Training Horses

Pocket halter catches 'em

The awards committee at our saddle club came up with a neat party favor one year, the pocket Click to enlarge. halter. A finely braided strand of rope, about eight feet long, attached to a metal ring, and boasting a leather “tail”, the pocket halter will be part of my “going out the door” gear from now on. It fits in the large pocket of your barn jacket, and serves many purposes. As the name implies, it becomes an instant halter, ready in seconds to catch the wayward horse or other critter. You would not want to tie a horse in this arrangement because you could squeeze its head off. On th

e other hand, the slip-loop on which the halter is based provides nice pressure for more subtle showmanship training. Click on our Adobe Flash Player Pocket Halter slide show to see how the pocket halter worked for us.

Pocket halter's "Blue" Christmas

Sponsored by: Poudre River

Deadly impact: Skull - 1, Helmet - 0

The outer shell of the helmet cracked and fell away from its foam inner shell. (Click to enlarge.) (Originally published July 2009.)

The Thoroughbred gelding had been jumping the green and white, two-foot flower jump for days. This was just another routine schooling. As the horse cantered the line, his rider balanced over the balls of her feet in a classic two-point. She shortened the reins for better contact, looked ahead, and prepared herself for liftoff. The horse pricked his ears toward the jump, boldly cantered forward, then skidded to a halt, swerved right, then left, then right and, feeling his rider come unbalanced, scrambled away from the jump. She hauled on the reins, but the gelding continued his mad scramble. The rider slammed to the ground, head first. She didn’t move. Others in the arena ran to help, but seconds later, she stood up on her own. She was shaken and covered in the mud of the puddle her body hit.

Except for a bad case of road rash, and later, a stiff neck, she was injury free. Somebody started laughing. Pretty soon everybody in our arena started laughing, partly in fun, partly in relief. As the rider tried to pull muddy strands of hair out of her face, she unstrapped her helmet. She stopped laughing. A six-inch spiraling crack fractured the helmet’s surface. (Click on picture to enlarge.)
Those of you who think you don’t need one, think again. My daughter’s helmet saved her life today.
Read also:
Traumatic brain injury survivor Courtney King-Dye opens helmet conference
Fractured skull: She vows to wear helmet next time
Check out this life-saving video: Every Time, Every Ride

SmartPaks video: How to properly fit a helmet

(Karin Livingston was a career 4-H leader specializing in horses, and is the author of the young-adult horse novel, Winning Bet.)

Great tips for mastering the flying lead change

"There are two parts to a rider really moving in harmony with the horse. First, the rider’s hips must move to follow the horse’s movement. The second thing is relaxation. To nail the lead change, you must move and work as one."
- America's Horse Daily

This is one of the best articles I've read on getting the flying lead change. It's also got links for building your horse up to the flying lead change.

You might also enjoy Horse trick training: We got the pedestal!

Last show of the season: The jump they all hated

CSU fall schooling show - Hobbes, Cooper, Diva - horses from Poudre River Stables - Fort Collins - Colorado - 80521
Hobbes, Cooper and Diva together placed in the top four in one of the Hunter on the Flat classes at the CSU Fall Schooling show.



CSU fall schooling show - Cooper - Poudre River Stables - Fort Collins - Colorado - 80521
Cooper, a Paint - Warmblood cross, did a great job in his first class ever in the CSU Equine Center stadium. Cooper is for sale as a lady's or child's eventer prospect.



CSU fall schooling show - Kalvin - Poudre River Stables - Fort Collins - Colorado - 80521
"The jump with the green box under it is evil."



CSU fall schooling show - Billy - Poudre River Stables - Fort Collins - Colorado - 80521
"And I did it all with no bit in my mouth."


CSU fall schooling show - the jump they all hated.
It doesn't look like much, just a box covered in green astro-turf, a couple of rails squaring off the top, and some wings, but this is the jump they all hated, and it had the most refusals of any jump at the show.


Where the really valuable horses compete - the "chore horse" competition

"The Chore Horse competition is a test of skill for driver and horses. There is a prescribed course of different tasks that must be attempted in the correct sequence. The tasks are all things that a working team would have to do in the course of their work. Teams are judged on disposition, power, versatility, precision and agility."- The Cochrane Eagle

Canada rocks when it comes to horse compeitions. They also have a versatility team breed contest, the Telus Battle of the Breeds. Read the full story on the "chore horse" competition in the Cochrane Eagle.

Horse trick training: We got the pedestal!

At the Jackie Johnson clinic, Last Resort Equestrian Center. Having a great time! See highlights of Day 2 of the Jackie Johnson horse trick training clinic.

Billy, a real-life character in the novel, Winning Bet, learns to stand on the pedestal.
Trick training with Jackie Johnson is really about communicating with your horse, enlightening regardless of your discipline.


See more Jackie Johnson Trick-Training Clinic photos

Get the equipment Jackie Johnson uses to start trick-training horses.

Pasture therapy

Bonnie (background, below) and her pal, Little Bit, take a grazing break. We notice that our older horses move much better during grazing season. The constant movement lubricates stiff joints. And yes, we are happy to say that Bonnie's Gorilla-Taped grazing muzzle continues to hold up. (Bonnie is a real-life horse character in the novel, Winning Bet, a clean read for 'tweens and teens.)

Bonnie and Little Bit enjoy a sunny afternoon in the pasture.

Out and about: Journey of faith, determination

Our very own Kalinda and Kalvin had a great day at the Colorado Horse Park earlier this month. Kalvin pulled an 8th out of this dressage ride, but redeemed himself in the stadium jumping and over the cross country course. The duo ended up first overall in the Beginner Novice division! For those of us who know and love Kalvin, this win highlighted a long journey of faith and determination on Kalinda's part. Last year, Kalvin achieved the singular feat of leaping the arena fence sideways, and taking much of it with him. (Photo compliments of Cayla Stone.)