In this episode, Jec interviews Larry Whitesell of Baxter, Tennessee, east of Nashville. Larry is renowned in the gaited horse world. What distinguishes him is his interest and pursuit of classical methods. He’s well-traveled down the dressage road and a well rounded, well educated horseman.
Over and over, Larry reminds us that gaited horses are horses, first and foremost. So relaxation is pretty much the key to making progress with them and their gaiting. Force and pressure are not answers. Nor is speed.
I had to laugh (again) because I really think my dear colleague, Jec, is nudging me – perhaps not so subtly – to make some changes. As you might have heard in our last episode on cross training, she and Amy Skinner reminded us trail riders, of the merits of arena work.
Here, she and Larry talk about slowing down and paying attention to the fine points of gaited movement and how to help gaited horses find relaxation. In past phone calls, I’ve talked with Jec about my nervous, rescued Tennessee Walker, Barry and how I was challenged by his pacing.
There are great insights in this show and I’d love to refer you to Jec’s book, 55 Corrective Exercises. If you, like me, have a horse who’s tight in the shoulder, neck, and poll, try exercises 3, 13, 16, 18, 35, 37, 40, and 45. Have fun!
And hey! We want to know what you’ve been up to this summer. What have you learned? What have you been working on? Send us a note and you’ll qualify for not just a Patagonia WorkWear item, but a knife from Kershaw and a pair of merino socks from Grip6. We’ll be talking about summer adventures and learning in an upcoming show, so let us hear from you!
We thank Pharm Aloe Equine and Lucerne Farms for their support. Pharm Aloe offers aloe pellets and gel and other products to support horses’ GI health, immune system, and other processes.
Lucerne Farms is a forage company based in Northern Maine. More and more folks are realizing that forage is an ideal option for their horses. Superior to grain and often handier and more nutritious than hay
We also thank Kershaw knives, Redmond Equine, Kate’s Real Food, and Patagonia WorkWear for their continued support.
Thanks for listening y’all!
In response to your request for summer adventures, my 19 yr old Arabian mare and I (a 72 yr old amateur rider) have begun Working Equitation training! We have participated in a clinic and schooled some obstacles at home. My mare is very intelligent but also very alert and reactive. The obstacles seem to be a great and fun challenge for her, once she gets over her initial suspicion! In the clinic she made great improvement in just the two lessons and handled the required rhythm and bend changes like a champ. I am finding that the dressage training and obstacles are a fun combination of skills.
Thanks for your podcast. I always enjoy listening and found the book on corrective exercises very helpful when we needed it as she recovered from a stifle soreness.
Just found your podcast, specifically the one with Larry Whitesell. Really enjoyed listening to him. I first saw him and Jennifer Bauer at Equine Affaire in Ohio and since then they have become my go tos for gaited information. There’s so much misinformation out there! I have a 13/14 year old gaited mountain horse that was used for field trials previously. We are working on slowing her down and trying to get her to relax. It’s been difficult because she has been so used to going like a bat out of hell! Making progress, but I needed to hear this podcast today because I’ve been too hard on myself about it taking so long. I’m passing the link to this podcast on to friends!
Hi! I love the pod! Since March, I have been rehabbing a friend’s magnificent mare who has been entrusted to my care after an unspecific soft tissue sprain right front that presents oddly. Traditionally diagnostics didn’t pinpoint exactly and this mare can’t do stall rest for lots of reasons.
I started tack walking in June and have been using the 3 Walk Routines from Jec’s 55 Corrective Exercises, as well as lots of attention to trimming, supportive supplements, chiro and other exercises on ground to improve general well-being, proprioception and movement patterns. We are up to 45 minutes a day of walking, with 10 minutes of trot, and she’s sound and even – woo hoo!!!! She’s a truly special draft-QH cross, copper penny red, with lots of great training invested in her, so I am hopeful that she’s on the way to a true recovery!
Thank you for the guidance from book and pod! It’s been an inspiring summer!
This has been a summer of problem solving, learning, and adapting, and I believe my mare Meadow and I are better off now as a result of the unplanned detours in our training schedule. I wanted to share the story with you because the education through your books, podcast, and coaching have played an important part in our growth this summer.
I began summer a little discouraged after a season of intermittent and subtle lameness that my vet and farrier were never able to precisely diagnose because it wasn’t consistent or obvious enough.
Without this setback, I wouldn’t have sought a customized fitness plan by Jec Ballou for help. During the first few weeks of the fitness plan I learned that I’d been so afraid of accidentally hurting my horse, I hadn’t been training her like a coach trains and motivates an athlete. I often underestimate her and expect that there’s some things she’ll never get good at. I began to see big improvements after only 3 weeks of exercises and adopting a new mindset, and we logged 32 training and fitness sessions together in July alone.
Then the first week of August my whole family got covid and I knew we were going to loose momentum and fitness gains. That same week Meadow pulled off a front shoe at the same time the vet and I were talking about transitioning her back to barefoot.
I decided to keep asking myself the question “what CAN we do during this time?” instead of focusing on what we couldn’t do, due to the present circumstances. The farrier took her shoes off during the week that I was too sick to ride or exercise her. You guys had put out a podcast on what horses and riders need to know and another on emergency preparedness, so I began to do a bunch of short sessions practicing our most foundational safety and handling skills, which worked for my energy level while I was healing. We took lots of trailer rides and logged time standing patiently tied in different places as her feet were still adapting and I was still quarantining. We did lots of slow work over ground poles in soft footing and gradually utilized all the little hills and different terrain that our property has to offer. Now that our family is finally done with covid, I get to look back and see that it wasn’t a month completely wasted or lost, but Meadow & I accomplished a lot with what we could do under those circumstances. Thank you for the motivational content and education. I am looking forward to starting another personalized fitness coaching month with Jec.