Rope Halters are a fake-out that people have bought into

I don’t like Rope Halters  – they are trendy NH shit that in reality is a false premise that it provides a “light” contact. No, they don’t. The thinner rope acts as a wire on the nose; it easily twists and turns and gives unequal pressure; and you cannot use them to safely tie your horse (though people do all the time).

When I see someone using a rope halter I usually throw up in my mouth a little. It’s a tool peddled by the Natural Horsemanship folks trying to convince you that owning it will provide Magical Ethereal Communication – and really it isn’t going to do that. Actually it does the opposite as it lends itself to miscommunication and poor body movement on the part of the horse.

Here’s a video – which shows lunging a horse with a rope halter is not going to work.

Posted in Art2Ride, Straightness Training

PSSM testing with hair

So we’ve pulled the hair for Dante’s PSSM test and it will go out Monday. I’ve dragged around on this, mostly because of money but also the time to pull the hair (which turned out to be easier then I thought).

Time will give the answer.

Posted in Dante, PSSM

Little by little, teaching proper biomechanics

When training a horse there are ups and downs. Days I feel we are making progress and he is getting it. Days that I’m like WTF? why isn’t he understanding or complying?

This is just the nature of training; the only way to weather it is consistency and persistence. You have to keep going and going every day. Where people make the biggest mistake is getting frustrated and letting their emotions take over.

I had hoped I would be lunging with the Art2Ride program by now but… we aren’t😀 Instead we are still working on body mechanics of weighting legs, moving correctly, and getting the correct bend.

Right now Straightness Training is more of our focus. This would be groundwork – using one line, working the horse from the ground. The major thing here is to find and keep the horse in the correct movement before moving the horse further from the trainer (i.e. lunging) or moving a faster pace (i.e. trot). There’s an article that goes with this video here.

Stellning – is really eating our lunch. Dante is so reluctant to let the energy move from the front to the hip. He seems to find it easier to give the release (over bracing) when he is moving. Part of it too is I’m sure my lack of noticing and understanding all the components needed to make this work. So we are taking time and doing it step by step.

Bent Branderup’s videos are well worth the money – consider it paying for a lesson you can take again and again – and the value when compared to a lesson from a Master or a clinic is awesome.

What I’ve noticed with Dante is he doesn’t like his head being handled – he braces and resists to having his head moved if the force is too much. Another thing I’ve noticed is if I try to move his head down he resists – if I use a target, he lowers and bends. This is about the psychology behind him being willing and cooperative (which encourages relaxation), instead of me making or forcing him into a frame or position (which fosters bracing).

This type of resistance to what we humans feel is a very simple request, can really get my goat. It can push my buttons for sure so I have to take a step back emotionally and say, okay let’s try this again – or maybe I can try a different way with some out of the box thinking.

Looks easy, but it isn’t.

Posted in Art2Ride, Dante, Straightness Training

Dead Lame

Dancer gave me a huge scare three days ago. She came up dead lame. We took off her hoof castings and because it was in the middle of the night it wasn’t possible until the next day to examine it thoroughly.

When we got to the barn she was laying flat out, refused to get up, wasn’t interested in food. This was NOT my pony…  major flashback to Pepper’s laminitis which ended in her death (due to probably a heart attack from stress). It was hard to keep it together emotionally, especially with still the recent loss of Tristan, but trying to be rational about it, I know that horses with abscesses do go dramatically, dead lame.

We did 24 hours of two different Animalintex Poultice pad on her worst foot which looked like it was blowing out an abscess. I really recommend that you have these in your first aid box as they come in really handy. On the other foot, we put on a new casting to provide her hoof wall, especially the toe area that is being cut back, with support.

Now three days later she’s standing and is willing to move about and investigate. This morning, the poultice pad came off and another casting went back on to support the hoof wall. She’s putting support on both front legs though still limping a bit on the worst foot.

I think we’ve weathered it through but getting her feet back to normal is going to be a long, long process with bumps in the road. Hopefully, we both can survive it!😦

Posted in hooves, Pandora

Amazing new study shows how self aware horses truly are!!

When I saw this story my jaw really dropped! I was like AHHHHMAAZZZING! This study has huge ramifications on how we should be training and working in partnership with our horses.

Horses can and do make decisions for their WELFARE

Horses can look ahead and know the consequences of their DECISIONS

Horses can CHOOSE to participate in a man-made activity

Horses are using COMMUNICATION in a highly structured way to pass information

Here is a link to the original article, but some things disappear off the internet so I’m also referencing it here:

Horses can use symbols to talk to us

Horses are adept at learning and following signals people give them, and it took these equines an average of 10 days to learn to approach and touch the board and to understand the meaning of the symbols. All 23 horses learned the entire task within 14 days.

They were then tested in various weather conditions to see whether they could use the board to tell their trainers about their blanket preferences. The scientists report online in Applied Animal Behaviour Science that the horses did not touch the symbols randomly, but made their choices based on the weather.

If it was wet, cold, and windy, they touched the “blanket on” icon; horses that were already wearing a blanket nosed the “no change” image. But when the weather was sunny, the animals touched the “blanket off” symbol; those that weren’t blanketed pressed the “no change” icon.

The study’s strong results show that the horses understood the consequences of their choices, say the scientists, who hope that other researchers will use their method to ask horses more questions.

Posted in Learning w/ Play & Curiosity, Pyschology and Behavior