Horseback Riding

Horseback-Riding Challenges: The Nervous Horse

August 25, 2014

In this excerpt from his new book, author Tom Moates describes his horse’s tendency for a major meltdown and how he coaxes the gelding back to sanity.

Ashley Durbin on “Jubal” during her first post-surgery ride, with clinician Harry Whitney helping out. Olivia Wilkes photo

Ashley Durbin on “Jubal” during her first post-surgery ride, with clinician Harry Whitney helping out. Olivia Wilkes photo

By Tom Moates

“Jubal” (Tigers TJ), bless his heart, along with his good qualities has some very deeply engrained worries. But in a setting where the big sorrel Quarter Horse gelding can readily keep his mind and body in the same place at the same time – centered right there with me – he is the horse everybody wants. At those moments, he is incredibly handsome, brave, compassionate, a conformational dream, noble, slow to spook, fairly happy to go with the flow of what a person presents, simply saddled, easily ridden and a big ol’ teddy bear of a horse. You really can’t help but fall completely in love with Jubal the Wonder Horse!

The strong magnetic attraction people experience for Jubal is just one of the many wonders that indeed make him the Wonder Horse. Another of his wonders is how that list of great attributes goes right out the window in the blink of an eye when his mind leaves his body and he becomes a worried wreck. I’ve covered quite a few of his challenging characteristics over the course of my past few books. Read the rest of this entry »

Horse Shopping, Part 2

August 18, 2014

Learn how to make the best matches for the most successful horseback-riding teams.

Cutting horse trainer Morgan Cromer says the most important thing when playing matchmaker is making sure you find the right level horse for the right level rider. Jean Abernethy illustration

Cutting horse trainer Morgan Cromer says the most important thing when playing matchmaker is making sure you find the right level horse for the right level rider. Jean Abernethy illustration

From The American Quarter Horse Journal

Thinking about buying a horse? In Part 1 of this series, a couple of equine professionals discussed purchasing cow horse and roping horses. The series finishes with a look at purchasing cutting and reining horses.

Custom Cutting

Templeton, California, cutting horse trainer Morgan Cromer doesn’t get in a hurry when shopping for a cutter suitable for one of her amateur customers. Morgan recently won her second Pacific Coast Cutting Horse Association Open Futurity and qualified two catch rides for the semifinal round at the National Cutting Horse Association Futurity in Fort Worth, Texas. Read the rest of this entry »

Horse Shopping, Part 1

August 11, 2014

Learn how to match up horses and humans for the most successful horseback-riding combination.

Pairing horses and riders for the best match is tricky business. Hear what these professionals have to say about shopping for a horse. Jean Abernethy illustration

Pairing horses and riders for the best match is tricky business. Hear what these professionals have to say about shopping for a horse. Jean Abernethy illustration

From The American Quarter Horse Journal

Two feet plus four hooves does not always equal six winning legs. Finding a horse that suits a particular amateur rider can present a challenge for trainers. It takes experience, perseverance and a little luck to make sure any horse-and-rider combination will click successfully in the show pen.

There are different ideals that must be correlated, including physical size, personality types and suitability for use intended. Those considerations can also vary depending on the discipline.

Choosing a new horse ain’t easy. Read the rest of this entry »

Horseback Riding Basics: Position

August 4, 2014

Become a more effective rider by perfecting a proper horseback-riding position.

A correct riding position will sit you just above and behind the horse’s center of gravity. The position allows your horse balanced movement and helps you stay on. Journal photo

A correct riding position will sit you just above and behind the horse’s center of gravity. The position allows your horse balanced movement and helps you stay on. Journal photo

By AQHA Professional Horsewoman Julie Goodnight in America’s Horse

Correct body position is as basic as it gets. Without it, you and your horse can’t balance properly, and you can’t deliver your aids correctly. It’s one of those things you need to master before you can really advance with your riding.

We’re talking about the alignment of a rider’s ear, shoulder, hip and heel. When you’re sitting on the horse, someone looking at you from the side should be able to draw a vertical line through the middle of your ear, shoulder and hip, going down behind the back of your heel. It’s pretty much the same position for all sports that require balance. Read the rest of this entry »

Did You Know? Part 2

July 28, 2014

In the second half of this series, learn more surprising facts about some common horse-industry products.

Capt. Grant Gillig wanted to find his own niche after retiring from the Air Force as an engineer. Intrigued by ultrasounds, he set to work on adapting them for equine use. Journal photo

Capt. Grant Gillig wanted to find his own niche after retiring from the Air Force as an engineer. Intrigued by ultrasounds, he set to work on adapting them for equine use. Journal photo

From The American Quarter Horse Journal

In the first part of this series, we asked if you knew some interesting stories from the history of the horse industry. Take a look at Part 1 for the stories behind quick-change stirrups, saddle horns and chaps.

Now, we’ll explore the stories behind more influential products in the horse industry.

Safe Fencing

Do you think the search for safe fencing has only been a goal of horse and cattlemen in more recent, enlightened years? Think again! Read the rest of this entry »

Did You Know? Part 1

July 21, 2014

In Part 1 of this series, learn the stories behind some of the common products you use every time you go horseback riding.

Earl Blevins fashioned a unique, flat metal buckle with blunt pins and a sliding cover that made adjusting those stirrups easier. Journal photo

Earl Blevins fashioned a unique, flat metal buckle with blunt pins and a sliding cover that made adjusting those stirrups easier. Journal photo

From The American Quarter Horse Journal

Who figured out how to use an ultrasound in mares? How long have ranchers looked for safer fencing? The Journal staff dug up some unique stories and facts behind some of the everyday items in our American Quarter Horse world, and we thought you’d like to hear them.

Quick-Change Stirrups

The next time you step into your western stirrup, take a peek under the fender and see how it adjusts. Chances are there’s a Blevins’ Quick-Change Buckle there (or a copy of it). Have you ever wondered where it came from? Read the rest of this entry »

The Benefits of a Sacrifice Paddock

July 14, 2014

Discover the purpose of a “sacrifice paddock” for your horse farm and how to maintain one.

Sacrifice paddocks are typically devoid of grass but they still have many purposes on your horse farm Journal photo

“Sacrifice paddocks” are typically devoid of grass, but they still have many purposes on your horse farm. Journal photo

From myhorseuniversity.com

A “sacrifice paddock” is a small, fenced-in part of the farm that is heavily used, causing it to become bare, thus allowing the rest of the farm to maintain good grass. Although it is not often discussed, a sacrifice paddock can be beneficial to the horse, the farm and the environment.

Horses are often confined in sacrifice areas due to situations like: allowing limited grazing for the health of the animal, saving pasture grass, or perhaps because the horse is recovering from an injury, where rest and limited turnout is required. Read the rest of this entry »

Spur Basics, Part 2

July 7, 2014

In the final installment of this lesson, AQHA judge LeeAnn DeMars tells why and when to use spurs while horseback riding.

Spurs aid tremendously in encouraging a horse to move certain body parts. Journal photo.

Spurs aid tremendously in encouraging a horse to move certain body parts. Journal photo

From The American Quarter Horse Journal

In Part 1 of Spur Basics, AQHA judge LeeAnn DeMars explained the importance of proper fit of spurs and stirrup length along with the necessary leg strength and control required for using spurs properly. LeeAnn builds from that foundation to explain the proper time and place for spurs.

The Right Tool for the Job

When one of her students is ready to start using spurs, LeeAnn will generally get out a short-shanked ball spur. The horse will know the rider has spurs and will respect him or her, even though it’s a mild spur. But if the rider kicks hard, the ball spur isn’t aggravating to the horse. Read the rest of this entry »

Spur Basics, Part 1

June 23, 2014

In Part 1 of this two-part lesson, AQHA judge LeeAnn DeMars explains the basics of using spurs while horseback riding.

Leg and foot position are extremely important for spurs to be used correctly on your horse. Journal photo.

Leg and foot position are extremely important for spurs to be used correctly on your horse. Journal photo.

from The American Quarter Horse Journal

Learning to use spurs properly is all about feel, says AQHA judge LeeAnn DeMars. It’s the same sort of finesse that you strive to develop in your hands. With spurs, she says, “You must have that control through your leg and heel. The more you improve the feel, the less you have to move your leg.”

Spurs should never be a substitute for a bad leg. Most importantly, they should be used as a last resort. “Your cues start with your seat, follow down your leg and end with your spur,” she says, “Using your spurs should not be your first reaction.” Read the rest of this entry »

Horses and Dogs, Part 3: Training Your Horse

June 16, 2014

Teach your horse to accept a canine companion on your horseback rides.

There are several steps involved in training horses and dogs to live harmoniously, which includes teaching both species to show mutual respect. Malee Powell photo.

There are several steps involved in training horses and dogs to live harmoniously, which includes teaching both species to show mutual respect. Malee Powell photo.

From America’s Horse

Dogs and horses can be the perfect combination. And it’s so rewarding when you get to experience a horseback ride on your favorite American Quarter Horse with a canine pal by your side. That’s why we dedicated three weeks to the topic. Review Part 1 to see what you should keep in mind as you look to purchase a dog and Part 2 for dog training tips.

Now you’re ready for the next steps: stopping bad dog behaviors before they become a problem and training your horse to accept dogs. Read the rest of this entry »

Horse and Dogs, Part 2: Training Your Dog

June 9, 2014

Enlist these six tips to train your dog so he can tag along for future horseback-riding excursions

Once you pick your dog, it’s imperative that you instill the basic commands before letting him off-leash at the barn. Be prepared for inconsistency as you start training in new places. Malee Powell photo.

Once you pick your dog, it’s imperative that you instill the basic commands before letting him off-leash at the barn. Be prepared for inconsistency as you start training in new places. Malee Powell photo.

From America’s Horse

Now that you’ve picked the perfect canine companion (See Part 1), you’re ready to start the training process so your four-legged friends can live in harmony.

1. Teach your dog the basics, starting at home. AQHA Professional Horsewoman Kristina Hedrick of Purcell, Oklahoma begins training her puppies in the house, mastering basic commands such as come when called, sit, lie down, “off” (move away from something) and “out” (get out of whatever the dog is doing).Working with herding dogs, she said, “you have to remember you do not have to put a ‘go’ on them; you have to put a ‘whoa’ on them. They’re going to go (herd) instinctively. The key is putting the whoa on them.”

To help her dogs learn the “whoa,” Kristina teaches them to herd when it is appropriate by teaching “get it.”

“When we’re playing fetch with toys, when I throw the toy, I say ‘get it,’ ” she says. “That way, when you want them to go get a horse, for example a horse is down and you need help getting it up, you can say ‘get it,’ and that means ‘you’re allowed to go after it.’ ” Read the rest of this entry »

Horses and Dogs, Part 1: Finding the Right Dog

June 2, 2014

Before you set out for a horseback-riding excursion with your favorite furry friends, examine these tips for selecting the right canine companion.

Before you bring a dog into your barn, make sure you research and select the breed that will be the best fit for you and your horse’s lifestyle. Some breeds, like the Australian Shepherd pictured above, might require more grooming and exercise than others.  Malee Powell photo.

Before you bring a dog into your barn, make sure you research and select the breed that will be the best fit for you and your horse’s lifestyle. Some breeds, like the Australian Shepherd pictured above, might require more grooming and exercise than others. Malee Powell photo.

From America’s Horse

It’s a fact that horse people are animal people. If they’re furry, we love ’em. The American Quarter Horse might be our favorite, but the canine is not far behind.

However, there is an inevitable problem when we head out to feed our prey equids with our predatory canines at heel. Both species’ natural instincts can lead to frustration, fear and, worst case, fatalities. Careful planning and training on all sides can lead to harmony. In Part 1 of this three-part series, you’ll learn about the first step in building a successful horse/dog partnership: picking the right pooch.

AQHA Professional Horsewoman Kristina Hedrick of Purcell, Oklahoma, was the 1992 AQHA-Justin Rookie of the Year 30 & Under and has numerous top 10 placings at the AQHA World Show. In her spare time, she shows dogs and has worked rescuing and rehoming Australian Cattle Dogs, often called blue or red heelers. Australian Cattle Dog AKC Ch. Cool Hand Luke II, better known as “Luke,” has been her constant companion and a regular on the horse scene. Read the rest of this entry »