1962-Voice Of The Tennessee Walking Horse 1962 November Voice - Page 2

jCLettev jfrovn August 28, 1962 Mr. Ben A. Green Shelbyville Tennessee Dear Mr. Green: You asked me to send you an extended letter on the subject of how 1 improved my horse. I hope this will be satisfactory. My horse is an eight-year-old gelding. He was shy of nearly anything. What gaits he had were too sloiv and he needed much work. First I got acquainted with my horse by being gentle but firm, I gained his confidence in me and my trust in him. 1 rode him around any strange objects until he got used to them. Soon I could ride him anywhere, and he wouldn’t shy at things be­ cause 1 encouraged his curiosity and soothed his fears. My horse acquired a blemish as a two-year-old, so he never learned to canter. His flat walk was too slow and his running walk was almost a single-foot. Since just plain riding would not help improve him, I used a log-chain inside a bicycle inner-tube to make him lift his feet faster and higher. The inner-tube protects his ankles from being “beat up”. I rode him with other shoiv horses and horses in training to get the right speed for his flat walk. After a short time he remembered and was going just fine. Then I pushed him on with the big chains remaining. He was slow, but he was really reaching out with his front feet. As I used lighter chains his speed increased until I found it was not necessary for the use of any chains. During this period 1 again rode with the trained show horses. At First He Loped When I had decided that he had developed a good 15- ~\Jear- Old ^jirl running walk, I tried to make him canter. All he could do was run or lope. Once again I used the heavy log chains. First to teach him the leads l put two chains on one ankle, tapped him on the left shoulder, and pulled the left rein slightly more than the other while I urged him to gallop. Finally 1 got him to use the left lead. Then I reversed and repeated my previous actions. When he had learned the leads I gave him the signal and headed up a slope. He cantered for the first time. I tried both leads and it worked. Then every time I cantered him up the slope I repeated the word “canter” to him. Now he canters anywhere at the signal. During the period of training him to canter I never let him forget or get out of his flat and run­ ning walk. I found that kindness and understanding have helped my horse. Also I never overworked him. When shoiv season came around, we had started to have practice shoivs. Several horses that were to shoiv this season rode together with one person act­ ing as ringmaster and judge. He called out the gaits and pretended to judge when we parked out on the rail. Instead of ribbons and prizes we had constructive criticism. This really helps you prepare for the show. I have found that now my horse can do just as well as any of the show horses. The shoeing is another important thing in your horse’s action. My blacksmith, Mr. C. C. Ware of Florence, Alabama, always tries to be gentle with my horse and never quicks him and takes the best care of my horse's feet. He always sees him (my horse) ivork before and after the shoes are fixed. If the horse throws a shoe he will put it back on free. I think the blacksmith is the one responsible for the best performance your horse gives. End letter.