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Tag Archives: horses

The mental habits we create in ourselves and our horses.

First we make our habits then our habits make usThe filly entered the arena on edge, expecting to blow off energy. It didn’t matter to her that she was saddled and bridled, blowing off energy during the first 10-15 minutes of a ride was normal. It was what she had done from the first ride. At this point it was part of the routine. It could be the first ride in a month or the 10th day of riding in a row and the filly still expected, or felt required to, blow off steam at the beginning of the ride.

Many times we accidentally create habits in our horses. We do it to ourselves too. This weekend ask yourself as you go through your day, “Is this what I am choosing to do, or is this a habit?”

 
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Posted by on May 1, 2015 in Inspiring, quote

 

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Do horses get dizzy when they are learning to spin?

Teaching a horse to spin reminds me of a person learning to dance. There are many steps and stages that the horse moves through. The spin begins by improving steering in general and then gets gradually more refined. During the learning process the horse will make ‘mistakes’ which are really just the process of learning. If you watch a child learning to walk or a dancer learning to dance there are often uncoordinated moments, especially in the beginning.

While learning to spin some horses get dizzy. For some this stage is so short that it is barely felt but for others it may take them a bit longer.  They most often get dizzy as they get better at taking the steps and they begin gaining some speed. The key is to be aware that this stage exist and to try to prevent the horse from getting too dizzy. The difficulty is that this is the same stage where horses still need help to find their cadence and rhythm. As a rider I am helping the horse find rhythm and cadence…but it is difficult to tell if the horse is loosing rhythm because they are needing some help or because they are getting dizzy.

The video below shows a horse getting dizzy. Watch when we stop how you can see her sway to catch her balance. Now re-watch it and look at her ears as soon as I say whoa, they are pointed forward as she tries to focus. They quickly flick back as I feel her sway and move to steady her.

This was the first time this filly got dizzy. We happened to be taping for another reason and caught this moment. Although I have still been spinning her I am more aware that she has entered this stage and I try to avoid getting her dizzy. This means that I stop more often when I feel her lose her rhythm…which can slow down the training if she is just losing rhythm because she is thinking about stopping. Still, I choose to stop early because I don’t want to repeatedly make her dizzy and it is possible for them to get dizzy enough to fall down.

I find it interesting that all the horses I have ridden have eventually figure out how to not get dizzy. Once they are fully trained they can spin for long periods of time and will get physically tired without showing any signs of getting dizzy, even if they are spinning very fast.

I can’t say the same thing for riders though, lol.

 
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Posted by on April 16, 2015 in Training, Video

 

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Do horses dream? What do they dream about?

Horses do some of their sleeping while standing but they will also lie down for deeper sleep. When we trained horses full time and spent twelve hours a day or more in the barn the horses got pretty comfortable with us being around. This lead to seeing horses sleep…and dream. Too bad I hadn’t thought to grab a video camera back then…but thankful other people have.

Check out this video of a mare while she is dreaming. The whinny at the beginning is cute but I think her dream took a turn for the worse around twenty-eight seconds…watch what she did then! I guess all horse dreams aren’t pleasant.  I wonder what she was dreaming about…

This type of dreaming is what we mostly caught the horses doing in our barn. Apparently ‘running’ dreams are popular with horses. I have noticed this in dogs also!

Is there a cutest dreamer category? If there is…watch out for this little guy!

I had to put one dog ‘running in sleep’ video in here too…here is a link to a dog dreaming the way I have seen them.

And this is a crazy link to a dog who was REALLY dreaming. I’ve never seen this happen before and I hope it never happens to my horse or my dog. Ouch. That was one crazy dream:(

 

 
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Posted by on February 13, 2015 in Video

 

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3 Videos of horses enjoying the snow

People have varying opinions on the snow, some love it, some hate it, others just deal with it…but what about our horses? Here are three videos showing how some horses feel about the snow:

I love how the horses come blasting through the snow in this video:

If a horse could drown in snow…this one would have. I love how he buries his head!

The horse seems to be enjoying the trees and the snow…and the snow falling from trees….

 
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Posted by on February 9, 2015 in Life, Video

 

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Do you still ride your horse in the snow?

Snow doesn’t have to be the end of your ability to ride. If you know the footing under the snow and ice isn’t and issue then it can be fun to ride.

I grew up in Maine and I remember riding when the snow was belly deep on my pony. My mom would often break the trail with her horse first. Our favorite place to ride was in a big field where we knew the footing. The snow was untouched and we would make paths and play games.

This is a video of a recent ride that we took in the snow. We were in New Mexico and the footing under the snow was sandy. We also had a guide that knew the trails well.

 
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Posted by on February 8, 2015 in Video

 

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After an accident with a horse how can I get over my fear? How can I make the process easier?

“Hi Stacy, I am in Australia and I have watched your videos and read some of your posts. I have also heard a lot about you from friends. I was wondering if you have any advice for a horse lover who is terrified of horses. When I was 12 I had an accident and fractured my skull and was in a coma. I was not permitted to get back on for a year. My mum was riding with me and broke her leg saving me. She was in hospital longer than me. We never rode for a long time, which is probably part of the problem. Mum rides sometimes now and is more confident than me. I have had some lessons but circumstances create big gaps between lessons. This means I start over all the time. I can’t remember the accident. I can now be near them it shake and feel sick when I lead them or ride them. How can I make this process easier?”-Kate A.

Overcoming fear is often like starting over again. Where would you start with a child and a horse?The first thing that popped into my mind was, “Start small, mini small.”

Then I read your question again and saw that even leading them causes you stress. I was reminded of how my boys, in a matter of days, dramatically increased in confidence after we got our mini’s. The interesting part was that the horses they had always handled were trained better than the minis…but the minis were small, less intimidating and made us laugh.

There are many ways that you could work through this. The biggest red-flag that I see in your question is that you have had circumstances that create big gaps between lessons. It isn’t ‘wrong’ but as you have already identified the lack of consistency will cause you to repeat more than if you were able to be consistent.

I wrote a blog titled, “After an accident I have lost my confidence, what do you suggest?” that discusses a similar topic from a slightly different angle; you are interested in getting confidence around any horse and she was interested in confidence around her specific horse. It is still worth reading as the answer is still what I would recommend to you.

Listen to this advice that was posted as a comment. She sums it up beautifully and offers great advice:

“Your confidence can be and – in my opinion – should be regained! It would be a tragedy if you allowed an adverse incident like this to set a pattern for you of avoiding anything that has scared or hurt you. I know what you’re going through, ’cause after the accident (my bicycle vs. pickup truck – bike loses, bigtime!) There’s nothing like lying in bed with the “tape” of the accident playing over and over in your head to scare the willies out of you….) I did three months in hospital and over a year in a rehab center! I was lucky; I had been a horse person since I was little and KNEW that when you fall off you get right back on before you get scared and lose something you love. Neither you nor I had that option, but I was riding a bike (nervously!) as soon as they put a knee joint in my cast; my horse (with stirrup removed on the cast side) as soon as I could swing my leg over his back.

If you are in an auto accident will you never ride in a car again? If you fall on your kitchen floor will you never enter that kitchen again? Or even never walk on a linoleum floor again?

Stacy is exactly right in saying that more groundwork and more exposure to strange happenings will lessen the chance of this occurring again with your horse – in whom you have a lot invested and I don’t mean money!) You might consider, also, a few sessions with a counselor to help you work on your fear, and a few lessons at the local riding academy on the horses they put the LITTLE kids on. You knew this kind of thing could happen before you started riding in the first place; horses are big, dumb prey animals with a very rapid flight response. You loved them anyway. You still do. Let your love – and your determination to be emotionally healthy! – rule your life.

With sympathy – and tough love, Annie G.”

 
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Posted by on January 18, 2015 in Inspiring, Life, Members Question, Thought provoking

 

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My non-blanketed horses are attacking the two with blankets…What can I do?

“I’m having an issue today. I need help if you find a moment. I have 7 horses turned out together. They have ALL lived together for at least a year. Today, I blanketed two if them due to incoming inclement weather. One has a cold and the other was clipped and hasn’t re-grown his coat as well as we hoped. My problem is, the non-blanketed horses are attacking the two with blankets. Not a little either. They are full out ATTACKING. Pawing, rearing biting, kicking . It’s rough. What can I do?”-Patti C.

How do you handle one horse attacking another in the pasture?Horses have an interesting way of viewing things…don’t they? The easiest and quickest suggestion is to separate them for now. Depending on your set up you could pasture them in view of each other which will also allow the non-blanketed horses to adjust to seeing their friends wearing blankets.

Once things calm down a bit you can also do some retraining. Be creative and remember to stay safe. Retraining could take many forms including: a shared fence line to let the horses adjust, stalling blanketed and non-blanketed near each other, tying the aggressive horses and allowing the other horses to move around, the list can get longer depending on how creative you are and what type of set up you have to work with. The following comment is from another blog about horses that were aggressive during group feeding. Listen to how Ashley B. solved her problem:

I am in a situation where I am not able to stall my horses so I must feed them together. I have a piglet that is very aggressive to the other horses at feeding time. She was causing dangerous situations and my personal mare was dropping weight because she wasn’t able to eat. Our solution, since separating her wasn’t possible, was to place their buckets far apart and to stand guard. Our piglet has improved to finishing her meal and staying at her feed bucket and on good days she finishes and walks away to the hay. It took about 3-5 days of standing guard with a stick and now simply our presence is enough to deter her from “attacking” the others for their feed. Still occasionally, if she thinks we aren’t paying attention, she will mosey over and “share” feed but she no longer attacks the others.

Generally, horses eventually get over the shock of seeing the other horses with blankets but the important part is to keep everyone safe during this transition period.

 
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Posted by on January 6, 2015 in Life, Members Question

 

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