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Training Performance Horses
ES 190

Instructor: Cathy Hanson PhT



       This required course begins with the design of a nutritional program, health monitoring and physical conditioning, as well as, special shoeing requirements for performance horses.  Students learn lungeing techniques, introduction of equipment, and preparation for the first ride. Once the horse is under saddle, the student guides the horse step-by-step through basic exercises from mastering stops, backing, two-tracking, side passes, pivots, spins, leads and the flying change of leads.  Detailed instruction assures the student understands and can effectively apply weight, leg and rein cues.

               I. Conformation as it Relates to Performance Expected
                     A. Develop nutritional program for selected performance.
                     B. Establish basic health care plan for work expected.
                     C. Outline shoeing requirements for the work to be done.
              II. Halter Training, Ground Manners and Lungeing
                     A. Teaching the horse to move forward and in proper position.
                     B. Demonstrate control over horses during basic ground exercises and
                         while on the lunge line.

              III. Equipment: Bits and Saddles
                      A. Choice of saddles for the specific performances.
                      B. Bit selection for effective communication.

              IV. Preparing for the First Ride
                     A. Preparing the horse to accept equipment.
                     B. Mounting the untrained horse.
                     C. Establishing the first riding controls.
               V. The First 10 Rides
                     A. Getting the nose in the direction of travel.
                     B. Establishing the “stop.”
                     C.  Getting the horse to “give” and “respond.”

              VI.  Performance Horse Stops
                      A. English riding requirements.
                      B. Western riding requirements.

             VII.  Gaits and Transitions
                       A. Footfall sequences of walk, trot, canter.
                       B. The half-halt applications.
                       C. Backing the horse correctly.
             VIII. Lateral Work Body Position
                      A. Leg-yielding.
                      B. Shoulder-in, haunches-in, haunches-out.
                      C. Two-tracking and side passing.

               IX. Body Control for Advanced Exercises
                      A. Pivots and spins.
                      B. Rollbacks and direction changes.
                      C. Flying change of leads.
           You will be asked to produce a video showing you performing the exercises on your horse which have been described within the lessons and which you have mastered.  You cannot receive a final grade for this course until the video has been submitted and your training work approved.

There are three requred textbooks and a DVD for this course:  
                 • Natural Western Riding PDF/e-book (a link to the e-book will be sent to the student)
                 • Nine Secrets of Perfect Horsemanship
                 • Dressage Basics by Sandy Jacobsen
                 • DVD - Precision in Western Riding, with Nancy Cahill

                 These books can be ordered at the College Book Store:

        There is no completion deadline for the course.  The student works at his or her own pace.  The student will not be "locked-out".  Because the student is working with a horse this course may take a year or more to complete.

         The grading scale for this course is as follows:
                 90-100%  =    A
                 80-89%    =    B
                 70-79%    =    C
                 Below 70%     Fail

        You are strongly encouraged to communicate via email with the instructor. Ms. Hanson is available as an instructor and mentor to assist you in meeting your goals for this course.  If at any time during this course you change your email address, please be sure to notify the instructor and office right away.
        Do not use text messaging shorthand or acronyms when communicating with the instructor.
        Please include full name and address in all correspondence.

        Many lessons require written assignments or essays.  They should be submitted as an attachment to an email using Word or a similar word processing software.
        Please be sure to include full name and email address on all documents - not just in the email message. 
        Proper grammar and spelling will be graded.
        Do not use text messaging shorthand or acronyms - this is college level work.

        Access to a horse is required.
        All assignments, quizzes and videos must be completed.

To order course - Click Here

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