Everyday Wisdom – Mounting Block Mishaps
Jul20

Everyday Wisdom – Mounting Block Mishaps

By subscriber Vanessa Larocque and Alice Champlin                         Vanessa leads Hadley properly. They two are in step. His head is in a natural head set, no stress here, and parallel to her shoulder. Vanessa is “in charge.” If Hadley is lazy and not moving forward, Vanessa taps him gently on the flank with her dressage crop (in her right hand) telling him to pick up the pace. The more you practice leading horses properly the easier it gets and the more you are in control of the situation. Vanessa prefers to use a rope halter for the “teachable” moments in horsemanship. The rope halter gives her leverage; when Vanessa applies pressure Hadley feels tension over the poll and near the nose bridge and across the face. The rope halter is a tool that is to be taken seriously as it can also hurt a horse if used improperly. In other words, “DON’T YANK THE HORSE” especially when they are in a rope halter. Vanessa knows whenever teaching a horse something new, you allow time. She intentionally  set aside at least an hour today to work on leading skills before she tackles the mounting block.   Vanessa deliberately leads Hadley improperly to demonstrate how easily people get hurt because they are leading a horse wrong. If he lunges forward, he will knock her down. If he pulls back, he’ll wrench her arm or shoulder.                                             After showing Hadley the mounting block, Vanessa squares him up with the with it then stands on it. She wants to get him accustomed to her being there. She rubs his back and verbally tells Hadley to “stand.”  This becomes an daily ritual as she reminds Hadley consistently what her expectations are. Hadley learns through repetition, he is to stand quietly when it comes to the mounting block.  ...

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Everyday Wisdom – Don’t Toss Those Blankets! Repair them!
May01

Everyday Wisdom – Don’t Toss Those Blankets! Repair them!

After the winter season, is a great time to purchase new blankets because a lot of them are on sale at this time of year. But before you open your wallet, take a look at your existing inventory and see if some of those blankets can be refurbished and repaired. A good blanket is hard to find especially when it comes to fit and fill content.  These paisley blankets have a light insulation perfect for the Southern California climate and I like the fit. When Hadley ripped the lining of his blue one, replacing it was gonna to be tough and expensive. So instead I headed to my local dry cleaners and laundry service. “Marine’s Cleaners” on Topanga Canyon Blvd not only laundered the blanket but repaired the lining for under $50. Not bad compared to the cost of a new blanket especially since the blue one is longer available. For other blankets that needed buckle and strapping repair, I headed to the local cobbler or shoe repair. Conveniently located right next to the dry cleaners!  To my surprise, I found that two area “A” lister hunter/jumper barns had already enlisted Mike’s help in blanket repair.  Mike also repairs boots, bridles,  halters and does some minor work on saddles. A word to the wise – Before you head to the cobbler or the dry cleaners launder the blankets at home or at a laundromat. Nobody wants a smelly blanket in their shop so take pity on the shop owner. I prefer the laundromat but I am careful to check with the owner to make sure I can use their large machines. I frequently hose the blankets off and let them air dry before taking them to the laundromat. This eliminates a lot of dirt, hair and shavings that might clog a washing machine. Happy horsing!...

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Everyday Wisdom – An Open-minded Approach to Hoof Care
Mar14

Everyday Wisdom – An Open-minded Approach to Hoof Care

An Open-minded Approach to Hoof Care By Jon Smedley PHCP Practitioner I have been reading a lot about the changes our society has gone though in just the last few years… “Don’t drink from the garden hose” we started saying a few years ago and now we don’t even drink from the kitchen sink. Cigarettes were endorsed by professional athletes just a few decades ago, and some of us remember when cars came without seat belts. We are learning as we go; as we grow. Something else that is intriguing; every situation / person / horse is different. Within our own families I bet you’ll find something similar to my own example. My Dad, Brother, Sister and I; we all enjoy running. My Dad even after two successful battles with cancer can run an entire marathon; where as my brother and I ar e more the 5-10 mile kind of runners. But my sister… WOW! She can do the really long runs! Even more interesting, each one of us selects very different running shoes, including Brand, Pronation and Cushioning. The point I am driving at is we have learned a lot about the world around us in recent history.   We have had the time and resources to research some of the practices that traditions that have been passed down to us. Horse care and specifically horse hoof care has remained fairly consistent over centuries and we have only recently been able to confirm and question many of our hoof care practices.   Also, we know that every horse is different. Some are bred for endurance, some for speed, some for their incredible patience and calm demeanor. We cannot expect a singular hoof care solution for every horse. Our own knowledge base, as well as technology and advances in manufacturing are providing us with many options. Although I specialize in barefoot hoof care I have found it is not the right fit for every horse. I have even found, season, moisture, exercise level and even diet change the hoof support requirement for many of my clients. Some of the options available today that I believe every farrier/trimmer should have available as tools to help benefit each horse to the best of their ability are: Knowledge and experience in the care of the bare hoof – Composite shoes (plastic, rubber and metal mixtures)   Boots – Easy Care, ScootBoot, Renegade etc…   Again, I lean toward barefoot, but it is not the right solution for all. Having an open mind to the possibilities that IF your horse needs a change, there are other options available that can be hugely beneficial to keeping...

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Everyday Wisdom from Everyday Horse People – Saddle Racks
Jan10

Everyday Wisdom from Everyday Horse People – Saddle Racks

  By Subscriber/Contributor Julie Rockwell Professional Horsewoman and Hauler at Crimson Farms Equine Transport. Choosing the best saddle rack can be about what’s the most mobile and affordable. Almost everyone has owned a folding saddle rack at one time or another because they are inexpensive and easy to pack and store. But not always a sturdy choice when you are moving quickly from horse to horse and changing saddles in the process. You need a saddle rack with a sturdy base, and these aluminum, stand alone saddle racks are the best investment. Yes, they are more expensive but worth it. They are light weight and highly functional as they can handle any saddle weight.  Depending on how many saddle placements you need, there are different options: single, double or triple.   Usually most tackrooms come with wall saddle racks which are convenient, but you almost always find yourself needing more space for saddles. Although this aluminum rack seems bulky because of its design, its so easy to move and its hard not to find space for it in your tackroom. West Valley Horse Center stocks these racks and has a great selection.   However, you still might need a saddle rack near a hitching post or riding ring. We love this custom, tee-bar option that Agoura Feed carries. It attaches to a pipe corral panel and can easily be moved in or out of the ring. Whether stand alone or attachable, these aluminum saddle racks can move with you making them a  worthwhile, long-term investment.           Happy Horsing! Julie...

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Why Horses Matter – They’re Helping in the Fight Against Alcohol Abuse and Dependence
Dec08

Why Horses Matter – They’re Helping in the Fight Against Alcohol Abuse and Dependence

Why Horses Matter- They’re Helping in the Fight Against Alcohol Abuse and Dependence By Clinician/Therapist team at Maryland Recovery.  All photo content courtesy of MRC Editor’s note – Time and again horses are helping people battle problems in a most unconventional way. Horses deal in the present, and because they are prey animals they often seek out a connection with their human caretakers. More often than not, when there is a teen at risk, a child suffering from crippling fear issues, soldiers from PTSD, women survivors of domestic battery, folks with disabilities, and people coping with substance abuse and dependence, it’s the horses that are opening the doors to wellness. The equine “helpers” are assisting therapists and counselors in getting patients to connect, making them more susceptible to treatment. Of course, being in nature and a beautiful environment such as this facility in Maryland doesn’t hurt either!         “When most people think of drug addiction therapy, they think of cognitive behavioral therapy and role-playing. In general, the phrase “drug therapy” suggests interaction with a counselor; it doesn’t necessarily imply animals, specifically equine therapy. At Maryland Recovery, counselors and therapists are finding equine therapy to be very helpful in the treatment and recovery of many alcoholism cases.  Animal therapy is not a new concept. Therapy dogs, cats, and other animals visit hospitals every day to help people recover. People with disabilities rely on service animals like dogs, even miniature horses and capuchin monkeys. However, some people are skeptical of animal therapy for addicts. They question whether an addict will harm the animal in question or if methods like equine therapy reward undesirable behavior. Equine therapy is not a reward, but a teaching tool. Horses and equine therapists can help teach those dependent on alcohol new responsibility – responsibility that may help them refocus. Equine therapy helps alcoholics develop new, healthier coping mechanisms and self-regulation.  Equine therapy involves much more than petting or riding a horse. In true equine therapy, alcoholics and other addicts build relationships with their horses. They care for the horses and their environments, performing barn chores – stall mucking, feeding, and grooming. Additionally, the horse becomes a nonjudgmental ear to help alcoholics confront and discuss their addictions and the consequences of them. Unlike people, horses do not rush to respond or ask questions, so the addict is less likely to feel judged. Despite misconceptions, equine therapy is not the linchpin of addiction treatment. It is a supplement to other therapies and programs, such as a 12-step program or traditional cognitive behavioral therapy. In other cases, activities like trail riding are part of regaining physical health,...

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Everyday Wisdom -Trail accessories for the English Saddle
Oct01

Everyday Wisdom -Trail accessories for the English Saddle

Front Cantle bag by Cashel attaches to the brass rings of the pommel on an all purpose English saddle. “With its close fit and contoured design, this bag fits the English style saddle. Low profile and non-restrictive in nature, it attaches securely to the front of the saddle and anchors neatly under the fender. Strong, accessible fasteners keep everything neatly in place. Center Pouch: 7” w x 5” h x 3” d. Side Bags: 6” w x 7” h x 2” d.” Another alternative is Cashel’s rear cantle bag that fits over the saddle’s cantle, leaving your hands unhampered in the front. One of the trickiest situations on the trail is if you get bucked off and your horse scampers off with saddle bag, cell phone and all.  Cashel also has an answer for this dilemia, called the Ankle Safe.  “Don’t be caught out on the trail without the handy, compact Ankle Safe. The perfect place to carry your necessities and items you may need in the unlikely event you get separated from your horse. Specially designed pocket for a cell phone and smaller side pockets hold your ID, cash, and whistle. Snap hook keeps your keys secure. Padded inner lining and elastic closure make it comfortable to wear on your ankle, inside or outside of your pants. The Ankle Safe can also be used for jogging, mountain biking, or as a substitute for a purse or wallet. Can also be worn on your arm. Machine wash cold, tumble dry low.” My old standby is the Leather “Sandwich Bag” by Tory. Made in the USA and crafted from fine leather this bag fits on the brass cantle rings to the right side of your saddle. It can carry a small water bottle, iPhone and horse treats. Editor’s note: Because I often ride alone,  I bring horse treats so that passerby’s, bike riders and hikers can feed my horse as we venture out onto the trails. I do this because if my horse and I are separated, there’s a good chance he will go to a person extending a hand out.  Although lots of experts frown about both practices: riding alone and feeding horse treats along the way, it has been successful in teaching my horse to see people in less frequented areas as approachable in the hopes of getting something good.  I have also started wearing my Belkin arm band carrier for my cell phone. Happy Trails!...

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