Corey Cushing and Smart Boons, owned by Kevin and Sydney Knight, blew away the competition to win the Open Championship by eight points–a margin of victory almost unheard of in the elite competition of the Derby–and that win was worth the big prize of $45,866.
“Everything fell together. It was very special, because there were really great riders with really great cow horses here,” said Cushing, who is based in Arizona. “It was very tough, and this win means a lot because of it.”
DEAR DANA: I have a 2-year-old gelding with major respect issues. When he is being worked, he is fine. But with basic ground manners, he is constantly challenging me. He will throw a front foot and is always putting something in his mouth, including your arm if he can get it — and he has never been allowed to get away with it. I have tried everything and am at my wit’s end. I just really would like to be able to pet my horse!
–Christina of Richfield Springs, NY
DEAR CHRISTINA: It sounds to me that your gelding is very pushy. He also sounds like horses that I have had that were the bossy ones in the pasture — he is used to pushing people or horses around and getting his way.
I also wonder if he was recently gelded because what you describe sounds like a stud colt. When you say that he tries to put your arm in his mouth or throws a front foot forward, I am concerned for your safety. I’m sure you know the risks, but keep in mind that he weighs a lot more than you do. Your safety is number one, and he just can’t get away with that. He needs to learn respect for you.
I would recommend you seek the advice of a professional. Without me being there, I cannot guess how far he will go, or whether he is just threatening…or is really serious. I would assume he is serious.
One important tip I can give you is to define your space and to not let him into your space. You can do this by leading him next to you and when you stop and turn toward him, he needs to be ready to back up, not push forward. If you walk a step toward him, he needs to back up. You need to demand this respect by backing him up as you turn toward him. If he won’t back off, then take your lead rope or something like a PVC pipe that makes noise without hurting him. Smack him until he backs away from you. He needs to respect you, and you can demand this without hurting him if you give a clear message and are consistent. If you pick at him, he will just get irritated with you.
I have had some horses that I just can’t pat and love on because they have so much trouble controlling themselves. Just when you think they are harmless is when you lower your guard and get bit or struck. For awhile, I would be all business with him. I would make him stay out of my space and also teach him to watch my body position. If I turn to face him, he is not allowed to move forward. In fact, if I face him and stand still, he is not to move, but if I walk a step toward him, he is to back off. This can be difficult if he was to challenge you and it is important to watch his body language so that you know what is coming next.
If you feel you are not getting anywhere, then stop and seek the advice of a professional. Also, some horses push back against pressure, so if you put your hand on his face to pet him, he may try to push back, and that is aggressive behavior. The next step is he will try to bite or grab you. As soon as you feel him push back on you, get after him and don’t let it go any further.
Good luck with him, Christina. I hope this helps you!
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Michelle Andreotti and Susanne Rowland first all-woman team to take title
The 39th annual Ride & Tie World Championship took place June 20 at Cuneo Creek, in Humboldt Redwoods State Park, adjacent to the Avenue of the Giants. Andreotti and Rowland’s winning time was 3 hours, 57 minutes to complete the 34-mile course.
Ride & Tie is an endurance race, run on trails and cross-country, involving teams of one horse/two humans and competing against 10 to 50 other like teams. The humans alternate riding the horse a mile or so, tying it to a tree, and taking off running, while the other human catches up to the horse, unties it and rides past the other human, and so on.
“She is careful and wants to jump clean,” McNaught said of Ocean Cat, a dark-brown 10-year-old mare. Julie White brought the mare up through the jumper ranks, and McNaught recently took over the reins. “She wants to go and jump,” added McNaught. “She always has the fastest first round, and then in the jump-off I just turn tighter.”
This meant Californian Leslie Morse was crowned USEF National Grand Prix Champion for the fifth time. Morse and her beloved 15-year-old Swedish Warmblood stallion Tip Top 962 put on a dominating performance in the Grand Prix on June 19 on a score of 72.00 percent to win the first leg. The pair tried out a new Freestyle on June 20 and scored 74.250 percent for second place. The Grand Prix Championship was scheduled to be decided June 21 with the Grand Prix Special, but Mother Nature had other plans.
Steffen Peters and Ravel sweep World Equestrian Festival dressage for the U.S.AACHEN, Germany — In an unprecedented sweep, Steffen Peters riding Ravel, the 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood owned by Akiko Yamazaki, swept all three dressage classes in the World Equestrian Festival CHIO Aachen: the Grand Prix, the Grand Prix Special and the Grand Prix Freestyle–and further validating their 2009 Rolex FEI World Cup Dressage Final victory this past April.
The sweep was a first for an American combination, and they did it in classic style, representing California and the United States. Peters and Ravel’s score in the July 5 finale Grand Prix Freestyle was 85.6 percent–more than a point clear of multi-Olympic Gold medalist and FEI World Cup champion Anky van Grunsven of the Netherlands riding IPS Salinero.
Exercises to move and take control of your horse’s different body zones
First in a Series
In the next few installments, Les Vogt takes you through exercises of his Five Easy Pieces. When you’ve mastered them, you should be able to put any part of your horse’s body where you want it, without resistance.
Doesn’t it take your breath away to watch a sensational reining or cow horse perform? It does to me, just like it did back when I was a kid and I saw my first stock horse in action. But the best thing about it is that these horses just keep getting better and better. First, because we’re breeding them better, and second, because we’re riding them better. And the biggest key I have found in developing that brilliant performance is the time that I spend getting complete body control during the foundation stage of my training on a young horse.