Author Archives: AJ Dyer - aka Visionaire

Follow these seven steps to perfectly plan next year’s competition season

  For most of us in North America, the 2017 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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Body clipping season is here – Are you prepared?

  It’s that time of year. Actually, it’s a little early for that time of year. Nonetheless, it has to be done. What am I talking about? The dreaded chore of body clipping. If you have a horse competing at fall events especially three-days, it needs a thin, short coat. Unfortunately, the decreasing daylight has convinced your horse’s brain to GROW HAIR NOW! and its sleek summer coat is starting to get a bit shaggy. Quite ironic, since daily temps are still in the sticky 80s if you are in Ocala, and nights barely dipping below 70. It is NOT…

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Stop wasting time – Tips for training yearlings and two-year-olds

  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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The unofficial guide for bringing your dog to horse shows

  See those lovely labradors in the photo?  You might think they belong to me.  They don’t.  They belong to the trailer parked next to me at a horse trial, and were tied up on a cable about 25 feet long.  Tied to the bumper of the truck, parked about 25 feet from my trailer.  Most of the morning, I didn’t see them (though I certainly heard the barking).  However, right as I was tacking up for show jumping, the dogs ran out past the rear of my horse trailer as another leashed dog walked by, stretching the cable to…

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Why competing isn’t always about winning – Keeping your eye on the REAL prize

  Believe it or not, not every competitor is out to win every weekend. For many, horse trials are a means to an end. The fun steps on the way to achieving a bigger goal, a three-day, CCI, or year-end championship. I didn’t make this realization until I made it to my first one-star. All along my trainer had been saying, “Don’t worry about your specific score at this event. Who cares where you’re placed. Take the time penalties, keep your horse slow and sound. The ribbon this weekend doesn’t matter. Look at the big picture.” Like most of us,…

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Things you need to know before riding a fresh off the track Thoroughbred

  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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Five tips for successful relationships with your riding supporters

  So, you’ve identified a potential owner pool and developed a syndicate package.  You’ve spent time marketing yourself, distributing promotional materials, having “Open House Day” at the barn, and bringing extended family members to horse shows.  With all your effort, your support team has grown and your have proud new owners in your horse’s syndicate.  Success!  Now just sit back and let the cash flow, right? Wrong.  You aren’t on your own anymore. You may be the “boss” of the operation, but you now have clients that deserve your respect and attention.  They are providing you with financial support to…

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Follow these 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 Scott was done with my horses, I asked him what would make his job easier; what he wished his…

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My miracle bit story – What’s your magic bit?

  Some horses are easy: they wear the same tack for dressage, cross-country, and show jumping. It makes for an uncluttered tackroom, less leather to clean, and simplicity. And then there are the others – fire-breathing dragons on cross-country, heavy lugs who pull, root, or fling their head in your face as you desperately try to maintain some semblance of control. You pull up (eventually) after the finish flags, and cross another bit off your list. French link snaffle Slow twist Waterford Pelham Bigger pelham Gag 3-ring 3-ring with curb strap Myler D port with hooks It seems the quest…

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Build confidence with this simple trotting jump exercise

  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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