|July 30, 2013||Posted by Editor under Dressage Training|
Three-time Olympian dressage coach, Jane Savoie, has some exercises for you to try that encourage the horse to soften through the poll:
If your horse tilts his head and carries one ear lower than the other, chances are he’s stiff at the poll. You might see first see this on circles or the lateral work with a bend such as shoulder-in, haunches-in, and half pass.
Here’s an exercise you can do to supple your horse’s poll.
- Start in the halt on the rail so you can check that you’re keeping your horse’s body absolutely straight. If he’s straight, his body is parallel to the rail from nose to tail.
- When you start to supple the poll, keep his neck parallel to the rail. The most common mistake is to bend the neck. Your horse can bend his neck and still stay locked in his poll.
- Use an indirect rein to move his face only one inch to the left and one inch to the right so you can just see his inside or outside eye and/or nostril (this is also sometimes called position left and position right, flexion and counter-flexion, or +1 and -1).
- Remember, when you use an indirect rein, keep your fingers softly closed around the reins. Then, turn your wrist quickly and smoothly as if you’re locking or unlocking a door, turning the ignition key (right hand) to start your car, or scooping a spoonful of sugar out of a bowl.
- Don’t vibrate the reins while suppling the poll. That will just flex your horse’s jaw and close the angle at his throatlatch.
- When turning your wrist, keep your hands (Read more here …)
Did you find her suggestions helpful? Let us know in the comments below. If you know someone who is having this problem with their horse, feel free to share this article with them.
Want to know more? Check out her Happy Horse Home Study Course.
|July 30, 2013||Posted by Editor under General Health & Well-Being|
Unfortunately, today we usually place the horse in an environment that is of our own making and that is convenient for us, and often this environment is nothing like the natural environment that the horse’s body and mind is programmed for. If his emotional needs are not met in this artificial environment, many physical problems and emotional behaviors are manifested.
So what can we do about it?
Marijke de Jong has written a thoughtful article in which she discusses the following issues in great detail, supported by explanatory photos and illustrations:
- the needs of the horse
- what happens when these needs are limited or even absent
- what problems result from this, and
- how to avoid them.
By Marijke de Jong
To be successful with straightness training we have to meet the instinctual needs of your horse first.
Given their characteristics, horses have a number of needs. These are:
- Certainty and safety, because the horse is a prey animal with a flight instinct
- Routine, because the horse is a creature of habit, so require a regular routine of eating, resting, grooming etc
- Grass and roughage, because they are herbivores
- To eat small amounts throughout the day, because with a full belly it’s not easy to flee
- Variety, because it’s boring and frustrating to be 23 hours in a stable
- Constant movement, because they are steppe animals
- Connection with other horses, because they are social animals
- The nead for leadership, because they are herd animals and like to follow a confident leader
Limitation of horse needs
Understanding how horses behave in nature can help us to better fulfill their needs. In the domesticated world, most horses are limited in their ability to fulfill their natural horse needs because of the way they are kept. The overview displays the differences:
IN THE WILD DOMESTICATED Collecting food Horses spend 60% of their time on feeding (14 to 15 hours per day). This leads to 55,000 chewing movements. Sometimes horses spend 2 x 5 minutes eating pellets and 3x 1 hour eating hay. This leads to 7,000 to 10,000 chewing movements. Amount of food Little bits throughout the day 3 times a day a lot at one time Movement 5 to 10 km spread over the whole day Sometimes only 1 hour a day Rest 30% of their time (7 hours per day). The horse can lay five minutes per day completely flat out Sometimes 23 hours in the stall. Laying down completely is sometimes not possible at all Social contact A lot of contact with other horses. Sometimes the only contact is with humans. Many horses (especially stallions) are kept alone in the pasture and alone in the stable. Foals Foals spend half of their time playing with other foals.Weaning: Separation at 9 months. Sometimes the foal’s only companion in the pasture is the mother. Weaning: Separation at 4 months. Young horses Living together with other horses. Developing friendships. Education provided by counterparts. Behavioral rules, learning horse language. Developing social skills. Sometimes alone or with only one other horse. Often in a socially inadequate living environment. Education provided by human. Young adults Stallion: bachelor band. Mare: first foal when she is 5 years old. Stallion: often castrated. Mare: frustrated oestrous cycle Protection Coat, strong legs, good natural immunity. Less immunity, often ill because of the stable climate; too humid, too dark, too dusty, blankets and bandages. Grooming Mutual care. Rolling. Humans brush the horse. Rolling sometimes not possible. Hooves Hooves wear out naturally. Farrier takes care of trimming the hooves. Because the horse is not able to move sufficiently in a stable which is too dry or too wet, hoof and leg problems can develop.
Problems by not fulfilling the natural horse needs
By not fulfilling the natural needs of the domesticated horse, physical and psychological problems can arise: [Read more here …]
The more you fulfill the natural needs of your horse, the better you will be able to connect with your horse and the more smoothly your training process will be.
You will succeed the most when you work with Mother Nature.
|July 30, 2013||Posted by Editor under Inspirational|
Wild horse photographer Carol Walker was making a trip to the Red Desert this past spring when she came across a foal, less than a week old, abandoned and totally alone.
She tells the story of how she was able to rescue the little foal on her blog, “Wild Hoofbeats” – I know you’ll love it!
By Carol Walker
On Sunday, I was driving in Salt Wells Creek Herd Management Area in the Red Desert of Wyoming. This area is over 1 million acres in size, vast and beautiful in parts, with power plants, a few ranches, wildlife (which includes deer, antelope and wild horses), plus cattle and sheep. You can drive for over 30 miles on dirt roads from I-80 south and still not reach the border of the herd area.
I was there because a judge in Wyoming Federal Court signed a Consent Decree which will eliminate all wild horses from this Salt Wells Creek Herd Area this summer. I wanted to see and photograph some of the over 600 wild horses inhabiting this area that would soon be separated from their homes and families and end up initially at the Rock Springs Short Term Holding Facility.
The last time I had visited this herd was in August of 2010 before the last round up of Salt Wells and Adobe Town.
On Sunday it was rainy and sunny alternating, and there was a storm that was supposed to be coming in that evening, and the roads were wet in spots, so I planned to stay to paved and extremely-improved dirt roads only. I was driving along and saw a sign for County Road 27 and the road looked good, so I turned. I drove and saw manure from wild horses and stud piles, but no horses. The scenery is varied and beautiful, and there was one ranch along this road which I passed.
I saw no other vehicles, and I had been going for about 10 miles. Soon there was a turn for Aspen Mountain, and the road underneath my tires got looser and looser and I started to slide. I almost turned around, but I got this urgent feeling that I needed to keep going. I turned north up CR 27 and drove a little bit, and the road got a little firmer which was a relief. But the clouds started coming in, and I almost turned around. Then I spotted a horse—finally!
As I got closer, I realized that this was a foal, and he looked miserable, head down, standing next to a post. I looked and looked but could not see any other horses. I drove closer and got out, and got my binoculars. I could see for at least a few miles in every direction, but not a single other horse was in sight. The little guy had worn a path around the post, and from the little bits of manure it looked as though he had been there awhile. I approached slowly, not wanting to scare him, and noticed a big bite mark on his neck from another horse.
It looked like a big scrape, not a deep wound, and it was not bleeding. He was bright-eyed and moving just fine. I wondered how he had come to be there all alone—perhaps he had a young first-time mother who had wandered away, perhaps a stallion had bitten him and driven him off, or maybe his mother had died shortly after having given birth. I knew he was less than a week old.
When I got closer he whinnied at me, a little high pitched happy noise, clearly glad to see another creature! I was able to touch him, and he tried to nurse on my fingers. He was thirsty! I knew foals this small could not graze and need to nurse from their mothers every few hours, and there was a big storm coming in the next day, so he clearly needed help. I could not fit him in my vehicle, let alone lift him in, and also there were regulations about how to interact with wild horses and so I needed help.[More …]
Carol’s beautiful book “Horse Photography: The Dynamic Guide for Horse Lovers”, is one of the best instructional and inspirational guides to horse photography in existence, and is available from Amazon in hardcover or on Kindle. Be sure to check it out.
|July 18, 2013||Posted by Editor under Inspirational|
She’s now 81 years young, but is still the ultimate competitor, still competing even though arthritis makes it harder for her to climb aboard. And she still hurls her horse around the barrels at breathtaking speed and flies across the dirt for home.
The cowgirl in tennies, stretch jeans and western shirt is racing hell-bent for leather across the arena in Fountain atop a half-ton horse named Itchy.
They round the barrels heartstop close, then fly across the dirt for home.
And this is just practice.
If you think about the rider’s age, you might get a few butterflies. But like a car crash, you can’t look away.
Don’t worry, this 81-year-old barrel racer is Ardith Bruce, the 1964 world champion. She still sits deep in the saddle and competes even when arthritis makes it a chore to fling her leg over the cantle.
Lucky Ekberg, a long-time friend and president of Fountain Valley Riding and Roping Club sums up Bruce best:
“Her mind has a built-in racing stopwatch and her heart is full of horsehair. Watching her ride takes your breath away.”
Just recently, she came in about 28th out of 140 men and women barrel racers competing at Norris Penrose stadium. She was probably the only one over 65.
“I like to say I came in first — in the 80-year-old category,” she laughs. [Story continues here]
You gotta give it to her – she’s a legend!
|July 18, 2013||Posted by Editor under Hoof Care|
A lot of people would like to try letting their horses go barefoot but have reservations because they know or have heard of many horses that have had tender feet or even gone lame once their shoes were taken off. And that’s not good, whether your horse is a serious or semi-serious competition horse or just a buddy that you like to do trail rides with.
In this informative and detailed article, Maureen Tierney discusses the real reason that horses can be sore and need boots when they go barefoot – they have either been incorrectly trimmed, or simply over-trimmed.
Drawing on her intensive research of the horse in his natural state, she reveals that the culprit is the person who trims the horse’s hooves and their lack of knowledge as to how the hoof, in its natural state, works differently than when it is shod.
Read the article to learn the correct way a barefoot horse should be trimmed …
One of the main reasons people quickly give up on barefoot, or don’t even try it, is due to the infamous “transition period” which follows taking a horse’s shoes off. The other major reason that people give up on barefoot is because their horses remain ouchy – for years. This is great for boot companies, but not for owners and certainly not for the horses themselves.
The sad truth is that neither the uncomfortable “transition period”, nor the prolonged ouchiness are necessary. Both are the result of over trimming. Over trimming is the removal of any material from the hoof which should not be removed. After 12 years of being a barefoot trimmer, and seeing lame and over trimmed horses, I still do not understand why trimmers continue to over trim. Why do they continue – year after year!!! – to accept lack of soundness as normal? To view it as acceptable?
If you were to survey trimmers you would hear how successful they are – how all the horses they trim are doing well (though many need boots). However if you were to survey the owners of barefoot horses you would hear that many are not happy or satisfied with their horse’s level of soundness. There is clearly a huge disconnect.
Let me put it in black and white. If a horse is ouchy and needs boots, and has not been diagnosed with founder, navicular, or some other real hoof issue, and has been out of shoes longer than 3 months, the odds are that he or she is being over trimmed. [Read the rest of the article here]
Also, be sure to check out Maureen’s excellent and thorough book, “Natural Barefoot Trimming: The Hoof Guided Method“.
|July 17, 2013||Posted by Editor under Inspirational|
What an agile and obedient horse, and such an amazing display of horsemanship, skill and dexterity, riding one-handed and twirling an open umbrella!
I’m gobsmacked – Enjoy!
Please feel free to share this beautiful video.
|February 27, 2012||Posted by Editor under Barns, Stables, Yards & Pastures|
Yes, times are tough, and you have a lot of money invested in your horse/s, your tack and your barn, any or all of which is very tempting to a thief. And then there’s the emotional devastation that can follow the theft of one of your horses or any of your gear.
If you want to avoid or at least minimize the risk of theft, things can be done to protect yourself. Most times thieves have some idea of a person’s comings and goings so they know when to make their hit; tack thieves usually are not out for violence, just stealing. Be aware of who you give extensive information about your barn, stable, or horses to whether it be for business purposes or otherwise.
Here is a very informative article from HorseTalk.nz.co with tips about steps we can take to protect our horsey assets, including:
- Don’t be an easy target for thieves
- Understand your risk
- Make sure your horse is easily identified – brands, microchipping, markings and scars
- Keep photographic records
- Make sure your fencing and gates are secure
- Mark your tack and keep them locked away
- Secure your horse trailer
- Work with your neighbour for extra security
- Consider erecting warning signage, installing security camera (even fake ones) or alarms
January 23, 2007
It would be nice to think that everyone in the horse community is honest.
Sadly, it’s not the case… [read the whole article here]
~ Source: HorseTalk.nz.co
Another good idea is to put your horses’ names and maybe even your phone number on their blankets. If anyone steals them off your horses, it will be more obvious if they use them that they are stolen, and it makes them harder to resell. There’s also the side benefit that you will know exactly which blanket belongs to which horse if you take a few off at the same time, without having to stop and figure it out!
Take the time to implement these security tips – you never know how much money – and heartache – it will save you!
|February 22, 2012||Posted by Editor under Injuries, Natural Remedies|
Now the use of honey in wound care is gaining popularity again, as researchers are determining exactly how honey can help fight serious skin infections.
According to their findings, certain types of honey might be more effective than antibiotics!
Researchers are now finding that honey not only helps fight serious skin infections, but certain types of honey, such as manuka honey, might be more effective than antibiotics.
“In lab tests, just a bit of the honey killed off the majority of bacterial cells — and cut down dramatically on the stubborn biofilms they formed.
It could also be used to prevent wounds from becoming infected in the first place.” (Scientific American January 31, 2012)
Read more about the amazing manuka honey in this article from Horsetalk.co.nz:
The simple use of New Zealand-made manuka honey on horses’ leg wounds results in smaller wound sizes and faster healing times, Sydney researchers have found.
Honey has been used to treat wounds in humans since ancient Egypt, but the study at the University of Sydney, using manuka honey from New Zealand, is the first time a clinical trial has been conducted in horses. [article continues here …]
~ Source: Horsetalk.co.nz
The honey’s exact healing mechanism is still unclear but the studies show clearly that treating wounds with manuka honey leads to healthier tissue regrowth.
“Wounds treated with manuka also showed improved new blood vessel and skin surface growth compared to control wounds.”
I don’t need convincing. I’ve personally used manuka honey on horse’s wounds with wonderful results. The most hideous wound I’ve used it on was a huge 5” x 5” open wound that took over 4 weeks to close over – and, using only manuka honey, it didn’t get infected in all that time. You can’t even see a scar now.
If you can’t get medicinal manuka honey at your local health store, here are some links where you can buy it online:
|February 16, 2012||Posted by Editor under Inspirational|
We all have our reasons – maybe it’s the thrill of the gallop or the chase, the adrenalin rush, the challenge or the satisfaction of competing. Or maybe it’s for the peacefulness of a trail ride, or simply the fact that they seem to like us!
But a horse is more than just an animal. They are far more than our playmates, our work fellows or even our means of earning a living. They have a spiritual quality about them that speaks to our hearts and our souls, and there are those who appreciate and value this aspect of the horse more than anything else. To put it simply – horses inspire us in more ways than simply enjoying them.
Here is the beautiful story of how Chronicle of the Horse journalist, Jodie Jaffe, has drawn on her own horses for strength and peace during many difficult times in her life, including head injuries suffered from falls, broken bones, and testing times when she thought she was going to lose both her son and her husband.
Her horses calmed her soul – and most of us will know exactly what she means!
Horses Help Us Through The Roughest Times
~ by Jody Jaffe
February 12, 2012
Life keeps getting in the way of my return to riding. And this column.
This summer, I’d finally reached my goal of showing in the Special Adults with Woody, Diane Wade’s Doctor of Confidence. I’d spent the previous year emotionally recovering from a head injury. I say emotionally because, while the injury was bad enough to obliterate a day from my life, physically I felt fine in a few weeks. But it erased what little confidence I had on a horse.
Woody took care of that. Really, you could put a monkey on his back, and he’d metronome his way around the ring, which he did with me. But at some point, the riding skills I’ve acquired over the past 40 years clicked in, and I actually rode him around a course, confidently. I had big plans for our fall show season: the Randolph Medal Finals and my first-time ride in a hunter classic! I was even starting to shop Ebay for a shadbelly. But you know what they say: If you want to hear God laugh, tell him/her your plans.
A series of three surgeries—oral surgery for an abscessed tooth, facial surgery for squamous-cell skin cancer and arm surgery to plate together a broken ulna—sidelined me from October through December. I’d just returned to riding when Life struck again. This time, horribly.
My husband, John Muncie (aka The Saint) spent 12 days at Martha Jefferson Hospital in Charlottesville, Va., fighting three infections acquired during a routine back surgery there. Each day brought a new, seemingly life-threatening crisis, including an emergency midnight surgery, a suspected pulmonary embolism and the possibility of bleeding out. I didn’t leave his side. My Facebook friends followed his descent into Hell through my posts. And they continue to follow the developments in my war to make hospitals accountable for hospital-acquired infections. John’s on IV antibiotics four times a day at a cost to us of $60 a day for at least six weeks. Medicare stopped paying for hospital-acquired infections, so why should we still have to pay?
Doesn’t seem fair. But I stopped hoping for fair years ago. Both in life—and the show ring. Sometimes you get pinned in a flat class even after your horse picks up the wrong lead, and sometimes the judge forsakes your horse’s perfect trip for the rail knocker. However, with horse shows, only a ribbon’s at stake. With hospitals, 100,000 lives are lost each year to these infections, many of which can be prevented.
So as you can see, between John’s battle against bacteria and mine against the hospital establishment, there hasn’t been much time to ride. However, that doesn’t mean horses have been out of my life. They are what kept me sane during our 12 days of Hell. After each new crisis, I went to the barn. In my mind. (Read the rest of the article…)
Here is a selection of related books you might enjoy:
Chicken Soup for the Horse Lover’s Soul: Inspirational Stories About Horses And The People Who Love Them – Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, Marty Becker, Gary Seidler, Peter Vegso and Theresa Peluso
Horse Miracles: Inspirational True Stories of Remarkable Horses by Brad Steiger & Sherry Hansen Steiger
Rescued by a Horse: True Stories of Physical, Emotional, and Spiritual Healing by Cheryl Dudley
Angel Horses – Divine Messengers of Hope by Allen Anderson & Linda Anderson
Heavenly Horse Sense: Inspirational Stories from Life in the Saddle by Rebecca E Ondov
|February 13, 2012||Posted by Editor under Therapy Horses|
Horses are increasingly becoming acknowledged as being valuable resources for healing or rehabilitating children and adults with mental or physical challenges. With both demand and the number of therapeutic horseback riding programs available rapidly increasing, a new book, “Harnessing the Power of Equine Assisted Counseling: Adding Animal Assisted Therapy to Your Practice”, has been published to educate therapists who want to incorporate the horse therapy element into their practices.
Equine assisted therapy provides mental health therapy both on the ground and in the saddle to children or adults who have experienced trauma or other psychological damage. Being around and working with horses provides non-judgmental time and space to interact with his or her horse, encouraging them to extend this interaction to others and form meaningful relationships with people.
Building a relationship with an animal is very rewarding in many respects; for a person with an emotional, social or psychological disability, the trust and loyalty of an animal demonstrates to the student how important he or she is; they may then apply this newly-acquired self-esteem to personal relationships. A horse may also help a person feel in control of his or her situation, since in dealing with horses there is a direct relationship between action and reaction.
Here’s what The Advertiser-Tribune had to say about “Harnessing the Power of Equine Assisted Counseling: Adding Animal Assisted Therapy to Your Practice”:
A new book has brought together 28 counselors, psychologists and medical doctors from around the world to share their experiences in using equine assisted counseling with clients.
“Harnessing the Power of Equine Assisted Counseling: Adding Animal Assisted Therapy to Your Practice” was released Dec. 13 by international publisher Routledge/Taylor & Francis. The book is written by counselors for counselors who want to add a hands-on component to their practices.
One of the contributing authors is Pamela Nielsen Jeffers, a 1979 graduate of Columbian High School. Pam is the daughter of Tiffin residents Don and Nancy Nielsen. Jeffers and her husband, Robert, are co-owners of Natural Freedom’s Relationship Based Equine Facilitated Learning and Therapy Center in Albany, which has 10 horses that are used for therapy with troubled children and their families.
“We do a lot with relationship building. … We practice it with horses because they give instant feedback with reading thenonverbals of their bodies, and a non-judgmental time and space to practice those relationship skills,” Jeffers said. “We work a lot with trauma. When you experience trauma, you’re heightened and it’s hard to relax.”
Kay Trotter, a counselor in private practice in Flower Mound, Texas, the initiator and editor of the book, sent an invitation for chapter proposals. Jeffers and two colleagues submitted a proposal that was accepted. Kristina Houser, a licensed psychologist and licensed independent chemical dependency counselor in private practice in Athens and Erin Lucas, a licensed independent social worker at Tri-County Mental Health and Counseling Services Inc., collaborated with Jeffers to write “Heart-to-Heart Rainbow: An Imagery Experience to Facilitate Relationship Development.”
The piece provides the clinical protocols to help counselors use equine assisted counseling with their clients.
Several years ago, the Jeffers family went through a crisis of their own and found comfort through one of their horses named Cheyene. The couple realized firsthand the therapeutic effect horses can have on humans. Pamela wrote about their experiences in an article published in Guideposts magazine. The “horses” page on the website www.naturalfreedomohio.com has a link to the article.
Jeffers said her work with horses started in childhood. While growing up in Tiffin, she participated in a 4-H program with her horse, Penny, until age 18. During those years, she learned leadership skills, including responsibility and communication.
She also got involved with therapeutic riding through Hope on Horseback, founded by Ellie Spellerberg.
“Penny was one of the first horses used in that program. That was the beginning of my experience with seeing the relationships with horses a little bit different, as far as the non-competitive aspect,” Jeffers said.
After graduating from Columbian, Jeffers studied therapeutic recreation at Ohio University in Athens. After college, she married Robert Jeffers, whose family owns a farm in Albany. For a while, Pamela taught evening classes at Hocking College. In 2006, she earned certification for equine-assisted therapy; she then formed Natural Freedom LLC, in 2008.
The couple had horses even before Pamela started her therapy program.
“Two were donated last fall because our caseload was increasing,” she said. “Each horse adds its own uniqueness to the plate. We have paso finos that were donated. … They’re really good for helping kids that get heightened and have trouble bringing it back down.”
Quarter horses, paints and a miniature mule complete the flock. Jeffers said all breeds lend themselves to therapy, depending on their temperaments. The paso finos are valued for their smooth gait and lively personalities. Clients who are afraid of the horses initially are coached to approach and handle the animals little by little until they are at ease. Designed for those with no previous experience with horses, the basic program offers mental health therapy “on the ground” and does not involve therapeutic riding.
Participants ages 5 and older are encouraged to “be in the moment” with the horse and to put aside the “could have’s” and “have to’s.”
Jeffers teaches clients to do breathing and other exercises to practice being calm and to recreate those feelings of calmness at home.
Her daughter, LaTicia, was a scholarship student in Tiffin University’s equestrian program. Now back home, she helps her mother with the Natural Freedom program.
“I tend to work the empowerment piece with the parents. That’s my niche. She adds her youthfulness and fun to work with the kids,” Pamela said.
Robert is working on his own certification. He helps out with special events. The couple also served as 4-H advisers in the Albany area while their two children were in the program. Down the road, Pamela would like to work with veterans. She said she thinks horses could help veterans struggling with the effects of trauma.
Although Jeffers has a college degree, she said equine-assisted therapy is a certificate program. Some mental health programs include coursework in equine-assisted therapy.
Jeffers said her education background has been helpful.
“I have found it extremely beneficial to be able to use the adaptations I learned in school and how to modify things and put things together. I think that’s why it’s working for us so well,” she said.
~ Source: The Advertiser-Tribune
The value and importance of horse therapy and therapeutic riding is immeasurable. Children with disabilities love having a quiet, peaceful environment and so do horses – they can teach each other many things.