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Fear: Resistance to our dreams

By Sheryl Lynde / Horsetrader columnist - February 1st, 2017

Trainer TipsA certain level of fear is healthy — we call it common sense. Fear compels us to focus, to direct our attention to the present moment while attempting to push our personal limits by bravely testing the water outside our comfort zone. However, too much fear will inhibit you from advancing your ability.

By living within your comfort zone, growth will elude you. There is never an end-destination to becoming a horseman. There will always be another personal best to achieve, another goal to reach, in order to become the rider your horse deserves. It is the ride of your life.

Worries are chronic fears. There’s fear of getting hurt, fear of getting back in the saddle after being injured, and fear of judgement by others. We have to be a watcher of our thoughts — keep your eyes on what you want to accomplish, not on what created your fear.

The cold-backed horse may just need more ground work

By Sheryl Lynde / Horsetrader columnist - January 1st, 2017

Trainer TipsYears ago I was giving a clinic in mid-July, and I noticed that an owner would blanket her horse each night with a fairly thick blanket. A combination between the heat of summer and the weight of the blanket produced a pretty good sweat, so I asked the owner, “Why the blanket?”

She explained that when she purchased her horse she had been informed that he was “cold-backed”. Hence, the blanket.

The term “cold-backed” is not a physical description. It’s just an analogy that indicates they need to be worked on the ground or warmed up prior to riding. In the same way, people can be regarded as being cold because of their inability to show emotion or empathy. Again, this is just a description to identify a particular characteristic.

Colt Starting, Part 2: Steady as you go

By Sheryl Lynde / Horsetrader columnist - November 17th, 2016

Trainer TipsAs we discussed in last month’s column, the more you properly handle your horse prior to getting started, the easier the first ride will be for both the horse and rider. The best time to start your colt depends on the breed and also on the intended use — is the training for a specific performance? Build a strong foundation? A longtime companion for trail?

Getting a good start on the young horse

By Sheryl Lynde / Horsetrader columnist - October 20th, 2016

Trainer TipsI do get young horses to train from age 15 months and older in order to prepare them for carrying a rider. Depending on the breeding and future goals, these youngsters  typically get started around the ages of 2 to 3 years. Physically, you want to ensure the knees are closed prior to having them carry a rider – your  vet can determine this for you.  Additionally, their bones and muscles are not strong enough to carry weight for extended periods of time until they are the age of 3 or 4,  so workouts need to be carefully designed for their age and physicality.

To lope…or not to lope

By Sheryl Lynde / Horsetrader columnist - September 15th, 2016

Trainer TipsThe answer is yes. I have had several people come to me for help to overcome their fear of loping. Growing up, they were daring and would ride whatever horse was in front of them at whatever speed they chose and in any environment. But as they aged, that sense of reckless abandonment slowly dissipated and a new emotion emerged on the scene – FEAR.

Well, let’s face it — when we were younger and we hit the ground, we bounced. Now we land with a thud, and it takes a bit longer to get up. We also have more responsibilities as we age and can’t afford the time injuries take away from the workplace.

The buck stops here

"By preparing the horse and completing effective groundwork beforehand, I am building the beginning of a solid foundation that increases my odds of a safer ride."

By Sheryl Lynde / Horsetrader Columnist - August 18th, 2016

Trainer TipsCan you ride the buck out of a horse?

Often, I have clients who say, “my horse is bucking,” or “Sheryl, he is ready for his first ride, but I can’t get hurt — so I brought him to you.” I understand that getting hurt is not on anyone’s agenda, and to ensure your safety, be realistic with your abilities. When you feel you have brought your colt or horse as far as your knowledge has allowed, then by all means enlist the help of a professional trainer.

Head Toss

By Sheryl Lynde / Horsetrader columnist - July 21st, 2016

Trainer TipsHead tossing, like any behavior, ranges in degrees of severity. One level may merely cause frustration while the next can prove to be dangerous to the owner with risk of injury.

A common habit many riders share is leaning too far forward. Instead of riding with their shoulders behind their hips, they ride with their shoulders hovering over the saddle horn. Then, if their horse tosses his head abruptly, the rider can get a rude awakening with a pretty good crack on the skull.

Easiest way to break bad habits: Create a new one!

By Sheryl Lynde / Horsetrader columnist - June 16th, 2016

Trainer TipsAs you improve your horsemanship skills, there will be habits that need breaking. The easiest way to change one pattern of behavior is to replace it with a new one. When a horse spooks or threatens to bolt or buck, the safest way to keep yourself and your horse safe is to use one rein and bring your Horse’s nose to your toe and disengage his hips. If you have practiced disengaging hips safely at home at all gaits, you and your horse will be better prepared to manage unforeseen situations that arise away from home. However, for many people their first impulse is to tighten up on both reins and pull. They feel a sense of security by pulling on both reins at once, but by doing so, this pulls the rider forward lifting their seat out of the saddle causing their legs to extend behind their body close to the horse’s flanks. When they become unseated, they clamp on with their legs and if they are wearing spurs, this can escalate into a more dangerous situation in a hurry.

Get Your Head in the Game

By Sheryl Lynde / Horsetrader columnist - May 19th, 2016

Trainer TipsTraining takes time. There is no shortcut to having an ability to accurately respond to — and correct — a horse’s behavior in a way that progresses their training. So, if it takes time for the rider, it also takes time for your horse to put together the skills you are asking him to perform.

How do you learn? By making mistakes, correcting those mistakes, and moving on. Making mistakes is the name of the game, and you will make many. Each mistake will shape you, strengthen you and teach you. If you’re not making mistakes, you’re not learning.

Stand still: Patience is key in good training

By Sheryl Lynde / Horsetrader columnist - April 21st, 2016

Trainer TipsEach horse that comes to me for training teaches me something. As I approach every new horse, I bring my breadth of experience, but also leave a space open to learn. I am receptive to new ideas without any preconceived judgements as to how I can bring out the best in this horse.
How much pressure can I use until I get the desired response? How much time can I work on one particular exercise before their resistance turns to frustration and they cease to try? Are they fearful, aggressive, disrespectful? Have they been given enough time to learn the exercise?
There is one consistent theme that I have discovered as a common thread with each horse and that is: Take it slow.