Monthly Archives: December 2011

New Year Beer Mash Recipe

Horses Love Beer

Did you know … ?

Horses Like Beer!

So don’t forget to give your horse a treat when you celebrate this New Year – and it could actually be good for his health!




~ from Holistic Horse Care

“We all know Guinness is good for you.”

This has been the ad slogan for Guinness since 1929. This is the slogan that many horse trainers/owners also agree. Guess what? A lot of us like drinking beer to celebrate and we are not alone.

Horses in Ireland enjoy a pint of Guinness often. Some get a pint daily. Some horses are so picky, they would only drink Guinness (Zenyatta only drinks Guinness). No wonder they like it – it is good tasting and helps them to relax.

Many trainers believe the yeast in the dark beer like Guinness is really good for horses. There is also an active ingredient, hops, which is known to soothe anxiety, relax muscles and relax spasms of the digestive tract.

Some trainers/horsemen also believe Guinness helps horses with anhydrosis (non-sweat condition). There are also many coverage on how beer help horses cure from spasmodic colic as it appears that beer has an anesthetizing effect on the bowel and relaxes muscle spasms, which cause the horse pain.

Don’t worry, you will not get your horse drunk with a pint or two!




Beer Mash Recipe brought to you by EcoLicious Equestrian

Mix together:
• 8 cups of bran
• 8 cups of oats
• pinch of sea salt
• hot water
• 1 can of dark beer

Add enough water to thoroughly moisten the ingredients, add salt, mix and let it steep until cool enough to feed.

Of course, you don’t really have to wait until next New Year’s Day – I can’t imagine any horse not enjoying this treat at any time of the year!



Halter Training The Foal With Clicker Training

Use Clicker Training to halter train your foalClicker Training is a training method in which the horse (in this case, a foal) quickly learns when he has made the correct response when he hears the clicker and the stimulus is immediately removed. Here are a couple of videos that clearly demonstrate this.

This first video shows the foal being set up to have the halter put on and learning to lead. You can see how every time the foal shows interest in the halter, he hears the clicker which he soon learns means he has done the right thing. The halter is immediately removed and he receives a treat or lots of rubbing. Eventually he becomes desensitized to the presence and feel of the halter and ignores it. No force has been used – just lots of positive reinforcement.

This second video show basically the same techniques with some personal variation.

I hope you enjoyed these videos and learned something about how to train a foal with a clicker and saw just how easy it is. If you continue the foal’s training in this manner, you are on your way to having a calm, well-mannered foal.

To learn more about how to clicker train, have a look at Alexandra Kurland’s authoritative book “The Click That Teaches: A Step-By-Step Guide in Pictures”, a comprehensive training guide that takes you from clicker basics to advanced training.



Horses Need Sunlight For Vitamin D

Horses need sunlight for Vit D - Photo by Stefan GustafssonHorses, like us, need sufficient sunlight for vitamin D production and bone formation. Pastured horses, or those turned out to graze every day, receive enough sunlight for their needs.

However, horses that constantly rugged during the day as protection against insects and coat fading, or are stabled during the day including due to injury or illness, can suffer from vitamin D deficiency over time. Even the shorter amount of daylight such as in winter in the northern hemisphere, especially when accompanied by prolonged bad weather, can result in the horse becoming Vitamin D deficient.

Healing For Horses“Horses need some free time in daylight every day for optimum health and a fully balanced energy field.If your horse is confined because of veterinary treatment/instruction, see if you can use a stable where the horse can put its head over the door into good bright light and use a light airy stable. Check with your vet in case of contraindications.”
~ (from Healing for Horses by Margrit Coates)

It is also important to remember to provide shade for horses that are turned out so they can get out of the sun if they want to cool down.


How To Use Your Seat Instead Of The Reins

Use your seat not your reinsWhen we were first learning to ride, many (most?) of us were told to simply kick the horse to go and pull the reins to slow down or stop. As we became more experienced, we realized that there was more to it than that, and that pulling on the horse’s mouth, while it mostly made him stop (in varying degrees of effectiveness), many times it wasn’t very pleasant for the horse or the rider. And finally, after being terrified or even injured by a bolting horse where the more we pulled, the faster he went, it was clear we needed a new game plan.

We saw people whose horses stopped easily and happily on a light or even loose rein. They told us the secret was to “Use your seat, not your reins.”

But how do you do that? This article from EQ Magazine explains it …

“Use Your Seat Instead of Your Reins”

By: Editor In Chief, EQ Magazine

It’s important not to use your reins to control the things that you should use your seat to control. If you pull on the reins to steady rhythm, slow speed, decrease the length of stride or do downward transitions, you BLOCK the hind legs from coming forward.

So, make it your goal to develop a knee jerk reaction to use your seat instead of your hands for each of those four things.

Your seat can be used in four different ways:

1. Passive Following Seat
– Your passive, following seat tells your horse that everything (his rhythm, speed, and the gait) stays the same.
– Simply open and close your hips to follow the current movement of your horse.

2. Driving Seat
– Your driving seat tells your horse to increase his speed or length of stride.
– Think of pushing the back of saddle toward the front of the saddle, polishing the saddle from back to front, or pretending you’re pushing a swing higher in the air.

3. Retarding or Stilled Seat
– The stilled seat steadies the rhythm, slows the speed, decreases the length of stride, or asks for a downward transition.
– Sit in a “ready” position by stretching up tall so you have a gentle curve in the small of your back.
– Then, contract or tighten your tummy muscles like you’re doing a sit-up. This action braces your lower back and stops your hips from following your horse’s movement.

4. To Control the Position of Your Horse’s Body
– Your shoulders should be parallel to your horse’s shoulders, and your hips should be parallel to his hips.

Words of wisdom! It may be simple, but it’s not necessarily easy, depending on your level of ability, understanding, and pre-existing bad habits. Get a good instructor to help you. No-one has ever learned good horsemanship on his own!