The Trail Back Through

Make the back up a smooth and effortless manoeuvre with Lou Roper’s guidance. As told to Annie Haresign. Photography by Obi Igbo Photography. The back through is a common obstacle found at all levels in the trail class. This is usually presented as a slot between two poles and may include a change in direction in more advanced classes.

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Riding, Trail, TrainingWHUK
Riding instructor or coach

Pauline Brimson takes us back to school and asks us to consider the differences between a coach and an instructor. I’m often asked why we all have to be called ‘coaches’ now? I personally have called myself a riding instructor for years and feel I have been providing a pretty good service to my clients. Will it make any difference if I start calling myself a coach?

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Saddling Up

Follow our step-bystep guide and get your horse saddled with the minimum of fuss.1 Tie your horse up before saddling. If he is a fidget you may want to get him used to being cross tied using two lead ropes clipped to either side of his halter and attached to two sturdy posts.

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Bits and Bridles

The Western bridle is made up of three main parts: the headstall, the bit and the reins. The headstall consists of a head or crown piece, cheek pieces and, sometimes, a brow band and throatlatch, which help hold the bridle in place.

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EquipmentWHUKBits, Bridle
Forward Thinking

So, you are thinking of breeding you mare?  Great - this can be a rewarding experience but before you go any further, please take a few minutes to read this article and ask a few questions. Responsible breeders set themselves a target as to what they want to breed and why. First of all list your aims and objectives in creating a foal. What do you plan to do with it? Answer honestly and define your reasons and goals.

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Roll Back Perfection

Don’t throw away a great run down and stop with a ‘mud ugly’ roll back, warns experienced reining judge Bob Mayhew. In nearly 30 years of training reining horses, and 23 years of judging them, the roll back seems to be one of the areas that people fail to grasp the most. Countless good stops have been followed by poor roll backs, U turns, or even turns on the forehand, thereby reducing the manoeuvre evaluation unnecessarily.

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Motion, Direction, Shape

Jeannine March introduces three important principles in the training of any western horse.

The first principle is motion. A horse must move forward freely under saddle at the walk, jog and lope. He should be able to increase and decrease speed, and stop with ease, responding to the voice, seat and/or leg aids.

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General, Ridinglindsay
Working Cow Horse

In the first of a series looking specifically at cattle and games classes, Philip Holliday introduces the Working Cow Horse. The Working Cow Horse class (also known as Reined Cow Horse) is designed to demonstrate a horse’s control of a cow, speed, balance and responsiveness to the rider. For me it’s the most fun you can have with your boots on.

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Cattle and GamesWHUK
The Last Hoorah

Despite not having ridden for 10 years, stroke victim Linda Durocher enters the show pen one last time. This remarkable story comes with some important life lessons. As I walk to the centre of the pen, friends and other reiners whistle and cheer. I pause to consume the sounds of the arena, breathe deep the smells of the recent drag and watering of the show pen and face the judges with a huge smile.

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Core Beliefs

It is critical to ensure that a student and coach’s philosophies are aligned when it comes to the training of horse and rider.

We act according to our beliefs every day, whether we are conscious of it or not. People may act as if their beliefs are set in stone, which will limit their range of responses. What are your beliefs?

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RidingPauline Brimson
Mind Control

Showing and training has more to do with a rider’s mind, focus and attitude than it does having a thousand tools in your toolbox. The mind is free, malleable and easily accessible, and not one of your other tools will be effective unless you have control of it. That’s not to say that some riders seemingly have no connection with their brain; it’s there, it just hasn’t been engaged and may be a little rusty from lack of use.

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RidingLinda Durocher
One Handed

If you have done your snaffle bit homework, teaching your young horse to go one handed should be simple. Putting the horse in one hand is not an overnight job. When I am training a horse to go one hand in a curb bit it takes me about six months before I have them performing every manoeuvre in this fashion.

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Ears Forward

Don’t be a loner when riding your antisocial horse. Take control and demand some manners. Horses that misbehave towards fellow horses in group situations are a hazard to themselves and others. One ‘pinny eared’ horse can disrupt an entire trail ride or group training session and create a dangerous situation.

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Key Communication

93 per cent of communication is non-verbal. Are you using yours effectively with your horse? Have you ever wondered why horses can respond totally differently to two people, even though their behaviour appears exactly the same? Whether doing mounted or ground work, I have witnessed this on numerous of occasions.

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Just Add Water

Used extensively in the States, wood pellet bedding can be a great money saving solution providing horse comfort, easy mucking out and minimal waste. But make sure to do your homework. Wood pellets are composed of wood particles that have been sorted by size, compressed and, in some cases, heat treated and sterilised. This results in significantly increased absorption capability over wood shavings and any other type of bedding.

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Editor's BlogWHUK
Horses Help Heroes

Mick Fould’s Appaloosa Kaz recounts the nine day challenge he undertook to help escort a horse drawn WW1 ambulance from Lands End to John O’Groats for charity. Horses helps heroes was the idea of paramedic Jacks El Tawil, an experienced horsewoman and carriage driver based in Wiltshire. Jacks was inspired to raise funds for injured servicemen and exservicemen through her love of horses.

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Community, Your StoriesWHUK
The Gate

In this article we’re going to look at working the gate. It’s a very practical skill to have as you may need to use this while out on trail rides in the countryside. But for the show pen, the gate is an obstacle that demonstrates accuracy and control with an artificial gate - designed especially for trail class.

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Rope Halter

Tied correctly, a simple rope halter can be an invaluable groundwork training aid. I think of a rope halter as a training aid. It allows you to apply enough pressure on a horse’s face to get his attention and/or gain control.

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EquipmentJulie Goodnight