I hope this finds you enjoying longer and greener days as summer comes into full swing. This being the preferred riding season for so many, especially in the north country, there are considerations in dealing with heat and insects.
A few points about horses and summertime:
• Be sure your horses continue to have unlimited access to ample water
• Horses will sweat more in the summer and in work. Be sure to have loose salt available and minerals
• Some kind of shade gives horses relief from that intense penetrating sun
• Do your horse’s feet need attention? They grow faster in the summer
• This is also a good time to have a thorough dental exam performed on your horse if you haven’t done so already. Summer and fall are the seasons for weight gain for older horses. Deterioration in health and body condition of older horses can often be traced to improper dental care so they should receive particular attention.
• This is prime bug season and some of these pesky insects can drive horses to the brink. More on this below
When you ride in the summer be absolutely sure to give your horses a good warm-up prior to riding as mornings can be quite cool. Horses are almost always quite frisky in the cold. My safety system culminates in two exercises we call ballet, first on the ground, then in the saddle. These exercises connect brains and feet and use energy constructively while promoting horse/rider safety. When properly executed these two exercises will get the horse and rider in the right frame of mind, both on the same page. If you need to regroup at any time we have a logical place to wind down and start anew. This time on the ground prior to riding is also a good time to make sure your horse is well, both physically and mentally. Knowing your horses well, problems can be noted and dealt with prior to riding. Sometimes our horses just aren’t quite right and better to find out before mounting up.
On May 27th I performed a demonstration for teens from half a dozen schools, all part of a farm safety symposium. Before starting my demonstration I had a few minutes to discuss some topics with several students who were experienced riders. I queried them about typical safety measures and heard mostly about helmets and proper riding boots, both important. When I asked about specific emergency procedures, they all shook their heads except one young girl who had heard in reading about the one rein stop. As our discussion unfolded I learned that nothing was being taught about dealing with horses acting out. While this did not surprise me, it did concern me since as riders we all deal with such situations. About then I was asked to begin my demonstration for the general audience, but assured this group that I would be discussing this subject in greater depth.
I began with a 7 yr old Australian Stock horse mare who hadn’t been actively ridden in several years. I began by asking the audience what was the best part of riding? Unequivocally the answer was- going fast. Of course all kids like speed. Then I asked about the most challenging/dangerous/scary times with horses to which I heard about bolting, bucking, rearing, etc. Then I asked about accidents and heard all kinds of stories with one distinct common denominator- out of control horses. I then asked everyone to stand up and cross their legs. Everyone standing, I asked them to run forward and low and behold no one could. Not a single person. “It is exactly the same with the horse when those back legs are crossed,” I continued and then demonstrated this with the mare as I circled her and pointed out her footwork. All of a sudden I heard a whole lot of ah haaaaaaaaaas. I then proceeded to work through my safety system noting specifically the bending and footwork that I would show next in the saddle. The mare was a good student and the teens could easily absorb the concepts. I then rode a finished stallion, again an Australian stock horse. We danced away demonstrating how beautiful the final step in the program as safety is turned into Ballet in the Saddle with graceful one rein stops followed by a snappy turn on the haunches all the while using that quantum Stallion energy to promote our safety.
Robin Stewart, a famous actor of English TV followed with a short talk on the importance of establishing safety procedures right at the get go. A seasoned horseman, Robin’s acting skills were showcased as he mesmerized the teens whose parents well remembered him from the popular English sitcom “Bless this House” of yesteryear.
Then Ken Anderson our Accredited Instructor in Queensland topped the event off elegantly riding the stallion and reiterating the power of our Safety System.
YouTube link to demonstration: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YTAMeEhNDY8&feature=youtube_gdata_player
OUTSIDE THE BOX
During our week long clinics at White Stallion Ranch in Tucson, Arizona, Jim Rea, my clinic partner and I are often asked to work with difficult ranch horses. As the week progressed the name Kansas and a previous very violent shoeing episode emerged. I was warned profusely about being careful around this massive horse before entering the round pen in an attempt to help him deal with his nemesis, namely shoeing.
Kansas must have weighed 1600 pounds and had a very stout draft mom or dad. This was one very powerful horse and I could only imagine that power when mad. Admittedly my heart was in my throat as I was sternly warned about him, but I proceeded just as I have with hundreds of other horses; I began by making friends and trust building, since my strongest hunch was that was precisely what had been missing.
He snorted suspiciously as I began stroking his neck and withers, then his eyes, ears, and nose. His mouth was tight and his demeanor very suspicious, but with time and genuine attention he began to let down. I worked thru my system which he performed well, not surprising as two of the competent ranch wranglers had instilled the concepts previously. Time to deal with those feet and I was admittedly a bit wary. Using my lead rope I desensitized his legs and then used the lead to lift each foot. That accomplished I then led him forward with the lead rope, releasing accurately at each step. Then I asked for each foot- no problem. I gave each foot a good massage and worked circles to help him relax and he did. Quite careful about his right rear, it was indeed a bit tight, but he did relax into my attentions and we finished on a good note. I then had three more people handle Kansas and his feet, to instill all positive energy and heighten his trust of humans.
About an hour later Russell True, owner of the ranch and ace horseman and farrier stepped into the round pen. With Jim Rea comforting Kansas our gang watched as Russell accomplished the task without fanfare.
In hindsight this was a case of approaching this situation with different thinking. Instead of preparing for a battle and being forceful and dominating, I approached it from the perspective of- let’s work together. Truth be known, with a horse of that size and strength, it is virtually impossible to overpower him and the risk of injury far too great.
WHITE STALLION WEEK LONG CLINICS
Jim Rea and I have conducted clinics at White Stallion Ranch for the past five years in the spring and fall. With 130 horses we’re able to find just the right fit for our students. From experienced horsemen and women to novices seeking to gain confidence and improve their horse handling skills, the results are amazing as our students emerge walking tall and quite pleased with themselves exuding heightened confidence. Our mornings are devoted to hands on with horses in the huge arena. Beginning with my safety system we progress through the week to more advanced maneuvers, games, and horse activities. Afternoons can be hot in that dry desert sun, so after lunch and a siesta we discuss the plethora of subjects that surround the equine. Nutrition, living conditions, saddle fitting, pain assessment and treatment, typical horse problems, etc. keep our gang busy until the afternoon cools. Then we move back outside to discuss and demonstrate such topics as problem foot handling, saddle fitting, barefoot trimming, proper trailer loading, and just how to check your horse’s teeth. About then the dinner bell rings and happy hour commences.
Most participate in team penning several times during the week and our breakfast ride into the desert on Saturday is topped off as Carol Bachman enlightens us to the joys of the desert, explaining the interesting relationships of flora and fauna in the magnificent Sonoran Desert. The cuisine is fabulous and candlelight dinners on the patio, well downright enchanting. After dinner entertainment ranges from interpretive astronomy/star gazing to cowboy poetry and singing around the campfire to a creatures of the desert as Phil Gonzales enlightens and entertains with hands on to those so inclined to handle snakes, geckos, and one very perky chinchilla!
There does not exist a more well-run family dude ranch. White Stallion Ranch is truly a class act!
Don’t you deserve a week of pure indulgence delving into your passion?
Jim and I will be conducting our next week-long clinic at White Stallion Nov 13-20, 2011.
“I brought more back from Jim & Frank’s March clinic than I even realized. It was a life-changing experience in so many ways.” Paula Howe- New Mexico
Our team of Accredited Instructors will be conducting clinics in varying locations throughout the world- Clinic link
PRODUCTS WE BELIEVE IN
I’m not one to endorse every product that comes my way. I only recognize the products that make a real difference to the horse and rider. I use and recommend the following quality products:
• Nature’s Balance Care- Botanically based eco friendly insect control and skin care products
• Supracor and Equipedic pads. Save 15% ordering from Dances With Horses- (DWH)
• Leather Therapy restores, reinvigorates, and actually strengthens leather products
• Synergist Saddles are custom designed for horse/rider, are lightweight, and designed by endurance riders to offer optimum comfort for all parties. Mention DWH when ordering
• Forco is a pre-biotic supplement that improves the bio-flora in your horse’s systems so they get the most from their feed and maintain their weight. Hard keepers benefit dramatically
• Arborwear clothing, originally designed for tree climbing/pruning professionals, doubles as superb riding attire with ample room for us aging horsemen
• Those of you that are considering breeding horses this spring should consider purchasing accredited instructor Bob Claymier’s “Complete Guide to Horse Breeding, Foaling and Foal Training”. This 3 DVD 4 hour set is likely the most comprehensive guide available and takes one through selecting the right mares and stallions all the way along to weaning the foal produced on the other end. Additional information can be found at – www.desert-rose-arabians.com.
• Schreiner’s Herbal Solution- A highly effective topical application endorsed by vets worldwide that speeds up healing dramatically
• Thrive Horse Feeds- for the very best in nutrition especially for hard keepers
TRAILER LOADING and PROBLEM SOLVING DVDs
Each quarterly newsletter I will be highlighting several DVD’s in my audio/visual library.
Is Trailer Loading your horse a stress free event or the opposite? Using a variety of five horses, trailers, and seasons I clearly explain how to prepare your horse for a road trip. Teaching horses to drive is the fourth step in the program and is beneficial to loading with ease and safely. Tips on tying, unloading, driving, and inside the trailer safety will help you load with ease.
Solving 7 Common Horse Problems includes valuable information for- Catching the difficult horse, pull-back (when tied), ears and clippers, proper foot handling, proper bitting, hard to bit, and barn sour/herd bound horses make this award winning piece a ” must have” for every aspiring horse trainer.
TWO NEW ACCREDITED INSTRUCTORS
We are overjoyed to announce the addition of two new Accredited Instructors to our team. Congratulations to Jim Dawson of Arkansas and J.C. Hobbs, assistant head wrangler, White Stallion Ranch. With Carol Bachman and J.C. at White Stallion Ranch, our vision is becoming reality as horses and riders mutually benefit.
Our Accredited Instructors help riders achieve heightened levels of confidence and safety while establishing a safe place to regroup as necessary. We invite you to look into our Accreditation Program.
From the Whole Gang at Dances With Horses- Wishing you and yours a great riding season.
Remember- The Long Way is the Short Way AND Your Success is our Success,
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