Some horses are just awful at going in a straight line, Nancy Cahill said.
“They’re like riding a snake,” Cahill told her audience, a group of riders on Quarter Horses in the covered Spanmaster Arena at the Thunderbird Show Park in Langley.
“If that horse gets to wiggling, it’s kind of like a car on the ice,” Cahill said.
“You cannot oversteer them — gas it a little bit and try to smooth it out as best you can.”
Cahill was teaching two clinics at the annual Horseman’s Bazaar and Country fair organized by the Lower Mainland Quarter Horse Association (LMQHA).
More than 1,000 people attended the event on Sunday, and some of them brought their horses to train with Cahill, an American Quarter Horse Association team wrangler, world champion rider and trainer.
“That was pleasant,” Cahill said as one rider guided her horse around the arena in a precise pattern.
“The only way it’s going to be straight is if you look at something and you go to it,” Cahill told the riders.
“Pick something that’s not going to move.”
Other tips included having a rider use limited-vision basketball dribble training glasses to get out of the bad habit of looking down at the back of a horse’s head.
“You will feel the horse at last,” Cahill said.
“And all of a sudden, the horse will stop arguing with you.”
The American Quarter Horse Association, located in Amarillo, Texas, is the world’s largest equine breed registry and membership organization.
The Quarter Horse, or American Quarter Horse, acquired its name because of its ability to beat other horse breeds in races of a quarter mile or less.
According to the Wikipedia entry, some have been clocked at speeds up to 55 mph (88.5 km/h).
The popular breed is considered an all-purpose type, able to race, work in ranches and perform in rodeos.
“They are a very versatile breed,” said Lower Mainland Quarter Horse Association (LMQHA) president Mellissa Buckley.
“They have great temperaments and we love them.”
For nearly five decades, the annual Horseman’s Bazaar and Country fair organized by the LMQHA has been drawing thousands of visitors.
Thunderbird Show Park in Langley has been host to the bazaar going back to the original Thunderbird Equestrian Centre when the facility was located at 88 Avenue and 200 Street, north of Highway 1.
When Thunderbird founders George and Dianne Tidball relocated to the current home at at 24550 72 Ave., the bazaar moved with them.
This year’s event offered both “horse stuff” and “dog stuff,” including an RCMP dog squad demonstration, dog agility show, horse massage demonstration, musicians, a “cowboy magic show” and more.
Parking donations went to Basics for Babies, the JRfm campaign to correct a chronic shortage of baby products at Lower Mainland Food Banks.
The Lions Club put on the pancake breakfast fundraiser and there were vendors at the Horseman’s Bazaar Trade Fair and the “Famous Used Tack Sale.”
The money raised by the Langley event goes to help cover costs of Quarter Horse events, which can involve flying judges in from Texas, and paying for their food and accommodation.