Horseback Riding Lynn Palm
Remarkably, 2010 marks Lynn Palm's 40th year as a horse trainer, competitor and clinician. As a thank you to her loyal supporters and fans, the world champion has created a list,
“40 Fabulous Tips For Better Horsemanship” to share some of her vast knowledge of horsemanship and equine management.
"These are really useful tips that I use everyday when I am out in the barn or traveling with my horses. My hope is that everyone will be able to find something useful in this list," says Palm.
Palm created the list as part of her “Fabulous at 40” celebration which includes 40 weeks of prizes from Palm Partnership Training and sponsors such as Troxel, Wrangler, Professional's Choice, Equine Ambience Jewelry and Purina.
40 Fabulous Tips for Better Horsemanship
1. Always wear a helmet when riding. I can never emphasize this enough! Protect your head – you only get one!
2. Ask yourself: Is your horse suited to you? Do you feel safe working with him? Are you having fun with him? These are tough questions to ask yourself, but if you and your horse aren't a good match it might be time to make a change.
3. Always check your girth for tightness before mounting your horse.
4. Mount your horse with correctness, which will encourage him to stand still.
5. Always have a “perfect practice” planned when you ride your horse.
6. Always keep your eyes, and thus your concentration, in front of your horses head.
7. Always do some kind of stretching on the ground, exercises at home, or on the horse to warm up and develop muscle and flexibility of your joints—this will keep you positive with riding.
8. When riding on the trails, bring a cell phone and let someone know when you should be back.
9. If you are taking your horse on a trail he's never seen before, have a friend bring her horse along for moral support.
10. If your horse is spooky, it is okay to get off the horse and address the spooky obstacle. It is safer to deal with it on the ground then under saddle.
11. Show your horse in the show ring ONLY when he has the training and knowledge for what you are asking of him—this will give him a positive impression on the event and he will like what he is doing!
12. Be light with your hands. We spend a lifetime in riding learning not to pull on the reins—learn how to use an open rein and indirect or neck rein. Your horse will love the lightness and learn not to pull and resist you.
13. The more you squeeze, grip, or kick your horse’s sides, the more you give your horse all the tools to ignore your leg aids!
14. The more you change directions in practice, the more you encourage lateral suppleness.
15. The more you do transitions, the more you stretch and strengthen the longitudinal muscles and the hind leg joints.
16. Incorporating dressage exercises into your routine can improve your performance in any discipline.
17. Always communicate with your horse through the natural aids: seat, leg and hands. Artificial aids - crop, whip and spurs - are not to be used as a sole aid. They should only assist your natural aids.
18. Always reward your horse with a pat, soft voice or treat when they respond to a good behavior—they will be more willing to give a positive response next time!
19. Learn from watching others ride.
20. Seek lessons from a professional who explains their methods and whose training program is based on common sense, not gimmicks.
Travel With Your Horse
21. Always practice loading your horse before you go to load for a trip. Open all the doors to give as much light as you can before loading your horse.
22. Always load a single horse in a side-by-side two-horse trailer on the left side to stay balanced with the high side of the road.
23. Always give your horse a hot bran/mineral oil dinner no more then 24 hours before travel over 10 hours.
24. Have free choice hay (some alfalfa is perfect) at all times while a horse is traveling. Be sure to offer water or hang a water bucket in the trailer, when you stop for gas and/or food.
25. Have your horse’s hooves trimmed or shod every 4 to 6 weeks, depending on your farrier's recommendation.
26. Master "Working in Hand" ground training. Practice leading on either side of the horse on a loose lead without pulling.
27. Master the art of longeing and make a commitment to stop longeing with hundreds of circles that drill your horse to boredom.
28. Master ponying your horse as you ride another—it is a great skill to control two at a time!
29. Master ground driving or long lining! It is great to learn your horse's body alignment and balance while refining your hand and rein aids.
30. Always have a first aid kit available in your barn, trailer and vehicle. Make sure it is fully stocked at all times because you never know when you'll need it.
31. Clean your stalls two times per day and paddocks one time per week.
32. Brush your horse everyday, he will love you for this!
33. Clean sheaths on male horses 2-3 times per year.
34. Float teeth once a year, or as directed by your veterinarian.
35. Vaccinations are very important. Give your horse all of the veterinarian recommended vaccines.
36. Give your horses carrots and apples in their feed whenever you can!
37. Keep all stall doors and gates closed on your farm at all times.
38. Make sure your horse has clean fresh water daily.
39. Make sure you learn how to properly fit your saddle, pads, bridle and bit to your horse. Also, if you want to “Ride Well”, your saddle(s) have to fit you!
40. Remember: a Horse knows every word you are thinking! Turn any negative thought or comment such as “I’ll try” or “What if” to a positive thought or saying, “I will” or “My horse WILL do well.”
Enter the “Fabulous at 40” Contest
To enter the “Fab at 40” 40 Prizes in 40 Days Contest, go to www.lynnpalm.com and sign up to receive the Lynn Palm FREE Email Newsletter. As a subscriber you’ll receive expert training tips on a variety of subjects delivered straight to your inbox each month. By simply signing up, you could be a winner!
About Lynn Palm
Palm's career highlights include 2007 American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) Horsewoman of the Year, a record four AQHA Superhorse wins, AQHA Female Equestrian of the Year by the Women's Athletic Association, named one of the top United States clinicians by Horse & Rider magazine, over 34 AQHA World and Reserve World Champions, over 50 bridleless dressage exhibitions at events including the National Horse Show, World Cup and the Atlanta Olympic Games. Palm and Cyril Pittion-Rossillon are co-founders of three horse industry companies: Palm Partnership Training, Women LUV Horses, and Alliance Saddlery USA.