August 29, 2012
Keylee Sayler, AQHA's international intern, and the University of Wisconsin-River Falls horsemanship clinic team finished teaching the final clinic of the summer in Prestranek, Slovenia.
The University of Wisconsin-River Falls and I just finished teaching the final AQHA international horsemanship camp of the summer in Prestranek, Slovenia, at Posestvo Grad Prestranek. This camp went wonderfully and was a great way to end the summer. This was the first year Slovenia has held an AQHA horsemanship camp.
When we first arrived, our wonderful hosts took us to see some of Slovenia's famous caves and even a castle that was built into a cave. The three-day camp included 10 riders, all of whom were ready to learn how to gain clearer communication with their horse. The UW-RF team did an amazing job teaching this clinic, as all of the camp participants learned the steps in becoming better horsemen.
The first day, participants learned how to gain control of their horses by knowing how to move their horses' shoulders, ribs, hips and how to flex their horses' head and neck vertically and horizontally. The second day, the UW-RF team taught participants more about showmanship and how to train their horses to have better ground manners. Dr. Kris Hiney also talked t
o everyone about the different uses of bits. Then participants learned several games that would help them learn to steer their horse.
A couple of the steering games were:
- Four Corners – This requires four cones to be set up in a square. The goal is for the horse and rider to make square corners. If the horse did not respond willingly, then the rider would have the horse make a sharper corner, going to the diagonal cone. This helped the horse learn how to pick up his shoulders and not lean.
- Straight Lines – This game seems simple until you try it. The goal is for the horse to go straight without the rider's aid. But usually, the horse will be tempted to go to the gate or other horses and will lean that direction. When the horse does this, the rider will pick the horse's shoulders up and will ask him to make a 90-degree turn the opposite direction of the way the horse wanted to go. This helps the horse learn to go in a straight line and not drop his shoulders, and it teachs riders how to pick up the horse's shoulders when the horse wants to lean to a certain way.
The third day, riders worked on stopping and trail. For the afternoon, the UW-RF team allowed for one-on-one problem solving.
The UW-RF team and I are now heading back to Wisconsin and Texas, where school will begin again. I want to give a huge thank-you to AQHA for giving us students this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. We began our travels to help people learn more about AQHA and how to become better horsemen, but each country also taught us many things about their culture. I also want to thank all the hosts from the countries for taking care of us and showing us around. We really appreciated it!
Thank you for joining me this summer, and na svidenje!
AQHA International Intern