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Practical Horseman

Practical Horseman October 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.
be a copycat

Schooling my horse at night after work, I’m not always the most motivated or focused. That’s when bad habits creep into my riding, like rounding my shoulders during flatwork. When I catch myself doing this, I envision Olympic show jumper McLain Ward warming up one of his horses. He has a meticulously correct position and sits taller than any other rider I know. With that image in my head, I immediately bring my shoulders back and drop more weight into my stirrups. That, in turn, makes me think about the rest of my position, so I can fix any other issues that I’ve let creep in without realizing it. Two of our experts in this issue strongly recommend watching or visualizing other riders in action. Grand prix rider Charlie Jayne suggests that…

7 min.
small adjustments can make a big difference

George H. Morris is the former chef d’équipe of the U.S. Equestrian Federation Show Jumping Team. He serves on the USEF National Jumper Committee and Planning Committee, is an adviser to the USEF High-Performance Show Jumping Committee and is president of the Show Jumping Hall of Fame. 1 Our first rider’s stirrup iron is exactly correct: She is touching the outside branch with her little toe and the iron is twisted so that branch leads the inside, making the iron perpendicular to the girth. This allows for a supple leg. The rider’s lower leg has slipped back because she has too much grip in her knee. As a consequence, her knee is acting like a pivot, sending her lower leg back. This is a bad habit that she can fix by…

8 min.
experience takes too long

Based at Fox Covert Farm, in Upperville, Virginia, Jim Wofford competed in three Olympics and two World Championships and won the U.S. National Championship five times. He is also a highly respected coach. For more on Jim, go to www.jimwofford.blogspot.com. Lessons and clinics are part of my life. I enjoy them because the routine is familiar and comfortable. However, it is always a great departure from the usual to do what I did recently—conduct a clinic in a different location from my typical sessions, using a new format, with riders from a discipline other than eventing. This change-up can provide a wonderful learning experience for both the participants and the clinician; it certainly was for me. Let me get the “alphabet” and the nuts-and-bolts background out of the way first. This spring the…

7 min.
joe dotoli: ‘i am doing what i love.’

PH How did you first get involved with horses? JD Until high school, I had no contact with horses. My family was in the restaurant business in Boston. My sister’s best friend, Maryanne, had gone to Europe for grad school and got involved in horses. She was in our kitchen one morning lamenting the fact she now had a horse in Massachusetts and no one to ride with. She was pretty and I was not too busy, so I said, “Of course, I will go with you.” I can still vividly remember going into that barn; the smell and the feel of it. I thought, Wow, how did I miss this? This is a place I want to be. I never really stopped from that moment. PH What do you think is most…

9 min.
watch and learn

Whatever discipline you ride in, one of the best ways to improve your skills is to study successful riders at the top levels and try to emulate them. You can learn so much by observing how they use their aids, what they do before, during and after the jump and how they ride in between the jumps. With online sites like YouTube overflowing with free videos of riders from around the world, it’s easy to create your own customized, at-home viewing library. Whether you’re learning something new or trying to fix a bad habit, this is a great reference tool to take advantage of at any point in your riding career. Watching almost any experienced rider can be educational, but you’ll benefit the most by zeroing in on individuals uniquely suited…

14 min.
see your distances

Timing, finding your spot, seeing your distance, using your “eye”—these are all terms for the same thing: guiding your horse to an ideal takeoff spot. It’s the single-most challenging element of riding a course in any jumping discipline. There’s a common misconception that some people are born with a great eye and others are not. In reality, all riders have the same ability to see a distance. The only difference is the degree of confidence we each have in our ability. If you worry about whether or not you’re going to “find” the right distance to a fence, you’re already setting yourself up for failure. This anxiety causes you to change your pace or line (or both), to pump your body, throw yourself ahead of the motion or clutch at your…