Sunday, June 19, 2011

Off to Iceland

Our two-week trip to Iceland is almost here. (The pic was taken in Montana but it is an Icelandic horse.) I’m not worried about the white stuff. This time of year highs are in the 70s, plus they have hot springs and beverages you drink from flasks. Woo hoo! You may have heard that the Vikings deliberately misnamed Iceland and Greenland. It's true! Iceland is green and Greenland is icy.) A horse festival, clinic, and four-day trek are on the schedule, plus we’ll be grabbing interviews for TV and radio, so I’ll have lots to share when we return. Until then, “Bae!”

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Pedestals and beanbags

I want to put my horse on a pedestal. I mean an actual pedestal, like the one here. It’s a favorite tool of trick horse trainers Allen Pogue and Sue De Laurentis, who've also promoted the common beanbag from dorm room furniture to training aid. I love how these folks push the envelope with their program, and I love how relaxed and attentive their horses are, especially at liberty. The benefits of pedestal and beanbag training start at birth and extend throughout the life of a horse. Check out ImageaHorse.com for pics, videos, articles, and construction plans. But first, listen to our interview. It’s a good one.

Radio interview with Allen Pogue and Sue De Laurentis

Friday, June 10, 2011

Can every horse gait?

Already I can hear the uproar from aficionados of our beloved gaited breeds. “No! A gaited horse is anatomically different from a non-gaited horse!” I agree that there are differences. However, I have also experienced firsthand an Appaloosa that preferred a four-beat amble over a trot (I rode him for a week on a cattle drive) and our former pinto mare, Savannah (pictured), who I could keep at very fast walk for as long as I wanted. Both of these were stock-type horses doing a fast, smooth, four-beat gait with no suspension. That’s pretty darned close to gaiting, in my opinion.

But can every horse be taught to do this? I wouldn’t go that far. I think that many can if – and this is a very big if – the rider knows how to train for it and is willing to put in the time. Several years ago, I interviewed David Lichman, a five-star premier Parelli instructor and gaited horse specialist. He addressed this very issue.

Listen to interview with David Lichman on gaited horsemanship