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foot rope

Today’s Texas Rangers ride some of the most well-trained horses in the world, but a high-strung, green-broke mustang helped launch the long and distinguished career of Maj. George Erath. In his memoirs, Erath described his earliest days as a ranger private in 1835, and his first engagement with American Indians in North Central Texas.

You turned your colt out to pasture for a winter break. Now it’s time to bring him in and pick up where you left off on his training last fall. Before you saddle up, however, “the key is to first get your colt ready to work again,” says Rick Gaudreault, an American Quarter Horse Association Professional Horseman, cow-horse trainer and clinician. “He’s rested and matured all winter. I can almost guarantee that if you saddle up on a frosty spring morning, he’ll feel really good and buck, and could injure you or himself.”

In the December 2005 issue of Western Horseman, champion trainer and clinician Terry Myers, Ostrander, Ohio, shares his groundwork exercises and safety strategies to teach your horse how to stand still – and not pull back. He recommends teaching your horse to tie using a large, truck-style inner tube tied to a secure, deep-set post along a smooth, flat wall. Teaching your horse to tie with the inner tube helps your horse know to move forward. The inner tube will give, then pull your horse back into position faster than your own hands can correct and reward. Your horse won’t feel the constant resistance of the rope; instead, he’ll feel pressure, then release when he moves forward and stops pulling back.

During the interview for our June 2005 print feature, “A 10-Maneuver Groundwork Test,” Texas clinician Jody Cunningham of Grapeland also discussed escalating cues when working with horses. Here are his tips for bringing pressure to bear on your horse in effective, appropriate ways.

In the July 2005 issue of Western Horseman, Professional Rodeo Cowboy’s Association tie-down roper Mike Hadley of Canon City, Colorado, shared his equine fitness regimen. In addition to ensuring his horses are physically fit for competition, Hadley also takes care to ensure they eat well and have a comfortable environment in which to live.