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 »
May 28, 2013
Learn how and when to apply the spur stop in horse training, and find out what to avoid when using this technique.
Top trainers discuss the advantages and disadvantages of teaching and using the spur stop on your western horses. Journal photo.
By Randee Fox in The American Quarter Horse Journal
Editor’s Note: This is the second in a two-part series. Need to review Part 1? Part 1 covered an introduction to spur stop and where some top trainers and horsemen first noticed it. Randee continues her questions here.
How and when should the spur stop be applied, and how do you teach it to your students?
AQHA Professional Horseman Charlie Cole: It has many uses and benefits. From teaching my horse the spur stop, when I walk to obstacles in trail and softly squeeze my legs, they will slow down and look at the obstacle. On the rail in western pleasure, I can close my legs and can draw them back to a slower lope if I need to. Read the rest of this entry »
May 21, 2013
Why the hot debate over this horse-training tactic?
Learning to ride a spur stop horse can be a challenge, but there are many trainers who swear by it. Learn the pros and cons of using the spur stop in your horse training. Journal photo.
By Randee Fox in The American Quarter Horse Journal
“Keep your reins long. Apply your lower legs to slow her down. If she doesn’t slow apply your spurs softly, slowly and evenly holding them until she slows, then release, keeping your reins long.”
Huh? Spur to slow? Spur to stop? No reins? What the heck is this?
The instructions made no sense to me, as it was totally counterintuitive to the way I had been trained to ride. I was trying out a darling 5-year-old proven western pleasure show mare in a sweet little lope for the first time with trainer Denise Callahan.
It had been years since I had ridden a western pleasure show horse. So here I was, feeling green in unfamiliar territory with a potentially new horse partner. Hey, whatever happened to “spur to go”? Read the rest of this entry »
May 17, 2013
This American Quarter Horse Hall of Famer blended with Doc Bar to create a horse-breeding legacy.
As a stallion, Poco Tivio was known for passing on his low-key temperament and flashy working style. His offspring showed as well in halter as in cutting. Courtesy of the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame & Museum.
From the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame & Museum
Poco Tivio was one of 10 honorees inducted into the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame in March during the Hall of Fame banquet, part of the 2013 Convention.
Learn more about this amazing stallion:
There are a lot of American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame connections on Poco Tivio’s path to being inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2013.
Bred by E. Paul Waggoner’s Three D Stock farm, which also owned his sire, Poco Bueno, Poco Tivio was foaled in 1947, one of only two foals by the Hall of Fame stallion that year. “Tivio” was the first foal out of a then-4-year-old mare named Sheilwin, who went on to greatness by producing the legendary cutting
mare and American Quarter Horse Hall of Famer Poco Lena. This is the second time full siblings have been inducted into the Hall of Fame. The others are Peppy San (1999) and Mr San Peppy (2011). Read the rest of this entry »
May 14, 2013
Get a horse’s mind in the trailer, and his feet will follow.
These two young horses have decided that the trailer is not scary and is a good place to be. Journal photo.
From America’s Horse
“The ancestor of every action is a thought.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Who knew that 19th century intellectual Ralph Waldo Emerson was a horse trainer?
Truth be told, he wasn’t, but his sentiments are absolutely on the mark when it comes to trailer loading. For a horse to load in the trailer, he first has to think in the trailer.
That sounds also too simple to be true. But a few years ago, I had a horse – claustrophobic to begin with – who’d been in the trailer when a tire blew. He wasn’t going back into that scary horse-coffin, no way, no how. I called Brent Graef, a horsemanship clinician from Canyon, Texas, for help. We’ll get his mind in the trailer, Brent told me, and his feet will follow. Read the rest of this entry »
May 7, 2013
Horse-training tips to get you through a gate safely on a ranch-started youngster.
For a green colt, it will be easier to ride through the gate forward, pushing it open instead of backing through. Journal photo.
From The American Quarter Horse Journal
It’s time for Royal Gin Fletch, aka “Felix,” to open a panel gate – the kind he’d meet in a feed lot or in a versatility ranch trail class.
Bred by Terry Crofoot of Crofoot Ranches LLP in Lubbock, Texas, the 3-year-old has a good handle on him already, put on by Thomas Saunders V of the Saunders Ranch in Weatherford, Texas. Well into the bridle, confident in his rider and in a settled frame of mind, Felix is ready to learn to work a gate.
Using the same techniques they teach in guest lectures at Colorado State University’s colt-starting classes, Terry and Thomas walk Felix through his first gate. Read the rest of this entry »
May 6, 2013
Horseback riding in the backcountry could be just the ticket to making you and your horse better.
You can use the natural terrain to ask him for the kinds of maneuvers you’re going to ask for in the arena, almost without him realizing that you’re training him. Journal photo.
By Craig Cameron in The American Quarter Horse Journal
Everybody can use a change of scenery – even your horse.
He might be getting a little tired of doing circles waiting for you to ask correctly for that lead change, and both of you might need a chance to unwind, relax and see something other than the indoor arena or your sliding track.
It might just be time to get out on the trails, clear your minds and experience nature the way it’s intended – from the back of your good American Quarter Horse.
But before you head out into the wilderness, there are a few things you and your horse need to know to make it back alive and well. Plus, you shouldn’t leave your horsemanship behind once you’re on the trail. You might find that rocks, trees and hills could be the key to finding that perfect horsemanship position and improving your horse’s skills once you get back into the arena.
After all, what better way to get your horse to lift his feet for trail than to cross an actual log? And after getting exposed to mules, pack saddles, trees, running water, living outdoors and the occasional elk, you might be surprised at how much better your horse is with scooters, banners and buggers behind the back gate. Read the rest of this entry »
May 1, 2013
In the quest for horse-showing points payback, an AQHA Incentive Fund competition license must be filed every year.
If you’d like to take part in the Incentive Fund and start earning money for your AQHA points, the place to begin is with Incentive Fund nomination. Journal photo.
Between training, shoeing, feeding, grooming and hauling, the costs all add up before you even get to an AQHA show. But what if there was a way to receive remuneration for every AQHA point earned?
Wait, there is a way! It’s called the AQHA Incentive Fund, and when it was created in the early 1980s, putting money in owners’ and breeders’ pockets was exactly what the founders had in mind. Read the rest of this entry »
April 30, 2013
Charlie Cole and Deanna Searles received these horse-training laurels at the 2013 AQHA Convention.
Deanna Searles and Charlie Cole have both been very involved in AQHA, giving back to the industry and being true role models for Quarter Horse youth and adults alike. Journal photo.
From The American Quarter Horse Journal
Charlie Cole and Deanna Searles have been named the 2012 Don Burt Professional’s Choice Professional Horseman and 2012 Professional’s Choice Horsewoman of the Year. Before we look at their stories, here’s a little more about the award:
The Don Burt Professional’s Choice Professional Horseman and Professional’s Choice Professional Horsewoman of the Year should above all have the humane treatment of the horse as paramount; be ethical in all business decisions and support the industry by promoting the breed and membership in AQHA. In addition, they should be ambassadors for AQHA and encourage people to participate in the industry by having a helpful attitude.
Read the rest of this entry »
April 23, 2013
For correct horse training, you have to understand the natural arc of the lope.
There are some keys to working on and strengthening a horse’s natural arc at the lope. First is for riders to become educated and mindful in their riding. Journal photo.
By Dana Hokana with Christine Hamilton in The American Quarter Horse Journal
All horses, when they lope or canter naturally, perform that gait at an arc. If you go out into the pasture and watch your horse lope, you’ll notice that he carries his body in an arc. He hits a lope stride and moves his inside hip slightly in, depending on the lead he is traveling. He travels straight but holds his body on a natural arc.
There is a correct arc for a left lead and a correct arc for a right lead. When you watch a horse’s legs as he lopes toward you, if he’s on a correct arc, you should see his outside hind leg fall dead center in between his two front legs. (If he’s on a right lead, it would be his left hind leg.) Just as people are either left- or right-handed, horses tend to be better on one arc versus the other.
On that correct arc from poll to tail, he carries himself balanced in his body weight, collecting up with lift in his shoulders and reaching under with his hind leg, his energy flowing from his hindquarters through his shoulders and face. Read the rest of this entry »