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It depends…

- August 1st, 2019

By Sheryl Lynde | Horsetrader columnist

My first initial response to most questions asked that relate to various behavioral issues is, “it depends.”

There is no pat answer that applies for starting colts or resolving issues. The many variables are broad and wide-ranging.

Take this trailer-loading issue:

A young horse has been purchased and loads in the trailer willingly, without any issues. As time progresses under the new ownership, the horse begins to refuse to load. The resistance increases with each attempt. After considerable time and effort, the owner experiences only momentary success after endless coaxing brings forth just enough forward movement to get all four feet inside the trailer. However, relief is short-lived. When reaching to tie the lead rope, the youngster bolts out backward. They return to square one. The owner’s confidence is undermined, and frustration seeps into all further efforts. The plans to be somewhere are derailed.

What’s the fix? Well… it depends.


If at first you don’t succeed…you’re normal.
—Rick Warren


If your training is producing unwanted results, or if you gave a less-than-stellar performance at the last show, congratulations—you’ve just learned what doesn’t work.

I believe failure occurs when people blame. By blaming, the only pay-off will be attracting other people to your circle who also blame.

As Warren says in the first sentence of his book, The Purpose Driven Life, “It’s not about me.”

By Sheryl Lynde | Horsetrader columnist

According to author and motivational researcher Carol Dweck, Ph.D. of Stanford University, there are two mindsets. Some people think their basic traits are fixed for life. This is just who they are. They are defined by their past insecurities and traits such as shy, cautious, fearful, etc., and are limited by them.

The people who fall into this category are referred to as having a “fixed mindset.” According to her book Mindset, fixed-mindset people cope with failure very differently than the “growth-mindset” people. Fixed-mindset people feel that you are either gifted with ability or you are not. You either win or you lose.If they try something that is out of their comfort zone, they feel awkward and uncomfortable at not performing at a certain level. If they have to struggle with a new concept or skill, that spells failure. They are concerned with the approval of others and fear that showing their lack of ability in a new area will compromise how they are viewed and regarded by their peers. For those with this mindset, the risk of being vulnerable is too great, and often they quit.

Starting a youngster

- May 1st, 2019

By Sheryl Lynde | Horsetrader columnist


Whether starting a youngster or working with a troubled horse, training takes time. The minimum time I will take a 2-year-old for starting under saddle is 90 days. The older the horse, add an additional month to the 90 days for each year older than two.

For instance, a 4-year old would need a minimum of five months. Yes, it is an expense—good trainers aren’t cheap (cheap trainers aren’t good). But your youngster’s foundation is not something to cut corners on. If there is a hole in the training, you may not find it tomorrow, but there will be a day that it will make itself known, and hopefully you will not be caught unaware.

Go with the Flow

- April 1st, 2019

By Sheryl Lynde | Horsetrader columnist

There isn’t one pat answer that will always be effective in resolving an issue the rider is experiencing. What may have worked for you in the past may not work any longer, and you’ll have to come up with a new game plan.

This is a thinking man’s game. All factors need to be considered which includes both the horse and rider together. I do receive a number of texts and emails regarding issues owners have with their horses, and as much as I would love to help, I may not be able to if I am not familiar with how the horse and rider interact together—how they “flow.”

Why we Train

- February 1st, 2019

By Sheryl Lynde | Horsetrader columnist

I’ve owned Lil’ Joe since he was four years old. Now 25, he was the catalyst for my seeking help that ultimately led to a career change

During the first years of ownership, I allowed some behaviors to go uncorrected. I wasn’t paying attention to the smaller details. He began to balk at my requests in certain circumstances, which developed into more emphatic refusals. Later, his refusals developed into crow-hopping, and the crow-hopping evolved into a buck.

Then one day I hit the ground. Once he had unseated me, every bucking episode from that day forward continued until I came off. He had my attention now.

I kept trying to ride through the behavior, but no improvement was being made. I was taking the issue with me whenever and wherever I rode. It was time to get help.

Leaning forward

By Sheryl Lynde | Horsetrader columnist - December 28th, 2018
wordpress_column_lynde

A common habit that riders develop is leaning forward while riding. It evolves over time, beginning by leaning forward with the shoulders and pushing with the seat in order to urge the horse to move. The rider is compensating for the lack of leg pressure. When adopting this posture, a rider pulls their seat out of the saddle while their legs swing behind their hips, flanking the horse and forcing the toes to point down. In order to stay in the saddle, the rider grips with their knees and balances on the horse’s mouth, creating a brace throughout their upper body.

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.