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Training for Trail Horse Classes
Training for Trail Horse Classes

Training for Trail Horse Classes

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Part Number:Training for Trail Horse Classes

Author Laurie Truskauskas
Learn how to pick the perfect horse for trail class competition, perform difficult maneuvers with finesse, prevent rider errors and common mistakes, and make a great impression in your next trail class. Appropriate for the greenest novice or the intermediate exhibitor looking for ways to polish their performance.
Even if you don’t want to show, these skills will be invaluable for a recreational trail riding horse!
A well-trained trail horse is truly a joy to ride. A good trail horse will allow you to cue him step-by-step on obstacles that require it, while he’ll practically negotiate other obstacles by himself. The key to training a successful trail horse is to start slowly and teach your horse to obey the cues to maneuver through an obstacle, rather than let the horse anticipate and perform the pattern of an obstacle—or perform an obstacle by habit. Anticipation can cost you points in tough competition.
Horses enjoy the challenge of working different obstacles. The skills and knowledge they gain from learning one maneuver or obstacle helps when you progress to the next. The discipline of maneuvering correctly through the obstacles will teach your horse obedience and to be more respectful, which in turn will make him a more enjoyable partner. The obstacles add variety and “spice” to a horse’s life. Changing the pattern of the obstacles adds variety and will provide both you and your horse countless hours of enjoyment. The new challenges of a demanding trail course can help an otherwise bored horse become competitive once again.
The trail obstacles also give the rider a visual aid to see if they have correctly cued their horse. This will help you fine tune your cues to the horse, making you a more polished rider. Rider error can cause the best trained horse to make a mistake. In many cases, the horse is doing exactly what the rider cued him to do. For example, if you use too strong a leg cue when turning in reverse in an “L” back-up, your horse may step out over the poles or bump a pole, both points off your maneuver, and both rider error.
When you have completed the training program outlined in this book, you’ll have the ability to move your horse’s head, hips, and shoulders on cue, which will enable you to successfully negotiate any obstacles that you’ll find in a trail class, even if you’ve never encountered a similar obstacle before. Once you’ve developed a solid working relationship with your horse, he or she will hold a special place in your heart for many years to come.

The author owns and trains at Silver Creek Farm in Athens, Texas, where she also stands a black and white Paint stallion, SC Splashsrobinsboy. She starts colts, trains and shows halter horses, pleasure and trail horses, hunters and jumpers, and All-Around horses.
Truskauskas has written over one hundred articles for Western Horseman, Quarter Horse Journal, Horse and Horseman, The Western Horse, The Paint Horse Journal, The Pinto Horse magazine, Palomino magazine, and other regional papers. This is her sixth book on horse training.
Laurie apprenticed with Joe Ferro, one of the men responsible for starting the American Quarter Horse Association in 1942. Joe’s son, Roy Ferro, won the first National Reining Horse Association Futurity. While with Joe, Laurie learned about starting colts, breeding and foaling. With his encouragement, she put on paper their combined knowledge in hopes of helping others who search for knowledge about training the horse. Training the Two-Year-Old Colt is her first book, and each succeeding book gives insight into a new topic.
She has judged local and open shows and has given clinics to 4-H and other clubs. She has shown at the Congress and finds the entire experience—from judging youth to showing top quality horses—to be truly rewarding. Perhaps her greatest thrill is watching an owner’s face when a horse she has trained does well for the owner in the ring.
 1. Introduction To Trail
 2. Choosing A Trail Horse
 3. Counter-Bending
 4. Leg And Collection: The Hidden Cues
 5. The Horseshoe Pattern
6. Circles
7. The Back-Up
8. Sidepassing
9. Gates
10. Bridges
11. Trot-Overs And Lope-Overs 
12. The Box
 13. The Slicker, Mail Box And Optional Obstacles
 14. The Water Obstacle
15. The Show: Putting It All Together
Appendix: Patterns
About the Author

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