Sheila Zandt

Riding the way you practice

Shelia Zant Riding the Way You Practice






By VeNecia DeCluette 2009

Odessa, Texas resident Sheila Zant is a multiple Old Fort Days Finals qualifier, and has qualified twice to the Top 10 at Jud Little – ON TWO DIFFERENT HORSES. She’s and heck of a hand and has a reputation for creating solid well trained horses, but the most impressive stat on Sheila’s resume . . . she is a breast cancer survivor with an unshakeable faith in God. Knowing what this sweet woman has been through physically and emotionally, having literally fought for her life, watching her ride in this video is awe inspiring.

Sheila brings along three different horses for this WinningRuns.com installment, and she uses those three horses to emphasize the importance of riding the way that you practice. It’s a simple concept for sure, but a concept that will lead to the winner’s circle more often than not. Shelia takes the time in this video to break down every aspect of her run from the approach to the alleyway to hand placement for the rider, and she harkens back to how her basic practice fundamentals figure in to each concept she explains.

Shelia takes us through her warm up routine, slow work on the pattern, and even exhibits a little bit of speed – and one every horse she rides her basics remain the same. She concedes that you must make some adjustments because each horse in an individual, but she also demonstrates how you can be consistent from horse to horse while still allowing for their individuality. This consistency is what allows Shelia to be able to ride so many different horses to such successful ends. This video endorses and reinforces the statement, “consistency in the practice pen breeds confidence in competition.”

This video is suitable for intermediate to advanced riders with at least average riding ability, as the concepts do require some previous knowledge. The exercises presented here are suitable for horses with a basic riding foundation as well as horses with advanced levels of training. The video addresses equine health, rider hand placement, foundation training, pattern work, and the importance of patience in training horses.

You will be struck by Shelia’s presence in this video, and her ability to ride so many different horses so well. You can see the confidence that Shelia’s riding and training style instills in her horses, and you can see why she is so successful in the arena. Shelia’s ideas are simple, and easily understand. If you practice perfect, and ride the way you practice . . .that Winning Run isn’t far off!

This month’s Winning Tips installment is brought to you by the Jud Little Ranch. Charlotte brings us part two of her discussion on bits and headgear in this video. This time around she delves in to the sometimes confusing territory surrounding hackamores and their use. Charlotte consistently reinforces the fact that a bit is not a band-aid for a lack of fundamentals in your horse’s training, but she highlights how different bits can “fit” different horses. There’s a bit of ground-breaking news in this segment as well. Charlotte has finally found the perfect bit for her sometimes temperamental champion, Famous Beda B Me. You’ll have to watch the video to see what bit it is!