Category: Western

Natural Horsemanship Seminar – Day 1

Today I went to a natural horsemanship seminar.  I found it informative.  I’m always open to learn from others, especially if they are trying to teach me a better way of training my horse.  The better way is what has become the buzz phrase . . .  natural horsemanship, horse whispering, etc . . .  For me, this is training my horse without harsh training aids or techniques. 

Today’s lessons were on the importance of ground training your horse & getting them to move forward, laterally & back; and doing these going both ways.  If you can’t get your horse to do any of these moves from the ground . . . how do you expect your horse to do it when you are in the saddle.  Good ground work is the essential basic that a lot of people leave out of their training because they are in a hurry to get results.  You are not only training your horse good basic moves, but you are also establishing mutual respect.  Without respect, you are going no where.

There are several different clinicians to choose from.  Each has their own style & way of teaching.  I would encourage you to go to a few of these seminars when one comes to your area.  You may decide you like one clinician’s style better than another and that’s OK.  If everyone liked the same things, life would be pretty boring.   What I would like for you to do is listen with an open mind, learn something new and see if it works you & your horse.

Attitude Is Everything

Attitude Is Everything . . Choose A Good One

This plaque was hanging at the entrance to the holding pen for a horse show.  Every exhibitor walked or rode past it every time they entered for their next class.  Most acknowledged the importance of the message. 

To me, this means I should have a winning attitude.  Knowing I have done my best to prepare both me and my horse, I come out a winner even if I don’t place in class.  I treat my horse with the respect that he deserves.  I take responsiblity for the mistakes that are made.  I don’t blame my horse for every missed cue.  I try to ride with a gentle hand, a quiet leg and a soft seat.  I’ve found that this gets better results even if my horse is having a bad day.  I try to be polite, courteous and pleasant to all around me.  Good manners should not be lost in the horse world.  I arrive a little early.  I offer my help if needed.  Finally, I have fun!

 Attitude Is Everything . . Choose A Good One

What does this mean to you?  I encourage you to leave a comment. 

Come See The Palomino Youth World Show

Palomino Horse in Driving RigThe Palomino Youth World Show is now in full swing.  If you live in the Tulsa Oklahoma area, THIS IS A MUST SEE!!!!  No where else can you see so many beautiful golden horses in one place.  No where else can you see so many different variations of the golden horse.  Whether you like trail, English, Western or Halter, there is a class that will catch your attention.  Come out to the Tulsa fairgrounds and see the kids guide these horses around the arena and put them through their paces.  Go to for a tentative show schedule.
There’s no excuse, it’s free admission!

Secure Those Stall Doors

Even though Iggette is gone now, she still has lessons to teach.    Let’s talk about securing the stall door & gates.  Most people look at the latch on any typical stall and wonder how in the world can a horse open it.  Well let me tell you, Iggette was quite an escape artist.  She learned this little feat while at the first stable and continued it at other stables.

The small pasture I originally put Iggette in just didn’t work out as planned.  She was the only horse there and horses just don’t fair well by themselves.  So I moved her to a shed row with 3 large paddocks and each paddock was shared by 4 stalls.  Everyone who had stalls here rotated paddock time.  Iggette had other horses to visit and a mare next to her.  I felt like I had her in a pretty safe place.  The stall was big, it was in good condition, the stall door was a partial door so that she could stick her head out and socialize and the paddock was secure.  The stall & paddock gate had “horse-proof” latches, so I knew she would be safe.

I’m one of those anal types when it comes to checking & rechecking for closed & locked doors.  When I left everyday, I must have checked the stall door 5 times, the feed room door 10 times and the paddock gate 20 times.  I absolutely wanted to make sure that my horse came to no harm through my carelessness.  Can you imagine the shock I felt one day when one of my friends called me at work to say my horse was out.  Not just out of her stall, not out of the paddock, but out in the open field!!!!  This field had no fence and it was only a few yards from a busy street.  I rushed from worked to the stable.  As I drove up the long driveway, I saw my friend out in the pasture trying to coax Iggette AND her friend to come to her.  I went to the tack room and got a bucket of grain.  If Iggette was anything, she was a chow hound.  I just knew she would come to me with this temptation.  To my surprise, Iggette thought much more of her freedom at the time than what her belly would normally tell her.  Everytime I got near her, she would turn tail & sprint off in the opposite direction.  Remember I told she was hard to catch and she was certainly living up to that on this day.

I talked with my friend while trying to catch up with these two.  She told me she didn’t know how they got out.  She came out to feed her horse which was in the paddock next to mine.  She noticed that my horse was not anywhere to be found.  She looked for her and just happened to catch a glimpse of her through an alleyway between our shedrow and the one behind us.  That’s when she called me.  Since we weren’t having much luck trying to catch them, we changed out tactics.  We decided to try to herd them into a semi-enclosed area.  There at least, we might have a chance putting a halter on them.  Funny how things work out.  Iggette led us right into the alleyway and actually caught herself.  I was quick to put a halter on her and my friend caught the other horse.

I put my horse back in her stall.  The other horse, we just left out in the paddock since it was her time to be out.  Iggette had another idea.  I was standing not far from the stall talking with my friend, all of a sudden Iggette’s stall door flew open.  Iggette promptly walked out and went over to her mare friend.  She actually herded the mare back into her stall & closed the door on her.  She didn’t lock, just pushed it shut.  Then she returned to her stall and closed her door.  My jaw just about hit the dirt.  My friend & I looked at each other in total amazement.  How did she do that?!

It was time for a little investigative work.  I locked Iggette’s door and all of the others in our paddock area.  In no time, Igggette’s head popped over the door and started jiggling the latch with her lip.  You’ve seen how a horse will curl their lip when you scratch just the right spot, well that’s what her lip looked like.  It was only about 30 seconds later and she was out of her stall.  She went next door and got her lip working over that latch.  Soon, her friend was out and they both went over to the gate.  Iggette once again got the lip going.  Fortunately for us, I had figured out where she was going and just got to the gate before it too went flying open.

An escape artist had been born.  Now the hard part was going to figure out how to keep Iggette in her stall and keep her safe.  We start with making sure the “horse-proof” latches have a way to lock it closed.  Get a swivel snap or double ended snap & secure the stall door latch.  A simple $2 piece of hardware can give you piece of mind.  It may be more of a pain to the open the stall door, but wouldn’t you rather have a friendly face meeting you at the stall instead of you meeting your worst fears opening an empty stall?


Magazine Must Haves For The Novice Horseman

I just received my Horse & Rider magazine.  This is just one of my magazines that I read front to back.  There is an article in this issue that you, as a novice looking to buy a horse, MUST read!!  The article is “7 SIGNS YOU SHOULD WALK AWAY FROM A HORSE FOR SALE (OR SELLER)” by Bob Avila.

This article tells you what bad habits to look for.  The article goes into bad attitude, this would be cranky, rude or impatient.  It tells you about being barn sour and also about not respecting your space.  There is a small section of information about lameness.  There are also signs to look for in the seller.  This article is only 4 pages long, but it does give you information that you will need when you go to look for that dream horse.  READ IT!! & READ IT again!!

And when you are done with this article, read the one from Clinton Anderson on getting your foot shy horse  to let you handle those ticklish feet.  Oh and don’t miss YOUR HORSE YOUR LIFE for a few pointers.  There are some really good common sense things a novice horse owner may not know.  There are also on going articles on conformation, riding & horsemanship.  AND THIS IS JUST 1 ISSUE!!!

If you don’t have this magazine . . .  go out now & get it at your local bookstore, drug store or grocery store.  It is well worth your time and effort for this one.  This is just one MUST HAVE magazine for any novice.  It is just full of information.  There is also EQUUS.  I highly recommend this magazine for the latest in  horse health.  Practical Horseman & Dressage Today are outstanding magazines for the owner who leans more towards English riding.

These are the magazines that I subscribe to for the latest information in health, riding and horse related products.  Over the years, I have gotten an enormous amount of information from these magazines.  There have been articles on legislations that effect the horse world.  There have been articles on which hay may be better for your horse, oats vs sweet feed and which plants in your pasture are deadly to your horse.

If you don’t have a subscription for any of these, check out the MUST HAVE MAGAZINES in the right column of my blog.  Just click on the magazine that you would like to subscribe to.

Subscribe today, don’t miss another issue!

What Horse To Look For – Part 3


Let’s talk horse breeds.  There are soooo many breeds and color breeds to choose from it’s mind boggling to a novice.  Take your time, figure out what discipline you want to pursue (riding, jumping, halter, trail, etc).  While any breed of horse can do just about anything, I would suggest that you read up on the different breeds.  There are lots of books and magazines at the book store and on the web.  I could go on for a long time about the breeds but you should consider this more homework.  Choose a breed that will be best for your desired discipline.  An example would be if you wanted a miniature horse, your desired discipline shouldn’t be dressage or trail riding.  If you want to show in the quarter horse shows, you shouldn’t get a loud spotted paint.  Talk with your riding instructor or horse friends.  Talk with the people at the shows.  Unless you are smitten with a certain breed, picking a breed will probably be a tough task.   


Don’t just consider a pure bred.  There are lots of show circuits and fun shows that you don’t have to have a pure bred horse to show.  You don’t have to have a pure bred to ride the trails.  If showing in the breed show is not your cup of tea, you might even consider a grade horse.   What is a grade horse?  This is a horse that can’t be regisitered in a recongnized breed registery.  This could be a solid colored paint that the owner just didn’t want to register.  This can be a cross between 2 different breeds that don’t recognize the other in their registries.  This could be a pony breed that the pony just grew too tall.  There are a lot grade horses and all of them have the same potential as any pure bred horse. 


I will say right up front, I’m partial to the quarter horse.  This would include the Quarter horse & any breed that recognizes it for acceptable breeding.  Why you ask?  The only reason I can give you is this is what I grew up on.  I personally own a Quarter mare, a Paint mare and a Palomino gelding.  They are all mostly quarter horse in their breeding.  They are not a small horse nor are they too big.  I like their temperment and they are versatile.  With that said,  these qualities can be found in any breed.


You can have just as much enjoyment from your equine friend no matter what his breeding.  The key is picking the right horse for you.  Have you read my slogan? 


Success is not what horse you have . . .  but what you do with that horse.

Good-bye Huddy

huddyI met Huddy Hudspeth when I volunteered to work the Palomino World Hose Show about 18 years ago.  He was the tack judge and I was recruited to check the horses markings.  We had to check every horse every time they came through the gate to the holding pen.  At that time, the show was 3 very long days.  We spent a lot time at the back gate.  When there was time between classes, I asked a lot of questions and he told a lot of stories.  We worked together until about 5 years ago.  He was one of the most amazing people I know.

He had a gentle way about him, but he commanded respect.  Whether it was a horse he was training or a cowboy who was trying to understand why his horse had become flighty.  He had trained more horses than I can ever imagine and probably just as many people.  My young paint mare & I became one of his many students when he was about 80.  He was still training 5 horses.  I spent just three months with him.  It was absolutely unbelievable what he could do in that short time.  Huddy was a trainer that believed in the natural way a horse should move.  My mare was sidepassing, doing flying lead changes, rollbacks, halfpass, had correct cadence for each gait and more.  He also made all his horses learn to stand hobbled.  Huddy made me a rope hobble out of an old cotton lead rope.  I use this tool today on all of my other horse. I  can’t tell you what an invaluable tool this is.

Huddy had been having trouble with his hip.  He kept putting off the surgery he knew he needed.  He just didn’t want to be off a horse very long.  He finally had to give in to pain.  After the recuperation, I saw him again at another horse show. I asked how he was doing.  He replied that if had just know how well the surgery had gone and how much better his hip was, he would have done it a long time ago.  I’m not real sure just how long Huddy was actually off a horse, but I’ll bet he was riding just as soon as the doctor said it was ok if not before.

Huddy touched a lot of people.  He helped a lot horses overcome problems and started many young horses out on the correct 4 feet.  He trained many riders.  He passed his knowledge to anyone who would listen.  How much better a horseman would I have been if I had known him earlier in my life.

Huddy passed away July 29, 2006.  The horse industry lost a treasure that can never be replaced.  They just don’t make them like Huddy anymore.  I hope there are horses in Heaven because I can’t think of him wanting anything esle.

Huddy . . . . you will be missed terribly.  You were greatly loved by all.