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 Riding a reiner?
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elizNY
Beginning Rider

USA
105 Posts

Posted - 11/06/2009 :  01:02:19 AM  Show Profile  Visit elizNY's Homepage Send elizNY a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Hi friends - I know its been quite some time since I have been on but I thought maybe my friends at DE could offer some insight. I am going to start riding a horse who is a trained reiner. I am wondering if reiners are cued any differently? All I know about him is that his only real job has been as a reiner but that was years ago. He's been here quite a while and he can't really be used as a lesson horse due to him being "too broke", most of the lesson kids here are strictly walk-trot. So basically he stands around doing nothing. Since I have nothing to ride and he needs something to do it was suggested that I start riding him. I don't intend to start reining, just riding around the arena once in a while. Every website I have looked at is filled with information on how to train a horse various reining manuevers, but nothing about what to do when the horse knows them and the rider does not. I want to make sure I push all the right buttons and none of the wrong ones. Any insight would be appreciated!

PaintGal
Trail Boss (Moderator)



USA
5300 Posts

Posted - 11/06/2009 :  08:33:16 AM  Show Profile Send PaintGal a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I'm going out on a limb since I've never ridden a reining horse but I don't think you'd have any trouble just riding him. The manuevers a reining horse does...roll backs, sliding stops, flying lead changes, etc. are requested using specific cues via hands, seat & legs with the help of bits and spurs.

I'd think if you ride him as if he was a pleasure horse, he'll respond as a pleasure horse. Depending on his training, he might respond more quickly but I don't think he'd spin if you ask him to turn or slide on his butt if you ask him to stop.

As with any new horse, you'll have to get used to him and he'll need to learn what you want. Just take it slow and easy till you get to know each other. Keep us posted on the progress and we'd love to see pictures!


Karen ~ Trails
&
Joe Paint Gelding
Paoli, IN


"My treasures do not sparkle or glitter, they shine in the sun and neigh in the night."



~~~~~~
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hmeyer
Clinician



USA
2194 Posts

Posted - 11/06/2009 :  08:40:28 AM  Show Profile Send hmeyer a Private Message  Reply with Quote
As PG said, I'm no expert either, but I would think as she does that riding for pleasure would not be all that much different from riding any other well-trained horse. However, I think you should be ready for quicker reactions to your cues than you would get with other horses. For example, if you put him up into a lope and then ask him to stop, I would be ready for a quick stop! Otherwise, you might end up going over the handlebars!

"You learn a thing a day, you store up smart" - Festus Haggen

"A manís soul canít be hidden,
From the creatures in his care." -
Hard Candy Cowboy by Debra Meyer


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homein3turns
Trainer



USA
654 Posts

Posted - 11/06/2009 :  1:43:42 PM  Show Profile Send homein3turns a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Hi elizNY - I have a horse who was recently at a trainer that taught him some basic reining moves. When I ride my horse at home, I start out walking and getting him to collect into a nice frame and relax. Once we have reached this I will begin using specific cues to ask for turns to the left and right using either the front or hind end, stopping, forward motion and backing up with my seat. The trainer is a very accomplished rider and of course my horse is used to his refined cues. I have noticed that when I begin asking for the specific moves, I am 'clumsy' and sometimes ask for more than one move at a time It's like Nakota becomes super sensitive to my weight and body postion in the saddle once I start asking for specific movements and 'reads' my clumsy attempts to keep my weight even in the saddle, etc. In a long winded way, I guess I am trying to say that I think as long as you don't ask for specific movements, the horse will be fine for pleasure riding. If that even makes any sense....

Juli Collier
Pendleton, IN
Juli's Riding Log

"Let a horse whisper in your ear and breathe on your heart. You will never regret it." Author Unknown
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CrookedPostQH
Beginning Rider



68 Posts

Posted - 11/06/2009 :  2:45:52 PM  Show Profile Send CrookedPostQH a Private Message  Reply with Quote
You will love riding a finished reiner. You do need to use your feet for guidance and not rely on the reins for steering. Look at how the pro reiners have their stirrups shortened to help them stay seated during stops as they use the bent legs for leverage. Like someone else mentioned, you can fly forward if this one puts the breaks on too fast without you being prepared. There are lots of video clips of reiners and working cow horse people on the internet that can show you some cues.

Overall, they are so supple and just like other well trained horses he should recognize you are not looking for +1 spins and stops! Have fun.

South West Illinois

When someone shows you who they are,...believe them. ~Maya Angelou
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Mrs Hook
Trainer



Canada
862 Posts

Posted - 11/06/2009 :  3:24:19 PM  Show Profile  Visit Mrs Hook's Homepage Send Mrs Hook a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Lucky, lucky you!!!

I took a couple years worth of lessons on a finished (showing) reiner. What an incredible horse. Riding a reiner is like driving a very high performance sports car - they can go from 0 to 60 in 10 seconds and stop just as quickly!!!

My advise is to sit in the center of the saddle, keep your shoulders square and your butt in the saddle, and basically throw your reins away. The horse I rode, rode off body language, with very little leg and rein. Shift your weight onto the outside seat bone, push down and you were into a lope. Keep your butt still and you got a nice soft slow lope, move forward just a bit and he kept picking up speed. Sit and push down and you got a stop with no reins.

One thing to NOT do, is put your weight on your outside seatbone, look in that direction and casually lay your inside leg on him. After you have spun a dozen circles and you finally figure out what is happening to you, take your legs off and say WHOA!!!

I really envy you, I am still riding babies - they are getting there - but it would be so nice to have a finished horse again.

If SBower sees this she should be able to give you more help. She has taken over her daughters finished reiner.

Good luck and let us know your experiences.

Mrs Hook's Riding Log


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slidinstop
Groomer



48 Posts

Posted - 11/16/2009 :  12:03:44 PM  Show Profile Send slidinstop a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Biggest thing to remember is to sit on your pockets and keep your legs relaxed as squeezing with your calves is in fact the gas pedal.

Best thing you can do is get on him and go get a feel for him at the walk, jog/trot and lope. You can practice getting a feel for his stops from the walk first, jog next, so on and so forth until you're proficent at the slower gates I would not attempt it from the lope . Drop you weight in your seat,lean your shoulders back behind vertical, push your feet forward, ankles turned (toes turned out),stop riding and say wwwwwwhhhhhhhhhoooooooooaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa, very slowly. You may or may not need to pick up on the reins slightly as that depends on the individual horse.

Additionally this horse should be able to transition down from the lope to a jog and walk, so until you get your feel and timing down from the walk/jog/trot to the stop, I would transition his down to one of those when first loping him, rather than going from the lope to the stop otherwise the below tends to happen.

What you don't want to do is to tense up,squeezing him with your feet/legs and pull on him when asking for the stop. That illicits what I call the "whoa..go" response and what happens is the horse will start to stop, then leap forward (as per the accidental leg cue) and you'll be kissing him between the ears.

The great thing about a finish reiner, (depending upon if they're stingy or lazy) is that he will equalize his tallent with your skill level. As you progress and get more proficient at riding him, his skill level will continue up the scale to whatever training/proficeincy he had in the showpen, provided your skills and abilities are at that level. He'll never give you more than what you ask.

So go swing a leg over that sucker and get a feel for him. Be VERY light with your hands and you leg cues, sit in the middle of him and get comfortable and most of all enjoy!

Edited by - slidinstop on 11/16/2009 12:07:59 PM
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elizNY
Beginning Rider

USA
105 Posts

Posted - 11/29/2009 :  3:04:55 PM  Show Profile  Visit elizNY's Homepage Send elizNY a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Well, I have heard he is a bit lazy from a few people who have ridden him (I have not ridden him yet). I guess I am trying to figure out if this is just his nature, or if he is just responding to how he is being ridden. The general consensus is that he is hard to get moving, and you have to keep at him to keep moving, but they "ooh and aah" about once he gets moving. No one at this barn has any experience reining so I don't really have anyone to explain how a reiner is trained and what they respond to. I have seen him ridden at the WTC but it was a long time ago and I really didn't pay any attention. He is everyone's first choice for a rock-solid trail horse so in the last year and a half or so, I have only seen him plod along around the property occasionally. When I get up on a new horse, I tend to "take ahold of" the reins, and then start with a heel bump to move forward (progressing to the "thump" and the "whomp" as needed). Is it safe to say start with a loose rein and calf squeeze rather than rein contact and heel bump/tap?
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killybean907
Clinician



USA
1082 Posts

Posted - 11/29/2009 :  4:41:48 PM  Show Profile Send killybean907 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
...I would ask the folks who HAVE ridden him or been riding him how he responds to the bit contact, leg squeeze etc. They must be able to share something I would think.

Most reining horses are very sensitive to any aids such as seat,leg, body, that it shouldn't take much. If he is considered "lazy", it is probable that the "plod along around the property" has bored him silly or he has come to ignore any cues due to the inexperienced rider.

I would...GET ON HIM AND TRY HIM YOURSELF.... just a thought.




It's not the years in your life that count, it's the life in your years.
Karen-Anchorage, Alaska
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slidinstop
Groomer



48 Posts

Posted - 11/30/2009 :  10:02:51 AM  Show Profile Send slidinstop a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Reiners are used to having their faces picked up on to shape them. But don't take a tight hold. I'd just get on him and see how much pressure it takes to get him to drop andflex at the poll and get soft in his chin, then make sure you release it. He should do it at the stand still, then squeeze with your calves and ask him to walk forward.

We had one at the ranch in CA that was called Little Joe. He was an absolute slug and pretty numb from all the novices having ridden him over the years and he wasn't going to go any faster than you MADE him. But I could get on him, or someone else who had experience and get him light and responsive within just a few minutes. His laid back lazy ways belied his registered name by in large, which was Lethal Lena... nothing lethal about him... lol

If you get his buttons figured out and in the right sequence, he'll get responsive again. So I'm with KB... get on him and feel him out.
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Cayuse
Advanced Rider



Canada
156 Posts

Posted - 11/30/2009 :  11:29:57 AM  Show Profile  Visit Cayuse's Homepage Send Cayuse a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I have ridden finished reiners, whom were of the non- reactive type/lazy. To get the ultimate skills out of them you had to ask correctly for them to perform. For my seventh ride in six months, I rode a reiner in a lesson and I didn't even get a lope out of him as I was not sitting or cueing just right. The horse was soft in the bridle and it took very little give him direction. Each horse is different though.
You need to get on and let him carry you around without any hold on him,then start very subtlely with cues of hands/legs/seat, testing just how much pressure you need to get him turn, change gait, stop, etc. As was said, some contact can be used to frame the horse but don't hold it. Reiners are used to seat/leg /weight cues more than someone having a hold of their face. Test him out and enjoy.

Cayuse
A lovely horse is always an experience...It is an emotional experience of the kind that is spoiled by words. Beryl Markham
Riding is a complicated joy. You learn something each time. It is never quite the same, and you never know it all. Monica Dickens
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sbower
Clinician



1083 Posts

Posted - 11/30/2009 :  8:36:34 PM  Show Profile Send sbower a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I ride my daughters finished reiner. They are fun and responsive
but you really don't need to worry that if you give a "special cue" that the horse is suddenly going to start spinning. The cues to slide and spin are not common cues and unlikely to be triggered unintentionally. Plus they need special shoes to slide and sliding without them isn't a good idea due to the wear and tear on the legs.

My guess is that if he's been ridden for years without someone using the correct cues that he's forgotten most of them! LOL

Number one thing... don't ever say "Whoa" unless you want a dead stop cause these horses are taught to stop on a dime.

They are also taught to respond to pressure in the stirrup. If you are at a trot and lower your heels you should feel the gate get slower. Ditto for lope. Experiment to see how little of a cue you can use.

As to him being lazy, a little tune-up should help that. The biggest difference I see in reining horses is that when you cue something whether it be a faster/slower pace, a spin whatever... you cue ONCE (as softly as possible). The reiner is expected to continue doing what you have cued until you cue something else. Iron clad rule. So if I ask my reiner to speed up, he is expected to continue at that pace without any additional cues. FOREVER! LOL If he doesn't he gets a pretty strong correction to let him know he goofed. That's how we get the nice quiet ride expected for showing. Slidin Stop is absolutely correct that the speed cue comes from pressure in the leg. The more you tense and grip the faster you will go (because in a sense you are cueing, cueing, cueing..... relax, and think about sitting really deep.

We also sit on our pockets and round our back more than other western sports. You may want to invest in a decent reining saddle, as they are better designed to have closer contact with the horse and the fenders are set much further forward. While we do have a showing class called "Short Stirrup" (for young riders!) I don't see many reiner's in shortened stirrups as Crooked post noted (May be a West Coast/East Coast thing). In fact, most of the ones I know like to "stand up" in their stirrups while we are trotting and loping...makes the horse look smoother and you really can't tell from the ground.

I'd be happy to help you with specific cues or if your horse is doing something you don't understand. For now I'd concentrate on getting the horse round and collected. A reiner should never be heavy on the bit, I ride with almost no rein pressure (as long as the horse is collected).

Can you take a few lessons with a reining trainer? Failing that Stacey Westfall has some dvds out that I like very much.

Have fun!!!

<'\__~
_(( // ====

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slidinstop
Groomer



48 Posts

Posted - 12/02/2009 :  2:29:11 PM  Show Profile Send slidinstop a Private Message  Reply with Quote
The thing about finished horses is... they come right down to your level of riding (for the most part)... then as you progress in your skill level, they come right back up with you. With this horse having been used for a general lesson horse, I can all but guarantee he's gotten numb to miscues and that you don't have to worry about doing anything wrong.

They're all certainly individuals... my old retired guy anyone can get on, and if they even get it in the ballpark, he'll do it correctly, spin, stop, change leads, rollback, etc, albeit at turtle speed as he knows when he's packing a newbie, and knows to ignore weight shifts in the saddle, yadda yadda. My current show mare, is NOT one to pack anyone beyond beyond a skilled rider or my hubby, who occassionally just trailrides on her or sits quiet while I work something else. She's not newbie material whatsoever, nor will she ever be... too sensitive/responsive. If you don't ask in exactly the right manner, she's not going to do it for you and then she'll get upset because you're doing it wrong. She's an exception rather than a rule.

Your guy has already established he can pack the clueless if he's a general lesson horse. So really I wouldn't worry about getting on him. What he once was, is not what he is currently (not without some serious tuning) and as most horses are lazy by nature, I BET he's not going to give you anymore than you ask for. :)

Edited by - slidinstop on 12/02/2009 2:30:30 PM
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elizNY
Beginning Rider

USA
105 Posts

Posted - 12/04/2009 :  9:37:34 PM  Show Profile  Visit elizNY's Homepage Send elizNY a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Well that's the thing, he has not been used as a lesson horse. I FINALLY got a chance to ride him today and I can see why. He IS lazy! Actually, the barn owner was telling me that he just does not respond at all to the little tykes, he is better with adults/heavier riders. It is going to take me some time to figure him out. I found it difficult to get him to respond to the calf squeeze unless I really scootched back to the cantle. I can see where a reining saddle would help as I found it difficult to really get good leg contact. But I did manage to touch on the gas pedal a bit. He kept wanting to slow down in the corners, slow down near the feed room, slow down near his friends over by the mounting block etc. Really had to keep after him. I did not manage to get him to lope, only to trot really really fast and think about loping, by that time my legs were about numb so I decided to try again next time. I put my daughter on him and after some initial frustration, she posted the trot and he kept going pretty nicely. I'm looking forward to riding him again, but I sure would like to know the key that unlocks the door and see what he is like when he really responds.
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Hook
Trail Boss (Moderator)



Canada
6115 Posts

Posted - 12/05/2009 :  07:05:01 AM  Show Profile  Visit Hook's Homepage Send Hook a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by elizNY

Well that's the thing, he has not been used as a lesson horse. I FINALLY got a chance to ride him today and I can see why. He IS lazy! Actually, the barn owner was telling me that he just does not respond at all to the little tykes, he is better with adults/heavier riders. It is going to take me some time to figure him out. I found it difficult to get him to respond to the calf squeeze unless I really scootched back to the cantle. I can see where a reining saddle would help as I found it difficult to really get good leg contact. But I did manage to touch on the gas pedal a bit. He kept wanting to slow down in the corners, slow down near the feed room, slow down near his friends over by the mounting block etc. Really had to keep after him. I did not manage to get him to lope, only to trot really really fast and think about loping, by that time my legs were about numb so I decided to try again next time. I put my daughter on him and after some initial frustration, she posted the trot and he kept going pretty nicely. I'm looking forward to riding him again, but I sure would like to know the key that unlocks the door and see what he is like when he really responds.



I would suggest that you review his feed program to make sure he has a healthy well balanced diet.

I would then suggest that you go back to basics with some ground work, progressing to lunging then back to riding. This will establish some direct rapport with him. (BTW, what is is name).

I think you will be surprised at the result once he knows that you are going to be part of his life from now on.

Hook(ed)......on Horses

"The best things in life are nearest: Breath in your nostrils, light in your eyes, flowers at your feet, duties at your hand, the path of right just before you. Then do not grasp at the stars, but do life's plain, common work as it comes, certain that daily duties and daily bread are the sweetest things in life. " Author: Robert Louis Stevenson
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elizNY
Beginning Rider

USA
105 Posts

Posted - 12/06/2009 :  01:33:08 AM  Show Profile  Visit elizNY's Homepage Send elizNY a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Hook, you are either an optimist or know something I don't know! I don't know how much involvement I will have with him as I am currently unemployed....I am happy to have the opportunity to get on a horse once in a great while instead of standing on the sidelines as I have been (sold my horse in feb. when I was laid off, was called back part-time for a few months, and am now on "temporary layoff" until who knows when). I am hoping to just be able to get on him once a week when I bring my daughter for lessons. Obviously, I have to take a backseat to paying customers. On the other hand, even with all the horse-crazy kids here, he still isn't generally well-liked, due to his reluctance to move out when asked, or everyone's inability to figure out how to make him do so.
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Hook
Trail Boss (Moderator)



Canada
6115 Posts

Posted - 12/06/2009 :  07:23:50 AM  Show Profile  Visit Hook's Homepage Send Hook a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I am an optimist, but fate has a way of helping sometimes.

Hope your employment situation turns around now that the economy is starting an upward trend.

Spend as much time as you can with the reiner and see what develops. You never know what can happen.

Hook(ed)......on Horses

"The best things in life are nearest: Breath in your nostrils, light in your eyes, flowers at your feet, duties at your hand, the path of right just before you. Then do not grasp at the stars, but do life's plain, common work as it comes, certain that daily duties and daily bread are the sweetest things in life. " Author: Robert Louis Stevenson
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elizNY
Beginning Rider

USA
105 Posts

Posted - 12/13/2009 :  9:24:33 PM  Show Profile  Visit elizNY's Homepage Send elizNY a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I rode the horse again today, he was a bit better in that he did not try to stop as much, but it was still hard to really get him going. I found that he is most responsive to a calf squeeze when I slide my leg WAY back, is this normal? I am really liking this horse, he goes along on a long, loose rein that I could only dream of when I had my WP horse, maintains a nice steady speed once you get him going, but I am just missing the magic gas pedal. Any other suggestions?
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EZ2SPOT
Clinician

USA
3785 Posts

Posted - 12/14/2009 :  5:59:05 PM  Show Profile  Visit EZ2SPOT's Homepage Send EZ2SPOT a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Yup...spurs! I hate them and don't use them very often on my own horses...but some horses have been ridden with them so much, that they will not respond much without them. MOST of the reiners I've seen, have been ridden with spurs.

Of course, you would want to use caution while you find out how he responds to them. But I really think spurs would help a great deal.

EZ2SPOT
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Hook
Trail Boss (Moderator)



Canada
6115 Posts

Posted - 12/14/2009 :  9:02:55 PM  Show Profile  Visit Hook's Homepage Send Hook a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Glad to hear think are improving.

When we had Hookie in basic training with with a reining trainer he used a kissing sound to trot and a clucking sound to lope. Traditionally the kissing is to lope and the clucking to trot.


You might try some voice command variations as you cue him to change gaits. Of course being very quiet in the saddle with your body and only moving your legs and reins to cue may help as well.

Hook(ed)......on Horses

"The best things in life are nearest: Breath in your nostrils, light in your eyes, flowers at your feet, duties at your hand, the path of right just before you. Then do not grasp at the stars, but do life's plain, common work as it comes, certain that daily duties and daily bread are the sweetest things in life. " Author: Robert Louis Stevenson
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elizNY
Beginning Rider

USA
105 Posts

Posted - 12/14/2009 :  10:12:02 PM  Show Profile  Visit elizNY's Homepage Send elizNY a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I was afraid someone was going to say that!!! Someone did say he rides with spurs, they were telling me how someone else rode him with spurs and he was spinning, sliding, and generally doing it all as reiners do. That was along time ago and I think that person has left the barn so they are not available to ask.
I do have a pair of ball spurs (no rowels) however, I have only used spurs a few times in my life. I admit my leg is not as quiet as it should be...so before I go for a wild ride, can someone more experienced please give me some helpful hints in the proper use of spurs?
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hmeyer
Clinician



USA
2194 Posts

Posted - 12/15/2009 :  08:46:39 AM  Show Profile Send hmeyer a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I think the main thing to remember is that they are just another way of asking, after you have asked with your leg. They are not for punishment and should only be used last. You need to practice making sure you don't spur him when you don't intend to. Then, when you do, you don't jab him with them, you just place them against his side and roll the rowel (or ball) along his side. I think where a lot of people get into trouble, and this has happened to me, is that when things get a little dicey, they tend to clamp down with their leg and their heel goes up causing the spur to make contact. Then that just escalates the problem. You have to conciously keep your heels down and off the horse until you get used to the spurs.

"You learn a thing a day, you store up smart" - Festus Haggen

"A manís soul canít be hidden,
From the creatures in his care." -
Hard Candy Cowboy by Debra Meyer


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PaintGal
Trail Boss (Moderator)



USA
5300 Posts

Posted - 12/15/2009 :  09:22:54 AM  Show Profile Send PaintGal a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Strap on some big ol spurs with rowels and say "Hold my beer and watch this!" then climb on!

Make sure someone has a video cam handy.

Karen ~ Trails
&
Joe Paint Gelding
Paoli, IN


"My treasures do not sparkle or glitter, they shine in the sun and neigh in the night."



~~~~~~
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hmeyer
Clinician



USA
2194 Posts

Posted - 12/15/2009 :  09:47:41 AM  Show Profile Send hmeyer a Private Message  Reply with Quote
My last words will probably be "Watch this." But I would never say "Hold my beer and watch this." If you cain't hold yer beer and do it, you don't need to be doin' it.

"You learn a thing a day, you store up smart" - Festus Haggen

"A manís soul canít be hidden,
From the creatures in his care." -
Hard Candy Cowboy by Debra Meyer


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killybean907
Clinician



USA
1082 Posts

Posted - 12/15/2009 :  2:13:49 PM  Show Profile Send killybean907 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by hmeyer

My last words will probably be "Watch this." But I would never say "Hold my beer and watch this." If you cain't hold yer beer and do it, you don't need to be doin' it.



You guys are toooooooo funny!!!




It's not the years in your life that count, it's the life in your years.
Karen-Anchorage, Alaska
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homein3turns
Trainer



USA
654 Posts

Posted - 12/16/2009 :  1:40:43 PM  Show Profile Send homein3turns a Private Message  Reply with Quote
"If you cain't hold yer beer and do it, you don't need to be doin' it."

This needs to be on a t-shirt!!

Juli Collier
Pendleton, IN
Juli's Riding Log

"Let a horse whisper in your ear and breathe on your heart. You will never regret it." Author Unknown
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