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Finding the Right Trainer

Easier said than done right. It’s not an easy find really. A few things come into play for most people that are looking for the right trainer to train their most prized possession. Find out if anyone can train their horse and get them to behave in a certain way? I ask what are some of the things owners like to find in their chosen trainer and list them.

  • Should you try to train your own horse?
  • How long does it actually take and can a good rider train a horse – Not necessarily.
  • If I could tell people just one thing about a relationship between you, your horse and your trainer…

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FROM GO TO WHOA

This easy to read book will help you train your own horse at home. Lot's of lessons and tips right through from Weanlings to Senior horses.

A$35.00

Tis the season for Lice

I received a question the other night – “How do you get rid of Lice?”

Strangely, I was putting this weeks article together…about lice in our horses, how funny.

So anyway here it is…

I usually find that nearing the end of winter into spring is when I find lice appearing on horses. Believe me, it doesn’t matter how well cared for a horse is, they still get lice…some worse than others.

Lice are tiny parasitic insects that live in the hair coat of horses. Lice are species-specific, meaning that bird lice generally won’t live on people or dogs, horse lice don’t typically infect people. You’re not likely to get lice from your horse or pass them on to your cat. Lice infestations can be but are not necessarily an indication of poor care and/or poor nutrition. They can be common in stables like training stables and racing stables, where close quarters and shared equipment make the spread of lice easy. They can also be found on our horses that are turned out for the winter in the paddock, they don’t have to be stabled to pick up lice and they simply love dwelling on a hairy, rug covered horse, lice are not partial to sunlight, the darker and hairier the better for them.

Continue reading Tis the season for Lice

Conformation – The forelimb.

Be it for showing under saddle, racing, reining, or riding for pleasure, a horse needs to be put together properly; but does a horse need to be put together perfectly?

Which limb defects matter and which don’t?

Since horses’ domestication, humans have been scrutinizing equine legs in an attempt to judge which horse will perform best in a given situation. Be it for any discipline, a horse needs to be put together properly; but does a horse need to be put together perfectly? Given that some poorly conformed horses surprise us and go on to be champions begs the question: Is conformation really all that important?

What is Conformation

Conformation simply refers to the physical appearance or ‘outline’ of a horse.”

Conformation is more or less defined by the horse’s bones, muscles, associated soft tissues, and how they all fit together. If all horses were created equal and used for the same purpose, then judging conformation would be easy. Alas, this is not the case. Every classification of horse (i.e., draft, light, or pony) has a different “normal” conformation and its own set of conformation traits defined by the breed and type of work the horse is intended to do. For example, sport, stock, hunter, pleasure, race, and show horses are all types of light horses, and each has its own accepted standard of conformation.

Conformation assessment involves a fine eye, patience, and a bit of luck. The horse is usually examined with four key functional components in mind: the head and neck; the forelimbs; the barrel and the hind limbs. Ideally, the forelimbs are evaluated from the front and sides.

Forelimb Conformation

A horse’s forelimbs should match and bear weight equally. Both toes are expected to point forward, and when the horse stands square the feet should stand as wide as the limbs are at their origin (i.e., the chest). If a straight line is drawn from the point of the shoulder, it should course perfectly down the front of the limb to the middle of the foot.

Continue reading Conformation – The forelimb.

Equine Health, Five Tips For A Healthy Horse

If you own a horse, you are probably aware of the time and money needed to properly care for this amazing creature. Since horses have a longer life than do most animals, keeping them healthy can be somewhat of a challenge. Still, there are several things you can do to help ensure your horse stays healthy. Below are five tips that will help you get started down the right path.

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Strengthening your horse’s hind end

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Many horses that have soundness challenges or general “hind end weakness” I see it alot during lessons and training. The majority of these horses are in the prime years of their life. At 10-15 years old, they still have many good years ahead if we can assist them in developing better balance and strength. Conformation issues can slow some horses down, but many are able to live comfortably and carry a rider if some time is spent focussing on building up their bodies.

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Old habits die hard!

How to quick-fix a horse’s bad habits in the show pen

Anticipation

I am always on about repetition when training your horses. This is the quickest way to instill into your horse something you want to teach them – repetition! Until repetition of a certain kind backfires on you.

Nothing worse is there, you’re in the class, the announcer calls for a jog, however, it’s out of sequence to what your horse is used to, he hears the mic “assumes” it’s time to lope, suddenly your whole world collapses at your feet, your pulling the reins, he’s lifting his head and trying to lope off, did the judge see it? Most likely, yes.

This is only one scenario that could lose you a place in the lineup.

Horses are incredibly smart animals. They learn to listen to the announcer for transitions instead of to their rider’s cues. They can become anxious and want to move up into what they think is coming next!

Continue reading Old habits die hard!

How to manoeuvre the gate with your yearling/2 year old trail horse…

Sometimes it’s approach is head on, sometimes it’s from the side – either way…

Teaching your horse (any age) obstacles for trail is best done by breaking it down into segments and practicing one obstacle at a time.

How to manoeuvre through the Rope Gate:

  1. Walk up to the gate so you are parallel to it, passing the hinge side of the gate first.
  2. Woah your horse’s shoulder by the latch side of the gate, with the hinge side by the horse’s tail.
  3. Your lead should be coiled in your left hand when you set your horse’s shoulder at the latch of the gate, your right hand holding the lead nearer your horses head and unlatch the gate with the left hand as you turn your body to face your horse (your left hand is now closer to the gate). Transfer your coiled lead to your right hand, open the gate with your hand and begin to back your horse.
  4. Don’t let go of the rope or the cows could get out!
  5. Back up until you and your horse clears the latch gate or pole.
  6. Make a tiny U-turn through the gate.
  7. Woah when you are through the gate and parallel to it.
  8. Back up several steps, until your horse’s shoulder is by the latch side of the gate.
  9. Latch the gate with the hand closer to the gate.
  1. Approach – If you were to approach the gate head on it’s a simple matter of just walking toward the center of the gate, turn a few strides off either to your left or right depending on what the judge has requested on the pattern and set your horse up for the opening of the gate.
  2. Whoa – When you are there, stand quietly for a couple of minutes making sure you horse is relaxed and not fidgeting. If they are fidgety,

Using a snaffle on a Senior Horse

Senior horse snaffle bit training…

Or any other bit for that matter!

I think the worst thing you can do once you hunt down that curb/shank bit that your horse loves and works well in is to use it on him day in, day out. When you do find that “favourite” bit the best thing you can do is to keep it for those special occasions like showday.

Lot’s of riders’ do this and it is “common sense” to them to say “Beauty! My horse loves this new bit, I can relax now and stop worrying!” Down the track though, I get calls and questions all the time wondering why their favourite bit is not working anymore. You can liken it to using the same spurs day in day out, after a time the horse starts to become dull to the feel of the spurs you use every day.

Continue reading Using a snaffle on a Senior Horse

Why do horses shake their heads?

What triggers a horse to flip his head uncontrollably, sometimes to the point of endangering him and his rider?

The amazing thing about horses is how such large, powerful animals can be so sensitive and aware of the slightest sensation, such as a fly on its back or face. Rippling of skin or an occasional head shake is a normal response to the tickling trigger of nerve endings. But, there are times when a horse can’t stop shaking or tossing its head to a seemingly in-apparent sensation; such incessant behaviour is known as head shaking.

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How to stop being nervous when showing your horse

I travelled to this lovely lady the other day to give her a riding lesson. She was so nice. She had been working with her horse at home for quite a few years, she was a lovely rider, had a handy horse and do you know she had never competed at a show? As we were going through the lesson, I asked her why she had not shown as yet, her answer was sad to me, “fear” was her answer. Not fear of getting bucked off or fear of having a crash on the way but fear of looking silly if she mucked up! That was indeed sad to hear especially when her dream was to show one day. The only thing stopping her was fear of mucking up.

It’s not a “given” that if you own a horse you must show it, however, when you want to get out and show but you can’t due to fear of mucking up or letting nerves get the better of you that’s kind of sad. After all, it’s meant to be fun, it’s a hobby and don’t people take up hobbies because they’re fun to do?

Try this checklist

Continue reading How to stop being nervous when showing your horse