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"Natural Western Riding"

Cathy Hanson, trainer of AQHA champions in western pleasure, western riding and trail, lends her talents to the rewriting of Natural Western Riding, a book which has been a classic for more than 20 years.

Hanson is authoring a new section of the book entitled, Mastering Trail Courses. Natural Western Riding, which has been used as the text for western courses in nearly a dozen equine college programs, was originally authored by Don Blazer and published in 1979. The book was the first to detail every rider aid and cue for every western exercise. In addition to explaining what the rider must do, the book tells each of the horse's footfall sequences for every western exercise.

"Even though the book continued to sell, the publishers declined to update the text and photographs," Blazer reports. "I was able to secure the publishing rights, so we went to work on revisions and expanding the subject matter."

The new edition of the book will be available in tack and book stores by October.

"Of course, having my daughter, Cathy Hanson, working on the project again, has been the most fun. In the original version, Cathy, just a teenager, did most of the riding. Today she is one of the premier AQHA trainers of trail class horses, so in addition to doing all the demonstration riding, she shares her tips and tricks for mastering courses," Blazer said.

Hanson spent most of her youngest years riding western horses, but as a teenager she went to England to study dressage and jumping. Having tested before the British Horse Society she earned her B.H.S.A.I. certificate and returned to the US to open a training stable.

In addition to training western champions, she has also trained AQHA champions in showmanship, hunter under saddle, hunt seat equitation, hunter hack and working hunters. As a clinician she has presented programs thoughout the US as well as England. She was a member of clinic team for the Youth World Cup competition.

Featured in many how-to training articles, she did a 13-month series for Horse and Rider magazine in which she started a weanling AQHA filly named Obviously Confused a.k.a. Margaret. Margaret learned her lessons well, placing in the Top 10 at the AQHA World Championships in Junior Trail.

Hanson has been a director of the Pacific Coast Quarter Horse Association since 1992. She was chairman of the amateur committee, is presently chairman of the show committee and serves on the executive committee.

Blazer, author of numerous how-to training articles and books, is the author of the nationally syndicated column, A Horse, Of Course, which is must reading for thousands of fans. In addition to training show horses, he has also trained both Thoroughbred and Quarter Horses stakes winners. Having taught horse training techniques from Alaska to Australia and for five colleges, he is currently an adjunct faculty member at Scottsdale Community College where he teaches five courses known as the Horse Sense Series.

Natural Western Riding is being published by Success Is Easy, 13610 N. Scottsdale Rd., Suite 10-406, Scottsdale, AZ 85254. A sneak preview of the book can be seen on the Internet at

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