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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
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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.

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.