Mane Event Red Deer, Post Coverage

 

BY ESTEBAN ADROGUE

That’s a wrap, folks! Western Horse Review Magazine had the pleasure of attending the 11th annual Mane Event Expo held at Westerner Park, in Red Deer from April 21-23, 2017. This year’s event hosted amazing clinicians and speakers who presented a great variety of disciplines and topics; from barrel racing and ranch roping, to dressage and jumping, to driving the horse and tack fitting. Plus, the well anticipated “Trainers Challenge”. But what would be an expo without the shopping? The Trade Show, as expected, didn’t disappoint. With an array of options for everyone, from jewelry made from your horse’s hair, to saddles and farrier equipment.


Highlights of the expo included presentations by Van Hargis and Peter Gray (over 35 years of experience in the show arena and Bronze medalist at the Pan Am Games in Eventing, respectively) who filled both arenas with thrilled spectators. There was also the “Live Like Ty” booth, which commemorated the loss of champion and an exceptional individual – both on and off the arena – Ty Pozzobon. Looking to raise awareness, protect and support the health and well-being of rodeo competitors and hosted by the Ty Pozzobon Foundation, a presentation on Liberty Training was conducted by Kalley Krickeberg. During this time, Krickeberg taught the audience how to build awareness and educate the horse’s instincts, in addition to presenting other interesting topics.

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The always anticipated Trainers Challenge consists of a three-day event and this year’s competitors Glenn Stewart, Martin Black, and Shamus Haws went head-to-head, putting their skills and knowledge to the test. Each trainer relayed their methods to the audience while handling unbroke horses provided by Ace of Clubs Quarter Horses. In a progression that usually takes between 30-60 days, these amazing trainers managed to achieve it in just as little as 96hrs! After Sunday’s final session, Martin Black was named the champion of the 2017 Trainers Challenge.


On Sunday afternoon, Western Horse Review had a wonderful visit from the Calgary Stampede Royalty. Queen Meagan Peters, Princess Brittany Lloyd, and Princess Lizzie Ryman helped us draw names for our give-aways for the expo and delivered Western Horse Review goodie bags, plus had pictures taken with the public.

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After the conclusion of the Trainers Challenge, people gathered their belongings and shopping articles, loaded their horses into trailers and this year’s Red Deer, AB, Mane Event came to a closing. We hope to see y’all at the next Mane Event, which will be held in London, Ontario from May 12-14, 2017!

Colt Starting for A Great Cause

The Okotoks Agricultural Society will play host to a special event this Sunday, March 19, as a one-day colt starting demonstration will be conducted by Alex Alves (Bassano, AB) and Nick Baer (Olds, AB) – all in support of the Alberta Children’s Hospital Foundation.

All proceeds generated from the event will be donated directly to the hospital. This includes ticket sales, donations and any other funds raised.

 

“This is something we have been planning for quite some time and are very excited to finally announce the details!” says Sonja Alves, one of the main coordinators of the day. The doors will open at 10 am with the first demo starting at 10:30. March 19 will be an excellent opportunity to come and watch two horse trainers demonstrate their techniques and support a great cause.

Farrier Chad Lausen will also conduct a horseshoeing demo, while JR’s Hat will be offering hat cleanings or re-shapings for a donation to the cause!

Alex Alves at the Saskatchewan Agribition, Trainer’s Challenge.

 

 

Alex Alves operates Hat Creek Performance Horses near the town of Bassano, Alberta. Growing up in the horse industry allowed Alves to develop as a horseman through the many disciplines he either competed or worked in, ranging from hunter jumpers, to western and English pleasure, track and polo horses, and rope horses. Every discipline taught him something valuable. Along with every horse. Today, Alves starts young horses on the right track for any discipline and finishes them to a focus in roping, cutting, or cow horse.

Nick Baer operates Running Bar N Horsemanship and is currently a student at Olds College, studying for his advanced farrier sciences. Baer began learning at a young age about how to start his own horses and has dedicated himself to better horsemanship. Learning his techniques from horseman Doug Mills and Bob Kaufmann he began furthering himself. His dedication has shown at competitions at the Daines Ranch and Rocking Heart Ranch. Baer himself has spent many hours in the Alberta Children’s Hospital as he was diagnosed with Type One Diabetes at a very early age. He lives every day with a insulin pump and is excited to have a chance to give back.

Chad Lausen is a graduate of the Olds College Advanced Farrier Sciences program and operates his business out of Strathmore, AB, currently. Lausen has earned the reputation as being extremely hard-working, with a dedication to the horse. He likes to continuously improve his skill set. Lausen also consistently represents Alberta and Canada on the world stage at farrier and blacksmith competitions across North America, as a past team member of the Western Canadian Farriers team and as an individual. This year Lausen will once again represent Alberta at the World Championships of Blacksmithing in Madison, Wisconsin.

The use of two fillies have graciously been donated for the day by Rocking Heart Ranch.

 

Doors will open at 10am with the first demo starting at 10:30. Minimum donations/admission of $10 will be collected at the door.

 

Contact Alex Alves at 1-403-909-5664 for more information.

Arizona Riding

Experience Horse Country

Diverging into Arizona horse country, is like discovering a decadent dinner buffet. Whatever your flavor or interest, there is an event, barn or picturesque part of the state that will feed what ever you’re craving.

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From reiners to ropers- it doesn’t matter what type of riding you are into, Arizona is a melting pot of all types of industry professionals. While you are putting together your travel itinerary, be sure to investigate where all the top trainers and horses are and check out their programs. Getting in touch with the horse industry is well worth your time. There is nothing like partaking in an afternoon with some of the industry’s best professionals!

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Taking a day to walk through a stallion station or prospect barn in the southwest, may give you some new options to check out. Having an eye on trending bloodlines in the horse game, will make or break you in many walks of the performance world. Whether you are investigating a junior stud or a proven producer, Arizona is home to an array of pedigrees options. Go tantalize your imagination and check them out in the flesh.

If you are in the market for a new prospect, the horse market in Arizona has you covered. Take a look online and see who is hosting sales this year. Maybe your next champion is in an Arizona stable.

Looking through the equine events in the Scottsdale area throughout the winter, is overwhelming.The state’s major exhibitions can put tens of thousands of horses and competitors into their shows, throughout the season.

Find all of this and more, including a feature on cowboy town Cave Creek, in our January/February Arizona special feature for snowbirds riding in Arizona. It’s not too late to subscribe and get an issue for yourself. BONUS – subscribe now and receive a free Equine Photography coffee table bookazine. Keep it for yourself or check one more gift given on your Christmas list. http://www.westernhorsereview.com/one-year-subscription-plus-equine-photography-special-edition/

Out West – Hawaii Experience

A collection of rustic ranch getaways to whet your appetite for the West while satisfying your need for the sun.

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The Hawaiian Islands are opulence in form. When we think Maui or Kauai, images of hula skirts and leis fashioned from delicate orchids are conjured, with lush green landscapes and rumbling volcanoes. With eight islands making up the state, the geography is as varied as the opportunities for adventure.

Travelers often visit Hawaii for the obvious reasons: the intoxicating culture, the endless ocean, the late night open-air pig roasts, the stunning and flawless white sand beaches. But it is a well-educated visitor who is aware of the long-held history of ranching and horses in Hawaii. It is a fact that it and is home to the well-known ‘paniolo’, the Hawaiian cowboy, and also Parker Ranch, standing at one time as one of the world’s largest privately owned cattle ranches, spanning over 150,000 acres.

Through the prolific working cattle ranch has now evolved from a privately owned operation into a charitable trust after the death of Richard Smart, a sixth generation Parker Ranch descendant, cowboy culture has not lost importance to the Hawaiian people. Next time you visit the Islands, be sure to fill your bucket list with an array of colourful, enriching experiences that will leave your heart calling, “Holo, holo, paniolo!”

Puakea Ranch 

Far from the crowds of the overdone resorts yet just minutes to excellent local restaurants, world-class beaches, waterfalls and rainforests lies an exclusive slice of paradise. With just four private vacation homes set upon vast and colorful acres of land, you are taken to a place where time slows down and few people are ever seen. Each authentic plantation era bungalow offers you complete privacy surrounded by sweeping ocean and mountain views. Unpretentious luxuries, attention to simple details and 5 star personal service is what sets The Puakea Ranch apart and makes it so special.

Their historic bungalows are stocked with everything you need to enjoy your home away from home. Think of The Ranch as your very own country estate with high speed Wi-fi and panoramic ocean vistas. Puakea Ranch is proud to offer an organic on-site garden, a cackling bunch of egg-laying hens, sustainable energy power and noticeable water conservation practices in impeccably restored homes.

Your hosts are always available to assist you during your stay. A personal concierge, kitchen provisioning, unique tropical flower arrangements, horseback riding, guided hikes and water sports can all be pre-arranged as part of your stay with us. Personal chef service, childcare, massage and acupuncture treatments can all be had in the privacy of your ranch home. Every detail of your vacation can be looked after, or you can plan for nothing at all except total relaxation. Formal check-in is not required. No matter what time you arrive, your home will be unlocked, lit up and ready to enjoy to the fullest.

Puakea Ranch will delight and indulge you with unsurpassed charm wrapped in comfortable, eco-minded luxury.

Paniolo Adventures

The Ponoholo Ranch on Kohala Mountain is one of the most beautiful ranches on the Big Island. This 11,000 acre cattle ranch covering three climate zones stretches from the rain forest at 4,800 feet to the ocean. It has the second largest herd of cattle on the island, 6,000 to 8,000, after the Parker Ranch. The ranch is operated in a environmentally sensitive manner through intensive rotational grazing which maximizes nutritional opportunity for the cattle thereby reducing damage to the land through erosion and overgrazing. The cattle raised on the Ponoholo Ranch are sent to the mainland in livestock ships after they are weaned from their mothers. They are then trucked to pasture or to feed lots primarily in Texas.

In conjunction with the daily ranch operations, the owners of Ponoholo Ranch also operate Paniolo Adventures. The premier open range riding operation on the Big Island, guests have the opportunity to experience the life of the Paniolo in the old days of the North Kohala ranch country.

The ranch offers awe inspiring views of the Pacific Ocean, the Kohala and Kona coastline and the Mauna Kea, Mauna Loa and Hualalai volcanoes on the Big Island and the Haleakala volcano on Maui.

Choose from one of six ride options to get out and see Hawaii that you haven’t seen before.

Dahana Ranch

Looking for a more immersive equestrian experience on your travels? Dahana Ranch is your place, an operation that spreads out as far as the senses can go. This ranch is the only native Hawaiian, family owned and operated activities ranch on the Big Island and possibly, in the entire state of Hawaii. Formally known as Nakoa Ranch it started as a native Hawaiian award in 1951 by William Pa’akalua Kalawaia’nui, father of the current owner, third generation Hawaiian cowboy Harry Nakoa.

Now, over 60 years later, the ranch is a comprehensive training operation. Guests can choose from horsemanship camps or colt starting camps. They are available in 14, 30, 60, and 90-day terms, and include the airport transfer, accommodations, rodeo and competition attendance, cattle work and sight seeing opportunity. Nakoa covers basic skills to more advances techniques, from ground work to roping.

The trainer assures all of his students who have accomplished 30-60 days that his methods will forever change your life, your attitude and approach to working horses. If you are looking for something more leisurely, tour their broodmare band or visit their bucking bull stock. Book a ‘Paniolo Party’ where you can choose from such experiences as a western photo shoot, equine vaulting, pony express race or mechanical bull – just to name a few. If you will decide on the ‘Roughridander Getaway’ there is no television and no computers – only the cowboy cottage to enjoy, while being treated to lessons, ranch rides, cattle drives and cowboy mai tais at sunset.

At Dahana Ranch, you are sure to be entertained, educated and leave with memories of two of the earth’s most active volcanos and the emerald green slopes of Mauna Kea, in the heart of Hawaii’s cowboy country, Waimea.

Silver Falls Ranch

Silver Falls Ranch is Kauai horseback riding at its best. Near Kilauea Town and the wildlife refuge on Kauai’s beautiful north shore, Silver Falls Ranch lies adjacent to the Kamookoa Ridge, a lush inland valley blessed with natural waterways and a beauty unique to this corner of paradise. Visit Silver Falls Ranch and see Kauai in a way you’ll always remember.

Missing your own horses while you’re on your tropical vacation? Silver Falls Ranch will quench your desire with its own string of ‘Happy Horses’. Choose your mount and explore the island, or admire their other herd. Silver Falls Ranch breeds and trains some of Hawaii’s top working cow horse cutting prospects. At Silver Falls Ranch, horses are family. From patient to spirited, these equines make everyone from the earnest beginner to the experienced trail rider, feel satisfied. Their gentle trail horses are forgiving of beginner mistakes, while the experienced rider will enjoy their responsiveness.

Choose from the Hawaiian Discovery Ride, the Silver Falls Ride, the Tropical Trail Adventure or arrange a personal guided ride throughout the stunning fauna that is called Kauai.

 

Joining Forces

Story by Carrie Trout

They call him the Duke. Rod Olsen, Brent Trout and Kateri Cowley managed to help ten horses get a good start. All were ridden by their owners.

They call him the Duke. Rod Olsen, Brent Trout and Kateri Cowley helped ten horses get a good start at this June 5-6 clinic. All were ridden by their owners.

“It was a fantastic weekend!”

“Can I quote you on that?” I laughed as I looked up into the elated face of clinic participant Jen Downey. It was June 6, 2015. The event: a colt starting clinic with Brent Trout, Rod Olsen and Kateri Cowley, held at Cheadle, Alberta. The two-day clinic, organized by Darla Connolly, welcomed ten horses and their soon-to-be riders, who were eagerly awaiting the opportunity to get a proper start on their colts. They were not disappointed – all ten horses were started on the first day and all the riders were able to get on them.

I asked participants what brought them to the clinic. “I found the clinic online and I have a little two-year-old filly who has never been really worked with at all, apart from the basic confidence-building stuff with her, and she is going to be my forever saddle horse, I hope,” said participant Erin Power. “I want to start her right on the ground. So I came here with the intention of ground work and the obstacles, so we can start building that partnership.”

Rod working the flag from one colt, while helping another.

Rod working the flag from one colt, while helping another.

Partnership was key to the weekend. Darla Connolly was the organizing force of the clinic, lining up the arena, round pen, obstacles, ground crew, food and horse accommodations. She was prompted to organize this clinic in order to expand her current knowledge of colt starting.

Brent Trout is well known for his partnership with his liberty horse, Chexmate. Together they have demonstrated their skills across Alberta by leading clinics and colt starting demonstrations. Darla met Brent when she was a participant of the Canadian Colt Starting Competition.

Brent helping a colt learn to lunge.

Brent helping a colt learn to lunge.

Brent has been following his vision of working with other trainers who can offer specialized training. After being asked to be part of Darla’s clinic, he, in turn, contacted Rod Olsen to join forces. Years ago, while living in southern Alberta, Brent was invited to do a colt starting demonstration at the Pincher Creek Cowboy Poetry Gathering. This is where he met Rod, who was also giving a demonstration, and it became a yearly event. When Brent became involved in the Canadian Colt Starting Competition, he encouraged Rod to participate. Rod has now won the event two times.

Joining forces helped in another way, too. On May 11, Brent had a kidney transplant. This was an opportunity that could change his life, but it would debilitate him in the short term. Rod was able to carry the workload at this event, and Kateri Cowley, recent participant of the Mane Event Trainer’s Challenge and winner of last year’s Calgary Stampede Cowboy Up Challenge, was also invited to come on board.

Rod introducing obstacles to a colt participant.

Rod introducing obstacles to a colt participant.

Darla and the participants found that while the three trainers have different approaches, they complimented each other; seeing different methods in action added to the learning experience. Darla is looking forward to organizing other colt starting clinics in the future.

How To Crack a Whip

Have a hankering to whip-break your horse? Here are a few tips from professional cowboy, Sam Morrison for desensitizing your mount properly.

By Jenn Webster

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1) Start this process from the ground. It works best with a halter and lead shank, but as you can see in these pictures I am demonstrating the technique with a horse that has approximately three days of experience with a whip already. It can be done with or without a saddle. I start by gently swinging my whip one of two swings at first over the horse’s withers, without any sound. I continue repeating this process until the horse is calm and standing still and tolerating the touch of the whip laying over him. As the horse becomes better with it, I swing the whip over the wither three to four times.

If at any point the horse decides to leave, that’s okay. He may have to move his feet to help him become more accepting of the whip. Holding tight to my inside rein or lead rope, I simply allow the horse to move in circles around me and I start swinging the whip in a gradual motion in front of the horse’s front feet. I never touch his front legs with it, nor do I try and scare him with the whip. I simply want to use it to discourage any more forward motion. Then I can go back to swinging it over the withers. In the meantime, it gives him some experience with the sensation of a rope (or a whip) near his lower legs.

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2) Once the horse is quiet with the whip going over his withers three or four times in a row, I progress to constant swinging. I will finally add one crack of sound in and let the horse process what just happened. In doing so, however, I must ensure that I start out with a soft “pop” as opposed to a full-on crack of the whip and that the sound is always directed away from the horse’s face or ears.

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3) When the horse can consistently handle step #2, it’s time to work the whip down the horse’s body. Standing on the same side as I began, I gently begin throwing my whip over the horse’s back, just the same as I did at the wither. Once he can handle that, I advance to his hind end- gently throwing my whip around his hind legs and so on. I will do this repeatably in each spot and get the horse desensitized to the whip being tangled on, or around each part of the body until he is no longer afraid of it. If at any point the horse shows that he is uncomfortable, it’s best to keep going at it but retract back to a point on the body where the horse is comfortable with the whip being laid over. For instance, many times the wither is a great point at which to revert back. My advice is not to progress forward to the next point on the horse’s body until he is consistently relaxed with the last phase.

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4) After the horse can accept the whip being gently laid over each part of his body, it’s time to move forward and begin introducing the sound of the whip to the horse. Up until this point, I’ve only begun to acquaint the horse to soft “pops,” but as we all know the sound of a whip is much more piercing. Once soft pops are tolerated, I can begin making my whip sound much louder. I’ll start with one loud crack and then two loud cracks in a row, taking note to ensure my horse is comfortable with everything before I progress further. Once I’ve gotten all of these aspects really solid on the ground, even if it’s my horse’s first day with the whip, I could get on his back and slowly start swinging and cracking my whip around. By the next day, I would start on the ground again, before progressing to the horse’s back. The key is to work on everything at least three days in a row- three days ensures you get the information locked into your horse. After that, you should be able to work on cracking your whip loudly right off the at without any problem if you have properly worked to build confidence in your horse when introducing the whip into his training regime. Any shorter than three days, however, may not be enough to properly ingrain whip-brokenness into your horse.

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Sam Morrison has years of experience in feedlot situations, using a whip to ease the task of moving cattle. He has studied the art of whip-ology from Australian master whip maker, William Gough. Gough, now residing in Saskatchewan, has 41 accumulating years of whip handling and was the Australian Whip Cracking Champion for five consecutive years.

Day Three High and Wild Adventure

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BY KELSEY SIMPSON

This was it. After the last few days of preparation, learning, and practice, it was all coming together. We were so eager, and perhaps a little nervous for the outcome, but today we went on our first ride with our horses.

We spent the morning watching Glenn work with a black mare. He was demonstrating the importance of proper warm up on the ground to prepare our horses for the upcoming trail ride. The mare, Spider, was on high alert, and only got her first ride outside the round pen just last year. Glenn is the only one that has worked with her, just a little on each of his trips here for the past three years.

Glenn figured it was time to see what she remembered. Like Elvis from the day before, she started off a little uncertain but it did not take long for her to remember the training from previous years. She trusted Glenn so much that he was able to trim her feet with the lead rope on the ground, while she stood perfectly still with out problem. I know of many domestic horses that don’t stand well for the farrier. This mare was very well behaved and clearly enjoyed her “pedicure”.

After some minor maintenance, Glenn started with the fundamentals. We all watched with our glued eyes on him and the horse to gauge her reaction to his cues, which in many cases were so subtle they were undetectable to all but Spider. Again, his horsemanship development program was the key throughout this session. I don’t like to say training, because it didn’t really feel like a training session. It felt more like a dance, and the development of a harmonious partnership. When I picture a training session, I picture intense, hard work, running around with sweat pouring off the horse and a frantic expression in their eyes. That was not the case here. This was unique, as it was done with ease and had a flow that built up communication, trust and understanding.

As he continued, Glenn talked us through each step of preparing our horses on the ground and offered key advice of what to do in different situations with our own horses. It was clear that every horse and human can be improved, no matter how advanced they may be. There is always something more to learn.

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Eventually, Glenn had the mare accepting of the Australian whip, red flag, blue tarp, and lariat, just as he had with Elvis from the previous day. He saddled and even hopped on her, demonstrating a show of great trust and teamwork between the two.

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This display of terrific horsemanship and precise instruction had us all inspired to see what we could do with our own horses. It wasn’t long before we took the horses out to see what we could accomplish with them. It was wonderful to observe everyone applying what we had garnered from the demonstration to their own horses. All were working on following a feel, drive and draw games, moving the different body parts in yields with relaxation, lateral flexion and, most importantly, building a relationship of trust with a lot of friendly games.

My own steed was a stout bay with a neck thick enough to hold up an elephant. His kinky and curly black mane was just long enough to fall onto his eyes, mimicking a “punk rocker” look, and did he ever have the attitude to go with it! The number one thing on his mind was eating, and my trying to play with him was certainly getting in the way of that. However, we did finally reach a compromise. He would give me a little appropriate response, and he could have a little grass. Who says wild horses starve? I have seen much skinnier horses on self-feed.

Eventually, it was time to saddle, and after Glenn inspected our skills with our horses from the ground, we were allowed to hop on to demonstrate them from the saddle. What had seemed fairly easy while on the ground became obviously less so once we were mounted. Glenn offered some additional training instruction and safety checks. Then, we were off for our first trail ride. This was the moment most of us had been waiting for since our plane’s wheels hit the ground. We were riding. We were riding horses that were born here in the wild, in the most beautiful places we had ever seen.

One by one, in a single file fashion, we weaved and snaked around trees, through ditches and over fallen logs following one of the many game trails. Glenn was in the lead, and he was riding Spider, the mare from this morning’s demonstration. It was hard to believe that she has only been ridden once before, and not for over a year, and she was amazing.

We skirted around the river following its bend and flow, with mountains surrounding us on all sides. My eyes were wandering around, observing the beautiful mountainside, the trees and wildlife. I was so impressed with all of the horses. They were calm, steady and sure-footed. Even the most nervous of the riders seemed relaxed and steady. The horses all knew the terrain, and if you did not get in the way, they easily went down trails that most domestic horses would have a hard time managing.

One might think that traveling this amazing trail would be enough. However, I am learning while working with Glenn that he will take any opportunity to challenge us emotionally and physically to enhance personal growth. He led us to a side trail and instructed us to dismount and tie our horses to a tree, up high and secure. He took us toward the rushing river, but in order to get there we had to cross a bog by balancing on the “ever so skinny” felled trees that were lying across.

“It is mind over matter” Glenn said, “and pretend you’re walking on your kitchen floor”. That did work for the first three people over, but after awhile one by one we slid off the tree and ended up stepping in the water to keep from falling completely into it. Of course I had my slick souled cowboy boots on at the time, and those mixed with water and an old tree with a 4” diameter did not do me any favors. Down I went, just barely catching myself (or dropping my camera) by submerging my foot into the water. Needless to say I came out with my boots full of water, and they even made the slushing sound when I walked. However, I can save face by pointing out that I was not the only one to get wet.

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We continued to the banks of the river by scrambling around the bend, across more felled trees and large, jagged rocks, finally arriving at the river. It was truly an amazing sight to just sit and look around. It was a fabulous and fantastic sight to behold, with mountains in the background, lush green clearings and trees along the banks. Add the rushing clear river, and the whole setting was picture perfect.

After taking in these glorious sights, we headed back across the rocks, and back over the log to get back to our horses (I might add that I made it completely across without falling but of course no one was there to witness my success). Fortunately the horses were all still there, standing quietly where we left them.

After we were all safely mounted, we backtracked a little until Glenn wandered toward the river. We crossed a shallow side stream and sat on a rock built up in the middle of the river.

To my surprise, and probably a few other people’s, Glenn seemingly casual, talked about crossing rivers and the importance of following his footsteps, avoiding the big rocks or boulders, and not to stare into the water. What great advice! However, we have all learned this week that Glenn doesn’t say anything casually. It was all-important, and it was clear that you could risk your own safety if you do not listen to every word he utters.

Before I knew it, our entire line of horses and people started across. I might also add that this was my first river crossing of this kind, well of any kind. Puddles and maybe the odd three foot wide, shallow stream back home was more my speed. It was my time to stretch my comfort zone, and with Glenn leading us and my big war horse carrying me across, I felt confident.

The freezing water came up just past my horse’s belly, and immersed my toes. As I looked down at the water, it felt like I was drifting away. Yes, Glenn said don’t look down at the water, and I can see why. It was like an optical illusion. Every step my horse took I felt like we were floating sideways with the current and further and further from the rest. However, eventually the deep water got shallower, the river stones turned to slick bank mud, and my big trusty steed climbed the out to the meet with the other horses.

“WE MADE IT,” I thought to myself. I gave my horse a quick pat on the back and we were off again down the trail, this time angling back towards the lodge. The sun was just coming down from it’s peak in the sky and when it hit the tops of the trees just right, it would make beams of light that accentuated the true beauty of where we were riding.

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Of course to make it back to the lodge we had to cross the river, again. This time was much easier, because though wider at this spot, the water was quite a bit shallower than the last crossing. Add to that, the horses were eager to return home and to the herd making them move with ease and speed across the river.

We unsaddled with smiles on our faces at what we had accomplished that day. And boy, did it feel satisfying. We brushed down our horses for a good day’s work and let them out for the night. They ran just far enough to drop and enjoy a roll in the dirt before running over the hill to join the rest of them just as the sun sank behind the toothed peaks signaling the end of another day.

Find out more about Glenn Stewart at his website and his Facebook page. Also check out his educational video on his Youtube Channel.

Taming the Turn-Out Monster

Turning horses out to pasture or paddock is a straightforward task – until the horse decides when it’s time for him to leave. With all this cold weather we’ve been having, sometimes it’s hard to muster up the gumption to go out and ride. So if the frosty temperatures have been keep your feet out of the stirrups, now might be the perfect time to work on other areas with your horse that may need improvement. Practicing ground manners, for instance, is a great task to challenge your horse with – without getting him all sweated up in the dead of winter. Here are a few tips from professional trainer, Clay Webster for bringing your Turn-Out Monster back to reality.

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Horses that receive daily turn-out are sometimes likely to kick up their heels a little when they see the sunlight in the morning. As the handler leads the animal out to the turn-out paddock, the horse may seem two steps in front of his person. Then when it comes time to walk through the gate and release him, the horse is blowing past the handler with little to no concern for the human.

Although it may seem like the most basic training principle, there are significant safety concerns for handlers when horses are ready to leave the halter before the person is ready to undo the latch or knot.
STEP-BY- STEP Instructions for Improving the Ground Manners of a Turn-Out Monster:
1. If I’m the person taking the horse to turn-out and there are other horses in the same paddock, I want to ensure those other horses aren’t positioned near the gate. This can be dangerous as it can initiate one horse to kick at another, and myself or the horse I am leading would be directly in the middle. You don’t want to turn your horse loose where you put yourselves in danger. If other horses are hanging around the gate, I want to shoo them away first prior to entering through the gate myself.

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2. Once we’re through the gate, I want to turn my horse to face the gate and essentially position his rear end away from it. This allows me to use space and positioning in my favor. As I turn my horse loose, he won’t run by and potentially kick up at me along the way.

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3. A safety tactic to ensure my body is in a good place before I let the horse go is to position my feet in front of the horse’s front feet and at the horse’s eye. This way I prevent myself from being stepped on and I’m in a good place, should I need to grab on to the horse again.

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4. I usually put the horse’s lead rope over his neck prior to undoing the halter so I can hold my horse there, even when the halter is no longer in tact. It’s no different than the safety precautions you would take with a horse during bridling (and removing the halter). But in a way, I’m also testing my horse to see if he will bolt away or if he will stay with me until I instruct him to leave.

Halter-off
5. This is where the “Turn Out Monster” will rear his ugly head, if the horse is particularly used to running away from the handler. It’s important not to let go of the lead rope and give the horse his freedom until he is absolutely quiet. And when that happens, it’s okay to release the rope gradually and let the horse go. On that note however, if the horse makes even the slightest notion of bolting, you must ensure to stop him with the neck rope and try it again! Repetition and the release of pressure are what will properly train the Turn-Out Monster out of your horse. That’s why it’s imperative to continually retest the horse, even when he is not trying to bolt. Our horses need to understand that they will not always be released immediately after the halter is removed. The animal must be listening to you at all times.

Timmy-sticks-around

In many cases, if my horse is absolutely tuned-into me, he will actually “stick around” once the halter is removed. If he is in no rush to leave my side and he doesn’t crowd my space, I know that he respects me.

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BIO – Clay Webster is a professional reining and cow horse trainer based near Calgary, Alberta. Throughout an equine career that has spanned over 20 years, Webster has handled and trained thousands of horses. His horses are required to perform high level maneuvers in the show pen, but one of his biggest pet peeves are mounts with few ground manners. Horses that break prematurely away from their owners in anticipation of turn-out fall into this latter category.

Dunning’s Cow Horse Words of Wisdom

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Photo by Cappy Jackson.

If you’re in the Scottsdale, Arizona, area this winter, it may be well worth your time to check out Almosta Ranch – home of 37-time World Champion and Reserve World Champion, Al Dunning. As an American Quarter Horse Association approved judge for 27 years and serving on numerous association boards since 1970, Dunning’s expertise in reining, working cow horse and cutting is extensive. We had a chance to catch up with Dunning at a Canadian cow horse clinic where he shared several of his tips for choosing “pay” cattle, taking control of the cow and proper rider positioning to increase a cow horse score. Here are nine of the top tips we picked up on:

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Photo by Deanna Kristensen.

BOXING VS. CUTTING

#1 – The principles of cutting and boxing are the same. The horse should always move in straight lines, approaching in a straight line, stopping, turning and advancing with the cow again in a straight line. Ideally the horse should “mirror” what the cow does, hitting the stop at the same time as the cow. Then as the cow changes direction, it should essentially “pull” the horse with it through the turn.

“The goal is to hit the stop, stop straight and wait for the cow to turn. Turn with it and then get straight again,” says Dunning. “You donʼt want to run at the cow. Let the cow pull you. Hit that stop and ensure you have equal rein pressure in both of your hands while doing so.”

#2 – Stopping straight is key in both boxing and cutting for maintaining position. If the horse stops crookedly, he puts more stress on one side of his body instead of distributing it evenly through both hocks. Stopping straight also allows the horse to be in an optimal position for lifting his cow-side shoulder to turn quickly with the cow. If a horse tends to drop its cow-side shoulder into the cow, he will have trouble hitting the stop and sweeping through himself.

HERD WORK

#3 – “The hardest part about cutting out a single cow from a herd is getting them far enough up away from their buddies. The horse and rider need to move that cow into a good working position to mark some points. Make a plan for advancing towards a cow, then execute it. Choose which side of the cow you are going to go, then proceed. Think about what you want to do with that cow.”

#4 – “I donʼt like a cow that looks like it is going to go to sleep or run you over and go back to the herd. I like a cow that when you say, ʻbooʼ to it, it wants to go away. Conversely, I donʼt like cows that want to get too close to you either. I want the cow that will get away from you and move and will give you some work. Those are the ones that you can win something on.”

#5 – “When the cattle come into the arena and during all the previous works before me, I pay close attention. I will mark all the cows on on a sheet. ʻGAʼ is a go-again cow – one that I like. GA means that someone just cut that cow a little bit and I saw how it moves. This is a cow that is really good and attentive and didnʼt push on the rider. This is a cow that will not run you over, will give you a little room and work really well.”

#6 – “I like to see if thereʼs a cow in there that kind of walks out and walks back to the herd, but still looks attentive. Thatʼs the cow that I want to cut. Then again, If you go to cut a specific cow when you walk out and a cow goes to the top and you know it is fresh, you have to remember: Itʼs better to cut a bad cow good, than a good cow bad. That is a really famous term by Buster Welch.”

Photo by Natalie Jackman.

Photo by Natalie Jackman.

DOWN THE FENCE

#7 – “When going down the fence, the rider can actually shove the cow ahead faster. Which makes it difficult to get the cow turned at the marker or before the arena corner. Schooling oneʼs horse at home while working a cow down the fence is key to show ring success. Make sure you are relating your dry work practice to fence work with keeping a focus on body control and softness while chasing after a bovine.”

#8 – “Don’t confuse activity with excellence. When your horse gets too busy, he may not actually be doing anything.”

#9 – When I go around the corner I set my hand down temporarily before we go down the fence. My hand might not stay there as I may pick it up again but it gives my horse a chance to breath and “get there” instead of me hanging on his face the whole time. We need to turn the head loose! I want to ensure the rider is not balancing themselves on the reins or the horse’s head as they prepare to go down the fence. If so, they won’t have the proper riding position for a safe turn when the cow decides to go another direction.