Author Archives: AJ Dyer - aka Visionaire

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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Five questions you need to ask yourself in every show jump warm-up

  When it comes to jumping warmups, I’ve always been a minimalist. Maybe I’ve just been lucky to have good horses, but over the years I’ve been successful with a “less-is-more” approach. If you sit at the edge of warmup, you’ll notice many riders jumping-jumping-jumping for 10-20 minutes before they enter the arena. They canter the vertical, then the oxer, then bigger, then again, and again, and bigger, and again…yes that was good, one more time…and I wonder, is all that really necessary? I rarely ever have help on the ground, so I’m at the mercy of someone else’s jump…

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Don’t underestimate this important part of selling horses

  Sometimes, selling a horse is less about marketing the animal, and more about marketing yourself and your program. Recently, a gentleman scheduled a visit to try one of my horses for sale. As usual, I went through a lot of effort making the horse look its best; I pulled his mane, braided it over the night before, gave him a bath, and had him neat and shiny, ready to go at the arranged time of 9am. 9am came and went; I sent a message asking if the man was running late, or perhaps lost. I heard nothing back. At…

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