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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 Start of the Turnaround

Les Vogt for the Horsetrader - February 1st, 2017

More With Les graphicSo how do we start to teach the turnaround? We start by walking in a circle about 10 feet in diameter. You want to use your circle to establish the correct bend, so bring your circle down to where your horse’s spine is bent evenly and you can just see the corner of the horse’s eye.

Now let’s stop here and think about the difference between this forward circle and the turnaround. In the turnaround, we will want to maintain the same bend and the same cadence (or rhythm), at least at this level. We want the front legs to keep moving, we want the outside back leg to keep moving, but we just want to slow down, or even stop, the forward movement of the inside hind leg.

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.

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.