Author Archives: AJ Dyer - aka Visionaire

One year later – Time doesn’t heal all wounds

  I’ve been writing this essay in my mind for the last month; trying to gather my thoughts, put emotions into words, scrap together the memories and organize the pain into accurate, comprehensible reflections. They say, “Time heals all wounds.” They say, “This too, shall pass.” They say the sun will shine again, the world will go on, and you will be better for it. They can take their sayings and shove it. Yes, the sun does come up, and it also goes down again. I thought the sudden, sharp, tragic death of Ranger was the worst thing that could…

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Follow these five crucial steps to successfully sell a horse

  Ok, I’m no big-time horse dealer.  Heck, I’ve only sold a handful of horses in my life, but that number is increasing.  I’m starting to develop some confidence in my eye: to successfully pick out a nice, raw young horse, develop it a little into what I envision, and then send it on for someone else to enjoy.  There are times I wish I could keep them all…but part of being a grown-up is knowing when to say goodbye, even if you don’t want to. Speedy sales: In my handful of horses sold, I have been fortunate to have…

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Three pros and one con to riding OUTSIDE of arenas

  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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Three valuable lessons eventers can learn from galloping Throroughbreds

  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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Essential advice to keep your horse’s hooves healthy

  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 a foot, and understands how the horse’s feet will impact how the whole animal moves. My farrier is dedicated to improving his own skills and knowledge,…

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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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11 tips to help you pull your horse’s mane like a pro – Sponsored by Back on Track

  Great for muscles, ligaments, tendons and joints. Products for horses, dogs and people. Visit www.backontrackproducts.com   How is it that the horses all look great, and then one day all of a sudden they look like shaggy monsters? Over the last week, I have turned into a mane-pulling fiend, and my horses have gone from looking one step away from a plow, to the respectable former/future/current show animals they are. Here are a few mane pulling tricks I’ve learned over the years to make the dreaded chore a little easier: If the mane is already pretty thin (I LOVE…

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How to be a stickler for detail and a better horse trainer – Sponsored by Back on Track

  Great for muscles, ligaments, tendons and joints. Products for horses, dogs and people. Visit www.backontrackproducts.com     What are you working on? Improving your horse’s shoulder-in? Getting more engagement in your lengthenings Mastering corner and skinny combinations? These are important training goals, no doubt, especially if you have competition plans on the horizon. However, are you too focused on what you teach your horse from the saddle? Do you pay attention to what he learns on the ground? A good horseman knows that horses are ALWAYS learning or un-learning good habits. Every single time you handle a horse, you…

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Quit wasting time riding the wrong horse – Sponsored by Back on Track

  Great for muscles, ligaments, tendons and joints. Products for horses, dogs and people. Visit www.backontrackproducts.com   I’ve been very fortunate that I’ve had a lot of good horses– not “good horses” because of talent, but appropriate horses for where I was in my riding career.  I began Eventing on a 15hh foundation-bred Quarter Horse, Casey.  What Casey may have lacked in talent or dressage-winning gaits, he made up for with enthusiasm and work ethic.  He taught me that cross-country should be FUN, and jumping should always put a smile on your face.  Otherwise, why do it? The confidence I gained from…

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Coaching is a tough job – Remember to say thanks!

  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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