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Posts Tagged ‘Western riding’

RUNAROUND

Sandy Collier has enjoyed great success in her career as an NRCHA, NRHA, and AQHA champion horse trainer. Named one of the “Top 50 Riders of All Time in All Disciplines” by Horse & Rider Magazine, she was inducted into the Cowgirl Hall of Fame in 2011, and the NRCHA’s Hall of Fame in 2012. Collier was the first and only female horse trainer to win the prestigious NRCHA (National Reined Cow Horse Association) World Champion Snaffle Bit Futurity. She also won an NRCHA World Champion Snaffle Bit Futurity Reserve Co-Championship in addition to being a regular Finalist there annually. She has been a NRCHA Stallion Stakes Champion, an NRHA Limited Open Champion, and an AQHA World Champion.

In champion trainer and popular clinician Lynn Palm’s book THE RIDER’S GUIDE TO REAL COLLECTION, Palm asked Sandy Collier to share how she works to achieve collection with her performance horses.

“I do a lot of work through speed and gait transitions,” was Collier’s reply, “which makes no sense at all to most reining or Western riders.”

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Sandy Collier competing.

Collier says that even though reiners and Western riders will often get their horses really collected at the trot and lope, “as soon as you start putting a lot of speed to it, it’s like the wheels start falling off the car.” She uses an exercise called The Runaround to maintain collection, improve the quality of a horse’s rundown, and thus ultimately better his stop.

“I’ll build speed while maintaining collection for a long, straight run,” explains Collier. “As I approach the short end of the arena, I’ll take a deep breath, start to exhale, and make my horse follow my seat as I sit down in the saddle, making him come back to me on a straight line without falling out of lead. It’s like downshifting a real expensive car, where it has to come back down real smooth. I keep my horse slow and collected through the short end (don’t let him careen around the corner), and once I get around the corner, I ask him to build speed again and start over. My horses eventually get to where they can run really fast while staying collected, and then as I let my air out, they’ll come all the way back to a slowdown or a stop, depending how long I sit.”

RIGUCO

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The goal is to capture the complete tail-to-nose package of supple muscle and hind-end-generated impulsion that becomes a “frame” where the horse is more athletic—that is, his forehand lightens, enabling him to maneuver his front end more quickly, and his steps become cadenced and his movement free-flowing. For more exercises that help achieve this real collection, check out THE RIDER’S GUIDE TO REAL COLLECTION by Lynn Palm, on sale now at the TSB online 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 based on a farm in rural Vermont.

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LetsDance

When the circles seem to never (ever…ever) end and your horse starts spooking at his own pile of manure just for something different to do, it’s time to liven up your schooling sessions. There are many ways to make training more engaging, including imaginative uses of lateral work, props like ground poles and cones, and incorporating trail obstacles and challenges, even when you’re practicing inside the arena.

This exercise from 50 BEST ARENA EXERCISES AND PATTERNS is great for both English and Western riders and combines the turn-on-the-forehand and turn-on-the-haunches. This combination increases the horse’s agility and attention, teaching him to better respond to different positions of the rider’s leg, which in turn develops willingness and cooperation in the horse. This exercise will also help your horse become more flexible in his spine (especially in his loin area).

Are you ready to dance? Here’s what to do:

1 Tracking left, ride 3–4 feet (1–1.3 m) from the track. Choose a random point.

2 Begin, for example, with two steps of a turn-on-the-haunches to the left (no. 1 in diagram below). As you do so, lightly position your horse to the left. Shift your weight to your left seat bone. Use your right leg to drive the horse’s forehand to the left.

 

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Diagram from 50 BEST ARENA EXERCISES AND PATTERNS (www.horseandriderbooks.com).

 

3 Pause. Then, for several steps execute a turn-on-the-forehand to the right (no. 2). Using your left rein, position your horse to the left. Shift your weight to your left

4 Now, again ride a few steps of turn-on-the-haunches (no. 3) and a few steps of turn-on-the-forehand (no. 4). Conclude the exercise with a few steps of turn-on-the-haunches (no. 5).

Note: At first, pause in between each turn so that the horse stays motivated and doesn’t become overwhelmed. But, as the exercise progresses, make your pauses shorter so your movements begin to flow like dance steps.

Tip: Don’t use your rein to pull your horse in the desired direction. Guide his turn. Look in the applicable direction. As you do so, turn your head 90 degrees.

 

What is you horse learning?

  • Sensitivity to the rider’s aids (especially the leg aids).
  • Crossing with his legs.
  • Flexibility in positioning.

 

What are you learning?

  • Refinement of the aids.
  • A feel for the various turns.

 

What if your horse is losing his balance and straightness at times?

Ask yourself if your horse is overwhelmed, perhaps because the turns are coming too quickly in succession? If not, your inside leg can often be responsible for this problem. Be aware that you do not stretch your inside leg out in front of you or too far away from your horse. Your inside leg should just be a slight distance from the horse’s side.

What if your horse executes parts of the exercise, without you giving him the aids?

In order to avoid your horse anticipating the turns, include forward movement and rein-back in between them.

 

50 Best Arena Ex-REVISED LG

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For more fun riding exercises that get results, check out 50 BEST ARENA EXERCISES AND PATTERNS, available from the TSB online bookstore, where shipping in the US is FREE.

CLICK HERE for more information or to order.

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

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sitonhandds

We all want to communicate with our horses in ways they can understand. When riding, that communication is dependent on our aids. What we might not realize is just knowing what the aids are and in what order to apply them isn’t enough to “speak” clearly to your horse. It is important sit centered, straight, and even in the saddle.

In the book 50 BEST ARENA EXERCISES AND PATTERNS, we learn how to get a feel for a seat that is centered, straight, and even.

1  Take both feet out of the stirrups and let your legs hang.

Allow your upper body to swing gently from front to back. After repeating this several times, you will notice that you instinctively find your center.

3  Round and hollow your back in order to get a feel for a correctly upright upper body. This is important as only then can your spine compensate for the movement of the horse and remain in balance.

4  Now, have a friend hold your horse as you shut your eyes for a moment and concentrate on the feel of your seat. You must develop a feeling for both seat bones and whether they are evenly bearing weight. If you are having trouble sensing both seat bones, drop your reins and sit on your hands: place them under your rear end with the palms facing toward the saddle and the top of the hands under your seat bones. This should enhance the pressure of the seat bones and help you distribute your weight evenly left to right.

Note: If you have continued difficulty evenly weighting your seat bones in the saddle, you may have natural crookedness or movement patterns in your body that need attention from a physical therapist or biomechanics expert.

For a terrific reference of schooling ideas for English and Western riders, check out 50 BEST ARENA EXERCISES AND PATTERNS, available now from the TSB online bookstore, where shipping in the US is FREE.

 

CLICK HERE to download a free chapter.

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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GetitRight

Guess what? There have been thousands of times our horses have tried to answer our requests, maybe in several “not-quite-right” ways, but then because of the way we reacted to those small mistakes, they “got spooked”…and then suddenly “not-quite-right” became “oh-so-wrong.”

In his bestselling book THE MODERN HORSEMAN’S COUNTDOWN TO BROKE, Florida-based trainer Sean Patrick explains that Avoidance Behavior is the defense mechanism your horse uses when a situation occurs that is unpleasant (such as water spraying in his ears) or scary (such as being approached with a noisy garbage bag).

“The horse looks for a way to avoid the stimulus or get rid of it,” says Sean.

This can mean he tries to run away, shy, buck, back, or rear. The goal for all of us is to learn the difference between the horse seeking a release point (the moment of “success” when the horse “gets” what you are asking and when the removal of any stimulus should instantly occur), and the horse that is overreacting and trying to avoid the situation altogether.

When approaching your horse with a stimulus, give him a chance to seek, and find, the right answer.

When approaching your horse with a stimulus, give him a chance to seek, and find, the right answer.

 

To begin to learn to recognize Avoidance Behavior and how to deal with it, let’s look at a few common examples and possible causes provided by Sean in his book:

 

Avoidance Behavior: The horse bolts away from you as you lift your dressage whip.

Possible Causes: 1) Previous application of the whip has been unfair—for example, the release has not been given at the right moment, or the whip has been used too firmly; 2) The horse does not understand that the whip is not something to fear but to calmly respond to.

 

Avoidance Behavior: The horse moves his head away from your moving hand, anticipating contact.

Possible Causes: 1) The horse is justified in believing that he may be struck by that moving hand and is preparing to get out of the way; 2) The horse has not had enough physical contact to know that he can trust your moving hands.

 

Avoidance Behavior: The horse takes off running with you on his back, becoming inattentive to your cues.

Possible Causes: 1) The horse is growing frustrated with your leg pressure, as a release does not seem to come, no matter how he responds; 2) The horse is being ridden in a place where his fear level has been raised until it is too much for him to handle, such as in an indoor arena on a windy day.

 

Avoidance Behavior: The horse begins to buck violently while you are riding and is not responding to any form of cue.

Possible Causes: 1) The horse is not used to having a rider on his back and bucks out of discomfort or fear; 2) The horse is startled by or unhappy with your use of leg pressure.

 

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Sean says that of course not all Avoidance Behavior is caused by improper handling. We should also note that a horse that has not had time to build trust in his human handlers and gain experience in that partnership will be more inclined to show it. We can all help our horses develop in ways that ensure Avoidance Behavior appears less and less often through conscious attention to our own use of techniques and our position around the horse and in the saddle; through thoughtful teaching; and by always being aware that scenarios such as these may not help our horses learn. It is our goal to help our horses learn in ways that make their lives safe, purposeful, and happy. And Rule #1 should be to give them a chance to get it right.

Discover more training insight, as well as Sean Patrick’s 33 steps to horse training, in THE MODERN HORSEMAN’S COUNTDOWN TO BROKE, available now from the TSB online bookstore, where shipping in the US is FREE.

CLICK HERE for more information or to order.

 

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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Eitan and Debbie Beth-Halachmy share the Cowboy Dressage Handshake. Photo by Lesley Deutsch.

Eitan and Debbie Beth-Halachmy share the Cowboy Dressage Handshake. Photo by Lesley Deutsch.

The equestrian pursuit known as Cowboy Dressage was born of a desire to meld the best of Western riding traditions and classical dressage in the pursuit of a harmonious relationship with a horse. Intended to be accessible to all, Cowboy Dressage is open to all breeds and all levels of riders; there isn’t a set frame for overall look, head carriage, or action. The singular goal is to consider the horse’s potential at all times as one strives to achieve a subtle and relaxed flow of information between horse and rider.

While there isn’t an official “association” or fees, there is an informal membership agreement known as the “Cowboy Dressage Handshake.”

“Part of the appeal of Cowboy Dressage,” explains TSB author Jessica Black in the new book she wrote with Cowboy Dressage founders Eitan and Debbie Beth-Halachmy, “is that it allows people to extend the feeling of partnership that they are fostering with their horses to others who are pursuing similar riding goals: kindness, the Soft Feel of complete communication, and a relaxed atmosphere in which to learn. The Handshake is emblematic of the Cowboy Dressage community and partnership.”

 

THE COWBOY DRESSAGE HANDSHAKE

With our handshake and our word, we promise to:
• Continue to educate and teach as much as possible in all formats.
• Keep Cowboy Dressage simple and uncomplicated.
• Provide tests, rules, and information to everyone who wishes to show.
• Support and educate individuals outside the show ring who want to learn and improve as horsemen and horsewomen.
• Strive to maintain Cowboy Dressage as a grassroots, community-focused movement.
• Ensure Cowboy Dressage is accessible to everyone regardless of his or her income or status within the horse world.
• Make this a place where all people can hang their hat and be proud, whether they show, trail ride, barrel race, cut, rein, or just love horses.
• Most of all, we promise to look for the “try” in you, the Cowboy Dressage world members.

 

With your handshake and your word, you pledge to “try” to:
• Become the person others can trust with a handshake and your word.
• Exemplify the Cowboy Dressage way of life and find the courage to chase your dreams.
• Not allow defeat when faced with setbacks in your life and your horsemanship.
• Treat all horses and people with integrity and kindness.
• Look for “the try” in your horses and always reward them.
• Look for “the try” in people as you travel down your horsemanship path.

 

With your handshake and word, you become a member of the Cowboy Dressage World.

 

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The superbly written and beautifully illustrated new book COWBOY DRESSAGE gives readers everything they need to find a “soft feel” with their horses and then share what they’ve developed with a community of like-minded horsepeople. As the founders of the movement say, Cowboy Dressage is more about a way of life than a rulebook. And with that as its premise, we can see how it can show the way to true partnership with a horse.

 

COWBOY DRESSAGE is available now from the TSB online bookstore, where shipping in the US is FREE.

CLICK HERE to order 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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New-Smyrna-Beach-Florida-1_photo

 

Only a few miles from the beach in Florida is not a bad place to be in January.

Throw in a unique opportunity to learn from and spend time with three top trainers and Road to the Horse alumni as they work with young and developing riding prospects, and you’ve got yourself a really good time!

Join your fellow sun-, fun-, and horselovers at the spacious and well-appointed Pioneer Trail Reserve in New Smyrna Beach, Florida, January 2-4, 2015. Host and TSB author Sean Patrick (2014 and 2015 RTTH Wild Card Contestant) welcomes Jim Anderson, reigning champion and overall winner of the 2014 RTTH competition, and Mary Kitzmiller, winner of over $55,000 in the Extreme Mustang Makeover events and the only woman to have been chosen to compete at the Road to the Horse’s Wild Card Competition in both 2014 and 2015, to his fabulous facility.

 

Pioneer Trail Reserve is a spacious and well-appointed equestrian facility, with a large covered arena and luxurious clubhouse.

Pioneer Trail Reserve is a spacious and well-appointed equestrian facility, with a large covered arena and luxurious clubhouse.

 

Sean, Jim, and Mary will provide in-depth instruction, explanations of their techniques, and up-close-and-personal insight over the course of 18 teaching sessions, featuring colt-starting, preliminary under-saddle work, and more advanced training and maneuvers. Symposium attendees are provided refreshments and a fully catered lunch each day at no additional cost. In addition, separate tickets are available for a VIP dinner on Saturday night, where guests can relax, interact with each other and all three clinicians, and enjoy live music and delicious meal in a beautiful ranch setting.

We caught up with Sean last week and asked him to tell us a little about the event and how it was conceived:

 

TSB: How did you, Mary, and Jim all meet?

Sean: At Road to the Horse 2014, there were eight of us selected to be competitors in the new “Wild Card” part of the event. It was such a nice group of individuals, we all quickly became friends. I’m originally from Canada, Jim is Canadian, and Mary desperately wishes she was, so we had that in common!

 

TSB: When did you conceive of the idea to hold the symposium? How did you come up with the name Three Amigos?

Sean: If I was to design the itinerary of a perfect 3-day clinic, this is it.  I knew Jim was coming down to visit, and Mary had just been to our place for a clinic, so I thought about bringing us all back to the same location and offering a fun, in-depth look at how we each teach horses. I have three colts all needing a start right at that time (January), and this experience will be a wonderful way to get them going. In addition, we all have a gelding from the same ranch (the Four Sixes) and the same group (chosen for last year’s RTTH), so our horses Smokey, Guthrie, and Jack all know each other well.  There will be three sets of “Three Amigos”!

 

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TSB: What does each clinician bring to the table that is unique and/or different?

Sean: Jim is so well schooled by many top horsemen. He’s quite humble, so you won’t always hear about that part. His ability to handle and teach horses is first-class. His 2014 Road to the Horse world championship is proof of his abilities.

Mary has very different experiences than Jim and me. She has also ridden with top horsemen, but has spent time with a lot of tough horses and built her program around that. She’s a student of the bridle horse, gifted in gentling horses, amazing at teaching tricks, and an excellent cow-horse hand.

Then there’s me—I’m just along for the ride!

[Ed. note: Sean’s just being modest…he’s the author of the bestselling book THE MODERN HORSEMAN’S COUNTDOWN TO BROKE and the DVD set by the same name. Check them out and see what’s so special about this guy!]

 

TSB: Tell us a little bit about how symposium attendees will spend their day, and what you feel they will take away that they can apply to their own evolution as horsemen/women.

Sean: The round pen will be set up for the benefit of the three youngsters. Each trainer will spend one hour with each colt, on each day. Since we have three different horses, and trainers, the development of each style with each colt will be different. This is ideal for seeing how we all approach our plan. In the afternoon, topic-based teaching sessions will begin with the three-year-old geldings. The attendees are able to sit closely on the bleachers, ask questions, chat with trainers as they work, mingle with other industry experts, and spend time by the fire with them in the evenings. There is also a VIP dinner with all the trainers on Saturday night. We are encouraging a lot of crowd interaction and know the pace will move quickly and keep people learning and entertained.

 

TSB: If you could choose three words to describe the Three Amigos Symposium, what three words would you choose?

Sean: Intimate, enlightening, engaging.

 

TSB: Are all of you returning to RTTH in 2015?

Sean: Jim won the 2014 Wild Card event and then the championship title. He was invited to come back in 2015 to defend his title.  So he will be at 2015 Road to the Horse against Chris Cox and this year’s Wild Card winner.

Mary was a 2014 Wild Card contestant and was invited back for 2015.  I was also a 2014 Wild Card contestant, and like Mary, invited back to compete again.

So all three of us are heading back to RTTH in one way or another…it’ll be hopefully Mary or I who compete against Jim in the finals!

 

Don’t miss your chance to walk the beach in your boots and start your New Year with new insight into horses, starting them, and taking them that next step! Tickets for the 2014 Three Amigos Symposium and VIP dinner are on sale now CLICK HERE.

 

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Airports near the New Smyrna Beach Pioneer Trail Reserve facility include Orlando (MCO) and Daytona Beach (DAB ). Hotel accommodations have been arranged nearby at the new “Hotel of Choice” Country Inn and Suites (with a special nightly “Three Amigos” rate of $69.00), and there are beachfront options for the family on the Atlantic’s beautiful New Smyrna Beach, as well! It is an easy drive to/from Daytona Beach, Disney World, Sea World, and many other major Florida attractions, so it’s no problem to make this a family “post-holiday” vacation, while you slip away each day to work with and witness the best in the horse industry!

 

A portion of the Three Amigos Symposium proceeds will be proudly donated to the “Hope Reins” Therapeutic Riding Program based in New Smyrna Beach at Marcody Ranch. For more information on the event or assistance with ticket sales, please contact the “Three Amigos” event coordinator at events@seanpatricktraining.com or 321-693-5551. Media passes are available.

 

Sean Patrick’s THE MODERN HORSEMAN’S COUNTDOWN TO BROKE book and the DVD SET are available from the TSB online bookstore, where shipping in the US is FREE.

CLICK HERE TO SHOP NOW

 

 

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FieldFriends

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

 

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

 

CLICK IMAGE TO PRE-ORDER NOW!

CLICK IMAGE TO PRE-ORDER NOW!

 

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

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