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#Horsie : take a selfie style photo with your horse

24/01/15

Selfie...horsie...photo

Selfie…#horsie…photo

As soon as I read the email I knew I was going to open the attachment:

“I remembered one of Stacy’s blogs that talked about “terrible horse pictures” especially when you take those “head on shots”.  Well this is certainly one of those!”

I LOVE IT!

You can tell that Gus is clearly enjoying his ‘horsie’ photo with his owner.

After seeing the photo I also knew that I was going to try this. I’m terrible at selfies BUT add a horse and I’m fine with looking terrible, especially if it turns out funny.

Lets start a movement! Take a selfie, um, or should I say horsie with your horse and post it. Remember to use the #horsie when you upload, tag or post.

I can’t wait to see your #horsie online!

I need longer arms! No matter what angle I go for I can't seem to get both of us!

I need longer arms! No matter what angle I go for I can’t seem to get both of us!


Have you used a chiropractor or done acupuncture on your horse?

23/01/15

Chiropractor AcupunctureEveryone is unique, horse and human. When I go to a chiropractor they tell me, “Make an appointment for next week” but they tell my husband to make an appointment in a few months. I have tested this with several different chiropractors over the years and have come to the conclusion that my husband just doesn’t have the need for as much chiropractic work as I do.

I have used equine chiropractors because I see results with chiropractic myself. Does that mean that every horse is in need of chiropractic? Maybe not. Hopefully they have a spine that is more like my husbands and less like mine. I actually use a spin of what I learned from my human chiropractic experiences to evaluate my horse chiropractor; if they tell me all the horses have problems, I get suspicious.

My first and most dramatic experience with chiropractic happened when I was a teen. My mom’s horse had struggled with soundness issues, refused to take one lead and then took a turn for the worse one winter. He was very stiff almost to the point of refusing to move. My mom had several vets look at him and they all agreed it was arthritis and there was nothing that could be done. As a last resort my mom found an equine chiropractor (this was years ago when they weren’t common). After the first visit the horse TROTTED out of the barn…the same horse that was barely walking the day before. I have seen equine chiropractic make dramatic changes in a horse but the horse was dramatically lame. The major improvement was possible because there was a major problem.

Most of my horses don’t have major problems and I am using chiropractic for fine tuning or prevention. I have used acupuncture on my horse once and found some improvement. I am happy that my horses don’t have extreme issues but it does make it more difficult to evaluate the results.

Have you used chiropractic or acupuncture with your horse? Please share your story so we can all learn from it.

 

 


What about dismounting from your horse, mounting block or not?

22/01/15

“What about dismounting? Mountaining block or not?”-Kim M

This question came in after my blog, “What is your opinion on mounting blocks? Is it easier and better for the horse?”.

In general I think proper dismounting is an under discussed subject. Dismounting without pulling on the saddle is just as important as mounting without pulling…but thankfully it is generally easier. I have had several equine chiropractors tell me that they believe much damage is done during dismounting improperly.

To dismount properly, in your mind, picture a rider who is dismounting after riding bareback. The rider would lean forward, swing both legs to one side and then slide down or push away from the horse. Most english riders are taught to dismount in a similar fashion. Riding in a western saddle is no excuse though. The saddle horn makes laying your belly down more difficult but it is possible to use your arms to support your weight directly over the horse. In the video below I love that my husband quickly warns our son about not pulling the saddle off during dismounting. This advice is a little ‘gem’ hidden in the rest of the video.

The true difficulty in a proper dismount is the landing. Sliding off a 17 hand horse and having a ‘perfect’ Olympic-gymnist-type landing isn’t as easy as it sounds. Especially if your knees, hips or ankles have any issues in their past. Again, the age, size and athletic ability of the rider will play a part. Learning how to properly bend your knees to absorb the impact is the key. If this is physically a challenge then you need to get creative.

If you think you will pull while dismounting then feel free to use a mounting block or whatever other safe object is nearby to decrease the need to jump or pull on your horse.


Video: Mount horse without girth for educational purposes; proper mounting technique.

21/01/15

This demo is done to show the proper distribution of the riders weight when mounting. It is not something for everyone to try. Never ride without your saddle properly secured.

When I attended college and majored in Equestrian Studies one of my ‘tests’ was the ability to mount up without a girth. The instructor didn’t just loosen the girth – she completely removed it. The whole class got a chance to try with the same patient horse. Thankfully the horse was around 15 hands and had a nice set of whithers…but the point was also made.

Mounting isn’t about d..r..a..g..g..i..n..g.. your self on. It is about technique. Sometimes tall horses, short riders or physical challenges make great technique difficult or impossible, if that is the case, consider using a mounting block. I am for using mounting blocks, ditches, a leg up and other things to make mounting easier for both horse and rider. I also believe in proper mounting techniques.

DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME: THE FOLLOWING PERFORMED EITHER BY PROFESSIONALS OR UNDER THE SUPERVISION OF PROFESSIONALS.

I can’t see anything wrong with using a mounting block and there could be many benefits.

Some people argue that a mounting block is easier on the horse because the rider doesn’t put uneven pressure on the horse when mounting. The degree of benefit would likely be influenced by the horse and rider team, as the combination will help determine what is ‘easier’ for the horse. The age, size and athletic ability of both the horse and the rider would play a part.

Many cutting and reining horses are short, some never reach 14.2 and would technically be ponies. It is much easier to mount up on a 14.1 hand horse than a 17.2 hand horse. How easy or difficult mounting would be is also determined by how athletic the rider is. Most 16 year olds can spring up into the saddle easier than a 50 year old who has had knee surgery.

Mounting is more strenuous for the horse when the rider struggles to mount. A young, fit horse may tolerate this better than an older, unfit horse but it isn’t ideal for either. Many riders never learn how to spring off the ground and transfer their weight into a downward pressure rather than hanging off the horses side, twisting the saddle. Some riders know how to mount properly but become forgetful or lazy. Still others face physical challenges that make mounting smoothly difficult. If you believe that you are putting excessive strain on the horse during mounting, consider teaching the horse to stand near objects for mounting.

Teaching a horse to stand near objects for mounting has no real drawbacks and will increase the horses knowledge base. Many things can be used for mounting including; mounting block, fence rails, stumps or logs. It is important that you are able to remount wherever you are riding so if mounting is difficult also consider carrying one of the many portable mounting devices that are available.


“What is your opinion on mounting blocks? Is it easier and better for the horse?”

20/01/15

“What is your opinion on mounting blocks? Is it easier and better for the horse? My horse is getting a little age on her and I want to do what is best for her.”-Rhonda J.

Mounting blockI can’t see anything wrong with using a mounting block and there could be many benefits.

Some people argue that a mounting block is easier on the horse because the rider doesn’t put uneven pressure on the horse when mounting. The degree of benefit would likely be influenced by the horse and rider team, as the combination will help determine what is ‘easier’ for the horse. The age, size and athletic ability of both the horse and the rider would play a part.

Many cutting and reining horses are short, some never reach 14.2 and would technically be ponies. It is much easier to mount up on a 14.1 hand horse than a 17.2 hand horse.  How easy or difficult mounting would be is also determined by how athletic the rider is. Most 16 year olds can spring up into the saddle easier than a 50 year old who has had knee surgery.

Mounting is more strenuous for the horse when the rider struggles to mount. A young, fit horse may tolerate this better than an older, unfit horse but it isn’t ideal for either. Many riders never learn how to spring off the ground and transfer their weight into a downward pressure rather than hanging off the horses side, twisting the saddle. Some riders know how to mount properly but become forgetful or lazy. Still others face physical challenges that make mounting smoothly difficult. If you believe that you are putting excessive strain on the horse during mounting, consider teaching the horse to stand near objects for mounting.

Teaching a horse to stand near objects for mounting has no real drawbacks and will increase the horses knowledge base. Many things can be used for mounting including; mounting block, fence rails, stumps or logs. It is important that you are able to remount wherever you are riding so if mounting is difficult also consider carrying one of the many portable mounting devices that are available.

Available at Stagecoach West, click here for more info.

Trail step

Some items, like this Trail Step are designed to travel with you and yet are not easily stolen.