Friday, May 30, 2014

I Like The Sound That You Make- All Your Horse Really Wants

not my image, thanks internet!

I really couldn't put it any better myself.

All your horse wants is for you to shut up.

He looks for ways every ride to get you to quit.  

If you just shut up when he is doing it right, he will do it again to shut you up in the future.

By quitting at the right time and not pestering him (micromanaging) when he is doing it right you can always maintain a happy and willing partner.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Food for Thought- The Importance of Properly Feeding the Growing Horse

I had a fantastic weekend out at the competitive trail ride in our area.  I was able to ride with people I hadn't seen in years (due to pregnancy and motherhood) and all in all had a smashingly good time.

After the ride I ate a late lunch with my mother, friend, and another friend who is a vet.

As always the topic was of course on horses and since all three besides myself have been looking at young horses the conversation veered in the direction of the importance of proper nutrition for the growing horse.

As trainers Mom and I voiced our concern for the structure of the horse starved while growing up.

Considering how horses mature at a much faster than a human I asked the Vet how old a yearling horse would be using a human time line and she replied.  "About the same as a 8 year old child."

Which means that a horse starved for the first year of it's life has really been starved the first 8 years of it's life when comparing it to the human growth timeline.

As the thought rippled throughout the group the Vet (of 20 years) then piped up again, "And it is not even about the body and end health of the animal.  The first year of every animal's life is when they have the most development of their brain and cognitive processes.  If they are not fed well, how can they think well?"

I had always known that starving a young animal was very bad for the development overall but I had never stopped to consider the effects that it could have to the brain and an animal's ability to think.

And once seen in this light the phase "Food for Thought" takes on a whole other meaning.


Thursday, May 15, 2014

Bit Doctor- A In Depth Series Looking At Bits And How They Interact In The Horse's Mouth

Recently I have entered in to a educational partnership with The Texas Equine Dentist and will now from time to time be featuring bit analysis' from some of his cases.

Our hope is to try to raise overall biting awareness. Showcasing how these bits are interacting with the mouth, hopefully help horses avoid common/chronic mouth problems caused by bits and their placement, and offer more humane biting options and solutions.

This is a 14 year old gelding primarily used for barrel racing.

This bit is about an inch (at least) over a normal bit placement.  A mouth piece should sit just in the mouth crease maybe a wrinkle, at the most a wrinkle and a half.  Anytime the rider touches the reins the bit is going to engage an 1 to 2 inches further into the back molars.  In addition to the straightness of the purchase and shank this horse is set up to really feel the slightest touch.    

The loose ring on the mouthpiece provides a twisting pinch to the crease where his ulcers are. 

I can see that the mouthpiece is twisted/grooved providing less surface area on the bars and tongue thus more responsive/more painful. (I like explain it by comparing a rail to a bench.  The 2" rail having less contact on your rear is going to make your butt hurt a lot faster when you sit on it). 

While I do not have a picture of just the bit I am 99% sure this is a dog bone mouthpiece which offers absolutely no tongue relief and slams on the bars, but cannot come into contact with the palate like a really straight snaffle/jointed mouthpiece.  

And the tongue seems depressed where the mouthpiece would be in play when you study the 3rd picture.  

The Solution:

Using a bigger bit (or using one in this way) is never a substitute for training. Ideally I would want to get this horse in another bit as quickly as possible and instead go back and reassess his training program to fix the holes in his stop and steering before racing him further.

But this horse's riding life could greatly be improved by lowering the bit to a normal position in the mouth and by adding bit guards to protect against pinching effect of the loose ring mouthpiece.

If you would like to submit your horse/bit for future analysis contact me here.

Monday, May 12, 2014

The Devil Is In The Details

The importance of checking your gear every ride every time. One tiny thing out of place can make a lot go wrong very quickly.  These were loaned out last clinic and must have gotten caught on something. Nothing a pair of pliers won't fix, but a nasty surprise for Pie if I hadn't checked them.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Mother's Day Reflections

I had my first foal and first human child 1 month and 1 day apart, and this is my first mother's day with both babies on the ground.

The gracious and lovely Pie had her first born son in less than three minutes, while I spent 25 hours in labor (all natural) on my own little one.

Reflections of the past year.

Foals are really fun.  Mozzie has just gotten everything so quickly.  He behaves better than many grown horses.  Not because he has been handled daily but because he has been handled consistently.

Human babies are really fun but are way more time consuming and much dirtier.  When she smiles the whole world stops.  She already has a huge interest in horses and animals, I think we may have a future vet on our hands.  But my god can this child make a mess.

The total takeaway-  Motherhood is hard but beyond rewarding on every level in every species.

1 year later I feel that Pie and I are true women because we are both now mothers.

Hugs and good tidings to every mother human and furkid alike.