January 2016

Horse Training: No-Go Mounting

January 26, 2016

Tips to keep your horse standing still while you get on.

mounting pic

Become a better horseman. Photo from AQHA’s Fundamentals of Horsemanship.

From AQHA’s Fundamentals of Horsemanship

Can you barely swing your leg over your horse’s side before he starts to walk off?

If you’re envious of those horses who stand still as a statue until their riders are ready, these instructions are for you.

Objectives

  • To get onto your horse without him moving or becoming disturbed.
  • To have your horse “await further instructions” once you have mounted

Read the rest of this entry »

Bucking at the Canter

December 1, 2015

Heed this advice offered to a reader whose horse bucks at the canter.

Question:

I have an 11-year-old palomino Quarter Horse whom I have owned for a year and a half. While we are cantering, my horse bucks. I have had his saddle fit checked, and I have had a chiropractor work on him, yet he still bucks several times in the canter. I’m not sure how to break what seems to be becoming a bad habit.

When I first bought him, he was not bucking, but he seems to have developed this bad habit over the past six months. While I have a pretty good seat, I am concerned that I will get hurt if this behavior continues or, worse yet, someone else may get hurt.

I would appreciate any suggestions you can make. I don’t think he’s in pain as I have had the vet check him. Help!

— Marla Schneider

Answer:

Any time I help with a problem, whether I’m present or not, I think about four separate categories: mental, physical, emotional and mechanical. Each category is self explanatory, except for mechanical. That’s what I think of as the rider’s duty of horsemanship, including being aware of the horse’s foot fall and movements. In this case, here’s how I went through the checklist: Read the rest of this entry »

Cutting Fundamentals

December 1, 2015

Learn how one horse trainer teaches young horses to react and move with cattle.

Cutting Fundamentals

The rider’s body position is extremely important when it comes to critical timing in cutting. Journal photo

From The American Quarter Horse Journal

The ideal picture of a cutting horse is one of polished concentration and split-second response to the action of the cow.

The ability to excel in cutting depends on breeding, training and an individual’s desire. Read the rest of this entry »

Backing Your Horse Like a Champ

November 18, 2015

Ask your horse to back up lightly and willingly with the halter for a positive horse-showing experience.

Margaret Bellville and GPF Legal Version perform the backing portion of their showmanship pattern at the Bayer Select AQHA World Championship Show.

Margaret Bellville and GPF Legal Version perform the backing portion of their showmanship pattern at the 2008 Select World Championship Show.

Backing your horse is a common maneuver in showmanship classes, so it’s important to do it correctly and seemingly effortlessly.

AQHA’s Fundamentals of Horsemanship books offer this advice. Read the rest of this entry »

Feel the Rhythm

October 27, 2015

Maintain consistent cadence for a horse-training advantage.

Illustration by Jean Abernathey

Follow these tips to improve your feel and your horse’s rhythm. Illustration by Jean Abernathy

By AQHA Professional Horsewoman and Certified Horsemanship Association master instructor Carla Wennberg in The American Quarter Horse Journal

If you’re maintaining rhythm, you’re maintaining a consistent cadence and pace in a gait. The cadence of a gait is the number of beats – like the three-beat lope or the two-beat jog. The pace is how fast you hear the beats.

The importance of rhythm and movement plays into a lot of different classes, not just horses that are judged on the rail – it’s important in reining, horsemanship, trail, everything. Read the rest of this entry »

Uneasy Loader

October 20, 2015

Advice for a horse owner whose horse had a bad trailer experience.

ask expertAmerica’s Horse Daily received this question from a visitor. The answer, from AQHA Professional Horsewoman and Certified Horsemanship Association Master Instructor Julie Goodnight, will help many horse owners get their horses safely and easily into a horse trailer.

Question:

Can you tell me your ideas of re-training a horse that reared up and flipped over two partitions in a three-horse, slant-load trailer?

— Bonnie Rae Wright

Answer:

The slant-load trailer is not always the best thing for horses. While it is convenient for us humans, for many horses it is too confining, with their face pressed against the window at the same time their rear is against the wall. On the slant, they have to work to maintain balance on both turns and stop/go, so they never get a rest. Read the rest of this entry »

Horse-Showing Strategies

October 7, 2015

Tips to make Level 1 western pleasure exhibitors look and feel like a pro.

Use cones to practice these passing tips at home. Journal photo

Use cones to practice these passing tips at home. Journal photo

From The American Quarter Horse Journal

In western pleasure, your horse should be a pleasure to watch and a pleasure to ride – no matter what your skill level.

All of your efforts should be aimed at making your horse look smooth.

AQHA judge Louis Hufnagel provides the following tips for novice western pleasure competitors. Read the rest of this entry »

Left Brain, Right Brain

September 29, 2015

Knowing how horses operate can help your horse-training efforts.

It’s important to work with your horse from both sides of his body. Journal photo

By AQHA Professional Horsewoman Julie Goodnight

Horses are very one-sided because they have a very underdeveloped corpus callosum, which is the connective tissue between the two hemispheres of the brain that allows messages to go from one side of the brain to the other.

Humans have a very highly developed corpus callosum, meaning we think with both sides of the brain at one time.

Read the rest of this entry »

Ready for Takeoff?

September 1, 2015

Be sure you’re ready for a productive horse-training session with these pre-ride checks from Step 1 of AQHA’s Fundamentals of Horsemanship.

Use these exercises before you mount your horse for a smooth start to your ride. Journal photo

Use these exercises before you mount your horse for a smooth start to your ride. Journal photo

You wouldn’t want to get on an airplane without knowing that someone had checked the fuel and made sure everything was in working order, right? It’s no different with a horse.

Once you’ve saddled up, there are two things you really shouldn’t do:

  1. Get on without any preparation.
  2. Turn your back and walk away from the horse, with him following.

Read the rest of this entry »

Riding a Rough Trot

August 31, 2015

Try this expert advice to smooth out a bumpy ride on your horse.

ask expertAmerica’s Horse Daily received the following question concerning a rough-trotting horse. AQHA Professional Horsewoman and Certified Horsemanship Association Master Instructor Julie Goodnight offers some hopeful advice that many riders will find useful.

Question:

I have a 4-year-old horse with a rough trot. She has a nice headset at a walk and lope, but it comes up for the trot. Bear in mind that, while I had horses for several years growing up, I had no lessons or opportunity to learn from other horse people, so while I can stay on a horse pretty well, the more I learn about horses and riding I realize that I am really a novice and in need of lessons. My friend has been helping me some with the training of my mare, and she has used draw reins on her with some improvement. She thinks my horse just needs to learn collection. I don’t want to ignore any possible health issues or the fault being my riding. She gets seen by the vet a couple of times a year and he keeps a good check on her teeth, so if you could point me in any other directions, I would appreciate the advice so we can get to a more comfortable ride for both of us.

Answer:

Read the rest of this entry »

Nervous Horse

August 17, 2015

Heed this solid training advice to get a troubled horse headed toward recovery.

An America’s Horse Daily reader submitted the following question regarding a very nervous, untrusting horse. AQHA Professional Horsewoman Julie Goodnight offers her expertise toward a solution.

Question:

I have a 17-year-old Quarter Horse that has obviously been abused. On the ground he is very respectful and sweet, but he has a very tender mouth and any hand movement while in the saddle causes him to bolt. After taking a serious fall last autumn, I thought to have a local trainer who is gentle-handed ride him for a week so he could become used to being ridden again. When I went to pick him up, he really wasn’t there (in his mind). He had gone somewhere safe and it took him a couple days to get back to normal. The trainer rode him, but it was very difficult for him to get the horse to walk. He was nervous and waiting for the ball to drop. I tried riding him once, but it was so scary. He was ready to blow in any direction. He is so worried he won’t please and will be punished. Is there any hope, or is he just a beautiful Quarter Horse pasture ornament?

Read the rest of this entry »

Tracking Your Horse Straight, Part 2

April 21, 2015

Rating your horse’s speed and controlling circles and squares will improve showmanship performance. Follow these horse-training tips to learn how.

Train your horse to know that, where your body goes, he goes. Journal photo

Train your horse to know that, where your body goes, he goes. Journal photo

By AQHA Professional Horsewoman Gretchen Mathes for The American Quarter Horse Journal

Tracking is the art of keeping your horse moving forward in a straight line. As you lead your horse forward, you must be able to maintain your horse’s body – poll, withers, tail – in a straight line. The horse shouldn’t curl his nose in toward you, track with his body sideways or bow his neck. Read the rest of this entry »