Texas-based trainer Sharon
Wellmann has a broad range
of clientele, from experienced
all-around breed association
competitors to young riders just
starting their horseback journey.
No matter the rider’s expertise,
Wellmann focuses on what is best
for the horse and rider.
“Most of the time that means
getting back to basics and instilling
sound horsemanship skills, body
control for horse and rider, and
creating a confident team,” says
Wellmann. “First, before you head
out on the trail, can you ask your
horse to stand still and have him
do so when you shift your weight?
Can you move his shoulder, hip or
ribcage to get him into position to
open the gate?”
If the answer to those
questions is “no,” then tackle
Desensitize your horse.
Wellmann says that you
need to be able to shift your
weight out of proper position
without your horse thinking
it’s time to move.
Goal: Teach your horse that
his reaction to a shift in your
weight should not be to go forward.
Wellmann says to start by
standing still in the middle of the
arena (not next to a fence), and
leaning forward. If your horse
walks o;, stop and say “whoa.”
Continue this until the horse
stands when you lean forward,
reach down toward your foot,
or move your leg on his barrel.
Teach your horse three essential skills to confidently
IT SEEMS SO SIMPLE to reach over and unlatch a gate
from the saddle—far easier than having to dismount.
However, without proper preparation for the task, the
gate can become a stressful situation and deter you from
venturing down new trails. You need to be aware of the
challenges faced when working a gate, including asking
your horse to accept a new object and your body weight
shifting in an awkward position.
on a loose rein
no matter how
shifting a leg or
leaning in the