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About TXhorseman

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    Plano, Texas
  1. Inside Leg, Outside Rein

    Confusion and controversy often occur because individuals emphasize different aspects of what they do or what they consider others are doing. When speaking of riding with two hands, one should not simply speak of using one rein. It would be better to consider the use of each rein and how the use would vary in specific instances. One should also understand that reins are not used in isolation. Whether employed consciously or unconsciously, the disposition and movement of a rider's body influences his horse's movement. A rider often thinks of what he is doing with one part of his body without realizing the effects generated by other parts of his body. In addition, when riding, circumstances are in constant flux. One may speak in general terms. At the same time, however, both speaker and listener should realize that things change from moment to moment and one must make adjustments. Musicians employ technique as well as basic principles. A rider must be even more flexible in his approach, because his "instrument" has a mind of its own.
  2. Bucking When Spooked

    Once a horse spooks, he reaction is often determined by the rider. A grabbing response -- both with hands and legs -- is usually automatic, like a reflex. If the rider does not follow this response by relaxing, the horse is likely to continue his spooking action. If the rider is both squeezing with legs -- telling the horse to go -- and reins -- telling the horse not to move from the spot -- he is likely to go up. The best results come when a rider learns to take control while, at the same time, relaxing any death grip on the horse. If the rider generally rides with a stable seat, he should be able to relax his legs and pull on only one rein. In this way, the horse doesn't feel trapped, but the rider has demonstrated that he will take control of the horse's actions. If the rider is more aware of the situation before the spook, he can often reassure the horse that he is there and in control before the horse reacts. This often prevents the spook in the first place.
  3. Ranch Vacations

    Search for dude ranches in Idaho, Wyoming, and Montana. When I used to go there, the people were very friendly and laid back. The scenery was spectacular.
  4. How Do You Explain To Nonhorsey Folks?

    One example I use is that of playing a piano. One person can take lessons and learn to play a piano composition by exactly pressing the keys indicated. This performance, however, may sound very mechanical and amateurish when compared to the same composition performed by a more accomplished performer whose fingers flow and depress the keys with varying intensity. Similarly, one rider may kick and pull to get a horse to move rigidly from point A to point B. Another horse may move smoothly and gracefully from point A to point B in such a way that a spectator thinks the horse did this on its own while the rider just sat prettilly on the horse's back.
  5. Continued Riding...

    Address your horse as you would a small child who was unusually concerned about things that would not harm her. Talk quietly to her. Hum. Sing softly. Breathe with deep relaxed breaths. Try to calmly introduce her to the things that seem to bother her. While on the ground, lead her up to the fence of the neighboring pasture, especially if inquisitive cows are near. Don't force her. If she stops, patiently stand with her as you continue to talk to her quietly and reassuringly. If she tries to walk away, walk with her. Then, slowly turn her around and try another approach. Take her away and approach from a different angle. If you can, turn her loose in a pasture next to the one with the cows. You may find that she becomes curious once she realizes they are not going to jump the fence and attack her. The same is true with the tarp. If she is quartered nearby where she can see it, she should become accustomed to it. You might get a tarp of the same color and hang it on the fence of her paddock. It is always helpful, if possible, to take a nervous horse to a new area with a horse that is very stable and accepts this area without concern.
  6. Continued Riding...

    Rather than looking to another bit to try to solve a problem, look for the source of the problem and try to address that. What gets this horse worked up and excited? What are you doing at the time? Is your interaction with the horse what is getting her excited or is it externatl stimulants? How do you respond? How are you trying to apply leg and body control? How are you sitting at the time? Are you actually trying to move her or simply trying to direct her as she moves herself? Does she seem to understand what you are asking her to do? If so, do you reward her for trying even if she doesn't get everything perfrect? If not, do you simply try harder, or do you try to find another way of explaining to her what you want? Are you striving to keep the learning environment calm? Do you strive to remove negative tension both in your own body and in that of your horse? Do you take the time necessary to think and explain things clearly? Do you provide your horse the opportunity to think, feel, experiment, and try to figure out how she is supposed to respond? These are more important things to be thinking about than the type of bit you should switch to.
  7. Why Is Buying Airplant Tickets So Difficult?

    Buying airline tickets is much like buying anything these days. Companies go to a lot of trouble trying to develop what they consider clever marketing techniques. They often spend more money on marketing than on developing and producing a good product. They seldom train salesmen and vendors to understand the quality and features of their products. They stress the marketing maxim of: "Sell the sizzle, not the steak." Even many so-called buying experts add to this. Rather than teaching consumers how to find the best quality for the price, they say: "Never pay retail. Always look for discounts." Retailers who used to sell reasonably priced products felt it necessary to raise the "regular" prices on their products so they could afford to sell them at discounted "sale" prices. Then, they had to raise the prices even more so they could afford to pay the marketing people to develop programs to deceive people into thinking they were getting a good buy.
  8. Slowing And Keeping Head Down

    Consider what you have described. Does this sound like a horse that is calm and relaxed? If you were a horse that was tense and uncertain, would you move calmly and smoothly with your head relaxed? The first thing I would recommend is to forget about where your horse's head is. Once everything else gets better, the head will generally take care of itself. If you are tense, your horse will be tense. A tense horse may refuse to move, but usually reacts by rushing off in whatever gait is asked for. The trot and canter are usually worse than the walk. Its movements are stiff and mechanical rather than smooth and pleasant to ride. Tight back muscles generally cause the back to hollow, the head to rise, and the nose to stick out. If you want to ride well and have both you and your horses enjoy the experience, it is your responsibility to help your horse relax. When I say relax, I don't mean become lazy. I mean that you want to help your horse relieve any tension that it feels as a result of being ridden. Tension causes tightness in the muscles which makes for poor movement. Because horses are reactive and tend to mirror their riders, it is incumbent on you to relax. Rather than focussing on "making" your horse obey you, focus on your responsibility to help your horse to perform well. Your horse can perform best when it is relaxed. When relaxed, a horse can feel subtle changes in its rider's balance and movement which act as cues to guide the horse's actions. When tense, a horse generally reacts only to grosses cues -- think shouting -- which cause increased tension and anxiety. As a rider relaxes, his or her horse can relax. It movements become softer and smoother. The horse senses and responds to slight changes in the rider's balance and movement. If this is what you truly desire, let me know and I will provide some hints on how to achieve it.
  9. How Would You Handle It.

    Consider the situation from your horse's point of view. The horse didn't ask to be taken from the environment where it felt safe and comfortable to a place where many strange and potentially dangerous things were happening. Remember that horses are prey animals. While curious, they are also sensitive to unusual sights, sounds, smells, and movements that they have not yet learned will not harm them. You indicated that you, yourself, were extremely uncomfortable in the warmup area -- something your horse undoubtedly sensed. Under such circomstances as you describe, it is only natural for a horse to become anxious and seek security where it can, particularly with a horse it knows that seems confident. Different horses react to such situations in different ways and to greater or lesser degreee. The better you know the individual horse, the easier it is to know the best approach to take. Like a parent, if you present the appearance of firm assurance, your horse is more likely to place its trust in you and less likely to feel the need to seek security in another horse it knows and trusts. Like different children, some horses will control themselves when confronted with a sharp rebuke. Others may respond better to distractions that take their mind off what frightens them; such a distraction may take the form of work or food. Others respond better to a calm, reassuring voice and comforting strokes, especially around the neck and withers. People will present examples of any of the approaches mentioned as proof theY work. Their effectiveness depends partly on the horse in question. In the long run, any of these methods may appear effective simply because the horse gains more experience through continued exposure to similar situations. As a horse continues to be exposed to similar situations and encounters no ill effects, it usually becomes more calm and accepting of such things.
  10. Stop And Stand Quiet

    It is important to realize that riders sometimes unwhittingly cue their horse to move off after they stop. I have even seen a rider lean forward to pat their horse on the neck to say, "Good boy," when the horse stops. The horse reacts by starting to move again because the actions of the rider threw the balance of the rider forward and "cued" the horse to move forward. Other riders immediately start moving around once their horse stops. Again, the horse may read this as a "cue" to move off. On the opposite end, a rider might forget to release pressure on the reins as a sign that the horse did what he was supposed to do. In this case, the horse thinks, "Well, the rider evidently didn't really want me to stop. I guess I'll start moving again while I try to figure out what he really wants me to do." You could punish a horse for any of these things and teach him to ignore what you are doing. This may be fine. It may also teach him to ignore other subtle cues you do want him to respond to. Then, you get into more situations of "This is what I want," "No, not that," "Can't you do anything right." The first thing I tell riders who are having this problem is: "When your horse stops, sit as if you are going to get off." A horse will seldom start off again if they think you are getting ready to dismount. Once you calmly communicate to the horse in this way that you want him to stay still after stopping, you can work on exceptions and not be so careful what you do.
  11. 2014 Chio Aachen

    Thanks for sharing this, nick. It's encouraging to hear.
  12. Getting A Smooth Canter....advice Needed

    A horse, just like a human, is naturally left or right "handed". Therefore, going in one direction at a canter is genterally easier for a horse than going in the other direction. A horse generally has better balanced in the first few strides of a canter. Therefore, more canter departs, rather than greater time cantering, should prove more beneficial. Realize that the inside leg of a canter encures the most effort. This is the reason that "classical" trainers used the shoulder-in to developed the strength and flexibility required in the hind end to produce a good canter. Other exercises, such as uphill work and transitions can be helpful, but the traditional method is to use exercises of the shoulder-in.
  13. Best Bug Repellant

    I've seen more horse flies this year than all previous years combined in North Texas. I killed six on one horse on a one hour tail ride.
  14. Best Bug Repellant

    Here is a formula using Avon Skin-So-Soft: 1 cup Avon Skin-So-Soft 1 cup white vinigar 2 cups water 1 table spoon citranella oil (optional)
  15. Will Brazil Set Us Free?

    The hope of potential income is the selling point for the tremedous expenses involved. This has also been the selling point for giving tax breaks to large companies to get them to move to certain cities. Some cities are finally realizing that these dreams seldom become a reality. Costs generally far outweigh actual income.