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Our Newsletter

March 2003


Tricks Of The Trade




Rounded shoulders in riders is a common equitation fault, and like many equitation faults, the root cause is not found in the shoulders, but somewhere else. Through the years, many instructors have addressed this problem by asking the rider to put her shoulders back; now there is even a device you can buy to force the shoulders back. This is not a solution because it does not address the root cause of the problem and it causes stiffness in the back. The cause of rounded shoulders is when the person collapses in the ribcage, allowing the bottom of the ribs to sink down onto the spine. The solution is to lift the ribcage and sternum and inflate the lungs, so that the ribs are separated from the spine. Incidentally, this will also allow the rider to have quiet independent hands since the spine is separated from the shoulders and ribs, allowing a full range of movement in the lower body while the shoulders and arms remain still. Rounded shoulders are a posture problem that the person will also have on the ground. Step one in fixing this equitation problem is to have the person work on correcting his posture on the ground.



Julie Goodnight, 
CHA Clinician



When tying a quick-release knot to secure horses to the hitching rail, be sure to wrap the lead rope twice around the post and make sure the rope crosses itself. Then tie a quick-release knot and tighten. If the horse pulls back, the rope will bind up on the cross of the rope instead of the knot and you can still release the knot.

Steve Horsman, 
CHA Standard and Trail Clinician, 
Chilanko Forks, British Columbia









Pam Cooking Spray is a useful item for your grooming box. Spray Pam on "burdocks" (burrs) in mane and tail and they will easily comb out.

Lee Rembish, 
CHA Clinician and Board of Directors
Caledon Teen Ranch
Caledon, Ontario







Two terms that more or less mean the same thing. Two Tracking and Leg Yielding are terms used almost interchangeably; the former by Western riders, the latter English. Both terms refer to exercises that teach the horse to move away from, or yield to, the leg of the rider. The most common exercise is a forward diagonal movement of the horse. The term two-track means a movement in which the horse moves forward with his front feet and hind feet on two different tracks. Leg Yielding is an exercise where the rider asks the horse to move forward on a 45 degree angle, bent away from the direction of travel, in which the fore and hind legs move diagonally forward on two different tracks. The rider must be able to use the seat, leg and hand aids in a coordinated and rhythmic fashion to execute this movement. Highly trained horses can leg yield or two track at all gaits (walk, jog/trot, canter/lope), in the normal rhythm (footfall) of the gait.

Julie Goodnight
CHA Clinician