Master the Pinwheel
When done properly, a pinwheel obstacle within a trail pattern should look effortless. The reality is that the pinwheel is one of the more challenging obstacles you’ll see in a trail class. But it should only be done after you’ve gone through basic trail obstacles and have given your horse time to get comfortable navigating over multiple poles.
Moving Off Your Leg
Teaching your horse to move off your leg is an essential part of riding and should be one of the first things you work on in the saddle. Whether you show your horse or like to trail ride, it's something that you'll use to prepare for lope departures, lead changes, and successful spins.
Downward Lope Transitions
Many amateur and youth riders struggle with slowing from a lope to a jog or walk, especially in the show pen when their nerves can get the best of them. A rushed transition always looks sloppy and costs you points on your scorecard. I’m going to share with you a simple method for acing your downward lope transitions every time. You can practice at home to master it, then put it to use in the show pen. Soon it’ll become second nature.
The difference between first and second place in horsemanship classes lies in the details of your horsemanship position. One of those small items that’s easily overlooked when you’re showing is your upper-body position—especially your free arm and hand and both of your shoulders.
Mounted Shooting Rein Management
Mounted shooting rein management skills are required so you can cue correctly and get the proper response from your horse. Targets come fast, even at the beginner level, and gun handling requires quick thinking. This makes mastering rein management at home a key to competitive success. Kenda Lenseigne shares her best tips here.
Metal Trail Gate
If you show in the trail class, you’re probably quite familiar with the rope gate obstacle. It’s easy for show management to transport and set up, and it’s forgiving when it comes to working the obstacle. But now we’re seeing the metal trail gate return to the show pen, which adds another item to prepare to face in a class.
There’s a common misconception among horses and humans that what we want lies somewhere else. It’s why horses graze on the other side of a fence when the grass is just as green and lush on their side. And why humans long for something—tangible or not—that we don’t have. I call focusing on that other place or thing we want “destination addiction.” Here I’ll discuss why destination addiction can hamper your training and riding progress and how to move away from it once and for all.
Riding With a Hackamore or Bosal
The hackamore plays a pivotal role in traditional training for reined cow horses, following the snaffle bit. It allows you to use direct-rein cues, just like a snaffle, but begins to introduce the concept of neck reining. That concept is further honed with the two-rein setup and then eventually the bridle. But the hackamore isn’t exclusive to reined cow horses. You can incorporate it into your training program, no matter your area of interest.
Simplify the Turn
There’s a secret subtlety when it comes to turns for any type of riding. It involves you following your horse’s movement and staying out of his way. Really—it’s that simple. Your horse notices everything you do in the saddle, so you can inadvertently get in his way without even knowing it. Here I’ll explain how something as simple as turning your torso away from the turn hinders your horse’s turning ability.
Do you have complete control over where every foot lands when riding your horse? Foot placement is crucial for precise navigation of any obstacle, whether it be poles or logs in a trail or ranch riding pattern, working through tires in an obstacle course, or navigating unsure footing on a trail. Where your horse’s first foot lands right before you enter the obstacle can make or break your execution. Here I’ll give you tips to ace that placement every time.