Building a Horsemanship Tool Box

It is important to lay out your broad goals that you want to train for and then develop your training drills to build the finite maneuvers needed to execute the maneuvers required for a responsive, relaxed horse. I want to emphasize that I build the “parts of a machine” and then put the “machine” together when I need it. I do not try to train for a maneuver; I train to execute a maneuver.

Our tendency as human is to pull and hold – Wrong! All we accomplish is creating an anxious, nervous or even mad horse; and a frustrated human. The more we pull the more tense the horse becomes and we want the opposite – relaxation. We need to keep the horse’s feet moving and set him up with light rein control and leg pressure to collect up. By collecting him up (rounding his back) we make him drive deeper with his hock, thus, making him work harder. The result if we hold the cue, they’ll slow down. One thing I’m constantly stressing to riders is holding the cue long enough to get some semblance of your expected result before releasing the pressure. Always remember, where you release the cue is the point the horse seeks. If your release point is wrong, then you’ve created another layer of confusion for the horse you have to overcome. For example- you set up your horse correctly with hand and body yet you don’t immediately get the desired result – Hold that cue! If it’s a new cue, the horse will not know what you are asking for.

I have a very strong philosophical belief that recreational trail horses should be the most highly trained and responsive horses in the industry. Why? There are several reasons. 1) Safety. A safe horse is a broke horse. When you are riding on the trail you have little or no control of the circumstances that you may encounter. You need a horse that you can control with no resistance and little effort. 2) Enjoyment. You trail ride for recreation, relaxation and pleasure. What is fun about riding a horse that is unpredictable, uncontrollable and a nuisance to ride? 3) Comfort. Hours and miles in the saddle is physically challenging for even the most dedicated trail rider. Riding an unresponsive or belligerent horse increases the physical demands on the rider and reduces the time spent in the saddle.

Contact us to improve your horsemanship skills for basic horsemanship, ranch versatility events or improved trail riding experiences – Horsemanship Clinics – small or large groups. If you are interested  in hosting a clinic, contact me for dates, cost, and  horsemanship emphasis. I customize based on your interest and goals.         stevejoneshorsemanship.com

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Cow Work Clinic at the National Championship Chuckwagon Races

I will be conducting a introduction to cow work CLINIC on Thursday, August 29 at 10:00 am at the 2019 National Championship Chuckwagon Races in Clinton, Arkansas. It will be in the covered arena. It is listed on the schedule as a competition, but it will be a clinic. I will cover the following topics: 1) Building the correct training foundation for cow work; 2) How to introduce the horse to correct position; 3) Getting the horse to “hooking on;” and 4) Question and Answer session. I will have live cattle to demonstrate on.

If you will be camping on the grounds, ride on over. If you are driving in for the first day of racing, come a couple hours earlier and join me. We will have a good time!

Creating Relaxation and Collection

Deuce has a big motor, but gentle. He gives me great effort; but sometimes he goes too fast. I want correctness before speed. Slow it down; build the correctness and then, build speed or finesse; depending on what the maneuver requires. With big motored horses or a very willing horse (Deuce is both); slowing down can be difficult. Our tendency as human is to pull and hold – Wrong! All we accomplish is creating an anxious, nervous or even mad horse; and a frustrated human. The more we pull the more tense the horse becomes and we want the opposite – relaxation. We need to keep the horse’s feet moving and set him up with light rein control and leg pressure to collect up. By collecting him up (rounding his back) we make him drive deeper with his hock.

What does this have to do with slowing down my horse, you ask? What I am about to suggest may test your patience and certainly, initially, is going to agitate your horse. Slowing your horse down is about slowing their feet and relaxing the body. They go hand in hand- move the feet and the body relaxes. You cannot create this effect by asking for motion and holding on to their face at the same time. Pulling on them restricts their feet and causes them to tense up on the bit. Eventually, you will 1) lose all softness in their face; 2) gain a hard-mouthed, tense horse and 3) create a hollow backed; uncollected horse. Not a picture any of us want. What we need to do is allow forward motion on an appropriate loose rein and set up a situation that makes the horse change direction; work harder and seek a way to make it easier.

Steve Jones Horsemanship is scheduling clinics now for the remainder of 2019. Also, have openings for lessons (private or small groups). Contact us to improve your horsemanship skills for basic horsemanship, ranch versatility events, improved trail riding experience, or correcting problems.

stevejoneshorsemanship.com; cowboyjones90@gmail.com; or 501-733-0016

  • Associations: AQHA, APHA, ARHA, ARSHA, NRCHA
  • 2017 & 2018 Arkansas Ranch and Stock Horse Association All-Around Champion (Open)
  • ARHA Professional Horseman
  • ARHA World Show Finalist- Ranch Riding, Trail
  • Author to Numerous Publications ( 26 years for Horsemen’s Round-UP)
  • Clinics:  From Ground to Saddle;Building the Foundation; Fundamentals of Western Horsemanship; Ranch Versatility & Stock Horse (including cow work); Building Confidence for Horse and Rider; Competitive Trail; Horse Packing and Wilderness Riding
  • Clinics have been presented to 20,000 + Horsemen

Horsemanship- Balance, Rhythm and Feel

If we want our horses to ride soft and responsive; it’s necessary for us to ride balanced, get in rhythm with their movement and feel where their feet are. The timing and success of a cue is dependent on these 3 things.

Steve Jones Horsemanship is scheduling clinics now for the remainder of 2019. Also, have openings for lessons (private or small groups). Contact us to improve your horsemanship skills for basic horsemanship, ranch versatility events or improved trail riding experiences.

  • Associations: AQHA, APHA, ARHA, ARSHA, NRCHA
  • 2017 & 2018 Arkansas Ranch and Stock Horse Association All-Around Champion (Open)
  • ARHA Professional Horseman
  • ARA World Show Finalist- Ranch Riding, Trail
  • Author to Numerous Publications ( 26 years for Horsemen’s Round-UP)
  • Clinics:  From Ground to Saddle; Building the Foundation; Fundamentals of Western Horsemanship; Ranch Versatility & Stock Horse (including cow work); Building Confidence for Horse and Rider; Competitive Trail; Horse Packing and Wilderness Riding
  • Clinics have been presented to 20,000 + Horsemen

Happy New Year from Steve Jones Horsemanship

Deuce(Dual Smart Bell) will be my new versatility horse for the 2019 show season.

Steve Jones Horsemanship conducts multi discipline clinics and lessons for all levels of Horsemen.

The basic concept in training is to teach the horse to SEEK the release from pressure. I want to apply a specific cue to a specific body part to get a specific response. I hold the cue until the horse finds the release. A phrase I use is “make the horse own it.” Another way to look at it is for the horse to take the responsibility to engage the thinking side of his brain. The Human responsibility is to not Micro-manage! Apply the cue, allow the horse to find the release of pressure, release the pressure, and then correct them when they don’t hold the response (re-apply the cue). This approach allows you get more light with your cues and start putting combinations together.  By seeking the release from pressure, the horse will perform desired maneuvers and be more consistent in doing them.

Steve Jones Horsemanship:

  • Associations: AQHA, APHA, ARHA, ARSHA, NRCHA
  • ARHA Professional Horseman
  • 2017 and 2018 ARSHA All-Around (Open)
  • ARA World Show Finalist- Ranch Riding, Trail
  • Author to Numerous Publications ( 25 years for Horsemen’s Round-UP)
  • Clinics:  From Ground to Saddle; Building the Foundation; Fundamentals of Western Horsemanship; Ranch Versatility & Stock Horse (including cow work); Building Confidence for Horse and Rider; Competitive Trail; Horse Packing and Wilderness Riding
  • Clinics have been presented to 20,000 + Horsemen

Riding by Feel

Feel is a concept, which is your responsibility as a rider to learn and develop. You need to learn to distinguish when your horse has responded and how to reward this. What feel means is the ability to tell when a change has happened with the horse; adjust and correct/reward the horse. Feel is more difficult for you to recognize than the horse!

I struggle to teach FEEL. Truthfully, I struggle to develop the level of feel and timing I need to get the most from my horses! About the time I figure it out myself, a new horse, a new goal, a new obstacle arises that makes me doubt that I know. However, what I do know is teaching a repeatable foundation and sequence of cues to the horse will eventually allow the human to develop the proper feel, if they are observant. I try to assist horsemen in applying appropriate cues (the tool box of knowledge); knowing when the horse is responding; and how to reward that response. (1)Ask, (2) Suggest and if needed, (3) Demand the horse to try and then, (4) Release the pressure as soon as the horse responds positively. This may happen in Step 1, 2, or 3- but we must immediately release when the desired response is achieved. Also, we must always go through this sequence to get softness, responsiveness, and learning. Immediate response results when we anticipate a positive response, instead hoping for it.

Exercises to improve a student’s ability to feel the movements and responses of the horse have been developed. They include the typical exercises for developing balance and independence of the hands and legs; feeling the horse’s foot falls and weight shifts; feeling the horse’s rhythm; and learning to respond to the minute responses of the horse. Developing balance and independent hands and legs is the most important to me.

The objective of riding by feel is to be able to influence the horse. This can be done by simply establishing rhythm with the horse and then slightly changing the rhythm. As the horse becomes more receptive to your feel and rhythm, he will alter his rhythm to conform to yours. You can influence how long a horse’s leg is on the ground by simply putting more weight on that leg as it strikes the ground. By weighting a leg, the student can influence the horse’s speed, leads and responsiveness. By using your hands on the reins in rhythm with the horse, you can change the rhythm of the horse by simply slowing the rhythm of your hands. The same thing can be accomplished by slowing your weight shifts to influence the horse and his balance.

Riding by feel is a difficult, challenging task. As horsemen develop their timing and rhythm, they will become better riders. As they improve their ability to feel and respond to the horse, the horse will improve.  

Introduction to Cow Work Clinic

Just a reminder that I will be kicking off the Cow working clinic on Thursday.

I will be conducting the Introduction to Cow Work Clinic series at Jerry and Alice Singletons(Mt. Vernon, AR) on October 12, 19 &  26; starting each evening at 6:00p.m. (earlier if you let me know). We have lights and will go as long as we need to. I will limit the registration to 10 per night. Come to one or all. Cost is $50.00 per session. I ask everyone to contact me so I can arrange for the appropriate number of cattle. Yes, we will work live cattle. We will also analyze correct stops; turns; and roll backs to maintain positioning on the cow. We will also spend some time on learning how to read the cow, positioning and control.

Location is:

Singleton Ranch; 88 Bristol Rd; Mount Vernon, AR Be careful with Google Maps- it sometimes send you the wrong way (opposite end of Bristol Rd) to get you there. Bristol road makes a loop off Highway 36. Spread the word- We are going to have fun on these cool October evenings.

Contact : Steve Jones

(501) 733—0016

cowboyjones90@gmail.com

stevejoneshorsemanship.com