Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Shedding

There are many techniques out there to get rid out the thick winter coats our horses have been growing all winter. I know the shedding season is over for this year, but here are 3 techniques I've come across:

1. Shedding blades
This is probably the most common way to get rid of the winter coat. The handled metal loop (there are other types, but the loop is very common) that is the shedding blade has small teeth that pull out loose hairs that the horse is shedding. A shedding blade is easy to use and is a tool any rider should keep in their grooming kit as the warm weather approaches. It is also very efficient at removing dried mud from a horse's coat in the spring. Just take caution when using this tool around bony areas of your horse's body, such as the legs or the withers. It is not recommended to use a shedding blade on these areas because of how rigid it is.

2. Hot baths
Bathing your horse with hot water essentially speeds up the shedding process: instead of waiting for the weather to come to finish the shedding, the hot baths trick the horse's body into thinking it's hot out. Giving your horse a series of hot baths the continue to encourage more rapid shedding. Take caution on the time of day that you give your horse the bath: you wouldn't want him to catch the chills, would you?

3. Clipping
This option is truly situational. If a horse hasn't been groomed at all throughout the winter, it's coat is most likely very thick, fuzzy, and way out of control. Now that spring is here and you would like to start working the horse again, clipping may be a huge timesaver. It can save you many hours of grooming and bathing. Check the weather forecast before clipping: you don't want your horse bring snowed on right after being clipped.

-A

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Hoof packing

http://youtu.be/Gwm8c8xTta8

^this is an interesting tutorial on hoof packing. They use Epsom salt and sore no more in the hoof. I've never seen anyone do it like that before. I typically use all natural clay. There are many products out there, as well as different techniques. They made a patch of duct tape, but it's perfectly fine to just wrap the hoof as with the vet wrap.

-A

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Natural Horsemanship and Performance & Competition

I don't know what it is with people, but when most traditional riders and trainers think about natural horsemen, they think it's all about the riding bareback and bridleless, playing at liberty, just doing things with horses just to do it and fool around to have a bit of fun. Honestly though, there's more to it than that. Yes it's true, there is a large amount of bareback/potentially bridleless riding and liberty, but natural horsemen can compete in more "traditional" competitions as well.
That's what the Finesse savvy is about. Building contact with the horse's mouth, into collection and framing. All about the refinement and fine tuning of the horse and rider's skills as a pair. 
All the of savvys that come before finesse (OnLine, Freestyle, & Liberty) build up the relationship between horse and rider. In the more traditional ways of the equestrian (English equestrian more so), the first three savvys are skipped and the refinement becomes first priority for a skill riders need to have. This is the part that I (as a natural horsewomen), can't quite come to understand. Refinement isn't possible if there is no base to refine. 
Let's make a canoe building analogy here. It isn't possible to go from the tree to a canoe in one step. First the right tree needs to be cut down (buying your horse), then its bark removed (earning his trust). Each piece will have to be individually crafted (each savvy), then assembled (your horse's specialization) and refined into a beautiful work of art (your perfect equine partner).
If y'all wanna go from tree to canoe in one step, y'all'll be needing some kind of a crazy gadget to make it work. There is no such thing that I know of, so it'll be best to put the extra care into doing right.

I dunno if this makes any sense to y'all, but it does to me.

-A

Monday, September 16, 2013

Wire Fences

I just thought I'd take this opportunity to talk about fencing in and around the stables/paddock. There are many types of fencing out there, including wood panel, electric tape/wire, vinyl panel, and wire. 
Wire fencing is one of the most common types of fencing in North American, yet it is also the most dangerous for livestock, including horses! I can tell y'all this from experience (not a very pleasant experience). It is not an uncommon occurrence that a horse will try to reach to the other side of the fence and end up getting something caught on it. It may a hoof or an ear, but either way, it's not pleasant if the fence is rusty and your horse scratches himself on it. If that happens, it would be a good idea to consider getting your horse a tetanus shot.
My LBI pony did exactly that, reached to the other side of the fence and tore the edge of his nose. 
As y'all can see, it is not very pleasant looking. He is also extremely sensitive in that already sensitive area.
So please, do your best to avoid or replace any wire fencing you already have.

-A