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Travel & Outdoor
Practical Horseman

Practical Horseman March 2018

It presents step by-step training programs and showing advice from recognized experts in hunters, jumpers, equitation, dressage, and eventing, along with money- and time-saving ideas on health care and stable management.

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United States
Active Interest Media
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4 Issues

in this issue

2 min.
distances that just work out

I had a Thoroughbred hunter years ago named Viewfinder. “Boris” had a lot of spirit and often landed from fences at the end of lines and sped up—sometimes he’d even take off after a particularly lofty oxer. On top of that, finding distances on him was difficult, and if we got to one he didn’t like, he stopped. Needless to say, rides were stressful. Then I started to work with a new trainer. After a few lessons, she said, “You know, Sandy, I know he’s quick after a fence, but as soon as you get to the middle of the turn, he slows down. I think you need to put your leg on him and ride him forward.” Ride my charging beast forward? Are you nuts? I thought. But we tried it,…

7 min.
small adjustments to four solid leg positions

1 This is a stylish rider with a beautiful leg who would benefit from shortening her stirrup a hole or two. The reason: The angle behind her leg is 120 to 130 degrees, but it should be closer to 100 to 110 degrees. If she jumps bigger fences with her current stirrup length, she will not have the support she needs and her balance will be compromised. This will make it difficult for her to stay with her horse’s jumping motion. Besides that, the stirrup iron is crossing the ball of her foot so the outside branch leads the inside and the iron is at a correct right angle to the girth. Her little toe is also touching the outside branch. These things allow for a supple leg. In addition,…

12 min.
goodbye to cap’nbilly

We lost Bill Steinkraus, America’s Greatest Horseman, recently, after a decades-long fight against cancer. The various obituaries about him are accurate but a bit dry, and I wanted to tell you a little more about him from my personal perspective. He was a hero of mine. I hope that after you read this, he will be one of yours, too. I called him “Cap’nbilly” (all one word) and he called me “Little Brother.” Some explanation is required: In the South, “Cap’n” is a term of respect, rather than rank, and “Little Brother” did not refer to a familial connection, but rather to Bill’s conception of me as the little brother he never knew he had—or wanted. In part, “Little Brother” acknowledged a relationship that was established early in our lives. My father…

1 min.
bill, bold minstrel and the bank

I love this photo of Bill Steinkraus and Bold Minstrel, taken in 1967 at the All England Jumping Course, Hickstead, England. It’s not often you see one of the world’s greatest riders and one of the best horses in the world together in competition. Bill would soon be an Olympic gold medalist and Bold Minstrel had already won a silver medal on the 1964 Olympic eventing team. This was an unusual combination of talents. Bill was one of the most accurate riders I have ever seen. In the spring of 1967, I watched him schooling Bold Minstrel at the USET training center in Gladstone, N.J. Imagine a 5-foot brick wall set on the center line of the main outdoor arena, and close to the out-gate. Bill turned onto the centerline…

7 min.
find the right coach

As you zipped along the highway going home from the barn today, you had some time to reflect on your riding. It was exciting and a little bit intimidating to realize that you feel ready to get some personal, professional help on your mental game. You are motivated because you want to go after the big goals you and your trainer discussed last week and you also want to avoid those irritating feelings of frustration that crept into your riding last year. Though you feel emotionally ready, it seems like a big step, and you would feel more confident in the idea if you knew how to find the best person to help you. As you get home and put your car in park, you ask yourself, “What should I…

1 min.
questions to ask

Here are some great starter questions to ask a potential mental-skills coach that may be helpful to you in assessing a good fit. Not only will the information you gather be useful, but the process of having a conversation on the phone or in person is also a valuable way to gain a deeper understanding of the coach’s personality and communication style during your initial contact. 1. I’d like help working on ______. How do you address this type of issue? 2. How do we determine how many sessions to do? Do you have packages? 3. What is your education/background/training in sport psychology? 4. What is your cancellation policy? 5. What methods can I use to reach out to you for support once we start working together? 6. What is your personal riding or sport background?…