Debbie Cooper

Horse & Rider - - Mud Health Risks -

Western look,” says the multi-carded judge. “Chinks are as ac­cept­able as chaps and are also de­signed to keep the rider’s legs from get­ting scratched. Like any­thing else, peo­ple are putting a fash­ion twist on them.”

Choose: What works for you. “Ex­hibitors en­joy ‘ feel­ing western,’ so have fun with what you choose,” Cooper says. “Both chaps and chinks have end­less op­tions of how they are se­cured in the front and the back. When choos­ing chinks, be aware that there are many op­tions. For ex­am­ple, the legs can zip, snap, or use hook clo­sures to se­cure them around your legs.”

Avoid: “Chaps that are too short,” Cooper warns.

Ma­te­rial: “Many of the chaps and chinks you’ll see at the na­tional level look like a leather sofa, mean­ing the smooth side of the hide is vis­i­ble,” she says. “It’s equally ac­cept­able to have the rough side out. In ranch rid­ing there are more nat­u­ral tex­tures, and some rid­ers wear chaps or chinks made of ac­tual cowhide.”

Color: “Neu­tral tones such as blacks, browns, and tans are most com­mon, but choose a color that you like and that makes you feel good,” Cooper ad­vises. “It’s un­likely you’ll see greens, golds, or bright col­ors you’d see in the plea­sure or horse­man­ship classes.” Fringe: “The fringe tends to be longer on chinks than chaps,” Cooper states. “Dou­ble fringe with two dif­fer­ent col­ors that are twisted to­gether is also pop­u­lar. Some of the chaps and chinks I’ve seen in ranch events are more like pieces of art. It’s not un­com­mon to see hand-tooled de­signs that re­flect the rider’s per­son­al­ity. If you love yel­low roses, you can add them to the yoke. I’ve seen a rider who loves dol­phins wear a pair of chaps with dol­phins in the tool­ing. The key is that these em­bel­lish­ments are dis­crete.”

Big­gest Faux Pas: “I don’t re­ally think there is one,” Cooper says. “In ranch rid­ing events, rid­ers are choos­ing to pre­serve tra­di­tion, so you’ll see fash­ion trends that were orig­i­nally pop­u­lar in the 1950s and 1960s. That of­ten in­cludes ac­cents such as buck­stitch­ing, whip stitch, con­chos, and dou­ble fringe.”

AJAYCIE SWANSON, Wis­con­sin

If you’re an ex­pe­ri­enced rider, you shouldn’t have prob­lems work­ing through this is­sue with your horse. Whether he bucks into the lope or charges, the

men­tion that you’re an ex­pe­ri­enced rider, so the rest of my ad­vice ap­plies to keep­ing the horse and rid­ing him through his is­sues.

So­lu­tion #2: Ground­work

Work­ing on this in the round pen, with you on the ground, is a safe way to start. Sad­dle and bri­dle your horse, so it’s as sim­i­lar to rid­ing as pos­si­ble. Use a snaf­fle bit for mild con­tact with your horse’s mouth.

Tie the reins around the horn (see photo) with slack in the reins sim­i­lar to what you’d have when rid­ing, or slightly more slack. Don’t ever tie the reins with­out any slack; your horse needs room to move his head and neck and feel re­lease when he’s trav­el­ing for­ward and straight. But also don’t leave so much slack that he could en­tan­gle his feet and legs. Never leave your horse unat­tended with the reins tied to the sad­dle horn.

Snap a lar­iat or longe line to the snaf­fle’s curb strap. The snap should eas­ily ro­tate to al­low quick changes in di­rec­tion at your cue. Work through all tran­si­tions in both di­rec­tions. If your horse lurches into a lope or bucks when you cue for it, change di­rec­tions im­me­di­ately, and ask him to lope off again. Re­peat the di­rec­tion change if he lunges or bucks into the lope. When he picks up a lope in the de­sired man­ner, let him lope a few strides, then grad­u­ally de­cel­er­ate to a stop.

You can also work on ac­cus­tom­ing your horse to your leg cues from the ground, if that’s what’s trig­ger­ing his re­sponse to a lope cue. Bump his sides with the stir­rups, and en­cour­age him to yield to the pres­sure. When you do this, be sure to stay far enough for­ward that you’re out of dan­ger from be­ing kicked or run over if he bucks or lunges for­ward.

So­lu­tion #3: Pull Him Around

Be­gin by rid­ing two-handed, sit­ting in an ath­letic rid­ing po­si­tion—your seat deep in the sad­dle, legs un­der your hips, and hands pre­pared to move. This way, you’re ready to ei­ther lope off with­out any prob­lem or pull your horse around if he bucks or rushes for­ward.

Cue for a lope from a walk or stand­still. Give your horse a chance to lope off—don’t an­tic­i­pate that he’ll jump for­ward, or chances are he will. Rid­ing

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Most women un­der­stand com­pletely when another says, “I just need a good cry.” My won­der­ful 21-year- old Quar­ter/Mor­gan mare is no dif­fer­ent. She’ll stand mo­tion­less while I wrap my arms around her neck; bury my face in her mane; and have a hard, sob­bing cry.

Tina Nunez, In­di­ana

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