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Our Newsletter

December 2005


Tricks Of The Trade




Narrow your entire lesson plan into three one-word key points that can be repeated easily, rhythmically and/or sing-song, so that it is not possible for the students to finish the lesson without being able to reiterate the three words, even if the student is a pre-schooler or an adult for whom English is a second language. For instance, in teaching the Western stop and getting the rider to sequence the cues for the horse and not go directly to the reins, the three key points I use are “Voice—Seat—Reins.” Jo-Anne Young, CHA Clinician from New York, uses one of my favorite set of key words as a student approaches a jump, “Eyes—Thighs—Rise!” Using simple key points that relate to the explanation of your most important concepts and using them repeatedly will make you a great teacher and give all students a much greater chance of success. If you can make the words rhyme or have a clever cadence, all the better!


Once a year, all of your saddles should be inventoried, so that there is a record of each saddle, its age, description, distinguishing marks and serial number. That way, if the unimaginable happened and your saddles were stolen or your tack room burned down, you have all the records you need to make a police report or a claim on your insurance. If your saddles do not have serial numbers on them, imprint or brand them with a distinguishing mark, for identification purposes. Many saddles are stolen every year and the ones that are branded or imprinted often turn up, sometimes many months later and many states away. CHA advertiser Tack Trac might have what you need to ID your tack – seewww.tacktrac.com/cha/.





Frozen water buckets are a constant hassle in the winter in many parts of the country, contributing to colic in horses that are likely to be dehydrated and a lot of additional labor in dumping, thawing and refilling water buckets. Bird bath water heaters can be a painless and affordable solution for buckets and waterers and are available at most hardware stores. They plug into 110 volt, are insulated from electrical discharge into the water and are weighted so that they sink to the bottom. Once the element hits the air, it automatically shuts off.




Aids are anything that you use to help convey instructions to the horse and they come in two varieties: natural aids and artificial aids. The natural aids are the things that you were born with, such as the seat, legs, hands and voice. Artificial aids are manmade devices, such as spurs, whips, martingales, reins and other training aids. Mostly we focus on teaching students to use the natural aids and there are many configurations for their use.

Diagonal Aids: rein aids used on one side of the horse, leg aids used on the opposite side, such as when turning or cueing for canter.

Lateral Aids: rein and leg aids acting mainly on the same side of the horse, like when leg yielding or may also be for cueing canter.

Parallel Aids: or bilateral aids are when right and left aids doing the same thing, such as using two reins to stop, or two legs simultaneously to ask the horse to trot.

Unilateral Aids: right and left aids doing different things, for instance using one leg to apply pressure when the other leg is neutral or releasing all pressure.