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Travel & Outdoor
Practical Horseman

Practical Horseman November 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
$8.38(Incl. tax)
$27.97(Incl. tax)
4 Issues

in this issue

2 min.
small gems

The other day I was walking on a trail with my horse and remembered part of Jim Wofford’s column this month (page 16). In it he speaks about studying your horse’s gaits and then matching your movement to his. At the walk, he says that, in part, you “should have the feeling that as your horse reaches forward with his left shoulder, your right leg closes to ensure impulsion and regularity.” I’ve read about the timing of the aids and have discussed it in lessons but don’t always consciously think of it when riding. So on my trail ride, I revisited it. In short order, my horse was marching forward and even broke into trot. (Jim did say that all of the motions he discussed were subtle.) This was just one of…

7 min.
four stirrups that may need shortening

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 This rider’s leg has swung back and is not stable, jeopardizing her security—if the horse stops, she could fall off. In this position, her leg is also unintentionally telling the horse to speed up. This is possibly happening because her stirrup is too long—the angle behind her knee looks too open. I suggest she shorten it a hole for jumping. Her stirrup iron is correctly angled forward, but her foot is too far home in the iron. She needs to move it forward…

5 min.
choose the best older 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…

9 min.
repose in motion

But she’s just sitting there.” Have you heard someone say that recently? When people watch a good rider, that’s usually one of their first comments. I laugh to myself every time I hear it because it is so far from the truth. The rider under observation is moving all the time. It is just that her movements are so subtle we can’t see them. Good riders may appear to sit still, but they actually are moving—in the same direction and at the same speed as their horse. It takes hard work to look as if you are doing nothing while you ride, yet every good rider has this ability. I thought it would be worthwhile to study it and hopefully learn to imitate this stillness—this quality of repose in the…

6 min.
retraining a thoroughbred— no shortcuts

Johnny Manziel—aka Johnny Football—was the first freshman to win the Heisman Trophy, the Manning Award and the Davey O’Brien Notable Quarterback Award in 2012. A quarterback, he led Texas A&M to victory in the 2013 Cotton Bowl and went pro in the first round of the NFL draft. A year earlier, in 2011, a bay colt with three white socks and a star was born in Texas. The owners called him Johnny Football. It wasn’t long before the horse had his own Facebook page and fans. He made his career debut for native Texan Bill Casner at Saratoga Race Course. Johnny Football, the colt, didn’t find success as a racehorse, but last March Dr. Reed Zimmer, of Phoenix, Arizona, and I agreed to be co-owners and train Johnny for the 2016…

7 min.
pre-ride routines 101

At the Sochi Winter Olympics in 2014 a snowboarder by the name of Kate Hansen caught people’s attention with her pre-race dances. Wearing headphones and warm-up sweats, listening to a special Beyoncé playlist, she danced her way into her own personal performance zone. She radiated freedom, excitement and happiness to such an extent that it pumped you up even as you watched from your couch. It was tremendously inspiring to see someone so committed to her process and her knowledge of self. If you’re anything like me, those behind-the-scenes glimpses of athletes fascinate you. What happens before “go time”? How do they prepare for the biggest moments of their careers? Within any sport, you have probably seen an amazing variety of activities in preparation routines: athletes talking to themselves, doing elaborate…