August 27, 2013
Earn a better score in horsemanship with this horse-training technique.
Accuracy is very important when performing a pattern in a class. Teach your horse to be more responsive and accurate in his transitions with this simple horse-training exercise. Jean Abernethy illustration.
By AQHA Professional Horsewoman Lynn Palm with Christine Hamilton in The American Quarter Horse Journal
Once you’ve worked on the basic maneuvers found in a pattern, the next step to improve your scores in horsemanship, equitation or showmanship is to perfect your accuracy.
Accuracy is laying down a correct pattern. You can’t be accurate if you haven’t made yourself completely familiar with the pattern. You have to study it and understand it.
Accuracy also means that you hit your markers for transitions and maneuvers. Your lines are straight where called for, your lines are uniform through any curves, and your horse is bending and straight on those curves. Working on transitions is a great way to improve accuracy. Read the rest of this entry »
August 20, 2013
Try this horse-training technique to help you and your horse find a consistent pace while riding.
Learning how to establish a rhythm and determine your horse’s pace can help you have a more successful ride with your horse. Journal photo.
By Lainie DeBoer with Christine Hamilton in The American Quarter Horse Journal
When I put together the videos used in the AQHA judges’ educational seminars (for working hunter and equitation over fences), I noticed that when mistakes happen in a go, they often happen when the horses have an inconsistent pace – they go slow, then fast, slow, fast. And they don’t seem to be able to re-establish rhythm and get organized, back to the miles per hour they need to complete the course.
Being able to establish pace and then get right back on that rhythm when you get slightly off of it is a huge key to being successful in the hunter or equitation over fences ring.
If you can just keep your tempo and stay on the same measured rhythm throughout the course, you’d be amazed at how well you do. Read the rest of this entry »
August 13, 2013
Take your time when horse training to build collection.
When asking for collection, you want the horse to have a rounded back and engaged hindquarters. You don’t want the horse to have a hollowed back and a stiffened, elevated head and neck. Hailey True photo.
By AQHA Professional Horseman Ken McNabb in America’s Horse
When I talk about collection in my clinics, a lot of times, trail riders will tell me, “Ken, that’s not relevant to me.”
Truthfully, it’s more important to trail riders than just about anybody else. If I’m able to collect my horse instantly, that means I’m able to stop him on a dime – and that might be what keeps us safe out on the trails.
Dressage riders who perform advanced maneuvers need collection, but so do I when I work cattle on the ranch. I need to be able to get my horse rocked onto his hindquarters and moving quickly right and left. I need him to be collected. It’s something that’s very important to every rider. Read the rest of this entry »
August 6, 2013
This four-leaf-clover exercise helps control every movement of the horse while preparing for any maneuver.
This counter-canter exercise will help you to exercise your horse while working the horse’s neck, shoulders, rib cage and hips at the same time. It is also good for teaching a horse balance and collection. Journal illustration.
By Annie Lambert in The American Quarter Horse Journal
How great would it be to tune up every part of your performance horse for every maneuver he needs to perform without him feeling pressured? Renowned horseman and clinician Les Vogt believes he found the answer with the “cloverleaf exercise.”
From Pismo Beach, California, Les has been using the cloverleaf for about four years but gives credit to his friend Ben Balow of Skull Valley, Arizona, for the creative development of the exercise.
“Why just gallop circles when you can use this cloverleaf exercise where you’re working the neck, shoulders, rib cage and hips?” Les says. “You’re working on all the different body parts, but your horse has no idea that any of it relates to a particular maneuver, which is sweet.” Read the rest of this entry »
July 30, 2013
Try the reverse-arc turn to get your horse warmed up quickly.
The reverse-arc turn warm-up will get your horse focused and ready to work, no matter the arena setting. Step 1: Halt. Jean Abernethy illustration.
By AQHA Professional Horsewoman and Certified Horsemanship Association master instructor Andy Moorman with Marina Herbert-Schwarz in The American Quarter Horse Journal
Is it too hot outside or too cold to go for a good workout with your horse? Are you just plain short on time and need to get a good ride in as you prep for the big show that’s just weeks away? Or have you finally made it to that big show and now everyone is crowded into the warm-up ring at the same time and your first class is just minutes away?
In any of the above situations, I coach my students to make use of the reverse-arc turn warm-up. It is a powerful training tool that lightens your horse to aids, increases flexibility, can be accomplished in limited space and time, and is an excellent workout and/or warm-up technique. Bottom line: It helps build communication with and responsiveness in your equine partner, which is a benefit for all riders at all levels. It is a great warm-up for any discipline. Read the rest of this entry »
July 23, 2013
A time-honored horse-training plan gets colts ready to work on the historic AQHA Ranching Heritage Breeder ranch.
Colts started at Waggoner Ranch learn more than just how to carry a rider. They also learn to negotiate the ranch’s terrain as part of their training. Journal photo.
From The American Quarter Horse Journal
It’s a lot of work to start one colt. But to start 75 colts a year, you need a plan.
At the W.T. Waggoner Ranch, that plan starts in January, says the ranch’s horse division manager, Trace Cribbs, when each 2-year-old on the ranch is started and ridden for 30 days. At the end of that 30 days – and frequently in between – the colts will be videotaped under saddle and their futures assessed.
“Our No. 1 customer is us,” Trace says, meaning that horses are started with the idea that they’ll either be in a Waggoner cowboy’s all-gelding remuda, in a show string or in the broodmare band. If a horse isn’t temperamentally or physically suited for one of those jobs, he or she doesn’t get to be a part of the future gene pool. Read the rest of this entry »
July 16, 2013
Barrel-horse training starts with the basics and builds from there.
Trotting through a pole pattern helps your horse pick up his shoulders and move over. It gives him something different to think about while he learns flexibility. Journal photo.
By Mary Burger with Larri Jo Starkey in The American Quarter Horse Journal
Editor’s Note: Mary E. Burger won the 2007 Women’s Professional Rodeo Association’s world championship at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. She has multiple AQHA world championships on Rare Fred and has won a world championship at least once per decade since the AQHA World Championship Show began in 1974.
Mary Burger wants her horses to know the barrel pattern so well that when she goes into the arena for a money run, she can almost be a passenger. That switch to autopilot doesn’t just happen. It takes a lot of training and time. Here’s how Mary does it – every time. Read the rest of this entry »
July 9, 2013
Learn a simple horse-training exercise used by reining and dressage riders.
Allowing your horse to stretch his topline during warm-up will get your horse more supple, collected, relaxed and balanced. This will help him to gain more points while performing complex reining maneuvers. Journal photo.
By AQHA Professional Horseman and Certified Horsemanship Association master instructor Carla Wennberg with Christine Hamilton in The American Quarter Horse Journal
Reiners and dressage riders both incorporate a good topline stretch when they work a horse. It’s simple: Allow the horse to stretch down with his neck, reaching down to his knee. In doing that, he stretches the entire topline muscles from his neck on down the back. When he stretches his neck forward, the back comes up and makes a better stride and topline.
It’s a great exercise for every event, but it is just a warm-up. It is not how your horse’s head should be carried all the time. Read the rest of this entry »
June 25, 2013
There’s a lot of horse training involved in getting a good simple lead change.
Don’t take a simple lead change for granted. If your horse is used to doing a flying lead change in a pattern, and you’re approaching the cone, the aids are very similar. If he’s not tuned in to you and waiting on your cues, he’ll have a flying change done before you know it. Journal photo.
By AQHA Professional Horsewoman and Certified Horsemanship Association master instructor Carla Wennberg with Christine Hamilton in The American Quarter Horse Journal
A simple lead change is a lead change made through a transition down to the jog or walk and then back to the lope on the other lead. According to AQHA’s rules, there should be only one to three strides at the jog or walk before picking up the lope again.
As judges, we very seldom see a lope to walk transition for a simple lead change, but it is correct. Usually, if it’s a simple change in horsemanship, it’s a lope-jog-lope; and in the hunt seat equitation, it’s a canter-trot-canter. Read the rest of this entry »
June 18, 2013
This horse-training exercise will help you improve your American Quarter Horse in less time.
To set up the wagon wheel, you will need nine cones: one for the center and eight arranged around the outside. The outer diameter of your wheel should be 50-60 feet. Journal photo.
By Bob Jeffreys and Suzanne Sheppard in The American Quarter Horse Journal
Editor’s Note: Suzanne Sheppard is an AQHA Professional Horsewoman from Middletown, New York. In this article, she and Bob Jeffreys talk about the “wagon wheel” exercise – one of their favorite exercises used in training their horses. This article originally appeared in The American Quarter Horse Journal as part of a training series.
We’re both die-hard American Quarter Horse lovers and truly enjoy the arts of dressage and reining, the excitement of cutting and hunter-jumpers and the versatility of working ranch horse and trail competitions.
Willingness, calmness, impulsion, straightness, suppleness and balance are all qualities required for any horse to succeed in his career, no matter which discipline he works and competes in. To effectively and efficiently develop these qualities to the degree a champion horse needs, without rushing the horse, we trainers must make every moment of training time count. This is just one of our favorite mounted exercises to develop a better horse in less time. Read the rest of this entry »
June 11, 2013
Smooth lope departures are critical for western pleasure, horsemanship, western riding, and many other performance classes. Journal photo.
Refine your horse training: Get correct lope departures with minimal cues.
By AQHA Professional Horseman Leonard Berryhill with Christine Hamilton in The American Quarter Horse Journal
A good lope departure is when a horse responds to a minimal cue from the rider with willingness and collection.
It’s important in every AQHA event. In western riding, it’s scored. In western pleasure, a lope departure sets up your lope. It’s much easier for a horse to carry himself after he has departed correctly than it is to have a bad departure and try to correct it as you go down the pen. In horsemanship or equitation, a good lope or canter departure will lead to a better execution of your maneuver.
As a judge, when I see a horse depart to a lope from a jog, I don’t want to see a change in cadence in the jog, but it is all right for that horse to take a step, collect himself and then depart. Read the rest of this entry »
June 4, 2013
Your trusty all-around mount requires a unique horse-training schedule that keeps him physically fit without inducing burnout and boredom.
Horses like Oscar don’t need to jump every day. Chris takes Oscar over a few low jumps a couple times a week to keep him tuned up and willing to work hard at the shows. Journal photo.
From The American Quarter Horse Journal
Horses like Superhorse contender Ashleys Bo Doc are prized possessions in the horse industry. They’ve been around the arena long enough to know their events, and they’re completely spook-proof. They ooze all-around talent, and the key to success is managing that talent while maintaining a good horse-rider partnership. In other words, you’ve got to find creative ways to keep your four-legged Bo Jackson in tip-tip shape and perfectly tuned to you.
AQHA Professional Horsewoman Chris Thompson gives us a glimpse at “Oscar’s” riding and horse training schedule. No matter which events you and your horse perform in, you can use her advice to keep your seasoned all-around horse tuned up and happy when show time comes around. Read the rest of this entry »