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Our Newsletter

October 2001


Tricks Of The Trade



To lighten up your lessons, whether you have two students or ten, adults or children, try having students ride in pairs. Match up the horses according to size, gait and temperament. Then instruct the riders to rate their horses to keep shoulder to shoulder, one horse length behind the pair in front. Riders must communicate with each other to keep the horses aligned. Ask the riders to walk, reverse across the diagonal, halt, make circles, come down the centerline, etc. Intermediate riders can trot and perform all these maneuvers. This is a fun exercise and a nice break from constant instruction. Riders will be working on rating speed, collection/extension, half-halting and communicating with a partner. This exercise is good for the horses too as they learn to accept another horse close to them and rate their own speed.

Julie Goodnight


Tired of crushing those pills for those horses needing medication, only to find all the big chunks sitting at the bottom of the feed pan? Try using a mini-coffee bean grinder! You can pick one up at Walmart for $10 and it will grind quite a few pills at a time. The pills are quickly ground into very fine powder that even the pickiest of horses won't be able to separate from the grain.

Lisa Long,
The Home Ranch




Burrs turning your horse's manes into a gnarly wadded mess? Tempted to just buzz the whole thing off? Try keeping Show Sheen in your horse's manes during burr season. The slick coating on the mane and tail will keep the burrs from sticking. If they do stick, the hair will not entangle around the burr and they will be easy to remove..




Is it on or off? "On the bit" is a frequently used, but rarely defined term in the horse world. A horse is said to be on the bit when he flexes at the poll and brings his nose closer toward his chest in response to contact on the bit. How far he flexes depends on his level of training. A young green horse should only be expected to slightly give (or yield) to pressure, while an older horse with more training might flew so much at the poll that his face comes to the vertical position (as viewed from the side). When a horse overflexes and his face comes behind the vertical line (with his nose coming too close to his chest) the horse is said to be "behind the bit," which is considered a fault because the horse is not accepting the contact but evading it. Cowboys will often refer to a horse coming "off the bit." Oddly enough, this means the same thing as on the bit. A horse comes off the bit when contact is applied and he gives to the pressure by moving his tongue away from (or off of) the bit. Two terms that means the same thing! It's no wonder people get so confused in this sport.

Julie Goodnight