Dana’s Training Tip of the Day – Proper Hand Position While Riding

October 13th, 2016 2:00 AM | 2 Comments

 By Dana Hokana

October 13, 2016- Proper Hand Position While Riding

Many people have been riding for years, and have been getting the job done, but don’t fully understand how their hand position is affecting their horses performance. You might have subtle amounts of lean in your horse and you don’t know why and it may be that you have been inadvertently opening a door with your hands. I was giving a lesson yesterday to one of my apprentices and she was struggling with her two year old colt drifting toward the fence. It was very frustrating because he was showing a lot of lean drifting to the outside of the circle. She didn’t realize it but her hand position left an open door for him to lean. After she realized that her open hand position was allowing that lean, she made subtle changes with her hands and she fixed the problem. Knowledge is wonderful!

My training tips are demonstrated in great detail in my Winning Strides Training DVD’s.   They include more ideas and exercises to help improve your riding skills.  

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September 13, 2016- Are You A Timid Rider?

Are you a timid rider?  I believe that most of us at some time or another have moments of feeling timid, hesitant, or afraid on a horse.  In certain situations and on certain horses, there may be times when it is wise to be hesitant or timid.   Your intuition may be telling you to back off!  However, there may be other times when your timidity turns into fear and you freeze or give wrong signals to your horse.  You may even be unconsciously telling your horse that you are afraid, giving him the upper hand.  When you give a fearful response over and over, he may learn to be spooky or naughty!

I have tips that will help you to master your fears and insecurity.   These tips will also help you to gain a better relationship with your horse.  They are demonstrated in great detail in my Winning Strides Training DVD’s which include more ideas and exercises to help improve your riding skills.  

Check them out now at http://hokana.com/shop-dvds/

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August 30, 2016- Get Your Horse in Top Condition to Have a Top Performance

I feel that in today’s competitive world our show horses will move and perform better if they are in good physical shape. Muscles that are toned and conditioned have more strength and flexibility than tight unconditioned muscles.

The exercises that I do are done to not only condition my horses but to increase their range of motion. I specialize in western pleasure horses but these techniques will help in any discipline and any event. We want our pleasure horses to move like ballerinas but they need our help to keep them supple and flexible. Improving your horse’s movement will always make your horse look better and place higher. It will also make your horse like his job more. A horse that is tight and choppy and one that looks and feels uncomfortable could not be as happy as one that is conditioned and reaching and flowing! We find ourselves spending a lot of money on equipment, clothes, trailers, etc, our horses are expensive hobbies. I feel we need to invest the time in conditioning our horses and then maintaining their condition.

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August 23, 2016- Know Your Horse

I want to impart to you a very important concept. All horses don’t learn the same way. What may feel like yelling to one horse may be like whispering to another horse. Be mindful and sensitive to your horse’s individual personality. Study your horse and decide what his personality is like. Some horses need to be trained with a softer touch than others. Also, I believe there are two important levels of learning that all horses go through. One is to acquire knowledge of a concept. Secondly, they acquire acceptance of it. This is why it is so important to know your horse and be mindful about how you ride and train him. To have that great willing partner we all want, you have to have both. An example of this might be that you have taught a horse to move over off your leg, but he hates the pressure and doesn’t move over willingly. Spend the extra time and develop the knowledge as well as the acceptance to each new training concept he has learned. In my opinion, you can teach a horse to teach a horse to want to try for you and be your team member or you can teach him to hate his job and be afraid of your cues. Of course, you have some experiences with the horse’s own personality, style and mind, but the mindset that I am describing to you; you will definitely make a better horse!

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August 16, 2016- Keep Your Older Horse Showing Strong

I believe show horses, even western pleasure horses, can have long, fruitful careers.  In my career, I’ve had many older, burned out horses that I’ve had to remake into good, honest horses.  At one time, I didn’t have a lot to choose from, and if someone brought me a horse to fix, I would take the time to figure out how to fix it.  Later on, I loved the challenge and it was exciting for me to take a tired horse and turn him into a good performer.  These horses have taught me a lot.  I’ve learned to really think through the problem.  I would put myself in their place and think, “How did this problem start? What caused this horse to turn into a cheater?” I discovered many common threads and found that many of the horses can be turned around and remade into good, happy show horses. 

My training tips are demonstrated in great detail in my Winning Strides Training DVD’s.   They include more ideas and exercises to help improve your riding skills. 

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July 19, 2016- Ride Mindfully

I want to help you to become the best horseman that you can be, and with these proven tips you can become a better rider. I am going to teach you true benefits of mindful riding, and how to become a mindful rider. I feel that very few people ride “mindfully”. In my opinion, to ride mindfully is to pay attention while you are riding. Raise your consciousness to a new level that will allow you to notice more, and become more “in tune” to, or sensitive, to your horse and your riding. Many people who ride have gotten into the habit of riding “mindlessly” as I call it. We all can slip into that bad habit. I often have to remind myself to pay attention. Especially if we have ridden a long time, or are very accustomed to our horse, we can tend to slip into a habit or routine in our riding, or get in a rut so to speak. That’s easy to do because we’ve found some things that work and we do it over and over. Why not? If it works, keep doing it. But I want to encourage you to reach for excellence. Strive to be the best you can be!

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May 17, 2016- Graduate Your Horse to Moving Over Off Your Leg

After your colt understands to go forward off of your leg, it is time to add moving over off of your leg. I do not begin to ask for this until my horse is walking, trotting and loping forward, stopping and backing, and turning with ease. I will teach him to move over off of my leg by turning his head to one side or the other and cueing with the leg on the same side that I am turning his head. I will then cluck or kiss and leg with the one leg only while holding contact on the one side of his face. As soon as he takes one step over, I will release my hand and leg cue as his reward. If he gets worried or resists me a lot before he takes a step, I will go forward. I may even trot him a minute to reestablish going somewhere off of my leg. I will then stop and ask again until I get a step, then release for the reward. I will build on this until I can get my horse to move over willingly off of my leg. 

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May 10, 2016-Don’t Pull in the Wrong Direction

When you pull in a shank bridle with the wrong direction of pull, your horse will brace and shut down. You need to unlock and bring your hand forward.

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April 26, 2016- Is Your Two Year-Old Physically Ready to Carry a Rider?

Even if my 2 year olds aren’t tall, I want them to have enough body to carry a rider.  If I have an especially talented horse, but it is just a little bit small I may start it but work it in really short sessions, and make sure the rider starting it is very light.  I may also only work it a few days a week.  In addition, I look for good bone, especially in their legs. I want their legs and feet to have enough substance to carry some weight.
 
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April 19, 2016- Move With Your Horse’s Motion

Follow your horse’s movement with your seat instead of moving against the motion. By doing this you won’t impede his movement, which can lead to stiffness and resistance.

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April 12, 2016- Once You Have “Lift,” You Can “Collect”

Once you have the lift in your horse, you then can hold and push with your legs and position and collect your horse to get their legs to land where and how you want them.

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April 5, 2016- Stay Soft and Forgiving With Your Hands

If your horse is fighting you or arguing with you in the face and you need to get tough with your hands, make sure that the next time you ask him you forgive what just happened and ask softly each time. All of us are capable of carrying our anger or frustration through to our hands but I stress to you, stay soft and forgiving with your hands. If you hold a grudge with your hands you will only prolong the fight. So many times I’ve found that I get through my horse a lot quicker by starting over in my mind and staying soft in my hands. 

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March 22, 2016- Work On Your Weaknesses

To be a champion, you need to focus and work on your horses weaker points rather than stroke their stronger points.

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March 15, 2016- Just Slow Yourself Down First

Slow yourself down! Often we don’t realize how fast we are sending our cues to our horse. Get fast-thinking out of your horses mind by taking it out of your mind. Encourage your horse to wait for you. When you slow your cues down, you project confidence and patience to your horse.

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March 8, 2016- Feel and Timing Go Together

Feel and timing go hand in hand. Feel is knowing when to have contact with your horse, how much or how hard of contact to have, and when to release your contact. You communicate or talk to your horse with your hands, seat and legs. You can develop good communication by having good feel and timing. Timing is nothing more than knowing when to pick up on your horse and when to release. People believe that feel is some elusive, mysterious ability that some great horsemen possess, but this is just not true! Anyone who puts their mind to it can develop and greatly improve their feel and timing. 

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February 24, 2016- Two Levels Of Learning

Horses go through two levels of learning in a particular concept or skill. First, they acquire knowledge of the concept. Second, they acquire acceptance of it. Pay attention to the small details and you will make your horse an excellent, willing partner.

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February 16, 2016- Mind Your Hands

When a rider uses too much bridle or too many pounds of pressure in their hand, they lose body position in their horse, which can lead to loss of control of the shoulder, rib cage or hip.

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February 9, 2016- Is Your Horse Ready to Put in the Bridle?

Before you put your horse in the bridle, you need to establish if he is ready. You need to be able to pull your horse’s head one way or the other with him accepting the pressure willingly and he also needs to be able to move willingly over off of your leg. He needs to give his face flex at the poll and flex laterally in the neck. He also needs to allow you to collect him and to drive him to his face at the walk, jog and lope and to accept it willingly. Your horse should begin to exhibit self-carriage and to not speed up when you release the reins. He should stop balanced and back willingly. I have had horses that were exceptionally heavy or stiff and I have put them in the bridle before they have accomplished all of these things; but the majority of my horses must pass this test.

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January 19, 2016- What is Proper Cadence?

Cadence is a rhythmic flow or sequence, a rhythmic movement. I want to feel fluid motion. I want to ask and not feel surges and uneven steps. I want to feel my horse step in a rhythm and when I take my cue away he stops moving and waits for the next direction. You reach this level by pushing through until you feel his acceptance to such a point that you are the driver and you are driving him into and through his maneuver. So many times we stop at a give or a yes to a cue but we didn’t get the full benefit of the maneuver or all the horse had to give because we didn’t ask him to do it while carrying himself with balance and flow in the maneuver. For example, if he can push his hip around with flow, he can lope and trot with more flow. His transitions will be smoother and better. He will be happier. Anytime you connect or communicate with your horse through your hands or legs, if you use this principle, you will improve your horse. When you have this level of willingness, you can truly have his legs and control of his body. Work toward gaining your horses heart and his willingness. 

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January 5, 2016- Slow Down Your Cues

Slow yourself down! Often we don’t realize how fast we are sending our cues to our horse. Get fast-thinking out of your horses mind by taking it out of your mind. Encourage your horse to wait for you. When you slow your cues down, you project confidence and patience to your horse.

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December 29, 2015- Be Mindful When Riding

When a horse is on his front end he cannot move to his full potential and his natural lift is diminished. His cadence or step is quicker and he has lost that “roll up underneath you” feel at the lope. The jog may feel “soggy” and has lost that definite one, two beat. All of us as riders have missed that at one time or another, so if you have, don’t feel bad! Set a goal to be very mindful as you ride. Don’t ride mindlessly, ride mindfully. Be mindful and feel what’s going on underneath you! Feel for that sweep, that airtime, and demand it out of your horse!

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December 22, 2015- End On A Good Note

When riding and training my colts, I like to build their confidence every ride. I always end on a positive note. I like to go slow because my goal is to develop a long-term horse. I build on each skill level. My goal is to teach my horses to enjoy their job and to try for me. Horses learn by the reward and so if I can practice a concept until the horse gets it, then I can give him a clear reward. Then when I go on to the next skill they have “learned how to learn” so to speak.

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December 15, 2015- Two-tracking is on the right track

I often two-track my horses. I will pick up the trot and start at the lower left hand corner of the arena, and then will trot diagonally to the upper right hand corner of the arena. I often do this both at a slow jog and a medium trot with more power and step. As you are trotting, see if the shoulder or front half of the horse is leading but ideally you want your horse’s body straight like she is side passing while moving forward at the trot. This exercise will improve her reach and strengthen her. You will see where she is weak such as if she has difficulty keeping her hindquarters up even with her front end. Make sure you switch sides and two track her to the right as well as the left. 

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December 8, 2015- Make Sure Your Horse is in Top Shape

Our performance horses are athletes. In today’s competitive world our show horses will  move and perform better if they are in good physical shape. Muscles that are toned and conditioned have more strength and flexibility than tight unconditioned muscles. I do exercises that help to not only condition my horses, but to increase their range of motion. I want my horses supple and flexible. Improving your horse’s movement will not only make your horse look better but it will also  make your horse like his job more. 

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November 20, 2015- Slow Isn’t Always The Way to Go

In trying to get that slow finished Western Pleasure horse, many riders constantly ride their horse slow which can allow them to drop their shoulders and move to their front end. Sometimes this is from the horse getting lazy, other times just out of balance. I also want my Western Pleasure horse slow, but there is often a fine line between moving shut down and “shuffly”, and moving crisp and pure. I often drive my Western Pleasure horses forward, allowing them to re-balance and readjust their lope and trot. If you drive your horse forward at times they will regain his lift through their shoulders. 
 
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November 12, 2015- Don’t Be Heavy Handed

When a rider uses too much bridle or too many pounds of pressure in their hand, they lose body position in their horse, which can lead to loss of control of the shoulder, rib cage or hip.

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November 2, 2015- Keep Your Horse Willing to Perform

Willingness is important. In order to have that fabulous ride we all want and work toward, our horse has to be willing. When I train, I want their heart; I want them to want to try, and to want to be part of the team. You can get a lot of rides out of an unwilling horse, but eventually it will come back to bite you and the unwillingness will come out. I spend the time to build a willingness in my horses, in addition to obedience. That results in creating a team that can last for years and you will have a truly fun horse to show.  For some of my secrets to how I keep my horses willing, I would like to recommend one of my DVDs – “The Secret To A Truly Willing Horse.

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October 26, 2015- Recondition Your Horse to Overcome Spookiness

Have you ever been on a jumpy or spooky horse? In my opinion, it is no fun to ride a horse that is afraid and reactive. Some horses are genuinely more afraid than others, but I feel that often times it has become a habit, or a learned behavior. A way to help break the cycle of a jumpy or spooky horse is done with a lot of reconditioning, which will include time and patience.
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September 10, 2015- First Impressions Are Everything

There is a saying, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression!” When you and your horse enter the show ring you are speaking loudly without saying a word. I encourage you to become mindful, pay attention to the details that often make the difference between first place and fifth place. The judges only have a few moments to make their decision as to who will be their winners. 

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June 7, 2015- Keep showing in perspective.

Don’t take horse showing too seriously or be too hard on yourself if you don’t have that perfect ride. There is always another day. But don’t give up, keep stretching to a new level. Raise your standard, and be the best you can be! Have a great ride!

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May 14, 2015- Exercise is key.

The most important part of the program is regular exercise.

During every ride I practice basic exercises to keep my horses willing and supple.

How horses present themselves in the show arena is directly related to how this foundational work is maintained in the practice pen.

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May 4, 2015- A healthy horse is a happy horse.

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February 23, 2015- Do you have a good seat?

What is a good seat? When you have a good seat you are able to catch your horse’s rhythm. You are able to flow with your horse. How do you know if you have a good seat? Can you just picture watching certain riders who look like they are one with their horse? They make it look effortless and easy. When your seat is improved you can get closer and closer to riding as one with your horse. Your hips or pelvis need to be flexible and move with our horse. Not your waist or upper body but your hips. Control your breathing. Take full deep breaths. All you need is some knowledge and some practice and you can have a good seat!

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February 14, 2015- “Slow” Depends on the Horse

Slow. That’s a powerful word in today’s horse show world. Some horses are mentally willing to go slow and others aren’t. Some horses are physically more capable of going slow than others. Lift and a strong deep hock can help a horse go slow. Lift is very important to  maintaining self-carriage at a slow speed. Lift gives the horse the ability to stand up and carry himself. A deep strong hock is beneficial because as they reach up underneath themselves it helps the horse to sit back on his hindquarters giving a moment of suspension slowing down the rhythm and stride.

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February 1, 2015- “Flutter” Your Reins

If I have a horse that is afraid in the face, rather than pull or bump, I will flutter my reins. It is also good to do on a horse that has learned to brace and I can’t get the bend or flexion that I want. Fluttering your reins is great to help unlock the horse and their body parts.

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January 3, 2015- Soft Hands Lead to a Soft Mouth

Happy New Year!

I feel that a fair or correct way to pick up or come in contact with my horse’s mouth is to pick up slowly until the slack is out of the reins, and he knows that I am there. Then I can bump or add more pressure until he gives me a “yes”. After he gives, I release. I am mindful and feel what is going on between my hands and my horse’s mouth. I wait for him to soften or become light in my hands. I see many riders pick up and the horse will drop his head into position but then almost pulls the reins out of the rider’s hands. The rider will release or give as a reward. For my standard, I want my horse to become soft and light in my hands. Follow through and stay in until your horse becomes soft and says yes to you, then release. Remember you talk to your horse with your hands!

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December 14, 2014- Break Up Your Daily Routine

My horse’s job description isn’t my daily training routine. The calesthenics that help my horse get to the show ring is my daily training routine. It goes a layer deeper than playing go slow horse show everyday.

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November 29, 2014- Haunted by the Past

If your your horse has any negative reactions to your cues or pressure, it might be because of his past. For example, if he overreacts when you pick him up in the face, it may be because someone who rode him jerked or scared him. You can undo negative past experiences with time and patience, but the first step is to diagnose the problem. To repair damage you must turn the bad experience into a good one.

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November 20, 2014- Take Backing to the Next Level

After you have successfully taught your horse to back up lightly and effortlessly through his body while being light in the face, increase the level of difficulty by asking your horse to back and move his hindquarters over one way or the other. You may find that it is easier for him to move one way or the other. It is a high level of collection to back correctly and turn while backing. I will often back squares, then straight lines. I will also back and turn the front end, then back straight, then switch off moving hindquarters, then front end. Your horse’s overall collection will improve after this exercise as well as his acceptance of your leg cues.

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November 2, 2014- It’s All In Your Transitions

A great lope is in your transition. From the walk, position your horses body and control their footfall with your legs. Establish your horses acceptance to your spur while walking and control the rhythm of their step. Address and fix any unacceptable reactions from your horse before your transition.

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October 15, 2014- Assessing Your Horse

Assess your horse.  Evaluate him.  Communicate with him and decide how to conquer your issues with your horse. ___________________________________________________________________________________

September 22- Looking for Natural Cadence

When looking at a horse, I like to see natural cadence. The ability to “lock in”, to hit a gait and to stay there. Another trait I like to see is natural lift and the ability to perform transitions easily. Whether the horse is finished or just started, some horses have more lift and talent than others. 

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September 6- Mind Your Hands

There is an old saying, “light hands make a soft mouth”. This is true to some degree, but it’s not the whole truth. The whole truth is more “mindful soft hands make a soft mouth”. This means that the secret is paying attention to your approach, your pick-up, and your release, to develop a light, soft mouth. If you are insensitive with your hands, your horse will most likely brace against you for your pick-up. He does this for self-protection; he may have had quite a few hits to his face before.

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August 19- Move with Your Horse

Follow your horses movement with your seat instead of moving against the motion. By doing this you won’t impede his movement, which can lead to stiffness and resistance. 

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August 9- Choosing the Right Curb Bit for Your Event

Different bits and curbs will give you different results in your horse’s profile and head and neck carriage. For my pleasure horses, I want less of a mouth piece and shank and more of a curb as I want them to lift up through the back and withers when I collect them, but when I drop them I want them to let go with their neck and hang their head and neck in a natural position. I have found that too much mouth piece can make an over bridled profile which is not desired in the AQHA standard for Western Pleasure. I’ve also found that some horses will hide in an over bridled position and will get quicker with their legs which is also not desired. 

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August 2- Switching from Two Hands to One

Once your horse accepts being collected and driven forward two handed, go to one hand. Practice your approach or your pick up. Your approach is everything. Do not hit his mouth with an abrupt or jerky pick up. Good hands and feel take practice. I teach my riders to pick up their horse as follows. Pick up until the slack is out of the reins and you feel his mouth. Do this slowly and feel for the contact then bump, or hold lightly until you get the desired response. Then soften or lighten your cue. At this point I often hold or stay in light contact until I know the horse accepts my pick up, and then I will drop. I practice this pick up over and over making my horse give his face every time, until he is soft and accepting to my pressure. 

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July 26- Understanding the Mechanics of a Snaffle Bit

When using a snaffle, you are involving fewer parts of the horse’s mouth, chin and jaw. When you pull on your snaffle bit reins, you have a direct line to the corners of the horse’s mouth. A snaffle is designed so that the reins have direct contact with the horse’s mouth and the pounds of pressure that your hands apply equal the same pressure to the mouth. A snaffle does not have a shank and applies no leverage. The primary pressure point of the snaffle is the tongue, followed by the bars of the jaw and the corners of the  mouth.

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July 23- A Strong Trot Equals a Stronger Horse

I like to trot my horses to their faces at a medium trot while counting one, two, one two with their rhythm. Keep your horse collected and driving up from behind. So many times our trotting problems are stemmed from our horse being lazy, weak or out of condition. I want to remind you that your horse is an athlete and needs a good workout. Picture your horse reaching up strongly behind and firing their legs with cadence and strength. 

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July 20 – Just Say No to the Over Arc!

Many trainers teach their horse to over exaggerate or over arc at the lope.  The deeper a horse reaches up with his hind leg, the slower he will go.  When a horse is over arced, their energy flow is blocked and they actually learn to move unbalanced and can move on their front end.  They lose their natural lift.

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July 13 – Just BREATHE…

While riding, take deep, full breaths using your diaphragm. Many times you can breathe your way past a potential spook or steady your nervous horse in a class at a show. When you continue with rhythmic breathing, you build your horses confidence and reinforce that he needs to listen to you. Deep, full breathing also keeps your spine and hips in the correct position on your horse.

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June 27- Ask Your Horse to Walk Relaxed

Most horses won’t want to jog or lope slow and relaxed if they don’t walk relaxed. For the western pleasure class, I don’t want my horse to walk unnaturally slow, however, I want them to walk flat footed and relaxed, and soft over the ground. Even in the faster events like reining, if a horse walks in ready to go and too uptight, he will  not show with the control that is needed to make the big marks. Practice walking in hand and on a loose rein. Don’t jerk or scare your horse at the walk, just pick him back up if he gets uptight and stay in hand until you feel his footfall become soft and cadenced.

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June 15- Use the Bit as a Tool

I value my communication between my hands and the horse’s mouth, and the bit is a tool that allows me to connect with my hands. When a person uses a tough bit the signal becomes much more intense, depending upon the size and severity of the bit. If I am using too  much bit my signal may be perceived as so loud, that the signal overpowers the original cue and it is lost.

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June 11-Build Acceptance to Your Leg

If a horse is ever aggressive off of my leg, kicking at my spur or moving into my leg, I will punish them by pushing them off of my leg or even making them trot around off of it. If the horse is so heel sensitive, like running off of it and showing me that they are truly upset, I will take the time to develop the relationship and build acceptance.

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June 2- Catch the Beat

The better trot your horse has the more definite the beat. If you have trouble feeling the gait, speed him up a little to encourage him to engage in his gait. Look for that rhythm, as you learn to feel it, allow your body to move with or catch the rhythm remembering to unlock your hips and allow them to catch the beat.

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May 23- Increase Your Awareness

Increase your awareness by feeling through your hands if your horse is pulling on you or if he is soft and light in your hands. Many riders become so accustomed to their horses pulling and tugging on their hands that they don’t even realize that this is going on. A horse can desensitize a rider as well as a rider can desensitize their horse. Redefine your feel and work toward a light and responsive horse.

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May 10- Your Horse Feels Your Tension

When you become tense mentally, your body will also exhibit signs of tension. Your horse will definitely be able to feel subtle and significant changes in your body. When you tense up, your body will usually resist the horse’s movement and energy flow, and interfere or move against your horse. If you and your horse are moving together, you are catching his rhythm.

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May 4- Honestly evaluate your horse

Start by evaluating where he is now and compare that to where he was when you first started showing him. What are the positives and the negatives? We often get in a habit or routine with our horse and we may be accepting bad habits or deterioration in his movement that we just don’t have to! When we get too close to something we may not see the whole picture as clearly as if we step outside of the situation and take a fresh look.

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April 25- Have a goal for clinics

When attending a clinic, be clear in your  mind to what your goals are in attending the clinic. Define what you want to learn, as well as what issues you have that you need help with. That way you can be ready with some questions if you get the opportunity to ask. I love questions! I want every attendee to get all that they can out of it. Be bold and ask, there is no dumb question! Take notes. That way you can go over them and remind yourself what you learned. Good Luck!

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April 18- Be aware of the judge’s eyes

Always try to watch a class or two before yours and make a note of what the judges are calling for in the class. I also make note of how the judges are judging while watching the classes before mine. I watch the order that the judges call for the gaits as they will usually repeat it in the next class. I note where the judges are watching to see if they are watching the whole class or just one cornet of the arena. That way I can make an effort to position my horse in such a way that he makes a good “pass” in front of the judge.

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April 12-Look for the unique style

Every horse has his own style and characteristics that give him his own individual look. When I am looking at prospects, I am not set on a certain type. Rather, I look for something special, individually that I can enhance with training. If you find a young horse that you like that has a unique style, see if it can work to your advantage.

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April 5- Be mindful of your hands
 
When training or schooling, keep your arms away from your body and be mindful and aware of what your hands are doing. If you bump or correct your horse you want to use the pounds of pressure that are in your hands. You will only achieve this if your hands are working independently, and are not locked to your body. Remember, separate your arms from your body, stay soft and light in your hands and ride mindfully
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March 28- Horses can be like children

Horses can be like children. To have a great ride we have to capture and keep their attention! Cold weather and a fresh horse are both going to work against our horses wanting to pay attention to us. Do your best not to lose your temper and be firm and clear with your commands.

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March 11-Drive with Your Legs

There is a principal that when the direction of pull is in front of the horses withers you are primarily controlling the front end of the horse and the shoulders. When your direction of pull is behind the withers you are controlling the ribcage and the hindquarters. If you are struggling with a horse that needs collection or to be driven up behind, bring your hands down and back and drive with your legs. If you are unsure of your direction of pull then pretend that the end of the reins continue into space and see where they will land.

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March 5- Teach your horse to say yes

Training your horse to be responsive and willing is critical to having a broke horse. Too many horses look great in their futurity years and then “burn out”. It may take a little longer to develop and maintain that willing attitude but it is great when you’re fabulous futurity horse is still a beautiful senior horse. Teach your horse to say “yes”. Teach your horse to say “yes” willingly. Teach your horse to say “yes” willingly with cadence.

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February 27- Feel fluid motion

Cadence is a rhythmic flow or sequence. When my horse moves, I want to feel fluid motion, I don’t want to feel surges and uneven steps. I want to feel my horse step rhythmically when I ask and push.

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February 22- Use positive rewards

To encourage your horse to say yes to you, release or reward him after he gives even one step, then reapply the cue and ask for another step. Horses learn by reward. I even use my voice to say “good boy or girl”. I will also pat my horse. Horses respond to positive reward, and by doing these things, you are building a relationship with your horse.

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February 18- Don’t lose forward motion

Every time we shut our horse’s movement down and lose that forward motion, we run the risk of deteriorating his movement. Good, pure, natural movement will help your horse to compete at a higher level in any event.

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February 12- Don’t let your horse be lazy

Often horses get lazy and their body weight goes to their front end, and their head and neck get too low. I will use the stop to diagnose where my horses body weight is and to correct my horse from getting too far on their front end.

Be your best and ride like a champion!

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January 30-Have feel in your back up

Your horse can back up light in the shoulders but still be heavy in the face. The answer is in your timing and in your release. When I am working on the back up,my first priority is to feel my horse’s shoulders lighten and soften, but I also want him light in the face and to give at the poll.

Be your best and ride like a champion

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January 26- Creating a great lope off

In creating a desirable lope off transition, my goal is to control the step and the flight of my horses hock with my outside leg. I will perform exercises to over my horse’s hindquarters around off of my leg, and I will hold and push with my leg and or spur until my cue and his step get together. Then I can leg my horse into the lope. I will not release my leg cue until he is committed into the lope. Make sure you aren’t missing it by releasing too soon, and make sure that he isn’t laying into or ignoring your leg.

Be your best and ride like a champion

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November 6- Have a Happy Horse!
Some horses lose their natural lift and movement because they hurt somewhere. If you feel that this could be your problem, or could be adding to your problem, have your veterinarian evaluate your horse for any unsoundness. I’ve had horses that really struggled to carry themselves and had my vet evaluate and treat them. After I felt like I was riding a whole new horse. They became happier and had an easier time doing their job.

With these tips I’m sure that you will be able to improve your horse’s lift. Whatever events you ride or compete in, your horse will be improved! Horses are much happier if they are moving true and natural!

For additional information on horse training topics by Dana Hokana visit http://www.westernhorsetrainingvideos.com/

DVD’s that will help are – Maximizing 1, Maximizing 3, Take Control Vol. 3, Take Control Vol. 5, Take Control Vol. 6

Be your best and ride like a champion!

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September 27, 2013: Increase your Horse’s Natural Lift
One of the most common problems we have today in Western Pleasure and other rail classes is keeping our horse’s movement true and excellent. As a trainer, I see that often, with age and time, some horses lose that crisp, strong look to their movement they may have once had. There are many causes for this. One cause may be unsoundness. Another cause may also be the rider just has not maintained his horse’s movement by conditioning and collection exercises that may have been needed to keep his horse moving good. Many times movement deteriorates because a horse drops his shoulders or his body weight and balance falls onto his front end. When this happens, your horse loses his natural lift. He may also bob his head and rock in his front end. He may look mismatched from his front end to his hindquarters almost like he has a quicker step up front. He may also lean by dropping a shoulder or even leaning through his rib cage or hip which will eventually show up as a loss of quality in his movement.
For additional information on horse training topics by Dana Hokana visit www.westernhorsetrainingvideos.com
Be your best and ride like a champion!
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August 28, 2013- Rhythm:
 
A strong, regular, repeated pattern of movement or sound.
 
I feel and listen for that rhythm every time I ride…The trot is a definite two beat gait.
The lope or canter is a three beat gait with a moment of air time or hesitation that you can catch with your seat!
 
A synonym of rhythm is flow.  I encourage my riders to catch the flow…
 
For additional information on horse training topics by Dana Hokana visit http://www.westernhorsetrainingvideos.com/
 
Be your best and ride like a champion!

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July 19, 2013- Resistance
When you raise your level of awareness and demand the desired response you may encounter resistance. I encourage you to stay with it until you get your desired response. If he becomes extremely resistant or dangerous stop, what you are doing and seek the help of a professional. Sometimes a horse argues with me right before a big break through. Once I feel him give, I drop right away to teach him that was what I wanted. Remember a horse learns by the reward. Make him want and look for that reward by being clear and consistent. One tip to remember is if you are having trouble getting your horse to give in the face is to try driving him forward more with your legs until he gives. Often forward motion helps him to bridle and give by encouraging him to collect and engage his hindquarters and round up his back making collection physically easier for him.
 
Dana’s training information is demonstrated in great detail on Dana’s Winning Strides Training DVD’s. They include more ideas and exercises to help improve your riding skills. The Winning Strides Training DVD set“Maximizing Your Western Pleasure Horse” Vol. 1, 2 & 3 is now 25% OFF for a limited time at http://www.westernhorsetrainingvideos.com/store/WsDefault.asp?One=27
 
For your free training report, “5 Incredible Tips to Help You Become the Best Rider You Can Be!” by Dana Hokana, send an e-mail to danahokana@aol.com and enter“DANA FREE” in the subject line.
 
Be your best and ride like a champion!
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April 24, 2013 – Gain Your Horse’s Respect

Develop more respect from your horse by making sure your cues are clear and following through until you get the desired response. Many people desensitize their horses without realizing it, because they don’t get the job done when they give their horse a cue.
 
For your free training report, “5 Incredible Tips to Help You Become the Best Rider You Can Be!” by Dana Hokana, send an e-mail to danahokana@aol.com and enter “DANA FREE” in the subject line.
 
Be your best and ride like a champion!

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February 4, 2013 – Your Horse Responds to Your Voice

Horses learn by reward. Look for a good response and a good place to reward your horse even if it’s just one or two steps. I even use my voice sometimes and tell my horse “good boy or girl”. I will also pat my horse. It may sound corny but believe me, horses respond to positive reward and horses love to hear the sound of your voice. Don’t be fooled into thinking horses are like machines. They are animals, powerful beautiful animals, and they respond to sound and touch and you are building a relationship, a good relationship, and it helps to know all about your partner.
 
Dana’s training information is demonstrated in great detail on Dana’s Winning Strides Training DVD’s.   They include more ideas and exercises to help improve your riding skills.  All Winning Strides Training DVD’s are available at http://www.westernhorsetrainingvideos.com/store/default.asp
 
For your free training report, “5 Incredible Tips to Help You Become the Best Rider You Can Be!” by Dana Hokana, send an e-mail to danahokana@aol.com and enter “DANA FREE” in the subject line.
 
Be your best and ride like a champion!

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February 1, 2013 – Spur Control Done Right

The spur stop can be the best thing you teach your horse, or the worst thing you teach your horse. It’s all in how you teach your horse, how you maintain their acceptance to your leg or spur control, and how much or how little your use it.
 
For years, people have used spur and leg controls, commonly called “the spur stop” on their horses. Spur controls have been misused and abused to the point that many horse owners have a bad opinion of them.
 
Rightfully so…
 
The spur control has been used to control the horses instead of good training principals and techniques that layer a solid foundation and build longevity in your horse.
 
I am absolutely AGAINST any training techniques that:

  1. Hurt a horse
  2. Make a horse move uncomfortably or unnaturally
  3. Make a horse hate rather than like its job
  4. Shorten the longevity of a horse’s career

 The “spur stop” can do all of these, but it can also, when taught and used properly, increase the longevity of your horse’s show career and add lift and flow to his movement!
 
I have produced a 3-Part DVD Series – teaching you how to prepare your horse for the spur control by building a solid foundation of acceptance to the leg; showing you how to teach your horse the leg control; and finally, how to maintain your show horse with the leg control.

  • Learn to get your horse’s heart and gain willingness and acceptance
  • Learn how to teach your horse to lift his back off of your spur
  • Learn how to teach your horse to slow down off of your spur without destroying his movement

SPUR CONTROL DONE RIGHT
 
NOW 25% OFF
 
CLICK THE LINK BELOW TO ORDER YOUR COPY TODAY !
 
http://www.westernhorsetrainingvideos.com/store/default.asp

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January 29, 2013 – Selecting Your Trainer

How experienced are you?  If you are a beginner and need a lot of time and teaching, keep in mind that some trainers are better teacher then others. Some trainers are wonderful horse trainers, but are not as strong as teachers. Very few are strong in both areas. What is most important to you? You maybe fortunate enough to have found a trainer who is a rare individual and is great at both!
 
Dana’s training information is demonstrated in great detail on Dana’s Winning Strides Training DVD’s.   They include more ideas and exercises to help improve your riding skills.  All Winning Strides Training DVD’s are available at http://www.westernhorsetrainingvideos.com/store/default.asp
 
For your free training report, “5 Incredible Tips to Help You Become the Best Rider You Can Be!” by Dana Hokana, send an e-mail to danahokana@aol.com and enter “DANA FREE” in the subject line.
 
Be your best and ride like a champion!

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January 17, 2013 – Your Horse’s Best

In order to win at the major shows today your horse needs to be fit and conditioned. Just think about it, our performance horses these days are athletes. Performance horses shown at their best are performing a beautiful athletic event. Let’s help our horses to be their best by giving them our best!
 
Dana’s training information is demonstrated in great detail on Dana’s Winning Strides Training DVD’s.   They include more ideas and exercises to help improve your riding skills.  All Winning Strides Training DVD’s are available at http://www.westernhorsetrainingvideos.com/store/default.asp
 
For your free training report, “5 Incredible Tips to Help You Become the Best Rider You Can Be!” by Dana Hokana, send an e-mail to danahokana@aol.com and enter “DANA FREE” in the subject line.
 
Be your best and ride like a champion!

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January 16, 2013 – Levels of Learning

Remember that your horse goes through two levels of learning in a particular concept or skill.  First is to acquire knowledge of the concept. Second is to acquire acceptance of it. I also leave the round corral and go into the arena after my horse is quiet, willing and understands the concepts and I feel I have good control of him.
Pay attention to the small details and you will make your horse into an excellent, willing young prospect.
 
Dana’s training information is demonstrated in great detail on Dana’s Winning Strides Training DVD’s.   They include more ideas and exercises to help improve your riding skills.  All Winning Strides Training DVD’s are available at http://www.westernhorsetrainingvideos.com/store/default.asp
 
For your free training report, “5 Incredible Tips to Help You Become the Best Rider You Can Be!” by Dana Hokana, send an e-mail to danahokana@aol.com and enter “DANA FREE” in the subject line.
 
Be your best and ride like a champion!

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January 14, 2013 – The Pick Up

As riders we strive to become better and to understand how to ride, to develop a proper and good relationship with our horses.  Being good and mindful with your hands is one way to either build that relationship or hurt it.  These are some tips to establish a great relationship with your horse through your hands.

First you must realize you can take ahold of your horse’s face.  But also realize that how you approach him with your hands is equal to how you would speak to a person.  If your approach is sharp, jerky or rough you have “yelled” at him with your hands and he may be on the defensive. The biggest thing you can do to change his response is to change your approach to him.  Here are some secrets to good hands.

The “pick up” consists of several parts.  The “pick up” is what I call the action of when you connect with his mouth, using your hands.  How you perform your pickup is directly related to how good of hands you have.  I encourage you to strive to study and learn these techniques.  The three components of the pick up are:

  1. Your Approach
  2. The Connection
  3. The Release

Dana’s training information is demonstrated in great detail on Dana’s Winning Strides Training DVD’s.   They include more ideas and exercises to help improve your riding skills.  All Winning Strides Training DVD’s are available at http://www.westernhorsetrainingvideos.com/store/default.asp
 
For your free training report,  “5 Incredible Tips to Help You Become the Best Rider You Can Be!” by Dana Hokana, click the link below and enter your name, e-mail and in the comments box enter the promo code “DANA FREE”.
http://www.westernhorsetrainingvideos.com/store/WsContact.asp
 
Be your best and ride like a champion!

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September 28, 2012 – Do You Have Your Horse’s Heart?

Yes, your horse needs to obey you and “say yes” to you.  He needs to obey your cues, but if he has not developed acceptance to your leg and is obeying you unwillingly, you do not have your horse’s heart.  My idea of having your horse’s heart means that they do their job with a willing attitude.

Dana’s training information is demonstrated in great detail on Dana’s Winning Strides Training DVD’s.   They include more ideas and exercises to help improve your riding skills.  The Winning Strides Training DVD set “Maximizing Your Western Pleasure Horse” Vol. 1, 2 & 3 is now 25% OFF for a limited time at
http://www.westernhorsetrainingvideos.com/store/WsDefault.asp?One=27

For your free training report,  “5 Incredible Tips to Help You Become the Best Rider You Can Be!” by Dana Hokana, click the link below and enter your name, e-mail and in the comments box enter the promo code “DANA FREE”.
http://www.westernhorsetrainingvideos.com/store/WsContact.asp

Be your best and ride like a champion!

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September 25, 2012 – Obedience and Willingness

Training your horse to be obedient is important. It is critical to a broke horse. But when you carry that a step further and spend the time it takes to build willingness, in addition to obedience, you are creating a team that can last for years and you will have a truly fun horse to show. Too many horses look great in their futurity years and then “burn out.” This doesn’t have to happen. It may take a little longer to develop and maintain that willing attitude but it is great when your fabulous futurity horse is still a beautiful senior horse.

For your free training report,  “5 Incredible Tips to Help You Become the Best Rider You Can Be!” by Dana Hokana, click the link below and enter your name, e-mail and in the comments box enter the promo code “DANA FREE”.
http://www.westernhorsetrainingvideos.com/store/WsContact.asp

Be your best and ride like a champion!

 

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September 19, 2012 – Recondition Your Horse

Good physical condition is a huge step toward remaking your horse.  Remember older people and older horses often get shorter and choppier in their movement.  I do a series of calisthenics to stretch, limber, and condition all of my show horses, especially the older ones.  Older horses benefit by a lot of medium trotting.  I like to do a lot of driving forward with collection to keep that pure movement that the horse started out with.

Dana’s training information is demonstrated in great detail on Dana’s Winning Strides Training DVD’s.   They include more ideas and exercises to help improve your riding skills.  Also, the Winning Strides Training DVD set “Take Control” Vol. 1-4 is now 25% OFF for a limited time at http://www.westernhorsetrainingvideos.com/store/WsDefault.asp?One=26

For your free training report,  “5 Incredible Tips to Help You Become the Best Rider You Can Be!” by Dana Hokana, click the link below and enter your name, e-mail and in the comments box enter the promo code “DANA FREE”.
http://www.westernhorsetrainingvideos.com/store/WsContact.asp

Be your best and ride like a champion

_____________________________________________________________________________

September 17, 2012 – Factors that May Affect Your Horse’s Attitude

Factor #6 – Soreness

If your horse is sore somewhere he will have trouble focusing. If something just doesn’t feel right, seek the help of a professional. An uncomfortable horse can not be expected to give you his best.

Dana’s training information is demonstrated in great detail on Dana’s Winning Strides Training DVD’s.   They include more ideas and exercises to help improve your riding skills.  Also, the Winning Strides Training DVD set “Take Control” Vol. 1-4 is now 25% OFF for a limited time at http://www.westernhorsetrainingvideos.com/store/WsDefault.asp?One=26

For your free training report,  “5 Incredible Tips to Help You Become the Best Rider You Can Be!” by Dana Hokana, click the link below and enter your name, e-mail and in the comments box enter the promo code “DANA FREE”.
http://www.westernhorsetrainingvideos.com/store/WsContact.asp

Be your best and ride like a champion!

_______________________________________________________________________________

September 15, 2012 – Develop a Solid Foundation

Before I start my colts, I do a lot of ground work with them.  Developing a well-trained, good minded horse is valuable.  There are so many horses, show horses and trail riding horses alike that have attitude problems and behavior problems.  Many of these horses could have turned out differently if someone would have taken that extra time to train and layer a really good foundation onto their horse.

Dana’s training information is demonstrated in great detail on Dana’s Winning Strides Training DVD’s.   They include more ideas and exercises to help improve your riding skills.  Also, the Winning Strides Training DVD set “Take Control” Vol. 1-4 is now 25% OFF for a limited time at http://www.westernhorsetrainingvideos.com/store/WsDefault.asp?One=26

For your free training report,  “5 Incredible Tips to Help You Become the Best Rider You Can Be!” by Dana Hokana, click the link below and enter your name, e-mail and in the comments box enter the promo code “DANA FREE”.
http://www.westernhorsetrainingvideos.com/store/WsContact.asp

Be your best and ride like a champion!

______________________________________________________________________

September 14, 2012 – True and Excellent Movement

Our horses will be happier, sounder and show better if we give back to them by helping them to maintain natural, quality movement.  I feel that if we care about and look after the overall comfort of our horses, they will enjoy their job much more.  There is no way a horse is happy or comfortable if he is moving poorly or out of balance. He will last longer and try harder for us if we help him to move like he was made to move. Let’s do our best to help him do his best!

Dana’s training information is demonstrated in great detail on Dana’s Winning Strides Training DVD’s.   They include more ideas and exercises to help improve your riding skills.  Also, the Winning Strides Training DVD set “Take Control” Vol. 1-4 is now 25% OFF for a limited time at http://www.westernhorsetrainingvideos.com/store/WsDefault.asp?One=26

For your free training report,  “5 Incredible Tips to Help You Become the Best Rider You Can Be!” by Dana Hokana, click the link below and enter your name, e-mail and in the comments box enter the promo code “DANA FREE”.
http://www.westernhorsetrainingvideos.com/store/WsContact.asp

Be your best and ride like a champion!

_____________________________________________________________________________________

September 12, 2012 – The Lope Transition

In order to perform a good transition you need to have control of you horse’s body. Since your leg cue is your primary signal to lope, you need to develop in your horse a good understanding of this signal. I spend a lot of time on young horses developing an understanding and acceptance of my leg. Many horses start out resistant to your leg. As young horses in a pasture, when one horse pushes against another horse the horse either runs or pushes back. I often get the same reaction when teaching the young horse to accept my leg cue. Some run or jump off of it, but most resist or push back against it. To develop acceptance of this cue I move my horse over off of my leg over and over again.

Dana’s training information is demonstrated in great detail on Dana’s Winning Strides Training DVD’s.   They include more ideas and exercises to help improve your riding skills.  Also, the Winning Strides Training DVD set “Take Control” Vol. 1-4 is now 25% OFF for a limited time at http://www.westernhorsetrainingvideos.com/store/WsDefault.asp?One=26

For your free training report,  “5 Incredible Tips to Help You Become the Best Rider You Can Be!” by Dana Hokana, click the link below and enter your name, e-mail and in the comments box enter the promo code “DANA FREE”.
http://www.westernhorsetrainingvideos.com/store/WsContact.asp

Be your best and ride like a champion!

_____________________________________________________________________________________

September 11, 2012 – Check Yourself

Check your cues and your body position.  Are you sitting in the middle of your horse?  Make sure that your weight is balanced evenly in both legs.   A rule of thumb is 60% of your weight in your seat and 40% in your legs.  Are you centered on your horses back?  If you are riding one handed, is your hand centered over the middle of your horse’s neck?  If you are riding two handed, are your hands balanced and centered over the middle of his neck?  Pay attention to your riding!  Many riders who struggle with a horse drifting are actually the cause of the problem because they are leaning to one side or another.  And once more, don’t think this is exclusive to beginners.  I see trainers and riders at every level riding this way!

Dana’s training information is demonstrated in great detail on Dana’s Winning Strides Training DVD’s.   They include more ideas and exercises to help improve your riding skills.  Also, the Winning Strides Training DVD set “Take Control” Vol. 1-4 is now 25% OFF for a limited time at http://www.westernhorsetrainingvideos.com/store/WsDefault.asp?One=26

For your free training report,  “5 Incredible Tips to Help You Become the Best Rider You Can Be!” by Dana Hokana, click the link below and enter your name, e-mail and in the comments box enter the promo code “DANA FREE”.
http://www.westernhorsetrainingvideos.com/store/WsContact.asp

Be your best and ride like a champion!

_________________________________________________________________________________________

September 10, 2012 – Use Soft Eyes

“Soft eyes” is a term that I use to change your focus from a fixed gaze to a more open, softer gaze.  When you are staring at a fixed object you tend to lean toward that object.  Also, as your peripheral vision decreases, your sense of feel decreases.  You use your vision to tell your body what is going on.  Many riders will stare at their horse’s poll as they are training or riding to see what is going on.  This becomes a habit.  I recommend changing your fixed gaze to one where you look into space a few inches above the horse’s poll.  You will find that this increases your peripheral vision, also allowing your body to feel the horse and increasing your sense of feel.  You can still see the poll and where the horse’s head is while allowing your sense of feel help you to find the rhythm of your horse!  Your timing and body’s responses will become better and you will become aware of what is going on underneath you!

Dana’s training information is demonstrated in great detail on Dana’s Winning Strides Training DVD’s.   They include more ideas and exercises to help improve your riding skills.  Also, the Winning Strides Training DVD set “Take Control” Vol. 1-4 is now 25% OFF for a limited time at http://www.westernhorsetrainingvideos.com/store/WsDefault.asp?One=26

For your free training report,  “5 Incredible Tips to Help You Become the Best Rider You Can Be!” by Dana Hokana, click the link below and enter your name, e-mail and in the comments box enter the promo code “DANA FREE”.
http://www.westernhorsetrainingvideos.com/store/WsContact.asp

Be your best and ride like a champion!

_______________________________________________________________________________

September 6, 2012 – Don’t Give Up

Don’t take it too seriously or be too hard on yourself if you don’t have that perfect ride. There is always another day. But don’t give up, keep stretching to a new level. Raise your standard, and be the best you can be! Have a great ride!

Dana’s training information is demonstrated in great detail on Dana’s Winning Strides Training DVD’s.   They include more ideas and exercises to help improve your riding skills.  Also, the Winning Strides Training DVD set “Take Control” Vol. 1-4 is now 25% OFF for a limited time at http://www.westernhorsetrainingvideos.com/store/WsDefault.asp?One=26

For your free training report,  “5 Incredible Tips to Help You Become the Best Rider You Can Be!” by Dana Hokana, click the link below and enter your name, e-mail and in the comments box enter the promo code “DANA FREE”.
http://www.westernhorsetrainingvideos.com/store/WsContact.asp

Be your best and ride like a champion!

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________

August 31, 2012 – Improve Your Show Ring Presentation

Your Ride

Keep breathing. Breathe deep through your diaphragm. This helps you to sit back and keep your seat where it belongs on your horse.

Dana’s training information is demonstrated in great detail on Dana’s Winning Strides Training DVD’s.   They include more ideas and exercises to help improve your riding skills.  Also, the Winning Strides Training DVD set “Take Control” Vol. 1-4 is now 25% OFF for a limited time at http://www.westernhorsetrainingvideos.com/store/WsDefault.asp?One=26

For your free training report,  “5 Incredible Tips to Help You Become the Best Rider You Can Be!” by Dana Hokana, click the link below and enter your name, e-mail and in the comments box enter the promo code “DANA FREE”.
http://www.westernhorsetrainingvideos.com/store/WsContact.asp

Be your best and ride like a champion!

__________________________________________________________________________________

August 30, 2012 – The Importance of The Back Up

The back up is more important than many people realize.  It is reflective of how balanced your horse is between your reins and legs.  It also shows his lightness, willingness, and flexibility.  It is important enough that AQHA requires it in most performance classes, and in Western Pleasure.  AQHA is defining it to the point that they are rating is from “poor” to “good”.  The ideal back up is one that the horse uses his body, his hindquarters, and his shoulders.  He lifts up and feels light in your hands.  He feels balanced and backs straight with fluid, smith, flowing movements.  He is soft and light in his mouth and doesn’t gap or open his mouth.

Dana’s training information is demonstrated in great detail on Dana’s Winning Strides Training DVDs.   They include more ideas and exercises to help improve your riding skills.  Also, the Winning Strides Training DVD set “Take Control” Vol. 1-4 is now 25% OFF for a limited time at http://www.westernhorsetrainingvideos.com/store/WsDefault.asp?One=26

For your free training report,  “5 Incredible Tips to Help You Become the Best Rider You Can Be!” by Dana Hokana, click the link below and enter your name, e-mail and in the comments box enter the promo code “DANA FREE”.
http://www.westernhorsetrainingvideos.com/store/WsContact.asp

Be your best and ride like a champion!

_____________________________________________________________________

 

August 28, 2012 – Selecting the Western Pleasure Prospect

If I’m looking at a young horse to buy, I want to know what feeding program that horse was on as he was growing, and what the mare was fed while she was carrying the foal.  Proper nutrition and proper vitamins and minerals are essential to development and growth.  There are many disorders that horses can have that affect there long term soundness, and are related to their diet.  I recommend you make sure that the young horse, in which you are considering, has grown up on a healthy diet.

Dana’s training information is demonstrated in great detail on Dana’s Winning Strides Training DVD’s.   They include more ideas and exercises to help improve your riding skills.  Also, the Winning Strides Training DVD set “Take Control” Vol. 1-4 is now 25% OFF for a limited time at http://www.westernhorsetrainingvideos.com/store/WsDefault.asp?One=26

For your free training report,  “5 Incredible Tips to Help You Become the Best Rider You Can Be!” by Dana Hokana, click the link below and enter your name, e-mail and in the comments box enter the promo code “DANA FREE”.
http://www.westernhorsetrainingvideos.com/store/WsContact.asp

Be your best and ride like a champion!

______________________________________________________________________

August 27, 2012 – The Secret to Getting More Good Years with Your Show Horse

I have noticed that many people these days are trying to get more years out of their horse.   In the past, people would show a horse for a year or two and then sell him and upgrade or start over with a young horse.  I believe that there are many reasons why people are holding on to their horses longer.  First of all, some people just don’t have the extra money they used to have, and they don’t want to gamble by starting over with a new horse.  Better training techniques have been developed that promote longevity in horse’s show careers.  People are also better educated about soundness and maintaining that soundness.  Last but not least, many people do a lot of events with their horses and this can inspire people to keep teaching their horse new events, which can promote longevity in their horses.

Dana’s training information is demonstrated in great detail on Dana’s Winning Strides Training DVD’s.   They include more ideas and exercises to help improve your riding skills.  Also, the Winning Strides Training DVD set “Take Control” Vol. 1-4 is now 25% OFF for a limited time at http://www.westernhorsetrainingvideos.com/store/WsDefault.asp?One=26

For your free training report,  “5 Incredible Tips to Help You Become the Best Rider You Can Be!” by Dana Hokana, click the link below and enter your name, e-mail and in the comments box enter the promo code “DANA FREE”.
http://www.westernhorsetrainingvideos.com/store/WsContact.asp

Be your best and ride like a champion!

_________________________________________________________________

July 30, 2012 – Give a Clear Message

Often problems get started because the rider is not clear enough.  Horses like black and white, clear training techniques.  Be firm and clear.  Reward the good, correct the bad, and your horse will last longer!

Dana’s training information is demonstrated in great detail on Dana’s Winning Strides Training DVD’s.   They include more ideas and exercises to help improve your riding skills.  Also, the Winning Strides Training DVD set “Take Control” Vol. 1-4 is now 25% OFF for a limited time at http://www.westernhorsetrainingvideos.com/store/WsDefault.asp?One=26

For your free training report,  “5 Incredible Tips to Help You Become the Best Rider You Can Be!” by Dana Hokana, click the link below and enter your name, e-mail and in the comments box enter the promo code “DANA FREE”.
http://www.westernhorsetrainingvideos.com/store/WsContact.asp

Be your best and ride like a champion!
_____________________________________________________________________

July 25, 2012 – Your Show Ring Ride Warm Up Exercises

Sometimes your warm up exercises are very demanding and may feel like pressure to some horses. I have found that in the past, at times, I would drill or tune my horse to prepare for the class, but the exercise or drill itself actually rattled my horse. I thought I was doing the right thing. I would push my horse to move and be the best he could be. Sometimes it would backfire on me and he would actually be too up-tight to have a great ride. I found that if I could do that drill hours earlier in the day, and then work on relaxing him right before the class, I would have better results. I’ve had other horses that were lazy and dull and needed to be really pushed right before the class in order to be the best that they could be.

Dana’s training information is demonstrated in great detail on Dana’s Winning Strides Training DVDs.   They include more ideas and exercises to help improve your riding skills.  Also, the Winning Strides Training DVD set “Take Control” Vol. 1-4 is now 25% OFF for a limited time at http://www.westernhorsetrainingvideos.com/store/WsDefault.asp?One=26

For your free training report,  “5 Incredible Tips to Help You Become the Best Rider You Can Be!” by Dana Hokana, click the link below and enter your name, e-mail and in the comments box enter the promo code “DANA FREE”.
http://www.westernhorsetrainingvideos.com/store/WsContact.asp

Be your best and ride like a champion!

_______________________________________________________________________________

July 20, 2012 – Proper Hand and Leg Position

You open a door for your horse with your hands and your legs. Your hands are used to give direction, and your hands are used with your legs to engage collection. Sometimes either by lack of knowledge or mindless riding you can close or open doors or directions with your hands. Anytime the direction of your pull ends up back by your body you are shutting down your horse’s motion, if your hands are open and forward you are opening a space for your horse to move into. Increase your level of awareness, ride mindfully and be very intentional about where you send your horse.

Dana’s training information is demonstrated in great detail on Dana’s Winning Strides Training DVD’s.   They include more ideas and exercises to help improve your riding skills.  Also, the Winning Strides Training DVD set “Take Control” Vol. 5, 6 & 7, “The Headset Series”, is now 25% OFF for a limited time at http://www.westernhorsetrainingvideos.com/store/WsDefault.asp?One=33

For your free training report,  “5 Incredible Tips to Help You Become the Best Rider You Can Be!” by Dana Hokana, click the link below and enter your name, e-mail and in the comments box enter the promo code “DANA FREE”.
http://www.westernhorsetrainingvideos.com/store/WsContact.asp

Be your best and ride like a champion!

___________________________________________________________________________

July 17, 2012 – Your Horse’s Attention Span

Some horses have a poor attention span. Often they are horses that spook or ones that want to look at things. This personality type may be genetic; some of it could also be a learned behavior. You can teach your horse to be spooky. This happens through body language and subtle signals through your body that there is something to worry about as you approach a scary or challenging object. If your horse feels your fear, this tells him that it is a big deal and he may react or spook, which causes you to react even more. You may be unconsciously causing a pattern of learned behavior. Become aware of your signals. Breathe and relax while approaching intimidating obstacles. When he reacts, act as if it is no big deal. Keep going back and forth by the object until he can relax. Stop your horse by the scary spot, stand there until you hear him breathe and relax. Do not overreact! If you are able, tie them out in different places and leave them there until they can relax can stand quietly.

Dana’s training information is demonstrated in great detail on Dana’s Winning Strides Training DVD’s. They include more ideas and exercises to help improve your riding skills. Also, the Winning Strides Training DVD set “Take Control” Vol. 5, 6 & 7, “The Headset Series”, is now 25% OFF for a limited time at http://www.westernhorsetrainingvideos.com/store/WsDefault.asp?One=33

For your free training report, “5 Incredible Tips to Help You Become the Best Rider You Can Be!” by Dana Hokana, click the link below and enter your name, e-mail and in the comments box enter the promo code “DANA FREE”.
http://www.westernhorsetrainingvideos.com/store/WsContact.asp

Be your best and ride like a champion!

_______________________________________________________________________

July 12, 2012 – How To Diagnose Lean

One of the best ways to diagnose lean is to ride him on a straight line and release contact on his mouth and see if he fades one way or the other.  This sounds very simple but I can’t stress enough how many times I’ve tried this with clients, and even myself, and found my horse fading or veering one way or another.   This is lean!

Dana’s training information is demonstrated in great detail on Dana’s Winning Strides Training DVD’s.   They include more ideas and exercises to help improve your riding skills.  Also, the Winning Strides Training DVD set “Take Control” Vol. 5, 6 & 7, “The Headset Series”, is now 25% OFF for a limited time at http://www.westernhorsetrainingvideos.com/store/WsDefault.asp?One=33

For your free training report,  “5 Incredible Tips to Help You Become the Best Rider You Can Be!” by Dana Hokana, click the link below and enter your name, e-mail and in the comments box enter the promo code “DANA FREE”.
http://www.westernhorsetrainingvideos.com/store/WsContact.asp

Be your best and ride like a champion!

________________________________________________________________________

July 6, 2012 – Favorite Training and Preparation Methods

I personally like to do a fair amount of groundwork such as tying, sacking out and ground driving with a saddle on before we start riding young horses.  I will usually start my young horses in a side pull.  I like to spend a fair amount of time on the details, as I feel that if steps are missed it will often come back to bite you later!

Dana’s training information is demonstrated in great detail on Dana’s Winning Strides Training DVD’s.   They include more ideas and exercises to help improve your riding skills.  Also, the Winning Strides Training DVD set “Take Control” Vol. 5, 6 & 7, “The Headset Series”, is now 25% OFF for a limited time at http://www.westernhorsetrainingvideos.com/store/WsDefault.asp?One=33

For your free training report,  “5 Incredible Tips to Help You Become the Best Rider You Can Be!” by Dana Hokana, click the link below and enter your name, e-mail and in the comments box enter the promo code “DANA FREE”.
http://www.westernhorsetrainingvideos.com/store/WsContact.asp

Be your best and ride like a champion!

___________________________________________________________________

July 5, 2012 – Conditioning for Results

As I do work my horses with these exercises I try to be very mindful as I ride. I’m not just putting in my time going through the motions I am being intentional about looking for results. I want to feel more body control, lift and step. I want them soft and pliable and moving with more brilliance of movement and reach. Learn to ride mindful and you will be thrilled with your results. My training DVD’S have many other exercises that you can continue on with after you have mastered these. Remember to pay attention to the details. Champions are made by paying attention to the details. Good luck and good riding.

Dana’s training information is demonstrated in great detail on Dana’s Winning Strides Training DVD’s.   They include more ideas and exercises to help improve your riding skills.  Also, the Winning Strides Training DVD set “Take Control” Vol. 5, 6 & 7, “The Headset Series”, is now 25% OFF for a limited time at http://www.westernhorsetrainingvideos.com/store/WsDefault.asp?One=33

For your free training report,  “5 Incredible Tips to Help You Become the Best Rider You Can Be!” by Dana Hokana, click the link below and enter your name, e-mail and in the comments box enter the promo code “DANA FREE”.
http://www.westernhorsetrainingvideos.com/store/WsContact.asp
______________________________________________________________________________

July 2, 2012 – Connecting the Quadrants

Dana Hokana has just released a new DVD titled “Connecting the Quadrants”

Secrets to Perfecting Your Ride

Knowledge is Power!

-Revolutionary new techniques to become the rider that you always wanted to be!

-Never before taught concepts

-Take away the barriers in communication between you and your horse.

-Help your horse to be the best he can be.

-Learn to use all your body parts and unlock your horse by uncovering his weak areas.

-A MUST have for every rider!

In this DVD, Dana teaches how to become knowledgeable and aware of your horse’s body, how they are moving, and how you can use your body to train your horse. By using your body correctly you can get your horse better balanced, softer and more broke.

ORDER TODAY AT http://westernhorsetrainingvideos.com/store/WsDefault.asp?One=39

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June 27, 2012 – Raise Your Level of Awareness

The first and most important principal to remember is to “pay attention”. Pay attention to what your horse is doing underneath you. Learn to read your horse, to diagnose what he’s doing and what you are doing while you are riding him. Shane Dowdy once told me that too many people ride “mindlessly”, that is, they don’t pay attention to their hands or their bumping, or what their horse is even doing underneath them. I’ve told my amateur and youth riders for years that the best riders don’t ride along bumping their horse’s face and talking to their friends unless they can talk and really pay attention to their hands and horse. The best riders are so in tune with their horses that they know what their horse is doing at all times and if while they are talking they need to pick up or correct their horse they do it “mindfully” not “mindlessly”. They focus and get the job done and it shows through their results. So start improving your feel and timing by paying attention while riding. You can only fix something if you become aware that there is a problem, so raise your level of awareness and develop better feel and timing.

Dana’s training information is demonstrated in great detail on Dana’s Winning Strides Training DVD’s.   They include more ideas and exercises to help improve your riding skills.  Also, the Winning Strides Training DVD set “Take Control” Vol. 5, 6 & 7, “The Headset Series”, is now 25% OFF for a limited time at http://www.westernhorsetrainingvideos.com/store/WsDefault.asp?One=33

For your free training report,  “5 Incredible Tips to Help You Become the Best Rider You Can Be!” by Dana Hokana, click the link below and enter your name, e-mail and in the comments box enter the promo code “DANA FREE”.
http://www.westernhorsetrainingvideos.com/store/WsContact.asp

Be your best and ride like a champion!

_________________________________________________________________________

June 26, 2012 – The Importance of Riding Mindfully

I want to help you to become the best horseman that you can be, and with these proven tips you can become a better rider. I am going to teach you true benefits of mindful riding, and how to become a mindful rider. I feel that very few people ride “mindfully”. In my opinion, to ride mindfully is to pay attention while you are riding. Raise your consciousness to a new level that will allow you to notice more, and become more “in tune” to, or sensitive, to your horse and your riding. Many people who ride have gotten into the habit of riding “mindlessly” as I call it. We all can slip into that bad habit. I often have to remind myself to pay attention. Especially if we have ridden a long time, or are very accustomed to our horse, we can tend to slip into a habit or routine in our riding, or get in a rut so to speak. That’s easy to do because we’ve found some things that work and we do it over and over. Why not? If it works, keep doing it. But I want to encourage you to reach for excellence. Strive to be the best you can be!

Dana’s training information is demonstrated in great detail on Dana’s Winning Strides Training DVD’s.   They include more ideas and exercises to help improve your riding skills.  Also, the Winning Strides Training DVD set “Take Control” Vol. 5, 6 & 7, “The Headset Series”, is now 25% OFF for a limited time at http://www.westernhorsetrainingvideos.com/store/WsDefault.asp?One=33

For your free training report,  “5 Incredible Tips to Help You Become the Best Rider You Can Be!” by Dana Hokana, click the link below and enter your name, e-mail and in the comments box enter the promo code “DANA FREE”.
http://www.westernhorsetrainingvideos.com/store/WsContact.asp

Be your best and ride like a champion!

_________________________________________________________________________

 

June 25, 2012 – Your Horse’s Physical Appearance

Become mindful about your horse’s health. How is his hair coat? When you pull him out of the stall, check his manure. Often if horses aren’t feeling well, they might slow down their drinking. The first sign of a dehydrated horse is that their manure turns to small, hard balls. Check his water. Is it working? Look him over well and make sure there are no cuts or swelling. I always look at my horses flanks to make sure they are drinking. With automatic waterers, you cannot check how much water your horse is consuming. Does he finish his feed? Great horsemen pay attention to their horse!

Dana’s training information is demonstrated in great detail on Dana’s Winning Strides Training DVD’s.   They include more ideas and exercises to help improve your riding skills.  Also, the Winning Strides Training DVD set “Take Control” Vol. 5, 6 & 7, “The Headset Series”, is now 25% OFF for a limited time at http://www.westernhorsetrainingvideos.com/store/WsDefault.asp?One=33

For your free training report,  “5 Incredible Tips to Help You Become the Best Rider You Can Be!” by Dana Hokana, click the link below and enter your name, e-mail and in the comments box enter the promo code “DANA FREE”.
http://www.westernhorsetrainingvideos.com/store/WsContact.asp

Be your best and ride like a champion!

________________________________________________________________________

June 22, 2012 – Positive Results

One of the most important tips for success that I have is, don’t leave or end your workout until you get a positive result.  Do your best to get a breakthrough.  The first few times you work with your horse be prepared to spend the time it takes to “get to the other side” so to speak, or at least get a small win.  That’s why it is so important to allow plenty of time to break through, because if you end the day with no improvement, you have further conditioned (and deeply engrained) the fear.  One of the reasons why it may take so long to break a bad habit or fear is that negative stimulation can make a greater impact on horses or people than positive ones.

Dana’s training information is demonstrated in great detail on Dana’s Winning Strides Training DVD’s.   They include more ideas and exercises to help improve your riding skills.  Also, the Winning Strides Training DVD set “Take Control” Vol. 5, 6 & 7, “The Headset Series”, is now 25% OFF for a limited time at http://www.westernhorsetrainingvideos.com/store/WsDefault.asp?One=33

For your free training report,  “5 Incredible Tips to Help You Become the Best Rider You Can Be!” by Dana Hokana, click the link below and enter your name, e-mail and in the comments box enter the promo code “DANA FREE”.
http://www.westernhorsetrainingvideos.com/store/WsContact.asp

Be your best and ride like a champion!

______________________________________________________________________________________________

June 21, 2012 – Relax Your Horse

Spend the time needed to relax your horse. I was at a show recently with a fairly green horse that tends to be afraid of new surroundings and each time I rode her I walked her a moment and gave her time to see everything and relax in her surroundings. It worked wonders; she was great at the show. I had always walked her and let her see a new arena but the difference was that this time I did not school her or bump her a lot, I just let her relax without my added pressure. I paid attention to her body language and gave her the time needed to relax and to get comfortable in her surroundings.

Dana’s training information is demonstrated in great detail on Dana’s Winning Strides Training DVD’s.   They include more ideas and exercises to help improve your riding skills.  Also, the Winning Strides Training DVD set “Take Control” Vol. 5, 6 & 7, “The Headset Series”, is now 25% OFF for a limited time at http://www.westernhorsetrainingvideos.com/store/WsDefault.asp?One=33

For your free training report,  “5 Incredible Tips to Help You Become the Best Rider You Can Be!” by Dana Hokana, click the link below and enter your name, e-mail and in the comments box enter the promo code “DANA FREE”.
http://www.westernhorsetrainingvideos.com/store/WsContact.asp

Be your best and ride like a champion!

__________________________________________________________________

June 18, 2012 – Tune Up Your Horse’s Neck Reining Skills

Reinforce your horse’s response to one-handed neck reining cues, by asking your horse to move his front end under your rein hand, and therefore turn whenever you move that hand to one side or the other. I call this exercise “hunt the thumb”. While riding with split reins, center your rein hand just in front of the saddle horn over your horse’s neck with your thumb pointing directly in front of you. At the walk, move your hand 2-3 inches to the right, to drag your left rein against his neck for a cue to turn right. Avoid pulling back at all as that will only confuse him. Your horse needs to “hunt your thumb”, that is, to respond to the new direction your thumb is now pointing to, and to turn in response, to fill that space, that has been opened up by the movement of your hand to the right. If your horse instantly moves to the right, release your cue and reward him. If he doesn’t, reach down with your free hand, grab both reins in a fist and drag them to the right, to reinforce the neck rein cue. The instant he steps to the right, release your cue. Walk forward several steps, then repeat until your horse moves to the right the instant he feels your hand move in that direction. Repeat to the left and again gradually move up to doing the exercise at the jog and the lope. Also remember that when your hands are in front of the withers, you can control the front end. When they are behind the withers you can control the hindquarters. This is a great exercise to do before going into the show pen to be sure that should you need to pass on the rail or as you skillfully guide through a trail class, that your hand movements will be kept to a minimum while still being responded to immediately by your horse and therefore be less distracting to the overall picture you are presenting to the judge.

Dana’s training information is demonstrated in great detail on Dana’s Winning Strides Training DVD’s.   They include more ideas and exercises to help improve your riding skills.  Also, the Winning Strides Training DVD set “Take Control” Vol. 5, 6 & 7, “The Headset Series”, is now 25% OFF for a limited time at http://www.westernhorsetrainingvideos.com/store/WsDefault.asp?One=33

For your free training report,  “5 Incredible Tips to Help You Become the Best Rider You Can Be!” by Dana Hokana, click the link below and enter your name, e-mail and in the comments box enter the promo code “DANA FREE”.
http://www.westernhorsetrainingvideos.com/store/WsContact.asp

Be your best and ride like a champion!

_______________________________________________________________________________

June 14, 2012 – Learn to Read Your Horse’s Energy Level

If your horse is feeling fresh, he’ll be unable to focus, and will most likely resist your cues. If you were to ride him while he’s too fresh, you’d be setting yourself up for a fight. As you get him out of his stall or pen, observe his body language. Is he pulling or pushing on you? Refusing to stand still? Holding his head and/or tail high? If so, he’s too fresh to focus. Turn him out or lunge him for a while. When you do get on your horse, reevaluate his mood. If he’s looking around, trying to push through the bridle or otherwise ignoring you, he’s still too fresh. Warm him up by long trotting at least 10 minutes, or until his head drops to its natural level and he consistently flicks an ear back to you. The trot’s diagonal two-beat rhythm will relax his mind and body, tuning him into you and laying the groundwork for a more responsive ride. As you long trot, count “one-two” in rhythm with your horse’s stride. Not only will it help you relax, it’ll also help to put you in sync with your horse’s movement. You can also try speeding up and slowing down your counting. You’ll feel him speed up and slow down, accordingly.

Dana’s training information is demonstrated in great detail on Dana’s Winning Strides Training DVD’s.   They include more ideas and exercises to help improve your riding skills.  Also, the Winning Strides Training DVD set “Take Control” Vol. 5, 6 & 7, “The Headset Series”, is now 25% OFF for a limited time at http://www.westernhorsetrainingvideos.com/store/WsDefault.asp?One=33

For your free training report,  “5 Incredible Tips to Help You Become the Best Rider You Can Be!” by Dana Hokana, click the link below and enter your name, e-mail and in the comments box enter the promo code “DANA FREE”.
http://www.westernhorsetrainingvideos.com/store/WsContact.asp

Be your best and ride like a champion!

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________

June 11, 2012 – Gain the Power of Correct Breathing

When you breathe properly, taking full, deep breaths using your diaphragm, your pelvis rolls back and down, putting your seat in the correct position. When your seat is in the correct position, you’ll feel more secure and therefore more relaxed. This causes your horse to relax, and when he is relaxed, he’ll be more responsive to your cues. Tense, shallow breathing (like when you see a spooky object) tips you forward on your pelvis, which is a signal to your horse that there is something out there to be worried about and maybe even something dangerous. To keep this from happening, you can practice correct breathing until it becomes second nature to you. When this happens, you can then put it to use whenever you come upon a scary situation while riding. To learn what this feels like, place your hand over your belt buckle area while at a standstill on your horse. Take a deep breath, pushing your abdomen into your hand. If you don’t feel pressure against your hand, you are not using your diaphragm. Slowly exhale. Then repeat. Practice this every day at the walk jog and lope as part of your regular warm up. Then use this breathing technique to communicate to your horse through your breathing and relaxed seat that everything is alright when he is starting to become tense or spook at something.

Winning Strides Training DVD set “Take Control” Vol. 5, 6 & 7, “The Headset Series”, is now 25% OFF for a limited time at http://www.westernhorsetrainingvideos.com

For your free training report,  “5 Incredible Tips to Help You Become the Best Rider You Can Be!” by Dana Hokana, click the link below and enter your name, e-mail and in the comments box enter the promo code “DANA FREE”.
http://www.westernhorsetrainingvideos.com/store/WsContact.asp

Be your best and ride like a champion!

__________________________________________________________________________

 

June 7, 2012 – Teach Your Horse to Say “Yes” to You

It is critical that your horse responds and is obedient to you and that you get your desired response, that’s the first step. They have to say yes to you! Let me just talk you through one exercise such as pushing the hip around off your leg and I’ll show you how my principle will apply to his willingness. If you ask your horse to move over off your left leg and push his hindquarters to the right, we will isolate his hindquarters from his shoulders. If needed, ride two-handed, pull his head to the left and cue with your left leg asking his hindquarters to step to the right and get your horse to say “yes”. Insist that he step over or move over off your leg. If he sticks or refuses, you can pull his head way over to the left and push, kick or mash until he unlocks his hindquarters and steps over. To encourage him to say yes to you, release or reward him after he gives even one step, then reapply the cue and ask for another step. Horses learn by reward. Look for a good response and a good place to reward even if it’s just one or two steps, then get out and reward. I even use my voice sometimes and tell my horse “good boy or girl”. I will also pat my horse. It may sound corny but believe me, horses respond to positive reward and horses love to hear the sound of your voice. Don’t be fooled into thinking horses are like machines. They are animals, powerful beautiful animals, and they respond to sound and touch and you are building a relationship, a good relationship, and it helps to know all about your partner.

Winning Strides Training DVD set “Take Control” Vol. 5, 6 & 7 is now 25% OFF for a limited time at http://www.westernhorsetrainingvideos.com/

For your free training report,  “5 Incredible Tips to Help You Become the Best Rider You Can Be!” by Dana Hokana, click the link below and enter your name, e-mail and in the comments box enter the promo code “DANA FREE”.
http://www.westernhorsetrainingvideos.com/store/WsContact.asp

Be your best and ride like a champion!

________________________________________________________________________________

 

June 5, 2012 – Reestablishing Your Whoa Cue

Teach your horse that “whoa” means to stop moving his feet. “Whoa” is your most important cue. Your horse’s responsiveness to it can save you in an uncomfortable or dangerous situation. From the walk, say “whoa,” then reinforce it with a rein cue, releasing your rein pressure the instant your horse stops, to reward him. Remember, your horse learns by the reward. Repeat until he’ll stop from the word “whoa” alone. If he continually walks through your verbal cue, or leans into the bit and immediately wants to walk off after stopping, back him up several steps. Release your rein cue, and then ask him to walk forward and then say “whoa” again. Test his response every time you ride and tune it up with the walk-stop-back maneuver whenever his responsiveness dims. You can accelerate your horse’s “whoa” response by practicing from the ground, as well, using pressure on his halter to stop and back him up, should he ignore the cue. Remember, we can either teach and reinforce cues or let him get away with things on the ground, but they will all come back to us in the saddle in one form or another.

Dana’s training information is demonstrated in great detail on Dana’s Winning Strides Training DVD’s.   They include more ideas and exercises to help improve your riding skills.  Also, the Winning Strides Training DVD set “Take Control” Vol. 5, 6 & 7 is now 25% OFF for a limited time at http://www.westernhorsetrainingvideos.com/

For your free training report,  “5 Incredible Tips to Help You Become the Best Rider You Can Be!” by Dana Hokana, click the link below and enter your name, e-mail and in the comments box enter the promo code “DANA FREE”.
http://www.westernhorsetrainingvideos.com/store/WsContact.asp

Be your best and ride like a champion!

_________________________________________________________________
May 31, 2012 – Get your Horse in Top Condition to Have a Top Performance

Increase Your Horse’s Range

I feel that in today’s competitive world our show horses will move and perform better if they are in good physical shape. Muscles that are toned and conditioned have more strength and flexibility than tight unconditioned muscles.

The exercises that I do are done to not only condition my horses but to increase their range of motion. I specialize in western pleasure horses but these techniques will help in any discipline and any event. We want our pleasure horses to move like ballerinas but they need our help to keep them supple and flexible. Improving your horse’s movement will always make your horse look better and place higher. It will also make your horse like his job more.

Dana’s training information is demonstrated in great detail on Dana’s Winning Strides Training DVD’s.   They include more ideas and exercises to help improve your riding skills.  Also, the Winning Strides Training DVD set “Take Control” Vol. 5, 6 & 7 is now 25% OFF for a limited time at http://www.westernhorsetrainingvideos.com

For your free training report,  “5 Incredible Tips to Help You Become the Best Rider You Can Be!” by Dana Hokana, click the link below and enter your name, e-mail and in the comments box enter the promo code “DANA FREE”.
http://www.westernhorsetrainingvideos.com/store/WsContact.asp

Be your best and ride like a champion!

__________________________________________________________________________________

 

May 29, 2012 – What I Do If My Horse Is Over-Bridling His Head

A horse is over-bridling his head when he carries his head extremely bridled and behind the vertical position.  When he is over-bridled the horse will often arch his neck or throat latch giving him an unnatural look.  Many horses carry their head and neck this way because they are afraid or intimidated. Although I also want to stress that many times horses have learned to over-bridle, and even of you do everything right, it may have become a habit for him. It can be complicated! I want to help you to overcome this dilemma, and as every horse is different, I will give you as many causes and corrections and you can see which ones apply to you and your horse.

Dana’s training information is demonstrated in great detail on Dana’s Winning Strides Training DVD’s.   They include more ideas and exercises to help improve your riding skills.  Also, the Winning Strides Training DVD set “Take Control” Vol. 5, 6 & 7 is now 25% OFF for a limited time at http://www.westernhorsetrainingvideos.com

For your free training report,  “5 Incredible Tips to Help You Become the Best Rider You Can Be!” by Dana Hokana, click the link below and enter your name, e-mail and in the comments box enter the promo code “DANA FREE”.
http://www.westernhorsetrainingvideos.com/store/WsContact.asp

Be your best and ride like a champion!

________________________________________________________________

May 25, 2012 – Little Refusals Turn Into Big Cheats

I have found that almost always, your horse will tell you in small ways in the warm up pen where they are going to cheat in the class.  You have to be extremely perceptive and look for details. For example, a horse that leans and turns to go in to the center in your class is probably not staying between your reins and guiding as well as he should in the warm up pen.  If you work on every little detail and pay attention in the small things, you will fix the potential problems before they become problems.

For your free training report,  “5 Incredible Tips to Help You Become the Best Rider You Can Be!” by Dana Hokana, click the link below and enter your name, e-mail and in the comments box enter the promo code “DANA FREE”.
http://www.westernhorsetrainingvideos.com/store/WsContact.asp

Be your best and ride like a champion!

__________________________________________________________________________________________

May 24, 2012 – Strategies to Improve your Show Ring Presentation

I believe that before you enter the show ring it is wise to give thought to your ride.  Develop a plan or a strategy to present yourself and your horse as the best that you can be!

In the show ring in a western pleasure class there are many things that are out of your control.  Sometimes things happen that you can’t plan for.  This is life.  However, you can get the odds in your favor by giving thought to and applying some of the principals I am going to give you.

Strategy – “Watch Horses in the Warm-Up”

Try and pay close attention to the horses in the warm up pen with you.  If you happen to notice a horse acting up or a bit out of control, you will know to distance yourself from that horse in the show pen.  Also, if there is someone who is always schooling or pulling on their horse in the show pen, try to take note of these people and stay away from them as well.  I understand sometimes a person needs to school their horse; in fact every horse needs schooling at some time or another.  But I find it difficult to show behind people who are pulling on their horse and slowing it down to the crawl then letting it go in front of the judges for a good pass, then slam this is irritating and inconsiderate.  If you have to school just try not to mess up the other exhibitors in the class.  They pay their entry fee and the class may mean a lot to them and you certainly don’t want to cost them a good ride!

Dana’s training information is demonstrated in great detail on Dana’s Winning Strides Training DVD’s.   They include more ideas and exercises to help improve your riding skills.  Also, the Winning Strides Training DVD set “Maximizing Your Western Pleasure Horse” Vol. 1, 2 & 3 is now 25% OFF for a limited time at http://www.westernhorsetrainingvideos.com

For your free training report,  “5 Incredible Tips to Help You Become the Best Rider You Can Be!” by Dana Hokana, click the link below and enter your name, e-mail and in the comments box enter the promo code “DANA FREE”.
http://www.westernhorsetrainingvideos.com/store/WsContact.asp

Be your best and ride like a champion!

___________________________________________________________________________________________

May 22, 2012 – The Importance of Keeping Your Horse Centered and Balanced

It is possible for your horse to appear to track straight but in fact, he is really leaning or drifting one way or another.  Lean can negatively affect anything you do with your horse, but as I train show horses, I especially see that when a horse is drifting or leaning his movement really deteriorates.  This happens because when a horse is leaning or drifting, his energy flow is interrupted or blocked and excess leg or head and neck action is the result.  A horse can lean with a part of his body such as, dropping a shoulder, or his hip, or he can tip or drop his ribcage and become out of balance.  Dropping his body weight forward onto his front end is another form of lean.  Knowledge is wonderful, and I want to give you all the knowledge I can!

Dana’s training information is demonstrated in great detail on Dana’s Winning Strides Training DVD’s.   They include more ideas and exercises to help improve your riding skills.  Also, the Winning Strides Training DVD set “Maximizing Your Western Pleasure Horse” Vol. 1, 2 & 3 is now 25% OFF for a limited time at http://www.westernhorsetrainingvideos.com

For your free training report,  “5 Incredible Tips to Help You Become the Best Rider You Can Be!” by Dana Hokana, click the link below and enter your name, e-mail and in the comments box enter the promo code “DANA FREE”.
http://www.westernhorsetrainingvideos.com/store/WsContact.asp

Be your best and ride like a champion!

__________________________________________________________________

May 21, 2012 – Horses Learn by Reward

If you can learn to give clear messages of correction and reward you will find your horse trying to please and looking for that reward. When you release your horse, that is his reward. However, don’t release until he truly gives. Set your standard in your mind of what your expectations are. I determine this by how advanced my horse’s training is. If my horse is very green I won’t require as much as if my horse is a finished show horse.

Dana’s training information is demonstrated in great detail on Dana’s Winning Strides Training DVD’s.   They include more ideas and exercises to help improve your riding skills.  Also, the Winning Strides Training DVD set “Maximizing Your Western Pleasure Horse” Vol. 1, 2 & 3 is now 25% OFF for a limited time at http://www.westernhorsetrainingvideos.com

For your free training report,  “5 Incredible Tips to Help You Become the Best Rider You Can Be!” by Dana Hokana, click the link below and enter your name, e-mail and in the comments box enter the promo code “DANA FREE”.
http://www.westernhorsetrainingvideos.com/store/WsContact.asp

Be your best and ride like a champion!

 

 

May 17, 2012 – How To Use The Back Up To Improve Your Horse’s Performance

I am going to teach you 7 steps that can improve your horse’s performance by perfecting and using something as simple as the back up!  I will teach you how to back your horse correctly.  We will learn how to gain more collection, left, and balance than ever before with these exercises.

Step 4: Build and Strengthen Your Horse in the Back Up

The back up is great for strengthening your horse.  When you back your horse, you use many muscle groups and body parts that are not used as much in going forward.  You will build and improve overall muscle tone and strength in your horse as well as improve his range of motion by backing him.  The exterior side of the stride is primarily used in back, while the flexor side of the stride is used in going forward.  So backing offers a great way to strengthen these body parts.  Your horse also uses the semimembranosus and semitendinosus muscle groups as well as the gastrocnemius and stifle while backing up.  I recommend that you start slow and build your horse gradually, but add backing to your daily workout.

Dana’s training information is demonstrated in great detail on Dana’s Winning Strides Training DVD’s.   They include more ideas and exercises to help improve your riding skills.  Also, the Winning Strides Training DVD set “Maximizing Your Western Pleasure Horse” Vol. 1, 2 & 3 is now 25% OFF for a limited time at http://www.westernhorsetrainingvideos.com

For your free training report,  “5 Incredible Tips to Help You Become the Best Rider You Can Be!” by Dana Hokana, click the link below and enter your name, e-mail and in the comments box enter the promo code “DANA FREE”.
http://www.westernhorsetrainingvideos.com/store/WsContact.asp

Be your best and ride like a champion!

________________________________________________________________________________

May 16, 2012 – Principals to Keep Your Older Show Horses Showing Strong and Honest

I believe show horses, even western pleasure horses, can have long, fruitful careers.  In my career, I’ve had many older, burned out horses that I’ve had to remake into good, honest horses.  At one time, I didn’t have a lot to choose from, and if someone brought me a horse to fix, I would take the time to figure out how to fix it.  Later on, I loved the challenge and it was exciting for me to take a tired horse and turn him into a good performer.  These horses have taught me a lot.  I’ve learned to really think through the problem.  I would put myself in their place and think, “How did this problem start? What caused this horse to turn into a cheater?” I discovered many common threads and found that many of the horses can be turned around and remade into good, happy show horses.  I’m excited to share with you what I’ve learned.

Dana’s training information is demonstrated in great detail on Dana’s Winning Strides Training DVD’s.   They include more ideas and exercises to help improve your riding skills.  Also, the Winning Strides Training DVD set “Maximizing Your Western Pleasure Horse” Vol. 1, 2 & 3 is now 25% OFF for a limited time at http://www.westernhorsetrainingvideos.com

For your free training report,  “5 Incredible Tips to Help You Become the Best Rider You Can Be!” by Dana Hokana, click the link below and enter your name, e-mail and in the comments box enter the promo code “DANA FREE”.
http://www.westernhorsetrainingvideos.com/store/WsContact.asp

Be your best and ride like a champion!

__________________________________________________________________________

 

May 15, 2012 – Seven Steps to Slow Your Horse Down Without Sacrificing Movement

Many of your training and showing problems actually stem from undiagnosed lean in your horse. For your horse to be balanced, exhibit self-carriage and move with flow and cadence, he needs to be guiding between your reins and not leaning in any direction. Lean may seem vague or too elusive to figure out or not that important, but I can’t tell you enough how important it is to “get the lean out” in order to have a great moving responsive horse. So many times people bring me horses with cheating problems or movement problems and we fix it quickly by just figuring out that they are leaning, correcting it and they feel like they have a new horse! Lets talk about what lean is, how to diagnose lean in your horse and how to correct it.

Dana’s training information is demonstrated in great detail on Dana’s Winning Strides Training DVD’s.   They include more ideas and exercises to help improve your riding skills.  Also, the Winning Strides Training DVD set “Maximizing Your Western Pleasure Horse” Vol. 1, 2 & 3 is now 25% OFF for a limited time at http://www.westernhorsetrainingvideos.com

For your free training report,  “5 Incredible Tips to Help You Become the Best Rider You Can Be!” by Dana Hokana, click the link below and enter your name, e-mail and in the comments box enter the promo code “DANA FREE”.
http://www.westernhorsetrainingvideos.com/store/WsContact.asp

Be your best and ride like a champion!

___________________________________________________________________________

May 11, 2012 – Seven Steps to Slow Your Horse Down Without Sacrificing Movement

Slow – that’s a powerful word in today’s horse show world. People think to be slow is highly desired, yet getting your horse slow enough can be difficult. I am often asked “How do I get my horse to slow down?” I believe many people are confused about how much importance to place upon slow. AQHA is strongly promoting that excessive slowness is not to be the goal, rather a horse moving true in relation to their natural length of stride is the goal. The AQHA rule says “excessive slowness in any gait, loss of forward momentum (resulting in an animated and/or artificial gait at the lope) is to be a fault scored according to severity.” Yet most people feel that some judges are still placing slow above true correct movement. So this remains a difficult subject. I can only tell you what I’ve decided to strive for in my own horses and in my program. I do my very best to keep my horses moving true and cadenced with lift and flow. This is my first goal and being ultra slow comes after that.

Dana’s training information is demonstrated in great detail on Dana’s Winning Strides Training DVD’s.   They include more ideas and exercises to help improve your riding skills.  Also, the Winning Strides Training DVD set “Maximizing Your Western Pleasure Horse” Vol. 1, 2 & 3 is now 25% OFF for a limited time at http://www.westernhorsetrainingvideos.com

For your free training report,  “5 Incredible Tips to Help You Become the Best Rider You Can Be!” by Dana Hokana, click the link below and enter your name, e-mail and in the comments box enter the promo code “DANA FREE”.
http://www.westernhorsetrainingvideos.com/store/WsContact.asp

Be your best and ride like a champion!

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

May 8, 2012 – Improve Your Show Ring Transitions

Good transitions are so important for your show ring success.  I am going to teach you what a good transition is, tell you some of the reasons why transitions are important, and give you some pointers on how to improve your transitions!

3.   Check your horse’s body weight

In becoming a good horseman you need to know where your horse’s body weight is centered. In other words, a horse needs to carry most of his body weight balanced over his hindquarters in order to move gracefully. A horse that is heavy on his front end cannot lift up and lope or come to a downward transition with grace and style. If he is heavy on his front end he will either trot into the lope, or pick his head up and pull himself along or when he does a downward transition he will look uncoordinated and heavy. In order to have excellent transitions your horse must be balanced correctly. His body language is very indicative of what he’s thinking and doing and the balance of his body weight will also show to the judge or the onlooker. If I feel that my horse is heavy on his front end I will do a lot of stopping, backing, and rollbacks. I will trot then stop him. Don’t jerk, just pull him in the ground (remember don’t lose the message by bumping his face, it’s not about his face it’s about his body weight) I will then back him and roll him back, then trot him right back off. By stopping and backing you are redistributing his body weight to his hindquarters. You reinforce this when you roll him back on his haunches as he is centered over his hindquarters and has to make a move with his shoulders when he turns. Then in the act of sending him right off into the trot he has to lift up and trot off. I practice this exercise a lot to rebalance his body weight and this is also an excellent way to improve his trot transitions.

Dana’s training information is demonstrated in great detail on Dana’s Winning Strides Training DVD’s.   They include more ideas and exercises to help improve your riding skills.  Also, the Winning Strides Training DVD set “Maximizing Your Western Pleasure Horse” Vol. 1, 2 & 3 is now 25% OFF for a limited time at http://www.westernhorsetrainingvideos.com

For your FREE TRAINING REPORT,  “5 Incredible Tips to Help You Become the Best Rider You Can Be!” by Dana Hokana, click the link below and enter your name, e-mail and in the comments box enter the promo code “DANA FREE”.
http://www.westernhorsetrainingvideos.com/store/WsContact.asp

Be your best and ride like a champion!
____________________________________________________________________________

 

May 7, 2012 – How to Keep Your Horse’s Shoulders Up and Increase His Natural Lift

I am going to teach you about some of the things that cause your horse to drop his shoulders, lose his lift and move on his front end. I will give you the corrections or fixes that will bring his shoulders up and improve his movement. There are several main causes for this – here is one of them:

Reason 5 – Shutting Down Your Horse’s Movement Or Keeping Him Too Slow

In trying to get that slow finished Western Pleasure horse, many riders constantly ride their horse slow which can allow them to drop their shoulders and move to their front end. Sometimes this is from the horse getting lazy, other times just out of balance.  I also want my Western Pleasure horses slow, but there is often a fine line between moving shut down, shuffly, and moving crisp and pure.  I often drive my Western Pleasure horses forward, allowing them to re-balance and readjust their lope and trot. If you drive your horse forward at times he will regain his lift through his shoulders.

Dana’s training information is demonstrated in great detail on Dana’s Winning Strides Training DVD’s.   They include more ideas and exercises to help improve your riding skills.  Also, the Winning Strides Training DVD set “Maximizing Your Western Pleasure Horse” Vol. 1, 2 & 3 is now 25% OFF for a limited time at http://www.westernhorsetrainingvideos.com

For your free training report,  “5 Incredible Tips to Help You Become the Best Rider You Can Be!” by Dana Hokana, click the link below and enter your name, e-mail and in the comments box enter the promo code “DANA FREE”.
http://www.westernhorsetrainingvideos.com/store/WsContact.asp

Be your best and ride like a champion!

____________________________________________________________________________

 

May 4, 2012 – The Secret to a Truly Willing Horse

Willingness is important. In order to have that fabulous ride we all want and work toward, our horse has to be willing. When I train, I want their heart; I want them to want to try, and to want to be part of the team. You can get a lot of rides out of an unwilling horse, but eventually it will come back to bite you and the unwillingness will come out. Training your horse to be obedient is important. It is critical to a broke horse. But when you carry that a step further and spend the time it takes to build willingness, in addition to obedience, you are creating a team that can last for years and you will have a truly fun horse to show.

Dana’s training information is demonstrated in great detail on Dana’s Winning Strides Training DVD’s.   They include more ideas and exercises to help improve your riding skills.  Also, the Winning Strides Training DVD set “Maximizing Your Western Pleasure Horse” Vol. 1, 2 & 3 is now 25% OFF for a limited time!

To learn about these training tips and more, purchase Dana Hokana’s Training DVD’s at http://www.westernhorsetrainingvideos.com

For your free training report,  “5 Incredible Tips to Help You Become the Best Rider You Can Be!” by Dana Hokana, click the link below and enter your name, e-mail and in the comments box enter the promo code “DANA FREE”.
http://www.westernhorsetrainingvideos.com/store/WsContact.asp
____________________________________________________________________________

 

April 30, 2012 – How to Develop a Good Seat

What is a good seat? When you have a good seat you are able to catch your horse’s rhythm. You are able to flow with your horse. How do you know if you have a good seat? Can you just picture watching certain riders who look like they are one with their horse? They make it look effortless and easy. I want to help you to develop a strategy to improve your seat. When your seat is improved you can get closer and closer to riding as one with your horse. Soon, you too will be able to catch the rhythm and flow with your horse. All you need is some knowledge, a “stick with it” mentality, and a little hard work. You will soon be on your way to being a better rider.

Another key point to gaining a good seat is to learn to control your breathing. Breathing truly does relate to a good seat and I’ll explain how. When you breathe correctly, taking a full deep breath; breathing through your diaphragm, your seat aligns itself in the correct position on your horse. Deep breathing expands your ribcage and positions your seat correctly on your horse. A short shallow breath encourages an arch in your back and brings your tail bone up off your horse. This can also encourage you to lift your seat up off the horse and lean forward which then breaks that communication between your seat and your horse. So remember, good correct deep breathing will greatly improve your seat and your riding on your horse. It also relaxes you and makes you more aware of your body, your horse’s body and his gaits. You also send a confident message when you are relaxed and in control of your horse and your body. As your seat is centered where it belongs, your balance improves which allows your hand and leg cues to become smoother and clearer and your timing becomes better.

Dana’s training information is demonstrated in great detail on Dana’s Winning Strides Training DVD’s.   They include more ideas and exercises to help improve your riding skills.  Also, the Winning Strides Training DVD set “Maximizing Your Western Pleasure Horse” Vol. 1, 2 & 3 is now 25% OFF for a limited time!

To learn about these training tips and more, purchase Dana Hokana’s Training DVD’s at http://www.westernhorsetrainingvideos.com

For your free training report,  “5 Incredible Tips to Help You Become the Best Rider You Can Be!” by Dana Hokana, click the link below and enter your name, e-mail and in the comments box enter the promo code “DANA FREE”.
http://www.westernhorsetrainingvideos.com/store/WsContact.asp

Be your best and ride like a champion!

__________________________________________________________________

April 27, 2012 – Help For The Timid Rider

Are you a timid rider?  I believe that most of us at some time or another have moments of feeling timid, hesitant, or afraid on a horse.  In certain situations and on certain horses, there may be times when it is wise to be hesitant or timid.   Your intuition may be telling you to back off!  However, there may be other times when your timidity turns into fear and you freeze or give wrong signals to your horse.  You may even be unconsciously telling your horse that you are afraid, giving him the upper hand.  When you give a fearful response over and over, he may learn to be spooky or naughty!

I have tips that will help you to master your fears and insecurity.   These tips will also help you to gain a better relationship with your horse.

Dana’s training information is demonstrated in great detail on Dana’s Winning Strides Training DVD’s.   They include more ideas and exercises to help improve your riding skills.  Also, the Winning Strides Training DVD set “Maximizing Your Western Pleasure Horse” Vol. 1, 2 & 3 is now 25% OFF for a limited time!

To learn about these training tips and more, purchase Dana Hokana’s Training DVD’s at http://www.westernhorsetrainingvideos.com

For your free training report,  “5 Incredible Tips to Help You Become the Best Rider You Can Be!” by Dana Hokana, click the link below and enter your name, e-mail and in the comments box enter the promo code “DANA FREE”.
http://www.westernhorsetrainingvideos.com/store/WsContact.asp

Be your best and ride like a champion!

___________________________________________________________________

 

April 26, 2012 – Five Incredible Tips To Help You Become The Best Rider You Can Be!

I am going to give you some great tips that will help you become a better rider and take you to a new level in all areas in your riding!  To become great horsemen and horsewomen you must understand the horse.  To become a great rider you must understand how a horse moves and how each gait has its own rhythm and beat.  You also need some knowledge of your own body, how you are made and how your body’s movement can help the horse.  A horse and a human both have many movable parts and joints.  Your riding will improve dramatically once you learn to move with your horse.  Have you ever seen a rider that is so beautiful that they look like they are one with their horse?  My goal is for you to learn how to flow with your horse and ride like you are one with the horse.
Dana’s training information is demonstrated in great detail on Dana’s Winning Strides Training DVD’s.   They include more ideas and exercises to help improve your riding skills.  Also, the Winning Strides Training DVD set “Maximizing Your Western Pleasure Horse” Vol. 1, 2 & 3 is now 25% OFF for a limited time!

To learn about these training tips and more, purchase Dana Hokana’s Training DVD’s at http://www.westernhorsetrainingvideos.com

For your free report,  “5 Incredible Tips to Help You Become the Best Rider You Can Be!” by Dana Hokana, click the link below and enter your name, e-mail and in the comments box enter the promo code “DANA FREE”.
http://www.westernhorsetrainingvideos.com/store/WsContact.asp

Be your best and ride like a champion!

_____________________________________________________________________

 

April 25, 2012 – How to Get the Spook Out Of Your Horse

Most of us have been on a jumpy or spooky horse, one that is ready to jump at anything!  In my opinion, it is no fun to ride a horse that is afraid and reactive.  Some horses are genuinely more afraid of things than others.  They may be more sensitive than others and may notice sights and sounds more acutely than other horses as well, but many horses have learned to be spooky.  I feel that often it has become a habit, or a learned behavior.  I am going to give you some techniques that will help you to change your horse from a spook into a confident, less reactive horse!

One important tip I can give you is to talk to your horse!  When I am riding at home, I talk to my horses all the time.  My voice can become a positive stimulus to reward or relax my horse.  Horses are sensitive animals, and they definitely respond to the sound of a voice.  You may feel a little silly at horse shows or events talking away to your horse, but I will tell you it works!!  Touching and patting your horse can also be a positive stimulus.  Knowledge is wonderful and many times just understanding how horses learn and how habits are acquired can give you the breakthrough you have been waiting for!

Dana’s training information is demonstrated in great detail on Dana’s Winning Strides Training DVD’s.   They include more ideas and exercises to help improve your riding skills.  Also, the Winning Strides Training DVD set “Maximizing Your Western Pleasure Horse” Vol. 1, 2 & 3 is now 25% OFF for a limited time!

To learn about these training tips and more, purchase Dana Hokana’s Training DVD’s at www.westernhorsetrainingvideos.com

Be your best and ride like a champion!

_____________________________________________________________________

April 24, 2012 – Developing Your Game Plan

Many people don’t take the time to evaluate their goals and if their horses are suitable to reach those goals. In order to evaluate your horse make a list of his/her pros and cons, your game plan, and what you want to improve, and what needs updating/remaking. This will help you with what you need to focus on, point out strengths and what needs improvement, and will help identify your personal goals and what needs to be done to get you there.

Dana’s training information is demonstrated in great detail on Dana’s Winning Strides Training DVD’s.   They include more ideas and exercises to help improve your riding skills.  Also, the Winning Strides Training DVD set “Maximizing Your Western Pleasure Horse” Vol. 1, 2 & 3 is now 25% OFF for a limited time!

To learn about these training tips and more, purchase Dana Hokana’s Training DVD’s at www.westernhorsetrainingvideos.com

Be your best and ride like a champion!

____________________________________________________________

April 23, 2012 – Improve Your Performance by Improving Your Feel and Timing

What is feel?

Feel and timing go hand in hand.  Feel is knowing when to have contact with your horse, how much or how hard of contact to have and when to release your contact.  You communicate or talk to your horse with your hands, seat and legs.  You can develop good communication by having good feel and timing.  Timing is nothing more than knowing when to pick up on your horse and when to release.  The age old theory says that you either have feel or you don’t and feel can’t be taught.   People believed that feel is some elusive, mysterious ability that some great horsemen possess.  That is just not true!  Anyone who puts their mind to it can develop and greatly improve their feel and timing.  With time patience and discipline you too can develop feel and improve your timing.

This information is demonstrated in great detail on Dana’s Winning Strides Training DVD “Take Control Vol. 4 – How to Develop Feel and Timing”.  These DVD’s include more ideas and exercises to help improve your riding skills.  In addition, the Winning Strides Training DVD set “Maximizing Your Western Pleasure Horse” Vol. 1, 2 & 3 is now 25% OFF for a limited time!

To learn about these training tips and more, purchase Dana Hokana’s Training DVD’s at www.westernhorsetrainingvideos.com

Be your best and ride like a champion!

____________________________________________________________________

April 19, 2012 – How to Improve Your Show Ring Presentation – Your Attitude

Your expressions, mannerisms, and body language tell the world your attitude. Your attitude often tells of your expectations and your expectations definitely determine your results. So…attitude is everything. Spend as much time on your attitude as you do on your horse’s grooming, picking your outfit, or even practicing your event.

Show confidence, remember the saying “Fake it until you make it”. Everyone goes through periods when their confidence is low. You won’t move beyond that if you give in to fear or lack of confidence. Coach yourself, speak positively to yourself, encourage your self. You can do it too! Prepare as well as you can, because when you know you are ready, that builds confidence.

Practice visualization – visualize in your mind the ride you want to have. Sports psychologists and coaches have proven visualization works – expect the best. Once you are in the arena you’ve done all you can do, so expect a great ride. We usually get what we expect.

Be on time for your class. Be at the back gate ready when your class is called. Often the judges are watching the exhibitors as they are preparing to enter.

This information is demonstrated in great detail on Dana’s Winning Strides Training DVD’s “Maximizing Your Western Pleasure Horse” Vol. 1, 2 & 3.  These DVD’s include more ideas and exercises to help improve your riding skills.  This set is now 25% OFF for a limited time!

To learn about these training tips and more, purchase Dana Hokana’s Training DVD’s at www.westernhorsetrainingvideos.com

Be your best and ride like a champion!

______________________________________________________________________

 

April 18, 2012 – Simple Tips to Transition Your Horse from the Snaffle to the Bridle-

There are many different opinions and methods on how to correctly advance your young or green horse from the ring snaffle bit to the shank curb bridle. However most great …horseman give this transition great regard as many believe that how you “put your horse in the bridle” as it is called will greatly affect the long term bridle horse he becomes. I agree with this, as the bridle or snaffle is a communication tool between you and your horse. By using the bridle correctly and introducing it correctly to your horse you are giving your horse’s training and integrity of the interior of his mouth the highest regard. Respect your horse like the high level partner he truly is.

This information is demonstrated in great detail on Dana’s Winning Strides Training DVD “Take Control Vol. 7 – Transition Your Horse From The Snaffle To The Bridle”.  These DVDs include more ideas and exercises to help improve your riding skills.

To learn about these training tips and more, purchase Dana Hokana’s Training DVDs at www.westernhorsetrainingvideos.com

Be your best and ride like a champion!

_____________________________________________________________________

 

April 17, 2012 – Seven Steps to Slow Your Horse Down Without Sacrificing Movement -

STEP SEVEN. Take your time. If you want your horse to slow down, you may have to slow down. Often we don’t realize how fast we are sending our cues to our horse. Get fast-thinking out of his mind by taking it out of your mind. A basic principal that I train with is to encourage my horse to wait for me. If his mindset is always thinking wait, he will be less likely to make his own decision to speed up. When you slow your cues down, you project confidence and patience to your horse. This will give him confidence. Walk a moment in between each maneuver. After you do an exercise, stop, release the contact, let him think a moment, then slowly go back to it. Evaluate if he wants to step or rush off or if he’s willing to stand or walk slowly. See where he is mentally. He may need to be walked or stopped until he’s ready to focus. Also, try to soften your leg and hands as he gets more responsive. If you give more cue than he needs, it feels like a punishment to him. Only give as much cue as it takes to get the desired response. Talk softly through your hands and legs.

This information is demonstrated in great detail on Dana’s Winning Strides Training DVD’s “Maximizing Your Western Pleasure Horse” Vol. 1, 2 & 3.  These DVD’s include more ideas and exercises to help improve your riding skills.  This set is now 25% OFF for a limited time!

To learn about these training tips and more, purchase Dana Hokana’s Training DVD’s at www.westernhorsetrainingvideos.com

Be your best and ride like a champion!

_____________________________________________________________________________

April 16, 2012 – THE ARC -

The arc has a couple of main components.  First is body position. That involves him putting his head and neck in the correct position. You should be able to see the outside corner of the inside eye. He also needs to have his hip slightly to the inside of the track. At the lope, right hind should fall in between the two front feet.
The next is energy flow. Often riders or trainers will manually force the body into the correct position, but the horse’s energy does not stay forward or correctly in line with his body. Proper energy flow is what you need to have cadence and a rhythmic “locked in” gait. Ninety percent of the time if the horse won’t maintain his arc he will also have interrupted energy flow which can result in a deterioration of the gait, such as a choppy lope or a lot of knee action. He may also “hide” or over bridle in the head and neck, suck back, and move in a crawling motion.

This information is demonstrated in great detail on Dana’s Winning Strides Training DVD’s “Maximizing Your Western Pleasure Horse” Vol. 1, 2 & 3.  These DVD’s include more ideas and exercises to help improve your riding skills.  This set is now 25% OFF for a limited time.

To learn about these training tips and more, purchase Dana Hokana’s Training DVD’s at www.westernhorsetrainingvideos.com

Be your best and ride like a champion!

2 Responses to “Dana’s Training Tip of the Day – Proper Hand Position While Riding”

  1. July 23- A Strong Trot Equals a Stronger Horse

    I like to trot my horses to their faces at a medium trot while counting one, two, one two with their rhythm. Keep your horse collected and driving up from behind. So many times our trotting problems are stemmed from our horse being lazy, weak or out of condition. I want to remind you that your horse is an athlete and needs a good workout. Picture your horse reaching up strongly behind and firing their legs with cadence and strength.

    What does “trot my horses to their faces” mean?

  2. Hello Dana,

    I recently purchased a western pleasure mare that has tons of potential to be an all-around show horse. My first question is, how do I help her lift her shoulders and reach when I am trotting her? Second, she was taught to over arc at the lope. She has a very deep drive from behind, but again because she arcs I am losing lift in her shoulders. I have been loping her in long straight lines and over poles, and these practices have helped, but any suggestions would be appreciated. By riding her in straight lines she finally is traveling straighter at the lope, but we still have work to do. Thank you for your time and advice.

    Cheers,

    Eden Owen

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