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Review and resume

By Sheryl Lynde | Horsetrader columnist - November 30th, 2018

wordpress_column_lyndeAs 2018 comes to a close, I find myself reflecting on the lessons that have stood out above the others.

They are…

Have a goal in mind and take the steps necessary to obtain that goal. “No one who achieves any level of success does so without the help of others. The wise and confident acknowledge this help with gratitude.” Alfred North Whitehead.
Without action taken to move forward, your desire to improve will remain a day dream. I have a passion for what I do, which is starting colts and working with problem horses. Because of my passion, I continue to strive for improvement to better serve the clients and horses that come to me for help and to be a better horsewoman. I look to mentors that I respect and that have proven success in the discipline I am seeking help in.

Are you listening?

By Sheryl Lynde | Horsetrader columnist - November 2nd, 2018

According to Wikipedia, listening is defined as a communication technique that is used in training and conflict resolution. In order to be an effective listener, you must fully concentrate, understand, respond and remember what is being said. How well do you listen?

Developing effective listening skills builds a solid foundation with benefits that filter through every aspect of your life, from professional to personal. It isn’t easy being a good listener—it takes a desire to begin with because it is a lot or work.

Understanding youngsters

By Sheryl Lynde | Horsetrader columnist - October 4th, 2018

wordpress_column_lyndeChildren display individual temperaments and learning capabilities, and so do colts.

One sibling may be super chill, as nothing rattles his easygoing demeanor, while the next kid may be super sensitive, and if someone would raise their voice one octave higher, it might reduce him to tears. An older sister may be an achiever, wanting to please while respectively honoring your requests, while the younger brother may have some funk in the trunk—a “make me” attitude, annoyed at having to perform any task.

Again, it is the same with colts. I understand that I may be stating the obvious, but I meet numerous owners who become frustrated trying to use the same training approach on a different-minded colt.

Racetrack to Trail

By Sheryl Lynde | Horsetrader columnist - August 31st, 2018

1809a_trainertipsEven in the best of circumstances, there is a tremendous amount of training both on the ground and in the saddle to reeducate a race horse to a trail horse, or any new discipline.

Each year thousands of race horses reach the end of their racing careers, either by injury, not living up to expected potential, or retirement. Many move on to be successfully retrained to excel in new careers, ranging from dressage to hunter-jumpers. However, I need to strongly emphasize that good training takes time, patience and commitment. Thoroughbreds are known for having huge hearts, and once a strong foundation is built and a trust is developed, you will find a partnership like no other.

Lucky is a 6-year-old Thoroughbred gelding that raced and won at Santa Anita and Del Mar race tracks until an injury sidelined him. Rather than choosing euthanasia, the owner was convinced by his trainer to relinquish him to an environment where he could be rehabilitated and retrained. He was delivered to a rescue where he began his long recovery process, and once his injury mended as best it could, a new home was identified and selected. Lucky was brought to me by his new owner to help him make the transition safely from track to trail.

Anatomy of learning

By Sheryl Lynde | Horsetrader columnist - August 8th, 2018

wordpress_column_lyndeHave you ever felt you are at the limit of your knowledge when trying to resolve a behavioral issue or perhaps achieving a goal or target? You may not even know what you don’t know—you just feel stuck.

This is your starting point. Listen to your intuition. This is the time for honesty. As much as we take credit for our success, just as important is acknowledging and taking responsibility for our failures. You can’t blame the horse, the person who sold you your horse, your job, the limited amount of time or finances you have to spend on your hobby, etc. We are where we are based on decisions we have made or have allowed to be made for us.

Once a bucker, always a bucker?

By Sheryl Lynde / Horsetrader columnist - July 1st, 2018

Trainer TipsI had purchased a Paint gelding when he was four years old. At the time, I was living in Durango and I just wanted a good-minded gelding to ride in the mountains of Colorado.

When I did ride him in an arena setting, I noticed getting him on his right lead was incredibly difficult. He was used in roping primarily, and when horses come out of the box, they are on their left lead in order to be in position on the cow. The more I tried, the more animated his refusals became.  He showed his frustration first by crow-hopping, which eventually progressed into bucking.

Break it down. Slow it down.

By Sheryl Lynde | Horsetrader columnist - June 1st, 2018

Trainer TipsA friend called and needed help with a Peruvian Paso. Platino is a 10-year-old Peruvian gifted with a beautiful natural gait. However, his speed was uncontrollable. Lunging, working him off-line in the round pen, and galloping in the arena for extended periods of time only escalated his level of energy. He would walk alongside the handler while being led, but once a rider was seated, the race was on. Very little leg pressure was used to eliminate any possible cause for his need for speed, and the owner had had him thoroughly examined by a vet to rule out pain as the catalyst.

Platino arrived, and we headed for the round pen. I was aware that, physically, he was confirmed sound and fit, including a ruling out of gastric ulcers that have become so prevalent. Physically, he checked out. I moved him around a little using halter and lead rope to determine his emotional state. I didn’t find him to be overreactive, fearful or aggressive; quite the contrary, he was a gentleman. The next component that needed to be revisited was their training regimen. Since the current program wasn’t adding up to a successful outcome, a change was required in order to produce a different result.

Lack of Confidence?

By Sheryl Lynde / Horsetrader columnist - May 1st, 2018

Trainer TipsIt gets to us all at some point: the feeling that maybe you don’t quite have what it takes to make it happen.

Perhaps you have just entered a competition and are excited about the challenge of bringing your horsemanship to the next level. You arrive at the show and your insides are in a twist. You can’t believe you signed up for this. You watch the other competitors warm up their horses and you feel out of your depth.

Or, maybe you are struggling to get to the next phase of your riding ability and you feel as though it is a physical impossibility. You are out of your comfort zone and easily frustrated. Your movements are awkward, and attempts to execute new habits and a different riding style have proved unsuccessful.  You need to ride faster, develop a better seat, be softer with your hands, use your legs, stop leaning, watch the cow, etc. You know what you are supposed to do and what it is supposed to feel like, but you are unable to transfer your vision from your head to your hands, seat and legs in a time frame that you have set for yourself.

Think outside the box

"It’s important to keep in mind that aggression does not resolve aggression."

By Sheryl Lynde / Horsetrader columnist - April 1st, 2018

Trainer TipsA 3-year-old gelding was brought to me to get started — a stud colt until a couple months prior to his arrival. He’d been shown in halter and had prodigious breeding, but he had begun to display deliberately aggressive behavior like biting, striking and kicking.

Temperament of stallions varies because of factors such as genetics and training, but because of their instincts as herd animals they require knowledgeable management by experienced handlers. Even though this colt had been gelded prior to coming to me, he was still exhibiting “stallion behavior.” It takes about 60 days for hormonal levels of testosterone to become insignificant for breeding; however, the behavior is brain-related, not merely hormonal, and it can become habitual. Stallion-like behavior can linger well after the hormonal effects of testosterone have diminished, that was the case with this gelding.

Did your horse ‘fire’ you?

“Bucking is used to establish a pecking order. The unwelcomed behaviors are the horses’ natural instinct to test your role as leader in the partnership …”

Sheryl Lynde / Horsetrader columni - March 1st, 2018

Trainer TipsAre you noticing changes in your horse’s attitude when he is being handled or under saddle that is causing you to be concerned? Is he more attentive to pasture mates and other horses when out on the trail than he is on you? Do you feel “out-of-your-depth” when you try to safely identify and resolve the unwanted behaviors?  Well, he could be challenging your position in the pecking order. It’s possible you have been fired!