Friday, August 5, 2016

Ride with a Whisper

Remember that your horse's ultimate reward/ release under saddle is when you say nothing at all.

So keep your good horse honest and never pass up a good chance to reward his effort by being quiet in the saddle.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Why I Won't Be Riding At The Beach This Summer

My friend was in town last week and was talking vacation plans when she asked me about riding at the beach as part of the fun.

And all I could think about was the numerous cases of flesh eating bacteria being reported from the Gulf of Mexico in the recent weeks.

I can only imagine the potentially life threatening damage and subsequent vet bill that would be involved for a horse.

Not to mention the summer crowds are a pain away with the 100 degree days, fishing lines, kids, and dogs to worry about.

So I will save my beach ride for the off season.  October is quite pleasant from the back of a horse.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Surviving Summer- Tricks and Tips for Keeping Your Horse Safe and Cool in Extreme Heat

Based in Texas, the summer heat is not something to be taken lightly.  But by knowing the signs of heat stress and following these tips you can keep your best friend safe and healthy this summer.

1.  Know the signs of heat stroke in horses.
  • Restlessness/Lethargy
  • Rapid pulse and breathing
  • Heavy breathing
  • Increased sweating
  • Excessive salivation
  • Redness of the tongue and oral area
  • High body temperature
  • Erratic heart beat
  • Muscle spasms
  • Stumbling 
  • Collapse

2. Know your  horse's normal vital signs and how to read them. How to take a horse's heart raterespiration, and other vitals.

3.  Monitor water intake and be sure your troughs are not in direct sunlight as much a possible, and consider freezing some giant ice ice cubes and adding to your trough as a summer treat.

4.  Heat plus humidity equals sweat and too much sweating can quickly put your horse in danger.  Add minerals and electrolytes to your horse's daily ration.  If your horse will not to eat the electrolyte power try mixing it with apple sauce or other yummy disguises.

5.  Know your horse's daily habits/patterns.  When he naps and when he usually drinks.  Knowing your horse's regular schedule can help you to identify an issue early on and greatly aid in a complete recovery.

6.  Stay on top of possible dehydration with a daily skin test, and if you are concerned about dehydration speak with your veterinarian and withhold grain/feed (which could further dehydrate and cause colic).

7.  Monitor pink skinned horses for sunburn and apply sunscreen, diaper rash cream (zinc oxide), and or protective masks and sheets as needed.  In some cases a horse may do best stalled during the day and turned out overnight. All horses can be affected by photosensitivity caused by toxic plants.

8.  Give them a shower, but be sure to scrap the excess water off.

9.  Be sure your horse has access to shade.  In a barn environment install fans when ever possible but be sure that they designed for outdoor/barn use.  Misting systems are also great way to help keep your horse cool

And last of all.

10.  Listen to your body, and take proper measures to ensure you also stay safe this summer.

And for the barn buddies.

Image result for heat stroke in dogs

Image result for heat stroke in cats

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Insert Worst Case Scenario (Here)

We've all heard the saying, "Horse's are like potato chips, you just can't have one."  

And many equestrian households find themselves with an extra or few who don't do much more than look cute and panhandle for cookies.  The retired show horse, the unsound due to accident, the pity plea/ rescue, companion donkey, etc.  

These horses rarely see halter and often go years without stepping foot in a trailer, and this is completely fine 99.9% of the time until there is a...

Fire, flood, major injury...

Insert worst case scenario (here).
Could you quickly and safely catch (and have the equipment to do so), and load your less handled equines in the event of an emergency?

Do you have proof of ownership in the form of brands, coggins/vet bills, registration papers, microchip, and or photos of you and your equine together in the event they get lost, have to be left at a emergency shelter, etc?  

Disaster waits for no one.  So be proactive.

And be sure even your extra horses have basic handling skills (catch, lead, load) and practice them occasionally before calamity strikes.



Friday, June 10, 2016

Frustrated With Your Horse Life? PS: Your Horse Is Too

Frustrated: Feeling or expressing distress and annoyance, especially because of inability to change or achieve something, being prevented from progressing, succeeding, or being fulfilled.

If you are frustrated because your horse messed up on the 21st pivot, after 20 perfect pivots in a few min span. Your horse is frustrated that he gave you the 20 perfect pivots you asked for and his only reward was for you to ask for another. (Which now with his fumble has probably turned into a few dozen more).

If you are frustrated with your horse bucking at the canter.  Your horse may be frustrated that every time he picks up the canter your saddle digs unbearably into his shoulders and back and the only way he can get you to stop cantering is to start bucking.  

If you are frustrated your horse won't do (insert just about anything here).  Your horse is frustrated because he doesn't understand what you want,that you keep asking exactly the same way, and that when he does try to try you will not acknowledge his slightest effort in the right direction.

At the end of the day if you are frustrated, your horse is too.

And if you find yourself frustrated the best thing you can do is go to a trainer, clinic, very accomplished friend, and ask for a fresh set of eyes on the situation.    

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Riding Smart- Weather Edition

As many of you know, have seen, and in some cases survived Texas has been flooding.

Over Memorial Day weekend 12 people lost their lives or are still missing and the true loss of pets, livestock, and wildlife is still unknown.  

Thanks to cell phone cameras and videos the events have been well documented and images are chilling and heartbreaking to say the least.   

                                               Not my video or content, Thanks youtube

Here are some things you can do to stay safer while out on the trail when dealing with extreme weather.

Before you go-

1)  Listen to the forecast-  If there is a significant risk for severe weather contact the event coordinator to be sure conditions should be safe and or reconsider your plans.  

2)  Know where you are going-  Sand, rock, or asphalt? River bottom or hill? Get a feel for the place or facility you are going to.  A quick google earth search is a great way to scope out a place.  If riding in a state or national park call the office and get their opinion of riding in that area under those weather conditions.

3)  Consider the terrain-   Rivers can expand hundreds yards in the matter of minutes (as seen in the video).  In addition to the specific area you plan to park and ride know what lies around you.  

4)  Consider the trails-  What effects could the forecast-ed weather have on the places you plan to ride?  Could the rocks be slick or water crossings boggy and dangerous?  Even if your campground is accessible is going out worth possible injury to yourself or your horse?      

Once there-

5)  Park and unload responsibly-  Park as high as possible and as close to the road as possible especially if you do not have 4x4 or have a very large and heavy LQ.  Once parked set up your outside camp sparingly if the weather looks questionable.  If you plan on leaving for several hours/ going to sleep pick up your outside camp to keep loading up to leave as quick as easy as possible.  

6)  Invest in a severe weather radio- Ideally two.  One for your trailer (especially if you camp) and another for your saddle bags.  Here in Texas as we have just seen the weather can change in an instant.  There are several quite small and light weight options available on the market (also almost all can charge your phone as well), and try to get in the habit of checking the weather at noon (or more often if needed) especially if you are alone (or in a limited group) and in a isolated area.  

And most importantly...

Use your best judgement in regards to riding and camping even if event coordinators say rain or shine.  In the end it's your horse, rig, and at times life at stake.  It is better (and cheaper) to stay home and lose an entrance/competition/reservation fee than find yourself in a situation like above.      

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Why I am not starting my 2 year old this year

Spring is just around the corner and the sale ads are up with 2013 horses already started, and many with several months of riding already under their belt.

Mozzie Man will officially be two in April.

It is amazing how the time flies, and even though I can't wait to get on him I am waiting until he 3.  And even then he will be started very lightly and not ridden a lot until his 4th year.

I am waiting because of research like this:

Timing and Rate of Skeletal Maturation in Horses

Looking at Moz and the horses offered for sale I see gangly awkward tweenagers.  

And that is what they are.  

Starting a 2 year old is like expecting a 12 year old to play college level football.    

At 2 years of age very little of a horse's skeleton is mature and by waiting 1 extra year over 50% of the skeleton and joints will be mature.  

Considering that I've already spent 3 years growing him up (in the womb, and on the ground) it seems silly to not wait just a little while longer for a horse that I hope to have, enjoy, and be physically sound the next 25+ years. 

If more people were willing to take the time and just wait one extra year I think the world would have a lot more sound (without supplementation and medical intervention) horses at 6, 12, 20, and 25 years of age.