Author Archives: AJ Dyer - aka Visionaire

7 Step guide to plan next year’s competition season like a pro

  For most of us in North America, the 2019 eventing season has wrapped up.  Our horses are enjoying a little down time– some longer than others, depending on your winter climate.  Still, it’s never too early to start looking ahead to next season.  Since I’m very goal-oriented and driven to succeed, I like to develop a “roadmap” for the upcoming competition year and start planning early. What guidelines do I use to develop a competition schedule? 1. Identify your end goal (AECs, Area Championships, CCI, etc) and review the qualifications necessary for you and your horse.  Is this goal realistic?  Is it very ambitious,…

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What every equestrian needs to know before riding an OTTB

  Each year, lots of racing thoroughbreds find their way into new homes and new careers. There are two schools of thought when a horse steps off the racetrack: turn ’em out, or get on with riding Prior to my experience in the Thoroughbred industry, I was a member of the “turn ’em out” crowd. I figured it would be best for the horse to “detox” and enjoy a month or more of turnout, relaxing and just being a horse. I assumed all the horse knew was running, and I wanted to put some distance (time) between that association before…

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Six tips to become your farrier’s favourite client

  I am fortunate enough to have the services of an excellent farrier in central Florida. He has a long list of clients, and I was only able to squeeze my little barn into his schedule because I know (was recommended by) a good farrier friend of his in Kentucky. Finding a good farrier can be a tough challenge, and the best ones are worth their weight in gold. The saying “no hoof, no horse,” is undoubtedly true. One time after my farrier was done with my horses, I asked him what would make his job easier; what he wished…

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A simple trotting jump exercise to boost confidence

  Do you hate trotting fences? Me too. At least on most horses. It’s so much easier to be in sync with the horse over a fence when you canter on approach, as a jump is nothing more than an exaggerated canter stride. However, trotting fences is an important skill that should be practiced by everyone, even Advanced horses and riders. For beginning riders and green horses, trotting in slows things down, allowing more time to process the obstacle and organize all body parts to negotiate the jump successfully. A spooky horse may feel more confident approaching from the trot,…

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3 Valuable lessons equestrians can learn from galloping Thoroughbreds

  I picked up a side job galloping racehorses 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 right trainer is key: someone who has sensible horses and who won’t overface you. Going to a farm or local training centre will be a better starting environment than the racetrack; things are a little more laid back and beginner-friendly with less on-track traffic. The trainer…

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Grooming x 10 – The foolproof secret that will give your horse a mega shiny coat

  What’s your normal grooming routine? I’ll admit, I’m guilty of the quick 30-second dust off, tack up and go. Especially in the winter time, when daylight is precious and horses wear blankets, it’s quick and easy to strip the blanket off, leaving a clean and slick horse ready for a saddle. I always pick feet, check shoes, and apply a little Keratex to keep hooves from cracking. In the spring and summer, though, that’s when I take grooming a little more seriously. Last year I adopted a method that was a lot more work, but produced great results. I’m…

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Take the challenge – 50 transitions a day

  While riding my green horse Monster, I reflected upon our never-ending, yet always-improving struggle to balance off the forehand, avoid pulling, stay in front of the leg and light off my seat. Walking around in warmup while moving him off my right leg to left rein, I decided to challenge myself to 50 Transitions A Day. Could I do 50 good transitions in a ride? How would it help? I outlined the rules to myself: a “good” transition didn’t have to be perfect, but it had to be soft, light, and willing. Transitions within gaits counted (free walk to…

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The best thing you can give a horse

  What’s the best thing you can give a horse? Apples? Carrots? Mints? No, it’s not food. The best thing you can give a horse is CONFIDENCE. No matter what job a horse is asked to do, he will do it best if he his prepared, understands his role, and has confidence in himself and his rider. Not all horses are destined to be brave, calm in unfamiliar situations, successful at the highest levels. But all horses can improve their performance when they trust their rider and believe in themselves. Some horses are born with a mountain of confidence, and…

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Friday’s Five – Steps to take when your horse loses a shoe

  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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Why all equestrians should pause to enjoy a great weekend

  Have you ever had one of those events where every jump was great? I’ve competed at dozens of horse trials and FEI events, I’ve had some awesome performances and memorable moments, but finishing my stallion’s first Preliminary a couple weeks ago was one of the best ones. Not because we won – we finished 8th – but because every jump was just about perfect. We hit every distance in show jumping and on cross-country, maintained a great rhythm and balance, and for possibly the first time ever (for me, as a perfectionist) I don’t think there is one jump…

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