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Travel & Outdoor
Practical Horseman

Practical Horseman April 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
$8.14(Incl. tax)
$27.15(Incl. tax)
4 Issues

in this issue

2 min.
ready, set, ride

When I was young, I was getting ready to ride in an equitation medal final in Massachusetts. We arrived at the venue early in the morning, and I went to the show secretary to get my number. Then I came back to the trailer and couldn’t find my tall riding boots. I still remember the sick feeling I had in my stomach. One big meltdown later, I realized that I’d unpacked my boots as soon as I’d gotten to the show and plunked them in the back of our truck. To help you avoid a similar panic, we asked three top stable managers to devise a checklist of what you need to bring to a one-day competition. You’ll find a main list and one for eventing extras and things you might…

7 min.
stirrup lengths that give support

1 Bold and relaxed with a very good position is how I’d describe this rider. Her leg is impeccable. The iron could be a little closer to her toes but it is correctly angled so it is at a right angle to the girth and her little toe is touching the outside branch. She has a correct 110-degree angle behind her knee. You could say this rider’s buttock is a little too far out of the saddle, but because the oxer is fairly big and the horse is jumping up with a round back, the position fault is minor. The rider has a nice posture with her eyes up and looking ahead. She is demonstrating a short crest release by pressing her hands into the horse’s neck with a slack rein…

10 min.
the competitive conundrum

This is the season when I get stuck in what Merriam- Webster’s dictionary calls a “conundrum,” an intricate and difficult problem. Let me describe my conundrum in two simple sentences, both of them true: 1. You should train your horse using only classical methods, chief among them being the use in dressage of a plain snaffle with a cavesson fitted correctly. (By “classical” I mean that you do not ask your horse to do anything he does not do in nature and that you do not resort to compulsion to achieve your goals.) 2. If you don’t have enough bit, you can’t have good hands. You see the conundrum? These two statements, while both true, are antithetical. My problem is that I make my living at the nexus of these two principles. Like…

9 min.
warm-up ring etiquette

The warm-up arena at a competition can be terrifying, if not downright dangerous. When warming up my horses and students for competition, I’ve seen riders circle right in front of a warm-up fence another rider was about to jump, just missing a collision. Other times, I’ve seen riders jumping fences set unsafely. Besides these near disasters, trainers and ground people sometimes demonstrate warm-up ring “habits” that are more than a little annoying to others trying to share the space—sitting on a warm-up fence so no one else can use it or leaving their trash near a warm-up jump. The warm-up arena doesn’t have to be a danger zone or such an aggravating place that you don’t want to be there. There are many well-known rules and some little-known ones in the…

9 min.
andy kocher: ‘you gotta dream it first’

PH How have you become successful? AK I wouldn’t say I’m the best rider in the world. I couldn’t go out and win a medal final tomorrow. But what I do have is this: After I started breaking all those babies and galloping racehorses, I don’t ride with any fear. I’m not scared. I want to do well, jump a clear round, and I’m a competitor. In show jumping, you have freak accidents, like when a horse trips or falls down. What can you do? The worst thing is a horse might stop and you go over his head. But you’re not getting pinned to the wall by a 2-year-old. Compared to breaking young horses, this is nothing. PH Why did you decide to start your own business in 2011? AK I was working…

11 min.
take home the blue

Winning an over-fences hunter class requires a combination of natural talent, excellent execution, enthusiasm and confidence, plus a little bit of luck. USEF ‘R’ judge Patrick Rodes, who has officiated at top shows such as the Washington International, the Capital Challenge, Palm Beach, the Pennsylvania National in Harrisburg and the USHJA International Hunter Derby Championship, says this formula has been the same for decades, but the competitiveness of horses and riders has improved dramatically. “Horses are so well trained and riders are so much better these days. It blows my mind how good some of these Juniors and even kids on ponies are. They have a great feel.” As a consequence, it’s often subtle differences that put one horse-and-rider combination over another in the final placings. So your job is to…