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Working together helps both rider and horse, says expert | Livestock

Even experienced riders should find ways to learn from their horse, one of several lessons taught by an expert trainer.







Leah Becker, Ingalls, Kansas, listens as Kerry Kuhn, Medicine Lodge, shares her perspective on horse training during the recent 3i SHOW in Dodge City. (Photo from Dave Bergmeier’s diary.)


Kerry Kuhn, Medicine Lodge, Kansas, showcased different aspects of horsemanship on March 19 inside the Special Events Arena on the west side of the Western State Bank Expo Center, Dodge City, Kansas. Her presentations were part of the Western Kansas Manufacturers Association’s 3i annual SHOW that brought farmers and ranchers to see the latest in innovation March 17-19. All activities were held inside the exhibition center.

Kuhn said that regardless of age or experience, riders should regularly work on their horse. He likes to share techniques to help horse lovers. Kuhn says he’s earned his share of bruises, but says horseback riding has given him a lot of joy, second only to his family and his relationship with Jesus Christ.

During one of her demonstrations, she worked with Leah Becker, Ingalls and her mare to answer questions.

Even an experienced rider, Kuhn said, needs to know the animal because a horse can tell when the rider is uncomfortable and when that happens, just like accidents.

Your goal is to answer, “What can I do to make the horse do what I want?” he said.

“You can put a bridle on a horse, but that doesn’t mean he wants it,” was another of Kuhn’s nuggets for the audience.

Kuhn said one comparison might be to a parent with a young child who sees a bowl of candy and wants to dive in. If the parent tells the child that he can eat a piece and he listens, no problem, but what if the child eats a lot of candy from the bowl? “He Gets Sick,” Kuhn said as the audience nodded in agreement.

Kuhn liked the 60-foot round pen in the sand because it’s practical and also helps the trainer.

“When a horse gets scared, it goes from point A to point B,” he said. “The good thing about a circular pen is that it brings the horse back to point A.”

One of Kuhn’s goals is to help the rider understand that he or she can help dictate the mindset of the horse. Ultimately, the rider’s confidence is what a horse can respond to, as he pointed out that the reins and bridle should not be considered the rider’s security blanket. Becker demonstrated it by riding hands free as his mare trotted across the sand.

“I’m not telling you to take the bridle off,” Kuhn said, adding that it is a tool to help communicate with the horse. My idea is ‘we could meet in the middle’”.

In a way, the bridle serves as a translator so the horse knows what to do, Kuhn said, comparing it to traveling to a foreign country. If you can only speak English, then at the airport those compatriots may not be interested in visiting you, but if you can communicate with them, then they will gravitate towards each other.

“The horse thinks the bridle is the Holy Grail,” Kuhn said, drawing smiles from the audience.

What fascinates Kuhn about horse training is that there is no guarantee of how the animal will ultimately perform, but if the rider is willing to practice and learn, the chances of success are much greater.

Other 3i SHOW events included daily electrical safety demonstrations by Victory Electric Cooperative, Pioneer Electric Cooperative and Wheatland Electric Cooperative that covered all types of scenarios.

A lawnmower demonstration was organized and people of all ages participated in a regional cornhole tournament. A gun show also attracted enthusiasts for a variety of legal weapons and other collectibles.

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