Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Liz and Magic working canter in the snow

Snow Riding
For those of you that live in places that get snow it can be so much fun working in soft fluffy fresh snow.
We have too much ice this year with our snow for me to do any outside riding and am being held hostage to the indoors riding so far this winter.
I always wrap the legs for support and use rubber boots for protection in case of a slip.
The above photo is of TWH "Dee's Midnight Magic" a horse I had in for training some years ago and one of my all time favorites.
He went on after this to win many versatility championships, ROMs and some very impressive wins in dressage competitions at open dressage shows in WI.
I also had the Honor of showing him sidesaddle which has always been one of my very favorite disciplines to ride.
Some other Stuff
I've been getting a lot of wonderful e-mail from people working this winter on many things with their horses. I hope it will help again to share some of my experience with those of you that are working with your horses or wondering about my answers to many of the questions I receive.
1. Long and low is not the same thing as down and round.
Folks seem to be using these two terms interchangeably and they are not. The execution and shape of each is important and is very valuable in every horses training, it is necessary to achieve the highest of quality work in any finished horse.
2. All horses should be taught collection, gaited horses too. Teach this in your walks first, as the walks of gaited horses also must be of quality and utilizing collections helps the body, not only in good performance but also is about keeping your horses body healthy so it will last for many years with proper use.
If your gaited horse also has a trot teach collection at the trot to, another good way to keep that body healthy.
3. Yes, you can trot your gaited horse, it's a long standing myth that has come out of the built up walking horse world long ago that you cannot trot your gaited horse. Still we are battling those old myths today.
This myth should not be an element in the world of naturally gaited horse training. Just teach the trot with specific signals, and only to be brought up when asked for by the rider.
4. Trotting your gaited horse will not make the gait go away forever, if gait has been bred to be in your horse it will always be there, you may have to learn how to bring it out by not get in it's way from letting it happen.
5. Yes, you can canter your gaited horse, yet another myth put out there by so many over the years that don't know how to ride a horse that canters. Lacking the knowledge to help support and guide a horse in the learning phase of how to carry a rider and canter at the same time, they actually get in the way of a horse doing so hence the myth evolved..
6. Yes, gaited horses are supposed to learn to and can back like non-gaited horses and should be taught how, just don't do it with a built up horse or you'll pull the pads, again another myth out of that same culture.
7. Yes, gaited horses should stand still when you mount and not be in any moving forward phase.
8. It is a myth that all gaited horses have the same shoulder angle, if you just get out there your self and do some marking of various bodies , even in the same breed you will see the reality if you chose to. Sad so many folks have been led astray due to unethical teachers looking to keep the public confused for their own personal gain or reasons. It's up to us to open our eyes and really learn to see with them.
9. Dont think putting your horse in a "Frame", this tends to hold folks hostage in what they think a horse should look like in carrying it's self . A better way to think is the word " Shape", what is the proper shape my horses body should be in to execute an exercise or gait. Stay within that horses individual conformational structure. They are not all built the same hence they can have very different shapes while doing the same thing as another horse.
10. A horses head being positioned behind the vertical does not mean it is collected and is one of those tell tail signs it is not, it's just been taught to carry it's self in a down crammed and jammed shape just as we can also have an up crammed and jammed shape.
Liz on left and Virgina Ganno on the right
Virgina was one of my favorite people to show with and it was an honor to judge her in the ring over the years. Wonderful horsewoman and always set the finest example of great sportsmanship.
The above photos of the bay are of my mare "Candy Cow Cody", one of my quarter horses. I purchased her as a foal several months old and now she is well in to her 20's.
I adore this mare and does she ever love to push a cow, this one it's been bred into, she used to herd all my goats all by herself back and forth across 40 acres when she was young.
I showed her many years, stock seat, hunt seat, side saddle and when I retired her from the show ring I did have to numb her up a bit so other folks could ride her as lesson horse . Used to be every muscle twitch I made meant to do something so she was way to light for many folks to ride. Kind of like getting on a great cutter and being on the ground in the blink of an eye if you don't know how to ride one.
She's taught a lot of kids since and took such good care of them with her kind and gentle nature and is still a great riding horse, we just go slower and for shorter amounts of time theses day.
Liz Graves
Copyright 2009