May 21, 2013
Why the hot debate over this horse-training tactic?
Learning to ride a spur stop horse can be a challenge, but there are many trainers who swear by it. Learn the pros and cons of using the spur stop in your horse training. Journal photo.
By Randee Fox in The American Quarter Horse Journal
“Keep your reins long. Apply your lower legs to slow her down. If she doesn’t slow apply your spurs softly, slowly and evenly holding them until she slows, then release, keeping your reins long.”
Huh? Spur to slow? Spur to stop? No reins? What the heck is this?
The instructions made no sense to me, as it was totally counterintuitive to the way I had been trained to ride. I was trying out a darling 5-year-old proven western pleasure show mare in a sweet little lope for the first time with trainer Denise Callahan.
It had been years since I had ridden a western pleasure show horse. So here I was, feeling green in unfamiliar territory with a potentially new horse partner. Hey, whatever happened to “spur to go”? Read the rest of this entry »
May 14, 2013
Get a horse’s mind in the trailer, and his feet will follow.
These two young horses have decided that the trailer is not scary and is a good place to be. Journal photo.
From America’s Horse
“The ancestor of every action is a thought.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Who knew that 19th century intellectual Ralph Waldo Emerson was a horse trainer?
Truth be told, he wasn’t, but his sentiments are absolutely on the mark when it comes to trailer loading. For a horse to load in the trailer, he first has to think in the trailer.
That sounds also too simple to be true. But a few years ago, I had a horse – claustrophobic to begin with – who’d been in the trailer when a tire blew. He wasn’t going back into that scary horse-coffin, no way, no how. I called Brent Graef, a horsemanship clinician from Canyon, Texas, for help. We’ll get his mind in the trailer, Brent told me, and his feet will follow. Read the rest of this entry »
May 7, 2013
Horse-training tips to get you through a gate safely on a ranch-started youngster.
For a green colt, it will be easier to ride through the gate forward, pushing it open instead of backing through. Journal photo.
From The American Quarter Horse Journal
It’s time for Royal Gin Fletch, aka “Felix,” to open a panel gate – the kind he’d meet in a feed lot or in a versatility ranch trail class.
Bred by Terry Crofoot of Crofoot Ranches LLP in Lubbock, Texas, the 3-year-old has a good handle on him already, put on by Thomas Saunders V of the Saunders Ranch in Weatherford, Texas. Well into the bridle, confident in his rider and in a settled frame of mind, Felix is ready to learn to work a gate.
Using the same techniques they teach in guest lectures at Colorado State University’s colt-starting classes, Terry and Thomas walk Felix through his first gate. Read the rest of this entry »
April 30, 2013
Charlie Cole and Deanna Searles received these horse-training laurels at the 2013 AQHA Convention.
Deanna Searles and Charlie Cole have both been very involved in AQHA, giving back to the industry and being true role models for Quarter Horse youth and adults alike. Journal photo.
From The American Quarter Horse Journal
Charlie Cole and Deanna Searles have been named the 2012 Don Burt Professional’s Choice Professional Horseman and 2012 Professional’s Choice Horsewoman of the Year. Before we look at their stories, here’s a little more about the award:
The Don Burt Professional’s Choice Professional Horseman and Professional’s Choice Professional Horsewoman of the Year should above all have the humane treatment of the horse as paramount; be ethical in all business decisions and support the industry by promoting the breed and membership in AQHA. In addition, they should be ambassadors for AQHA and encourage people to participate in the industry by having a helpful attitude.
Read the rest of this entry »
April 23, 2013
For correct horse training, you have to understand the natural arc of the lope.
There are some keys to working on and strengthening a horse’s natural arc at the lope. First is for riders to become educated and mindful in their riding. Journal photo.
By Dana Hokana with Christine Hamilton in The American Quarter Horse Journal
All horses, when they lope or canter naturally, perform that gait at an arc. If you go out into the pasture and watch your horse lope, you’ll notice that he carries his body in an arc. He hits a lope stride and moves his inside hip slightly in, depending on the lead he is traveling. He travels straight but holds his body on a natural arc.
There is a correct arc for a left lead and a correct arc for a right lead. When you watch a horse’s legs as he lopes toward you, if he’s on a correct arc, you should see his outside hind leg fall dead center in between his two front legs. (If he’s on a right lead, it would be his left hind leg.) Just as people are either left- or right-handed, horses tend to be better on one arc versus the other.
On that correct arc from poll to tail, he carries himself balanced in his body weight, collecting up with lift in his shoulders and reaching under with his hind leg, his energy flowing from his hindquarters through his shoulders and face. Read the rest of this entry »
April 16, 2013
Use these tips to develop a better hand gallop.
In a good hand gallop, the horse is freely galloping in front of the rider’s leg on a soft but organized rein. Jean Abernethy illustration.
By AQHA Professional Horseman Shane George with Christine Hamilton in The American Quarter Horse Journal
In a good hand gallop, the horse is freely galloping in front of the rider’s leg on a soft but organized rein.
The rider is in a half-seat position, up off the saddle. An extended canter is done sitting in the saddle, but a hand gallop is ridden slightly off the horse’s back in a more forward position.
When judges call for a hand gallop in equitation classes, it’s just another test we use to see the rider’s adjustability and abilities.
In equitation over fences, you might see a pattern call for a rider to hand gallop a single oxer, then turn to a line of jumps down the outside. In the hand gallop, judges want to see an increase of pace and forward stride, not a ride that’s back-pedaled or determined by a set distance. Then they want to see whether the rider can make the horse hand gallop to the oxer and then collect him again for the short line. Read the rest of this entry »
April 9, 2013
Want to work on rope-horse training? Take your time and focus on fundamentals.
Everybody’s scared to slow down, but sometimes slowing down is the easiest way to be faster. Journal photo.
By AQHA Professional Horseman Mark Wray with Christine Hamilton in The American Quarter Horse Journal
The basic fundamentals of roping are simple – your horse scores good, he stands flat-footed, the gate bangs, you drop your hand, and your horse runs to the cow. That all sets in motion your next steps – stand up, swing the rope, deliver, catch and handle.
If any of those steps get out of whack, chances are you’re going to have to hustle somewhere else because you have to compensate for it. All the steps go together.
And then you add speed, and it’s probably your worst enemy, whether you’re an older rider or a younger one. Read the rest of this entry »
April 2, 2013
AQHA Professional Horsewoman Lynn Palm offers exercises to help improve your horse-training skills by using your reins effectively.
This exercise will help to increase your guiding ability, making you and your horse a better team. Journal illustration.
From America’s Horse
Editor’s Note: This is the final installment in a two-part series focusing on improving your ability to guide your horse. Need to review Part 1?
AQHA Professional Horsewoman, trainer and clinician Lynn Palm likes to use two exercises to help gain control of a horse’s body parts. This is the second exercise in the series, meant to improve the quality of turns with your horse. Read the rest of this entry »
March 26, 2013
Lynn Palm offers exercises to help improve your horse training-skills.
Follow this set-up to begin riding the perfect circle and increase your guiding ability. Journal illustration.
From America’s Horse
Editor’s Note: This is the first in a two-part series of exercises to help improve your guiding abilities with your horse.
Turning a horse is not a skill we think much about, at least until the horse doesn’t turn. But if you miss the barrel, lose the cow or continue straight over a steep drop on the trail ride, the importance of being able
to control a horse’s body becomes much clearer.
AQHA Professional Horsewoman, trainer and clinician Lynn Palm likes to use two exercises to help gain control of a horse’s body parts. They include working on a circle and improving the turn. Both seem deceptively simple, but with enough practice and mastery will garner a much more responsive and nimble horse. Read the rest of this entry »
March 19, 2013
It’s about getting prepared and staying balanced.
Michael Colvin uses a specific system to ask his horse to change leads. Illustration by Jean Abernethy.
By AQHA Professional Horseman Michael Colvin with Christine Hamilton in The American Quarter Horse Journal
A lead change is really one of the most complicated maneuvers we do with a horse. If you go to the world of dressage, for example, lead changes are done only in the upper levels of training. For some horses, it’s naturally easier for them to do – they’re a little more athletic.
It’s the same for riders. A lead change is something that everyone is able to do in some capacity with instruction, but some riders are more adept to it than others, just like some people are better at getting a horse to jump a fence or to spin and slide.
There are people in our industry who are really talented at making a high-quality lead change. I certainly don’t succeed every time I ask a horse to change leads. I do, however, try to keep the percentage high, but it’s not an exact science. Read the rest of this entry »
March 5, 2013
So much about working cow horse training involves getting the correct position for a fence turn.
Bob Avila stresses the importance of position in working cow horse. Correct position is how to make a good fence turn. Journal photo.
By AQHA Professional Horseman Bob Avila with Larri Jo Starkey in The American Quarter Horse Journal
When people see working cow horse for the
first time, a lot of them say, “That looks like fun you’re having chasing the cow.”
What they don’t realize is that there is no “chasing” in cow horse. You’re working the cow and putting yourself in a position to make a good fence run. Many people want to make a great fence turn; well, position is how you make a good fence turn. A great fence turn is the cherry on the cake. Read the rest of this entry »
February 26, 2013
The pinwheel lope over is one of the hardest things to do well in a trail course.
The pinwheel, fan or wagon wheel lope over is one of the hardest things to do well in a trail course. Illustration by Jean Abernethy.
By AQHA Professional Horseman John Briggs with Christine Hamilton in The American Quarter Horse Journal
The pinwheel, fan or wagon wheel lope over is one of the hardest things to do well in a trail course. You’re asking the horse to steer in the circumference of a circle while hitting strides just right going over poles. To do that, every degree matters, and the horse has to be able to hold his body in position, straight, without falling in or out. That’s an advanced maneuver.
You have to work on obstacles like this over time, gradually, with repetition. If you try to crash-course a horse, you’re taking shortcuts, and those will catch up to you somewhere. Read the rest of this entry »