Friday, January 27, 2012

That's Incentive

There is a great song by Death Cab for Cutie titled "That's Incentive"  that always comes to mind when I'm training.  While the song does have a fantastic line that will be used in next weeks posting the title itself is a basic training principle.

Horses need incentive.

What is incentive?

Simply put it is anything you do to get a desired response from your horse.

Or if you want a proper definition incentive is something that incites or tends to incite to action or greater effort, as a reward offered for increased productivity.

That being said our horses must have a reason to do what we ask.  Whether it be trotting to make you stop bumping your legs on their side, or standing still when you want to catch them because they know you will make them work if they don't.   

Horses need consequences.  

Because you might get a ticket you do not speed.  Because your horse knows there are consequences when he bucks he chooses to keep his feet on the ground.

If you do not have consequences you lose incentive, without incentive you lose control, and without control you have nothing.

That's Incentive.

Stay tuned for next week's topic-
"Is it you that always, is it you that decides?"


Thursday, January 19, 2012

Slow Feeding- Hay Net Comparison Chart

With rising hay prices and the uncertain rainfall most horse owners are looking for ways to cut costs all while providing the best forage possible.  One way to cut costs is by using a slow feeding hay net.  While searching the web this week I found Paddock Paradise's awesome hay net comparison chart.   This wonderful chart covers all the mainstream commercial nets along with simple homemade options.

They even have pictures and videos of homemade slow feeders here.

  As a result I ordered a UV coated well rated hockey net to cover my next round bale.  I'm hoping that with the net I will be able to once again offer free choice hay while doubling my bale's lifespan.  I will document my new net information and will share my results soon.  

Easy Trails- Coolest Riding Gadget Ever

I found the coolest riding tool last week. The easy trails phone app tracks your time, speed, elevation, distance, and when trail riding it can be used to backtrack back to camp.  Because of this nifty app I now know how long I rode,  how much time I spent moving, the route I took, and my average speed. I now know that I loped 1.5 miles and traveled a total of 6 yesterday.  How cool is that.
It cost $3.99 on a iTunes.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Equine Definitions

Today I've decided to compile a list of unofficial horse definitions.  It's funny what can pop into your head at 5am.

Trailer Trasher-  A horse who trashes the walls, floor, and possibly even ceiling of the trailer with muck and urine.

Egging/Egged-  When you are riding and your horse warps your circle an a certain direction, usually towards the barn, gate, or other horses.  Use:  Your horse is egging your circle every time you pass the gate.

Green- A inexperienced horse or rider.

Green Squared- A inexperienced horse and rider working together.

Stall Trasher- Same as Trailer Trailer but in a stall.

Barn Sour- Any horse who throws a fit about being ridden out away from the barn.

Buddy Sour- Any horse who throws a fit when separated from their horsey friends.

Fear Rider- Any person overcoming their fear of riding.

Turkey- A term of endearment.  To be substituted for a name when you are super pissed at your horse.  Especially useful when children and people you should not curse around are present.

Pumpkin- A term of endearment. To be substituted for a horse's name when you do not know their name, or you are a pleased with their progress or behavior.

Expressive-  A nice way to say your horse is a bitch.

Opinionated- Another nice way to your horse is a pain in the back side.

Discussion-  What happens when a horse acts out in a such a negative/dangerous way that requires correction.  As in, "Today Red and I had a discussion about rearing." 

Riding- The art of keeping a horse between you and the ground. (not mine but still funny)

Added Definitions

Dressage-The art of riding.

Communication- What happens when a rider listens to their horse. 

Team- The bond that results from hours and hours of communication.

Can't- The frame of mind that prevents horses or riders from achieving success. 

Training- What happens from the moment you step foot in the barn until moment you leave.

All of a sudden- What happens when you are not paying attention.

Guest Definitions

Cassandra Was Right
"Special" - a truly and genuinely stupid horse. As in, "We need to give Ringo a little more time to figure out how to get through an open gate. Remember, he's special." 
 "Lateral quantum displacement" - when a startled horse shifts position at least ten feet sideways in less than a nanosecond, leaving the rider suspended in midair.

"Bombproof" - an adjective used to describe a horse that cannot be startled or surprised by anything - until the day that a lost party balloon a quarter mile away causes it to perform a 400-foot-record lateral quantum displacement.

Please feel free to add new ones by commenting and I will add them to the list.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Joe Cool- The Perfect Horseman?

Joe Cool

Always cool, calm, and collected, with an air of 'don't give a s***' in every situation.

Horses respond that kind of attitude.
They like strong, fair, take charge kind of people, just like Joe Cool. 

 It makes them feel safe knowing that the people in charge know what they are doing, 
(or are good at acting like they know what they are doing.)

 So try it.  

Be Joe Cool.

You might be surprised at the results.

Friday, January 6, 2012

A few of my favorite things

Every once in a while we come across a neat new product or trick which makes horsekeeping just a little easier, or better.  Today I am going to share a few of my favorites.
Dura-Tech® Slow Feed Hay BagExtra Large Nylon Hay Bag

Dura-Tech slow feeder hay bags is the next generation of net hay bag instead of the traditional wide enough to catch a hoof and drop all the hay design the Dura-Tech slow feeder holds a good amount of hay, and has smaller holes which keeps waste to a minimum, and it really does slow down a horse making you hay last twice as long.  It is the only hay bag I use and they hold up great, I found it after learning that my new gelding would rip open the cloth hay bags.  I needed something strong and safe and and this hay bag fits the bill.
I love them so much that I have 4 bags with only 2 horses.  It is great for stalled horses, overnight trips, and those laid up with an injury.  Once you try one you will never go back.

No Thrush
We all have had to deal with thrush, and the nasty smelly products used to treat it.  We now have a solution. No Thrush is amazing; no smell, no liquid, no coat stains.  It is easy to apply, and it actually works.  This is the only thrush product that I use these days, and it sure is nice to not spend your day all smelly and green.    

I prefer my horses barefoot as much as possible.   When I do want to trail ride in rough terrain I use the Simple Hoof Boots,  I have boots for both horses and they easy to use, they don't rub, and are extremely durable.  I have used them to help transition a horse from shoes out in the pasture without any problems.  

Next we have the Professional's Choice boot covers.  I own some myself and they do a great job out on the trail, even against that awful sticky spear grass.  Now when out on the trail my horses are protected and my expensive sport boots are too.  

Classic High Handle (52551-444 9 M)
Horse owners are dedicated people.  We get up and go out to feed rain or shine, and we are notorious for not taking care of ourselves.  These boots make life when it is muddy 1,000 times easier, especially if you have extreme mud problems.  You are worth it!  I have had my pair for 2 years, and they turned my rainy feeding nightmare around by allowing me to walk through the worst mud without getting stuck and falling.  

These pants are a staple for my winter feeding.  While they are made for hunting they work equally well for cold weather horse chores.  I just slip them over my pjs in the morning and go feed.  They are warm, windproof, and waterproof.  If the weather is really bad I will even ride in them.  Once you get a pair you will wonder how you ever lived without them.    

Thursday, January 5, 2012

New Year Guide to Fun Stuff and Discounts Edition

I resolve to ride this year.  I've already logged 8 hours horse back for the year, and I only have two more until I reach 500 hours since I started tracking my saddle time 8-20-10.  I hope to log another 500 this year.  What are your riding plans for the new year?   

Fun things for 2012

AQHA is now offering a trail challenge.  I hope to make it to one this year.  Anyone on a Quarter horse would have the chance to earn Trail Challenge Merits to be put on the horse's permanent AQHA record.  

Another great trail riding opportunity can be found with the American Competitive Trail Horse Association.  I have been a member of this organization for the last 2 years and I have to say that it is a ton of fun, and something riders of all ages and levels can enjoy.  I'm actually going to my first ride of the year next Saturday, and I can't wait.

The Extreme Cowboy Race looks like a ton of fun, I have yet to try it but I intend to try it one of these days soon.

Savings for the New Year

On a savings note for 2012, there is a wonderful company about to debut coupons and discounts on the horse products from big national brands and companies, but also savings and coupons from local veterinarians, farriers, trainers, instructors, and more.  I recommend signing up for specials offers now, and sharing the news with local businesses where you would like to see coupons and discounts.   

Talking about coupons.  If you sign up with Purina rewards you get quarterly coupons on horse feed.  They also send out coupons for chicken feed, so if you have other animals besides horses sign them up too.  Be sure to sign up your husband or kids as well because they will send out coupons to 2 people per household. 

Farnam also has some great coupon offers on a regular basis on all the products you use the most.