Author Archives: AJ Dyer - aka Visionaire

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

Ranger RH Int Water.CR2-002

  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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How YOU can improve Eventing by voicing your opinion


  Have you ever attended an event and thought to yourself, “Wow, the course design here is confusing,” or “I wish the bathrooms were cleaner?” Do you wish someone were listening to your concerns? What can you do? Guess what, you’re in luck!  For every event in which you participate in the US and Ontario, as rider, owner, volunteer, or spectator, you can fill out an online Event Evaluation Form.  The form allows for specific feedback regarding every aspect of the event; warm-up rings, footing, course construction, etc. As well as general niceties like on-time scheduling, coordination, restroom facilities, and food…

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What conformation feature do four-star horses have in common?

Phillip and Mr. Medicott.

  In 2012, I attended the Wednesday jog at Rolex with a particular mission in mind. I was preparing to breed my mare for an event baby, and I had been spending hours analyzing the conformation of particular stallions and their offspring, and how that would fit my mare. I wanted to produce an elite athlete capable of Eventing at the Advanced level. Just what does that animal look like? So I set out to answer my question at Rolex’s first horse inspection. If you want to see successful upper level eventers, that’s a good place to be. My main…

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Coaching isn’t easy – Remember to thank your trainers

Lunging lesson

  What makes a great teacher? Is it someone accomplished at a high level?  Someone who has won blue ribbons, Olympic medals, traveled the world, and has a barnful of expensive horses? Success is surely a plus, but not a guarantee that one individual can improve another. Of all the attributes a teacher can have, communication and dedication are probably the most important. Great riders have one thing in common: FEEL. They feel things. They sense things.  They have an innate sense of timing, and natural instincts that are honed with hours of practice and use. Yet, those very attributes are perhaps the most difficult…

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The key difference between a good rider and great one


  What makes good riders great? Their sense of timing. Riding and training horses requires a lot of feel, and to do it well also relies on applying the right aid at the right time. For example, a lateral leg aid must be applied when the horse can properly respond to it– when that hind leg is just leaving the ground and moving upward. If you close your leg when the horse’s hind leg is going down and weight-bearing, he won’t be able to react in the way you want. This can frustrate both of you! How can you develop…

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Lost a shoe – Five tips to help while you wait for the farrier

Sometimes they lose a shoe even with bell boots...the day after being shod...while trotting on good footing.

  If your horse wears shoes, it’s inevitable that, at some point, your horse will pull one off.  Usually, such occurrences happen at the worst time, like the day before a show or the day after your farrier goes on vacation.  Though my career of managing horses, I’ve been lucky to have a few with excellent feet who rarely ever lost a shoe.  And then there were those others I’d rather forget: the ones with crappy feet who routinely ripped their shoes off and made the farrier cringe each time I called. Fortunately, I’ve got some decent-footed horses in my…

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