Jeff Sanders Vaquero Horsemanship Clinic
5 Day Vaquero Horsemanship Clinic – 12 to 16 January 2019
Attending a clinic with Jeff is like taking your horse and your Horsemanship journey to University. Jeff is a fierce advocate of the classical Vaquero tradition which is grounded in finesse, respect and empathy for the horse and building a solid foundation to enable incredible lightness and communication between horse and rider. Vaquero principles are more akin to classical dressage than to modern western riding and Jeff’s students come from all disciplines and backgrounds.
Jeff Sanders was born in Merced California and raised on the Central Coast, right in the heart of Vaquero country. Jeff is a 6th generation Californian. He is one of very few teaching the California Vaquero style of horsemanship who was raised in the traditions and is truly a Californio himself.
Jeffʼs family has a long history of running cattle and riding stock horses in California, starting over 160 years ago. Jeff’s great, great, great grandfather started working as a vaquero in Petaluma California when he was a teenager in 1854, over a decade before the first big Texas cattle drives. This tradition followed down through Jeffʼs family and he can trace his horsemanship all the way back 160 years on one side of his family and over 100 years on the other side.
Having been raised in the California horsemanship traditions since childhood, Jeff’s parents passed the knowledge down to Jeff the same way it had been done for a couple of hundred years. Staying true to the Vaquero tradition of passing knowledge from generation to generation Jeff learned his horsemanship directly from the source. While books are good, nothing can replace learning both the oral traditions and the practical application directly from those who had it passed down to them from the old time California Vaqueros.
Jeff and his parents took the skills of the old time Vaqueros and applied them, not only on the ranch but also in the competition arena. Jeff credits his as well as his parentsʼ success in competitions to the fundamental principles of old style California horsemanship.
He has also been fortunate to have had the opportunity to apply the skills and philosophies of the old California Vaqueros while day working on ranches in California, Colorado, Wyoming and Nevada.
Jeff still day works when he is home but is steadfast in his dedication to spreading the traditions of the California Bridle Horse throughout the world. Traveling throughout the US, Australia, Western and Eastern Europe and even Israel teaching this style of horsemanship, Jeffʼs hope is that this proud tradition that respects the rider and honours the horse will not just survive but will once again flourish.
The 5 Day clinic will cover a range of topics. Each day will include extensive theory presentations including images and videos as well as practical demonstrations and plenty of time in the saddle for participants.
Ridden positions for this clinic are full. Contact us if you would like to be placed on the waiting list should a place become available.
Spectators are welcome. The spectator fee is $40 per day or $120 for all 5 days. Book your spectator tickets by pressing the button below:
Visit Jeff’s website for a full bio and some of the history of this great tradition of horsemanship.
Jeff has been coming to WA for several years and is gaining a growing number of dedicated students from a variety of disciplines including dressage, western and pleasure riders.
Below is an outline of what Jeff covered in his 2017 Clinic at AMT Equestrian Services
Anatomy of the Horse’s Mouth and Bits
- Learn how to assess the anatomy of a horse’s mouth including shape and condition of the bars, size and shape of tongue, position and depth of palate, effect of wolf and canine teeth.
- Jeff will present a lecture including images and radiographs showing bit position and effect and explain why every horse should be individually fitted.
- Function and explanation of various bits including the snaffle, shank bits and the spade bit.
- Vaquero tradition of developing a bridle horse vs modern fashion and competition.
- Why the highest achieving horsemanship traditions all start training young horses off the nose, not the bit.
Saddles and the Horse’s back
- Jeff will explain the history of saddles used in the vaquero tradition and modern western sports.
- The problem with most modern western saddles and how this affects the horse’s body and biomechanics.
- Display of vaquero style saddles and baroque saddles, including ability to sit in and feel different saddles.
- Demonstration and explanation of saddle fit.
- Assessment of saddle fit of horses participating in the clinic.
Biomechanics and Collection
- Jeff will explain his definition of ‘collection’ and why most modern equestrian sports are detrimental to long term soundness and health of the horse.
- History and training of the traditional california bridle horse.
- Detailed presentation and explanation on equine biomechanics.
- The importance of incorporating lateral movements in a horse’s training and the history of dressage movements.
Video review of riders
- Riders will be filmed throughout the clinic.
- On day 4, time will be spent reviewing each rider to assist with posture analysis and explanation.
- Analysis of ridden movements filmed during the clinic and link to biomechanics and rider posture.
Here are some moments captured during Jeff’s 2017 clinic at AMT Equestrian
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