Book Review

Posted on November 21, 2020 by Jerrilee.
Categories: equipment, health, history, riding, training.
Learning Riding Posture

Learning Riding Posture

“Dude! Did You Just Fall Off?” is a delightful kid’s e-book on Amazon’s Kindle that skillfully and humorously attempts to prepare the horse newbie for their first and, hopefully, subsequent encounters.  It boldly asks:  what would you do if you were invited to go horseback riding, had never even been near a horse, but really wanted to go?

Obviously this is not a common invitation for inner-city dwellers, but for the nearly 30% of rural school children, and even higher percentage of suburban students, a recreational weekend just may indeed include a friend’s offer to see their family’s stabled horse. Facing the reality of being near such a big animal and actually sitting on its back can seem adventurous,  but nearly everyone quickly discovers a sudden level of panic once they become face to face with such a large animal.

This is why we picked the “Dude!” book off the shelf of Amazon. This book stands apart from the plethora of previous books by the way it brings horseback riding into your home and helps you practice balance and posture before you even head out to your friend’s barn. The list of straightening and correcting exercises range from simple body adjustments to learning ready-to-use moves while in the saddle. It had such great ideas plus a wallet saving price of only $2.99. Download it to your phone or tablet and refer to it right on the way to the stable. Personally, we found it just as helpful for adults. Enjoy..

What Was A Fire Horse?

Posted on November 13, 2020 by Jerrilee.
Categories: equipment, handicap, health, history.

firehousephoto from Detroit News, 1910
Fire horses pulled the fire wagons through town and country directly to the scene of the emergencies. As fire companies grew the upkeep of the horses evolved and transformed to reduce response time to fire alarms.
At first horses were stabled near the stations. When the alarm sounded, it took valuable time to unlock the barn, fetch the steeds and harness them to the engine. Before long, the horses lived at the station and the reluctance to accept them was replaced by a deep affection for the noble animals.
The stalls were positioned behind or next to the rigs. In 1871, a quick hitch was developed. Two years later, Charles E. Berry, a Massachusetts firefighter, created a hanging harness with quick-locking hames. His invention was so popular he left the fire department and sold his patented Berry Hames and Collars nationwide.
Not every horse could serve as a fire horse. The animals needed to be strong, swift, agile, obedient and fearless. At the scene, they needed to stand patiently while embers and flames surrounded them. They needed to remain calm while the firefighters fought the blaze. This was the case in all weather conditions and in the midst of a multitude of distractions.  (courtesy firehistory.com)

Info from New Bern Firemen’s Museum:
Fred was part of a horse team that pulled the fire wagons in the early 1900’s. Fred was bought from a Gastonia, North Carolina, man in 1908. For years, he pulled the fire company’s wagon, marched in parades, and competed against other fire horses. He died on the way to a false alarm, apparently of a heart attack, at age 25. His driver, a man named John Taylor, died only a couple of weeks earlier. Fred’s contemporaries — Old Jim and Ben Hurst — were other fire horses whose legends are preserved in stories. The two belonged to Atlantic’s rival volunteer company — the New Bern Steam Fire Engine Company No. 1, which was incorporated just after the end of the Civil War in 1865.
During the war, the Atlantic company basically was inactive, with most of its members away in the fight and Union troops occupying New Bern for three years. After the Confederacy surrendered, some of those Union soldiers stuck around the area and continued their volunteer fire company with about 30 men. The New Bern Steam Fire Engine Company No. 1 would eventually be nicknamed the Button Company after it bought a Button fire engine in the 1880s.

Fred, worked nonstop during the worst fire in New Bern’s history. On the morning of December 1, 1922, a fire sparked at a lumber yard and spread quickly. While firefighters toiled to put out the massive flare-up, a separate fire kicked up in a residential area about a mile away. High winds swept the sparks from house to house, and fires multiplied throughout the predominately black neighborhood. A newspaper account of the event in The News & Observer said flames “spread out like a giant fan” until they reached the Neuse River.

shoeing fire horse,1920's

shoeing fire horse,1920’s

Fire horses were replaced by 1929. The Portland newspaper wrote:
“Despite the thrill of watching motor apparatus roaring to a fire many recall the ‘days of real sport’ when horses started for a fire and deeply regret their passing.The horses will be sent to a farm to pass the rest of their days in easy work.” Feb 16, 1929, Portland Evening Newpaper.
On May 13,1929, the Portland News wrote: “[For the past six years] each night at 8:59, 20 juveniles would gather at the fire station to wait for the nine o’clock horn blow. The fire horses would come in, back into the stable for their run harness and the kids would go to the stable door to watch the big horses made ready. The attraction of the animals for the children has never failed during the last six years.Farewells have been said to the big black horses by more than a score of youngsters in the vicinity and tears were falling fast from the eyes of the kiddies in the neighborhood.”

Leasing a Horse

Posted on March 23, 2020 by Jerrilee.
Categories: riding, training.

 

photo by jennifer coleman

photo by jennifer coleman

article by Jen Davis

Leasing a horse allows you to determine whether or not horse ownership is the right choice for you. Leasing also allows riders to develop a one-on-one relationship with a horse without actually having to spend money to purchase the horse or even pay the full cost of his care. If you are trying to find a horse to lease, ask several questions about the horse before you seal the deal.

The lease needs to spell out every single aspect of the care of the leased horse, including who pays veterinary bills, who pays feed, who pays board and who foots the bills for whatever extras the horse requires to stay sound, healthy and happy. Make sure to find out what the owner considers to be regular maintenance. Chiropractic work and dental visits may not be a part of their regular program, but you will need to know if they expect you to schedule these appointments and foot the bills. Make sure you know what performance enhancing supplements the horse is taking and whether or not you are obligated to keep the horse on those supplements. Remember that you cannot ask too many questions, and that the more questions you ask, the less likely you are to find yourself surprised later on. If your lease agreement has you paying the vet bills, you must take preexisting health problems into consideration before you sign that paperwork. Have your own veterinarian look over the horse and his veterinary records for you, making sure that everything you know about the horse matches up with what the owner is telling you. Ask plenty of questions and pay attention to the answers you have been given. A horse with a medical history of lameness is likely to go lame again, regardless of what the owner says. A horse who has a long history of gastrointestinal problems may be a colicker.

Double check everything the owner tells you about the horse. Ride him on multiple occasions to make sure that he is a good match for your capabilities as a rider. Find out what happens if the lease does not work out for whatever reason. Ask if you can terminate the lease or if you must finish out the leash even if the horse does not meet your needs. These  few safety tips can help you find just the right horse for you and keep your experience at the barn happy and productive.

about the author: Jen Davis has been writing since 2004. She has served as a newspaper reporter and her freelance articles have appeared in magazines such as “Horses Incorporated,” “The Paisley Pony” and “Alabama Living.” Davis earned her Bachelor of Arts in communication with a concentration in journalism from Berry College in Rome, Ga. Thank you, Jen, for your article.

Riding After 50?

Posted on March 14, 2020 by Jerrilee.
Categories: equipment, health, riding, training.

groundpole

Are you over fifty and still enjoying activities such as: bicycling, skating, hiking, skiing, jogging, dancing? Then perhaps you would enjoy the sport of horseback riding. The world of horses holds the interests of many senior citizens, although it is largely overlooked as an activity for retirees. Did you know that some participating Olympic Riders have been in their  sixties and seventies? Ian Millar is a Canadian rider whose passion is horse jumping. He competed in his ninth consecutive equestrian games at the Beijing Olympics in 2008 when 65 years of age. Kyra Kyrklund, from Finland, was 61 had participated in five Olympic Games, four World Equestrian Games, and six World Cup Equestrian Dressage Finals. Josef Neckermann rode in the 1984 Olympics at 71 years old. Are these the only older people riding horses?

Well, in southeastern Massachusetts, where we have a thriving horse community, over half of the riders are over 50, and most of these are in their mid-sixties. These riders participate in every facet of horsemanship, from horse clubs, riding clinics, overnight trail rides, to costume making and saddle-bridle decoration. They also participate in equine expositions including horse shows, horse breed demonstrations, or equine educational seminars. Each of these venues requires knowledgeable riders either willing to explain or to demonstrate good horsemanship skills.

But is horseback riding for you? Learning to ride a horse does require similar intensive learning as that required when learning to ski or to ride a bike, if you’ve never done so before. These sports depend heavily on technique and specific equipment in order to insure a safe and enjoyable experience. Also, every potential rider over 50 needs to accurately assess their degree of mobility and agility. The highly motivated, energetic individual will find the intense pace of competition riding easily equal to their passion for cutting edge excitement, once their riding skills are intact. Likewise, the nimble but more meditative environmentalist will enjoy the interaction of the horse-rider relationship with its opportunity for trail riding in local recreational parks or secluded natural habitats. Many senior riders in rural areas sign up for local Search and Rescue Posses. These riders help the Sheriff Department to find lost hikers, missing children, or even other lost animals. The photo is the author’s brother, (in his mid-sixties) participating in the training program for the Yolo County Sheriff’s posse.

learning rescue techniques

learning rescue techniques

There are riding and training facilities in nearly every agricultural or urban town. You can use the local listings, computer, or local livestock/feed store for inquiries into locations of horse farms. A recommended professional is best for learning technique and equipment basics. They may even have a horse owner willing to half-lease a reliable horse for you to begin to gain your mileage and balance in the saddle. Another great starting point is the local horse club where you can meet other horse enthusiasts eager to add you on to their events. So what are you waiting for? Let’s saddle up and go!

Crossing Canada via chuck wagon!

Posted on March 12, 2020 by Jerrilee.
Categories: breed, equipment, health, training.

Enjoy this three part video of Pierre Cloutier as he manages his trek with his draft horses and covered wagon. It is the feature of our Equi-TV this month!

photo from Horse Journal

photo from Horse Journal

Three Basic Principles of Dressage

Posted on by Jerrilee.
Categories: handicap, history, riding, training.

clinic in Chesapeke City
photo: Hassler Dressage

 

from Dressage Today, Charles de Kunffy brings forward the basic principles of training the horse dressage.

As a young rider in Hungary, I remember how three moments of evolutionary breakthroughs made all the difference. Like all young riders, I was impressed when I looked at the sophisticated equine professors that moved with big, round necks, as opposed to thin, inverted racehorse-looking ones. Being pragmatic and used to getting things done quickly, the easiest solution to achieve a round neck seemed to be manipulating the neck so that it appeared to be round. My coaches got on my case, leaving me with a sense of desperation. If not actively working on the horse’s neck, how in the world would I get such a round and tall carriage?

Backed up by my relentless coach, my patient horses soon revealed a most surprising discovery: I could influence the neck’s position from the haunches rather than from the reins. The principle of this discovery is similar to the principle of sweeping dust into a dustbin with a broom. As you sweep, the dustbin travels forward to receive the dust. It has to move in order to receive the dirt being gathered up. Similarly, the horse is gathered up from behind by energizing his haunches and giving him the room through the reins to articulate freely. Trying to achieve collection by working on the horse’s neck cuts the horse off in the front. Confining reins prevents the hind legs from powerfully supporting the rider’s weight and balance by lifting him with suspension. Following this, I realized that a horse consists of three bascules:

The neck (the easiest to access and manipulate)
The back (which takes more knowledge and skill to engage). If a horse has what we called a “warm” back–loose, supple and oscillating–he can lift the rider. It’s almost like sitting on a suction cup; it comes up and supports the rider’s pelvis. On the other hand, if a horse has what we called a “cold” back–low and stiff–the rider achieves nothing other than growing old sitting on it.
The hind end (the haunches should thrust the pelvis forward to lower the croup and to actually articulate at the lumbar-sacral joint). This last bascule is the one that is widely ignored by riders. If it were addressed, one would see many more horses that lower themselves toward the ground in supple strides from elastic joints. Horses with unexercised hind leg joints move stiffly with high croups. Horses with ill-developed muscles, lacking strength and suppleness, might appear to have round necks but remain still disconnected through the topline.

Once I understood to ride the horse’s hindquarters instead of his neck, the second breakthrough came when I realized that riding is a dancing partnership with the horse. Every horse has a certain signature rhythm–a footfall that’s like a fingerprint. Only when a rider aids in the rhythm of the horse’s footfalls will they make sense to the horse. Horses don’t understand banging and poking with legs out of phase with their footfalls, although the rider might use an occasional kick as a wake-up call. A horse that’s pushed out of his signature rhythm will run off and not be able to do relaxed extensions.

So we were asked to get into a rising trot and tell our coach when we found the horse’s perfect rhythmic profile. Once we had established that, we were able to stimulate the horse to more activity without changing his rhythm. This resulted in a dancing, free, forward, suspended and rhythmic movement without the horse being confined in the front.

The third important principle was an understanding of how to keep the horse together without confining his haunches from the reins. My coaches insisted that the reins may be used for a thousand things except to inhibit the haunches or to set the shape of his neck. A well-schooled horse will collect on even sagging reins into a piaffe or school canter. No need to hold him together, only drive him from leg and seat. Consistent and knowledgeable use of half halts educate the horse to understand the leg aids not merely as “go” but also as “energize” without running off.

When thinking about collecting a horse, many riders only think of closing him longitudinally from hocks to bridle. However, one must realize that one closes the horse also laterally from outside leg to inside rein and from inside leg to outside rein, like an X. Half pass and the shoulder-in, for instance, are exercises that utilize this concept of closing the horse laterally. In the half pass, when the horse is closed correctly, he lowers his outside hip and thrusts his pelvis toward the inside shoulder. In the shoulder-in, the inside hock is supposed to reach so deep–not just across but deep forward–that it reaches level with the outside stifle. The rider who fails to close the horse longitudinally as well as laterally will fail to engage him.

These three principles allowed me to train to higher levels. I wish you well in riding your horse in your horse’s native rhythm, closed from behind, strong and seated, elastic and supple.

The Little Sorrel Morgan

Posted on February 16, 2020 by Jerrilee.
Categories: breed, health, history, military, riding, training.

Stonewall Jackson’s Little Sorrel Morgan Horse


reprint from Horseandman.com

As the story goes, in 1861 Stonewall Jackson needed a horse in Harper’s Ferry just about the time that a cargo train was seized there that happened to be carrying a load of domestic horses. Fancy that…
The horses were offloaded and led to water where they were observed.
Now, just about everyone said that Thomas Jackson was not the best horseman. So, it stands to reason that he would pick the unruly, fussy, huge and beautiful black STALLION for himself to ride and the sweet little sorrel Morgan gelding for his wife.
After about a day, he ditched the stallion and kept the sorrel for himself.
Legend has it that this little sorrel Morgan was about 15 hands of solid confidence. They say that horse rode into more battles than any other war horse.
And, since Jackson rarely stopped long enough to rest, many soldiers claimed that he slept atop Little Sorrel while he led himself back to camp.
Luckily, Little Sorrel had beautiful gaits and was of the attitude to take care of his rider. (I love Morgans.) And, he had the stamina to boot! Records show that not only did the gelding charge into untold numbers of battle, he often covered over 40 miles in a day. Troops said they never, ever saw fatigue in that horse. Wow!
Not only was he brave, but he was full of personality… Troopers reported that Little Sorrel would lay down on the picket line and receive apples fed to him by the men.
After surviving the war, the gelding was described as a rascal with a mouth that could undo latches, let down bars and liberate every horse in the barn. And like his earlier master, he would lead his command into new fields of opportunity, removing fence rails whenever he wanted.
Jackson was of the opinion that his faith dictated when he would die. Since he believed his death was ordained to happen exactly as God had planned, he never worried about going into battle. When it was his time to meet his maker, he would die then – and not before.
This bravado spread amongst his men which is why they were known as kinda crazy and daredevily. The name “Stonewall” came about because Jackson stonewalled his fears.
That battle chutzpah went for Jackson’s non-churcghoing horse, too. So, I guess Little Sorrel believed what he was told and went wherever his owner asked him to go. A perfect match.
And actually, Little Sorrel was safe. It was Jackson who was shot off of his back by his own men, on accident…
[commentary–Jackson died on May 10, 1863, at a field hospital near Guiney Station, VA, approximately 30 miles from the battlefield at Chancellorsville. Little Sorrel ran off shortly after Jackson was wounded during Chancellorsville, and he was recaptured several days later. He was later returned to Mary Anna, and she eventually sent the horse to the Virginia Military Institute. Little Sorrel ended up spending his final days at the Confederate Soldiers Home in Richmond, as a pet of the veterans who also lived there. He died in 1886 at the age of thirty-six. His hide was preserved, and is on display at the Virginia Military Institute Museum. Little Sorrel’s cremated bones are interred on the parade ground at the Virginia Military Institute.]

Dr Stephen O’Grady:Flexor Tendon Flaccidity

Posted on February 13, 2020 by Jerrilee.
Categories: breed, handicap, health, hoofcare, therapy.

tendons

Flexor tendon flaccidity or tendon laxity is a relatively common limb deformity seen in newborn foals usually involving the hind limbs although all four limbs can be involved. Weak flexor tendons is thought to be the cause which results in digital hyperextension where weight-bearing is placed on the palmar/plantar aspect of the proximal phalanges and the toe of the hoof is raised off the ground. The condition often tends to self-correct within days after birth as the foal gains strength and is allowed moderate exercise. However the tendon laxity often persists and it is not uncommon to see a fool that still has digital hyper-extension at 4 weeks of age.

Treatment is sequential depending on the severity of the tendon laxity and the response of the foal to treatment. Therapy begins with controlled exercise allowing the foal access to a small area with firm footing for 1 hour three times daily, the toe of the foot can be shortened and the heels can be rasped gently from the middle of the foot palmarly/plantarly to create ground surface and a palmar/plantar extension can be applied if necessary. This extension which extends approximately 3-4 centimeters beyond the bulbs of the heels immediately relieves the biomechanical instability. A cuff-type extension shoe is commercially available or a small aluminum plate extension with clips. In either case, the author feels that either type of extension should be attached with adhesive tape rather than a composite if the foal is less than 3 weeks of age as this avoids excessive heat being applied to the fragile hoof capsule as the composite cures and prevents contracture of the hoof capsule at the heels. Regardless of the method of application, the extensions should be changed at 10 day intervals. Bandaging the limb is contraindicated as this will further weaken the flexor tendons.

Photo: uncorrected adult legs in 7 year old mare

Angular limb and deformities are common limb abnormalities in foals that require early recognition and treatment. The pathogenesis of this problem is not clearly understood. Angular limb deformities can be classified as either congenital or acquired in the first few weeks of life. The primary lesion is an imbalance of physeal growth; for various reasons, growth proceeds faster on one side of the physis.

Horses Never Forget Human Friends

Posted on January 17, 2020 by Jerrilee.
Categories: health, history, therapy, training.

sonja rasche
article by Jennifer Viegas
Human friends may come and go, but a horse could be one of your most loyal, long-term buddies if you treat it right, suggests a new study. Horses also understand words better than expected, according to the research, and possess “excellent memories,” allowing horses to not only recall their human friends after periods of separation, but also to remember complex, problem-solving strategies for ten years or more.

The bond with humans likely is an extension of horse behavior in the wild, since horses value their own horse relatives and friends, and are also open to new, non-threatening acquaintances.
“Horses maintain long-term bonds with several members of their family group, but they also interact temporarily with members of other groups when forming herds,” explained Carol Sankey, who led the research, and her team. “Equid social relationships are long-lasting and, in some cases, lifelong,” added the scientists, whose paper has been accepted for publication in the journal Animal Behavior. Ethologist Sankey of the University of Rennes and her colleagues studied 20 Anglo-Arabian and three French Saddlebred horses stabled in Chamberet, France. The scientists tested how well the horses remembered a female trainer and her instructions after she and the horses had been separated up to eight months.
Since “horses are able to learn and memorize human words” and can hear the human voice better than even dogs can, due to their particular range of hearing, the scientists predict trainers could have success if they incorporate more vocal commands into their horse training programs.

Jill Starr is president and founder of Lifesavers Wild Horse Rescue, a non-profit that provides refuge, training and adoption placement for otherwise slaughter-bound wild mustangs and domestic horses.
Starr told Discovery News that she’s observed horses responding well to verbal commands, such as “trot,” but she still feels “horses and people get along better if the person doesn’t chatter, since this causes the individual to have greater awareness of body language that is more familiar to horses.”
She, however, agrees that horses are loyal, intelligent and have very long-lasting memories — of both good and bad experiences.
Starr said, “Horses can be very forgiving, but they never forget.”

What Dewormer Works Best? Part 1

Posted on December 10, 2019 by Jerrilee.
Categories: health, history, therapy.

Article Written by Donald H Bliss, Ph.D  midamericaagresearch.net

Equine Dewormers:
Equine dewormers currently on the market in the USA can be classified into three separate classes of compounds based on the mode of action.
These three major classes are: the benzimidazoles and pre-benzimidazoles (febantel, fenbendazole, oxibendazole, mebendazole and oxfendazole), the macrocyclic lactones (avermectin and moxidectin families), and the tetrahyo-pyrimidines (pyrantel). The mode of action is different for each class of compounds. The benzimidizoles are non-soluble compounds that destroy the metabolism of the parasites by interfering with the cell functions in the parasites and by preventing the uptake of food thus starving the worms to death. The macrocyclic lactones are very soluble compounds and affect the nervous system killing the parasites causing a non-spastic paralysis while the pyrimidines kill the parasites by acting on the nervous receptors causing a spastic paralysis.
All three classes of compound have excellent efficacy against the adult parasites, but each dewormer class has a defined mode of action with a different level of activity against various developing and encysted larvae. The time it takes for larvae missed by treatment to develop into an adult parasite following treatment depends upon what larval stage the product is efficacious against. It takes longer for late L3 larvae to develop into an adult parasite than it will for late L4 larva. This difference can be measured in the time it takes for worm eggs to reappear in the feces following treatment. The longer it takes for eggs to reappear the more effective the product is against both the developing and encysted larvae.
Using products correctly and understanding their characteristics can help keep all classes of products viable. Fenbendazole, for example, is an excellent product when used in a strategic deworming schedule. However, if parasite contamination is allowed to develop in the environment and parasite levels increases in the animals until a high population of encysted larvae are present in high numbers, the efficacy of fenbendazole at the recommended dose is drastically reduced.
Two key issues have been identified with fenbendazole that can affect its efficacy. The first issue is that this compound is not very soluble in liquids such as gastric juices or blood. The second issue is that it kills the parasite by destroying it’s ability to metabolize food. Encysted larvae are in an arrested state with reduced metabolism and reduced absorption of nutrients. Because of fenbendazole’s low solubility and reduced metabolism of the encysted larvae, the product needs direct physical contact to kill these encysted parasites. When fenbendazole is given at 10 times the recommended dose spread over a five-day period it is successful against both developing and encysted larvae (10 mg/kg given daily for five days). By flooding the astrointestinal tract with molecules of fenbendazole, direct contact is made with the encysted larvae successfully killing them.

equi-works

equi-works