2010 Arabian show entries surpass 8,200
Except for a stormy final two days, the Scottdale Show basked in spring-like weather compared to the rest of the nation, and participation was warm, too. Entries increased this year to 8,230 in 744 classes, with the number of horses (2,240) about 350 more than two years ago. The horse total may have fallen from last year, but show officials were pleased with the increase in entries, nonetheless.
“It was a great show,” said Executive Director Taryl Pearson, who saw record crowds of 200,000 go through the gates. “A lot of people have said to me that they might cut out a lot of the other shows — the smaller shows that they did throughout the year if their budget is tightened — and just go to one or two shows. Scottsdale is on the roster.”
Corey Cushing reels in another big win with Smart Boons
But red felt just right.
With his lucky red shirt on his back and the red roan stallion, Smart Boons, under him, Corey Cushing of Scottsdale, Ariz. clinched another big aged event win – the NSHA Open Classic held at the Ag Center.
Riding Cameron Hills Quick Dollar in the $50,000 HITS CSI-W Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health, Gatlin made sure that this time around the blue ribbon and the first-place check stayed in Southern California. She beat 23 other starters who had challenged designer Steve Stephens’ first-round track, and then she topped the six who had advanced to the jump-off in the featured Saturday night class.
“We came in tonight needing to finish in the top three to stay in the chase for a trip to the World Cup Finals and to earn some much-needed prize money to qualify for the $1 Million Class,” said Gatlin. “It’s hard to keep a horse jumping fresh at one venue for a few weeks in a row, but HITS always seems to make each class special and electric. Thankfully we were able to rise to the occasion tonight.”
President's Trophy goes to Californian
Her name was added to the perpetual Presidential Trophy which remains on display at the FHANA offices in Lexington, KY.
Goldman, who shows her Friesians in a multitude of disciplines, including saddleseat, huntseat, dressage, driving, and western, remembers her first Friesian.
Nicole Shahanian-Simpson of Thousand Oaks on Tristan along with Richard Spooner of Agua Dulce on Cristallo are listed fourth and fifth, respectively, in the Top 15, while Ashlee Bond of Hidden Hills on Chivas Z and Shahanian-Simpson on Kilkenny Rindo were listed as alternates. The line-up comes at the heels of the USEF Selection Trials for the U.S. Show Jumping Team in Wellington, Fla. The 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games will be held in Lexington Sept. 25-Oct. 10.
The top nine horse/rider combinations were named according to their Final Overall Placing in the Selection Trials. The remaining six horse/rider combinations may be discretionary choices recommended by the Selectors. In this case, the Selectors exercised their option to use three discretionary choices. In addition, the Selectors name and rank up to five substitute horse/rider combinations to the Long List.
The 2010 NRCHA World’s Greatest Horseman and NRHA Million Dollar Rider is fulfilling a long-lasting ambition to record his music, available soon on CD via his website, www.randypaul.com. The album, “The Sky,” has been more than 25 years in the making, and it’s a collaboration with his daughter, vocalist Lynzee, and her husband, Paul Foreman, who produced the collection.
“One song, “sunshine Lady,” was written in 1984 for his wife, Andi.
Next in a series
After taking a look at the fundamental riding skill of using your legs in the last issue, we take a brief look this issue and next at the horse’s mouth.
Here’s a good exercise to remind you of how little rein pressure it takes to send a signal to your horse. To try it, just hang your bridle on a doorknob, like it would hang from a horse’s head. Now stand about five feet away, take one rein in your hand and just lift it until you make contact with the bit and it starts to move. You’ll see that it doesn’t really take a lot of pressure or movement on your part to get movement out of the bit.
Hawthorne Country Store in Escondido makes it a habit to be more than just a feed store, and Heather and Terry Thelen and the rest of Hawthorne’s gang are doing it again by helping customers go green with their horse operations. For example, they can guide you to finding many ways to control pests naturally around your ranch — large or small – by encouraging beneficial species like owls, bats, hummingbirds and chickens to assist in controlling fly, mosquito, gnat and rodent populations. The use of their owl and bat houses, hummingbird feeders, chicken coops and chicks helps establish a natural balance in a closed system of control. Hawthorne’s also will be hosting a Purina HOW (Horse Ownership Workshop) Series event on Tuesday, April 6, at 6:30 pm. These exciting, informative workshops are filled with nutritional and research information and offer prizes and savings for those who attend. Bring a friend for a special offer! See ad on page 32.
HEY RAY!: My horse has no problem leaving home and his stable mate, and when he goes down the trail by himself, he’s fine. But when I trailer or take him anywhere (camping, poker ride, etc.) he “buddy’s up” with the horse we trailed with or just started riding with. He doesn’t have to know the horse prior, either, and he’ll throw a fit if he thinks his new buddy is getting away from him. He seems uncomfortable in a large group of horses, too. I have dealt with this for about five years, and I wonder if I need to just keep dealing it. He’s a 10-year-old Appy-Quarter.
– Karen Boersma, Norco, Calif.
HEY KAREN: I’m happy to hear this is something that you were able to handle for five years without getting hurt. Anytime I hear things like, “My horse is throwing a fit”, I think it’s dangerous. So, I’ll assume you are a competent rider and can handle yourself in this situation.
Actually, I have a couple of horses I’m currently working on with this exact same issue, and they are coming along great.
Before we get started, it’s important that we have a couple of fundamental exercises under our belt. The first is being able to have your horse flex his head to your leg and give to the bit through lateral flexion with the intention to stop. Do this in both directions until he doesn’t move. Secondly, we need to be able to flex his head laterally from side to side without any resistance from your horse, even when the single pull of the rein is sudden and assertive. The flexion in this exercise should put his nose only halfway to your leg. Practice this also at a standstill until your horse is flexing and giving in the direction of the pull before you grab a hold of his face. Take notice to anchor the rein to your leg when flexing as opposed to just pulling and hanging. The anchoring will help with the timing of the release.
Progress this exercise to the walk and trot, with transitions in both directions. Wait for the horse to give to the rein before changing directions. As the horse gets better, pull the rein to your leg sooner and have the horse deal with the added challenge. This exercise will help him go FROM the emotional and reactive side and TO his thinking side of his brain.
Now we are ready to hit the trails. Call your trail-rider friends who are willing to help with your horse’s mental therapy and who can take direction. First, try leading the group. If your horse becomes anxious or unruly, simply ask the other riders to stop behind you and flex your horse to a stop as practiced before. If your horse doesn’t have a problem leading the group, allow one of the helpers to move up next to you and evaluate and handle that situation the same as before. If all goes well, instruct the helper to move ahead.
This is where I believe most of your efforts will take place. At the first signs of trouble, ask the rider ahead to stop, and have your horse believe that his behavior will result in nothing more than the reward-able consequence of stopping through flexion once again. Continue this step until he stands quietly on a loose rein. Once he feels confident that he will not be left behind and stops showing the behaviors of insecurity, allow the rider ahead to turn around and resume the follower position. Slowly but consistently, have the helper advance next to you — and then in front of you a couple of horse lengths as before. If the horse acts up again, this time flex him from left to right until he walks quietly.
At that point, ask the helper to do his rounds again (to the back, middle and the front.) If the horse becomes too hard to handle or threatening in any way, spiral to a stop until he gives. Sometimes horses can get so bad in this kind of a situation where your safety might be at risk. Jumping off and backing your horse assertively as the reward-able exercise is always a welcomed option before starting up again. When he becomes tolerant of the rider ahead while flat-footing the walk, ask the helper to move up another horse length or two and reward your horse by having the helper repeat the cycle of going from follower to leader.
Always wait until your horse actually breaks out of the walk before correcting. Remember to allow him to go along on a loose rein, even if it results in breaking out of the walk right away. This will make it clear in your horse’s mind that he still has freedom of choice, and we are okay with whatever choice he makes.
The final exercise will be having your horse deal with being left behind. Here’s the plan: When you approach an intersection or crossroads, have the helper who is leading ahead turn out of sight. Instruct the helper to be out of sight but not out of hearing distance. You will then continue down the trail unless your horse becomes unsettled. If he acts up or breaks out of the walk, simply spiral to a stop until he stands there on a loose rein. If he does well, instruct the helper to ride back toward you and repeat the cycle of going from back, to middle, to front and back around the corner. If your horse holds his ground, call your helper back once again and repeat that process.
After a few tries of this, let your horse follow the leader around the corner until the next intersection. Once he gets good at this, the helper can attempt all these challenges from further away while in the trot or canter. Adding more riders to the challenge should be gradual, and handled the same way.
It is believed that practice makes perfect, but here is a perfect example where that is not the case. Practice the wrong thing for five years, and get really good at doing it wrong. “PERFECT PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT”. The very first time you go out and apply this approach to your horse, it should turn out as I explained. Initially, it might be helpful to pick a short-distanced trail ride and have plenty of time to give to your horse so that he gets it. If you only have 15 minutes to get the job done, it might take you a lifetime, but if you have a lifetime it might only take 15 minutes. I commonly say when I go out on trail with a horse for the first time,”HONEY, CANCEL THE REST OF MY DAY” because I want to be back as soon as possible.
Karen, I’m confident you’ll feel proud of yourself as soon as you put some time aside to tackle this old challenge with a new approach.
As 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: Are there some riding exercises that you can recommend to keep a seasoned show horse “fresh” during the show year? Maybe something to break up the regular training and showing routine?
–Jennifer Bettiga, Los Alamos, Calif.
DEAR JENNIFER: Such a good question! It’s very important to do exercises or calisthenics with our show horses. These will not only keep their mental state “fresh,” but they will also help keep their movement fresh. I base my program on giving my horses times of conditioning and then times of drilling and training. If we only “drill” or train on our horses, we can burn them out.
Also, many people focus intensely on drilling their horses, and in the process they forget about maintaining their horse’s movement. The most common problem that people encounter with their horse’s movement? It’s when they drop their shoulders, lose their natural lift, and move with their body weight on their front end. This makes for an uncomfortable horse, and it adds to his burn out. I have some exercises that will help you to rebalance your horse.
One of the most common reasons a horse drops his shoulders and starts moving on his front end is that many times riders will take hold of their horse’s face to ask him to bridle his head or drop his neck or slow down. When doing this, they may inadvertently be promoting their horse to drop his shoulders because if they release as soon as it looks like he gives, some horses will learn to follow the bridle reins down — first with their head and neck, and then their front end. Almost any time a horse is asked to drop his head and neck or slow down without also asking for collection or lift, he will drop to his front end after he is released. The fix for this is to make sure that when you connect with your hands to his mouth, you don’t release until you feel him lift, collect and soften in your hands. If he gets resistant or stiff, you may need to drive with your legs until he lifts up in the shoulders and softens.
How your horse stops tells volumes about where his body weight is when he is moving forward. A horse that is up in his shoulders and balanced over his hindquarters will stop up and balanced. I like to feel my horses break or give in the haunches when they stop. Then I know without a doubt that they were moving up and balanced. Some pointers to help you to diagnose where your horse’s weight is balanced are: When you stop, feel through your hands how he stops. Is he heavy in your hands? Does he stop with a jarring motion almost pulling you forward?
These will tell you he is on his front end! Your goal is for him to stop light in your hands on his hindquarters, and stay put where he stopped.
If he stops heavy in your hands, you can correct this by asking him to move back forward and asking him to stop until he gets it right.
I practice my downward transitions often. The stop is not only diagnostic, but also a correction when stops are repeated until the horse stops balanced and up in his shoulders.
After you have successfully mastered the stop, the other exercise I love for my older horses is to medium-trot them. I don’t just pitch the reins away and let them go — I hold and drive them and really make them work. This exercise sounds so simple, but it’s really effective in making your horse use his hindquarters and drive from behind. I look for a slow, strong rhythm and I count one-two with my horse. I will then walk and let him catch his air and go to a different maneuver.
I hope these exercises give you some variations to your workout, while you keep your horse fresh and moving great!
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