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Dealing with a Distracted Horse

By LES VOGT - Horsetrader columnist - March 7th, 2013 - More with Les


38th in a series
This issue, Les points out that patience and discernment are keys when your horse’s attention veers.

Sometimes when you’re riding you’re going to lose your horse’s attention. I say don’t make a big deal out of it. Some might not see as well as others, or may be more spooky, especially as far as young horses go, when they go off to the Bahamas every now and then; leave it alone and it goes away. Be patient.

If you’re having a day that’s testing your patience, it might not be the day to ride. Being patient is really important. Especially if it’s a horse you’re really happy with at this point in the training program. I used to get on some horses and just dread that first bad day. But I’m not really afraid of that any more now that I can rely on my program for results. Before it was like some romances, where you’re always afraid of that first bad day, and wondering if that is the beginning of the end. It’s because you didn’t have the tools to fix the problem.

Anytime a horse is looking off, it’s a really minor issue in the big scope of things. You could pick up on it and make it a big issue – but don’t do it; let it go away. If I were to pick my horse up and turn her around and stick a spur in her for looking over the fence, that turns it into a big issue. Not only does this ride go down the tubes, but a part of this horse’s career goes down the tubes too, and I mean that! So avoid issues. If you see one coming on, do something else. The old-timers would say, “Never make a big deal out of anything with your horses because they remember the big deals!” And then I have people say that “my horse always seems to remember the bad things and never the good things!” Folks, it’s because we make a big deal out of the bad things! If you don’t want them to remember the bad things, change the issue and resolve it another way!

EDITOR’S NOTE: More with Les is a regular California Horsetrader column. Les Vogt has won more than 15 World Championships, including two wins at the NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity. Although Les still rides and occasionally shows, his focus is giving clinics around the world and developing products for the performance horseman. To learn more about Les and to see his clinic schedule, visit: www.lesvogt.com

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