The ultimate response a trainer is looking for when he pulls on the reins or pushes with his heal is softness. So the question is “how is this achieved and where does this begin?” First, softness begins in the mind of the trainer/rider. If our mind is set on being soft with our horse then that will relay through our body and to our horse.
Once our mind is set on softness then focus on the other 3 areas that need to relay that softness to our horse. Those 3 areas are the hands, legs, and feet.
Softness in the hands comes from a technique I refer to as “finger softness.” “Finger softness” is the use of the fingers as we handle the reins and not a closed fist. Using our fingers allow us to really feel our horse’s reaction to the pull and will enable us to reward and correct as necessary. As you read this tighten your fist. What happens to your entire arm, body, and even mind as you do that? It tenses and tightens and there is no room to feel anything. When we use a closed fist to “guide” our horse that causes them to tighten and tense up and become more unwilling to yield to the pull because the way the pull is being carried out is tense and rigid.
As we move down the body, the way we use our feet and legs is also very important in acquiring a willing softness in our horse’s body movements. We must use our feet and legs on purpose to acquire the movement we desire, remembering not to pick at them with our spur. Ask for the movement softly and if it is not acquired ask more firmly, get the response wanted and get out of them. Picking at our horse will cause their energy to rise and softness to be unachievable.
When we ask our horses to do things in a soft way – even in correction a firm soft – then we will be able to acquire the willing softness we desire from them.
Watch the demonstration video to see exactly how this plays out.
Loping is probably one of the most enjoyable gaits of the horse, and because it is so enjoyable a log of times loping is done prematurely on a colt.
Before you lope remember your horse must have a good start on these five basic but key maneuvers.
Your Horse Must…..
1. Go forward readily on command.
2. Turn left and right easily with direct rein.
3. Your horse must stop with an easy pull, and know the word “whoa”
4. Back Softly
5. Flex at the poll and collect
These five key things your horse must do well at a walk and trot before progressing to the lope.
I have now completed my accreditation through Team AD International! This has been a great 18 months of learning from the best and improving my training and horsemanship skills. I recommend this program for any horseman who wants to take his horsemanship level to a championship level! At the end of March I spent a week riding with Al Dunning finishing up my accreditation. It was an incredible week of learning! Al rode my horse and assessed her, told me the things that were good and the things that I need to continue to work on. I was able to ride several different horses and learn how to fix the different struggles each horse was having. One of the horses Al had me ride was a retired world champion that knew how to do it all! That was an amazing ride, quite the adrenalin rush!
I am very excited about the things I’ve learned since the first time I met Al in 2010 and looking forward to increasing my knowledge and skill to be the best horseman I can possibly be for my horses and my clients. I am continuing a close mentorship with Al as I push forward on this journey.
I have some things I am working on for my website that will take what I have learned, and am continuing to learn, and allow others to learn and increase their skill also. I am excited about being able to help other horsemen and women develop their training skills. I will keep you posted as this becomes available. It is very exciting and will be very helpful for horse people in general.
Looking forward to my future in the horse training and showing world! Thank you all for supporting me and following this journey that my family and I are on!
We went from bitter cold to nearly summer temperatures here. It has been quite nice! My 4 year old daughter and I enjoyed riding today for about an hour. It’s was so special and so much fun! She’s just starting to ride on her own and she’s quite the little rider already!
In a few days it will be officially spring which means a new season, new phase of time and I also am going to be heading into a new phase of training a dream that I have been able to now accomplish and proceed on with in my life. I have completed and passed all of the skill assessments required to graduate from Team AD’s program. I am headed down to the Almosta Ranch in Scottsdale, AZ on March 24 to spend a week enhancing my skills with Al Dunning and complete my accreditation! This opens a whole new phase and world of training for me and my family. We are very excited about all that the future holds for us!
Thank you for following my posts! I will be updating with pictures and tell about the trip when I get back!
I can hardly believe it is already 2013! Time has flown incredibly fast! I wanted to share an update on what’s been happening lately and also tell you about the exciting things coming up for me in 2013!
First I’ll start by saying it has been bitter cold here in Spanish Fork, UT. We have been having temperatures of -10+ degrees at night and hardly above 10 degrees during the day. This kind of temperature makes training more of a challenge! Some days are just too cold and the horses agree! The water froze up which meant we had to load water in from town so we could make sure the horses had something to drink.
It took a few days to figure it out and get it thawed. That was an adventure!
Well, the time has finally come! The first BIG event for me this year is graduating from Team AD International. As you know I have been working towards my accreditation and will have that accomplished the week of March 18-24. I will be heading down to Almosta Ranch in Scottsdale, AZ to ride with my mentor and friend Al Dunning. I will finish the accreditation process there. I am so excited to be able to have this accomplished! Upon doing this a lot of other exciting opportunities will open for me!
The next trip will be April 27, I will be going with a client to Oregon to pick up 2 mustangs for the Mustang Million competition!
Mustang Million will be the 3rd big trip for this year. I will have about 4 1/2 months to take 2 completely wild mustangs, train them and compete for an opportunity to win $200,000 and a 2014 Dodge Ram! Since I will be taking two horses that gives me double the opportunity! Second Place is $100,000. I will be keeping you all posted on the progress of those 2 horses.
I am very excited and looking forward to what 2013 holds for my family and I. I hope that your 2013 will be full of excitement and lots of opportunity to ride and increase your skills also!