Horse Training

Training a Rope Horse

January 14, 2014

Get horse-training advice from multiple world champion and Wrangler Extreme Team Member C.R. Bradley.

C.R. Bradley uses two ropes during training to help the horse understand backing. Journal photo.

C.R. Bradley uses two ropes during training to help the horse understand backing. Journal photo.

From The American Quarter Horse Journal

AQHA Professional Horseman C.R. Bradley of Collinsville, Texas, makes it look so easy. From the arena stands, it’s as if his horses read his mind as they burst out of the box and make all the right moves for C.R. to rope up a winning run.

In reality, C.R. practices for hours and hours to get his horses where he wants them. Check out his fine-tuned program, which emphasizes patience and lots of time. Read the rest of this entry »

Cardiac Conditioning

January 7, 2014

Proper horse training can produce cardiovascular changes to create speed.

No matter how much training a horse and rider have, without proper conditioning, it will be difficult to compete on the track or in the show pen. Journal photo.

No matter how much training a horse and rider have, without proper conditioning, it will be difficult to compete on the track or in the show pen. Journal photo.

By Dr. William E. Jones in the Q-Racing Journal

Whether you’re trying to add speed to your racing Quarter Horses, timed-event horses or are just trying to condition your horse for the show season, understanding cardiac training can help you tailor your horse’s training program.

Research in equine exercise physiology was first aimed at basic studies, which revealed many of the unique physiological characteristics that make the horse such a superb athlete but produced little useful information that could make a difference to a speed-horse trainer.

Read the rest of this entry »

Plus-Worthy Reining Circles

December 17, 2013

Horse-training tips to put “wow” in your circle transitions.

Impress the judges with drastic speed changes in your reining pattern circles. Journal photo.

Impress the judges with drastic speed changes in your reining pattern circles. Journal photo.

By AQHA Professional Horseman Bob Avila in The American Quarter Horse Journal.

Ever watch a reining pattern and wonder how those riders get such spectacular transitions from their fast to slow circles? AQHA Professional Horseman Bob Avila says it’s easy to teach.

Reining is a show, and you have to play for the crowd, and part of the crowd is the judge.

It looks really cool when a horse goes from a big fast into a small slow circle. But you mark more when you have that abrupt change and boom right down to where the horse almost comes to a stop as he goes into the small slow.

Sometimes, though, when a horse comes down in the middle and slows down, the neck will raise and stiffen up. That judge will see that, and that’s not good.

You want a horse to come to the middle of that arena and abruptly come to a small, slow circle, but stay relaxed.

Read the rest of this entry »

Borrow a Trainer: The Sitting Trot

December 10, 2013

Horse training becomes easier if you’re able to learn body control and master the sitting trot.

Learning to correctly sit the trot goes back to the very basics of what makes a functional rider – correct body position.

Learning to correctly sit the trot goes back to the very basics of what makes a functional rider – correct body position. Jean Abernethy illustration

By AQHA Professional Horsewoman Lynn Palm with Christine Hamilton in The American Quarter Horse Journal

To sit the trot, you have to understand that the rider’s position determines vertical shock absorption.

The ultimate goal is to sit the trot and keep a deep seat.

In the show ring, you will have an edge if you can master sitting the trot, following the motion of the horse with your hips in a smooth, subtle way.

For your hips to be able to move freely with the motion of the gait, you must be loose and supple through the hips. It is a very subtle, but quick, forward and back action.

Read the rest of this entry »

Reward With Rest

December 3, 2013

Rest is an important horse-training tool.

Rewarding a horse with an earned recess seems to speed up the training process. You have to give a horse a job to do, so the break means something. Journal photo.

By Joe Wolter in America’s Horse

Remember recess?

You quit concentrating for a little while and just enjoyed yourself for a few minutes. Can you imagine what school would have been like without recess?

I never used to think about recess when I was training horses.

At some point, I noticed an interesting coincidence: I’d be really intent on teaching a horse something when the phone would ring. I’d talk to whoever it was for awhile, then I’d hang up and go back to concentrating on my horse. And they’d be better!

Read the rest of this entry »

Call Up the Quarters

November 19, 2013

Improve collection for any event with this horse-training tool.

Strong hindquarters and proper collection aid every horse and rider team, no matter the disciple or event. Jean Abernethy illustration.

Strong hindquarters and proper collection aid every horse and rider team, no matter the disciple or event. Jean Abernethy illustration.

By AQHA Professional Horsewoman Michelle Just-Williams with Christine Hamilton in The American Quarter Horse Journal.

I have a simple exercise that I use to help strengthen a horse’s back and hindquarters, and to help him learn to use his hind end.

While the horse is tracking straight and forward, ask for increased collection and a shortened stride for a few strides. Then release, allowing the energy to move forward into a lengthened stride, all while maintaining the gait – walk, trot or canter. After a few strides, again ask for collection and repeat.

Asking for that increased collection is “calling up the quarters.” Push the horse’s hindquarters up underneath your seat with leg, rein and seat carriage. The horse has to tuck the rear and reach up underneath himself while maintaining forward energy.

Learn from AQHA Professional Horsemen and -women Carla Wennberg, Lynn Salvatori-Palm, Andy Moorman, Al Dunning, Patti Carter and Stephanie Lynn in AQHA’s  Borrow a Trainer report, which includes lessons to improve self-carriage, lateral movements and more.

Read the rest of this entry »

Horse Training for the Fence Work

November 12, 2013

Angled positioning will help you get better fence work.

Sharp turns will improve your score in boxing and fence work. The cow must honor the horse when he steps up to the head. Journal photo.

Sharp turns will improve your score in boxing and fence work. The cow must honor the horse when he steps up to the head. Journal photo.

From The American Quarter Horse Journal.

In working cow horse, strategy can make the difference between handling your cow efficiently and letting her run down the rail without you.

Right From the Start

The point of boxing is to teach your cow to honor your horse. To do that, you need to “train” the cow to move away from your horse when you’re in her eye.

Read the rest of this entry »

From “Cinchy” to Steady

November 5, 2013

With patient and reassuring horse-training techniques, you can help horses who hate to be saddled.

The best rehabilitation for “cinchy” horses is to have many positive saddling experiences. Journal photo.

The best rehabilitation for “cinchy” horses is to have many positive saddling experiences. Journal photo.

By  Brent Graef in America’s Horse.

There can be many reasons a horse doesn’t like to have the cinch tightened. The main reasons seem to be:

1.    A fear of being hurt, usually stemming from memories of someone cinching up too quickly, causing pinching or surprising the horse.
2.    Physical pain when the saddle is placed on the horse or when the cinch is pulled snug.

Read the rest of this entry »

English Bits, Part II

October 29, 2013

From flat work to over fences: Learn which English bits are best for horse training in this two-part series.

Professional horsemen share their advice on choosing the appropriate English bit for over-fences work.

Professional horsemen share their advice on choosing the appropriate English bit for over-fences work. Journal photo.

From The American Quarter Horse Journal

The numerous variations and types of horse bits can be a little intimidating for horsemen. Different events, training purposes or horse preference could determine which bit is most appropriate. The most common English bit is the snaffle, but there are far more options than you may think. There are many different mouthpiece options for a snaffle – from the smooth mouthpiece to a rubber bit to one with a twist and a little more bite. There are also leverage bits, including snaffles with curb chains, Kimberwicks and Pelhams.

AQHA Professional Horsemen and judges David Connors of Colts Neck, New Jersey; Jerry Erickson of Sanger, Texas; and Sandy Vaughn of Hernando, Florida, all weighed in on the best bits for English horses.

Read the rest of this entry »

English Bits, Part I

October 22, 2013

From flat work to over fences: Learn which English bits are best for horse training.

Photo caption: The proper bit can be the best training tool in your arsenal, but finding the right one can be the hardest part.

The proper bit can be the best training tool in your arsenal, but finding the right one can be the hardest part. Journal photo.

From The American Quarter Horse Journal.

The numerous variations and types of horse bits can be a little intimidating for horsemen. Different events, training purposes or horse preference could determine which bit is most appropriate. The most common English bit is the snaffle, but there are far more options than you may think. There are many different mouthpiece options for a snaffle – from the smooth mouthpiece to a rubber bit to one with a twist and a little more bite. There are also leverage bits, including snaffles with curb chains, Kimberwicks and Pelhams.

David Connors of Colts Neck, New Jersey; Jerry Erickson of Sanger, Texas; and Sandy Vaughn of Hernando, Florida, all weighed in on the best bits for English horses in a two-part series.

Read the rest of this entry »

Hunter Hack Horse Training

October 15, 2013

Improve the transition from flat to fences with hunter hack.

The rail gait is similar to over-fences, but a horse will have to learn to rate. Jean Abernethy illustration.

The rail gait is similar to over-fences, but a horse will have to learn to rate. Jean Abernethy illustration.

By AQHA Professional Horseman Chuck Briggs with Lari Jo Starkey in The American Quarter Horse Journal.

Well-trained rail horses often make great over-fences horse. And learning how to jump will make good rail horses even better. It makes them mellower, and it gives them something to look forward to besides going around in circles.

Train and prepare your horse for over-fences with this easy progression through hunter hack. Whether you intend to end with hack or with jumping, these exercises will keep your horse well-tuned. Even rail horses can benefit from these stride and pole exercises.

Read the rest of this entry »

Horse Training for the Sliding Stop

October 8, 2013

Avoid common mistakes and master the perfect sliding stop for your next reining pattern.

An impressive sliding stop adds excitement to your reining pattern. Journal photo.

An impressive sliding stop adds excitement to your reining pattern. Journal photo.

By Troy Heikes in The American Quarter Horse Journal

There are few events more exciting than a horse barreling down the arena before effortlessly dropping his hips and sliding 20 feet with the dirt flying behind him. It can take your breath away.

But if you’re not sitting properly during that stop, your horse’s slide can go from a plus to a minus.

There’s a lot involved in stopping your horse – the run, the approach, the stop – and if you’re not in the right position, you can really mess up a great-stopping horse. Learning to ride a sliding stop is very much training yourself how to do it right. Read the rest of this entry »