November 2011

It’s a Small World

November 30, 2011

Meet some members of our Quarter Horse community in the December America’s Horse.

Ralph Shebester at the head of Bugs Alive In 75. Journal photo.

I remember, as a kid, thumbing through The American Quarter Horse Journal and being awestruck by the trainers and horses I saw there. Shebester Stallion Station, with its beautiful interstate-frontage paddocks, was the stuff of more dreams for me  — it was, as the sign out front proclaimed, home to Bugs Alive In 75, winner of the 1975 All American Futurity.

One day, worn down by my begging, my parents stopped in at the Wynnewood, Oklahoma, farm and asked if we could meet the famous stallion. Someone — maybe the farm manager? — ushered us right in. Talk about a dream come true.

Now, lo many years later, it was my privilege to write a story about some barrel-horse breeders in Oklahoma who were using the “Bugs Alive” bloodline in their program. One of their foals, Yeah Hes Firen, was named the co-barrel horse of the year by AQHA and the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association. Phyllis Wells and her husband, Tommy, had been in the business since the 1960s.

Read the rest of this entry »

Guess That Horse

November 30, 2011

Today’s contest has ended. Be sure to join us every Wednesday at 1 p.m. CDT for another round of Guess That Horse!

Guess That Horse

Who could this American Quarter Horse be?

Welcome to Guess That Horse.

Today’s winner will receive a one-year subscription to The American Quarter Horse Journal!

The contest will start at 1 p.m. CDT. At that time the photo and first hint of that round of Guess That Horse will start. Read the rest of this entry »

What a Way to End a Career

November 30, 2011

Als Kaper shows at his last AQHA World Championship Show at the age of 31.

Als Kaper 31-year-old ranch sorter

Cecil’s age has not slowed him down much in the ranch sorting ring, but owner Ross Graham says he has to keep his age in mind during a run. Journal photo.

By Samantha Eckert

At age 31 and with eight AQHA World Championship Shows under his belt, Als Kaper has earned his retirement. The 1980 sorrel gelding bred by Ronnie Brooks of Clark, Missouri, retired after his final appearance with Ross Graham of Sherman, Illinois, in the preliminaries of amateur ranch sorting November 7. Read the rest of this entry »

Mental Wounds

November 29, 2011

Handling a horse scarred by fear and pain.

Mental Wounds

Dealing with a horse with mental wounds can be stressful and dangerous. Journal photo.

By Dr. Jim and Lynda McCall in The American Quarter Horse Journal

The Problem:
Three weeks ago, I purchased a 5-year-old gelding through an auction. He is very frightened and spooky at any odd noise or object and shows signs of being barn sour. I haven’t taken him more than 200 yards from the barn because he gets very agitated. He once started to rear with someone in the saddle. Read the rest of this entry »

True Unity

November 28, 2011

The man who inspired Ray Hunt, Greg Ward, Dr. Robert Miller, Jack Brainard, Pat Parelli and thousands more.

Tom Dorance

Tom Dorance helped many people learn to communicate better with their horses while sitting on his camp chair. Journal photo.

By Lesli Groves in The American Quarter Horse Journal

Tom Dorrance sat on his little camp chair, and I sat about three feet away on a bale of hay. From out of the canvas bag lying at his feet, he pulled a piece of black nylon string. He had knotted the ends together to make a loop, and he told me to stick out my index finger. Slowly, his small hand reached out for my hand and then turned it so my index finger was pointing straight up. He draped the string over my finger, then he put his finger into the loop and pulled it taut. Using his free hand, he wove his middle finger in and out of the string, then he touched his fingertip to mine. He gave a little pull with the index finger that held the other end and voila! The string just dropped away from our connected fingers. Read the rest of this entry »

Heritage on Display at the Champions Cup

November 26, 2011

Former champions of the National Cutting Horse Association Futurity compete in the Champions Cup in a celebration of the sport.

By Larri Jo Starkey

Buster Welch rides through the herd November 26 at the Champions Cup.

Buster Welch rides through the herd November 26 at the Champions Cup. (Journal photo) For more photos, scroll to the slide show below.

What started as a celebration of the 50th National Cutting Horse Association Futurity turned into a whole lot more.

History, heritage and some pretty fancy cutting were all on display November 26 during the Neiman Marcus Champions Cup in Fort Worth, Texas.

“It was an electric night for everybody,” said cutting trainer Jody Galyean, one of the competitors who earned Read the rest of this entry »

All-Around Prospect

November 21, 2011

Looking for your next horse? Learn what AQHA Professional Horseman Kelly McDowall looks for in an all-around prospect.

AQHA Professional Horseman Kelly McDowall shares his insight on how to pick an all-around prospect.

To find out how Kelly trains his all-around prospects, check out the October 2011 issue of The American Quarter Horse Journal.


My starter all-around horse is ready to retire. When I got him, he knew it all and he taught me all of the all-around events. I’d like to buy an all-around prospect horse so that I can be the one teaching this time, but I don’t know what I should be looking for in a prospect.

What sort of things do you look for in an all-around prospect?

Read the rest of this entry »

Blondy’s Dude

November 18, 2011

He put the Freemans in the horse business.

Blondys Dude AQHA Stallion and Morgan Freeman

This photo of Blondy's Dude and Morgan Freeman was taken in 1971. Blondy's Dude stood 15.1 hands tall and weighed 1,395 pounds. AQHA file photo.

From America’s Horse

In 1960, Morgan Freeman was looking for a good stallion to breed to his band of mares.

But it had to be a good one. He wasn’t about to spend a lot of time or money hauling an average horse back to his ranch in Skiatook, Oklahoma. Read the rest of this entry »

Protecting a Trusted Partner

November 17, 2011

Quarter Horse enthusiast named Merial Stay on Guard spokeswoman.

Lyndsey Tait and Skys Blue Star stay on guard. Merial photo.

From AQHA Corporate Partner Merial

Lyndsey Tait and her American Quarter Horse Skys Blue Star have been together since he was a yearling and she was just 13.

During the decade since the two became partners, they have developed a rare and special bond. Lyndsey, even though she was so young, was the first one to ride Sky. She could also go into his stall while he was napping, and the big gray simply continued to doze with Lyndsey sitting on top of him. Read the rest of this entry »

Back to Basics

November 16, 2011

“What lead is my horse on?” AQHA Professional Horsewoman Julie Goodnight offers advice on feeling canter leads.

AQHA Professional Horsewoman Julie Goodnight. Journal photo

Hi Julie,

I have trouble feeling my canter leads, and I know the worst thing I can do is look down. What is the best way to feel the lead?

Also, I’m confused about the direction of the circle you make with your hips when cantering. I heard I’m supposed to go counter-clockwise on both the left and right-rein, and clockwise on the counter-canters. Is this true? Does it even matter?


Answer: Feeling canters leads is not hard, and neither is feeling posting diagonals. But to do either, you have to know what you are feeling and have the self-discipline not to look; think about how it feels for a few strides, make your decision, then look if you need to verify your results.

When the horse canters on the right lead, both his right hind and right fore are leading over the left legs (vice versa with the left lead), and he picks them up higher and reaches farther forward with those legs. Therefore his back will be slightly crooked underneath your seat, both front-to-back and side-to-side.

In your hips, you’ll feel your inside hip in front of your outside, so if he is on the right lead, your right hip and leg will be in front of your left hip and leg. Because he is picking both leading legs up higher, you’ll also feel your weight shift to the outside, so if he is on the right lead, you’ll feel more weight in your left seat bone and left stirrup.

This unevenness that you feel in his back is important not only for feeling your leads but also for setting your horse up for the correct lead, cueing for the canter and cueing for flying lead changes. As you go about cueing your horse for canter, you basically set your body into the canter position for the lead — your outside leg down and back (which tends to bring your inside hip and leg forward), your inside rein lifted (which shifts your weight into the outside stirrup), then a push with your seat in the canter motion (like you are pushing a swing) tells the horse to canter.

To execute a right-to-left flying lead change, you’ll first exaggerate the position your body is in on the right lead (right leg forward, weight in left stirrup, slight lift of right rein), then about a stride or two before you want to change leads, you bring your entire position back to center, then shift into the left lead body position (left leg forward, right leg back and down, left rein lifted).

There is great detail on all of this in Volume 4 in my riding DVD series, “Canter With Confidence,” including cueing, feeling leads, dealing with lead problems, controlling the canter and lead changes. And my newest video, “Canter Master,” shows riders from my reality TV show working on feeling leads and cueing for the canter, as well as bucking at the canter, collecting the canter and flying lead changes.

As for your second question, I think you are overthinking this! You’ve even got me confused with the clockwise and counter clockwise stuff! Your hips do make a circle at the canter, but you do not need to worry about which way, and you won’t need to be doing the hula dance. Your hips circle front-to-back at the canter, much like when you are pushing a swing. They move in the same direction no matter which lead you are on or which direction you are going — the only difference is that on the right lead, you’ll feel your right hip leading and vice versa on the left. Sometimes too much thinking gets in the way of feel!

P.S.  If you’re interested in learning to feel posting diagonals, check out my Training Library for related articles. Plus, one of our most popular episodes of “Horse Master” was on this subject. It was Episode No. 204, “Feel the Beat.” If you want to order it click here. If you want to watch a clip, click here.

Enjoy the ride!
AQHA Professional Horsewoman Julie Goodnight

Guess That Horse

November 16, 2011

Be sure to join us every Wednesday at 1 p.m. CDT for another round of Guess That Horse!

Guess this horse for a chance to win an AQHA scarf!

Welcome to Guess That Horse.

Today’s winner will receive an AQHA-logoed scarf, just in time for cold weather!

The contest will start at 1 p.m. CDT. At that time the photo and first hint of that round of Guess That Horse will start.

When the contest is live, 10 hints will be posted, one at a time, every few minutes on this page.

Refresh your browser periodically for new hints.

Please post your guesses into the “comments” box below.

The first person to correctly identify the American Quarter Horse wins the prize.

The winner will be announced after all the hints are given; participants must provide a valid e-mail address to to be eligible for the prize.

Christmas is coming! Are you ready? Shop Quarter Horse Outfitters for all the cowboys and cowgirls on your list!

Contest is Closed

Hint #1: This American Quarter Horse was foaled in 1976.

Hint #2: This Quarter Horse was a bay gelding.

Hint #3: This Quarter Horse received his open Register of Merit in 1979.

Hint #4: He won 169 amateur all around titles.

Hint #5: He was shown in seven amateur classes.

Hint #6: He earned 286 lifetime AQHA open points.

Hint #7: This Quarter Horse placed at four AQHA World Shows.

Hint #8: He had no markings.

Hint #9: He earned 109 AQHA lifetime youth points.

Final Hint: He was a great example of an all-around American Quarter Horse!

Congratulations to Katie for being the first person to correctly identify Melody Zipper in AQHA’s Guess That Horse contest! Melody Zipper is by Zippo Pine Bar and out of Jaguar Sue by King Jaguar. We’ll take a break from Guess That Horse next Wednesday in honor of the Thanksgiving holiday, but we’ll be back November 30 with more prizes!

Mental Challenge of Competition

November 16, 2011

Progressing from psyched out to psyched up.

The mental challenge of horse shows.

Pinpoint when, where and under what circumstances your nerves are an obstacle. Journal photo

From The American Quarter Horse Journal

Do you know this competitor?

“Although I try to have a positive mental attitude, I’ve always been nervous about competing.

“If I could just handle my nerves, I have everything else I need to be a real winner.”

Managing your mind is like every other facet of horsemanship – it takes work. Read the rest of this entry »