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1: T e Icelandic Apple approaches the ground poles guided only the handler’s position and a TTEAM wand. Working at liberty helps any horse develop bal- ance and confi dence. 2:Apple, a 10-year- old Icelandic, stands relaxed and quietly within the ground poles. T is exercise al- lows a horse to realize he does not need to rush through obstacles—a huge safety net on the trail! Photo by Jenet e Buch. 3: T e handler creates energy with a TTEAM wand as she approaches the ground poles.


carefully (or go out alone, as long as someone knows where you are riding and when you’ll be back). Be sure to go with someone who is willing to help you encourage the horse in his new posture and behavior. It is well worth the time it takes to create this new behavior. It is extremely important to start and fi nish


every ride with a quiet, slow walk on a loose rein, allowing the horse to stretch his neck and back. Arrive at your trail ride early enough that you can do your groundwork exercises to remind your horse what you expect from him. No mat er how many horses and breeds of


horses are going to be on trail with you, think of this ride as between you and your horse— you are partners. If your horse understands what you expect of him, he will give that to you. Be sure to praise him when he performs a quiet speed you are pleased with. T ey need to know and understand that the movement they have displayed is what you are looking for.


WHY DOES MY GAITED HORSE TRIP AND STUMBLE SO OFTEN? ARE THERE ANY EXERCISES THAT WILL HELP HIM BECOME MORE AGILE?


Mandy emphasizes: “Having a horse’s feet trimmed correctly in balance can drastically reduce tripping problems.”


So many gaited (and non-gaited!) horses


are trimmed with their toes leſt too long. T e foot should have easy breakover at the toe. A qualifi ed, certifi ed farrier/trimmer should be able to help your horse maintain a balanced, healthy hoof capsule. If the foot is in balance, consider saddle


fi t. If the saddle is pinching the shoulders or disallowing the rib cage from expanding with movement, then the horse will be locked and unable to breathe freely or move his shoulders and hips with ease. Look at the overall balance of the horse. Is he standing in balance with his front legs


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straight under his shoulders and his hind legs supporting his hindquarters? We need to be conscientious about our


own balance in the saddle. We need to ride in a balanced posture that allows the horse the freedom to move confi dently and safely. (Get help with this from a knowledgeable instruc- tor.) We need to be careful that we don’t fall into “passenger” mode. Rule out any unsoundness, illness or health


issues. Diseases such as Lyme can take a toll on your horse’s ability to perform in a safe and healthy way. If the horse is carrying himself in an invert-


ed, fl ight mode, looking out into the distance for “lions and tigers and bears, oh, my” or if he is inat entive, this can lead to tripping and stumbling. Also, if the horse is tired or out of condition, he may have a tendency to trip or stumble, and rightfully so! It is our job to build our horse’s strength and stamina through a consistent exercise program. Walking the horse in hand over ground


poles can be very helpful. Ask him to take one continued next page


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