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Turnaround: Starting Spins

Foundation Training for the Performance Horse with Les Vogt

Les Vogt for the Horsetrader - January 1st, 2017

More With Les graphicNow that you’ve established some body control in your horse with the exercises you’ve worked on in the previous levels, it’s time to start doing something really fun! The turnaround, when it’s done well, can be one of the most exciting parts of a reining pattern, both to ride and to watch!

The Elevator Bit

After looking at collection and rating speed the last couple of columns, Les takes a break to look at bits.

Les Vogt for the Horsetrader - December 1st, 2016

More With Les graphicThe elevator bit might look a litt le odd, but it’s a tool I developed several years ago, and I really like what it can do for some horses. If a horse has learned to get away with things in a smooth snaffl e it makes riding them a lot of work. If this is your situation, and the horse is ready, that is, he’s picked up everything we’ve worked on so far, you might want to try the elevator bit.

Now here’s the way that an elevator bit works. Since the curb is so loose, the bit will stretch the horse’s mouth upon contact, just like a regular snaffle does, but at a certain point, he’s going to feel the chain too.

Honesty is the only policy when evaluating your horse

by Ray Ariss | Horsetrader columnist - November 17th, 2016

Hey Ray!HEY RAY! I recently adopted a 5-year-old Thoroughbred mare off the track. She behaves well except when I put a saddle on. Then she gets antsy and walks on top of me and sometimes rears. But once the saddle is on, she’s fine. How do I get her to stop before she gets too dangerous?
–April Zimmerman, Aguanga, Calif

Handling the Chargey Horse

Les Vogt for the Horsetrader - November 17th, 2016

More With Les graphicNow that we have learned how to “rate” our speed, let’s take a look at handling too much forward motion.

Now I’m going to tell you how to deal with a horse that’s a bit chargey. That is, he has a lot more forward motion than you enjoy, and not as much control as you would like. It’s a common problem, but you’ve got to fix it.

I’ve learned how to deal with this kind of horse by working on their neck and by reverse psychology. If he wants to go faster and push me, that is, if he wants to choose speed, I don’t like that idea much. I’m paying for the feed here, and I should get to make those choices. But what do I do? I can’t whip him; he’s too big. So I’ll make him think I agree with him and let him go, but when he wants to slow down, I’m not going to let him. And all the time I’m going to keep his shoulders up, occasionally asking him to frame up, but I’m going to keep him going right along. When he wants to slow, sentence him to three laps more. He’ll be saying, “Hey buddy, I’m getting a little tired here.” He’ll look back at you (and that alone makes it worth it) and say, “Why don’t you slow me down?” And you say, “Why? I’m starting to like this!” You want to ride him until he’s thrilled with the idea of stopping. Don’t cripple him, mind you, but make him look forward to you deciding when it’s time to quit. Then ride to the middle of the arena, let him stop, get off, unsaddle and give him his reward.

Too Much Speed?

After showing us in last issue’s column the importance of having the neck, Les offers tips on rating your horse.

Les Vogt for the Horsetrader - November 3rd, 2016

More With Les graphicDo you feel like you’re off to the races every time you ask for a lope? While many horses will stay relaxed right from the start, some, especially those who are a litt le scared, or horses that have been held back all their lives, will want to take off like bullets! A horse like this is no fun to ride and can become dangerous if he’s not controlled. Here are some tips and exercises to try if you want to rate your horse back a litt le at the lope. By “rating” we mean being able to control the speed.

How can I help my horses get along when they’re eating?

by Ray Ariss | Horsetrader Columnist - November 3rd, 2016

Hey Ray!HEY RAY! How do I approach my mare, Koda, and train her not to bite or kick the heck out of our other horse, Eddie, while eating? –Ryla Haday, Sonora

HEY RYLA: I understand that not taken care of, this problem can result in one or both horses getting hurt—as well as yourself. First, please understand that what Koda and Eddie are going through is absolutely normal and natural. This kind of thing happens with horses all the time.

Collection Problems

After discovering last issue how collection can promote lightness, Les shows us indicators of what might lead to problems.

Les Vogt for the Horsetrader - October 20th, 2016

More With Les graphicIn my clinics I run into a lot of horses that are fairly advanced but often they have got a hole in them. And the common problem and the common fix are going to be the same and it’s the neck. Often times these horses have an attitude in certain places. Every now and then they decide to rebel, to defy you. And what area of the horse shows defiance first? The neck! If it stiffens up, it’s the first signal that you are about to go for a ride that you’re not asking for.

So, before you can have what you want in terms of performance, you have to have the neck. Defiance is caused by an attitude, and an attitude can happen with horses just like people. But it’s got to be like someone in the military, if you have an attitude you’d better keep it to yourself, and that’s the way I feel about a horse. They all have different mindsets, but if they have an “attitude,” let’s overcome it by insisting that we get respect from them.

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.

Developing lightness in your horse

Last issue, Les pointed out the details of collection. Now we look a little deeper and get to work.

Les Vogt for the Horsetrader - October 6th, 2016

More With Les graphicRiding a collected horse is always a thrill. Instead of the lope feeling fl at and strung out, it will become almost a circular rhythm as you feel the energy go from the hindquarters all the way through the horse’s soft ly rounded spine and then roll back to the haunches again. It is a stride that is fl uid and powerful at the same time, no matt er what the speed is. Collection is also the physical state where your horse is most balanced and prepared to respond to whatever cue you give. This is because he is carrying most of his weight on his hindquarters, so that his front end is lighter and easier to maneuver.

My colt refuses to trot with me… help!

By Ray Ariss | Horsetrader Columnist - October 6th, 2016

HEY RAY! I own a big 3-year-old Friesian colt that will not trot next to me when asked. He either drags behind me at the walk or when pushed will erupt into a dead-run—kicking, rearing and playing while dragging me. I’d like to show him in halter, but I’m afraid he’ll get away and hurt himself or someone.
–Jacquelyn Anderson, Fresno

Hey Ray!HEY JACQUELYN: The challenge that you are up against is very common. Once your horse is clear about what is expected and sees the value in it, it won’t matter whether he’s a big colt or an old pony. The first thing we need to do is break your question down into the six individual issues in hand: