Question: About two months ago, I purchased a 6-year-old gelding for use on the trail. He has been great on the trail when we are going straight down the trail. I notice when I turn him sharply he throws his head. I have the same bit in the bridle that the previous owner used, so I know it is a bridle he is accustomed to. Is there anything else that could be causing this behavior? Debbie C.
Answer: I would recommend that you have your horse’s teeth examined by an experienced dental veterinarian as horse’s teeth continue to grow for most of their life and dental problems may develop at any time. Until 6 years old, a horse will have deciduous and permanent teeth erupting and be shedding deciduous teeth. This means that a dental examination should be scheduled every six months to ensure if problems do develop that they can be quickly corrected or treated. From six years to 20 years most horses will need an annual dental examination. During this time they will develop sharp enamel points as well as have the potential to develop many other problems, which if identified and treated early can help the horse to lead a more pain free, comfortable life.
Question: I have a young 3-year-old gelding that I sent to a trainer to be started under saddle. When the horse returned home, he was very good and did everything asked of him. Unfortunately I have been very busy with work and have not had time to ride him. I have seen people long reining horses before, do you think this is an exercise that may be beneficial for my horse now that I have time to ride again? Mark M.
Answer: I recommend you start with ground control exercises with your horse. Once your horse is listening and working softly in the halter, long reining would be a great way to re-introduce your horse to working under saddle. Long reining is a great technique for working through problems in a safe and controlled manner for both horse and trainer. I may spend anywhere from seven to ten days long reining horses, I’ve found that spending the extra time in long reins produces a horse that is much softer through the mouth with a better understanding of what is being asked under saddle. Long reining is not a difficult technique to master, it does, however, take some practice.
Question: I have always dreamed of being able to work my horse at liberty. What are the first steps I need to make to be able to work towards liberty work? Tammy T.
Answer: I am frequently asked questions regarding our liberty work with horses and I always stress the importance of understanding basic ground control exercises before moving to more advanced ground work, such as working with your horse at liberty. Successful completion of the fundamentals of ground control will allow you to have control of the five main body parts of your horse: the head, neck, shoulders, ribcage and the hindquarters. It is essential that you have mastered these basic exercises. Basic ground control exercises are not only important before moving to more advanced ground work exercises or work under saddle, it is important for your horse to practice and maintain these basic ground control exercises so you can be successful at whatever you choose to do.
Born in Queensland Australia on a small cattle farm, Dan James began his lifelong passion with horses at six weeks old and starting his first colt in his early teens sparked his hunger to understand more about the horse’s thinking patterns.
In 2008, James joined his good friend, Dan Steers, in Western Australia at El Caballo Spanish Horse Centre where they performed together each weekend in the ‘Dan and Dan Show’ developing their horsemanship techniques. In 2009, Steers and James relocated to New South Wales and Double Dan Horsemanship was born. In 2008, James was recognized as a world class colt trainer when he won the ‘Way of the Horse’ at Equitana Asia Pacific.
In 2012, James wowed judges again with his incredible training techniques winning the coveted Road to the Horse International Colt Starting World Championship title. In 2013, James was placed third in the Mustang Million and was voted Fan Favorite.