Monday, December 04, 2006

The Importance of Directing Every Stride

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The Importance of Directing Every Stride
by Ron Meredith

When you first start training a horse, everything is about getting his attention. Once you've got his attention, you start directing his attention where you want it to go. To get the horse to pay attention to you, however, you first have to pay attention to the horse.

We call our basic groundwork lessons "heeding." It's a play on words. To an observer, it looks like the handler is moving the horse around like a dog at heel. Or you can think of it as the horse heeding--meaning, paying attention to--to his handler. Either way, it's a pretty picture.

When we heed a horse, we let the lead rope loop down below the handler's hand. It's just there. It's not directing the horse. Sometimes I have students hook a thumb into their belt so they aren't tempted to use the lead rope to direct the horse. When most people lead a horse, they choke up on the rope and drag or push the horse's head in whatever direction they want the rest of him to go. Or if that doesn't work, they pull on him or jerk the lead shank or something else that creates some activity. They are working under the mythunderstanding that causing an action is the same thing as training the horse.

Heeding isn't about causing actions. It's about directing actions. To do that, you have to be directing the horse's mind. And to do that you have to pay attention to every step the horse takes. You not only pay attention to every step but also to the direction of that step, the speed, and the length of it.

At the start, the handler just mirrors the speed, direction, and length of the strides the horse takes. It's a primitive level of communication but because it's horse logical, it's the first step in creating a vocabulary of aids or pressures we can use to play more sophisticated games with the horse down the road. As the horse figures out that matching steps is the game, then the handler changes the game a little and begins to direct the horse's steps. We're shifting just one degree of understanding and asking the horse to mirror the handler's steps instead of vice versa.

As the handler starts directing the horse, they do it using a corridor of aids that mentally and physically creates a feeling in the horse that makes it horse logical for his body to take a particular shape. Those aids or pressures make him feel like moving forward or turning or stopping or backing or carrying his head a little to the inside or whatever.

The corridor of aids gets more sophisticated along with the games we want to play. When we move from heeding on the ground to working the horse under saddle, the aids or pressures have to change. The horse can't see the handler anymore so the handler can't influence the horse visually by changing their body position. When the trainer changes position in the saddle, their body creates physical pressures on the horse's body. The trainer gradually starts substituting the feel of specific physical pressures from the bit, the legs, and the seatbones for the feel that the visual pressure that moving their body when they were on the ground put on the horse. But the training is still about using a corridor of pressures to create a feeling that helps the horse take the shape we want. And it's still about directing every step the horse takes.

You have to ride every stride. The more sophisticated the game or action the handler wants, the more critical it becomes that the handler pays attention to every step the horse takes. A good rider directs every stride with a corridor of aids that tells the horse the direction of the stride, the length of the stride, and the cadence or how many strides to take in a particular segment of time. The rider-trainer may not actively do something to influence every stride. There will be times when everything is going right that they'll just sit there and let the good strides roll. But they will always be aware of each stride, allowing each correct stride, and be ready to influence the next stride in order to achieve the shape they want and play the game they want.

All this directed attention is hard work. A lot of people don't understand how mentally intense even what looks like simple groundwork can be for both the handler and the horse. That's why you never make a baby horse's early work sessions very long. Some horses can only take a few minutes in the very beginning. They have to work up to a longer attention span. When you start them under saddle, you may have to shorten their work sessions again and work them back up to more time. Every horse will be different.

When things start to go wrong in a training session, it's usually because the trainer had a lapse of attention. They took their attention off the horse so the horse's attention wandered, too. Or the handler had a mental lapse that made the corridor of aids too fuzzy for the horse to get the feeling of the shape the handler really wanted. It's not a disobedience on the horse's part. It's a lapse of obedience because the trainer let the horse's attention wander.

Whether you are working with him on the ground or up on his back, if a horse takes even a single step you did not direct him to take, mentally it's the equivalent of him running away. When you're with a horse, you have to give him your complete attention in order to get his.

© 1997-2002 Meredith Manor International Equestrian Centre. All rights reserved.
Instructor and trainer Ron Meredith has refined his "horse logical" methods for communicating with equines for over 30 years as president of Meredith Manor International Equestrian Centre, an ACCET accredited equestrian educational institution.

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Friday, November 24, 2006

Using Physical Pressures In Training

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Using Physical Pressures in Training
by Ron Meredith

WAVERLY, WV--When we're training a horse, we use both physical and psychological pressures to shape his behavior. You can't neatly separate the influence of these pressures because the horse has physical reactions to psychological pressures and he has psychological reactions to physical pressures. Even so, we're going to try to look at the two separately and how we apply each of them to shape the horse's behavior.

As the horse moves from being a baby green trainee to a horse that can play the upper level games, his understanding of the shape particular physical pressures suggest to him will become more sophisticated. Eventually he learns to understand a whole corridor of physical pressures together into a complex movement much as we put a bunch of individual together to make a sentence that has a much more complex meaning than any of the individual words alone.

In the beginning, however, the baby horse's vocabulary of physical pressures is very limited. If you throw too many physical pressures at him all at once, he will feel attacked. So when we first begin heeding, we spend a lot of time getting the horse to trust us, convincing him that we are a friend and not a predator. We begin to shape the horse's behavior using our own physical actions while he is loose in an arena. We move our primary and secondary lines of influence to put psychological pressure on the horse to get him to move in a particular direction at a particular speed. As we shape his activity, we are careful never to push the horse so far out of his psychological comfort zone that we scare him. We are careful never to raise his excitement level to the point where he loses rhythm or relaxation or his awareness of us.

As the horse's understanding of the game grows, we move alongside him and begin to make the game we want to play a little more complex. We walk, trot, turn, back, stop, change directions. Our main goal is still trust and awareness with rhythm and relaxation. Very gradually we will introduce tack, put someone on his back, get him used to carrying that someone and how their weight affects his balance. The we'll begin to use reins, seat and leg to ask him for the shapes we want. All of these steps mean introducing physical pressures.

There are some physical pressures like the pressure of the girth or the feel of stirrups hanging against his sides we want him to accept and ignore. So you've got to be sure to introduce these pressures slowly and in a way that the horse accepts them and gets used to them without ever feeling that he has to do something to get comfortable.

There's another group of pressures--the ones we apply with reins, leg and seat--which I call methodically applied directional pressures. We want the horse to learn that when he moves away from these pressures in the direction we want, the pressure goes away.

Some people believe that the horse's natural reaction to any pressure is to lean into it. Then to prove their point, they'll poke their fingers into the horse's side. Or they'll point to the fact that a horse's "natural reaction" is to pull back against a tie rope when they feel like their head is trapped. So to train a horse, they say, we have to teach him to unlearn what comes naturally.

These folks have missed a very important difference between either of these situations and a training situation where the horse feels a methodically applied directional pressure. Poking the horse in the ribs or trapping his head is a sudden, startling pressure that raises the horse's excitement level, makes him hold his breath and interrupts the rhythm of his breathing. It scares him out of his psychological comfort zone. His natural fight or flight instincts take over and he either pushes into the pressure or jerks back and tries to make a fast escape.

You need to introduce a directional pressure very slowly and methodically. You show the horse your hand, put it against his side, then put a little pressure there. You slowly increase the pressure and you do not take your hand away until the horse realizes that he is the one that has to remove the pressure. When the horse moves in the direction the pressure is pointing, you have to stop your hand and let him move away from it. You have now taught him the most important lesson he needs to know as his training continues--if he moves in the direction a pressure indicates, the pressure goes away.

When you apply a sudden pressure that the horse does not anticipate, you elevate his excitement level and spoil his understanding. A good trainer methodically applies any new pressure in a way that never surprises the horse. The pressure has to be applied in a way that the horse can remove it by moving in the direction the trainer wants. A methodically applied directional pressure is a solvable problem, not a startling event that causes fight or flight. As a trainer what you're trying to do is develop the habit in the horse of responding to or resolving these directional pressures in the same way every time.

The release of a physical pressure is very important to the horse's understanding. They need to trust, for example, that if they turn their head left when the pressure increases on the left side of their mouth, the pressure will go away.

The same thing holds if you ask a horse to back. I see people start fighting with a horse to back and when he backs up they keep fighting with him to keep more back going on. What they should do is ride back a stride then soften everything for one stride to show the horse he did everything right. Then very quietly apply the same set of pressures for another back stride and reward for that one and so on.

Pressures have to be shaped to match what we're trying to accomplish. You'll see some people flapping and slapping their horse's sides with their legs to keep the horse at a canter or gallop or other people who just clamp their legs on and never let go. Then another time they squeeze the horse's sides and nothing happens. Well that's because nothing happened when the horse tried to respond to the their slapping or clamping and the pressure stayed there anyway. These people are not shaping their pressures in a horse logical way.

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Saturday, November 18, 2006

Routine Healthcare For Horses

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Routine Healthcare For Horses By J. Foley

As a matter of routine, every horse should be closely observed and checked daily for signs of
injury and ill health. Physical signs and changes in behaviour should be viewed in combination,
and considered against what is normal for the individual horse concerned.
Vital signs
Heart or pulse rate, body temperature and respiration frequency (breathing) should be
observed at rest, to determine normal levels for each individual horse. Heart and breathing
rates vary depending on the age and fitness of the individual, being higher in foals and old
horses, and in those that are unfit. In addition, rates naturally increase significantly during
exercise and gradually return to normal as the horse recovers – the fitter the horse, the quicker
rates will return to normal.
Changes to the normal vital signs, observed at rest, are often key indicators of pain or illness.
Normal ranges at rest are as follows.
• Heart or pulse rate of 36 to 42 beats per minute (beats should be clear and regular in
strength and frequency)
• Temperature of approximately 38°C (slight variations are normal in response to
environmental conditions and ambient temperature)
• Respiration rate of eight to 12 breaths per minute (breaths should be quiet and regular in
both depth and frequency)

General health
Ears, eyes and nose
A healthy horse is naturally inquisitive,
alert and responsive to its environment.
Ears should be either pricked up, flicking
backwards and forwards, or when the
horse is resting, held softly forward or to
each side. Eyes should be bright and
clear with a pale pink colour to the skin.
The nose should be clean and the
breathing steady and regular at rest.
Abnormal aggression, evasion, disinterest
or lethargy may indicate that something
is wrong. A head held low or pressed into
a dark corner of the shelter or stable, with
ears clenched back, may indicate more
serious ill health or pain.
Thick nasal discharge from one or both
nostrils and congested or weeping eyes
are also indicators of ill health.
Routine care of your horse should
include regular cleansing of the eyes and
nostrils with fresh water, using separate
(clean) sponges.
Skin and coat
A horse’s skin should be supple and soft,
with a natural elasticity. The coat should be
smooth and shiny. Dry, flaky skin, a dull
coat with hairs raised or excessive grease,
can indicate an underlying health problem.
Regular grooming assists in maintaining
good coat and skin condition, and can
promote good circulation.

Bodily functions
A horse spends much time eating and, each day, drinks from 25 to 50 litres of water. It is
normal for the horse to urinate a couple of times daily and pass dung every couple of hours.
Dung should be of firm consistency (though its colour and consistency will alter according to
the diet), and be covered with a mucus coating.
Loss of appetite, reluctance to eat or drink, excessive thirst, discoloured urine, difficulty
passing either urine or droppings and extreme dung consistency (extremely loose or
extremely hard), all indicate possible digestive or health problems.
Physical condition
A horse should be well covered with flesh, but not fat. Muscle development, tone and definition
will vary according to the type of horse, level of fitness, and the intensity and nature of work.
The neck should be toned and slender, being slightly convex along the top line (but not with a
thick and solid crest). The ribs should be able to be felt easily, but should not be overtly visible.
The back and quarters should be smoothly covered and lightly rounded, however, the spine
should not be prominent (neither should it be evident as a groove over the quarters).
Regular monitoring and maintenance of correct body weight, together with condition-scoring
and assessment of fitness will help to identify subtle changes in physical condition. Too little
or too much condition (thin or fat) can cause health problems. Sudden changes in body
condition may indicate an underlying medical disorder, but could also be a result of incorrect
feeding and exercise for the animal’s needs.
Feet and limbs
Most cases of lameness originate in a
horse’s foot. If not detected and treated at
the outset, minor foot ailments can worsen
rapidly, resulting in serious infection or
lameness. Daily cleaning and inspection of
feet assists in the early detection and
prevention of foot problems.
Ideally, a horse should be inspected on
a firm, level surface. The horse should
walk comfortably and, when standing,
the weight should be borne evenly on all
four feet. Hooves should be cleaned
out, using a hoof pick and hoof brush,
with care being taken to remove mud
and debris from around the frog and
the heels.
Inspect feet daily for:
• impacted stones, thorns or other
foreign objects
• abnormal marks or patches of colour
(red, purple or dirty black)
• unpleasant smell or discharge
• splits, cracks or other damage to the
hoof wall
• twisted or loose shoes
Routine professional hoof care
Hooves should be trimmed and balanced by a registered farrier every four to six weeks for
shod horses, and every six to ten weeks for unshod horses.
Teeth
Regular dental care is essential for healthy teeth and gums, to promote normal chewing and
good digestion, and acceptance of the bit and rein contact when ridden.
A horse’s mouth contains two main types of teeth – the incisors (cutting teeth) at the front and
the molars (grinding teeth) at the back. Both types of teeth are important for normal food
intake and proper digestion. Teeth gradually erupt from the jaw, in response to wear,
throughout the animal’s life. Wear is often uneven, leading to sharp edges and hooks
developing on the molars (typically on the outside edge in the upper jaw and the inside edge
in the lower jaw). Additionally, hooks at the back of the mouth can prevent the normal chewing
movement of the jaw, which makes eating difficult.
Sharp edges and hooks can cut into the tongue and cheeks, causing considerable discomfort.
Rasping or filing of these protrusions forms an essential part of healthcare. This can be
carried out by a veterinary surgeon or a British Equine Veterinary Association (BEVA)
approved dental technician. Broken, spilt or decaying teeth may require removal, which must
be done by, or under the direction of, a veterinary surgeon.

Identifying possible dental problems
Signs of possible dental problems that may also be signs of other illness are as follows.
• Lack of appetite or reluctance to eat
• Drooling saliva – or a discharge from the mouth or nose
• Sores and swellings around the mouth
• Pain or swellings in the throat and along the jaw-line
• Foul smelling breath
• Loss of body condition
Signs of a possible dental problem when eating are as follows.
• Chewing more slowly than normal or favouring one side of the mouth
• Spilling food from the mouth or deliberately dropping (quidding) balls of partially chewed food
• Sores and swellings around the mouth
• Swellings along the jaw-line or cheeks
Signs of a possible dental problem when ridden are as follows.
• Aggression or reluctance to be bridled
• Resisting the bit
• Head shaking
• Reluctance to move forward
• Rearing or bolting
Routine professional dental care
The teeth of adult horses should receive routine professional attention at least once per year,
even where no specific signs of a problem are observed.
Young horses require more frequent dental inspections, to ensure that the adult teeth come
into wear correctly, and to confirm that the milk teeth have been shed successfully.
Older horses also require more frequent dental inspections as they are more prone to dental
problems and may suffer from loose or damaged teeth, decay or infections from impacted food.

Back
The term “bad back” is used to describe a range of health problems, such as muscle tension,
soreness and bruising, which may be injuries in their own right or indicators of more serious
underlying problems.
A horse should be checked regularly from head to tail for signs of tension, soreness or pain.
Signs to look out for that may indicate a back problem are as follows.
• General stiffness when moving or dragging the hind toes
• Resistance or aggravation when being saddled or the girth is tightened
• Dipping when being mounted
• Hollowing the back or resisting when ridden
• Bucking or bolting
• Stiffness to one side
• Refusal to perform usual tasks, such as cantering or jumping
• Uneven muscle development or tension
• Adverse or exaggerated reaction to touch or pressure
It is advisable to get your horse’s back checked if the animal is exhibiting any of the above
signs and also to identify or rule out any of the more probable causes.

A poorly fitting saddle and incorrect riding techniques can lead to a range of back problems in
your horse that, if untreated (and the cause not rectified), can create significant discomfort,
lasting damage and may result in subsequent poor performance. The most common ridingrelated
problems are seen in the following areas – at the top of the neck, behind the withers,
over the back, behind the saddle area and across the pelvis.
Most back problems are the results of a primary issue, for example, a badly fitting saddle.
However, the muscles and structures of the neck, back and pelvis can also be injured as a
result of an accident (such as a fall while jumping, slipping or stopping suddenly or becoming
cast in the stable). It is important for a veterinary surgeon to diagnose the problem and
recommend a course of therapy or treatment. The vet should also identify the probable cause,
in order to ensure that the condition is not aggravated and to avoid its re-occurrence.
Several therapeutic treatment options may be recommended for a horse that has been
diagnosed as having a bad back. In addition to rest, controlled exercise and removing the
original cause, the horse may benefit from a course of physical therapy from an
approved therapist. Therapies for horses are similar to those for humans, and include
physiotherapy, massage therapy, chiropractics and osteopathy.
Horses known to have suffered a back problem may also benefit from an annual check by an
approved therapist. Also, every riding horse should have the fit and balance of their saddle
checked regularly by a master saddler at least once per year.


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Article Written By J. Foley

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Do You Make These Mistakes Loading Your Horse Into A Trailer

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Do You Make These Mistakes Loading Your Horse Into A Trailer
By: Andy Curry

Mistake #1:


"Here, Kitty Kitty..."


Unless they have been educated, new horse owners often think a horse is like a cat or dog. They figure if they tap their thighs and say, "C'mon,...C'mon,...C'mon..." the horse'll will simply jump right in the trailer like a happy dog or cat.


Mistake #2:


"Using Food As Bait"


Putting hay, grain, apples, or whatever at the front of the trailer to tempt a horse to step in and eat almost never works. If it did, it would be a fluke. I've seen horses lean forward to try and eat the food but wouldn't step into the trailer if their life depended on it.


Mistake #3:


"Forgetting To Hook The Trailer To The Truck"


Don't forget to hitch the trailer to the truck before getting a horse to go in the trailer. If a horse steps into a trailer that moves around unforgivably, you will have a harder time getting that horse in later. He'll remember it - especially if this is the horse's first time.


Mistake #4:


"The Classic Tug Of War"


Here's the scene. Man (or woman) pulls lead rope to desperately drag their horse into the trailer. Horse weighs 10 times more than man or woman and has far more strength than the man or woman. Final score of this battle is: Human - Zero...Horse - Won


Mistake #5:


"Going Trail Riding Before Horse Is Good At Loading In A Trailer"


I've seen it time and time again. People go trail riding and when the ride is over the horse won't get back in the trailer. Amusingly, the horse owner comments, "Dang horse, he got in their last month". Remember to get your horse to practice this so it gets fixed on his brain.


It seems there will always be at least once a horse owner cannot load his horse into a trailer. But the secret is to teach a horse sending signals so he knows what you want him to do. It's partly how man and horse communicate.


If you ever find yourself frustrated with your horse because he won't get in, here's a quick solution.


Get a long rope and loop it over his rear and let it slide down to about the top of his back legs. Let the rope hit around his back legs and note his reaction. (Be holding this rope in your right hand and hold his halter with your left hand) He may kick at the rope on his back legs or he may not. If he doesn't, it means he's likely okay with the rope being back there.


If he kicks at the rope then he needs to get used to it. Just let the rope kind of hang there and touch his back legs. The horse may get jumpy and try to move from it. He may move forward or in a circle. While holding his halter stiffen your left arm a bit and make him go around you while holding the rope and halter. You, the handler, are acting as an axis.


Fairly quickly the horse will realize the rope isn't hurting him and you can move to the next step.


Pull on the rope to get the horse to move with you. When he moves forward from your pull, release the pressure. The idea is for him to move when you exert the pressure. He should catch on pretty quickly to what you want.


Now lead him to the trailer and guide his head into the trailer if necessary. With the lead rope attached to his halter, pull on the lead rope while pulling harder on the "butt rope".


Your horse may or may not jump in the trailer but chances are he will. Also, be careful doing this because he may pop in the trailer very quickly and you could get hurt.








About The Author




Andy Curry is a nationally known horse trainer and author of several best selling horse training and horse care books. For information visit his website at www.horsetrainingandtips.com. He is also the leading expert on Jesse Beery's horse training methods which can be seen at www.horsetrainingandtips.com/Jesse_Beerya.htm.

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Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Why Difficulties In Horse Training Is A Good Thing

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Why Difficulties In Horse Training Is A Good Thing
By: Andy Curry

I'll never forget one of the first horses I trained by myself. I could not have picked a better horse to give me problems.

This horse was slow to motivate. He was very much his own "person" so to speak and was going to do what he pleased...at least...that's how it seemed.

There are plenty of horses in this world that will move when you want them to move. In fact, some horses can be so nervous it takes little effort to get them moving in the round pen. In a way, they almost train themselves.

When I was first training this horse he moved slowly and not very deliberately. Teaching him to drive was very difficult because he just wasn't going to move for me.

The first time I put a surcingle on him and attached the lines he had no more intention on moving forward than an elephant with no legs.

The lesson I was teaching was to move forward. When you want your horse to move then, obviously, you want him to move...not stand there.

A typical way to teach moving forward and associating the action with a command is to get behind your horse and to the left a little. Then give a slight pull on the left rein, then say "step" or "get up" and tap him on his rear end with the whip.

Most every horse I worked with, this technique worked well. But the technique failed with this horse.

Whenever I tapped him on the butt he would either stand there and blink his eyes or he would turn around and just look at me.

To the trained trainer it may seem he was balking. In fact, that's what I feared was happening.

The next thing I tried to get him moving was a hog slapper. A hog slapper is a small pole like aid with a handle on one end and two pieces of leather on the other end. When you slap the leather end against your boots it makes a loud slapping sound.

It was the loud slapping sound I was hoping would motivate the horse to move. Here's what happened.

Nothing.

The horse didn't take any steps forward to get away from it. It scared him a little the first two or three times I slapped it on my boot, but that's all it did.

Frustrated and bewildered I wasn't sure what to do next.

I began to analyze the situation. I knew the tap with the whip wasn't working so I didn't need to repeat trying it. I knew the hog slapper didn't work so I didn't need to repeat that either.

So I asked myself, "What can I use to motivate this horse to move?"

I got the answer from Jesse Beery.

Jesse Beery, a famous horse trainer from the 1800's, taught training a horse to drive in much the same way I do it. Even the tap on the rear end with the whip is the same.

In teaching a horse to overcome fears and desensitizing him to sounds, Beery prescribes using metal bowls strung together like a wind chime on rope. These bowls make quite a racket when you shake them. Used as Beery describes, they are extremely effective in horse training.

So I thought these noise makers would motivate my horse to move. After all, they are loud and obnoxious when they clank together and make noise.

So I tacked up the horse, grabbed my noise maker, and tried again.

As I was fumbling with the lines and the noise maker trying to get situated, I nearly dropped the noise maker and it made a pretty good racket. Almost the second it rattled, the horse moved away from it.

Immediately I had a glimmer of hope that this was my answer.

So I tried it all again. I gave a slight pull on the left line, I then said "get up", and then I rattled the bowls.

The result?

Nothing except the horse raising his head and looking behind him a little. But I knew that meant I was getting his attention.

So I tried it again.

This time, he took about 3 steps forward and stopped. I was thrilled. I walked up to him and rewarded him with a caress.

Then I stepped back and did it again.

It wasn't long before I didn't have to use my noise maker anymore. All I had to do was say "get up" and he'd move. Not only did he move, he moved with energy.

Although this horse was very frustrating I must admit I am grateful to him. Why? Because he taught me valuable lessons.

The first lesson I relearned was patience.

The second lesson was that not everything will work on the same way on every horse. This was a lesson I already knew but it was reinforced.

The third lesson learned was to reexamine what I knew about horses and use that knowledge to get him doing what I needed him to do. That's why I tried the noise maker.

I knew certain noises frighten horses so I decided to manipulate his fear with the noise maker. I also knew to be careful not to terrorize him. After all, you want to use as little of that kind of motivation as possible. Only use what is just enough.

Fourth, he taught me to keep looking for an answer because one exists even though I didn't know it at the time.

Fifth, if I ever run across another horse that's hard to motivate to move, then I will pull out my noise makers because it worked before.

As I patted myself on the back for coming up with the noise maker idea I was actually feeling grateful for having such a difficult horse. I realized having a difficult horse was a great teacher to me - and I have absolutely loved having difficult horses since.

horse back riding






About the Author

Andy Curry is a nationally known horse trainer and author
of several best selling horse training and horse care books.
For information visit his website at www.horsetrainingandtips.com.
He is also the leading expert on Jesse Beery's horse training
methods which can be seen at www.horsetrainingandtips.com/Jesse_Beerya.htm


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

The Cure To Stop A Horse From Kicking

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The Cure To Stop A Horse From Kicking
By: Andy Curry

I get a lot of horse training questions about stopping a horse from kicking. The kicking habits of these horses range from the horse kicking at virtually anyone to kicking at only the husbands.

It's a daunting problem that lots of people have no idea how to cure. That being so, I want to share some insight to horses kicking.

First I want to relate some causes of horses starting in the habit of kicking. Because a horse kicks is no reason to think he is naturally bad or unmanageable. I don't think there is a horse alive that is "naturally" vicious. In fact, they're made that way due to bad management or ignorant handlers.

Admittedly, there are some horses that inherit the characteristics of their ancestors. But one should never start to break a horse without first taking into consideration the nature, disposition, and understanding of a horse.

For instance, there are some horses that are naturally predisposed to have a "not so good" disposition. There are certain physical characteristics you can spot on a horse that indicate what his disposition is like.

Jesse Beery, a famous horse trainer from the 1800's, was brilliant at deciphering a horse's disposition. He even wrote extensively about how to do it. You can read about it at http://www.horsetrainingandtips.com/Jesse_Beery_etips.htm.

Anyway, now we can handle the horse according to its disposition. We can get it very nearly equal with a good dispositioned horse. All the difference in the world is due to the management and training of the colt. A horse with a "not so good' disposition will require more patience and thorough work.

All animals in nature have a self defense of some sort. A horse's self defense is kicking. After all, if you work with a horse that gets badly excited by some cause (such as ropes or chains coming in contact with his legs and those parts of his body aren't broken) his first inclination is to kick it out of the way.

The trick is to break a horse in a way that the habit never occurs in the first place. Too many people think a lesson will be enough to educate the horse to be ready to go. But if you're driving your horse and he gets caught under the tail or the cross pieces of the shaft touch his quarters...and those parts are unbroken, it would likely frighten and excite him enough to cause him to kick.

And the worse part is this: Once started, there is an increased inclination to go on kicking until confirmed in the habit.

So the cure is prevention. You must make all parts of his body submissive to sensitivity of his extremities. One way to do this is using a technique called poling. Essentially, you take a light pole and start at a horse's nose, rub it over the mane, back, belly, quarters, and sensitive parts of the body, until all muscles become relaxed.

But what if you have a horse confirmed in the habit of kicking?

If that's the case, I can give you three possible answers.

One is to sell the horse. If you feel it's not fixable then it's not a good idea to keep the horse around. You're going to get severely injured if you're not extra careful.

Two, get a professional trainer to help you. A trainer will charge anywhere from $400.00 per month to $900 per month. Is that worth it to get your horse to stop kicking? Only you can decide.

Third, you can learn to do it yourself. There are solutions out there that are pretty good. Jesse Beery, which I mentioned earlier, has a permanent solution to stop it - and it's a guaranteed solution.



About the Author

Andy Curry is a nationally known horse trainer and author
of several best selling horse training and horse care books.
For information visit his website at www.horsetrainingandtips.com.
He is also the leading expert on Jesse Beery's horse training
methods which can be seen at www.horsetrainingandtips.com/Jesse_Beerya.htm

horseback riding

Sunday, October 15, 2006

New Zealand's Horseback Safari Trail

horseback riding

New Zealand's Horseback Safari Trail By J. Foley

The horseback riding safari trail is located at Taupo on the shores of Lake Taupo in the North Island. It is a 2500-acre farm offering activities that riders can get involved in; besides enjoying the riding pleasures include an operative dairy, beef, sheep and horse farm. Thus, they will gain excellent ranch experiences such as sheep shearing, sheep mustering and wool production.

On their horseback riding trails, the riders will be able to view many native birds, wild turkey, deer, ducks and pheasants and spectacular scenery of the farms. They can also view the youngest volcano of Taupo. You can enjoy the excellent landscape and the fantastic hills when you are galloping on your sturdy mount. Riders can also enjoy a rejuvenating swim in Lake Taupo. Both English and Western riding styles with trained horses are available. For the young riders, ponies are also at hand.

New Zealand 's South Pacific Beach Trail Riding Vacation
You will be stationed at Homestead at Puketiti station, which is in the midst of 90 acres of forest area, where you will stay for 6 days. Horseback riders will be able to enjoy the beauty of the trail along South Pacific, which is on the east coast of New Zealnd. The station is privately owned and bears testimony to the historic buildings and machinery of the olden days.

Built in 1908, the Homestead is surrounded by trees that have come from the whole world. There are plenty of native birds that add a touch of evening birdsong atmosphere that is unforgettable. The best part of your rides will be the local beaches where you can go past the early settlements, which were famous for their lamb trade. You will also witness meetinghouses reminiscent of Maori culture. The natural beauty and the difficult and rugged terrain of New Zealand will captivate the riders and allure them to return to this place year after year.

New! Jumper Training in New Zealand with Greg Best
If you are interested in a new horseback riding jumper-training program, you should go to the equestrian center in Hastings, New Zealand, which is being run by Greg Best, who can train you for all levels of jumper riding.

Greg is the current coach for the New Zealand show jumping team. He runs a weeklong training program and coaches all levels of show jumping. The learners can accomplish their training in a relaxed atmosphere and climate that New Zealand offers along with the best horses in the world. Greg teaches with examples of real-life experiences and trains the learners to think independently so that they can master any horse.

horseback riding
Article Written By J. Foley

Friday, September 29, 2006

Horseback Riding At Scotland’s Argyll Castle Trail

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Horseback Riding At Scotland’s Argyll Castle Trail By J. Foley

The Highlands of Scotland have a rich history of determined people who resisted the onslaught of their enemies. This area is one of the most beautiful places in the world but a large part is accessible only through horseback riding. The natural beauty of the hills, streams, and the lochs makes the highland an ideal place for taking a horseback riding tour.

The trail for horseback riding is very exciting and allows the rider to do what he/she likes. They can increase the pace and slow it down depending on the terrain. The rider can ride along stonewalls or ditches or jump. If the rider desires, he/she can even swim with his horse.
The horses of this region, whether they are Scottish hunters, native Highlands, or even cobs are very fit with considerable amount of stamina. The riders should be adept at controlling the horses.

Scotland's Lochs and Forests Trail Riding Vacation
Scotland has beautiful glens, lochs and forests where most of its historical events took place. These places have been the subject of the inspiration of many a painter and poets. This is where you will be able to travel and indulge in horseback riding to your hearts content.

This horseback riding tour will cover a period of six nights and five days and you will be located near the eastern end of Crinan canal, at Brenfield, Ardishaig. You will be able to go over a hundred mile circular route and enjoy the beauty of the lochs and forests that you will cross during route.

The Rob Roy Trail
You get a glimpse of history when you go through the West Highlands on the routes along Loch Leven which were known only to Rob Roy. The horses for horseback riding available in this trail are very strong and have sufficient stamina to tackle this difficult terrain. When you go on this terrain with fellow horsemen or horsewomen, you will find yourself going back in history when mankind was entirely dependent on horses for transportation.

Your place of residence will be at historic places such as Drover’s Inn which dates back to 1708 and other places of historical importance. When you go through Glen Kinglass, you will be able to see plenty of wildlife such as Red deer, Roe deer, Golden Eagle and grouse. The spectacular view of the glen will include excellent streams, moss covered rocks, dense forests and heather covered hills.

You will only be able to enjoy if you can walk, trot and canter and be in control of yourself in this superbly beautiful trail.

horseback riding
Article Written By J. Foley

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Who's Fault Is It When The Horse Has A Bad Habit?

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Who's Fault Is It When The Horse Has A Bad Habit?
By: Andy Curry

Picture this. You go to pet your horse and he bites at you - and he does this constantly. Why?

Here's another one.

You timidly ride your horse hoping he won't get so spooked over the littlest thing this time. But sure enough, you ride past that same bush and you can feel your horse tense up fifty feet before you get to it. Not only that, he slows down before he gets to it. He swerves his body away from it and he's ready to jump out of his skin.

Suddenly, he bolts past it and you're hanging on for dear life wondering why you even bought this crazy animal.

These scenarios are fairly common for horse owners. I get lots of questions from people asking how to get a horse to stop doing some kind of bad habit.

Interestingly, the horse doesn't know it's a bad habit. He doesn't know if something is good or bad. He just follows his instincts and does what nature tells him to do.

If that's the case, why does he do it then? After all, if you have a horse that bites, balks, bolts, bucks, kicks, shies, spooks, etc., why does he do it in spite of your vigorous attempts to stop it?

The answer may surprise you. And if you're thin skinned, it may make you mad. But the truth is the truth. And once you know it, only then can you do something about it.

The answer, then, is mismanagement.

What does that mean?

In a nutshell it means that you or the previous owner have made or let that horse get into the habit of whatever he's doing.

Let me give an example.

Say you're teaching a horse to drive. Let's say further you've done the necessary prep work by teaching him to stop, move forward, getting used to the harness, and so forth.

Now you've got him hitched up and for the first time he's going to pull the wagon you have him hitched to. You get in the wagon, grab the lines, and tell him to "get up."

Eager to please you, the horse jumps forward and then stops. The weight of the wagon surprised him. It kept him from moving freely because he now has to pull weight instead of just moving his own body without constraints.

Right about here is where most horse owners mess up their horse. It's here where the horse learns to balk.

As the horse pulls forward, the wagon moves an inch or two then stops. Then the handler raises his voice volume and says "Get up!" The horse may or may not try again. If he does try again, and the wagon weight stops him again, and the handler gets upset and starts tapping him with a whip and yelling "Get up" then this horse is on its way to balking.

When he balks, he'll just stand there. Often he'll turn around and just look at you. His senses even seem to be blunted...like he's in another world. No amount of harsh talk and hard tapping on his butt with a whip is going to get him to move.

Congratulations, you just taught your horse to balk.

Many horse owners would say "But I don't get it. Why did he do that?"

The answer lies in understanding horse behavior.

You see, the first time the horse has to pull a wagon he's never done it before. When he jerks forward and the wagon weight stops him from moving as freely as he's been used to, it's a shock. It surprises him. He doesn't quite know what to think of it. And knowing a horse's nature, it's probably frightening and thus confusing.

So what you must do is keep this in mind and help your horse deal with it. How you help him deal with it is treating him kindly when the wagon doesn't move.

Thus, when you're in the wagon and he steps to move but the wagon holds him back, you should get out of the wagon and go caress him. It may sound funny, but tell him you know this is a little difficult but that he can do it. Do it in a soothing tone.

Why tell him he can do it? Does he really understand words? No. I'm simply saying you must be sympathetic with your horse. Talking to him like this will help you be sympathetic and talk soothingly to him.

Being kind to your horse like this helps his confidence. It keeps him from getting confused and thus frightened - or at least it minimizes it. It's a big key to getting him to pull that wagon.

You see, when he pulls on that wagon the first time and he can't move as freely as he's used to, then it's confusing and frightening to him. If the handler is behind him yelling and striking him on the rump with a stick or whip then it's going to frighten and confuse him worse. Soon, he'll be so overwhelmed with confusion and fright that his senses will get blunted and won't do anything. He'll simply freeze.

That's why you want treat your horse kindly when he doesn't instantly pull the wagon. He needs reassured because he's a bit confused and frightened.

That, in a nut shell, is how a horse learns to balk.

But what about bucking, bolts, biting, spooking, kicking, and others?

Again, it's mismanagement. The horse doesn't arrive in this world with those habits. They are learned - particularly through bad handling.

The key to knowing how to stop a bad habit is to prevent it in the first place. You learn to prevent it from educating yourself about the do's and the don'ts of horse training.

But if you have a horse confirmed in the habit from either your handling or from the previous owner, then it takes stronger measures to stop it.

There is a horse training manual written in the 1800's that includes cures to stop bad habits and vices like the ones I mentioned earlier. The book was written by Jesse Beery. He was a famous horse trainer.

If your horse has a bad habit and you don't know how to change it then this book is your magical answer. It has directions to stop AND prevent bad habits. The instructions are so detailed and thorough it's like reading a recipe.

The other alternative is to take your horse to a horse trainer. You'll spend from $400.00 to $900.00 per month to fix the habit (if the trainer thinks he can fix it). Or, you could (and should) learn how to do fix the problem yourself. If you're going to be a responsible horse owner, you should learn all you can and Jesse Beery's information is one of the bible's of the industry.

horseback riding




About the Author

Andy Curry is a nationally known horse trainer and author
of several best selling horse training and horse care books.
For information visit his website at www.horsetrainingandtips.com.
He is also the leading expert on Jesse Beery's horse training
methods which can be seen at www.horsetrainingandtips.com/Jesse_Beerya.htm


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Horseback Riding Vacations In USA

horseback riding

Horseback Riding Vacations In USA

By J. Foley

California's Northern Coast Trail Riding Vacation
Horseback riding along the serene California coast is a wonderful experience and the five-day California Northern Coast Trail can put you in close touch with nature. Your base camp for the first part of the horseback trail ride vacation will be a spectacular seaside inn and on the last day you will run across the backcountry to the century inn in a coastal town that will be reminiscent of its 19th century environments. Deer, foxes and bobcats still roam in the trails that you will explore while on your trail ride. You will be able to enjoy riding on a Tennessee walking horse because of its gentle nature and its swift gait.

Horseback riding on this trail will take you through coastal grassland and creeks. Against the backdrop of the Pacific Ocean you will meet interesting wildlife such as hawks, herons, deer and even coyote and bobcats. The weariness of the whole day can be eliminated under the open skies with the “California outdoor hot tub”.

Colorado Horseback Riding Vacations

Mountain Trail Ride
The High Meadows Ranch is situated near Steamboat Springs, Colorado and it reminds you of the past when the beautiful states of America were being established. Horseback riding will take you to unimaginable areas where porcupines, elks, eagles, mule deer and hawks can be observed. You will have to trot, walk or canter depending on the trail conditions. You will see meadows full of wildflowers and Aspen tree groves.

Horseback riding in this undulating terrain needs sturdy horses and comfortable saddle seats. The western horses and saddles provided here are ideally suited for these requirements and the Strawberry Park Hot Springs provide much-needed relief when the rider wants to relax muscles.
Fishing at Silver Creek and campfire cooking are the added attractions that will allure you to this Colorado Horseback riding vacation.

Texas' Roundup Trail Ride
This trail is situated near Graham in West Texas. Its rugged terrain, the Brazos River and the Blue Herons that fly over it make it perfect for horseback riding. Natural Horsemanship that creates a boding between the rider and the horse can easily be learnt here.
Moreover, you will learn how to gather cattle especially the Corriente and Texas Longhorns. The fun will increase when you learn how to hold the herd and the technique of moving the herd from one place to another. You will get the feeling of a traditional cowboy. The other important learning opportunity is the setting up of a Chuck Wagon and packing of a packhorse.
These are great horseback riding vacations which you must experience if you are inclined towards horsemanship.

horseback riding
Article Written By J. Foley

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Spain's Andalusian Costa Brava Trail Horseback Riding

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Spain's Andalusian Costa Brava Trail Horseback Riding By J. Foley

The Costa Brava Trail in Catalonia is simply a feast of colors. People have admired the spectacular beauty of this place for many years and even today, a ride through this trail can put you in touch with nature. You see different versions of Flora and Fauna and in the humid areas; you can see cork oak, stone oak, pine forests, arcacias, alders and chestnuts. You can also find olive and almond trees in the valleys along with martens, wild pigs and foxes roaming around in the forests.

Catalonia has a great past and a vibrant culture and its northeast region is very wealthy. The food available here is of the highest order and the mountainous climate is ideal for horseback riding throughout the year.

Spain's Salvador Dali Trail
The Salvador Dali Trail is located at the Dali Triangle of three towns, Cadaques, Figueres and Pubol. Dali, the painter was associated with all three towns starting from Cadaques in 1930. He stayed at a fisherman’s hut and made innumerable paintings. Thereafter he shifted to Figueres and his works in the Dali Theatre-Museum reflect his entire life. The third place was the castle of Pubol where he matured as an artist and he provides reverence to his muse, Gala.

All the three areas mentioned above reflect the brilliance of the artist who was internationally known but he had strong local roots. Riding along this trail will put you in close touch with the works of Dali.


Spain's Andalusian Coast & Villages Trail Riding Vacation
The Coast to Village Trail ride stretches along the gulf of Roses and the sandy beaches of alluvial plain of Emporda. The ride will pass through many small towns such as Peralada. Many castles, casinos, convents, churches, libraries and museums will appear on the way. Excellent quality of wine is produced here and there are fantastic mansions and archways adorning the town of Peralada.

When the trail goes further inland, you will find that the lakes are no longer there and only marshes are left. Cattle sheds, farmhouses, meadows and hedgerows will be visible throughout. The Emproda Marshes Natural Park houses many animals and plants and is the haven for migratory birds.
You will be able to see the Albera and Rodes mountain ranges when you ride along the gulf of Leon and the Empordan. These will appear to come down towards the plain of Emporda and the sea. The most rugged scenery can be seen along with small inlets and natural harbors.

horseback riding
Article Written By J. Foley

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

How To Groom Your Horse

horseback riding

How to groom your horse
By: Björn T.

Grooming means taking care of the physical maintenance of the horse. The sight of a well-groomed horse gives immense pleasure to true horse lovers. The process of grooming also brings the owner close to the horse, who in turn gets the feeling of being taken care of. The horse is an incredible creature, and if it looks good, there’s nothing like it!

Naturally, horses have a tendency to groom themselves. They do it by their tongue, by scratching, rubbing against trees etc. However, no matter how well a horse self-grooms itself, we as owners have to take care of them, and additional grooming is required from our part as well.

Not only from the beauty point of view, grooming also helps in detecting any physical injuries, or diseases related to the skin. Moreover, a dirty horse would be more prone to diseases and infections than a clean one.

Grooming is not an easy task. It is also time consuming. Grooming involves a series of things to be done including cleaning, taking care of the feet, brushing and so on and so forth.

Before starting to groom your horse, some things need to be collected. These include brushes, hoovepick, sponge, water

Start grooming the horse by the feet. Whether it is a working horse, or a racehorse, healthy legs and feet are very important. Before cleaning the feet, you should be familiar with what a horse’s feet should look like. Cleaning the hooves is important. A hoof pick is the answer to this. A hoof pick is used to remove dirt from the hooves. Clean each and every hoof very carefully starting from the heel, and gently bringing it to the front, at the toe. Clean around the triangular frog. After the cleaning process is over, apply hoof oil to the hooves. Taking care of the feet also involves checking the condition of the shoe. Do that on a regular basis.

The coat of the horse is the main ‘to-be-groomed’ part in the process. To some people, their horse’s shining coat means a symbol of status and pride. A number of brushes are available which serve different purposes.

Polishing is very important if you want to make the horse look good. After cleaning and brushing the horse, polishing is the job to be done. Use a stable rubber to remove additional dust. Use horse grooming mitts to remove the leftover unwanted, loose hair from the body, and then to polish it. Use a wisp to tone muscles of the horse. Use it on thighs, neck, and any other muscular area of the horse.

After this is done, use a damp sponge or cotton to clean the eyes and nose of the horse. Use a separate sponge to clean the rest of the face. Use water to remove any stains that were not possible to remove by normal brushing. Water brushes are available, which do this job very easily. Any stained parts on the body can be cleaned very easily using these brushes.

Special combs are available for the mane and tail. Use these for finishing touches to your horse.

The whole process should take around thirty to forty minutes.

Warning: Proper care should be taken prior to starting to groom a horse. Make sure that the horse is tied up properly. If you do not know the horse’s behavior, be very careful while cleaning the facial parts; the horse might react in an unwanted manner, causing injury to you.

To learn more about "horse care" visit:
http://www.horsecareinformation.com

horseback riding




About the Author

Björn T., the owner and operator of the internet site http://www.horsecareinformation.com

Monday, August 28, 2006

The Importance Of Directing Every Stride

horseback riding

The Importance of Directing Every Stride
by Ron Meredith

When you first start training a horse, everything is about getting his attention. Once you've got his attention, you start directing his attention where you want it to go. To get the horse to pay attention to you, however, you first have to pay attention to the horse.

We call our basic groundwork lessons "heeding." It's a play on words. To an observer, it looks like the handler is moving the horse around like a dog at heel. Or you can think of it as the horse heeding--meaning, paying attention to--to his handler. Either way, it's a pretty picture.

When we heed a horse, we let the lead rope loop down below the handler's hand. It's just there. It's not directing the horse. Sometimes I have students hook a thumb into their belt so they aren't tempted to use the lead rope to direct the horse. When most people lead a horse, they choke up on the rope and drag or push the horse's head in whatever direction they want the rest of him to go. Or if that doesn't work, they pull on him or jerk the lead shank or something else that creates some activity. They are working under the mythunderstanding that causing an action is the same thing as training the horse.

Heeding isn't about causing actions. It's about directing actions. To do that, you have to be directing the horse's mind. And to do that you have to pay attention to every step the horse takes. You not only pay attention to every step but also to the direction of that step, the speed, and the length of it.

At the start, the handler just mirrors the speed, direction, and length of the strides the horse takes. It's a primitive level of communication but because it's horse logical, it's the first step in creating a vocabulary of aids or pressures we can use to play more sophisticated games with the horse down the road. As the horse figures out that matching steps is the game, then the handler changes the game a little and begins to direct the horse's steps. We're shifting just one degree of understanding and asking the horse to mirror the handler's steps instead of vice versa.

As the handler starts directing the horse, they do it using a corridor of aids that mentally and physically creates a feeling in the horse that makes it horse logical for his body to take a particular shape. Those aids or pressures make him feel like moving forward or turning or stopping or backing or carrying his head a little to the inside or whatever.

The corridor of aids gets more sophisticated along with the games we want to play. When we move from heeding on the ground to working the horse under saddle, the aids or pressures have to change. The horse can't see the handler anymore so the handler can't influence the horse visually by changing their body position. When the trainer changes position in the saddle, their body creates physical pressures on the horse's body. The trainer gradually starts substituting the feel of specific physical pressures from the bit, the legs, and the seatbones for the feel that the visual pressure that moving their body when they were on the ground put on the horse. But the training is still about using a corridor of pressures to create a feeling that helps the horse take the shape we want. And it's still about directing every step the horse takes.

You have to ride every stride. The more sophisticated the game or action the handler wants, the more critical it becomes that the handler pays attention to every step the horse takes. A good rider directs every stride with a corridor of aids that tells the horse the direction of the stride, the length of the stride, and the cadence or how many strides to take in a particular segment of time. The rider-trainer may not actively do something to influence every stride. There will be times when everything is going right that they'll just sit there and let the good strides roll. But they will always be aware of each stride, allowing each correct stride, and be ready to influence the next stride in order to achieve the shape they want and play the game they want.

All this directed attention is hard work. A lot of people don't understand how mentally intense even what looks like simple groundwork can be for both the handler and the horse. That's why you never make a baby horse's early work sessions very long. Some horses can only take a few minutes in the very beginning. They have to work up to a longer attention span. When you start them under saddle, you may have to shorten their work sessions again and work them back up to more time. Every horse will be different.

When things start to go wrong in a training session, it's usually because the trainer had a lapse of attention. They took their attention off the horse so the horse's attention wandered, too. Or the handler had a mental lapse that made the corridor of aids too fuzzy for the horse to get the feeling of the shape the handler really wanted. It's not a disobedience on the horse's part. It's a lapse of obedience because the trainer let the horse's attention wander.

Whether you are working with him on the ground or up on his back, if a horse takes even a single step you did not direct him to take, mentally it's the equivalent of him running away. When you're with a horse, you have to give him your complete attention in order to get his.

© 1997-2002 Meredith Manor International Equestrian Centre. All rights reserved.
Instructor and trainer Ron Meredith has refined his "horse logical" methods for communicating with equines for over 30 years as president of Meredith Manor International Equestrian Centre, an ACCET accredited equestrian educational institution.

Rt. 1 Box 66
Waverly, WV 26184
(800)679-2603

horseback riding

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

New Zealand's Horseback Safari Trail

horseback riding

New Zealand's Horseback Safari Trail By J. Foley

The horseback riding safari trail is located at Taupo on the shores of Lake Taupo in the North Island. It is a 2500-acre farm offering activities that riders can get involved in; besides enjoying the riding pleasures include an operative dairy, beef, sheep and horse farm. Thus, they will gain excellent ranch experiences such as sheep shearing, sheep mustering and wool production.

On their horseback riding trails, the riders will be able to view many native birds, wild turkey, deer, ducks and pheasants and spectacular scenery of the farms. They can also view the youngest volcano of Taupo. You can enjoy the excellent landscape and the fantastic hills when you are galloping on your sturdy mount. Riders can also enjoy a rejuvenating swim in Lake Taupo. Both English and Western riding styles with trained horses are available. For the young riders, ponies are also at hand.

New Zealand 's South Pacific Beach Trail Riding Vacation
You will be stationed at Homestead at Puketiti station, which is in the midst of 90 acres of forest area, where you will stay for 6 days. Horseback riders will be able to enjoy the beauty of the trail along South Pacific, which is on the east coast of New Zealnd. The station is privately owned and bears testimony to the historic buildings and machinery of the olden days.

Built in 1908, the Homestead is surrounded by trees that have come from the whole world. There are plenty of native birds that add a touch of evening birdsong atmosphere that is unforgettable. The best part of your rides will be the local beaches where you can go past the early settlements, which were famous for their lamb trade. You will also witness meetinghouses reminiscent of Maori culture. The natural beauty and the difficult and rugged terrain of New Zealand will captivate the riders and allure them to return to this place year after year.

New! Jumper Training in New Zealand with Greg Best
If you are interested in a new horseback riding jumper-training program, you should go to the equestrian center in Hastings, New Zealand, which is being run by Greg Best, who can train you for all levels of jumper riding.

Greg is the current coach for the New Zealand show jumping team. He runs a weeklong training program and coaches all levels of show jumping. The learners can accomplish their training in a relaxed atmosphere and climate that New Zealand offers along with the best horses in the world. Greg teaches with examples of real-life experiences and trains the learners to think independently so that they can master any horse.

horseback riding
Atricle Written By J. Foley

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

The Benefits of Therapeutic Horseback Riding

horseback riding

The Benefits of Therapeutic Horseback Riding By J. Foley

Horseback riding, besides being a very enjoyable sport, is also a therapeutic solution to many physical and mental problems. Horses have been used for treating injured soldiers during World War 1 and even Olympic medals have been won by severely paralyzed people competing on horseback. Of late, the therapeutic riding programs are being used for treatment of children suffering from physical, emotional or psychological disabilities. Even children with Autism get relief due to the rhythmic motion of the horse that gives the necessary sensory stimulation.

Benefits of Horseback Riding
The benefits of therapeutic horseback riding include enhanced balance, posture, muscle tone, coordination and confidence. It is particularly helpful in stretching the muscles and even those muscles that are not frequently used, get toned up.

Therapeutic horseback riding is an alternate therapy that is beneficial for people of all ages and there are thousands of equine assisted therapy programs available throughout the world.
The therapeutic benefits of riding also include hippotherapy in which the horse is used as a tool and equine based psychotherapy is employed for therapeutic benefits. The other physical disabilities that benefit from therapeutic riding include cerebral palsy, muscular dystropy, multiple sclerosis, paralysis, amputation and spina bifida.

Horseback riding is very helpful in improving balance and posture as these attributes are essential for riders. Students can especially benefit by achieving balance while riding the horse as the motion created by the horse is the same as the one created by the human pelvis. The connection between the rider and the horse gives rise to building up the balance and improving the posture in the rider. The balance exercises can be of different types including sitting on the horse, walking, trotting, grabbing rings at the time of riding, stretching arms or keeping eyes closed while riding and riding backwards. The physical capabilities of the rider can be improved considerably with these exercises.

The muscles and joints of the body gain specifically from the riding exercises. Riding tones up most small muscles and joints as well as the back, legs, buttocks, knees, ankles and hips. Equine assisted therapy improves muscle tone and flexibility and different needs of the riders are addressed from the same motion when the skills are being learnt.

Intellectual stimulation is also achieved with riding and as such disorders such as autism, mental retardation, brain damage, developmental disorders, dyslexia and learning disabilities can be treated with horseback riding therapy.

Riding is demanding but it is also very relaxing with wonderful therapeutic benefits.

horseback riding
Article Written By J. Foley

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Tips To Prevent Horseback Riding Injuries

Horseback riding

Tips to Prevent Horseback Riding Injuries By J. Foley

With a weight of up to 1,500 pounds, a height of 3 meters and a speed of 30 mph, horses can be quite formidable if the rider should happen to fall off. The amount and seriousness of the injuries can be very high and might also lead to fatal consequences. The probability of injuries in horseback riding is much higher than in motorcycle riding and as such it is essential that proper precautions should be taken so that the fun associated with horseback riding is not unnecessarily spoilt.

The most common areas of injuries are the arms, the spine and the head. If the injury is in the spinal region, the result can be permanent disability leading to paralysis. A head injury could cause seizures and the victim might even go into a coma. Although most injuries take place while riding, other injuries can be the result of handling, feeding and grooming the horse in the stable.

Recommendations
The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons has recommended the following preventive measures to reduce the chance of injuries

1) Horseback riding helmets that meet safety standards must always be worn while riding.
2) Beginners should be properly instructed by experienced instructors and they should be supervised while riding. Moreover, they should be asked to ride experienced horses that have a good temperament and are cool and more predictable.
3) Each rider should be allotted a horse that will match his age, experience, skill and size.
4) All riding equipment should be checked to ensure that there is no damage and that it is properly fitted.
5) No loose clothing should be worn and well-fitted leather boots with minimum heel should be used.
6) Safety stirrups that snap if the rider falls should be used by children and beginners.
7) Amateurs should not attempt jumps or stunts without someone supervising them.
8) It is important to move away from the side of the horse when you hit the ground, if you feel that you are falling from the horse.
9) You should always be on the alert for any sudden noise or movement as this makes the horse run away from the same.
10) It is advisable not to ride a horse if you are on medication, tired or if you have consumed alcohol.
11) Proper body-protecting gear should be worn to prevent soft-tissue injuries and rib fractures.

With all these protective tips, you can look forward to an enjoyable and safe horseback riding experience.

Horseback riding
Article Written By J. Foley

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

The Best Horseback Riding Vacations

horseback riding

The Best Horseback Riding Vacations By J. Foley

For spending your vacations in the midst of nature and to relax in the open skies, there is nothing better then a Horseback riding vacation particularly if it is offered by travel and tour services. You can choose from any of the following locations in the world: United States, England, France, Italy, Spain, Ireland, Scotland, Morocco, Portugal, New Zealand, Greece, Costa Rica and Mexico.
Travel and tour services have experienced staff that visit and research all locations before recommending them to their clients. The staff checks all the facilities practically by doing all that the visitor will be experiencing during the vacation and ensuring that everything is in order. Their meticulous efforts enable them to offer the best horseback riding vacations in the world.
Horseback Trail Riding Vacations
If you love horses, want to see the countryside, meet people and travel like our ancestors, taking a horseback riding vacation is your best option. You can also improve your horseback riding skills as you will meet the best instructors in this field.
If you really want to see the farms, forests, hills and meadows, there is nothing like taking their trail riding vacations. You will also be able to become familiar with the local people and share their lifestyle particularly in regard to horseback riding.
Horseback Training Vacations
During the horseback riding vacations, their expert trainers will help you to enhance your riding skills at all stages of learning.

Horseback Riding Vacation Reservations
If you want to book your horseback riding vacation you can do so online or give them a call or contact a travel agent. You will be able to select the best vacation as per your needs.
Rating Your Horseback Riding Ability
Before choosing a horseback riding vacation you must have a basic knowledge and some experience of riding cross-country. You should also know whether you prefer English or Western tack for riding, the extent to which you can ride, whether you can ride on trails on different terrains or only in an arena and the level of your stamina and physical strength.

There are ride consultants available with the trips that can gauge your abilities and recommend the horseback riding vacation that would be most appropriate for you. So, get in touch with them if you want to have a really exciting riding holiday. There is no doubt that you will yearn to come back for such horseback riding vacations year after year.

horseback riding
Article Written By J. Foley

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Horseback Riding At A Dude Ranch

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Horseback Riding At A Dude Ranch BY J. Foley

If you are bored of your mundane routine of working at break-neck speed, just get away for a horseback riding vacation at a Dude Ranch. You will break free from the humdrum of city life and find yourself in the lap of mother nature. You can forget about your unending phone calls, the constant vigil on the computer and the tensions of your work. You will be able to enjoy the carefree atmosphere of open spaces and gaze at the stars in the night and agree fully with the poet who had remarked, “What’s this life if full of care, you have no time to stand and stare?” A horseback riding vacation at a Dude Ranch can provide adventure and wholesome fun. You can eat, drink and be merry and have a ‘riding’ experience that you will never forget.
The American Tradition of Dude Ranch Vacations
Reminiscent of the cowboy days, Dude Ranches have become very popular since the time Roosevelt worked as a ranchman and asked his fellow-Americans to give vent to their adventurous spirits. Many Dude Ranches have been set up to accommodate the fun-seeking visitors, who can savor the ambience of cowboy life. However, modernization has upgraded the facilities available at such ranches and besides horse riding, many other activities like fishing, swimming, hiking, campfires and square dances are also available.

Horse Riding Hints
While you are enjoying yourself at a Dude Ranch, it is important to follow the hints given below for safe horse riding.
1) For neck-reining do not use both hands to “yank” the horse to the side you want. Simply put pressure on the left with the rein if you want to turn right and vice versa.
2) It is important to check if your cinch is snug and the cinch buckle is engaged in the “latigo strap” with the prong in one of its holes.
3) Try to ride with the group particularly when a rider opens or shuts a door.
4) Avoid walking up behind or up to a tied horse. Talk to the horse softly and make it aware of your presence so that it does not get frightened.
5) While getting off the horse, wrap the reins on the neck of the horse. Do not drop them on the ground. Avoid wearing a jacket or a rain coat that might flap in the breeze and scare the horse.
6) Do not allow the horse to grab grass by getting its head down all the time and run down or up the hill.
Try to develop good riding techniques and you will enjoy your horseback riding vacation at a Dude Ranch.

horseback riding
Article Written By J. Foley

Friday, July 21, 2006

Ireland Country Estate Horseback Riding And Trail

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Ireland Country Estate Horseback Riding Training and Trail By J. Foley

Horseback riding is not the only activity at Ireland's Mount Juliet estate. It also offers riders facilities for training, fishing, shooting sporting clays and playing golf. The vacation also provides opportunities for archery, tennis, a health club, spa and a heated pool where non-riding companions can also enjoy.

Horseback riding is taken seriously at Mount Juliet sporting resort where the added attraction is the unique opportunity to witness the birth of a foal during the foaling season. Moreover, cross country jumping, show jumping, fox hunting, dressage and hunt seat are the other activities that a rider can indulge in. You are at liberty to chalk out the program for horseback riding as per your convenience.

Ireland's Connemara Oceanside Trail Horseback Riding
Connemara is a very beautiful place where one can get lost in the magic of its extremely attractive surroundings. It provides beach riding opportunities that most horseback riders love to avail of. Irish hospitality will almost spoil you and you will feel that you are a member of their community. You can also enjoy the three things that the Irish love – a hearty laugh, a pint of beer at the pub and a good horse. Their horses have a strong frame and are steady and amiable.

Sligo, Donegal and Riding by the Sea, Unguided Trail Rides
Many companies offer trail rides in County Sligo and County Donegal which are a part of the Green Island. You can enjoy riding on sandy beaches, through mountains and forests and across lush green fields. The "Sligo Trail" spans the most attractive area in Ireland.

Horseback riders on this vacation are at liberty to ride as and when they like. All that you need to do is to gather your horse, saddlebags and a map and you can start exploring on your own. You can also book your own accommodation but if you are new to Sligo it is advisable to follow a pre-determined plan. The Sligo Trail covers beaches and the hills and lasts for seven days with well-planned trails and pre-booked accommodation.

The Donegal Trail covers beautiful and widespread landscape and the best scenery of Ireland, lasting for twelve days. The trail is well planned and a warm welcome awaits you and your horse at the end of each day.

You can also try out a new route every day by staying at the farm. Cross country course at the farm can also be used along with the stadium jumps.

horseback riding
Article Written By J. Foley

Saturday, July 15, 2006

France Horseback Riding Vacations

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France Horseback Riding Vacations By J. Foley

Horseback riding is an adventurous activity and when you can taste the best wines along the way the result can be exhilarating. That is exactly what you can expect if you are on a horseback riding vacation in France’s Bordeaux Trail. The noblest wines are produced in the Gironde area, notable among which are Cote de Blaye, Bordeaux Superior, Lalande, Medoc, Saint-Emilion, etc.

The Gironde area is very picturesque with rich agricultural land, sandy beaches, mountains, farms, castles and meadows. A large part of this area still maintains its pristine ambience. You will be able to tour the vineyards on the way and enjoy tasting the wines. You can visit the magnificent castle, Blaye Citadel, which has a very large garden completely covered with flowers.

The horses available here are of mixed breed conforming to the French saddle variety. Small hotels and farmhouses will serve as your accommodation on the way.

Loire Valley Trail Ride: Horseback Riding Vacation in France
Beautiful chateaux line up the banks of the Loire River along with the Loire Valley which is abundantly endowed with rolling hills, sunflower fields, forests and vineyards. The horseback riding experience at the Loire Valley Trail will take the rider along vineyards, forests, chateaux and castles in a relaxed atmosphere.
The Chateau de Menetou-Salon and a chateaux for wine tasting will come along your route and you can enjoy the ride through forests and wildlife when you are in the "Sologne" area. As you come near the castle of La Verrerie in the evening, its reflection in the magical lake will simply enchant you. The fortress at La Chapelle d'Angillon is a good place for picnics and for visiting the castle.


Provence Inn-to-Inn Ride: France Horseback Riding Vacation
The Luberon region of Provence is ideal for horseback riding as it is full of vineyards, fields of lavender and olive groves. Starting from the base of the Luberon Mountain Range you can ride higher each day along roads and trails which are a forgotten reminder of the past. You can enjoy the sight of the Mediterranean Sea, the Alps and Provence, all at the same time.

Riding a Camargue or Selle Francais horse and being led by an English-speaking guide, you will have the best experience of your life. At noon, you can expect an excellent picnic lunch and at night a most relaxing shower and a comfortable bath. This horseback riding vacation lasts for six nights and five days and takes you through the lower part of the French Alps on the road to Lourdes.

horseback riding
Article Written By J. Foley

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Introduction To Horseback Riding Review

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Introduction To Horseback Riding Review By J. Foley
Why Learning Through An Ebook Makes Sense for Any Horseback riding Enthusiast!
The simple fact is, for many of us, starting with horseback riding lessons is designed to fail. If you don't know whether you are really interested in horseback riding, what is the use of expensive lessons before you even begin? Plus, most riding lessons are located well outside the city, forcing most of us to make a large commute to get out there. If you are learning horseback riding as an adult, you may feel silly floundering about on a horse in front of an all-ages class. And of, course, the cost of horseback riding lessons can be very high.
Doesn't it make more sense to learn the basics of horseback riding before you ever drive out to see a horse?
Think about it....
If you knew the basics on how to ride a horse before you drove out to see one, you'd save money on lessons to gain the basic understanding of horseback riding. In fact, you might well be able to take fewer lessons to improve your techniques. You'd already have all you need for basic rides and trail rides. Plus, when you ride under qualified guidance you'd gain confidence by then being on a horse, which means you'd actually be building on your knowledge as you rode along, instead of feeling silly and lacking knowledge of the terminology right from the outset.
This isn’t about replacing the lessons completely – No, this is about preparing you to really enjoy getting in that saddle for the first time – replacing some of the ‘fear factor’ with the confidence to know that you have done a bit of preparation and feel armed with some really helpful and comforting knowledge to help you enjoy that first lesson more!
Plus, you'd stay safer, since you'd already know what to do and what not to do.
The ebook "Introduction to Horseback Riding" does this for you. It is packed with information about where to go, how to approach a horse, how to ride, and how to follow some basic safety rules. This simple ebook lays it all out for you, so that you will know exactly what you are doing...before you approach a horse.

Check It Out Here : http://sophie4.horseback.hop.clickbank.net

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Training With Attitude

horseback riding

Training with Attitude
by Ron Meredith

Heeding is an attitude you have whenever you're around your horse as much as it is a technique for communicating with him on the ground. You start heeding your horse from the first moment you connect with him whether that's walking down the barn aisle to his stall or out in a field to catch him. You maintain that attitude all the while you're grooming, while you're tacking him up, and while you're working him, whether you work him on the ground or under saddle. And it's not over til it's over. You maintain the attitude while you tack his tack off, cool him out, groom him again and put him away.

I like the word "heeding" because it takes a bunch of concepts like leading and heeling and paying attention and rolls them all up together. It's not a word people hear very often so it makes them stop and think about what it means. There are several things they need think about if they want to develop the attitude of heeding:

* Be with your horse now, now, and now. When you're with your horse, be with him every moment, every step. You have to put your total attention and focus on the horse if you want him to put his on you. You can't be grooming him and singing along with the radio or leading him and thinking about tomorrow's exam or riding him while you're focused on the way he blew his leads yesterday. You have to be with your horse now, at this moment. Not thinking about the last moment or the one that's coming. You have to be with him stride by stride by stride whether you're leading him or riding him. When you're working with your horse, you always give him your total attention now and now and now.

* Be the dominant partner without being predatory. You need the horse's respect in order to be safe around him and to get his attention so you can train him to play whatever game it is you want to play. You have to show the horse that you are the alpha mare in your partnership and ask for his respect by being assertive and putting pressure on the horse. But you never want to use a pressure that surprises the horse or startles him or makes him "spang." When you do that, you become a predator, something to be afraid of. You never want the horse to be afraid of you. You want him to think of being with you as a comfortable, safe place to be.

* Show the horse what you want one bite at a time. When students come into Training I, I point out to them that if I asked them to swallow a big ball of string, they would find that pretty gross. But if I take that same ball of string and feed it to them a half inch or even a quarter of an inch at a time, they could eventually swallow that whole ball of string without too much fuss. It's the same with the horse. It's our job to break the game we want to play with the horse down into the smallest bites of string we can, then to feed those to him just one at a time. No forcing, no over facing, no fuss.

* Be horse logical when you show and ask the horse to do something. When you want the horse to learn something new, first you have to show him what you want, then you can ask for it. You show and ask the horse by methodically applying a horse-logical pressure or corridor of pressures that creates a feeling in the horse of the shape you want him to take. A horse-logical pressure is just a baby step away from something the horse already knows and it goes away when he does what you are showing or asking him to do. The horse stays calm and the reward of releasing the pressure teaches him what you want.

* Be fair when you tell the horse to do something or enforce that request. A corridor of horse-logical pressures creates a feeling in the horse of a shape that you want him to take. Once the horse understands what shape the corridor of pressures is asking him to take, you can start telling him what to do. Telling means that, within the context of what he's already doing, just starting to create the corridor becomes enough to communicate the new shape you want to the horse to take. It's not fair to tell a horse to take a shape and expect that he will do it until you are sure he knows what you're asking. But once you are sure he knows, you can enforce your corridor of pressures to remind him if he gets sloppy or contrary or lazy with stronger aids or a crop or a spur. That's fair as long as your enforcement does not startle or surprise him.

Heeding becomes a mindset that applies whether you're working with your horse on the ground or sitting on his back or sitting behind him in a wagon. You do it in your horse's stall, in an arena, in a field, on the trail, up and down your driveway, in and out of a horse trailer, or in the barn aisle when you're grooming or the farrier's there or the vet's come.

As groundwork, heeding involves some basic techniques but those techniques always have to be tempered by both the temperament and experience of the horse and the temperament and the experience of the trainer. Anybody can read a book or watch a video and pick up a few techniques. It's the attitude of heeding that helps you adapt those techniques to the individual horse and the individual situation.

If you think getting a special halter or rope or stick or pen will make you more successful at training your horse, go right ahead and get them. Those things help some people with their technique but they aren't essential to the attitude. The great thing about an attitude is that it's light and portable. You can just carry it with you wherever you go.

horseback riding

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Loud Bits Destroy Communication

Loud Bits Destroy Communication
by Ron Meredith

A lot of people think you train horses with equipment. This is one of the biggest MythUnderstandings out there. Try this bit, try that bit. If those don't work, try a thinner bit or one with a longer shank. If those don't work, tie that sucker's head down or crank him in with draw reins.

Most people believe that you should start a horse with a really quiet bit, so-to-speak. Then the further along in the horse's training you go, the bigger the bit you should automatically put in his mouth because it takes a bigger bit for him to understand more. People think that there's a direct relationship between what a horse knows and what kind of bit is in his mouth. What actually happens is that the horse gets used to the bigger and bigger bits. Eventually, you need the bigger bit because the horse is used to the beating he gets with it every day.

You can either treat your horse with respect and use a bit that is only a small part of an entire corridor of aids or you can force the horse to accept its daily workout in a severe bit that is louder than your legs and seat. If you force the horse to accept a bit that shouts, you cut all the other communication lines that you could have developed using your body position and legs.

When you get the horse so worried about how much bit is going to hit him and how often, you take his mind off a total shape. And to ride a horse accurately and to the degree that will make him a winner you need to create a total shape for each stride using:

an inside leg at the girth,
an outside leg a little further back,
your weight shifted onto a specific seat bone,
an inside rein positioning the head and softening the jaw,
an outside rein following the horse's rhythm,
your seat either maintaining the cadence of the gait or half-halting to collect the horse.
You must use a full corridor of pressures that the horse feels and understands as a specific shape. The horse will never understand or feel this shape if you don't understand it. The optimum communication between two individuals must exclude violence and punishment and must be based on both individuals' feelings and opinions. When you choose a bit to communicate with the horse, your first choice should be one that can never speak louder than your seat and legs.

When someone is trying to communicate primarily with a loud bit, the horse's primary effort will be to escape the bridle. And when a horse escapes the bridle the rider often tries to tie his head in position with some device so that he can't get away from the pressure or ruin the leverage. When the bit is louder than the rider's seat and legs the horse will never even feel the seat or legs. He will only feel the squeeze in his mouth. Whenever you see a horse fighting the bit, he has lost all feeling for the rest of the aids. It is just like getting your finger slammed in a car door.

Gadgets such as tie downs, chambons, draw reins and head sets are only substitutes for the correct use of seat, leg, and rein aids as a corridor of pressures that shape the horse. These training gadgets are molds, not aids. They force the horse's body into an evasion rather than showing him the correct shape. They are "breaking" devices, not training devices. Breaking is telling the horse what NOT TO DO; training is telling what TO DO. Control does not come from forcing the horse to assume a shape with gadgets. True control over a horse's gymnastic abilities comes from developing the driving muscles to drive and the carrying muscles to carry.

When you drive hard enough from the back, the front comes off the ground. That is call "rebalancing." You can't get collection or rebalancing using tricks. So many people think that technology is having a trick for each thing rather than having a methodical, logical, systematic, gymnastic conditioning program. You only need tricks and gadgets if your skill is limited.

A lot of people believe they are demonstrating riding skill when their horse will tolerate severe equipment. When you ride with a full corridor of aids, you will never need a big bit or any gadgets to put the horse's head in a position. However, a bigger bit can be used effectively in some situations. For example, if the horse has been carried through his training with a rider who has used the full corridor of aids and the horse understands the rider's body language and positions, the bigger bit can be introduced and used for upper level games so that all the rider has to do is whisper with the reins. But even an advanced horse can be ridden effectively with a snaffle if it is ridden on a full corridor of aids.

Horses are so sensitive that they can feel a fly land on their skin. They can feel and understand a mild bit if the rider knows how to use it. But you can't train in shouts and show in whispers. When you put a bit in the horse's mouth that multiplies your pressures you lose your corridor of aids. The bit becomes louder than your seat and legs and you lose all effectiveness. All attention is on those fingers slammed in the car door.

You don't train horses with equipment. You train them by developing a communication system that uses a full corridor of aids. You introduce each new concept in a horse logical way in the smallest, tiniest bites you can reduce it to. You introduce it so it is just one step away from something else you and the horse already successfully communicate about. Remember that rhythm, relaxation and repetition are the cornerstones of good training.

Meredith Manor International Equestrian Centre. All rights reserved.
Instructor and trainer Ron Meredith has refined his "horse logical" methods for communicating with equines for over 30 years as president of Meredith Manor International Equestrian Centre, an ACCET accredited equestrian educational institution.

Rt. 1 Box 66
Waverly, WV 26184
(800)679-2603

Friday, June 09, 2006

How To use Smart Horse Training To Stop Your Horse From Bucking

How To Use Smart Horse Training To Stop Your Horse From Bucking
By: Andy Curry

It can be enormously frightening to be on a bucking horse. If you're a novice rider, a bucking horse can almost force you to give up the "owning a horse" dream. But it doesn't have to be that way.

I've read where people who can ride a bucking horse feel they're a good rider. That may be. But it doesn't mean they're good at training. And training is what we want to do.

Preventing bucking begins when the horse is a colt. One must go to every extent in his training so he won't be inclined to buck - and that includes preventing bucking if he tries.

Naturally, that doesn't help you if your horse bucks already. Thus, if your horse bucks then the question is whether or not it is solvable. The answer is: Usually.

The first thing to do is try and figure out why he bucks. This may be done by trying to eliminate the causes.

As a for instance, one of the most common causes of bucking is that the rider punishes the horse's mouth without knowing it. Also, he may be giving the horse conflicting aids. For instance, the rider may boot his horse forward and jerk on the reins to slow him down. Then the rider jerks his head around to turn him. As the horse fights this the rider gets mad and boots him hard again.

Finally, the horse bucks. Why? Because he's absolutely frustrated.

Thus, fixing your riding habits to ones that make sense and are thoughtful for your horse will solve that problem. If you're a novice rider then riding lessons will help you immensely.

As you ride, ride relaxed. Focus on the feel of your horse. Give him the aid or signal to do what you want. Don't over exaggerate it. Give just enough signal to get him doing what you want then let it be.

If you plan to put him into a lope from a walk or trot, or vice versa, then think ahead and do it in a relaxed fluid manner. Don't surprise or startle your horse. Keep him relaxed. A relaxed horse is not going to buck.

Another solution may be changing bits. If you are using a curb bit perhaps you should try going to a snaffle. A snaffle is easier on a horse's mouth. It will still maintain contact with your horse and help him relax.

Another common time a horse bucks is when the rider asks the horse to canter or lope. A horse will sometimes buck in the canter because it's natural for him to. It could also happen if the rider signals his horse too suddenly and severely in asking for the canter.

You see, a lot of people think they have to boot their horse hard to get the canter- - and when they do, they jerk on the horse's mouth when they boot him. Or, the rider may ride with loose reins so the horse will canter and then jerk his mouth to try and slow the horse down right when he begins cantering.

I don't know if you spotted it yet but what's happening here is that the horse is getting confused. Not only that, it's also hurting the horse.

After all, put yourself in your horse's place. If you were asked to canter and the second you did you felt a painful jerk on your mouth...wouldn't you be a little upset? And if it happened every time, wouldn't you think to yourself, "I gotta get this jerk off my back - he's killin' me!"

Now let's say you don't know why your horse is bucking. Let's assume your riding habits are good and your horse bucks anyway.

Here are some helpful suggestions.

First, if your horse bucks you then it is crucial you don't stop him. If you do, he learns that if he wants to stop all he has to do is buck. Very quickly, you'll have a smart horse who knows that to stop he only has to buck.

So, instead of stopping, do this.

First, brace your arms against your body yet keep them relaxed and keep contact with your horse. While doing this, lean back and drive your horse to go forward. (Making a horse go forward is a big horse training secret to help you get your horse's cooperation and obedience.)

Because you brace your arms, it makes your horse's head go up and driving him forward makes his attempts at bucking hard enough he'll quit trying to buck. The point is the horse cannot buck when he is moving forward with energy.

The next step is you must continue moving your horse forward with energy using your seat and legs until he quits trying to buck - be sure to control his speed.

Sometimes it's necessary to hold your horse's head up to stop the bucking while moving him forward. If you need to do that then be sure not to pull his head back. Instead pull it up. You do that by extending your arms and pull up.

If you have a horse that bucks whenever he feels like it then he should be doubled. The trick is to do it on the first buck if you can. Double him then boot him out of it with energy. Then double him the other way and boot him out of it and put him in a trot and make him keep moving.

Remember the horse must slow down to buck. If you can tell your horse is slowing down and getting ready to buck then boot him forward and pick up the pace.






About the Author

Andy Curry is a nationally known horse trainer and author
of several best selling horse training and horse care books.
For information visit his website at www.horsetrainingandtips.com.
He is also the leading expert on Jesse Beery's horse training
methods which can be seen at www.horsetrainingandtips.com/Jesse_Beerya.htm


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