Taste Buds versus Wildebeasts
Article by Eclipse, Intro by Susan Gordon
The Mane Say, by Eclipse. Intro by Susan Gordon
Want your horse to have a big beautiful tail?
Recently someone commented on my horse’s tail, saying that my horse’s tails always look so good blah, blah. Though I’d like to take all of the credit, I have to say a lot of it is simply due to good nutrition and genetics. However, I do my best to help mother nature out. Below are listed a few options for keeping tails beautiful. There are many other ways to do this, these are just the things that I am doing right now in my current circumstance. I have tried other approaches in the past and likely will in the future. Everything has it’s pros and cons and some techniques work better for certain hair types, exercise and turn out situations etc.
Note: Figure 8 knots and only brushing tails out for events are other popular options.
Beautiful hair adds to the total perception of a healthy well cared for horse and tails are no exception. Hope this info helps the view of your horse’s tail end! Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.
Today’s Tip: Fastest way to improve the ride on your horse!
Want to achieve lasting change in your riding, have a new understanding for what is actually happening underneath you in response to your aids, and get the most bang for your buck? MAKE A DATE - with someone who will video you riding every week. Even if it is only for 5 minutes.
Don’t have a camera? No problem. Most smart phones will suffice. Make sure you take the time to watch the video several times and take notes. Then, read the notes every day the next week before you ride and you will be thrilled with the results!
Quic Mane Shortening Tip
Pimping horse hair is of the things that I very much enjoy doing. Since it is a service that I perform for clients, I am always seeking ways to improve both quality and speed. Recently, I discovered a handy technique using the product, “Quic Braid.” Since many of us shorten manes a regular basis, you may find it handy.
1. Train the mane to lay on one side by braiding or using a mane tamer - a week ahead of time if possible.
2. When you are ready to shorte...n, spray mane evenly with Quic Braid.
3. Comb it straight down as it dries.
4. Once the mane is straight and dry, begin shortening.
5. Enjoy a tidy mane with an even bottom line!
Judge not other horses and riders...
Yesterday, I went to teach what I assumed would be a bit of a dressage lesson only to find a worried horse and a rider who thought it was unsafe to get on this stressed little horse. After a bit of explanation and some gentle ground work- the basis of which was stolen from horsemanship- the horse was quiet and relaxed. The owner, dressed in britches and boots, was relieved to see her horse looking as if she actually enjoyed being in her own skin and I was thankful to have had the skills to help her make the changes she desired. Not only that, I was grateful that the horse looked relaxed and happy instead of appearing to be ready to run from the nearest mountain lion, which undoubtedly was much closer than we humans realized.
This event caused me to share the following reflections. Good horse people, ones that really care about the horse with true compassion will do everything within their power to help the horse. Often, this means stepping outside of the lines of their discipline and possible prejudices to learn skills that help them provide what the horse needs. To be honest, I feared the client’s judgment yesterday when I began ground work with the horse. However, I feared having her get on a distraught horse even more. Most of all, I wanted the horse to feel better so I ran the gauntlet and did what I knew would help, despite the realization that if the client didn’t embrace the “non dressage people” technique, it could be my last lesson there.
This led me to ponder why we judge other genres and the lack of value in these judgments. It is my hope, that I can take the best from all disciplines because there is good in every single horse person’s heart as there is in every genre of riding. For instance, the horse show people (and this includes what some people call modern dressage people) should be revered for their discipline in regularly working horses, striving to improve their skills, and attention to detail. The horsemanship folks have much to offer in the way of kindly helping horses feel better in their own skin and helping them become solid citizens that are well adjusted in a variety of situations. The classical dressage segment is famous for keeping the history of horses alive and well and also for the slow, careful development of the horse. We can all respect the recreational riders for savoring every moment that they spend with their horses and valuing the sheer joy of just being with them. I could go on and on. The point that I am trying to impress upon myself by writing to you today is this: I shall not judge those who are sincerely trying to improve their skills and help horses regardless of their discipline or their results. People in general do the best they can and everyone is at a different place in their journey. Nothing could be learned if mistakes couldn’t be made and it isn’t beneficial to point out the short comings of others. Writing helps me remember key points so it is my strategy that by sharing these thoughts with you, I will be better equipped to refrain the next time I have the opportunity to join in on a critical conversation or negative comment etc. We are on this planet to support one another and that includes looking for and mimicking the good that we see. There is much to be learned from each discipline if only we are open minded and soft hearted enough to do so. Let’s put our judgments aside and embrace helping the horse be happy and well adjusted in life, whatever that takes.
Recently Spent some Time out of the Saddle?
How many times have you heard someone say, but I haven’t been able to ride for days, weeks, months etc, because…This statement most often seems to be accompanied with a tone of distress, disappointment, and/or unworthiness. Whether the break from riding was unavoidable or not, the statement always sounds the same. It is as if we feel that somehow we are at a disadvantage by missing some time in the saddle. After teaching and riding and not riding at times for many years, I recently found a nugget of truth after some unavoidable time out.
What I learned is that the value of time out of the saddle is all in how you think about it, your psychology. We generally think things like: I won’t be fit enough, I will have forgotten everything, my timing will be off, I will look like an idiot etc. While these things may or may not come to fruition, the truth is that riding is about what is in your head. All of the physical action in the world is worthless in the saddle if you don’t have an understanding of what it really means to the horse. I am not speaking of what it is supposed to mean, per a book, instructor or master (no disrespect intended). I am talking about how what you do affects your horse in any given moment. What your horse understands you to be saying is most important because that it may be something completely different than what you are attempting to communicate to your horse. That being said, what your horse understands is all there is to riding, regardless of how well we communicate. And some time off from riding can provide a much needed opportunity to let your body rest and your mind wander.
This year, my time out of the saddle for lasted 6 months. But it ended differently than all of the other times before. I decided beforehand that I wouldn’t stress over it and I’d make the best arrangements I could for my horses. Then I made the best of my down time in various non-horse related ways. (Confession: reading and watching horse related media just makes me crazy when I can’t participate!) Honestly, it wasn’t as rosy as it sounds and some days I found myself wondering if I’d ever even see a saddle again, much less sit in one. But, much to my surprise, as I began returning to the horses, I found that it was as if a reset button had been pushed. It wasn’t an all at once, epiphany. It can best be described as gradual waves of questioning, clarity and understanding washing over me. The more I embraced this opportunity to let go of some old habits and thoughts, concepts and behaviors that I had previously misunderstood suddenly manifested as did new ways of looking at things. Though it is true, I could expound on how rusty my riding became, I have a greater awareness of my affect on the horse’s body and mind and how my actions may be perceived. It was certainly worth the wait and I am very grateful for the experience … for it is our understanding, and the riding that occurs in our minds, that is the basis of all that we create with our bodies in the horse beneath.
So, the next time you have to take time off from riding, perhaps you can embrace the opportunity. Speak of your hiatus as if it were a gift of wisdom and then make it so. My guess is that you will be glad you did!
"Think, ride, live..."
Email us to schedule your first session with Melissa at your farm or ours and experience how to bond more intimately with your horse (money back guarantee on your first session, if not completely satisfied). We can provide a horse at our facility for some learning experiences) depending on your goals.