Monday, November 5, 2007

Rachel and Grandma and Arabian Horses - Jesse Saldana Clinic

I paid for this clinic in July and I had big plans. I was going to get three young horses started and take them to the clinic. Rachel was going to take Dandy and Hope. But, as usual, life interfered along the way. My truck broke, there was a problem with the trailer wiring, and the horses got sick. The end result is, that I still haven't gotten onto the back of one young horse, let alone three of them.

Not only that, but as the clinic got closer, I still had sick horses. I was beginning to wonder if I was even going to have healthy horses to take. The horses at home were finally well, but the two stallions at the barn near Rachel were still coughing. They were the only ones trained enough to go.

Because Jesse Saldana does halter as well as western and hunter, I knew I could take a horse for halter but only if the horse was no longer sick. While I hadn't been riding Legs because he was home with sick horses, he's broke enough I could always take him. But it seems like I'm always hauling him out and taking him somewhere without any preparation. It's not the best way to show off your herd sire.

Even at that, it still left me needing one more horse. So last week I called the clinic coordinator to find out if Jesse Saldana did work with horses in long lines. I hadn't gotten on the two young stallions yet, but both had been worked in long lines. Since I've never had any help with my long lining, getting the opportunity to find out how the trainers start off with them would be helpful.

Even just a few days before the clinic there was a time that I really considered cancelling. The last horse had just barely stopped coughing. But I had been the one asking for this clinician and there were still open slots for horses. I didn't want to leave them hanging, so I just hung in there with the plan.

Trying to get five Arabian horses show clipped and bathed in 40° weather was really a bummer especially when a couple of them hadn't been well all that long. Not to mention how much time it all took. I don't know what I was thinking when I decided to do this with that many horses, but it sure didn't go as planned.

Well, as I posted in My Take on the Jesse Saldana Clinic for Arabian Horses , Rachel and I took five horses and went to Creekwood Farms for the weekend. I had three horses on the Saturday schedule and Rachel had Dandy and Hope on the Sunday schedule.

The clinic started at 8:00 am and I had the very first horse. It was a good thing I was planning on doing halter because we arrived at the facility a bit late. By the time we got the horses moved into the barn, it was past 8. I threw on the schooling halter and headed into the arena with a five year old stallion in tow.

I have shown Storm one time in halter at the Daffodil Spring Show. While I have gotten more comfortable with halter, I still don't feel like I know all I need to know. On top of that the horse is only about half trained.

Jesse Saldana was great. He asked a couple of questions about the horse and then had me show him what we knew. I'm really good with teaching a horse how to set his feet and Jesse quickly confirmed his agreement.

From there his technique differed from the last halter trainer's that I had worked with. Eric Krichten's training was all built on backing while Jesse thought the backing caused problems later. So that immediately took care of one of my big questions. How do you go from backing the horse every time you raise your hand to getting them to just rock back and keep their feet in place?

With Jesse's system, the rock back comes with the expression. If you get enough expression, it is built in. You start off gradually raising your hands, as the hands raise, the horse's head should raise. If it doesn't, you correct with a pull down or a shank back, but only for a step or two. Jesse believes that anymore backing than that causes the horse to learn to use that for an exit.

It was amazing to me how simple it was. While Jesse did take my horse a couple of times, it was to show me how he wanted the correction done, not to teach the horse. By the end of my thirty minute lesson, my horse was standing up and showing like a million bucks. It was pretty darn cool.

To be continued...........

Part 2


  1. I have enjoyed reading these last posts. Maybe one day I will be in a position to enjoy my horses more and get some good instruction too. We very rarely have anything like this here in Indiana so I would probably have to travel.

    Looking forward to the next instalment.


  2. Thanks for stopping by my blog. Your horses are gorgeous!

  3. It's funny, I never did a clinic until I started dressage. With the wealth of knowledgeable Arabian trainers in Northern California I think I missed out on a lot of great learning opportunities! I'm jealous!

  4. So glad you got to go. I know nothing about halter showing -- this is very interesting.