Author Archives: AJ Dyer - aka Visionaire

How venturing outside of arenas will make you and your horse BETTER

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  My farm is nothing fancy, but it is functional. I have big, safe stalls for my horses, a nice wide aisle with good ventilation, and two awesome grooming stalls right near the tack room. Turnout space is adequate, with good board fencing. My husband generously made me a couple dozen schooling jumps with 10′ oak poles to match. However, I have no manicured riding arena with delicate chain fencing and dressage letters. Instead, I ride in an open grass field. This is no new thing for me– I’ve been “arena-less” for possibly half of my riding career. When I…

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Powerful advice on keeping your horse’s hooves healthy – Sponsored by MD Barnmaster

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  MD Barnmaster is the leader in custom designed barns, horse housing,  professional equestrian facilities, horse stalls, modular buildings and barn accessories. Build A Better Barn. Contact MD Barnmaster today. With a barnful of Thoroughbreds, I’ve seen my share of less-than-ideal feet. And the old saying is true: “No hoof, no horse.” Through a combination of an EXCELLENT farrier and proper management, I’ve been able to improve some horses’ feet and help them stay sound to do their jobs. Your Farrier First of all, I cannot stress enough that an educated, experienced, quality farrier is a must– someone who knows how to balance…

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Friday’s Five – Pony Club rules that are slightly too impractical

Bringing in four horses at a time. NOT Pony Club approved.

  I’m a proud Pony Club alumnus. For horsemanship and riding instruction, Pony Club can’t be beat. It’s the gold standard of horse safety, and if a kid has come through the ratings, you know they have met certain requirements for knowledge and skill. I didn’t make it to my A rating– I came to a cross-roads in life where it was either go for the national ratings, or go to a CCI*– and I chose the three day. Don’t regret it for a moment, but I also am very thankful to the rock-solid foundation Pony Club gave to me….

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What will galloping Thoroughbreds teach you? These valuable lessons…- From Back on Track

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  Great for muscles, ligaments, tendons and joints. Products for horses, dogs and people. Visit   You may have noticed I’ve been absent from writing this winter. (Oh, you haven’t noticed? Well don’t I feel loved…!) Instead of writing, I’ve been riding– riding a LOT. I picked up a side job galloping race horses in the mornings, and while it isn’t easy, I would STRONGLY encourage any serious event rider to spend a month (or more) riding in the fast lane. Is it dangerous? Sure, as are most things we do with horses, particularly riding cross-country. However, finding the…

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What happens if you lose your horse’s confidence? Quit being stubborn

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  Training horses is not some smooth linear or exponential equation, where each day is a consistent progression of the last. If it were expressed on a graph, it would look like an unpredictable jagged line, like a mountain range…hopefully with an overall upward trend, but certainly dotted with “down” days. There is no easy mathematical answer to producing a well-trained horse– you have to take it day by day and ride the horse you have at any given moment. I was helping a friend recently; she has an extremely talented six-year-old, but they’re going through a rough patch. It’s…

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Friday’s Five – Steps to help you find owners regardless of your level


  You do not need to have an Olympic appearance on your record to seek out ownership support. There are many individuals who would be interested in joining your team and supporting your riding journey even if you are not targeting a four-star in the near future. But when you head out looking for owners you need to forget the traditional model of ownership – a wealthy individual already steeped in Eventing culture – and broaden your horizons to bring new people into the sport. People who would get satisfaction and enjoyment from being part of a sport team and watching a…

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The #1 pet peeve of horse sellers – Don’t be ‘that’ person

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  When you have a horse for sale, inevitably you have to deal with tire-kickers, my-little-pony kids, and Nigerian scammers. The scammers are pretty easy to recognize and mark as spam. The tire-kickers and kids can be time wasters, but if they are polite and honest, I patiently respond with details, photos, and video. You never know who they know, so as a seller, you should always reply politely and promptly. But that doesn’t make it any less frustrating when clueless queries flood your inbox. My #1 pet peeve is buyers who are too lazy to read the ad thoroughly (I find…

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Five things that horses desperately need to learn from cats


  1. Cleanliness is next to Godliness.  Have you ever seen a cat covered in mud?  Me neither.  Cats spend 40% of their waking lives bathing themselves.  Who knew spit and paws could keep a coat looking so shiny?  Tell that to my horse next time he uses his poop pile for a pillow.     2. Patience is key. How does a cat get what he wants?  He waits.  Whether it’s stalking a mouse or ambushing an unsuspecting human foot, the cat knows that patience is rewarded.  Horses, on the other hand, are not known for their patience.  If food…

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When is the right time to start a young horse under saddle?

Horse Ranch colt foal

  I used to be one of those people who thought the racing industry folks were insensitive and cruel. How could they start horses under saddle at just 18 months old?! How could they race them at two?!  Don’t they know horses don’t mature skeletally until at least four or five-years-old? Of course they know, they’re just greedy!  I thought. I had started a couple horses under saddle myself. The first was a young POA pony who turned out well despite my fumbling attempts as a 16-year-old, but then he was basically born broke. And lazy. But he loved to…

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Quietly being good

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  For some people, talking about themselves comes naturally. They play up their skills, wax poetic about their level of experience, and proudly toot their own horn about how awesome they are. I am not one of those people. I’m quiet, reserved, and more of a listener than a speaker. I feel uncomfortable bragging about my accomplishments, my talents, and my ability. I prefer to let my actions do the talking. I don’t like excessive attention, nor the pressure that comes with it. After all, when others don’t have expectations of you, there’s less to live up to– and less…

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