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Posts Tagged ‘The Riding Horse Repair Manual’

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Doug Payne on Running Order. Photo by Shannon Brinkman from THE RIDING HORSE REPAIR MANUAL.

Doug Payne is a well-known equestrian on the international scene, perhaps most recognized as the eventer-most-likely-to-wear-a-helmet-cam. His pulse-quickening videos are seemingly everywhere, leaving hundreds of would-be riders dizzy from their virtual Rolex experience.

But Payne is also recognized for his ability to see “what could be” in horses others may have dismissed. Here he gives us the basics for that “first ride,” when you’re testing the waters and analyzing the physical ability, experience, and personality of a horse you don’t know all that well. Whatever you’re riding level or discipline, it makes sense to have a practical plan in place for equine “test drives”–whether it’s a first lesson or a potential purchase, the steps you take once in the saddle need to keep you safe while yielding information.

Here’s Payne’s advice from his book THE RIDING HORSE REPAIR MANUAL:

I like to start at the walk. Gradually, pick up the reins and take a contact. This will tell you right away whether this is a sensitive horse or a “bull.” It also gives you a very good feel for whether he is naturally balanced or not. Within the first 30 seconds, you should be able to tell, with good certainty, whether he’s naturally balanced or on the forehand, and on which side he’s stiffer. You can determine how responsive he is to seat, leg, and hand, and whether he’s a natural-born athlete or just a “couch potato.” Most importantly, in these first few moments, you should be able to tell what type of attitude he has: Is he benevolent, “out to get you,” or somewhere in the middle?

The “bull” of a horse will be quite heavy while the sensitive one will be light to a fault in his contact. Most horses start off a bit lazily—not walking forward with conviction. Make the most of this initial opportunity to assess how responsive he is to your leg aids. I ask him to move on to a more forward, active walk. Right away, there will be one of two possible answers: Either, he’ll be responsive and move on appropriately (wonderful), or you’ll find that when you apply more leg, he’s indifferent or even moves less forward. Although, this latter response is obviously not ideal, at least you find out right away that there is a flaw with the horse’s training—he is not thinking about moving freely forward. This restriction has to be dealt with as soon as possible, because it will propagate throughout his training and make progress impossible.

Now I’m going to check to make sure that I have steering. I’m going to start with just turning left and right—simple circles or other figures very quickly give you an idea of which of his sides is the stiffer one. Just like people, horses are stronger going on one diagonal over another. Your goal is to try and make him as ambidextrous as possible, while understanding he is going to have a naturally stronger side for life.

Note: I do not ask the horse to back up in the first few minutes unless I know I have competent people on the ground. Basically, when you have a person on the ground, she can quickly come to the rescue and place her hands on the horse’s chest to help explain what you’re looking for. Without one, I wait to make sure I have all of the other components in place. Before you begin, you must have all the tools in case you open Pandora’s Box!

From the walk, move on to the trot. The same expectation of a prompt response is true for the transition to the trot. When you ask for the trot, the horse had better trot off with conviction. Once trotting with confidence in a forward active gait, move on to see what
other “buttons” have been installed. If this is a horse with lateral tools in place, see how good they are. Start with a leg-yield, then on to shoulder-in, haunches-in, then half-pass, and lengthening and shortening.

Then on to the canter. Much of the same strategies should be in place as found in the trot. You’re looking for the canter to be well-balanced, active, and forward. When it is lacking, you can identify what you need to work to refine the horse’s skill set.

Whether you are considering a purchase or just determining a new training project’s schooling plan, a calm and progressive exploration of who the horse is and what he knows (or doesn’t know) should help you come away with the information you need.

For more training advice from Doug Payne, check out THE RIDING HORSE REPAIR MANUAL, available from the TSB bookstore, where shipping in the US is FREE.

CLICK HERE for more information.

 

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

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Bucking copy

Doug Payne helps solve the bucking habit and keep us safely in the saddle in THE RIDING HORSE REPAIR MANUAL. Photo by Amy Dragoo.

 

Doug Payne has made a name for himself in equestrian circles as the “go-to-guy” when it comes to finding a way forward with “problem horses.” In his fantastic new book THE RIDING HORSE REPAIR MANUAL, Doug talks about three main categories of bucking and this bad habit’s causes, and provides specific solutions for each—including first ruling out physical causes when it comes to all behavior problems.

The most important thing to know, however, is when you find yourself riding a horse with a sudden desire to kick his heels up, there are two main rules to remember that will help keep you safe:

 

RULE #1: Heads Up!

Both of you: horse and rider. When your head and eyes go down so will your upper body, and you’ll find yourself just where you were looking—on the ground! As for your horse, he won’t be able to buck when his head is up. Keep his poll at the highest point, period. No excuses. Use whatever means necessary.

 

RULE #2: Go Forward!

Ninety-nine percent of buckers are bucking to get out of work, and a horse is better able to buck when he is behind your leg. The moment your horse even thinks about responding sluggishly off your leg, you must get after him. This means, add your leg lightly. When he doesn’t respond as he should, ask again with the same light force, and then decisively use your whip behind your leg.

 

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CLICK IMAGE TO ORDER

For more about how to deal with different kinds of buckers, as well as dozens of other behavior and training problems, check out THE RIDING HORSE REPAIR MANUAL by Doug Payne, available now from the TSB online bookstore.

CLICK HERE TO ORDER NOW

 

“There are a lot of great answers to tough training questions here.” —Five-Time Olympian Anne Kursinski

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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:

 

sparkle24hourDP

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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Doug Payne's book THE RIDING HORSE REPAIR MANUAL was just released!

Doug Payne’s book THE RIDING HORSE REPAIR MANUAL was just released!

We managed to snag a few minutes with TSB author Doug Payne between his fabulous dressage performance aboard Crown Talisman (“Tali”) at Rolex Kentucky Three-Day (April 23-26, 2014) and the pair’s first place finish at the Jersey Fresh CIC*** (May 7-11) to talk about the release of his new book THE RIDING HORSE REPAIR MANUAL and just a few of his (other!) favorite things as he prepares to cross the ocean to ride in Saumur International Three-Day Event, May 22-25.

 

TSB: In your new book THE RIDING HORSE REPAIR MANUAL, you explain that part of the reason you have gained recognition for your ability to find a way forward with “problem horses” is the sheer number of different kinds of horses you had the opportunity to ride during your childhood, as well as when you first began your training/retraining business. Can you tell us about one horse you remember who taught you a very important lesson from which you still benefit today?

DP: I rode a horse named “Just a Star” who was the first horse I rode at the Advanced Level. He was an incredible jumper, but his flatwork left some to be desired. After some time our partnership developed and our scores improved. The improvement in scores came only after a patient progression. Every time I tried to increase the pressure we went backward—literally and figuratively! Ever since, I have been very mindful to make sure that my horses progress at their own pace, and when in doubt I give them more time.

 

TSB: In THE RIDING HORSE REPAIR MANUAL, you say that horse “problems” can arise from a physical issue, a “foundation flaw” (a missing component of training), or sometimes an attitude problem. It is common to hear a rider say her horse “has an attitude” or is “cranky” or “witchy” or “stubborn.” In your opinion, is an “attitude problem” usually the case the majority of the time as so many riders might have us think? Have you ever had a horse whose “attitude problem” prevented his ever reaching his potential in terms of performance?

DP: Seldom does it happen, but there have been a few who, for whatever reason, just don’t want to participate. I’d like to think that every horse has his job in which he will be happy. I generally try to steer them in that direction. I’ve only had one who would hurt herself in order to avoid doing work of any kind. This is the only one I “gave up” on—it’s not worth my health and life for a horse who has no sense of self-preservation.

 

TSB: What is the most important thing for the amateur rider to consider when dealing with a “problem horse”?

DP: You’re not alone, and your horse’s problems are not “unique” just to him or her. Look for help if you’re not progressing!

 

TSB: You once stated it was your goal to ride at the highest levels of dressage, show jumping, and eventing. With your recent successes in eventing, do you see yourself concentrating on your career in that discipline for good?

DP:  Not at all! Riding in the strict disciplines is such a tremendous challenge and only helps my eventers in the barn. At the moment I have a horse named Royal Tribute (owned by myself, Kristin Burgers, and Larry and Amelia Ross) who will be showing at Fourth Level dressage this spring/summer and a horse by the name of Eli (owned by Mike Rubin) who I am currently showing Grand Prix in show jumping.

 

TSB: Tell us about the first time you remember sitting on a horse.

DP: I’m lucky enough to say I don’t! I grew up on a farm in New Jersey as a member of a very active horse family.

 

TSB: Tell us about the first time you remember falling off a horse.

DP:  Ditto the question above.

 

Doug Payne grew up in a very horsey family. Here he is with his mom and "Popcorn."

Doug Payne grew up in a very horsey family. Here he is with his mom and “Popcorn.”

 

 

TSB: If you were trapped on a desert island with a horse and a book, what breed of horse would it be and which book would you choose?

DP:  Hopefully a cross would be acceptable: My favorite mix is a Holsteiner-Thoroughbred cross, which is the breeding of Crown Talisman, as well as 5 others on our farm. I’m not sure that I could narrow it down to just one book. My current favorite is Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell.

 

TSB: If you had an iPad and WiFi on your island, what movie would you stream?

DP: I’d love to have access to the Internet! I have an obsessive personality and love to research just about anything. I would guess Wikipedia and Fox News would be top of my most visited list.

 

TSB: You are a pretty tech-savvy guy. What’s your favorite social media app and why?

DP:  Twitter: It’s the most immediate and efficient way to find out what’s happening anywhere in the world.

 

TSB: What is the quality you most like in a friend?

DP:  Honesty

 

TSB: What is the quality you most like in a horse?

DP:  Heart

 

TSB: If you could do one thing on horseback or with a horse that you haven’t yet done, what would it be?

DP:  At this point I’ve competed at the four-star (****) level of eventing, Grand Prix show jumping ,and Intermediaire I dressage. Grand Prix dressage is next to check off that list!

 

TSB: What is your idea of the perfect meal?

DP:  I love food, so the type is not important. The perfect meal is a function of the company, so comfortably at home with Jess (my wife) and other great friends.

 

TSB: You recently got married. Where did you go on your honeymoon?

DP:  We haven’t yet!

 

TSB: What is your motto?

DP:  I actually have two:

What doesn’t kill you will only make you stronger.
and
Keep it simple, stupid.

 

Have you always wanted to ride the perfect cross-country round on a fabulous horse? Check out this great helmet-cam video: Ride along with Doug as he and Tali nail it this past weekend:

 

 

CLICK IMAGE TO ORDER

CLICK IMAGE TO ORDER

THE RIDING HORSE REPAIR MANUAL is available now from the TSB online bookstore where shipping in the US is free (CLICK HERE TO ORDER).

 

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Doug kicked off the spring season by marrying Jessica Hampf. Photo by Kristyn DeCaro Mangano

Doug kicked off the spring season by marrying Jessica Hampf. Photo by Kristyn DeCaro Mangano

TSB author and top event rider Doug Payne has had an intense and exciting start to the year! Doug kicked off 2014 with nothing less than nuptials: He wed Jessica Hampf in March. One celebration followed the other, with his fantastic new book released in early April. THE RIDING HORSE REPAIR MANUAL is already receiving glowing reviews, and we’re hoping that Doug’s insightful (and fully tested!) advice helps all those riders out there with four-legged “problem children.” Check out the fab Horse Junkies United review below for more about Doug’s book!

Next up: Doug and Crown Talisman—the 2003 Holsteiner/Thoroughbred gelding he owns with Larry and Amelia Ross—are headed for the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event. Rolex runs Thursday, April 24, through Sunday, April 27, 2014, at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington. And Doug and “Tali” were one of two horse-and-rider combinations awarded Land Rover Competition Grants to compete at the Saumur CCI3* in Saumur, France, May 22 through May 25, 2014.

So who is this “Tali” horse that Doug has taken to the top of international eventing competition?

Doug tells us about Tali and the challenges they faced together as they learned to become successful athletic partners in THE RIDING HORSE REPAIR MANUAL. Here’s a short excerpt:

Doug and Crown Talisman ("Tali") at the 2012 Fair Hill International CCI**. Photo by Shannon Brinkman

Doug and Crown Talisman (“Tali”) at the 2012 Fair Hill International CCI**. Photo by Shannon Brinkman

“Tali stands 17.1 hands tall and is a striking, dark bay…just about the perfect physical specimen and the most talented horse I’ve ever had the pleasure of riding in dressage. Not only is he good there, but he’s an exceptionally good, brave jumper as well.

“Tali didn’t have a malicious bone in his body, but he was a bit of a rogue. The first day I rode him I just walked and picked up the trot for a short while. I knew from longeing him and from what I’d been told that he was athletic, but someone can tell you that all day long and it just doesn’t seem to sink in until you experience it firsthand. My introduction to Tali came in the form of noise: I’m still not sure what it was but some loud sharp bang in the background sent us into the air. Unlike any horse I’ve ever ridden, he could ‘levitate’ himself on a whim. Not a buck or rear, just all four feet off the ground at once, without warning. It took me a while to understand what was happening.

“Horses are creatures of habit. Most behaviors will repeat themselves. It didn’t really dawn on me until we were at his first event in Aiken, S.C. that spring exactly what was happening. If he heard a loud noise or bang, regardless of the gait, he’d levitate and spin so that upon landing, he would be facing the direction of the noise, planted like a statue, with his ears pricked to figure out where exactly it came from. I can’t find the words to describe how strong he was and how it’s possible to be trotting along, then in the air doing a 180-degree turn, then landing absolutely still. All other horses would be struggling for balance, or take a few steps to get planted into the ground—not Tali.”

You can read the full story of Tali and some of Doug’s other horse “success stories” in THE RIDING HORSE REPAIR MANUAL. Doug shares these real-life case studies as proof of how the toolbox of tips and techniques he offers in his book can work for you. THE RIDING HORSE REPAIR MANUAL just got a rave review on Horse Junkies United:

“This book is a must buy!” says reviewer (and rider!) Tracy Porter. “Whether you have a seasoned schoolmaster, a greenie who is just learning the ropes, or a problem child like my boy you will appreciate Doug’s honesty and vast knowledge in your pursuit of the perfect horse!”

You can read the full review on Horse Junkies United by CLICKING HERE.

 

CLICK IMAGE to read the full review of THE RIDING HORSE REPAIR MANUAL on Horse Junkies United

CLICK IMAGE to read the full review of THE RIDING HORSE REPAIR MANUAL on Horse Junkies United

 

Doug will be signing copies of THE RIDING HORSE REPAIR MANUAL at the Practical Horseman and Bit of Britain tents at the 2014 Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event. Watch the TSB Facebook page and follow TSB on Twitter for times and locations to be posted next week. Not going to Rolex? Doug’s book is available to order from the TSB online bookstore, where shipping in the US is FREE. CLICK HERE TO ORDER NOW.

 

Follow TSB on Facebook for signing times and locations at the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event. Click the image above to follow TSB.

Follow TSB on Facebook for signing times and locations at the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event. Click the image above to follow TSB.

 

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