Go to FastAd#:
Search "News" for:

On the Move with ETI

In its 66th year, Equestrian Trails, Inc. offers more than ever to the horse world

From Horsetrader staff reports - July 15th, 2010

LOS ANGELES — Later this month, there will be a scene at the Los Angeles Equestrian Center when riders of all ages and all disciplines will enliven the facility with the annual ETI National Horse Show and Convention.

At this event, so large it must be spread over different venues and weekends, there are riders young and not-so-young, in breeches and in chaps, going over fences, around barrels and even in carriages. Clearly, Equestrian Trails, Inc. has grown beyond the trails it dedicated itself to acquire and protect in 1944.

“It sounds like a movie script, but during World War II, a small group of horsemen joined together to patrol the power lines and guard public property in Long Beach to secure the safety of the area,” explains current ETI President Linda Fullerton. “Every night during the war, these men on horseback patrolled areas only accessible by horseback.”

Flying Horse photo

The July 3 Red, White & Blue Grand Prix winners, Michelle Parker and Cross Creek Farms's Socrates de Midos, pose with members of her team and Blenheim EquiSports Marketing Director Melissa Braunstein and President Robert Ridland, alsong with representatives of the sponsoring St. Regis Monarch Beach.

SAN JUAN CAPSITRANO – In honor of the Fourth of July holiday weekend and to wrap up four weeks of competition managed by Blenheim EquiSports, the $25,000 Red, White & Blue Grand Prix presented by the St. Regis Monarch Beach, invited 19 horse-and-rider duos on July 3 onto the Michel Vaillancourt designed course at the Rancho Mission Viejo Riding Park.

Beforehand, Vaillancourt said course dimensions were “very worthy of this class — it is definitely a solid 1.50m course,” but he did not predict the number of entries who would advance past the course into the second round.

As it were, two riders maneuvered their mounts to double-clean performances, but the win was ultimately decided by .28 of a second, with top honors awarded to Michelle Parker and Socrates de Midos, owned by Cross Creek Farms in San Marcos.

Flarida outduels Schmersal for NRHA Derby win

From the Newstrader - July 15th, 2010

Waltenberry photo

Craig Schmersal and Boom Shernic, shown here winning the NRBC in April, finished second at the NRHA Derby with a 234.

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – A single point separated the top two Open finalists June 26 at the 2010 National Reining Horse Association Derby, as $3 million reiner Shawn Flarida rode Gunnatrashya to a 235 that bumped $2 million man Craig Schmersal and Boom Shernic into reserve despite a sterling 234.

The $155,000-added Open Derby finals at the Oklahoma State Fair Park was the climax of the 2010 NRHA Derby Show that paid out in excess of $600,000 in derby and ancillary classes. Riders from eight countries competed in the show this year.

Lateral Flexion – Start at a standstill

By LES VOGT / Horsetrader columnist - July 15th, 2010

Next in a series
Last issue, we looked in detail at the first exercise for lateral flexion. Now we reinforce it at the standstill.

This exercise is designed to limber and stretch the horse’s neck and shoulders. It may be uncomfortable at first for older or thick-necked horses, but that’s all the more reason you should spend time on it. In the long run, it will really help your horse’s balance and agility.

Clinician Chris Cox is coming to San Mateo County on Aug. 6-7

From the Horsetrader sales staff - July 15th, 2010

The one and only Chris Cox comes to Woodside next month for a two-day clinic on Aug. 6-7 that will benefit the Mounted Patrol of San Mateo County. A two-hour Friday night session followed by a five-hour clinic Saturday from 12:30-5:30 p.m. costs just $35. Admission is $25 per day if attended individually. Colt starting, creating a natural headset, trailer loading and more. See Chris’s ad on page 25 for more information, and call 888-81-HORSE.

Dear Dana: How do you know if you have a good seat?

By Dana Hokana / Horsetrader columnist - July 14th, 2010

When you have a good seat, you are able to catch your horse’s rhythm and you are able to flow with your horse. How do you know if you have one?

I’m sure you can just picture watching certain riders who look like they are “one” with their horse? — they make it look effortless and easy. Now, I’d like to help you to develop a strategy to improve your seat. Once your seat is improved, you can get closer and closer to riding as “one” with your horse, and you, too, will catch the rhythm and flow of your horse. You just need some knowledge, a “stick with it” mentality, and a little hard work.

Let’s start with your body and your horse’s rhythm and gaits. Your body consists of many movable parts and joints. You can’t sit still on a horse and never move. Some part has to move with the horse. The key is what part of you needs to move — your hips or pelvis. These need to be flexible and move with your horse as your primary breaking or pivot point. Not your waist. Not your upper body. As you learn to unlock your hips and relax your lower back, you can sit down or back on your pockets and engage the first and most important body part needed in having a good seat — that is, your seat!
Through your seat, you can learn to feel your horse — his rhythm, his motion, and the definite beat to his gaits. I teach my riders to look for, listen for, and feel for their horse’s rhythm.

To become a truly great rider, you need to understand your body and your horse’s body. Your horse also consists of many movable parts and joints, and you must also consider that he has three separate, distinguishable gaits unless he is a gaited horse. Each of those gaits has a separate beat. As you learn about your horse’s gaits, you can look for the feel or beat through your body. When you unlock your body with his, you become “hooked up” (or “one”) with his gaits. The walk is a four-beat gait, the trot a two-beat, and the lope or canter is a three-beat gait.

Since the trot is the easiest gait to catch, let’s start with it. It has a definite “one-two, one-two” beat. The better trot your horse has, the more definite the beat. If you have trouble feeling the gait, speed him up a little to encourage him to engage in his gait. Look for that rhythm, and as you learn to feel it, allow your body to move with or catch the rhythm, remembering to unlock your hips and allow them to catch the beat. The lope or canter is harder with some horses to feel the exact “one-two-three, one-two-three,” but it does have a moment of roll or lift that you can look for and catch. It goes like this: “one-two (hesitate or lift) three.” That moment of hesitation is a moment of lift or suspension when your horse carries all of his body weight on his outside hind leg and it gives that rocking chair feel. You can learn to catch it like a rocking chair. Relax your seat enough to catch that beat.

The walk is a “one-two-three-four, one-two-three-four.” Practice feeling this rhythm while you ride your horse at all three gaits.

Another key point to gaining a good seat is to learn to control your breathing. When you breathe correctly –taking a full deep breath through your diaphragm, your seat aligns itself in the correct position on your horse. Deep breathing expands your ribcage and positions your seat correctly on your horse. A short shallow breath encourages an arch in your back and brings your tail bone up off your horse. This can also encourage you to lift your seat up off the horse and lean forward, which then breaks that communication between your seat and your horse. Good, correct deep breathing will greatly improve your seat and your riding on your horse. It also relaxes you and makes you more aware of your body, your horse’s body and his gaits. You also send a confident message when you are relaxed and in control of your horse and your body. As your seat is centered where it belongs, your balance improves, resulting in hand and leg cues that are smoother and clearer. Your timing becomes better.

I am not discounting the age-old teaching that ideal position on your horse is a straight line from the ear through the shoulders, then through the hip, knee and heel. I agree that proper alignment through your body is important. But it all starts with your seat and knowing where your seat is most effective on your horse.

The key is to first position your seat on your horse, then align the rest of your body. A real good exercise to help you to align your body position on your horse is to stand in your stirrups, making sure someone is holding your horse and that you have a safe horse to use. If you need to, hold onto the horn for balance. When you stand, relax your knees and ankles, driving your heels to the ground, then tuck your fanny and stretch your upper body up to the sky. Relax your shoulders down and back. After you are comfortable holding this position for a moment, sit back down, but — this is really important — don’t sit back down like you are sitting in a chair. Instead, slowly fold down to the saddle, landing first on your crotch, then roll back until you are sitting on your pockets. This exercise helps to keep your whole body in alignment on the horse. When you feel yourself get out of balance or out of position, stop your horse, stand and reposition and try again. I often have my riders do this exercise as well as a series of other exercises to encourage proper body position.

If you would like more information on these exercises, I have produced a DVD titled Take Control Vol. 1-How to be a More Effective Rider, this DVD gives a lot more ideas and exercises to help you develop into the best rider that you can be.


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!