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“Don’t let yesterday use up too much of today.”

Don't let yesterday use up too much of today. cherokee proverb

 
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Posted by on July 20, 2014 in Life

 

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Are there tips for reconditioning older horses that have been turned out?

“Hi Stacy, Do you have any specific tips and/or tricks regarding reconditioning older horses that have been turned out for a long while? (well, horse AND rider have been out a while.) Regular care and maintenance, just minus the training for past couple of years. Good foundation training before that, (WP & Reining) just back to the drawing board for getting them legged up again and in a routine safely and without too much fuss, hopefully. Thanks. Hope things are going wonderfully in Texas! Blessings to you and your family.”

My biggest tip would be; don’t go too fast. When horses are already broke to ride it is easier to go too fast because the ‘training’ is still in their heads…even if their bodies are out of shape. If a person was a well trained ballerina but took two years off their ‘training’ would still be there but their bodies; muscles, tendons, etc would need time to build back up.

I am tempted to say ‘listen to your horse’ and for the most part that is true but sometimes horses can make mistakes.

  • Don’t let them over-do-it
  • Don’t ask them to over-do-it

    Horse preparing for a huge buck.

    Horse playing hard when turned out.

The first few times you take them out the horse could be so excited that he will over-do things because of excitement. My horse Popcorn for example will run himself to the point of injury in the spring the first time he is turned out in a large pasture or area. Logic says he should stop before injury but he doesn’t. To prevent this I make sure he has had some controlled work before I turn him out…he still runs but not quite as much.

In training that means that you should regulate the workout, even if that means just groundwork, for the first few sessions. After the excitement phase wears off, which can be 10 minutes for some horses or 10 days for Popcorn….then you should listen to the horse.

Listen to them means that if they seem tired, grumpy, excited or fresh then the rides should be tailored to this. Remember what it is like to try to get into shape. If you cannot remember then take up running, swimming or bike riding for a couple of months to ‘remember’ what it feels like.

I like to use the breathing rate as a guide to how hard I am working my horse. A very out of shape horse will breathe hard without doing a lot of physical work. As the horse gets fit he will not breath as hard during the same work and he will recover quicker.

 
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Posted by on April 29, 2014 in Members Question, Training

 

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How much motivation does a horse need?

How much motivation does a horse need? foal ignored subtle cues

That depends on the horse.

I was sure Maggie was a bad mother. Maggie was gentle with Newt at first but by the time he was a month old Maggie was removing small clumps of hair with her ‘corrections’. By the time Newt was three months old he had scabs from her constant reminders to respect her space. I questioned Maggie’s motherly instincts…but after he was weaned the same treatment was continued by the other horses. If a dominant horse wanted to move Newt it often took repeated bites or kicks to move him. Newt wasn’t aggressive…he just didn’t seem to perceive pain at the same level as other horses. He would stand and take the kicks with a pleasant, slightly confused, look on his face. Motivating Newt was clearly going to be a challenge…as evidenced from birth. some horses ignore subtle cues

Just as each person, dog, cat and horse is unique in personality-they are also unique in their perception of pressure. Newt showed from birth that he was willing to handle more physical pressure than the average horse. Does that mean that his mother was mean? Or that she used as much pressure as was necessary? I think only Newt could accurately answer that question.

One horse may respond to the subtle squeeze of a riders leg, while another may choose to ignore it.

How do we know how much pressure is correct for each horse?

By asking each horse.

Because by learning to read their body language the horse will tell you whether a bit is too big or if he will happily ignore it, or if the hand was too quick, or if he needs the lesson repeated again because he isn’t clear.

A horse will tell you a lot if you know how to listen….or you could also ask their mother.

Mustang stallion displays his battle scars...scars he thought were worth fighting for.

Mustang stallion displays his battle scars…scars that, in his opinion,  were worth fighting for.

 
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Posted by on March 11, 2014 in Thought provoking, Training

 

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How much weight should a horse trailer haul?

My husband left today. I blame it on Winter Storm Nika.

He wasn’t supposed to leave until Wednesday but this morning he said he wanted to beat the storm, “I want to leave today.”

“Today…today? In a few hours?”

“Yes.”

Let the frantic trailer loading begin. And the math. How much weight can the truck and trailer safely hold?

Q- Doesn’t the tag on the trailer tell us?

A- The tag said 14,500 lbs.horset railer

Q- How much does the trailer weigh empty?

A- The trailer weighs around 6,500 lbs empty.

My first lesson was on axle weight. Our six horse trailer has two 7,000 lbs axles. 7,000 lbs x 2= 14, 000 lbs

The tag on the trailer says it carries- 14,500 lbs

This is not a good time for a math mystery. Why is it rated for more than the axles should carry?

A call to the trailer dealer confirmed why my math doesn’t add up. The gooseneck of the trailer distributes 25% of the weight onto the truck which is why the tag rates the trailer higher than the straight up math.

Mystery solved. Back to the other math.

The six horses weigh around 6,000…the lean ones balancing out the chubby ones.

In the end the six horses were loaded, the hay, the grain…kids possessions…2 papasan chair…all my Charlie 1 Horse hats (my husband says I have too many…), school books for the end of the year (I kept a months worth)…

“Will this table fit?”

“How about this lamp”

Without a set of scales how am I supposed to hit the magic number?

In the end I threw out the math and relied completely on my husband. He’s the math guy anyway….and it is official. He is on the road to Texas with our first load of horses and stuff!

 
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Posted by on February 3, 2014 in Life

 

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