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Trail Class Obstacles

AQHA Professional Horseman Buddy Fisher shares his trail wheel warm-up for success at AQHA shows.

By Larri Jo Starkey
The American Quarter Horse Journal
September 9, 2013

Buddy Fisher's trail wheel from the September American Quarter Horse Journal

“I don’t work on trail obstacles every day, but every day that I do work on trail, I warm up on my trail wheel,” says AQHA Professional Horseman Buddy Fisher in the September Journal. (Jean Abernethy illustration)

Whether a horse is green or a veteran, AQHA Professional Horseman Buddy Fisher has one warm-up trail obstacle that he uses on a regular basis. His trail wheel warm-up reminds the horse of the body position and mental focus the AQHA world champion horseman is looking for.

Buddy shares his trail wheel warm-up in the September edition of “Borrow a Trainer,” a series in The American Quarter Horse Journal.

“I approach trail as if it is a jump course that happens to be on the ground,” said Buddy, who won the 2012 AQHA junior trail world championship with PF Put It N Park. “When I ride a horse to a pole, I treat it as if it is a jump. I want the horse to be in the correct body position and to carry himself over in a collected manner, with his back up, driving from behind.     

“As he goes over the pole, I want the horse to elevate his back,” the Abilene, Texas, horseman added. “I like his neck to drop so his shoulders are up and square as he goes over the pole, holding that correct body position.

“When horses hollow their backs and raise their necks as they go over a pole, they change their stride length. They might get lucky and get over that one pole cleanly, but they’re going to change their stride length and their cadence and reduce their chances of getting over the next pole cleanly.”

And it’s the trail wheel warm-up that helps condition a horse to the proper procedure.

“I don’t work on trail obstacles every day, but every day that I do work on trail, I warm up on my trail wheel.”

Cathy Keith, who recently won the trail world title with Rinskis Old Gold at the 2013 Adequan Select World Championship Show, said Buddy’s trail wheel warm-up is the secret behind her success.

“You don’t even want to know (how many times I’ve ridden it),” she told the Journal. “But you know what? It pays off. It does pay off.”

Be sure to read “Borrow a Trainer” in the September Journal for Buddy’s tips on how to properly set up and navigate the trail wheel, plus more tips for a winning trail run.

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