Randy Paul and Smokeelan, going last down the fence in pursuit of front-runner Doug Williamson and Hes Wright On, pulled off a clutch 223 score in the cow work to claim the 2010 World’s Greatest Horseman title Feb. 7 at the First Community Credit Unior Spur Arena. The National Reined Cow Horse Association’s four-event competition tested the world’s best trainers and stock horses in herd work, rein work, cow work and steer stopping.
After the first finals segment in herd work, Paul faced an uphill climb. He and Smokeelan (Elans Playboy x Smart Little Smokee), owned by Jill Smiekel George, sat in seventh place, but the subsequent rein work sparked optimism for the trainer who has won more than $1 million in National Reining Horse Association earnings.
The Fairplex in Pomona hosted the 10th Annual Equine Affaire from Feb. 4-7, and neither rain nor recession could keep the spirits (and numbers) down – a very good sign as we head toward spring of 2010. As the Official Publication of Equine Affaire, the California Horsetrader shares some of the event with you in these pictures taken by Daniel Lew and Carolyn Read. If you attended Equine Affaire, let us know what you think — many folks say that trade fairs like this are good indicators of the economy. To take our quick poll, click here!
HITS I and II
The Del Mar resident and her horse topped 30 challengers in the circuit’s first Sunday feature class. International Course Designer Marina Azevedo set a challenging first-round course that left only three horse-and-rider teams advancing to the jump-off round.
Potter has ridden the 14-year-old Rockford I, which she owns, for six years, during which she has qualified for the FEI World Cup twice and won numerous grand prix events. Sunday’s victory boosted her toward a qualification for the Pfizer $1 Million Grand Prix, to be held at HITS-on-the-Hudson on Sept. 12 in Saugerties, N.Y.
“HITS has given me something to look forward to,” she said. “What a great opportunity for our horses and riders to be able to compete for such high stakes. If I qualify, I will do my best to get there.”
POMONA — The nearly 50-year tradition of Southern California’s Arabian riders and horses starting the new year at Fairplex continued Jan. 29-31, except the “Whittier Lions Show” as it was known became the Sierra Empire Arabian Horse Association’s Annual Show.
After hosting the first, major Arabian show of the new season for the past 48 years, the Whittier Host Lions Club decided to stop running this show and focus on other activities.
Vista trainer takes 'Chapo' to Extreme Cowboy win in Pomona
As the second-place finisher last year on Jose’s Perfection in her first Extreme Cowboy Race, Bond didn’t have high to climb. She won this year’s Extreme Cowboy Race at Equine Affaire with a cumulative score of 193 on the same horse that took her to the reserve last year, nicknamed “Chapo”.
Now the climb becomes more challenging, as the trainer at Rancho Dos Palmas Ranch in Vista eyes competing at the Calgary Stampede this summer.
“It’s a big deal,” she says of the Calgary Stampede Regional Championship July 9 in Alberta, Canada. This year’s race at the Stampede is an open event with a total purse of $14,000.
Bond fared well last November in her only other national competition, the Extreme Cowboy Race World Championships in Topeka, Kan., where she and Chapo took third in the professional division — just one point shy of the title. The 11-entry Equine Affaire event was the first race since for Bond and Chapo, a 12-year-old Quarter Horse gelding owned by Ricky Cruz.
I’m often asked: “When I use my legs, should I be kicking or holding them steady?” Well, just as we’ve talked about how you shouldn’t use steady pressure with your reins, I’m not a big believer in steady pressure with your legs either. A large percentage of the time, I’m going to have you bump the horse’s sides with your calves, or what I call your “boot tops.” To use your boot tops, you’ll turn your knee out so your calves can make contact with the horse’s side and then just bump your legs against him.
Glen Aspinall opened for business at Casner Ranch in Temecula on Feb. 15. Glen is a multiple finalist in all major NRCHA events as well as World Show qualifier. In addition to NRCHA, NRHA and AQHA training, there is colt starting and horses for sale. Casner Ranch is located at 34520 DePortola Road. For more information, contact Glen at (559) 303-0627, or see their ad this issue on page 33.
HEY RAY!: I have a mare, a PMU baby now 9 years old with a good disposition in hand and under saddle, too. At feeding, she has a bad attitude – biting, throwing her head, threatening me. Help! I have tried several approaches — from ignoring her to backing her up and away. I have two other horses whom she respects and gives way to. At liberty, she is not “people-friendly.”
–Kathy Camuso, Corona, Calif.
HEY KATHY: This issue is more common than you might imagine. I appreciate the great insight you’ve shared and the things you have tried in order to resolve this challenge with your horse. What is truly reassuring about this whole picture is the fact that your mare has shown the ability to S.W.A.P. (be sweet, willing, and predictable) in any and all situations — including this problem area. In other words, your mare will do the right thing (1) with you while in hand and under saddle and (2) while turned out with other horses. This tells me that she is willing to curb her behavior in a way that won’t be too difficult for you, if you use the right approach.
Because she gives way to your other horses, having to deal with an ALPHA mare likely isn’t the issue. Even if it were, the approach would be the same – the process just might have taken a little longer.
Feeding all the horses together in an open pen at the same time would be very enlightening to your mare because the other two horses would simply (and clearly) teach her the lesson. The problem with this approach is the possibility of injury during the process, but it’s an option, nonetheless. The advantage of experiencing this, Kathy, is that you would not only recognize the timing and duration needed for this to work, but you’d also witness the moment of breakthrough and the change in your horse’s behavior. It’s definitely something to see someday, but perhaps not with your horses.
Because you are satisfied with your mare’s attitude in other areas of your relationship, it’s important that while you work on this weak link, there’s no association to any negative feelings or resentment back to you. We can accomplish this by doing the following:
- Remember your mare is just trying to express herself in a way that has always worked for her until now.
- When she is trying to express herself, simply misunderstand what she means. As a human, this should be very easy for you to do because we are so good at it.
- Always look for the excuse to reward, not for the excuse to punish.
- Our “reward-able” exercise will be chasing around the stall or ring. (Practice before feeding and reward by petting her after you see that look of regret in her eye.)
- When feeding, the moment you see the behavior you cannot reward, perceive it as your mare saying: “Kathy! Can you please put down my feed immediately and run over to my stall and play that chase-me-around game for a while, so you can tell me how great I am at it? I hope you don’t mind since it’s also one of your favorite games until I work up an appetite. (Of course what she is really thinking is: “Hey lady… hurry up — me first, I’m starving!”)
- It won’t be long before your mare recognizes that her behavior is not only all right with you , but you actually welcome it because of what it means to you.
- Projecting the right body language is crucial, which is why it is important to believe the scenario. (This is what keeps you from being reactive and justifying her behavior.)
- Once your mare realizes that her behavior is what is postponing her meal, she will figure out where change needs to happen. Not because you said so (in the eyes of the horse, you’re not even aware there’s a problem), but because she sees value in it.
- Continue this process until she shows no signs of the old behavior.
There are many systems that work well. I choose this approach because you don’t have to be tough, just consistent. Also, it sets up an environment to S.W.A.P. that allows freedom of choice to change, as well as good feelings from making that choice. It also promotes feeling good “about me” while changing. That is important.
Kathy, I’m confident that you will have fun watching the transformation of your horse through this experience.
Always trust your instincts and think safe,
Horsetrader columnist Ray Ariss, husband to Pippa Ariss and father of six, shares his insight into the relationship of horseand human twice each month, in print and on www.horsetrader.com. He lives and trains in “Horsetown USA”, Norco, Calif., at his bustling Starbrite Riding Academy, where he currently has 50 horses in various stages of training, including Andalusians, Friesians, Quarter Horses, Paints, Thoroughbreds, Arabs, Mustangs and more. Ray attributes his training success to the support of his wife and partner, Pippa, and a system he calls S.W.A.P., to which he credits his multiple championships in several disciplines. His passionate understanding of the “human-horse” relationship was evident when he took on the challenge of training a wild Mustang and — in just 100 days — produced the highest-priced adopted Mustang ever — $50,000. Does your “horse-human relationship” leave you with a question for Ray? Click here to submit one!
DEAR DANA: I have always wanted to be a horse trainer, and I am going to start to try to fulfill my dreams in becoming one. Can you provide me some information about what it takes to be a trainer, and what to expect?
–Lacy Thompson, Moberly, MO.
DEAR LACY: How wise you are in seeking information about becoming a horse trainer before just starting a business. The first thing that I recommend that you do is to give thought to what events you want to train for. Also, do you want to train horses and people for shows, and if so, at what level do you want to show? Local shows? World class shows? Breed shows or Open shows? Anyone can hang their shingle and be a horse trainer, but strive to be excellent at whatever you do!
Another key step: Be qualified. You do that by doing your homework and taking the time necessary to being the best you can be. It takes years to develop the skills needed to be a good horse trainer. You will need to develop feel and timing in your riding.
Also, the discernment and wisdom to learn to read horses and decipher what is needed to overcome a problem when it presents itself. You will need “people skills” also, as you don’t just deal with the horses, you have the owners as well. There are many trainers that are great with horses, but not with people. There are also great riders who aren’t good teachers. Identify your strong points as well as your weaknesses, then you can work on your weaker areas.
As a next step, write down your goals. Then, from that, research those whom are some of the best trainers in the area you pick. Contact them and see if they have an apprenticeship program.
I tell people that they should commit to work for someone for five years. It takes a long time to learn someone’s program. Also, make sure the person you will work for is willing to spend time teaching you!
These are the steps I would recommend you take in order to lay a good foundation for yourself. You’ll be ready to go out on your own as a trainer. Then, you will need to find a good facility, and get an insurance policy. I recommend a liability and care, custody and control policy. You will need a truck and trailer if you are going to shows.
It is a lot of work, but is fulfilling to see riders and horses progress and to help people to achieve their dreams!
Best of luck to you!
Have your own question for Dana? If so, click here! If your question is used in “Dear Dana”, you will be entered into a monthly drawing for a FREE “Winning Strides” DVD!
Sign up for Dana’s newsletter and keep up with Dana’s updates, new products and clinic schedule! When you register, you are automatically entered into a quarterly raffle for great prizes, including a FREE personal training session with Dana! Click here to sign up now!