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Extreme Dream

Led by Futurity winner Rick Hoffman on Gypsy Chic, Californians win big at EXCA World Championships

From Horsetrader staff reports - December 2nd, 2010

CHT CoverTOPEKA, Kansas – It was a cold day last fall in Idaho when Sheryl Lynde was picking up Gypsy Chic, a 2-year old she knew she wanted after riding a full brother in an obstacle course event she was putting on.

“I didn’t bring one of my own horses to the event, and the manager let me ride this little horse he had had for a just a couple weeks out of Idaho,” said Lynde, who trains along with Rick Hoffman in Anza. “I really liked his mind, and when I learned of Gypsy, I went and got her.”

Lynde found the filly in a pasture, “greener than a March hare” and barely halter broke. She took her to the Colorado facility she and Hoffman were working out of last winter, and the process of making a Futurity Champion was under way. Lynde does the starting, Hoffman the finishing.

A fabulous Fall Series by Fairlea

Great prizes, good times, tough competition wrap up Fairlea Ranch Fall Series for 2010

From Horsetrader staff reports - December 2nd, 2010
Lyn Anderson gets a word of thanks from the proud owner.

Kathy Higgins photo

Lyn Anderson rides Dick Hershman’s Meet Rippin Diamonds to the Fairlea Ranch Fall Series Open Shoot-out crown.

EXETER, CA – Just in time for the holidays, several stock horse competitors went home winners from the third and final 2010 Fairlea Ranch Fall Series Show Nov. 13-14.

There was saddle-winning owner Dick Hershman, whose Meet Rippin Diamonds won the Shoot-Out with Lyn Anderson riding, and $5000 Non Pro Limited rider Susan Stokman, another big winner who took home the custom headstall that she and her Im Pleased won in the Shoot-Out. Then there were the 12 class champions – each taking home a breast collar trophy for their cumulative point totals over the six days of shows, held in September, October and November in two-day weekend gatherings.

Malcolm Miller

City Of Norco photo

Malcolm Miller

NORCO, CA – Memorial services were held at Nellie Weaver Hall Tuesday, Nov. 23, for Norco Mayor Malcolm Miller, who passed away Nov. 17 after battling with liver cancer that had been diagnosed in August.

Dr. Miller, 65, a retired anesthesiologist, was in his first four-year council term after being elected in 2007. His gentle, intellectual manner were combined with a drive to preserve and enjoy his community’s equestrian lifestyle. He saw his role as one who could influence long-term implications of City Council decisions – and also prevent council members’ political differences over them to become personal. Two weeks before his death, he had announced that he would take a 10-week leave of absence to receive treatment.

Harley Brown and Cassiato

Flying Horse photo

Harley Brown and Cassiato

SACRAMENTO, CA – The Sacramento International Horse Show hosted an FEI World Cup qualifier in the $75,000 Grand Prix of Sacramento on Nov. 13. Australian Harley Brown rode Cassiato, owned by the Oak Park Group, LLC, to the title in the big class. Helen McNaught finished reserve on her Caballo – one of two horses McNaught rode to the top 10. She also finished ninth on Lariccello, owned by Alison Heafey.

Dear Dana: What tips do you have for older riders to help keep their balance?

By DANA HOKANA / Horsetrader columnist - December 2nd, 2010

DEAR DANA: What riding tips do you have to help older riders keep their balance?
— Dea Helm, Placerville, CA

DEAR DEA: That is such a good question! For your safety and enjoyment, it is best to be aware of what you can do to maintain and improve your balance while riding.

Vertical Flexion: Soft in bridle

- December 2nd, 2010

Next in a series
After our introduction last issue into lateral flexion, let’s take a more detailed look here.

We say a horse is “soft in the bridle” when he has achieved soft vertical flexion – that is, when the horse will drop his nose by rounding his neck and poll whenever he feels light contact with both reins. Your ultimate goal is to get this reaction from your horse before you’ve even taken all the slack out of your reins – like you could ride with silk threads and not break them – wouldn’t that be great! We all dream about it!

But I’ll warn you right now, it won’t happen if you’re still feeling any resistance when you ask for lateral flexion. If you are still getting resistance to either side, you need to keep working that before you start into asking for much flexion vertically. If you ask too soon, you’re likely to create a dull mouth in your horse rather than the soft, responsive one that you’re after. Each step builds upon the one before it, and getting each step perfect, before you move on to the next one, is critical.

Here is Bellarista, my finalist in the Open 2004 Snaffle Bit Futurity, as a 2-year old. Notice how flexed she is staying even with a little slack, or float, in the rein. Also note the amount of reach she is showing with her hind legs.

Flexion and Collection
Having a horse that is light in the mouth and soft in the poll is a critical part of creating a top performance horse, but it can also be one of the biggest traps there is for many riders.

If the drop in the horse’s head isn’t matched with impulsion from behind, driven by your legs, you are going to end up with a horse that is heavy in front, and that is the last thing you want.

So while we’re looking for vertical flexion, or the rounding of the poll, it is only one component of collection, which is our ultimate goal. And collection comes from driving the back of the horse up to the front with your legs while keeping him round and soft with your hands:

Vertical flexion + Impulsion = Collection

It’s easy to get absorbed into the part of the horse you can see, his head and neck, and forget about the rest. But your results will be better, and you’ll reach them faster if you use your legs too right from the start. In fact, if you were to use just your hands, and I were to use my hands and legs in rhythm with each other, I’m going to achieve vertical flexion twice as fast as you will – and also I’ll be developing collection as I go. So don’t just work on the head now and think you’ll add the leg for the collection later; try to use them both right from the start.

Reward the Thought
Take your time too – you don’t want to ask for too much at once. You don’t have to get the total result from your horse right from the start, but you do want the thought – the gesture – that he is willing to think about giving his nose to the pressure on the rein. When you first ask, your horse could give you a real negative gesture by lifting his neck when he feels the rein – let’s hope not! But a positive gesture would be him thinking, just thinking, about dropping his nose and rounding his neck when he feels you pick up. Always give
him a big “atta boy” for positive gestures.

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

You can read previous More with Les columns at: http://news.horsetrader.com

Attention trainers: Is 2011 the year for your ‘Mustang Challenge’?

From the Horsetrader sales staff - December 2nd, 2010

Trainers wanted! Looking for national exposure? A worldwide fan base? The Extreme Mustang Makeover is returning to Norco for the third time on May 13-15, and applications will be due Jan. 15 for trainers interested in participating. In addition to prize money, trainers competing in the event will receive up to $700 in reimbursed expenses for reasonable training and veterinary costs, and a 20 percent commission (over the $200 adoption & processing fee) on horses adopted for $200 or more. Come see 90-day trained Mustangs climb the hills and walk the streets as they compete for approximately $10,000 in prize money. All competing Mustangs will be available for adoption by the public on Sunday, May 15. For more information on the event and on registering to compete, call (512) 869-3225, and see the ad on page 73.