Training the Trainer
Q. Hi Dana! I am a trainer but need to get better on my western pleasure techniques. Do you have a program where I could come for a week and stay at the farm and learn through riding? If so, what is the cost? Which of your DVD’s would you recommend for me to get?”
A. Hi Nadia! I want you to know that I really respect you for seeking out trainers and being humble enough to ask for help. You will go far if you get quality knowledge from qualified people. I spent years learning from many different trainers and have put a lot of thought (and continue to put thought) into developing my own program. We are always learning and growing. Please email me and I can discuss what I could offer to help you.
As far as the DVDs, I would definitely recommend the Maximizing Series. The first volume is a two disc set, it has over 90 minutes on training and finishing a horse with tons of body control exercises on how to teach self-carriage, suppleness, neck reining and much more. It’s an in depth guide. The second disc is about 40 min on show ring presentation and how you can use your body to maximize your horse’s movement. Maximizing 2 is about ‘How To Keep The Horse Going Long Term’ with 10 of the most common cheats and their fixes. Maximizing 3 teaches you how to slow your horse down while keeping their movement pure.
The other series have tons of good info also, but since you want to be a trainer I also encourage you to get Take Control vol. 5-7. I call it the ‘Head Set Series’. It goes into great depth on how to use your hands and how your hand position affects your horse’s head, neck and movement. It also teaches you how to get that great profile and what parts of the head and neck flex and give for a great headset with a soft mouth. I show you how to do this without gimmicks or training aids. It also teaches you how to transition your horse from a snaffle to a shank bridle. The “Spur Control Done Right’ set teaches how to teach your horse spur control willingly and hoes into how to remake the burned out spur trained horse. I hope this helps and I look forward to hearing from you!
Dana Hokana is one of the top female trainers in the Quarter Horse industry, and currently operates Dana Hokana Quarter Horses in Temecula, California. Raised in Southern California, she has had a lifelong love for horses. Dana has trained multiple Western Pleasure circuit champions, winners at major futurities, and horses who have placed in the top ten in Western Pleasure at both the All American Quarter Horse Congress and the AQHA World Championship Show. Riding her own stallion, Invested Dimension, she captured an AQHA Reserve World Championship title in Senior Western Pleasure.
Dana’s DVD series entitled “The Winning Strides Series,” is designed to educate horse owners and riders from the basics of horse handling and horsemanship, to competing at high levels in the show arena. Skilled at teaching in an encouraging, relaxed, non-intimidating way, she carries these traits into the instruction in her video series. Dana will be a featured clinician at the Mane Event in Red Deer, Alberta, and has spoken at the Equine Affaire in Pomona, California and was a clinician at the Equine Affaire in Massachusetts and Columbus, Ohio, focusing on topics from grooming to western pleasure.
Now is your chance to have your questions answered by Dana! Just submit your question using the comment section below or the email link, and she will respond to select questions in future posts.