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Let the buckaroo show you how to ride

Organisers Rian du Toit (left) of Executive Equest and Dawie Oosthuizen of Agra with Iain Davis (front), SA horse whisperer par excellence. (Photograph contributed)Horse riders and breeders got the opportunity to refine their skills in the saddle and to improve their stable practice, this week. Agra/Auas Vet Med, together with Executive Equest brought the very best horse training to Namibia as Iain Davis is visiting Namibia for the second time to train horse owners after the success of the 2011 Horsemanship Clinic.
Training started on Wednesday and will conclude on Friday, 4 May at the Windhoek Showgrounds.
Davis is a buckaroo (cowboy of the Vaquero tradition of the Great Basin and California region, particularly one skilled in the handling of horses) and an educator, teaching clinics on horsemanship, roping, and low-stress livestock handling. Davis has worked on ranches in Texas, Montana, Oklahoma, Colorado, and Nebraska.
This year, the training clinic will cover two very important aspects of horse riding: colt starting during the morning sessions and Western horsemanship during the afternoon sessions.
Colt starting is the most important aspect of any horse–human relationship. During the first encounter with a horse the owner must be very confident and handle the horse in such a way that it sets the stage for a long-term trusting relationship between horse and rider. The style of colt starting that will be taught has been done for generations and is a tried and tested way of teaching young horses.
Davis will be teaching two totally untrained three-year old horses. These horses have not been touched or worked with, and will be delivered on trucks for Davis to “start”, halter train, de-sensitise, saddle and ride for the first time.
Western horsemanship is an excellent way to prepare horses so as to improve riding efficiency and comfort. It prepares the horse for good riding practices such as “soft feel”, foot-fall, disengaging the front and rear, and even “safety” features such as the one-rein stop. During the afternoon sessions, Davis will demonstrate the one-rein stop and how to teach it to the horse.
The first horsemanship clinic in 2011 was a success. The participants reported impressive improvement of their horses and more than half of last year’s participants registered for the colt starting sessions.
“Interest in Western riding has grown so much since last year’s clinic that we decided to form NAWESHA (Namibian Western Stock Horse Association), where the western style of riding and handling horses are promoted,” said Rian du Toit of Executive Equest.

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