The next steps to come:
~Moving Hips (while saddled and bridled)
~Forward Cueing From The Ground
~Moving Out While Mounted
Keep on keepin on until next time!
Just a quick note to let you all know what is coming up for the next few steps.. They become more exciting as we go because we are one more step closer to our first ride!
The next steps to come:
~Moving Hips (while saddled and bridled)
~Forward Cueing From The Ground
~Moving Out While Mounted
Keep on keepin on until next time!
Sorry I haven't posted anything for a little while... time gets away from me with the little one getting most of my attention theses days. Today I'm going to talk about introducing the bridle and a bit to a horse for the first time. When it comes to putting a bit in a horses mouth I actually don't prefer it.
When I am starting horses I actually try to do as much as I can in a halter first but then I like to move them onto a hackamore as the next step. One can usually figure out if a horse is a hackamore horse or a bit horse. Some horses just don't respond very good to a hackamore and a bit is a better choice. Eventually I usually end up moving to a bit, but I want to stick to the least severe possible. If my horse is responding the way they should with the least severe then there's not any reason to put something more in his mouth.
I understand that in some training, for example barrels, one may need to switch to multiple bits to practice different things with their horse. Bending, rating, more wow and less go, can all require different types of bits and headstalls and shank lengths, so don't be afraid to put a bit in horses mouth. I only recommend starting off with the least severe so your horse doesn't become afraid of a bit in his mouth in fear of pain, or become lazy and only respond to severe bits, and wont respond as well when a simple snaffle is put in his mouth.
I will talk about introducing the bridle since most people go straight to using one in the training process. When bridling a horse for the first time you want to use a "D" or "O" ring snaffle for a bit. These bits do not have a shank so they are the least severe for starting a horse and getting them used to a bit in their mouth. When you bridle your horse, be sure to do it gently. If you jam their gums or bump their teeth, the horse will think that putting a bridle on is painful and can lead to him tossing his head or moving his feet, possibly rearing up, and most often times, they will clench their teeth together and wont let you put it on them.
One will want to take off any reins that are on the bridle before first putting it on a horse. This way if for any reason the horse would spook they wont get tangled in the reins or break them, and then you'd have to buy new ones. Usually when I first bridle a horse I put the bridle on (no reins) and just turn the horse loose in a run or round pen and let them get used to it on their own for a little while. They usually chew or move their mouth around feeling the bit in their mouth and trying to spit it out, which is all normal. Once they stop playing with it I usually give them a little grain or a small bit of hay so they have to learn to eat a little with it and get used to it even more. Before you know it your horse wont think as much of it.
After the horse shows signs of acceptance of the bit that's all I like to do the first day. I'll take the bridle off, give them some good rubs and praises, maybe even a few treats, then call it a day. On the second day I will attach the reins (only if the horse shows no signs of spooking at them or the bridle) and start working from the ground on turning their head and giving to the pressure of the bit. Make sure they bend their head both directions and laterally a little too. It's better to start them early on not raising their head from bit pressure so you don't have to work on it later on.
On another lesson you will want to tack your horse up completely, bridle and saddle, and practice asking your horse to move his hip while using some bit pressure. While on the ground you will want to start by standing at your horses side. Pull the rein up towards the saddle horn, or where you would typically hold you reins, and apply a little pressure with your other hand on the horses side where you would place you leg for a cue to move the hip away. If he doesn't move with just the pressure, try clucking or kissing at him. If he still doesn't move continue with the clucking or kissing and simultaneously with your fingers start tapping his side until he moves his hip over. Even if he doesn't take a full step, with even the slightest movement away from the pressure of you hand on his side release it the cues and praise him. Continue this until he is moving a step or two away from you and praise every time he moves.
Make sure you work this exercise on BOTH sides of the horse, as well. Once he's moving his hip keep working on just having him bend his head around and holding it there for a second or two to make them more soft and supple. This way when you get in the saddle you know you will have control of their head and their hips so they can't run off with you. It also is good because when we start doing the UP, DOWNS I will actually have them have their head pulled around so all they can do is spin a circle around me instead of bolting forward. It's safer this way for the rider and keeps the horses attention focused on the rider.
This is advanced to when I'm already on the horse... but it's a great picture showing the kind of bend I want to get with my horse on the ground first, and then in the saddle. Don't forget to reward the slightest bend and then work your way toward a full bend like the one in the picture... and then finally a bend and they hold it there.
I like to do a few sessions just repeating the bending of the neck and giving to the bit, and yielding their hips to leg pressure. This way I know they are listening and it gives them a couple sessions to catch on to things. And like they always say... practice makes perfect... well in this case practice makes for much better responses once your in the saddle because your horse will already have an idea of what your asking.
Hopefully your horse is accepting the bit, or in cases that I like, the hackamore, and responding to pressure well. Next time we will be ready to start working on "up downs" by putting weight in the stirrups and getting our horses used to us getting on them! How exciting!
Until next time,
Good licks and chews to you!
I think that the first saddling for every horse is very exciting. It's a HUGE step for them and brings us one step closer to them trusting us to ride them!
I couldn't wait to tell you, but Ike had his first saddling just yesterday. I'm guilty of not working with my horse every couple days at least so I was anxious to see how he would handle the introduction of the saddle. The last time I worked with him I introduced the saddle pad, and from his initial reaction to that I figured the saddle would be like a big grizzly bear to him.
I do recommend doing a couple of sessions with just the saddle pad to get him used to something being placed on his back. Unfortunately I didn't do another session with just the pad so I skipped straight into the saddle. I caught Ike up and took him to the round pen where I already had all my tack. He sniffed everything but seemed just fine with it. So to test his trust in me, I skipped the initial lunging and went straight into working on the saddle.
First I used the saddle pad to see how he reacted to it since it'd been awhile since our last session. He was perfect. Stood there like a gentleman and didn't even flinch. So I set the pad down and grabbed the saddle. I like to leave the pad out of the first intro because it could always fall off and cause the horse to spook, and right now we just want him to get used to the saddle itself. I let him sniff it a few times until he seems calm enough to let me attempt putting it on his back. If the horse if very cautious and sensitive about the saddle I use my introduce and retreat method until he's calm, and then I keep working closer and closer until we get to where the saddle is on his back.
With Ike, well he was an easy student. He let me set the saddle on his back right away. Not to push my luck I do my retreat a second or two after I set it on is back, and take it off. This is his reward for letting me put it on him. I set it on him and take it off a few times, and pat it a couple times to get him used to the sound of it and having the cinches jingle and stirrups move. Once he seemed comfortable with all of that I took the saddle off and placed the pad back on first. Time for cinching up!
Because I had used a surcingle during lunging sessions to get him used to the feel of a cinch I wasn't too concerned. But I was still very quiet, slow and gentle with the process.
Its a key thing to make the first introductions of new things as best as possible and not get your horse upset. If he has a bad experience, well, he wont forget it and it could affect how training goes further down
the road too.
After placing the pad back on I GENTLY place the saddle back on. My cinches are tied up so they don't fall or dangle to much in the process (I recommend doing this for a beginner horse to prevent spooking). I then took the cinches down (front and back) and let them hang there and jiggled them so he got used to the sounds and feel first. Then I went back to his left side and proceeded to cinch him up. Being gentle and quiet is key. You don't want to cinch up fast because it could cause him to start bucking and we want to prevent that as much as possible. I keep the cinch loose until I can get the cinch strap wrapped around a couple times before I start to pull it tight. I pull it tighter in a couple steps so it's not all at once. Once the cinch is tight enough to keep the saddle on in case he takes off I knot it off or put the buckle through a hole if I can to prevent it from loosening.
Ike did so great with the front cinch and was standing calm I went ahead and did the back cinch. The back cinch isn't necessary with the first saddling and sometimes is best to take off and just do the front on for now... especially if your horse is very sensitive at first. It might be best to add that on later. He did great with the back cinch also.
Once the saddle was on good enough for my liking, I unclipped the lead rope and asked him to walk off. Be careful because some horses will take off and buck the minute they take a step and realize there's something on his back. This is was I expected because he stood so good while I put it on, I figured the minute he moved he'd get spooked and take off. I unclip the lead rope so that if he would buck or run off he can get away from ME and then I'm a safe distance from him while he "WORKS IT OUT" and I wont get hurt. Then I can be the rescuer and comforter when he calms down and I can walk back up to him.
Well, the opposite of that is how Ike was. I asked him to walk off and he did so nice and calmly. I only had him walk so he got used to the saddle. I then had him change direction and walk the other way. Once he did that I asked for a trot and he did great. So I had him reverse direction again and trot. The only time he spooked and sped up a little was when a stirrup hit the panel since he got to close to it.
I didn't ask for a lope this session because he was doing so great! Normally I would go ahead and have the horse lope, but in Ikes case I wanted to reward him for doing so great that I actually unsaddled after trotting him around. After unsaddling I noticed he was smelling my saddle cover so I used that as another sacking out object. I rubbed it all over his body and he just stood there! It's kind of a noisy thing too but he did great. I have a feeling he's going to be one of those horses I can wrap up in a tarp someday if I wanted to!
It was already a hot day so I decided to spray him off too. He hadn't ever been sprayed down with a hose so this was another learning experience for him. After dancing around a little from the cold water on his legs, he stood perfectly still for me while I wetted the rest of his body down. I think he figured out that it was a good thing to get wet on a hot day. I also caught up Tex and sprayed him down too. They were both pretty thankful for it.
Since my horses don't roll right away when they get wet I also spray them down with fly spray. Which I recommend whether they roll or not so the fly's don't but them so badly with the water on them.
I was extremely pleased about our session with his first saddling. I look forward to the next session to get him into a lope and depending on how he does I may start introducing my body weight in the stirrup too!! How exciting is that?!!
Did you get your horse saddled for the first time? I hope you have just as good of luck with your horse as I did with Ike! If you have any questions at all or comments about the first saddling session I would love to answer them and get back to you. If your session didn't go as well I can try to help you out, as well.
If you happen to live around the Kearney/Central Nebraska area and want some help with your horse at all I can always pay a visit to your place for a lesson and to help you out one on one!
Next time I hope to talk to you about our second saddling, first bridling and groundwork while saddled!!
Good luck with your training, and until next time...
Welcome back to the continuation of the 21 Steps to Broke. Today I'm going to go through some steps for sacking out your horse to new objects. I'm also going to introduce the saddle pad to prepare him for the first saddling coming up soon! How exciting is that?
To start the lesson off for the day I wanted to get his attention focused on me and remind him he can trust me as his leader before I introduce new objects. You can see in the picture above his lunging is getting much more relaxed with his head in a lower position and he has good forward energy. Make sure you lunge both directions and work on yielding his hip with pressure and he turns his head and faces you.
Once you have done a little bit of lunging and trust building, it's time to start introducing new objects. This can be anything from a ball cap to a plastic grocery bag, and even start introducing tack. I like to use a plastic bag for sure because it also makes noise, so he gets used to the feeling of something touching him along with a noise all around him.
When you sack out a horse or introduce new things you will want to introduce them to your horse from both sides of his body. Try to get to wear you can rub the objects ALL OVER his body. His legs, tail, stomach, head and nose. Any part of his body you can rub and get him used to the objects is great so he doesn't spook someday when something has touched his leg or blown up by his head.
Below are pictures of me rubbing him with a plastic bag. I used to lunge him with the bag tied to the end of my clinician stick so he's been introduced to it before. I recommend introducing it on the end of the stick first because it able you to be a safe distance from the horse at first in case he kicks at it or spooks and jumps sideways. Once he comfortable with the stick and bag, remove it and use your hand to rub it all over his body. I don't have pictures of it all, but I am now able to rub the bag over every inch of his body, including his eyes and nose and stomach area.
After getting his trust with the plastic bag I introduced the saddle pad. It was a very scary object at first so I had it hung on the panels while we did our other work. I also did the plastic bag exercise next to it to give him some confidence by standing next to it.
Like I said before you want to make sure to introduce things on BOTH sides of his body. Now that he's used to it
After Ike was comfortable with the pad on his back and around his butt I decided to keep going and do his stomach and neck and head even. Even though this item will probably never be on his head it's always good to just get him used to the objects all over his body.
This ended as a great session with Ike. He was crazy nervous about the new saddle pad at first, but then by the end of our lesson he accepted it all over his body and even on his head. I recommend using different objects for a few sessions before the first saddling.
With every session, start hanging a saddle on the fence where you will be working with your horse. This will help him get used to the new smell and sight of it before it's introduced to his back. In the next couple sessions include the saddle pad so he stays used to something being up on his back and it staying there. You could also incorporate the surcingle again a couple times to get him used to the feel of cinch, as well.
Other objects to play around with in introducing them to your horse could include a empty feed back, the Velcro sound of splint boots and bell boots and putting them on and taking them off. Tarps are a good one also even if it's just walking over one (make sure the sides are held down with posts or something heavy to prevent it from blowing up onto the horse or catching his foot). Sweatshirts or jackets that you could be putting on and taking off while on your horse should be used also. Anything you can think of that wont hurt your horse can be used.
Sacking out a horse means getting him used to different things around him. This could entail just taking a walk down the driveway and letting him take in some different sites and smells, too.
Come on back for the next stage to the 21 Steps to Broke... the next BIG one... 1st Saddling!! I'm excited for it! Could be some bucks and kicks to go along with it, but it's a huge step for horses to trusting us to strap something onto their back.
I hope these steps and pictures help you in understanding and getting your horse on his next step and trusting you even more than before. The next steps will be big ones so it's key to keep your horse in tune with you and trusting you. Lunging your horse or even just brushing him a couple days or so will keep him listening to you. If your already ready to start the saddling process, go about it the same way we introduced the saddle pad. It's a introduce and retreat lesson. When he relaxes and accepts it, walk away with the saddle a few steps to give him a rewarding break and then praise him for it.
I recommend skipping the cinch right away. Get your horse used to having a saddle placed on his back (not thrown and plopped--be gentle), and accepting the weight. Only once he's standing quietly and maybe even turns his head and smells it and relaxes would I start cinching up. Do this gently also, you don't want to spook or excite him by cinching it up hard and fast. That could cause accident. Lunge him around to get him used to it- BE CAREFUL because this could lead to some kicks and bucks and they don't always care if you next to them or in their way if their more concerned about getting what's on them off. Once he relaxes and moves and stands quietly while carrying the saddle, I would undo the cinch and remove the saddle. Praise him. Then repeat. Only do this until he's quietly standing for you while you saddle and then moving out nicely, then I would unsaddle, praise him and let the session end on a good note.
Good luck if your moving onto the next BIG step!
Any questions or comments are welcome and I'd love to hear from you!!
Ride on back up the trail for more articles to come!
I hope your lunging and training is going good. Don't feel like your unsuccessful or your horsemanship skills don't seem to be up to par or working because every horse is different. Some horses take longer to pick up on things than others. I've handled many a horse that I feel I'm getting no where and then the next time I put the halter on and start on what we worked on last and BAM they pass with flying hooves and respond to things great!
This is what happened with my two year old just this last week. I was working on lunging using the techniques that I talked about in the first 21 Steps to Broke article and I felt we were getting nowhere at first. He had his head high and he only wanted to pull on the lead rope when lunging like he wanted to be anywhere but with me. When I'd ask him to face me he would glance at me like he wanted to do it and then he'd continue around the circle. Talk about frustrating. It can make anyone question what their doing.
Questioning yourself can turn into a positive though. By asking yourself what your doing wrong you may not realize that your adding pressure when you shouldn't or your asking your horse to do something in the wrong way. It can be as simple as how your expression is on your face or the slightest change in your body language and position.
I found myself doing a couple mistakes myself. In the time passing that I wasn't getting the results I wanted my frustration got the best of me and I realized I began to ask for things in the wrong time and adding pressure to soon, AND my frustration was coming through in how I asked because I was stiff. When I finally let the horse have a minute to think about things that were happening, it gave me a break to think about things, as well. Realizing how tense I was after getting a chance to take a breath and relax made me change my communication with my horse. Instead of being so intense with how I asked for things I asked slightly and then waited to see if my horse understand and then GRADUALLY add pressure a little bit at a time if he still isn't picking up on it, until he does.... then RELEASE that pressure immediately.
This meant that getting my horse to start circling slowly by slightly adding pressure with my training stick and once he started to circle I released the pressure. He did end up stopping a couple of times, but once he understood the slight pressure cue meant to move his feet, keeping him going didn't take much. He was having trouble with his turning towards me so I would have to add pressure by stepping towards his hip and pulling on the lead rope to add halter pressure to get him to turn his head and face me. It can get frustrating here because a horse that's new to this can have his head turned over and over but he'll continue to go around in a circle. Take a breath and keep asking and asking until he finally does it and then RELEASE all pressure. Let him stand there for a few minutes and thing about it. If you get the licking and chewing then he's thinking about it and starting to understand what you were asking. The next time you ask him to turn to you it shouldn't take as long.
This isn't me in the photo of course but its a good picture to show the angle of how I step towards the horses hip to start the turning process. Another method is to step towards in front of the horse to add pressure to keep them from going forward still. I've always had good luck with stepping towards their hip and then they turn in to face you. When you step to the hip in the beginning you should add the halter pressure and pull (gently) the horses head in your direction. This will help him realize he needs to disengage his hip and turn his eyes to face you.
The first couple sessions with Ike were the frustrating ones. The last time I was lunging him all I had to do was step towards his hip and he'd turn and face me. With the point of my hand and just a little pressure and he'd turn and start circling the other way. Another good habit to get into is let the horse turn and face you and then walk backwards and pull the lead rope slightly but let it slip through you hands so it looks like you continuously pulling, and let him walk towards you and to you. Rub his head, neck, body, legs, whatever, and let him know this is a nice reward for doing the right thing and turning towards you and coming to you.
Now that you should be on the right track with lunging lets talk HALTER PRESSURE. Halter pressure is something that every horse needs to learn because it's basics for responding to ANY kind of pressure. He learns halter pressure- then he learns to give to it and he'll get a release of the pressure. This will come in hand with bit and curb pressure, as well.
First I would start with a good halter and lead rope. The halter I recommend is a one with the knots on the nose. These knots are placed to where they hit certain pressure points on the horse and a small pressure cue can have a big meaning. It helps the handler to use less pressure and the horse gets a more clear cue and therefore has a better chance of responding correctly and faster.
Along with a good halter, a good lead rope is needed. A good old cotton lead rope will do but I do recommend a double braided 100% polyester rope. Length wise, anywhere from 12-15 feet long is good because it allows enough length to lunge a horse.
Now one can get a halter/lead rope combo, as well, but make sure that it's made out of good quality materials. You can spend anywhere from $25-$90 on a good halter lead rope combination depending on where you get it. Clinton Anderson is popular for his tack, which is great quality, but the prices are steep, so just take note that you can also get products of good quality on different sites and save some money.
Getting back on track with the halter pressure, we have already introduced some to our horses. By adding pressure and pulling his head around to have him face you, you have already started teaching him to give to halter pressure. To add onto this, another exercise is to place the lead rope on the opposite side of the horse you are on, then gradually move it down to his tail. The next step is to pull the lead rope and the horse should turn AWAY from you towards the halter pressure and pressure on his butt. Reward him but having him continue around until he is facing you again and you can rub his face as a reward. Make sure to work both sides so he is soft and supple in responding to cues on both sides.
Tying is one of the most important sessions you can do with you horse. I've had a horse that pulled back all the time, and sometimes would pull so much he would end up laying down and the only way to save him was to cut the rope. Today, tying is one area that I really focus on, because you could say it's one of my big fears now, so teaching them early and teaching them the right way is always good.
Start off by NOT actually TYING your horse, just do a single loop around the post or panel so that you can hold the loose end and can give to the horse if he starts to move backwards. This is a great way to also start a little sacking out your horse so he doesn't spook while tied. While holding the lose end of the lead rope take anything like a white rag, a plastic bag, or even your ball cap. Be creative because you never know what could spook your horse. Start by waving it around and if your horse moves backwards give him slack so he can. If a horse feels trapped by being tied he will only pull back harder. If he can move his feet a little he will eventually stop moving away.
A great video to watch for this technique is what Clinton Anderson teaches. I also recommend the Tie Ring. Clinton Anderson has one for sale, but I think you can find them elsewhere for cheaper. They are a great thing to have around your barn and arena area for safer tying. It allows the rope to slide through with SOME pressure. This way your horse gets the feel to be able to move his feet, but most likely he wont move so much to escape. Bring different objects to him and even introduce different tack, for example: saddle, turnout blankets, splint boots-anything you may use with him. Don't put it on him, but let him smell the blanket, saddle and bridle as you bring it up to him.
To add a LITTLE more pressure and make it SLIGHTLY harder for you horse to pull the lead rope all the way through, simply take the lose end of the lead rope and hang it over the lead part that connects to the halter. The more time you loup it around the harder it is for the horse to pull... but they aren't completely tied so you don't run into the problem of them pulling back to the point of a bad accident. They are a great training aid so you don't have to hang onto the lead rope, as well. Once the horse has been trained by sacking out while tied, he is most likely to stand easy for you... the tie ring allows some peace of mind so if he does get in a situation where he pulls back, he wont get the lead rope pulled tight with no escape. It prevents accidents but still acts as a good tying spot.
Any way that you can teach your horse to give to halter pressure, whether it's teaching them to trot next to you, follow you over a bridge, or turn and face you, it will be beneficial in the near future when we go further into the training process.
Giving to halter pressure will only teach your horse to listen to your cues and pay attention to you (try to be subtle and see how LITTLE it takes for you to ask, in order to get the response you want), and he will respect you more and more each time you handle him.
I hope this helps you in getting into the next steps of your training process. If you have any questions or comments let me know and I'd be happy to get back to you!
Until next time,
"You can't get somewhere if you ain't gettin'"
It's not "IF" it happens... it's "WHEN". A common phrase wouldn't you say?
Well it applies to horses and riding, as well as all the other things that count. It's only a matter of time before our curious 1,100 lb friends get themselves into trouble and next thing we know we're calling the vet.
Some cases when a horse gets a cut or small wound, we can save the cost of a vet call and do some vet work ourselves. You only need to make sure you have the right stuff on hand.
Today I wanted to share a list of some things to keep on hand in a first aid kit. Whether you need a small one for 1-3 horses and to take traveling in the trailer, or you need a suitcase on wheels that can treat 5-10 horses, it's always a good idea to keep some things on hand.
Below is a simple list of things to keep in mind if you want to build your own First Aid Kit for your barn or trailer. You can always buy a premade one from most horse websites, but it can actually be cheaper to buy everything separate yourself and build your own. This also allows you to customize it yourself if you want more of one thing than another.
First Aid Kit Contents Recommendation for Horse (Basics):
A card that has your vets contact and emergency information on it
Roll of cotton wrap
Guaze pads- you'll want assorted sizes and also some that are sterile and some that are not
Adhesive cloth tape
Duct Tape &/or sports tape
Leg wraps (this can be pillow wraps-can be found at TSC or local stores usually, or stable bandages)
Scissors (preferably some with a blunt end-like medial scissors-so you don't jab your horse when cutting)
Surgical scrub or some sort of antiseptic solution (good idea to put it in a water bottle to spray on wounds)
Flashlight (never know what time of day your rascal will get into trouble)
Extra Batteries for the flashlight
Pliers or nippers (pulling nails or possibly to cut wire if your horse is stuck in fence)
Clean towels (hand towels, washcloths & bigger size towels-always good to have a variety)
Hoof boot (can also usually be found at local farm/ranch stores)
It's also good to keep on hand a First Aid kit for yourself, because again, we don't always know when or where things will happen. Here's an example of a kit for yourself.
First Aid Kit for Humans:
Absorbent compress dressings
Adhesive bandages (assorted sizes)
Antiseptic wipes &/or solution (peroxide)
Breathing barrier for CPR (in last minute case use a t-shirt or similar fabric that air can pass through but
but you wont have as big a chance of passing germs between people)
Instant cold press
Hydrocortisone Ointment (for skin irritations-can get over the counter at pharmacy)
I hope this helps you out in getting some basic things collected for a First Aid Kit for your horse and yourself. Below I'll list another more detailed list of First Aid products you can get for a kit. This is an example list I found online from a product you can purchase already put together. Prices vary depending on the place you purchase. They can range anywhere from $50-$500 depending on what size of a kit you want.
First Aid Kit Option For Purchase- Available on different horse websites (various sizes and contents)
This also gives ideas for how many of each thing, as well.
Small Trailering Soft Sided Bag
10 long handled Q-Tips
8 medical towels
6 wood applicators
24 non-sterile gauze pads
6 sterile gauze pads
5 non-adherent gauze pads
3 3M VETRAP
1 one third pound roll of cotton
1 adhesive tape roll
10 alcohol wipes
10 hand sanitizing towelettes
4 povidone iodine swabsticks
1 four ounce eye wash
1 betadine surgical scrub
1 eight ounce hydrogen peroxide
8 iodine wipes
1 flashlight (extra batteries)
6 latex &/or nonlatex gloves
1 hoof pick
1 bandage scissors
1 stainless steel thumb forcep
1 wrap cutter
10 antibiotic foil pouches
6 three quarter inch band-aids
(This kit can run around $150)
I really hope this helps you out in deciding what some of the basic things you might want to keep on hand in a First Aid Kit in the barn or in the trailer. It can be relaxing to know that your prepared for situations that could require your personal vet skills.
If you have any other suggestions or questions about products or kits or ANYTHING feel free to leave a comment or contact me and I would be happy to get back to you!
Until next time,
Keep calm and ride on!
PS- this week I will also be adding an article to add onto the 21 Steps to Broke series!
I want to introduce some of my training techniques and steps in my new articles series "21 Steps to Broke". I will include pictures and steps to what I'm doing and you can join me on the journey of training my two year old, Ike.
The first five steps of the 21 Steps to Broke include:
Halter Pressure & Tying
1st Saddling & Sacking Out Under Saddle
Today I'm starting off with the lunging. Although it seems tiring to do circle after circle, it helps relax them and they begin to learn pressure and how to react to it in an appropriate way. It may seem like lunging is so basic, and it is, but it's a great starter in getting your horse to listen to you.
I remember the first lunging session with Ike. When I would use the lead rope by waving it toward him he wouldn't go in circles around me. Instead he would only move is hips away from me and keep his head facing me. If this is the case with you and your horse, you want to create a pressure on his head to get him to turn and start to circle you. One option is to take the lead rope off (if your in a round pen.. no corners allowed in this exercise) and lunge the horse around the perimeter of the round pen. If the horse is halter trained I prefer to start lunging with it on because it helps in keeping the horses attention on you and not looking over the fence as if he's trying to get away from you.
The pressure I use is to hold my hand up high enough and leave enough slack in the lead rope so he can move away from you to start going around you. With your hand in the air (you may have to make pushing movements towards his head to shy it away from facing you a little) you want to also create the pressure on his hips to ask him to move his feet. It takes some time so don't get frustrated! Let him start off at a walk/or trot or however he starts to move around you, let him stay at that pace without pressuring him unless he attempts to stop, then you will increase pressure by swinging your lead rope to keep him moving. By letting him stay at that pace at first without additional pressure lets him realize that he's doing the right thing by moving around you and it rewards him for a correct response.
Once he is moving around in both directions you can ask for faster paces like the trot or lope. Make sure to release the pressure once he is at the pace you want so he understands he's doing the right thing. Only add pressure when he begins to break down (slow down or stop) or you want him to pick up the pace.
You will now want to start teaching your horse to turn to face you when you ask him to stop. This is easier said than done. All horses are different and react differently and Ike has been one of my harder students. When he's going around you nicely, after a few times around ask the horse to stop and face you by opening you shoulders to him. For example if he's going around counter clockwise you will want to move your left should backwards and your chest will open up more towards his head and in front of it and move
backwards in a 45 degree angle. If you still have the halter and lead rope on like I prefer, you can tug on the lead rope a little to help guide the horses head towards you and set him up to turn the other direction.
You do not want to pressure or drive your horse until he has reached a certain point facing you or else he may continue to go in the wrong direction. Once he is at the point of facing you, you can add pressure to his right side by swinging your rope of using a training whip (is nice to have a longer extension instead of just swinging a rope) and it will drive him to continue moving but in the opposite direction. Do not let your horse cut you off by running right next to you to go the other direction. This is dangerous and he could easily kick a leg out and get you or even hit you with his body (run you over basically) when running by. In this case use your training whip (different terms-clinician whip or carrot stick) and when they start to come towards the center and get to close to you use the whip and poke them in the neck, shoulder or side and it should cause them to move outward away from you. Do this over and over when you lunge and change directions and they will begin to learn NOT to go to the center of the pen when turning around. Your horse should pivot on his hind legs and arch his body to turn around and go the other direction... not get in your "bubble".
Once you have the turns down I recommend doing about 150-200 inside turns. Don't do all of these in one session though. Only work your horse for 30 minutes at the most with a couple breaks if he's getting worked up. This will also allow him to process everything. Try to do anywhere from 25-50 turns a session for each day.
Don't get frustrated if your horse take a few sessions even to get the inside turn down. Some horses are ornery and wont turn in toward you for a while. Sometimes it's the horses attitude or not understanding the cue, and sometimes the cue isn't being done correctly by us. I'm guilty of this sometimes. It takes practice on your part also to pay attention to where your body is and how it's being used for different cues. Your arms and even facial expressions can affect the horse.
In my pictures you can also see that I have protective boots on my horses. If your horse is to a point where you can put them on them I recommend it so that it protects the vital tendons and ligaments in the legs. If you can't put them on your horse or don't have any it's ok but I do recommend them.
You can also see that I have a surcingle on him. This is one of my steps to prepare him for the feel of a cinch. It gives him the idea of a cinch without the weight of the saddle just yet. I left the surcingle reins on it to dangle while he moved to aid in a "sacking out" tool.
I hope this helps you in your beginning lunging with your horse. Lunging isn't only for the beginner. It's also good for a seasoned horse to go back to basics sometimes too. It gives him a different job to do and it will only add to his foundation and keep him relaxed and continue to respond to pressure. It's fun to keep it up over time and someday you'll get to where you only have to move your body slightly and they'll respond to you like he's reading your mind!
Once you have your turns down you can also work on just getting your horse to stop, turn and face you and walk to you.
If you have any questions or comment about anything please leave a message below or contact me in the tab above. I'd love to hear back from you!
Until next time... Lunge on!
I apologize for not getting anything posted until now. Our family has been busy getting things straightened out after a straight wind and tornado like winds came through our place. The winds were calculated anywhere from 85-100 mph with rain and hail! We were in our house up on the hill (single wide mobile home) when the storm hit. The news had said severe thunderstorms but this wasn't a thunderstorm. It turned out to have tornado like rotations and straight winds!
The storm blew out our north windows completely so our kitchen and living room were filled with glass, rain and hail. It broke the out pane on all east windows but thank goodness they didn't break completely also. The tin we had that was going to be put up on the other side of our house blew away and took out our fences and bent fence posts, and panels were all tipped over. It even moved our metal framed stall shed for the horses. Luckily the horses escaped and the tin didn't hit either of them (one of my worst fear). We found the horses at the end of the field that's south of us, standing in a river (1 1/2 feet deep) of rain and hail running off of all the hills around us. My gelding, Ike, that I've been working with walked right up to me, thank goodness, and then Tex walked back next to us. Anything we had outside was destroyed.
The crops around us look like it's Autumn and harvest is going. They look like they've been shredded off! The stalks are bent over at a couple feet tall and any beans are just twigs a few inches tall.
All of our vehicles have windows blown out of them, and our parents that live just down the hill from us had their out buildings pickup and thrown out into the neighboring corn field! Luckily we were ok... can you believe out house made it through that? We determined that the pivots that were flipped ran east and west and those that didn't were running north and south. Our house is running north and south and we're pretty sure that's the only reason it's still standing!
We're very lucky because things could have been a lot worse! We're ok, and little Juhl is ok, so that's all that matters. She handled all of the events perfectly. It's scary to be looking out your windows and see and hearing pieces of tin flying everything and then breaking glass! I was happy the tin didn't decide to fly into the windows or the side of the house.
Insurance has been out already and should take care of all our damage which is comforting. Right now we don't have a drivable vehicle and have been living at out parents house for the last few days. We did get the living room and kitchen cleaned up so we should be able to move back home today or so. We are already looking at some different options of building a small house with a basement so we know we have someplace to go in those kinds of situations.
Have you ever been in a storm like this? It's scary... especially since all you can do is watch and feel completely vulnerable because you can't do anything or go anywhere!
It's kind of ironic because the article I did that day was on pasture care and getting rid of weeds. Well the weeds are gone now hahaha! Now the grass should grow good with the heat and rain.
The horses are back home and fence is back up. My husband gives me a hard time because I'm always so worried about the "damn horses" but I have to because they rely on me. The neighbor lost half of his chickens because his coop was taken in the storm and landed in our parents pond out in the pasture. I feel so bad for the animals because they can't do anything in a situation like that. At least our horses were able to run and find shelter. They ended up by the bales stacked at the end of the field. The dogs fared pretty good. Missy took shelter in the dog house on the south side of the house, but Gunner took off out into the storm. We weren't able to find him that night but the next morning when we went up to look at damage he was home!
The plan now is to get everything outside cleaned up. We have tin and barrels out in the field south of us that needs gathered up. Maybe I'll teach Ike how to drive and have him drag all the pieces home... that would be cool.
I'll give an update later on about our progress and get you an article that's back on track with the horses and what's next in the training schedule.
I'd love to hear about some of your personal training techniques or any questions you have on certain issues!
I don't know about you, but I haven't always been one to stay on top of taking care of my horses hooves to the best ability I could. There's the saying "No Hoof, No Horse", which is entirely true because if our horses have bad feet then there's the chance for lameness and hoof problems which means no riding, so no horse. It's always easier and less expensive to stay on top of things now then to later have problems right? Well it's sometimes hard to think like that when it still costs $80 just to do basic trimming for two horses! Or after a big rainfall keep then out of too much muddy and soppy ground. Some moisture is good for horses but too much can cause thrush and bacterial or fungal infections. Not fun!
So what is the best way to take care of your horses feet anyway? It's still not going to be cheap, cheap unless your a farrier yourself and can trim your own horses up for free, but it doesn't have to rob you of your wallet either.
The most important key is to keep your horses hooves trimmed. This means having the farrier visit every 10-12 weeks if you horses are barefoot (no shoes), or every 6-8 weeks if they are wearing shoes. Sometime a rasping tool can be handy just to stay on top of things in between visits, as well. You can get these on different websites like valleyvet, or horse.com, etc. There's always price differences but you can get one from anywhere between $12-$38.
Growing up we had a lot of light colored hooves that ran the land. This also meant lot of cracks in the dry summers of Nebraska. It's always a good idea to keep your horses hooves moisturized, but not too much, and it's possible by applying a hoof conditioner a couple times a week.
Other possible effects on the hoof are abscesses, contracted heels, corns, thrush and laminitis. I haven't had troubles with most of these but I will say that abscesses are not fun. They are very painful to the horse and are usually caused by puncture wound or injury. Some horses are prone to these and get them every year making it impossible to ride them. Some abscesses open and drain on their own, and some need to be opened to allow them to drain. For this I recommend keeping Epsom salt on hand and in your tack room at all times. Not only is it good for wounds but it is great to soak hooves in to help allow abscesses to drain. (It's also good to put in a bathtub for yourself now again... just saying)
So what does all this mean? I'm not trying to scare you by any means, but I hope this allows you to see that preventing is way easier than treating. Keep horses hooves trimmed and moisturized with a conditioner. Always inspect your horses hooves too. When you pick them pay attention to any cracks or bruises, or chips and anything that makes the hoof look different or doesn't seem normal for your horse. I know we all have busy schedules and sometimes going to the barn or pasture for some is not on their mind after a long day of work, but it is a good idea to keep an I on your horses every now and then. Not only will it keep your horses happy to see you, but it keeps any wounds or hoof problems from getting old or worse.
There are always supplement that you can give horses too, to help in certain areas. I personally have started my gelding on a couple daily supplements to keep him going good. I'd never tried it before, but I recently ordered the Smartpaks supplements. It's very convenient and simple and you can customize it however you like. Now because supplement aren't always cheap I still had to simplify what I was ordering. In my Smarpaks for Ike I have a SmartHoof supplement and SmartFlex I Maintenance supplement to keep his joints healthy for basic work. Of course there were tons of other supplements that I wanted to include hooves and joints always seem to be the best priority. What's also convenient about Smartpaks is they ship is automatically for you each month so you don't have to think about it. If you need the to postpone shipping you can also customize it to "snooze" the shipping date a week or two, also.
I hope this helps you out in keeping your horses hooves in check. Again it's pretty basic care and prevention is better than the treatment process. If your horses are barefoot without shoes, then have them trimmed every 10-12 weeks and apply a hoof conditioner a couple times a week. If your horses wear shoes then the only change is to have them trimmed every 6-8 weeks instead. This is important because hooves overgrowing the shoe itself can cause pressure and bruising and chipping of the hoof. Also shoe maintenance is important in case a shoe is loose it can come of unexpectedly and take pieces of hoof with it. In other words if your horse has shoes try to stay on top of getting your horse trimmed and reshod regularly. In between farrier visits I also recommend getting a rasp of your own and this will allow you to keep your horses hooves shaped up in the mean time.
Remember, No Hoof, No Horse! I've been a guilty horse owner of not following the rules of staying on top of things but I'm changing my ways. After seeing a neighboring horse get thrush and another have lameness problems it brought me back to reality that spending a little time and money with my horses to PREVENT these things is way cheaper and better for both my horse and myself than having to treat something that's been caused by laziness on my part.
So take care of those four hooved beasts that allow us to ride on their back willingly. It's the least we can do for all the things they do for us!
Happy Hoof Prints to you!
Lately is seems like the horses do nothing but eat, eat and eat, but the grass doesn't seem to be growing. I've contemplated planting some grass seed and keeping them off of it and hoping that will get it healthy again. Lately it seems like the only tall thing that grows in the pastures anymore is yellow clover and thistles.
In fact I just got in from cutting a garbage bag full of milk thistle! Can you believe that some people have planted these in their front yards for landscaping?! I know me neither (I've seen it in magazines). If you have a problem with these, I feel for you! Luckily I've caught most of them before it gets too bad, but if you let it get out of hand it can be almost impossible to get rid of them!
The only way I've been taught to get rid of them is go out with a shovel and garbage bag and cut them out. And the key is to get them before they get the purple flower tops on them or before the purple flowers seed because that's what causes them to spread so bad. Some breeds of thistle all you have to do is cut them and let them lay to die and that's it. These puppy's you have to cut and bag because if that purple flower stays on the ground and seeds the ground then you better plan on redoing what you just did next year!
I wasn't able to catch all of them before they seeded but at least I know there's a bag full that wont be there next year. If you live someplace that these babies don't grow... I envy you!
Another fun weed that's been over powering our pastures is the yellow clover. These things can get up to five feet tall if they want! Some years there may be only a few, and then some years, like this one, they cover the entire place... even the yard.. ughhhh!
Yellow clover, yellow clover.... yellow clover. This stuff may seem like it would be a pretty wild flower like plant but they suck. Last year there were only a few patches of them and we thought we should get it cut out and get rid of it but we left it. Turns out this year they have literally covered the entire place! I've tried finding online how to get rid of them and about the only thing I read that said would be successful is to mow them off and then spray everything. Our goal is to rent a skid steer soon and get everything shredded of and then try to get it all sprayed to help prevent it next year.
I also read that people plant yellow clover on purpose! Why are so many people wanting to plant such terrible weeds?! It did say that cows love eating them. I considered buying a couple calves just to help eat the closer... hahaha can you believe that? Our land used to have cows run on it before we put a house up here and made it home. When we looked at the land to by it, it was like a prairie view from a movie. Perfect grass with bits of alfalfa growing in it and hardly any weeds. Now... well now it's not as pretty.
If you have any recommendations on how to handle these beasts in a better way please let me know! It would be greatly appreciated! Have you had any pasture trouble too? I'd love to hear from you and your advice.
Hopefully in the next year or so we can get our pastures back to the picturesque prairie that it was!
Happy Trails to you!
Hello, and welcome to Buckeye Valley Training. We're located in Gibbon, Nebraska. For years now I have been involved in different aspects with horses including riding lessons, training and colt starting. Join me today for training techniques and more!