 1 1/2 in (2cm and 4cm) in width and long enough to reach to within 18 inches (30cm) off the ground.

 

How to Do It

 

1. The principles of leading your horse through a narrow gap really come into play here (I teach you the steps to doing this well and safely in THE HORSE AGILITY HANDBOOK). Always start by leading the horse on a lead rope.Begin by making the curtain really easy to walk through: Tie the ribbons back out of the way at first, and as he gains confidence, drop down one or two lengths of ribbon at a time so he slowly gets used to it.

 

2. When the horse is confident about going through the curtain on the lead rope, go right back to the beginning by tying the curtain back and ask him to go through “free” (I teach you how to work with your horse over obstacles at liberty—without a lead rope—in THE HORSE AGILITY HANDBOOK). Again, drop one or two ribbons down at a time. Don’t be tempted to ask your free horse to go through the full curtain straight from doing it on a lead rope. One of the keys to being successful in free work is to make it easy for the horse to do what you ask and build on his success.

 

Common Problems

The main thing that causes issues here is the “solid” look of the curtain, so be sure to work with the curtain open before dropping the ribbons down.

One of the things I’ve found is that a lot of horses don’t like the feel of the ribbons running over their sides and back as they run through the curtain, so you must be careful and keep yourself out of the way when you feel your horse is going to rush. Spend some time away from the curtain touching him with plastic, bags, or ribbons—anything—although be sure you don’t annoy him. You’re getting him used to the fact that the feel of such things isn’t dangerous.

 

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Vanessa Bee, Founder of the International Horse Agility Club, is touring North America in May and June 2013! Check out the International Horse Agility Club website for details. Here’s a current list of scheduled events.

USA

17th-19 May

Horse Agility Training Sessions and Mini Competitions – Colorado with Vanessa Bee

17th May (evening)

Horse Agility Training Evening in Colorado with Vanessa Bee

18th May (evening)

Horse Agility Training Evening in Colorado with Vanessa Bee

25th May

Horse Agility Fun Day in Arizona, USA with Vanessa Bee

26th -27th May

Get Really Good at Horse Agility with Vanessa Bee, Arizona

1st -2nd June

International Horse Agility Clinic in Washington, USA with Vanessa Bee

Canada

7th – 8th June

How to Get Good at Horse Agility with Vanessa Bee

9th – 10th June

How to Get Good at Horse Agility with Vanessa Bee

HorseAgility SetTHE HORSE AGILITY HANDBOOK and the new HORSE AGILITY DVD are available from the TSB online bookstore.

CLICK HERE TO ORDER NOW

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theIHACHorse Agility is the hottest and fastest growing international equestrian sport! Based on the same concepts as the ever-popular Dog Agility competitions, Horse Agility offers horse lovers everywhere the opportunity to put all that groundwork they’re doing to good use, in a fun, active competitive sport. Beginning on a lead rope and progressing to working through and over obstacles “free,” or at liberty, Horse Agility engages the horse in an activity that helps him think and problem-solve while enjoying his training time—step away from all those repetitive longe and roundpen circles! Plus, Horse Agility is appropriate for people of any age or size, and allows those who may not want to ride to spend time with other like-minded individuals in an exciting setting.

HAwDVDNow, as a follow-up to her bestselling book THE HORSE AGILITY HANDBOOK: A STEP-BY-STEP INTRODUCTION TO THE SPORT, founder of the International Horse Agility Club Vanessa Bee brings us an all-new DVD. HORSE AGILITY—THE DVD provides the same sport fundamentals as THE HORSE AGILITY HANDBOOK, but with “real-time” action and visuals to help you further grasp the basic concepts and skills you and your horse need to get started, and get good!

Check out this video introduction to HORSE AGILITY—THE DVD:

HORSE AGILITY—THE DVD will be shipping February 1, 2013. You can preorder your copy now at the TSB online bookstore.

CLICK HERE TO PREORDER NOW

Hey! Did you know that the International Horse Agility Club is a finalist in the Equestrian Social Media Awards? CLICK HERE to check out the Club’s website and then please cast your vote for Best Equestrian Social Network!

CLICK HERE TO VOTE FOR THE INTERNATIONAL HORSE AGILITY CLUB!

CLICK HERE TO VOTE FOR THE INTERNATIONAL HORSE AGILITY CLUB!

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YOU AND YOUR HORSE can become world champions in Horse Agility! YOU AND YOUR HORSE can compete for your country to win medals and fabulous prizes and competitions for every level!

The International Horse Agility Club presents the 2012 Summer of Sport Challenge via the IHAC’s popular online video competition, allowing horses and handlers from around the globe to compete against each other…without leaving home!

Here’s how the competition works:

In June and July 2012 the IHAC is giving you the opportunity to compete against other teams from around the world for a chance to represent your country in the Horse Agility Summer of Sport World Championship Finals held in July. June 2012 is a qualifying month in which ten qualifying classes can be entered by competitors. The two highest scoring teams (combinations of horse and handler) from each country, in each class, will qualify for the Finals in July.

THERE’S STILL TIME TO ENTER! Sign up at the IHAC website before June 25 to be eligible for the Horse Agility Summer of Sport Challenge Finals and great prizes!

CLICK HERE for more information.

The International Horse Agility Club was founded by TSB author Vanessa Bee whose HORSE AGILITY HANDBOOK was released earlier this year and became an instant hit. Horse people everywhere have long wanted an equestrian sport that provides a social and competitive atmosphere, while not requiring riding. Horse Agility, the industry’s newest sport, gives horses and handlers a wonderful way to spend constructive time together, in the arena and out.

THE HORSE AGILITY HANDBOOK is available from the TSB online bookstore, where shipping in the US is always FREE. Blog Bonus!!! Enter the coupon code TSBBLOG15 at checkout and receive 15% off your entire order!

CLICK HERE TO ORDER YOUR COPY OF THE HORSE AGILITY HANDBOOK TODAY

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