Horse Training

Horse-Training Essentials: Riding Good Corners

June 17, 2014

In Part 1 of this horse-training series, discover the common problems that lead to a sloppy corner in your horsemanship pattern.

The key to riding a good corner is simple: Look before you make the turn. Jean Abernathy illustration.

The key to riding a good corner is simple: Look before you make the turn. Jean Abernethy illustration.

By AQHA Professional Horsewoman Carla Wennberg in The American Quarter Horse Journal

We use corners a lot in horsemanship patterns at the bigger shows because the maneuver clearly shows correct “guide” in the horse. If a horse isn’t right on the rider’s aids, he won’t turn as well or will turn too much.

For the rider, it teaches focus. As the rider, you must visualize the turn and know where you are going. Remember, your rein aids control the shoulder forward, and your leg controls the rib cage and hip.

First, you have to think “straight” – ride the horse into the bridle by keeping his body straight. Read the rest of this entry »

Horse-Training Basics: Leading Without Resistance

June 10, 2014

Lead your horse with ease and lightness with these horse-training tips.

Training a horse to lead lightly will teach him how to move with your body From AQHAs Fundamentals of Horsemanship

Training a horse to lead lightly will teach him how to move with your body. From AQHA’s Fundamentals of Horsemanship

From AQHA’s Fundamentals of Horsemanship

If you can lead your horse in a halter with ease even at a trot, he will be much simpler to show in halter classes or to trot during a veterinary exam or inspection. By the end of this exercise, your horse won’t stay with you because he is forced to do so, but because he understands it’s a comfortable place to be.

How Do You Do It?

Lay the rope over your arm between your elbow and your body, and then run it along the inside into your hand. Avoid wrapping the rope around your arm, which would be extremely dangerous. Read the rest of this entry »

Master the Basics: Cutting

June 3, 2014

Put your horse-training skills to the test by trying your hand at the sport of cutting.

Master the basics of riding a cutting horse

As you master the basics of cutting, you need to have a horse that can keep up with you. Journal photo.

From The American Quarter Horse Journal

If you’ve ever watched a cutting competition, you probably suspect it’s one of the most exciting equine events around. The adrenaline rush you get as a spectator can’t compare to actually sitting atop a powerful American Quarter Horse as he almost touches his belly to the ground – doing everything possible to keep individually selected cows away from the herd for two and a half minutes.

To get involved, you’ll want to learn from experienced, reputable cutting trainers. Trainer John Mitchell says the absolute best way to jump into the cutting world is to take lessons from a trainer with a style you can emulate.

During your first lesson, your trainer will probably want to assess your riding ability by putting you on a well-broke help horse, John says. If you’re comfortable, you’ll be moved up to a well-mannered cutting horse so you can get the feel for the cutting style and whether you still have interest in leaning the event, Read the rest of this entry »

Improve Your Horse’s Upward Transitions, Part 2

May 27, 2014

Enlist these horse-training exercises to perfect your horse’s transitions.

horse gait transitions

Executing an upward transition in a circle will help a horse improve his carriage and head position as he changes gaits. Journal photo.

By AQHA Professional Horseman Stephanie Lynn in The American Quarter Horse Journal

Having a smooth upward transition is important because it’s much easier to maintain a correct gait than it is to correct a gait once it’s started poorly. The goal is to start the gait correctly and make it more useful to what you’re doing with a pattern or even a rail class.

Last week, we discussed the common problems with upward transitions and solutions for fixing them. Review those tips in Part 1. Now, let’s look at some ways to improve the transitions even more. Read the rest of this entry »

Horse-Training Basics: The Upward Transition

May 20, 2014

In Part 1 of this series, examine the solutions for perfecting your horse’s upward transitions.

Horse training for the upward transition begins at the walk

Horse training for the upward transition begins at the walk. Jean Abernethy illustration.

By AQHA Professional Horseman Stephanie Lynn in The American Quarter Horse Journal

Having a smooth upward transition is important because it’s much easier to maintain a correct gait than it is to correct a gait once it’s started poorly.

The goal is to start the gait correctly and make it more useful to what you’re doing with a pattern or even a rail class. If the goal is to set off to jump a course and the horse takes off on the wrong lead or too slowly, then you have to adjust before you can get on course.

If you can start something correctly, it makes it much easier to perform the next gait. Read the rest of this entry »

The Anxious Speed-Event Horse

May 13, 2014

Learn horse-training strategies to bring out the best in your nervous show horse.

Sometimes all your hot speed events horse needs is to go back to the horsetraining basics Journal photo

Sometimes all your “hot” speed events horse needs is to go back to the horse-training basics. Journal photo.

By Bob Jeffreys and Suzanne Sheppard in America’s Horse

Bob Jeffreys and AQHA Professional Horsewoman Suzanne Sheppard, of Middletown, New York, help horsemen in need with their horse-training problems. Here’s the advice they gave one rider about handling her anxious speed-event horse:

Dear Bob & Suz,

I am a 33-year-old experienced rider and instructor, and my horse is Foxies Gambler, a 7-year-old appendix Quarter Horse mare. We competed locally all summer and fall of last year, with a focus on games and speed events. I love her and love riding her very much, and she has won a lot. She has come a long way since I got her last spring. She had a history of being extremely spooky, nervous, bucking, running off, etc. Read the rest of this entry »

Equitation Over Fences Analysis

May 6, 2014

In Part 2 of this horse-training series, discover the last two tips that will help you maneuver your horse through an equitation over fences course.

In this equitation over fences pattern, taking the first jump without any bend in your horse might cause your horse to take unnecessary strides.

Navigate a challenging equitation over fences patter with the horse-training help of two AQHA Professional Horsewomen.

From The American Quarter Horse Journal

At the 2012 AQHA World Championship Show, AQHA Professional Horsewomen Linda Crothers of Mocksville, North Carolina, and Cindy Reddish of Palm City, Florida, gave a Nutrena Ride the Pattern clinic on the equitation over fences prelims pattern, also touching on hunt seat equitation.

With Linda riding to demonstrate and Cindy holding the pattern in her hand, the two pros talked back and forth on strategies for the course. What follows are the highlights of the strategies they discussed. In Part 1 of this series, Linda and Cindy covered the importance of bending lines in this over-fences pattern. Review bending lines before learning about the next two important factors these horsewomen bring up: The rollback turn and trot jump strategy. Read the rest of this entry »

Equitation Over Fences Analysis

April 29, 2014

In Part 1 of this horse-training series, maneuver through an equitation over fences course with two AQHA Professional Horsewomen.

In this equitation over fences pattern, taking the first jump without any bend in your horse might cause your horse to take unnecessary strides.

In this equitation over fences prelim pattern, taking the first jump without any bend in your horse might cause your horse to take unnecessary strides.

By AQHA Professional Horsewomen Linda Crothers and Cindy Reddish in The American Quarter Horse Journal

At the 2012 AQHA World Championship Show, AQHA Professional Horsewomen Linda Crothers of Mocksville, North Carolina, and Cindy Reddish of Palm City, Florida, gave a Nutrena Ride the Pattern clinic on the equitation over fences prelims pattern, also touching on hunt seat equitation.

With Linda riding to demonstrate and Cindy holding the pattern in her hand, the two pros talked back and forth on strategies for the course, and what follows are the highlights of the strategies they discussed. Come back next week for Part 2, where the two horsewomen discuss the use of rollback turns and trot jump strategy in this pattern. Read the rest of this entry »

Horse Training for Team Roping

April 22, 2014

Delve into the world of team roping with three easy steps.

Learning the proper team roping techniques from the start will be beneficial when you add steers to the mix Journal photo

Learning the proper team-roping techniques from the start will be beneficial when you add steers to the mix. Journal photo.

From The American Quarter Horse Journal

It looks so easy when it’s done right, but team roping requires perfect timing, teamwork and a pair of horses who know exactly what to do and when to do it.

Between the two of them, Sunny Jim Orr and Billy Allen have more than a handful of world championships. As Sunny Jim says, training for the sport of team roping starts on the ground.

Team-roping gear doesn’t have to be expensive. An old saw horse with some tape and horns will make a perfect model for heading practice. As for heeling practice, a couple of posts driven into the ground will work perfectly for throwing a heel loop. Read the rest of this entry »

Race Horse Training

April 15, 2014

Trainer Russell Harris shares his inside secrets for creating a good gate horse.

Horse racing starts at the gate and how a racehorse departs from the gate can have a big effect on his performance

Horse racing starts at the gate, and how a racehorse departs from the gate can have a big effect on his performance. Journal photo.

From The American Quarter Horse Racing Journal

Working the horse-racing gates can be a dangerous job, but renowned trainer Russell Harris works with his young racehorses to make the process a little safer.

Gate training begins with familiarizing the horse with the gate. This includes letting the horse have a good look at the gate, then walking him through repeatedly.

Russell says his key to creating a good gate horse is patience.

He keeps these seven steps in mind when training young horses to start on the racetrack: Read the rest of this entry »

Five Tips for a Proper Forehand Turn

April 8, 2014

In Part 2 of this series, uncover five more ways to improve this essential horse-training tool.

Its crucial that your horse understands how to move off of leg pressure to execute a forehand turn effortlessly.

It’s crucial that your horse understands how to move off of leg pressure to execute a forehand turn effortlessly. Illustration by Jean Abernethy.

By AQHA Professional Horseman Michael Colvin in The American Quarter Horse Journal

In last week’s post, we covered the common rider errors that lead to forehand-turn confusion, and the first step in fixing your turns. Review Part 1, and then let’s continue with more essentials:

1. Understand the aids. Let’s say we’re doing a left forehand turn with two reins: The horse’s nose revolves left as his haunches move to the right.

First, you must stay centered on the horse, keeping your balance in line with the horse’s balance. You’re going to use both legs and both hands, but your left leg and right hand are more prominent aids.

Both legs stay close on the horse, with the left leg stronger, pushing the haunches. Your left leg is not pushing the hips to the right, it’s really asking the horse to step up with the left hind leg toward your right hand. You must use some right leg for balance and to keep the horse forward. Read the rest of this entry »

A Horse-Training How-To: Forehand Turns

April 1, 2014

Part 1: Learn how to execute a correct forehand turn with these tips.

To execute a proper forehand turn, you must have the correct balance between leg aid and pressure on the horses mouth Jean Abernethy illustration

To execute a proper forehand turn, you must have the correct balance between leg aid and pressure on the horse’s mouth. Jean Abernethy illustration.

By AQHA Professional Horseman Michael Colvin in The American Quarter Horse Journal

Being able to do forehand turns and haunches turns (pivots or spins) with your horse gives you complete control of your horse’s body. If you can do both of those things, then you are able to do any number of maneuvers that come into play once you can isolate and maintain control of both ends of your horse – sidepasses, counter-canters, circling a cow, etc.

That’s why in western horsemanship and hunt seat equitation, you are asked to do these turns. They allow you to show off your basic skills. The more precise you are with them, the better. If you can add speed, it increases the degree of difficulty and improves your score. Read the rest of this entry »