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Books do help

The proof they say, is in the pudding.
In this case, the proof is in the AQHA Reserve World Championship trophy. And that puddin' is pretty tasty.
First Rate Mos, pictured as a three-year-old in training in the book Natural Western Riding by Don Blazer and Cathy Hanson, won the Junior Trail Horse title at the 2002 AQHA World show in Oklahoma City.
The training techniques offered in the book, without a doubt, get results.
First Rate Mos is owned by Fay Vonada and was ridden in the championship performance by Quarter Horse trainer Cherie Vonada. Cherie designed the practice trail horse courses included in the book.
"Most of the time you use a horse which has already earned his titles to demonstrate 'how-to' training techniques," said Cathy Hanson. "But in the case of Moses (his barn name) we knew after the first few saddles that he would be a pretty solid performer. We really didn't worry about him making too many mistakes during the photo shoot."
Hanson wrote a special section for Natural Western Riding entitled Mastering Trail Courses. Hanson and Vonada specialize in trail horses and western riding horses, and are headquartered at Hanson Quarter Horses in San Juan Capistrano, CA.
"Naturally, as a western riding horse, Moses can do flying lead changes," said Hanson. "So he is also pictured as a demonstration horse in the chapter Cues for More Advanced Riding."
Natural Western Riding has long been considered the classic on western riding techniques. The book details every weight, leg and rein cue for every western exercise. In addition to providing solid training tips, the book explains the horse's footfall sequence for every maneuver. Originally written 25 years ago by Don Blazer, the book was revised and updated just last year by Blazer and Hanson. The book is used by more than a dozen colleges as text for riding and training classes.
In the section on trail classes, Hanson explains how to measure the horse's steps, the importance of cadence, how to make each obstacle easy, your horse's job and how to show for the judges.
Pictured on the cover of the book is Obviously Confused (Margaret), a horse many remember as a weanling featured in a 12-part training series which Hanson did for Horse & Rider magazine. In that series, Hanson took Margaret from the first halter to the first saddle. Margaret finished in the top 10 at the AQHA World Championships just three years ago.
Excerpts from the book, as well as reviews, can be viewed at


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