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Travel & Outdoor
Practical Horseman

Practical Horseman January 2017

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.
control what you can

As I read this month’s stories, a quote from Olympic eventer Boyd Martin struck me in particular: “Your goal over tiny fences is riding out of a rhythm and doing as little as possible to influence the horse. Practice not being control freaks!” he told amateur riders at a Practical Horseman-sponsored clinic (page 58). The interesting thing about this quote is that while it’s true that the best rides are when you don’t have to do much to influence your horse—everything seems effortless—to get to that point there is a lot you can, and should, control. First you can control your training, whether it’s taking lessons from a knowledgeable instructor, attending clinics or educating yourself through books, videos and magazines. Getting your horse to the point where he can go in self-carriage,…

7 min.
three good seats, one jumping ahead

1 I’m impressed with this rider in her style and form. She has a beautiful leg position and an exemplary base of support, and she is approaching the more-advanced automatic release, which I very much appreciate. She needs to adjust the stirrup iron so the outside branch is ahead of the inside, which will give her ankle more flexibility, but her heel is well down, her toe is out and her ankle is flexed. Her calf is in contact with her horse about three-quarters down her leg. Calf contact depends on the rider’s conformation. For instance, the calf contact of a tall rider on a narrow horse will be higher on the horse, about halfway down the leg. This is what a base of support should look like: Her buttocks are just…

5 min.
choose the arabian sporthorse

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…

10 min.
gone away!

Come to think of it, I have lived most of my life at the gallop … the important parts, anyway. My first memories are of horses, and most of those memories involve speed. I have been lucky enough to spend my life with horses and done many different things with them, but the only times I feel truly comfortable on horseback are when I rise up off my four-legged pal’s back, he breaks into a gallop and we head out into the country with a “let’s see what happens next” attitude. Galloping in partnership with half a ton of living, moving, graceful, athletic creature gives me a thrill that I would never be able to get from a pet hamster. Galloping Mechanics I appreciate my horse’s other three paces: walk, trot and…

6 min.
mistakes: the big picture

I tell you this fact with respect and compassion: You will make mistakes. Mistakes are a part of life. They don’t ever go away. Yes, their size, frequency and impact may change over time, but they will always exist in your life and in your riding. Once you accept this fact you can get on with the most important work related to mistakes, which is how to be resilient and handle them effectively when they occur. How you handle a mistake is 1,000 times more important than whether you make one. To handle a mistake well you need a strong base—a strong belief in yourself that will not be rocked by one hard moment, bad day or event. This requires dedication, effort, awareness and perspective. In fact, establishing a productive attitude…

9 min.
max corcoran: ‘not just the groom’

Q Why have you been successful? MC When you are young, you think your way is the only way. But there is more than one way to skin a cat. I was lucky enough to figure that out early on. I never stopped learning and asking questions, wanting to know what is new and being open-minded. I always asked: How could I be better? Q Why did you take a break from riding in your 20s? MC After college, I worked for [Olympic eventing champion] Mike Plumb for a year. But there was pressure from my family. They said, “Is this really a career with horses? Can you make a living doing this?” So I decided to try the nineto-five thing. I worked as a sales assistant for two investment companies. I don’t…