A Resolution for Horse H-E-A-L-T-H

Reblogging this so I’ll remember to read it later.

EcoEquine

HappyHorseHealthyPlanet_2014 HEALTH

Your Resolution for the Year of the Horse

2014 is the year of the horse in the Chinese calendar.  According to the Chinese zodiac the spirit of the horse is recognized by the Chinese people as an attitude for making efforts to improve themselves.  This sign is energetic, bright, warm-hearted, intelligent and able. Sounds like a horse to me!

It is our job as horse owners to keep these energetic, bright, warm-hearted, intelligent and able animals healthy.  How do you determine if your horse is in good health?  What are some of the ways to assure that your horse stays healthy?  This article will look at these very questions in an easy to remember format; the letters of the word HEALTHY.

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The Spiral Of Training

Dressage Different

training scaleIf you have been in the dressage world for any period of time, you have probably heard of the Pyramid of Training, also called the Training Scale. It is a staple of dressage instruction world wide and posters of this pyramid hang on hundreds of tack room walls. There are many wonderful aspects to this pyramid, but even so, every time I looked at it, I felt one eyebrow climbing up my forehead. There was something wrong about the structure of the pyramid, I felt. When training a horse, I always imagined the shape of training to be more of a circle, or better yet, a spiral.

It was not until I heard Axel Steiner lecturing and he echoed what had been bouncing around in my mind for quite some time, that I finally decided to take pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard).

You see, when training a horse…

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Long Term Or Short Term, aka “Why The Rush?”

Mike Plumb was something like 48 when he rode for the gold-medal winning Olympic team in 1984. So, yeah! Also, I like the idea that “mastery” in riding is a “continuum” not a “finite goal” because this sport IS different in that our partners (the horses) are sentient beings, not inanimate equipment, and no two horses are exactly the same.

How Good Riders Get Good

There are definitely sports that are youth sports, gymnastics being an obvious example. Many sports that cause heavy wear and tear on knees, shoulders, and various joints see few athletes lasting very deeply into their thirties, and a forty year old professional football player is called “the old man.”

Horseback riding definitely has the potential to be a wear and tear sport, but that`s from falls and wrecks, not from the inherent stresses that accompany daily riding. With luck, a rider who is, say, 12, should be looking at a riding life that can easily continue for the next forty to fifty years, and not only last for decades, but also have the prospect of being an elite riding career for many of those years.

There is a tendency for younger riders not to think in these longer range terms, but to have the misconception that if they fail to reach some…

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Top 10 Ways to Reward Your Horse

Horse Listening

As riders, we need to look for any excuse to celebrate our horse’s achievements. Good riders are forever thankful for their equine’s efforts as they push further stronger deeper and reach new heights. A happy horse is a willing partner, and many horses will give everything they have if they feel your acknowledgement and generosity of spirit.

Don’t fool yourself.

Your horse knows exactly how you’re feeling during the ride. They can “mind read” (more like body read) and know precisely when you are frustrated, upset, angry (?) and conversely, when you are relaxed, forgiving, joyful and ecstatic. We all know that positive reinforcement is as powerful a way to communicate as any other, and likely more appreciated by your four-legged friend.

Rewarding your horse doesn’t have to be done on the ground with a treat in hand. In fact, encouragement received under saddle is more immediate and fulfilling…

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I Need Forward Flaps

Well, that’s one wee mystery solved. Okay, it wasn’t truly a mystery in the literal sense, but I figured out something yesterday.

Remember me going on and on about jumping saddles and how I can’t seem to find a decent used saddle (with short billets) to ride in because the girth buckles rub the insides of my knees? It was an issue that confused me because I love the Albion Legend I borrow whenever I ride at one farm, and I don’t experience any kind of leg chafing, no matter where my leg is or what length my stirrups are. Continue reading

Riding Jammy: Saddle Search Saga

Jammy the Quarter Horse/Thoroughbred Mare out on a HackThere’s a cute little Quarter Horse/Thoroughbred mare named Jammy out at the boarding facility where I keep Skipper. She belongs to the farm owner, who is busy running the place and doesn’t get much free time to ride. She first offered to let me ride Jammy weeks (maybe even months?) ago, but I don’t yet have my own saddle, and at the time there wasn’t one readily available for me to borrow. Continue reading