Jim Hicks Q & A “Bending”

Continued Q & A With Jim Hicks

Q-When does bending become counterproductive and overused?

A- Most people’s idea about bend is that it is all about the head and the neck. The problem is that when only the head and neck are bent,, it causes the outside shoulder to bulge with the majority of weight negatively loading the outside foot. This puts the horse in a position of imbalance. When this happens, the horse then looses the engagement of the hind legs.
With that said, I like to think of putting a quarter weight on each of the horse’s feet. This allows the horse to balance or rebalance based on the athletic demand presented.
Engagement from the hind legs can only happen when the horse is bending inside its alignment. The horse needs to have the right amount of lateral and longitudinal flexion such that one compliments the other allowing the energy to cycle from the hind legs through the back, the neck, the poll, and down to the jaw. When all of these things happen this allows for collection and self carriage.

The Pony Sage

New page on facebook celebrating the children’s equstrian program at Sage Creek Equestrian.

 “The Pony Sage” 

    The Pony Sage features

  • Roster Low Boy Cogburn Q & A
  • Children’s Articles
  • Discussions relating to children’s needs
  • Photos
  • Events
  • Pony Play Days
  • Private Lessons
  • Pony Camps
  • Ridding Principles School

The children’s program is taught by John Maznicki and Tamara Silver

Lesson Discount at Our Premier Boarding Facility


Kids to Center Line

It’s been a fun season continuing my education and being able share that with the kids I teach. I was able to experience riding a school master, River Shadow a Friesian Quarter Cross FEI horse. Taking him down the center line was thrilling. I am grateful to have earned two of my Bronze Medal Scores, one was a 68.9% and the other was 68.5%, both at my very first rated show.

I realize that I am blazing the road for my students to follow my example, as they learn to also one day go down the center line. Whether that is through Pony Play Days,  Summer Horse Camp or private lessons.


Valuable Lessons

Every horse that crosses my path in training leaves a hoof print.


They’re all different shapes and sizes some more talented than others but all deserve my full attention and best self. I am constantly learning and growing for my horses I’m not perfect and I don’t expect my horses to be. Some valuable lessons I’ve learned First off you can’t make a horse do anything you you must ask and let the horse choose the right answer. Second lesson was how important it is to be still not just in my body but in my mind. It’s amazing how much the horse feels and reflects the rider either good or bad.  It’s important to leave your problems at home when you get on their backs give them the best chance for the best ride that they always deserve.

Rebecca Harmon


“Mindfulness practice means that we commit fully in each moment to be present; inviting ourselves to interface with this moment in full awareness, with the intention to embody as best we can an orientation of calmness, mindfulness, and equanimity right here and right now.”
― Jon Kabat-Zinn

“Let go” I heard my coach Ben yell, “ your making it worse”. I just could not listen at that moment , I had to take a hold of the reins and control everything.

We were crossing a big muddy willow bog on two youngsters that had maybe 7 rides on them. It was a wide crossing and I had concluded that I would make the crossing successfully. I couldn’t have been more wrong. I was ahead of myself thinking about how impressed Ben would be when I would reach the other side. I was all about getting the gold star on my forehead.

It didn’t happen. The little guy got really trapped in my controlling hands, blew out and spun to the right, causing this perfect suspended moment in the air, before I belly flopped perfectly into my fate. Mud caked my face, neck and clothes right down to my toes. I heard Ben bust out into laughter as he brought the little horse back to me. He said “now this time when you get back up, maybe be a little bit more mindful”.

I didn’t really understand what that word meant, (mindful) but I did understand that I had completely detached from what was most important in the equation and that would be the little innocent soul that was carrying my big ego.

I learned that day that I was not present and in the here and now. It took landing in a pile of wet sludge for me to get introduced to becoming aware of being in the moment with who is most important and that was that little innocent horse.

Be in the equanimity of the
Here and now

You Rebel Against Your Own Resolutions



It’s not that unusual. Some studies even show that a high percent of us humans suffer from low-grade to full-blown depression after the holidays. The hype and excitement and, yes, expectation, for jolliness buoy up many in the buildup to the Big Day.

But then expectations hit reality. Relatives aren’t always kind. Phone calls were not made. Texts not sent. Gifts aren’t given and received in the spirit intended. Spouses didn’t behave and yes that one thing you didn’t want said at the holiday table was spit out between “can you pass the gravy” oh and the last New Years promise that you would stop that bad habit!? NEVER GOT IMPLEMENTED, cause your a CONTROL FREAK, and you rebel against your own resolutions! hahahahaha

The fantasy that maybe this year will be different is dashed yet again. It’s hard for even the most resilient not to feel a little letdown. For those who are prone to depression anyway, the weeks after a holiday can feel like the emotional rug has been pulled out from them.

Here are some reasonable ideas;

1) Take care of yourself

Listen there is a reason they say put the oxygen mask on yourself first. How can you be there for others if your not in good shape yourself. `

2) Take a meditative few minutes a couple times a day
3) Call a friend
4) Arrange something to look forward to.
5) Spend time with your horse.
6) Journal 10 days of gratitude
7) Serve others

And when you REBEL like me, for heaven sake rebel in favor of your profound wonderful future…


A Guided Path

There are times in my life, I’ve had a coyote sweep by me. On one such occasion a coyote tagged along with me as I long trotted several miles to a herd of cows. These occasions have brought a feeling of a deep sense of connection to nature and my personal  path. Each time I’ve stopped and re-examine my thoughts as I felt there was a message  being conveyed. The message felt as if I am supposed to pay closer attention to my true path.

I also recall other ways in which nature has almost demanded my attention and let me know that I was faltering to listen. I remember one such occasion when I was a child. I was riding a family pony named Janie. This pony screamed that I was not being clear and listening but I ignored all the expression the pony was communicating, agitation and discomfort was apparent as the pony pinned and resisted what I was attempting to communicate. I was escorted by Janie to a low tree branch and without hesitation from her, I was scraped off her back.

I layed on my back looking up at the sky gasping for air, I was clear that Janie was far smarter than I had given her credit for.  I needed to start learning to notice and allow myself to be guided by her. I needed to listen and communicate effectively in the future if I was to remain on Janie’s back.

In learning how to know and recognize our personal path; we can recognize and listen to natures guides.


Martin Black and Donnette Hicks: Two Worlds-One Clinic

Martin Black and Donnette Hicks may come from different worlds, but ultimately they are united in the belief that,“good horsemanship is just good horsemanship.”

So Different – So Similar

Donnette Hicks was in her early twenties when Martin Black hired her as a cook on the Winecup Ranch. The first morning she showed up to the cook house, she stood like a deer in headlights, frozen by the lack of understanding how to feed a large crew of hungry men. Martin showed his leadership by stepping behind the grill and helping her pull off that first morning’s breakfast.

For full article go to Eclectic Horseman http://eclectic-horseman.com/so-different-so-similar/

Martin Black & Donnette Hicks
Horsemanship Clinic

Starts the evening of the 25th
August 26th and 27th 2017

Contact Josi Skiby 435-709-1762
Sage Creek Equestrian
3181 West 3000 South
Heber, Utah 84032


AUDITORS-Arrival time 9am both mornings.

Friday evening the 25th involves dinner and a discussion with Martin and Donnette

Saturday August 27th

7am- meet for riders only with Martin and Donnette. Light breakfast will be served.

9am-Clinic Begins.

Lunch- Please bring your own lunch.

End time will vary.

Sunday August 28th

8am-Meet n’ share for riders only with Martin and Donnette. Light breakfast will be served.

9am-Clinic Begins.

Lunch-Please bring your own lunch.

End time will vary.

Cancer Illuminates My Relationship With Horses & Turn Loose

Jim Hicks was diagnosed with cancer in January 2017. Jim found himself not desiring to fight the cancer but just as the horses have taught him, Jim felt he needed to learn the nature of the cancer to eradicate it from his body.

” Through my treatments I found a deeper meaning of what turn Loose is. ”
-Jim Hicks

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