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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.

Perfecting Exercises 3 & 4

Foundation Training for the Performance Horse with Les Vogt

Les Vogt for the Horsetrader - May 1st, 2018

More with LesAfter lessons in collected stops, Les will move us this issue into Exercises 3 and 4 in his training program.

Objective
• To perfect your control of the horse’s whole body and hip
• To be able to move your horse’s body laterally without lett ing the shoulder lead
• To get to the point where you can move through exercises one through four both directions on a semi-loose rein

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.

Collected Stop: Final Notes

Les Vogt for the Horsetrader - April 1st, 2018

More With Les graphicIn the last couple of columns, we have covered a lot of detail. Here are some wrap-up notes to remember. (Find all “More With Les” columns at: http://bit.ly/HTmorewithles)

Teaching the horse to assume the stopping position
• Drive with the back legs, but keep front legs going
• Power comes from the loin
• To use the loin, back has to be round
• Neck has to be down for back to be round
• For the neck to be down it has to be soft!

How to create the ultimate collection is from the back to the front: Make the horse go and let them stop
Start at the walk: You want to stair-step up, and don’t be afraid to go back
Don’t make a big deal out of anything that you don’t want to be a big deal: If you go after a problem directly you will get the horse defensive

Four more zones to ‘stops’

Les Vogt for the Horsetrader - March 1st, 2018

More with LesLast column, I introduced you to an entire stopping program that began with “whoa” and proceeded to the next phase, the “signal stop.”

Random Stop
So, when he has learned the signal stop, we go into the next phase, which is going to be random stops. We take what he knows now, and we teach him that he is going to gallop or trot around the arena. As with the other steps, this one has to be in all of his gears or gaits as well. He has to graduate up to the gallop. Now, at this stage in the game, the walk probably is not going to count, but he has to master the trot and the gallop for sure, and he has to be perfect in both.

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!

Smokey: A study of heart

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

Trainer TipsSmokey is a 3-year-old Quarter Horse gelding. The owner needed my help with some fear-related issues that Smokey had. Although he had been started, the owner had some concerns and didn’t feel comfortable riding him.

He had quality breeding that showed in his natural athleticism, but his moves were bigger than necessary and unpredictable. When he first arrived, I put him in the round pen just to let him get acclimated to his new surroundings. I stood in the distance and watched as he spooked at something, lost his footing and actually fell over — all by himself! The owner’s concerns were well-founded, and I had to get Smokey’s behavior corrected not only for the owner’s safety, but for Smokey’s well-being, too. Horses don’t want to live in fear any more than we do. They are looking for someone whom they can draw confidence from, someone to show them a better way to handle their emotions. If he didn’t get help with his fear at this juncture, then his reactions would have continued to escalate. He couldn’t resolve this on his own.

Seven Steps To Big Stops

Les Vogt for the Horsetrader - February 1st, 2018

More With Les graphicNow, I’m going to introduce you to the whole stopping program so you’ll know where we’re going with this. Although we’ll only cover the basics – the collected stop – in this level, this will give you an idea of where we’ll be headed as you advance in this program. We’ll call the stopping program the “Seven Steps to Big Stops.” The seven steps are sequential, and you have to pass each step, and get a good grade in each phase, or you can’t go on. I guess you could but you’re going to get an “F” in the next one. It will take time, but you will get it, and like everything else, you have to work at achieving perfect form at each step so that you can get perfect performance.

We might say that a horse stops well, but there is really so much more to it. Stopping means to cease forward motion, but the stop itself is really the least of my worries. First, the approach has to be good, the form has to be perfect, and there can be absolutely no resistance – if any of these elements aren’t great, the stop won’t be great either.

Removing trailer-loading anxiety

By Sheryl Lynde Horsetrader columnist - January 1st, 2018

Trainer TipsA client once brought a horse to me that had developed trailer-loading issues. It had endured an accident while being tied inside a trailer, and she had pulled back, resulting in minor injuries both physically and mentally. Subsequently, the owner had difficulty getting her into the trailer, and even once in, she would want out — and fast. She could fly backward.

If you break it down, there are a couple of issues here. In addition to her anxiety while in the trailer, she also had an issue with pulling back. I’ll tackle Issue No. 1 first, which is her overall anxiety while inside the trailer. If I were able to eliminate her anxiety and help her to feel more at ease in the trailer, she would be less likely to pull back.

To start, I removed a panel from my round pen and then backed my trailer up to the opening until it was flush with the other panels. While standing inside the round pen facing the trailer door, I opened the door of the trailer to my right until it swung flush to a panel, where I secured it. To the left of the trailer opening, I pulled that round-pen panel, so it was even with the trailer and secured it there, leaving no spaces or unsafe edges between the panels and the opening of the trailer. I left the truck hitched to the trailer to make sure it remained stable while the horse loads and unloads.

The Sequence Stop

More with Les - Foundation Training for the Performance Horse with Les Vogt

Les Vogt for the Horsetrader - January 1st, 2018

More With Les graphicSequence stop means a three stepper basically. You’ll have three or four steps from the beginning to the end for the stop. If you’re having problems keeping your hands moving, try the sequence stop. Remember, if you like the neck, you’re going to back him out of the stop. If you don’t like the neck, you’re going to drive him forward again, so why would you stop moving your hands? And don’t worry about timing here; you’re just searching for flaws throughout those beats.