Horseback Riding

Cultivating Confidence For Horseback Riding, Part 1

August 24, 2015

How riders can find sureness and certainty in the saddle.

Feeling like you dont have complete control of your horse can affect a riders confidence

Feeling like you don’t have complete control of your horse can affect a rider’s confidence. Build confidence and control with these simple exercises. Photo courtesy of Downunder Horsemanship

By Clinton Anderson with Holly Clanahan

All the time, people approach me and say, “Clinton, I’m scared when I ride. I have a lack of confidence.”

Sometimes, that’s because of an accident that damaged both their body and their confidence. Or sometimes, the people rode as children but then stepped away from horses to pursue careers and families. Now, when they returned to horses 30 years later, they aren’t as athletic and they know they’ll hit the ground a lot harder if they fall. The confidence they had as children has disappeared. Read the rest of this entry »

Horseback Riding and Horse Power

August 10, 2015

With this behind-the-scenes look at the latest Ford F-150 ad, you’ll see the close connection between the legendary Four Sixes Ranch and the reliability of Ford vehicles.

Ford vehicles play an important role at the Four Sixes Ranch. Journal photo

Ford vehicles play an important role at the Four Sixes Ranch. Journal photo

By Jody Reynolds for www.aqha.com

In celebration of a new AQHA president and the 2015 Ford F-150, AQHA and Ford Motor Company teamed up at the legendary Four Sixes Ranch for a photo shoot to create an ad to be featured in America’s Horse and The American Quarter Horse Journal. Read the rest of this entry »

Why Quarter Horses Are Worth It

July 27, 2015

Horse people are used to making sacrifices in order to enjoy some horseback-riding time. We asked you on Facebook why it is all worth it. Here are some of your reasons:

AQHA fans told us why their American Quarter Horses are worth making sacrifices for. Journal photo

AQHA fans told us why their American Quarter Horses are worth making sacrifices for. Journal photo

Compiled by Nicki Csenge, summer 2015 AQHA online communications and publications intern

“I raised my last horse, and he has given his all. I love the feel. I love the bond we have. I love to hear his nicker when I call him. And I love his hugs. Yes, he gives me hugs when I’m giving him a good shoulder scratch. I’m 67, and he is 19.”
– Pamela Kaparoff Gutierrez

“I love being with all the horses at our barn. It’s such a calming effect for me. I suffer from severe migraines, and this is a form of therapy for me. I find that I can bond with horses when using a gentle voice. It gives a sense of trust.”
– Janice Niemi Read the rest of this entry »

Five Exercises to Improve Your Riding Seat and Leg Position

July 20, 2015

Develop a balanced seat for horseback riding with these tips from the AQHA international horsemanship camp in Sweden.

By Katy Krshka, AQHA international intern, Summer 2015

leg exercise heels down

For Step 4, riders are asked to bring their toes up and stretch as far as they can down through their heel. (Credit: Katy Krshka)

The first day of AQHA international horsemanship camps usually consists of observing the riders and evaluating what they need to work on. A step the clinicians usually start with is working on the riders’ seat and leg. As most of us have experienced, this is something we can never get too good at! This is a key component to building a strong foundation and applies to all riding disciplines. Listed below are a few simple steps the international participants went through to strengthen their seat and leg.

Starting at the walk, participants walk in a circle around the clinicians. Something to remember when doing this is to not pull on your horse’s face to balance yourself. When going up and down, it is important to keep your hands in the correct position and not worry about the horse’s face. Working on the horse’s flexion and body position can come at a later time when you are not working specifically on your body.

Step 1: two-point position

1. The first step in the series is to rise up in the two-point position. The phrase “two-point” comes from the two points of contact the rider should have when in this position. A two-point contact lifts the rider’s weight off the horse’s back and puts it down into the rider’s heel and stirrups. The body, by leaning slightly forward, somewhat lightens the weight on the horse’s back and allows the balance point to shift toward the forehand. At this moment, the two nominal points of contact between horse and rider are the rider’s legs. Riders should not be standing up in their stirrups or using their stirrups to balance off of. This is simply rising out of the saddle while tipping the pelvis forward and using your leg strength to keep yourself up in this position. This helps riders find their balance and stay in the middle of their horse. Use this exercise to drive down through your leg and into your heel. Keep in mind, this does not mean to shove your hands forward with no contact with your horse. This is quite the opposite. Riders should shorten their reins to maintain the same contact they had while sitting in the normal position.

2. The next step is standing straight up in the saddle to drive your heel down. This exercise strengthens your thighs and improves balance. The ideal line you should be striving for is a straight line from your shoulder to your hip to your heel (demonstrated in the picture). This is important to maintain anytime you are riding, because it allows you to maintain a consistency in how you ask your horse to perform. Also, it is imperative for horsemanship and equitation riders to keep this position, as these are classes judged on the rider’s form and ability to perform.

Step 2: standing up

3. The next exercise requires riders to drop their stirrups. This allows rider to freely feel what their leg is doing without the aid of the stirrup. Clinicians first ask the riders to point their toes down. This may seem contradictory at first, but there is a method to their madness! Stretching the toe down helps strengthen and utilize tendons and ligaments in the front and back of the foot.

Step 3: pointing toes down

 

4. After feeling your legs with your toes pointing down, riders are asked to bring their toes up and stretch as far as they can down through their heel. When doing this, your toes should never be turned out. Turning toes out can leads to gripping with your spurs and creating a constant grip on your horse that is detrimental to teaching your horse a variety of maneuvers. It can also open your knee and thigh, leading to a weaker seat and leg.

Step 4: pushing heels back down

 

5. Keeping this position, riders are then asked to pick up their stirrups. All previous steps should be kept in mind and riders should continue sitting in the correct position with the ideal straight line being drawn from the shoulder down through the hip and heel. After continued practice, it will become natural to feel right where your leg and seat should be at all times.

Step 5 : returning to correct position with stirrups

 

Selling Your Ranch Horse

July 13, 2015

Find a new horseback-riding partner for your ranch horse at an auction.

Use these tips to plan and manage a successful ranch auction. Journal photo

Use these tips to plan and manage a successful ranch auction. Journal photo

From The American Quarter Horse Journal

Putting on an auction can seem like a big chore. But for many AQHA Ranching Heritage Breeders, it’s the best way to get their horses in the barns of new owners.

In Part 1, we got some advice from the Four Sixes Ranch in Guthrie, Texas, and Weaver Quarter Horses in Big Sandy, Montana.

Here are some additional factors to think about when you’re deciding whether to put on a production sale.

Getting the Horses Ready
Sale week is a 24-7 operation for the Weavers, who rely on family members for all of the work, but sale prep starts much earlier. Read the rest of this entry »

Hittin’ the Trails at the AQHA 75th Celebration

July 2, 2015

Take a look at these photos from picturesque Eminence, Missouri, at the AQHA 75th Anniversary Celebration.

Eminence July 2By Tara Matsler, AQHA Internet editor

The week-long AQHA 75th Anniversary Celebration is underway in Eminence, Missouri.

Hosted by Cross Country Trail Rides, the week is packed with activities like swimming, fishing, concerts, dances and the largest fireworks display in the area. Attendees have been hitting the trails – 300 miles of forested and riverside trails, to be exact.

On July 2, riders took a stab at the AQHA Trail Challenge course, with assistance from Teresa Kackert and Christy Landwehr, AQHA Professional Horsewomen and Certified Horsemanship Association instructors who traveled from California and Colorado for the event. The Trail Challenge competition is set for July 3 and offers both Quarter Horse and All-Breeds divisions, as well as levels for training, intermediate and master horsemen. Read the rest of this entry »

Selling Your Ranch Horse

June 22, 2015

Selling your off-the-ranch horses at live auction could be the right method for your establishment.

Is an auction the best way to market your ranch horses? Journal photo

Is an auction the best way to market your ranch horses? Journal photo

From The American Quarter Horse Journal

Putting on an auction can seem like a big chore. But for many AQHA Ranching Heritage Breeders, it’s the best way to get their horses in the barns of new owners.

Here are some factors to think about when you’re deciding whether to put on a production sale.

Advance Planning

If your ranch has never put on a production sale, you’re going to need some help.

First off, you’ll need an auctioneer who knows your market and can start you off with the right advice – even if that advice is not to have a sale. Read the rest of this entry »

These Boots Were Made for Horseback Riding

June 8, 2015

But the AQHA Lifestyle Collection from Justin Boots works equally well for a night out on the town.

Justin Boots are handcrafted by skilled boot-makers, using the finest leathers and materials. Journal photo

Justin Boots are handcrafted by skilled boot-makers, using the finest leathers and materials. Journal photo

From AQHA Corporate Partner Justin Boots

The Justin Boots brand and AQHA have a longtime history of shared values and rich heritage. So in 2007, when Justin Boots identified a void in the boot market, it was only natural for the company to partner with AQHA to create a collection to fit riders’ wants and needs.

The equine community needed boots with long-lasting comfort in tough riding and working conditions, durability to stand years of wear and a distinct and fashionable look. Over the last eight years, the Justin Boots AQHA Lifestyle Collection has met these needs and continues to grow with the latest technology, materials and styles. Read the rest of this entry »

How to Make a Cowboy Boot

May 25, 2015

The talented folks at Justin Boots explain how they’ve been handcrafting this horseback-riding staple for more than 100 years.

Watch how boots are made in this video by Justin.

Watch how boots are made in this video by Justin.

Cowboy boots continue to provide the same function they did more than a century ago for cowboys, cowgirls, ranchers and farmers. But more than that, they’ve evolved into a fashion accessory for many. Whether you wear your boots to work or out on the town, it’s fun to think about where they came from. That’s where the skilled craftsmen at Justin Boots, an AQHA Corporate Partner, come in. Read the rest of this entry »

Time to Ride Challenge

May 11, 2015

This horseback-riding initiative is taking steps to grow the horse industry.

The Challenge encourages its hosts to provide a variety of fun, beginner-friendly horse experiences.

The Challenge encourages its hosts to provide a variety of fun, beginner-friendly horse experiences.

Time to Ride is an equine-industry-wide program facilitated by the American Horse Council with the goal of connecting, or reconnecting, people with horses. Time to Ride programs are designed to connect American families, specifically moms, to horses in their areas. The Time to Ride initiative is coordinated by the American Horse Council in cooperation with a host of equine organizations, as well as discipline and breed associations, including AQHA. Through the Time to Ride Challenge, its interactive websites and other activities, Time to Ride encourages people to enjoy the benefits of horse experiences, which include increased mental and physical well-being. Read the rest of this entry »

Give It a Shot, Part 2

April 27, 2015

When you have the proper horseback-riding equipment, equine partner and instruction, you can begin practicing cowboy mounted shooting. Heed this advice to learn how.

Once a horse has accepted the noise and activity going on around him, trainer Chad Little starts schooling shooting from the saddle. Journal photo

Once a horse has accepted the noise and activity going on around him, trainer Chad Little starts schooling shooting from the saddle. Journal photo

From The American Quarter Horse Journal

Cowboy mounted shooting is a fast-paced sport that requires horsemanship, skill and precision. In Part 1, you were introduced to Chad Little, one of the sport’s leading competitors. Chad explained the objective of mounted shooting and the equipment you’ll need to get started. Now it’s time to learn the proper way to practice so you can work your way up to competitions.

Get Started

Cowboy mounted shooting is a friendly sport.

“You could show up at a (Cowboy Mounted Shooting Association) event in your car with nothing but your (CMSA membership) card, and you’d be able to get through a shoot; people would loan you enough stuff,” Chad says. Read the rest of this entry »

Give It a Shot, Part 1

April 13, 2015

If you’re interested in trying a new horseback-riding sport, cowboy mounted shooting might be for you.

Mounted shooting has divisions for men, women and seniors, as well as a division for youth. Chad Little’s brother Charlie rides American Quarter Horses in the men’s division. Journal photo

Mounted shooting has divisions for men, women and seniors, as well as a division for youth. Chad Little’s brother Charlie rides American Quarter Horses in the men’s division. Journal photo

From The American Quarter Horse Journal

If you’re looking for a sport straight out of the old Western movies, this is it. Cowboy mounted shooting is fast moving and exciting, requiring equine speed and rate, horsemanship, and a skilled and steady hand. The sport was formed in 1991 and is an AQHA-approved event through AQHA’s alliance with the Cowboy Mounted Shooting Association. Read the rest of this entry »