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Practical Horseman

Practical Horseman December 2016

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.
make a checklist

I was lucky to attend Practical Horseman’s Win A Day clinic with Jim Wofford and Sharon White in Michigan a few months ago. It was fun to watch Jim and Sharon co-teach, building on each other’s knowledge while developing riders and horses (page 38). Recently, I was catching up with contest winner Liza Green and she mentioned that she’s been working on the lessons Jim and Sharon taught her. I, too, have kept their wisdom in the forefront of my mind during rides. At the clinic, I heard Sharon tell riders over and over to run through a mental checklist to improve their position for better communication with the horse: “The more you say it to yourself, the more it becomes like breathing.” Similarly, in our training article about strengthening the…

7 min.
close the legs to go forward

1Our first rider has an innate quality and elegance on a horse, but she has a few things to work on. First, her stirrup is too long. The angle behind her knee is about 170 degrees and she’s reaching for her iron. Because she doesn’t have the support of the iron, her angles can’t close as her horse jumps. Instead, she has to catch up with her upper body and ends up jumping ahead—her hip is in front of the saddle and her buttock is high out of it. With her body tipping forward, her knee acts like a pivot, allowing her lower leg to slip back too far. She needs to shorten her stirrup one or two holes. Then as she approaches a fence, she needs to close her…

5 min.
choose the best warmblood jumper

Whether judging a model class, evaluating a prospect for a client or sizing up the yearlings at home, I first stand back and look for an overall impression of balance and symmetry. My ideal horse “fits” in a square box. By that, I mean he is defined by matching and equal parts, both front to back and side to side. This allows for athletic ability, soundness, trainability and longevity in the job. A horse who fits in a box will have a body made up of one-third shoulder, one-third back and one-third hindquarters. I like to see the withers and point of croup at the same level. The horse’s stance, from point of shoulder to buttock, should equal the distance from the height of the withers to the ground. I also always…

5 min.
the gymnastic tool

As I’ve said many times, gymnastic jumping is the best tool available to improve your horse’s performance and your position. So this month, as you’re hurrying to get ready for the holidays, I thought it would be a good time to review one of my favorite gymnastic exercises. WHAT: A “bounce” gymnastic where your horse will land over one element and then jump another obstacle without taking a stride between them. GOALS To improve your horse’s agility, self-carriage and ability to jump multiple efforts without losing his rhythm, balance and regularity of stride. To allow you to practice and strengthen your two-point. BENEFITS Bounces are a good agility exercise. Your horse will learn to keep his shoulder in front of him as he jumps and will improve his technique. Bounces are an excellent exercise to practice and…

9 min.
missy clark: “riding is a master class in life”

Q To what do you attribute your success? MC Perseverance is at the top of the list. The key is to never give up and to keep heading in the direction you would like to see yourself going. You also have to be flexible and open-minded in this business. Sometimes there are different ways to do the same thing. In training horses and students, like everything in life, there are individual personalities. Often you have to tailor your approach to who you are dealing with. Some horses or people are timid. With timid riders you have to move more slowly and give them time to get comfortable over lower fences before they move to the next level. You don’t want to overface them as that is a real confidence zapper. And some riders…

13 min.
collegiate eventing comes of age

Continuing their sport in college has been relatively easy for hunt seat, dressage and Western riders for many years. Close to 400 colleges offer Intercollegiate Horse Shows Association teams, 42 colleges and universities participate in the Interscholastic Dressage Association and 21 institutions have athletic-department-funded varsity hunt seat and/or Western teams. All together, there are plentiful opportunities for riders in those disciplines. Eventers, not so much. Clemson University in South Carolina, Otterbein University in Ohio and the University of California Davis are among a handful of schools that have had eventing teams for many years. Yet, with the exception of the mid-Atlantic and Southeast, squads in most of the country have had few, if any, teams to square off against. Happily, that’s changing. In 2014, the U.S. Eventing Association launched the Intercollegiate Eventing…