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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:

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.

Collection: You are the key to getting it right

Les Vogt for the Horsetrader - September 15th, 2016

More With Les graphicAfter reviewing the keys to maneuvers last issue, Les points out details of collection.

Without a soft neck and poll, collection is impossible, so if you still have any resistance in the neck during any of the exercises that we’ve done so far, go back and work on them. I ride a horse in a clinic that is stiff to start with, and after I work one side and then the other, he starts to lighten up. There are a lot of great concepts, but I want to point out that because it is a clinic situation, I’m throwing more at this horse than I would at home. If the horse had been developed with all the tools and guidelines that I’m giving you, he would never have been that dull to begin with.

Collection: The key to maneuvers

Les Vogt for the Horsetrader - September 1st, 2016

More With Les graphicLast issue, Les wrapped up Exercises 3 and 4. As we move into more athletic maneuvers, we examine a critical piece: collection.

Objectives
• To concentrate on driving your horse from the back with your legs, in order to create a soft, round frame
• To continue to integrate the concept of 50 percent hands/50 percent legs into your riding
• To learn how to handle a tough or belligerent horse
• To learn about the elevator bit and how it can help you in your training program

Using what we know: Exercises 3 and 4

Les Vogt for the Horsetrader - August 18th, 2016

More With Les graphicHere is a bullet-list of what we’ve covered in the last several issues with Les.

Exercise #3
The third zone is the ribs or midsection
• Keep your horse straight or with a slight curve towards the direction of his intended movement
• Keep your outside arm straight out at a 45° angle
• Make sure your inside leg is off the horse
• Use your outside leg in the center of the horse’s ribs until he responds; if you don’t get a response to steady pressure, try bumping

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.