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Obstacle Course

This Oregon woman's unusual arena helps trail horses get past their fears.
  • Vixen Radford-Barney Dun The Right Way Horses

    Obstacle course<br>This Oregon woman's unusual arena helps trail horses get past their fears.<br>
    By Mitch Kezar<br>Pictured here: Destiny Barney, 6, gets help from her mom, Vixen, when she is on the training course and when she is grooming the pony's mane. Nice braid!
    <br>

    Date Published: April 13, 2012
    Date Updated: April 30, 2012
  • Training horses

    A carpet of dust stirred by pounding hooves billows up and over the fence rails of a horse-training arena, floats over pastureland, melds into shadows of the Eagle Caps Mountains, and paints gray a group of horses and young riders.<br>Hands on her hips and boots firmly planted in the dirt, Vixen Radford-Barney watches as one of her young charges tries to get her sweating horse to stand, front feet first, atop a worn wooden pedestal. The horse pulls this way, then that way, nervous at the sound of its hooves' hollow clopping. <br>The rider is persistent, softly urging the unsure animal to put its back legs up and onto the small stage. Finally, the rear legs join the front legs, and it stands with all fours atop the pedestal. Pictured here: Vixen Radford-Barney (standing at <em>left</em>) helps riders and their horses learn how to step in and out of a box.<br>

    Date Published: April 13, 2012
    Date Updated: April 30, 2012
  • Stand up!

    "Now that he's up there, stand up on your saddle," Radford-Barney urges. Confident the horse will hold, the young rider gets her boots up on the seat of her saddle, stretches out her legs, and reaches for a double handful of sky, grinning. <br>"Now that this horse has figured out this exercise works for him from his right side, she'll have to work him into it from his left," Radford-Barney explains. <br>

    Date Published: April 13, 2012
    Date Updated: April 30, 2012
  • Two sides to the story

    "Horses have two sides to them, and they need to be trained on each side individually. When they lose their fear of something new to them on one side, they also have to go through it on their opposite side. That's just how they are!" The rider and her horse approach the pedestal from the opposite side, and sure enough, the animal balks. The procedure begins again.

    Date Published: April 13, 2012
    Date Updated: April 30, 2012
  • Cowboy Car Wash

    Learning confidence<br>Radford-Barney's obstacle-laden arena is designed to drive down fear. She gives clinics at her 40-acre property near Joseph, Oregon. Horses and riders come from all over to learn confidence, to improve their riding skills, and to have fun with their animals. Radford-Barney teaches western riding, English methods, and trail riding. <br>"But above all, we have fun," she says. "I'm all about teaching people to enjoy their horses. I give them confidence. Horses learn through our experiential training to encounter the real world and not to freak out. That makes enjoyable riding." <br>Pictured Here: Destiny Barney takes her horse through the Cowboy Car Wash with ease. This obstacle helps train horses to walk through overhanging branches and leaves on a trail ride without startling.<br>

    Date Published: April 13, 2012
    Date Updated: April 30, 2012
  • Hoove Care

    Another rider, Midge Kliewer, works hard at getting her horse to cross a large piece of plastic sheeting that has corners anchored in the sand. The horse whirls and whirls around, not wanting its feet to touch the plastic. Finally, the animal relents, putting a cautious foot gingerly on the plastic. When the world doesn't come to an end, the horse crosses the plastic span again and again, side to side. It learned that plastic won't hurt, so there is no need to get crazy.<br>Another rider is hard at work trying to get her mount beneath the plastic ribbons of the Cowboy Car Wash, a horse-and-rider-size door frame that supports ribbons of yellow caution tape. One rider can't get his mount close to the tapes, while a youngster on a pony blows right through the car wash time and again like it's no big deal. Pictured Here: Jayln Barney, 9, has to do more than ride his pony. He has to learn how to care for the hooves too.<br>

    Date Published: April 13, 2012
    Date Updated: April 30, 2012
  • Jayln Barney

    "On one trail ride, a stick went up and under the back belly cinch of one of our trained horses. That situation should have turned out horribly, but since the horse had been acclimated to all situations in the arena, he just stopped and stood there until somebody figured out to remove the stick that was poking him," says Radford-Barney. Pictured Here: Jayln Barney trains the family pony to jump a log obstacle.

    Date Published: April 13, 2012
    Date Updated: April 30, 2012
  • It's all about fun

    "You're not going to ride if you don't have fun," Radford-Barney says. "The more things you can think of to try to freak your horse out in the practice arena, the more relaxed you both will be later and the more fun you'll have riding. It's all about confidence!" Pictured here: Destiny Barney, 6, of Joseph, Oregon, loves to groom and ride her pony.

    Date Published: April 13, 2012
    Date Updated: April 30, 2012
  • Learn More

    Vixen Radford-Barney<br>
    Dun The Right Way Horses<br>
    Joseph, Oregon<br>
    541/432-3867<br>
    http://duntherightway.com <br>
    E-mail: dunfoxy@DunTheRightWay.com

    Date Published: April 13, 2012
    Date Updated: April 30, 2012

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