Friday, April 24, 2009

What A Turnout!!

Six On FRIDAY...

1. WOW!
When I showed up at 7:00 on Thursday, there were about 8 people riding in the arena, and I didn't know any of them!! Apparently, according to Randy who was at the arena at 4:00 (thanks Randy) people came in 3 "waves" to ride, and we had 5 new paid members sign up. How Exciting!! I will post up new member names as soon as I get the info from Tiffany, and add them to our e mail mail out. 

2. Congratulations to Tiffany on the purchase of her new horse "Bandit", a 12 year old APHA gelding (yeah for the paints!!). Bandit comes from Carl Woods stable and by the looks of last night he's got a few reining moves to show off! Apparently Dawnna also got a new baby??

3. Tiffany and Dawnna will have a chance to put their horses to the test this weekend, as they travel to Armstrong for an AQHA schooling show on Saturday, and then on the Pritchard to the Brandt Ranch for a reining schooling show on Sunday. They have instructions to take lots of pictures so we can post them here in cyberspace!! Good luck, ladies, and good on you for getting out in the show pen!!

4. Dawnna and I talked briefly last night about organizing an actual meeting, now that our club is getting off the ground and we have a blossoming membership. This would be a chance to introduce ourselves to each other, and set some direction for the club. We will try to get this organized for the near future, and will post information here, as we get closer to setting a time/date. If anyone has ideas of when/where to have a meeting please let me and/or Dawnna know, and we'll work to accommodate as many people as possible.

5. Participant forms for Sherri's clinic on May 23rd are now available. Randy and I  both have some and I can e mail one out to anyone planning to attend. 

6. Commenting on this Blog...I'm not sure why, but some people are having difficulty posting comments on this blog. If you would like to post a comment PLEASE DO SO! Simply click on the "comment" link beneath the post, and type your comment in the box. If you run into problems, try posting as "anonymous". You will find this on the drop down menu beneath the comment box, where you would post your comment. If you use Anonymous, DO leave your name on your post so we know that it is you posting the comment. I'll try to make this more user friendly, as I would like this to be a site where we can do some dialoguing!! Any "techies" out there that have any suggestions for me to make this easier, would be appreciated!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Training for the stop, New member welcome

Picture-Sherri Thomson and "Nicki" 

Here is an (edited) set of tips again from Larry Trocha's web site for training your horse for the stop. Most of what he is talking about I have seen done by most trainers. I would use these tips with caution as a beginner, unless you are working under or directly with a trainer. Half information, or misinterpreting information can lead to poor results in the end, and can often do more harm than good. Having said that, I hope that many of you are considering coming out to Sherri's clinic on May 23rd. There is no replacement for having an experienced and knowledgeable trainer work with you and your horse directly! I would love some written confirmation for those people who are interested in attending. I will have forms available this Thursday for interested participants to fill out.

WECOME TO OUR NEWEST MEMBER, JOHN MCCARVILL!! John is a long time horseman who brings a lot of knowledge to our club, and is good friends with reining trainer, Doug Mills....hmmm!! Welcome John! We look forward to seeing you out on our Thursday nights!!

23 Training Tips For Improving Your Stops

1. When it comes to stopping a horse on his hindquarters, timing is everything. When stopping from the lope, you must say "whoa" when the horse's hind feet are in the air and just starting forward. This lets the horse shoot his hind legs under his body. If you say whoa when the hind feet are already on the ground, you force the horse to stop on his front end. If you haven't mastered timing the stop at the lope, perfect your horse's stop at the trot. Timing isn't a factor when stopping from the trot. Get your horse stopping well at this gait before practicing stopping from the lope.

2. Teach your horse to back well. A good back up always helps the stop. Relax and pretend you don't care if the horse stops hard. When a rider gets to trying too much, he starts pulling on the reins too hard or scaring the horse.

3.    For smooth, balanced stops on the hindquarters, it's important to get your horse supple. Don't even think you can get by with a horse that isn't light and supple, because you can't. Having the horse supple is what allows you to position his body for a good stop. Without having the horse supple, you won't be able to teach him the correct "form" for a good stop.

4.    If your horse is heavy on the front end, say whoa and immediately roll him back. Rolling him back in the middle of the stop takes the horse's front end away from him. He's forced to stop on his hocks. This works well at the trot as well as the lope.

5.    Lope your horse until he's tired, then ask him to stop. After the stop, sit there and let him rest for 5 minutes or so. This will make him look forward to stopping and actually enjoy it.

6.    Teach your horse to travel straight. A horse that is loping straight will stop a lot better than one that zig-zags all over the place.

7.    Teach your horse what it is to be "fenced" in the arena. Fencing will help teach a horse to run straight and stop hard.

8.    Teach your horse to stop when you quit riding (passively sitting). If you aren't "actively" urging him forward, he should stop or at least slow down. 

9.    Some horses stop better if asked for the stop while they are collected up and flexed at the poll. Actually, a lot of horses won't do a good stop until they understand what it is to be collected

10. In the snaffle, ask for the stop lightly and if the horse doesn't respond, pull and see-saw the bit until he stops and backs a step. Say "whoa," set the bit lightly, release and set the bit again. If he still didn't respond good enough, repeat. 

11.  In the curb bit, ask for the stop lightly and if he doesn't respond, bump, bump the bit. Say whoa, set the bit lightly, release and set the bit again. If he didn't respond good enough, on the third set, bump the bit. I would bump the bit several times and bump hard enough to get your point across. On some horses I'd keep bumping until he backed up a couple of steps.

12. Ask the horse to stop while he's building speed, not when he is slowing down. If you ask for the stop while accelerating, his front end is elevating and his hind legs are driving way up under his body to push off. This is perfect to get a big stop on the hindquarters. If you ask for the stop while the horse is decelerating, he will dump on his front end. This rule applies when stopping at the trot as well as the lope.

13. When stopping, sit on the cheeks of your butt, round your lower back, relax your shoulders, keep your thighs loose and your knees open. A lot of folks tighten up when they ask for a stop. They will arch their back or clamp with their thighs. This almost always ruins the stop. As a matter of fact, a lot of folks are in the habit of riding on their thighs. This body position makes it almost impossible to get a good stop.

14. Use your rein hand at about the same height as your belt loops. When using two hands on the reins, make sure you are bending your arms and bringing your elbows back toward your hips with a "set and release" motion. Here again, if you don't use your hands correctly, you won't get your horse to stop correctly.  

15. Experiment with different bits. If your horse is in the snaffle, try a smooth wire or twisted wire snaffle. You might want to go with a gag bit on him. Maybe it is time to step him up to an Argentine snaffle or a curb bit.

16.  If your horse is in the curb bit, try adjusting the bit so it sits lower or higher in the horse's mouth. Try different mouthpieces. Using a variety of bits keeps a horse's mouth fresh. Also try tightening or loosening the curb chain and alternate between using a flat curb chain and a dog-chain curb.

17.           Try using a shoulder cue to get a better stop. This one works like a charm but is hard to accurately describe on paper. In a nutshell, you train the horse to back immediately in response to moving your feet forward toward the horse's shoulders. Very little bit pressure is used. The result is a great stop with a "finger-tip" light rein. 

Schooling Show Anyone??

Here's your first chance to get out and try a reining show in a low stress environment. Our WCRA Armstrong Chapter is hosting their first schooling show on Saturday, May 2nd. 10.00 a class, for WCRA members, and all beginner and non pro classes. I believe at least, Dawnna is planning to attend...Anyone else interested?? Just want to come and check it out? How about a car pool?
Here is a link to the show site, but you can enter classes pretty much right up to class time...

Also, Prince George is also hosting their first big show that weekend. If you want to see a bigger type reining show, it would be a good opportunity!

Reining Horse Tails and Manes

 Top- Amanda Self's "Spooks Remarkable" (aka Marv), amazingly gorgeous mane!
Middle- Google Images-Horse with a "banged" tail
Bottom- Casandra and PR Impressive Jewel's tail

One exciting aspect of watching the reining horse is the spectacularly flowing manes and tail that are common in the show pen. Some horses are naturally graced with thick, beautiful manes and tails, and most people that show reining horses go to great lengths to create that look. For those horses that are "folicly challenged" there are fake tails to enhance "the look". Having just got my daughter's horse "Jewel" home, and in anticipation of the upcoming show season, I wanted to educate myself on the best way to maintain her mane and tail. One of the best articles I found was again on Lynda Smith's "forums". Here is what she had to say....

The Mane Thing About Growing Long Tails

Nothing looks more fabulous than a thick, long, flowing tail on a reining horse. To keep the tail looking great, the number one thing to remember is that the hairs can break off very easily. Brushes and combs break and pull out the hairs if we are too aggressive when grooming. I recommend limiting the frequency of your tail grooming sessions to once or twice weekly, using care and caution to protect the growth. I use a soft body brush and my fingers to separate the hairs, and reserve combing for after conditioning.

It is important to keep the tail bone clean and clear of scurf and fungus. There are several products on the market formulated to help encourage cleanliness and growth of the tail, have a look at your local tack store or shop online. To keep my horse's tail clean, I use a good quality horse shampoo, sometimes tea tree oil shampoo and my 'home remedy' of Listerine. I put the Listerine in a spray bottle, diluted 50/50 with water and spray it on the tail bone to kill bacteria, fungus and to stimulate circulation. I then add a good leave-in conditioner to the entire tail. I don't use shine enhancer's until I am preparing the tail before a show.

If a horse's tail is left in a loose long braid, the hairs will rub together and break off. Tails braided tightly in fabric tubes are more protected from rubbing and breakage. Never braid tightly over the tail bone (as in a french braid) or use anything over the tail bone that could cause lack of circulation (elastic tail wraps) for an extended period of time. The tail will literally fall off. A tail tightly braided and then put in a tail bag will also be well protected but I caution you to watch for breakage at the tip of the tail bone where the tail bag is fastened. I prefer to seal the top of the tail bag, or sock, with a wrap or two of duct tape to keep the bag opening snug, preventing it from getting filled with shavings and dirt. I don't allow the tape to touch the tail hairs themselves, just the bag.

Be sure to check the horse's surrounding environment for anything that could hook on to the tail. Handles on water buckets are notorious for snagging a section of braided tail and ripping it out. Use duct tape to wrap the hooks on bucket handles, remove any unused bucket hooks, and of course remove splintered boards and nails. After saying all of this, I have seen some fabulous tails on horses that have never seen a tail bag. What can be learnt from this, is that we can cause damage with improper brushing, braiding and bagging. A braid left in the tail for months will cause plenty of breakage and damage. If you don't have the time to care for the tail properly (weekly shampooing, conditioning and braiding) then leave it natural.

Just before you show your horse, clean and show shine the tail. Trim the tail in a blunt cut by gathering the tail and pulling it straight down and forward between the horse's hind legs. This angled trim, will cause the tail to look like it was cut straight across, when the horse holds his tail out behind him. Trimming the tail is necessary to prevent the horse from stepping on it during the back-up maneuver. When the tail has been trimmed, it should end at the top of the fetlock joint of the hind legs. 

Note: Lynda refers to trimming the tail in a "blunt cut". This is a popular look (often called a "banged" tail" -see picture above) with many reiniers, but just as many prefer a more natural look, such as Jewel's tail pictured above.
*** Another word of caution that Lynda doesn't mention, but that I read in numerous other atricles is "NEVER BRAID AND BAG YOUR HORSE'S TAIL WHILE IT IS WET!! (which is exacty what I did...OOOPS!!) It (the hairs) can get mouldy and quite literally fall off... 

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Maddie's for sale

PICTURES (Sheza Major Madonna)

We have decided to put our AQHA mare (Sheza Major Madonna) up for sale. We have her 2 year old daughter in training, and the money from the sale would go towards the ongoing training costs of her daughter. We bought Maddie 6 years ago and she has been a great mare for us. She was professionally started by a reining trainer, and had one baby before she came to us. We had her in training as well for 5 months with Sherri, and then bred her. She has been used by us as a brood mare, and also as a general riding horse. She has been on a fall cattle round up and has tons of trail miles -loves to really walk out. She and I attended Randy's cattle sorting clinic last summer. Both babies that Maddie has thrown have been the rare grulla color. She herself is royally bred with Major Bonanza, Sir Quincy Dan, and Three Jets all on her papers. She is quiet, sweet natured, and extremely athletic. She has all the basic reining maneuvers and could easily do a beginner reining pattern. If you are interested in Maddie, please contact me. You can see her on our weekly rides, and if you'd like to ride her there please let me know!

If any members have horse they would like to advertise for sale on this site, please let me know.

Friday Nights are Changing to Thursday!!

This is because there are many events in the Agriplex on the weekends and they want Fridays to "set up", causing many disruptions and or cancellations to our rides. By changing to Thursdays, we're hoping to be more consistent in offering this opportunity for our club to get together to ride on a regular basis, and hoping to draw more people out to ride! Hopefully this change won't be too disruptive to what we've already got started! We also have earlier access to the facility. If you would like to ride earlier in the day, please contact Randy to make arrangements (250-395-5175).

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Training for the spin

(Picture-Casandra and Jewel spin)

Here is a great link to a video critique of a rider teaching his horse to spin by trainer Larry Trocha. Check it out! There are other reining training critiques by Larry also available on that site for free!

Happy Easter!

Picture (Google Images)

Our Friday night ride is still on this week, but may be poorly attended as numerous members have Easter obligations....Dawnna will be at the arena at 7:00 for those interested in coming out! Just a reminder-there is a 10.00 drop in fee, and you need your horse council # to ride....

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Sherri Thomson Clinic info

(Pictures- Top-Sherri with Career Achievement Award, and client Sharon, and "Sherri Kid", Kerri
Bottom-Sherri and her gelding, "Topper"-watch out for those "sun devils"!!)

Unfortunately, we will need to cancel our planned first clinic with Sherri this Saturday April 4th, as we just don't have enough numbers to justify her travel. It was a bit ambitious, given the time of year, and as we are just getting started, but worth a try... We have the next clinic planned for Saturday, May 23rd, same format-9:00-4:00 (or when we get tired), 125.00 for the day, lunch and snacks included. There has already been a lot of interest expressed in this clinic, so please let me know right away if you are interested.

Friday Night Rides are back

(Pictures Top- Miss Sugar Talk with baby, "Brushstrokes Van Goh", Bottom- "Gay Bars Major Twister")

So we are back in action this Friday (April 3rd) night!!  Plan to come out anywhere from 6:00 and on. We hope to see new (and potential new) members out as well! Welcome to the club, Gerhard and Martina-we look forward to having you involved with your knowledge base and experience in reining, (as well as your trainer reiners), and welcome also to new member, Debbie! We now have 11 total paid members! YEAH!!

By the way...Spring is coming...REALLY!! These 2 babies above were born on April 1st and 2nd two years ago, and it was well into the -20's on BOTH NIGHTS!! In fact poor little Van Goh froze off the tip of his ear it was so cold!! That year it was so cold for the first 2 weeks of April, we couldn't get the blankets off these 2 for any more than a few minutes....