A Word On Hoof Care

Hoof care is an important element in the care of a horse. With a young horse it is important to start foot care early. Handle the feet as soon as a foal will allow it. You can prevent a lot of conformation problems by trimming early. Sometimes a hoof grows upright and boxy instead of at an angle like a normal hoof. This is called a clubfoot.

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Horses That Spook Easily

Sometimes horses appear to spook at nothing. I think that many times spooking is a conditioned response. The horse has learned to spook as a response and when we don’t do anything about it – when, in fact, we accept that behavior – the horse just seems to think that this is what we want.

The first thing I do before I address this as a training issue, is to check the horse’s diet. If the horse is on any kind of alfalfa feed, I change the diet to something less hot. If the horse has been on a high protein grain with a lot of molasses or any sugar in it, I stop feeding that.

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My Horse Bit Me!

This is something that I have heard from people across the country from the west to the east coast. What I hear are two different things but basically they refer to the same problem: My horse bit me/kicked me for the first time. What caused that and what should I do?

My response is always the same and it is never meant in a derogatory or sarcastic way. The horse may have bit/kicked you before, you just didn’t recognize it. What I mean is that any time you approach your horse, you have an opportunity to “read” your horse.

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The Best Exercise To Do When You Don’t Have Much Time

In the training program at the ranch we never, ever ride a horse without first starting with a bit of ground work. Even the most well trained horse can have an off day and my staff and I always take the time to check what the horse’s physical, mental and emotional states are prior to riding. This also helps us see what the horse’s level of resistance may be.

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Use Of The Seat And Leg Aids

The leg and seat aids are what I call body aids. They work with the reins in communication with the horse. As riders, we want to be balanced on our horses, what I call balanced riders. We want to ride in the center of the horse and we want to stay perpendicular from our ears to our heels. We can shift our weight back to communicate with our horse that we want a change. I am not talking about leaning way back but just moving the shoulders back about one or two inches.

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It’s A Cinch – Saddling For The First Time

When the big day comes to saddle up for the first time, it is usually not a really big deal. If you have put the time in on ground work and you have a solid foundation you should be ready to saddle. If you have worked with your horse to desensitize her to the saddle blanket, you now need to get her accustomed to the cinch. A horse’s belly is a very sensitive area. Out in the wild, the legs and belly are really vulnerable areas.

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Use Of The Rein Aids

I am often asked if it is correct to ride with a loose rein or if contact should be maintained. The different riding disciplines have different ways of using rein aids, however, in discussing the rein aids, it is best to start with the basics. It is important to understand the use of the reins and what rein movement means. Reins are aids used to direct a horse. The left and right reins tell the horse where we want to go.

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Teaching A Horse To Ground Tie

Teaching a horse to ground tie is one of the easiest commands to train. I’ve seen some elaborate ways of teaching a horse to ground tie. Some trainers put a line on the halter and a second line between the front legs and through a surcingle. If the horse moves forward, the trainer pulls on the lines. Some trainers tie the horse to an object on the ground which teaches the horse where it needs to stand. I use a much more simple method.

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The Western Pleasure Horse, Part 3

Welcome back to Western Pleasure 101. This is the final article in the three-part Western Pleasure series. First, I’d like to thank ridemagazine.com; the readers; Sandy Baldwin, who has put my words into print, and my clients; who have supported this project. These articles are for individuals who are not able to commit their horses to full training, but who are still interested in Western Pleasure.

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