Trainer's Paddock- Lessons From Mom

Omar and me In 1977

I was always amazed by how my Mom could see what was going on with my horses by just standing on the ground watching them being ridden. Mom had ridden when she was a kid just bareback on her Dad's Standardbreds, but she never rode my horses. Mom was the person in my family who didn't ride some time or another , yet she always seemed to have a sense of what I was doing wrong in the saddle and what the horse needed

My gelding Omar had a lot of fire under his tail and although some of the time I didn't mind it in fact I enjoyed it there were times when I just wanted him to walk. Omar had been a barrel horse which meant he had two speed canter and gallop, but whoever had trained him had done an excellent job. All though Omar acted as though he forgot all the good training he had been given. I think Mom suspected that Omar could do more than run fast. I 'm not sure why or how, but at some point Mom thought Omar needed a different bit than the one he had come with (back in 1975 horses were usually sold with their tack) and she was so right. The change of bit made such a difference in Omar he was a completely different horse. Today when I'm giving a training clinic I always discuss what kind of bit my clients use and whether the horse seems comfortable with that bit.

Mom would tell me to loosen my reins and to relax when I rode Omar. I had a bad habit of taking up on the reins which didn't help of course. Tighten up on the reins made him want to break into a gallop due to the barrel racing he did. I would get nervous as well as annoyed which didn't make for an enjoyable experience. Mom would say " loosen up your reins" and eventually I did it. I always explain to my clients that when you grab a hold of the reins you are not giving the horse many options and none of those options they will like. She would always tell me to relax in the saddle too , which I know made me a better rider. This too is something I pass along to my clients who attend my training clinics.

I really believe that I inherited Mom's innate ability to watch a horse and rider team and know what issues they are having. When clients say to me where did you learn so much about horses and riding I always smile and say " My Mom,"...