Larry O. Voecks
Born and raised a Nebraskan, Larry has spent most of his life in the business community and retired from the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission a few years back. While employed by NGPC he served as Nebraska’s first Recreational Trails Administrator assisting many of Nebraska's political subdivisions to establish recreational trails for hikers, bikers and horseback riders. Named as Northwest Regional Manager of the Parks Division in 2000 Larry was stationed at Fort Robinson State Park in Western Nebraska. Many of you are probably familiar with Fort Robinson and know that it was a huge horse training facility during the war years. Presently the 22,000 acre park serves as a go to destination for many equestrian enthusiasts from across the country.
Even though Larry has over 40 years in the saddle, he will tell you that he is still learning about what it takes to create lasting and meaningful equine partnerships. Larry has also experienced how the horse training world has changed since he was a youngster. How learning to approach things differently has been a blessing, thanks to the teachings and philosophy of horsemen like Tom and Bill Dorrance, Ray Hunt, Buck Brannaman, Bryan Neubert and Joe Wolters, and how that same philosophy, when understood, will also serve a person well in their everyday life.
Today, along with his passion for developing good trail and recreational horses, Larry serves as a Recreational Advisor for the American Quarter Horse Ass’n and as a member of the AQHA Recreational Program Committee. Larry spends a lot of time facilitating trail rides, workshops and clinics centered on building partnerships through recreational riding and the AQHA Trail Challenge program. The latter of which has been endorsed by the University of Nebraska Extension Service for the State’s 4H Equine Program, a great program that encompasses all breeds of the equine world. Larry also serves on the Nebraska Quarter Horse Board and as that association’s Recreational Committee Chair.
Building a Partnership
The Equine Challenge
with Larry O. Voecks
This site is geared toward the recreational rider, young and old, the ladies as well as the men, with an emphasis on improving the horse and rider partnership, and their ability to work as a team. Do you trust your equine partner? Does your equine partner trust you?
Like anyone else we all have a tendency to just sit there and look at the scenery, but trail riding should be more than just riding down a road or path. While riding a person should work on getting the feel of the animal they are riding and developing an understanding. The horse or mule in turn will develop an understanding of the rider. Riding is a lot more fun when you're in harmony...when there is trust. Reluctance and fear are cause for an uncomfortable ride. Horses and mules are super sensitive and will feel what you think, to the point that it's tough, to near impossible, to keep your feelings secret.
When riding spend time thinking about things like posture in the saddle...shoulders - hips - heels. Try to feel where your horse's feet are, close your eyes, be relaxed and get the feel of his feet. Do figure eights around trees and bushes, cross logs, stop and back between trees or rocks. Be creative and put another dimension in trail riding, so you're not just sitting there. Both rider and equine partner will benefit.
The premise of a trail challenge, like the AQHA Trail Challenge Program, can provide a terrific venue to enhance your relationship with your equine partner. These challenges can be a lot of fun and will improve the relationship between horse and rider by introducing both to new experiences. Developing this partnership through education and experience will make riding safe, fun and more pleasurable.
And that is what we are here to help you with.........