Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Best Advice Ever

I have a secret. It's the best advice I've been given to date regarding riding/training.


"You don't use your show horse for practice."

Simple enough. I received this advice from a fellow HS Rodeo contestant who is now very successfully roping/traveling the pro-rodeo circut. He and I may disagree with training methods in some areas, but this has been the most helpful insight I have ever been given. In order to advance his career, he had horses that he could use at home to practice. Practice in this sense has little to do with the horse and more the rider. Having acess to this, he was able to season himself and horses while keeping the horses fresh to do their jobs.

I understand that having one horse is a luxury, let alone having multiple horses available to you. I never had a "practice" horse so to speak, so I adapted the idea to mean, variety. Horses get bored and sour with the same routine, not a new concept. When you practice the same thing all the time and your horse doesn't need any tuning up in that area, he will get sick of it. Think about it, how annoying and mundane is it to do the same thing over and over just so the other half of "I'm with stupid" can get it right?

I quit practicing my horses on cattle before every show shortly after this. Practicing was fun, it was extra time to get that rush, and it was cheap. It wasn't fair, though, because my horses are far beyond my level of knowledge and they don't subscribe to the No Rider Left Behind club.

My point is, you must put in the forethought to determine a way that you can prepare you and your horse for your event without being a broken record. In the end, all you need is a supple and responsive horse to do most anything.

Get out and do some hill work, pull out the cavaletti and cones, work on moving off your leg, try riding in the arena without moving your reins, rope a dummy, or invent a game. My personal favorite is broom ball (polo with a large $1 Wal-mart ball and some broomsticks)


  1. That is some very SOUND advice!!!!!!! I know a barrel racer who practices all her moves at the walk on her horse, when it comes time for him to haul ass he's PERFECT!!!

  2. And most of the horses that are winning the events are ones who are not practiced on at home.

  3. I don't practice my 'show' horses. With my barrel horse. I go up to the arena, set up the barrels, spend at least half an hour warming up. I'll then make a run. If it was a good run, I'll make an easy hand gallop to the first barrel and halt, pat her, hop off and loosen her cinch. Then lead her out of the arena, and untack her.

    You'll make a good horse stale you over practice them. They get sick of it. I think of it as doing it until you break it. Like the guy that runs his horse down for the sliding stop, over and over. He keeps doing it long enough, the horse figures he's got it wrong. Or you keep doing it until your horse is tired and making mistakes. You've done it till you broke it. Not smart.

    I try to spend as much time as possible out of the arena just riding my competition horses down the trail or beach. Yeah, if you've got a glitch, or an issue you've got to work on it. If your horse gets it even kind of right after struggling...pat him, tell him he's brilliant, call it a day. End on a good note. Start again tomorrow.

  4. Cool ideas, bad format for me, sorry, I can't read a black background without getting a headache.
    Perfect practice makes perfect, but over practice is backwards think. Always stop while you're ahead. Horses remember the good notes.
    Sounds like you got the right direction going.
    sorry, dear, my eyes just can't read too much, in this format.
    (sniveling again)
    I'm great at that:)

  5. horspoor: exactly, you've got it.

    Of course this tidbit is in no way a new idea or even really my idea, but I think it works. I wasn't able to figure this out on my own. The sayings about "practice, practice, practice" and "practice makes perfect" probably had something to do with it.

    Go Lightly: I don't want to offend anyone's eyes with color, so despite my love of the black, I've made some changes. I have the opposite problem where letters on glaring white give me eye strain. I hope this format is more friendly and I appreciate your input.

  6. Looks good this way. Your website is looking good and coming together nicely.