April 2018 Horse Report

Because of a heavy travel schedule, I went three weeks in March without riding my own horses. I hate that! Fortunately, I have Melissa, to manage my horses for me during my frequent absences. Consequently, my horses are slick, fit and tuned up, so when I am home, I can ride to my heart’s desire. (I know, I’m spoiled—but I’ve earned it.)

Rich has been riding Eddie regularly, as they work on their mounted shooting skills. I think Ed is perfect for shooting. I’ll admit my heart swells with pride when I watch Rich and Eddie—he’s easy to ride one-handed (or no hands), he always tries hard and he is 100% obedient to the aids. He’s matured into a balanced and handsome gelding that looks a lot like his sire, Sixes Pick (a world champion ranch horse stallion from the 6666 Ranch), and he is truly a “steady eddie.” I wish I could say the same for Annie.

My little red headed mare is actually doing well in her training. Mostly we’re working on training her to be a gelding. I may never reach that training goal, but I won’t quit trying either—I’d say we are 60% there.

I’ll know more when I take her to the C Lazy U ranch next week, for the clinic I am teaching with Barbra Schulte. I’m bringing Eddie for Barbra to ride—he’s easy as a couch to teach from.

Annie is actually a fun little ride as well—she’s sporty, low to the ground, compact and athletic. When her mind is in the game, she’s a blast to ride! When she’s fretting over the horses coming and going around her and being a supreme busybody, not so much. Keeping her focus and interest on me is a constant challenge, but I feel like I am winning the war. I’ll know for sure this time next month, after we’ve been to a 4-day clinic away from home!

Note from Julie: October 2015

JulieGoodnight.com Logo

Dear friends,

We’ve just returned from an incredible 4-day ranch-riding clinic at the C Lazy U Ranch and soon I am headed to Spanaway, Washington, for my last 2-day horsemanship clinic of the year, then I get to go back to C Lazy U for the riding and yoga retreat (treat is the operative word!). Soon we will be releasing my 2016 clinic schedule, but you can always check my website for details on my full clinic and expo schedule.

I am also excited to be going to Amarillo, Texas, in October for the CHA International Conference and to visit the AQHA Hall of Fame; to Springfield MA, in November for Equine Affaire; then on to Las Vegas with the good folks from Cosequin for the equine vet tech conference, held in conjunction with the AAEP conference and the National Finals Rodeo (this is the time of year that Sin City becomes Cowboy Central).

We’ll be doing our fall TV shoot at the Grove River Ranch in Georgia the first week of November. I’m excited to head south to my old neck of the woods! This is a gorgeous facility and a place where you can trailer in to stay at their cabin, fish and ride!

The fall is always busy for me but I still manage to get some good riding time on my horses. Dually, my number one horse (and the most high-maintenance horse we own) is fully recovered from his near fatal bout with Colitis in the spring. In fact, he’s gotten a little cocky and full of himself—a good sign that he is feeling better but also a sign that we need to get back to more structured training. It’s back to school time for Dually!

Eddie’s Pick is my junior horse and he would love to step  into the number one spot. He comes off the renowned 6666 Ranch, by their World Champion stallion, Sixes Pick. Eddie, a handsome reflection of his daddy, is one of the most eager-to-please and hardworking horses I have ever ridden. Now, as a 6 year old, he has matured physically and mentally (especially the latter) and is becoming a good working partner for me. I don’t know that he could ever fully replace Dually—those are some BIG shoes to fill—but he is sure giving Dually a run for his money!

Although I was sad to say goodbye to summer, I love the fall and getting back on the road and working with horses, and their humans, is very rewarding for me. I enjoy getting to know all the horses I meet, even the naughty ones. Maybe especially the naughty ones—helping horses and their humans get along better is a fun challenge to embrace. I hope to see you on the road this fall and together we will talk horses!


Enjoy the ride,



C Lazy U, Part 3

Good day!

I am enjoying another perfect summer day here at home. Even managed to get caught up on some gardening projects and household chores. I have one more major reorganization project to tackle here in the office, then it’ll be time for a ride.

I’d better finish the Memorial Day weekend story or I’ll soon be more than a week behind my life. My last post took us to the middle of the second day of VRH clinics and our turn at the Working Cow clinic. We were thrilled to have one of the top clinicians in the country, Sandy Collier of Buelltin CA, www.sandycollier.com .

Sandy has a talent for getting a lot of information across in a short amount of time. She explained the procedures for “boxing” the cow on the end of the arena and showing how your horse can control the cow (it’s similar to cutting except that there is only one cow and you are holding him on the fence). In VRH, after you have boxed your cow, you take him down the long wall of the arena, past the middle marker, turn him back on the wall, run him past the middle marker again and turn him again. This usually is high-speed and thrilling (or sheer terror for some).

Before starting the live-cow work, we did an exercise with two horses—one rider pretending to be the cow, one being the horse/rider herding the cow. I discovered that this exercise only works when your partner knows how to act like a cow 😉 but it helps you gel the theory in your mind before trying it on a cow.

We practiced moving the cow by putting your horse’s nose at his flank and circling the cow by putting your horse’s nose at the cow’s ear. I learned a key exercise for my chargey, over-zealous cow horse that relates back to what I learned about him in the cutting clinic—the reward is the cow. If Dually makes a frantic charge at the cow, instead of stealthily sneaking up behind him to turn him, I immediately take him off the cow, put him directly behind the cow and just let him push the cow around the rail into the corners. We’ll continue at that pace, just following the cow, until he is relaxed and then try sneaking up on the cow again. Every time he gets chargey, we start following the cow, pushing him down the rail instead of turning. Once he makes two good turns on the cow, we quit.

Still trying to preserve my horse’s back for the schooling competition the next day, I only worked him once on a real cow. I was proud of my determination not to over work him, but as I took him back to the trailer I had a nagging concern that I perhaps had not worked him enough and he would be too fresh tomorrow. But since Dually was on a heavy dose of Alleve, I felt it prudent to err on the side of caution since twice before I have been unable to compete on him after a two-day clinic.

I tried this rail work exercise yesterday, training here at home, and it worked great! We also roped a little and I had two good catches and stops J I guess I am going to have to finish his story in a fourth part, because now I have to get some work done and so I have time to ride my horse. Next I’ll share what competition day is like in VRH and let you know how we all did at the competition.

Until then, ride safely!


Please visit Goodnight’s sites for more information and training tips:

My Top 3 Lessons From The Julie Goodnight Women’s Riding Clinic

JulieGoodnight.com Logo

I’m going to be brutally honest here: I was a fan of clinician Julie Goodnight before attending her ”Women’s Riding and Yoga Retreats and Ranch Riding Weekend at C Lazy U Ranch” in Granby, Colorado.

But after four days of riding with Julie, that’s changed.

Now I’m a groupie


Riding & Yoga Retreat

JulieGoodnight.com Logo


We had an awesome Yoga & Riding Retreat at the C Lazy U Ranch in Granby, Colorado last fall. There were about thirty women altogether, for four days of riding lessons, trail riding, yoga sessions, decadent spa treatments, gourmet meals and luxurious five-star accommodations and service. The weather was absolutely perfect—crisp mornings and warm sunny days, which is not always a guarantee in October in the high mountains of Colorado. But for this trip, we had no use for the heated indoor arena. We all particularly enjoyed the young and cute wait staff, always ready to lend a hand, and who we fondly nick-named our “cabana boys.” If only I had a buff young man to carry my bags on every trip that I do!

Five riders brought their own horses; the rest of the guests were riding ranch horses and they did surprisingly well for good ol’ trail horses.  Much to my amusement and delight, the ranch horses started out wanting to plod head-to-tail around the arena but by the end of it we had them leg yielding one by one down the quarter line! Although it’s always nice to ride your own horse at a clinic, there’s something very satisfying about walking up to the barn and having someone hand you a tacked horse, ready to go. And the ranch hands are quick to remind you that they have 180 horses, and if this one doesn’t work, you can try another!

It’s a very fun weekend for me too; because for one thing, I get to bring my own horse, Dually, and have a few days of riding time on him. I love teaching off my own horse—what a luxury! I can demonstrate whatever I want and teach with my ever-ready partner at my side. But  since I fly to most events that I do, sadly I have to leave my horse at home most of the time. Granted, I do get the pleasure of riding some very nice horses when I am on the road, but sometimes the mounts I get are not exactly what I ordered.

Another reason I really enjoy the riding & yoga retreats at C Lazy U is the camaraderie and networking that goes on among the women that attend. From all points of the country (Martha’s Vineyard to San Diego) and from all walks of live, a group of women come together to study horsemanship, do yoga and indulge themselves for a few days—free from the everyday chores and challenges of life, work and family. Some women arrived alone but were quickly surrounded by new friends. Some women came with friends in tow and we had a couple of mother-daughter pairs, but by the end of the first meal, we were one group and any lines between people were blurred.

There were many highlights during the weekend for me, but my favorite memory is of seeing Betty canter around the arena on old Bucky, like she was running barrels. This from a timid woman who started out in the first session saying she probably could never canter. But once Bucky got the idea that it was okay to canter, and Betty got the “Yehaw!” cue down, they were tearing it up. I even found myself saying, “Okay Betty, I think that’s enough catering for you and Bucky!”

Everyone made tremendous progress, learned a lot and had fun. Most made a pact to return again next fall and we all exchanged email addresses and have been sharing photos online. If you did attend this year, I hope you will post some comments below about your favorite memory from the weekend. We have another Women’s riding & Yoga Retreats planned for this year—In October. I know a lot of your were disappointed not to make it into last fall’s retreat—it was filled to capacity months ahead of time. So if you have an interest in attending this coming year, you may want to sign up early; many of the folks from this year are already signed  up for October. All registrations are made through C Lazy U. www.clazyu.com

Enjoy the ride!



C Lazy U, Part 2


I have caught up on some badly needed restsleeping 12 solid hours last night. And today is like paradise here in the Heart of the Rocky Mountains HYPERLINK “http://www.salidachamber.org/ http://www.salidachamber.org/ . Its warm and sunny and no windand Ive even found some time to relax a little, reading my book on the deck in-between loads of laundry. Its good to be home!

To take up from last time, I only managed to write about the first day of the 3-day VRH clinic/competition HYPERLINK “http://nvrha.org/docs/CLazyUFlyer.pdf http://nvrha.org/docs/CLazyUFlyer.pdf . The first day, Saturday, we had roping and cutting clinics. As I said, I put together some very important components of swinging the rope; and in the cutting I learned a really important key to training my horse.

Jack McComber of Rocky Ford CO was the cutting instructor. As I said in my last post, most of the people in our group were cutting for the very first time, so we took it slowly. And that is exactly what my horse needs- slow and stealthy, not the balls-to-the-walls screaming cow eating shark that he thinks he is. What I learned from Jack carries over to all the cow work I do with Dually- whether cutting, fencing, boxing, roping or circling. THE REWARD IS THE COW. He only gets the cow if he does things rightno charging, no wheeling around the cow trying to beat him around the corner. He only gets the cow when he stays quiet and focused, stops straight and turns correctly. Then he can eat the cow for lunch!

Like a retriever that lives to chase the stick, a very cowy horse wants it more than anything. Once he knows that the only way he can get what he wants is to stop straight, fly right and make no unauthorized attacks on the cow, he will do it right every time. But there will probably always have to be reminders along the way. With Jack in the cutting clinic, when my horse got chargey- trying to provoke the cow into some action, Id just stop, back off and put him behind the cow following the cowa place hed rather not be (cant have the cow yet). That gives him time to think about being slow and steady and when he is, I let him have a little action on the cow. This point would really sink in on the next day of the clinic.

Saturday night, we had dinner by the pool and hot tub (read the previous post about the hot tub at C Lazy U). With tables around the pool, a lovely covered portico with porch heaters, and a beautiful inside lounge, all 40 or so of us there for the VRH clinic had dinner together followed by a hilariously entertaining musician and ending with all 40 of us on our feet dancing and singing in a group. Between the good food & drink, the raucous laughing, singing and dancing, every single person had a fabulous time. We shouldve all gone to bed earlier, knowing that tomorrow we would ride again all day.

Sunday offered two more clinics for each of the four groups of 10 riders. For our group, we did reining in the morning and working cow in the after noon. The reining was taught by Dwayn Hoelsher of Berthoud CO, an outstanding trainer of reining horses and he also judged the schooling competition on Monday. On the second day, Dually was still feeling gooda little too froggy perhaps. Since reining is something he does really well, I try not o practice it too muchif he makes a good maneuver the first time I ask for it, thats all I ask. So the reining clinic was a good time to take it easy on Dually, knowing that I would still do some vigorous training in the afternoons working cow session.

Often when you take a clinic, you have the opportunity to learn a totally new perspective on something. Sometimes this new perspective will enlighten you to a whole new way of doing things and other times it will confirm that the way you were already doing things is good for you and your horse. Since reining is a relatively new sport as compared to Dressage, which is thousands of years oldless than a century compared to millenniums, there are many varying ways to train the basic maneuvers of the reining horse. Take the spin, for instance.

As long as I have known about spinning (which is simply a fast pivot on the hindquarters at the walk or trot cadence), there have been two main camps for how to train it. The first walks the horse forward into the spin and the second backs the horse into the spin or, more accurately, doesnt allow forward movement. I have always learned under and have had good success with the former method: from forward motion. But Jack had us consider the latter method: forward motion prohibited. And as it turns out, Dually spins much better that way! The truth of the matter is, that not one training technique is perfect for every horse. Yes, I can get pretty good spins using the forward method, but Dually is a horse for whom forward does not need to be encouraged and it turns out he spins better when forward is prohibited. But then there are horses like Tucker, for whom forward impulsion is not always easy to get and perhaps the forward method works better on him.

Jack likes his spins to be flat (the frame of the horse as seen from profile), with the head low and pretty straight in the body. You cant argue that it makes a pretty picture. What he trains his horse is that I either tell you to go forward or turnaround and there is no forward motion in the turnaround (although there is forward impulsion). So the horse is merely going where you direct him with the reins and unless you reach way up to the horses ears to signal that you do want him to step forward, he should not step forward. I discovered that both methods are good but Jacks is better for my horse. But for a horse that does not maintain forward impulsion well, you may need to train him into a spin with forward motion.

I can see by now that there will have to be at least one more part to the C Lazy U story, because I cannot write it all now. Next Ill write about the final clinic session with one of the top trainers in the country, Sandy Collier, and then the competition. But for now, Ive got to go ride my horse for the first time since the competition four days ago. Hes had a nice rest in the green pasture and is ready to go back to work (I am projecting my opinion on him now ;-).

Hope you are enjoying good times on a good horse this weekend,


Please visit Goodnight’s sites for more information and training tips: