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Craig Cameron has one of the most loyal followings of any horsemanship clinician and for good reason. Participants who come to his clinics not only get what they came for (a knowledge of horses and horsemanship), but they're also entertained throughout their learning experience. His clinic-goers have clamored for a book and here it is.
Under one title, Craig Cameron brings together a thorough look at horses and good, solid horsemanship skills that suit both novice and experienced riders. In the early chapters he delves into the psychological and physical realities of horses as a species and how man can best understand them to develop a positive, partnering relationship with the horse.
Next, Cameron covers tack and equipment, horse selection and equitation basics, including exercises to develop a good seat in the saddle, as well as bareback.
In the ground-work chapters, he describes effective ground-handling techniques, including round-pen exercises, hobble-breaking methods and longe-line skills.
In the under-saddle portion of the book, Cameron takes the reader from the first ride on a green colt all the way through to high-performance maneuvers, such as stops, lead changes, rollbacks and turnarounds.
Each chapter includes interesting sidebars that complement the main text. They include: "True Story," personal anecdotes from Cameron's life experience; "Here's How," gentle and helpful training tips; and "A Better Way," troubleshooting sections that provide solutions to common horse-handling problems.
Because of his 20-plus years' experience ranching and rodeoing, Cameron is known as the "Cowboy's Clinician." With his original, entertaining and motivational style, he's regularly sought by television, radio, magazines, fairs, ranch rodeos, concerts, universities and many celebrities. Traveling and working out of his Texas and New Mexico ranches, he starts hundreds of colts each year and gives horsemanship clinics on reining, starting horses on cattle and problem-solving. He's built his reputation on understanding the true nature of horses, and his humane training methods eliminate rough handling. That philosophy and those methods are what Cameron offers on the pages of Ride Smart.
Taken from the chapter title "Reading the Horse."
Horses' bodies are very expressive; they telegraph every emotion and thought a horse has. By being able to decipher these "expressions," and knowing what they are in the first place, you'll be able to tell what's on your horse's mind. You'll know what he's thinking, feeling and even what he's going to do next. Horses never do something without first preparing to do it. If you know what the "signs" mean, you'll be able to prepare for your horse's actions.
How a horse holds his body says a lot about what's going through his mind at the time. When he stands statuesque, stiff with his head up, he's on guard; he's alert to something in his environment. His natural instincts tell him to pay attention to potential danger. If he perceives trouble, his feet will start moving and he'll be out of there. His first reaction is to run; but if he can't leave, he'll bite or kick to defend himself.
When he drops or lowers his head, he's turned loose physically, mentally and emotionally. He's comfortable with his surroundings and sees no danger. Usually, at the same time he drops his head, he'll wiggle his ears and lick his lips - all signs of relaxation. A horse that's not nervous or unsure usually puts his head down in a relaxed position. Look at horses in the pasture. Ninety percent of them have their heads down to graze. This is a natural position of them and means they're content and happy with their world.
Part 1. Nature of the Horse: Understanding the Horse's Instincts, The Herd of Two, Reading the Horse, Mechanics of the Horse, Taking Your Time, Defining Horsemanship, Equipment: Tools of the Horseman's Trade; Part 2. Working With the Horse: Early Handling/Imprinting, Groundwork, The First Ride, Beyond the Round Pen, Flexibility, Collection, Trailer Loading; Part 3. Achieving the Man-Horse Balance: Advanced Leading, Putting Handle on the Horse, The 12 Exercises, The Great Trouble-Shooting Chart
Posted October 2, 2007
I am orginally from England and have ridden English style for 20 yrs now so to go to another style with basically a different language is sometimes difficult. This book has opened my eyes and has been very enjoyable and educational to read. I am starting to put into practice some of the lessons included. Thanks
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Posted July 18, 2011
I'm an experienced rider, but Craig explains aspects of horsemanship that I had to learn the hard way. I like to know why a technique works. I can refer to Craig's book after each experience and it makes sense. I've avoided problems I certainly would have had to solve without his advice. I was disappointed with the binding though. The first time I opened it the spine came apart and it lost about one-fourth of the pages. (No I didn't bend it too far) The information in the book is too valuable to waste time in a return so I drilled holes in it and put it in a binder. This is a valuable resource for riders.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.