Thursday, November 11, 2010

Riding It Forward

This was last weeks column...with a plea for input from you guys at the bottom.

Thanks, Mugs

Riding It Forward, The FRRC Steps Up

By Janet Huntington

In September I wrote an article ,”When Do We Step In?” I wondered when was the best time to step in and offer help to a fellow horseman who was obviously in need of some advice about riding or caring for his horse.

Horse people as a rule tend to be proud and stiff necked and they don’t want to feel the fool. It becomes a delicate balance to offer unasked advice to someone who desperately needs it, but not sound like a know-it-all, butting in where we don’t belong.

Other folks would be more than willing to ask but just don’t know where to get help which is actually, well helpful.

The Fountain Riding and Roping Club have taken my question and run with it. The club is planning a series of clinics offered to riders of all levels. The clinics will be free or low cost to anyone who owns a horse or would like to own one someday.

FRRC treasurer, Ardith Bruce, said, “Sometimes people need help and are afraid to ask, in a clinic environment they won’t feel singled out.”

The clinics are currently in the planning stages, but they will begin with some very basic and vital information.

Ideas under consideration are:
Want To Buy A Horse? What You Need To Know
Feed, Feet and Shelter
Adjusting and Fitting Tack.
Horse Safety
Parents of Kids with Horses, What You Need To Know
Manners, Manners, Manners!
Trailer Loading

The FRRC has several members who are working or retired professionals in several equine fields. They have volunteered to lead these clinics and are open to teaching more advanced levels of riding; from horsemanship skills, improving balance and hands, to cattle work, reining and roping.

The clinics will be held at the FRRC arena. Times and dates are still being ironed out.

Many of these clinics will not require a horse in order to participate.

This is a generous community service, it will be interesting to see how it goes.

I received incredible help over my years with horses. As a young girl, Mark Reyner taught me it’s not what horse you ride, it’s how you ride the horse you’re given. Bob Clark taught me how many pounds of hay my horse needed every day. Mike Craig opened the doors to Monte Foreman and training a horse with timing, feel and kindness. Donna Brock showed me what to look for in a quality saddle and the Kit Carson Riding Club acted as a village. As a group they tamed my wildness and pointed me towards responsible horsemanship. They never did get me to comb my hair though.

I learned from my friends too. Karen showed me how to ride a pleasure horse and which side of the hill to dismount on during a NATRC trail ride. Linda made me bold. Lauren let me know what determination was all about and the Jenson sisters created an ache for perfection.

I learned from the darker side of the horse world too. I was sold bad hay, cheap saddles and given terrible advice. I learned to be cautious and to pay attention. I learned to sniff out the least hint of mold. I learned to research.

All of these lessons prepared me for the day I waded into the world of professional horse training . Because of the help I received I was more than ready to begin absorbing the wealth of information in front of me.

I’m can’t begin to cover all of the help and practical knowledge I received as a young rider. The idea of playing it forward in the safe environment of a solid riding club with great credentials is pretty appealing. I’m looking forward to meeting some new members of the horse world. Yip!


Now I have a question for the mugwump bloggers. If you were brand spanking new in the horse world, what would you want to know? I’d love some fresh ideas for these clinics. I’m going to be running many of them and would love some fresh ideas. What solid, practical advice would you like to receive or wish you had gotten when you first started with horses?
We are hoping these free clinics will spread between the area riding clubs. Any ideas you have to add would be appreciated.


Funder said...

Hmm, I guess a simple and important one is: Horses need good hay, salt, and water. Most mature horses in light work don't need grain, especially not 5+ lbs of grain a day. If your horse is skinny, feed MORE hay, deworm, and get his teeth checked - THEN add some grain or fancy supplements.

lauraatkins said...

Dunno how brand spanking new I count as. Rode as a kid (20 years ago) and did a couple horse classes in college (actually got a job at a dressage stable I turned down) but I've been out of the world for quite a while.

But as I contemplate getting back into horses:

How to tell if your farrier is helping or hurting?
How do you know how much to feed?
How do you make a space safe for a horse?
Tying and knots a horse person should know.
How to choose equipment - halters, bridles, etc.
Trailering - front/back, slant, side?
Halters on or off in the field?
How to decide if you should stall or pasture a horse (a lot of this is teaching people how to evaluate their own animal and make decisions best for the animal, not the human).
How to see lameness?
Foot and leg care - what do you need to know?
Minor first aid: gum refill, temp taking, pulse taking, doctoring cuts, when to call the vet.

DarcC said...

The clinic list is a good start, and a great idea. Trail/Ring Etiquette would be another good one. Feeding properly, like Funder just posted, and the good/bad hay that you mentioned. Tack quality and fit is critical and grossly under-taught. Horsepeople often expect kids and newbies to learn through osmosis, and the horses, as you well know, suffer through the results.

The few young kids I have taught over the years get plenty of time to find their balance and learn to steer and stop while at a walk, and I walk right alongside and the whole time is q&a with detailed age-appropriate answers to any questions they think to ask. Those little buggers have gotten me thinking pretty deeply a time or two, and heaven knows they never run out of questions!

Leah said...

If I were a newbie in addition to the health and welfare stuff I think I would be interested in finding out how to get started in different disciplines and horse showing.

Leah said...

Perhaps you could sell pony club manuals (or other) on the side at the clinics ;) I tend to recommend them as a horse care and practical riding basics resource since they are not typically purchased by those that haven't been through the "system"

kel said...

All of the ideas that Funder Lauraatkins had were great. Here is what I like when getting advice of any kind. I like it when it is backed up with something real, logic, common sense or facts... not just a story about what happened to my friend Joe or because that is the way we have always done it. Recently I went to a seminar at our local vets office and a feed nutritionist talked about feeding alfalfa. He worked at a thoroughbred breeding farm that has over 150 broodmares at any givien time. The great "to feed or not to feed alfalfa" debate is one that used to drive me nuts. I left with a complete understanding of how to feed alfalfa, when and why to feed alfalfa from someone who is educated, had common sense and practical knowledge. It changed my life. Not really but it did make me feel more confident about my choices and now I feel I can pass that info on.

Printed handouts that outline the highlights of the clinics that could be put into a binder would also be helpful to attendees. Sometimes it is alot of info to absorb and retain.

Another thing that I like at clinics is when the presenter keeps things on track and will not let an attendee get him off on a tangent that may or may not be relivant to everyone. There definitely is an art to managing a clinic/seminar. You are always going to have the "what ifs" and the attendee's that want to ask questions in an effort to make themselves look smart. Setting time aside when it is over to answer those kind of things and keeping the clinic moving forward will be appreciated by everyone.

I think what you are doing is a great thing. I wish I lived closer so I could attend and/or help out.

EvenSong said...

I agree that your tentative list is a great start. And I second the emphasis on safety, feed (and routine maintenance such as deworming and vacs), and feet/legs/lameness and farrier-finding. When to do your own first aid and when to call the vet. And I like Leah's idea of an intro to some of the various disciplines. How about cold weather/hot weather care? And yes, how to be a horse-parent (especially when you have no knowledge or even interest of your own).

Holly said...

This is a weird coincidence... a month ago a friend of a friend asked me the same thing. My straight up response was don't assume that the only cost will be boarding. Plan $200 over boarding costs every month, invariably your horse will need something random like floating or a new cinch or blanket. If you plan and save that money the 'Oh God' moments turn into 'oh, okay' moments.
And call trainers on stuff and make them explain the whys of it. If you think it is over board say so. If the answer is along the lines of "I want the horse to fight or throw a tantrum" it isn't okay. If the answer is "The horse is throwing a tantrum to avoid work" that is different.
Also, if you are mad at or scared of the horse...stop nothing good will come.

Stelladorro said...

How and when to worm, picking feet, signs of colic and founder, quick release knots, putting blankets on and off and why you can't just leave them on all winter, horses' blind spots, bridling the not-so-perfect horse, and when your horses are home and stalled, emphasis on structure and timeliness in taking care of them.

mugwump said...

This is all great stuff guys, keep it coming!

Anonymous said...

If I were a complete beginner again I would most like to be taught to read horse body language. If you can tell when he's happy, in pain, disagrees with you, is distracted etc... it makes it so much easier to judge whether what you're doing is working or not.
That way you don't have to wade through all sorts of conflicting advice when what matters most is the horse's opinion.
:) Soph

ZhiZhu said...

I agree with Soph. As someone who IS still rather a beginner, what frustrates me the most is not understanding what my horse is telling me with his body language. I've tried to look things up online,(like what does it mean when a horse yawns) but frequently I find contradictory information. Learning to read and properly respond to what your horse is telling you (I'm happy, I'm hurt, I'm bored) seems like it would be one of the most useful things a new horse person could learn.

Also, there is a metric ton of contradictory information on horse care out there. Teaching people how to separate the good/useful information from the bad/harmful information would be a great help.

Becky said...

Signs of lameness - I can't watch my only video I took of me riding my first mare...because now I can see that from her knee to her fetlock, her legs are so swollen that they look like tree trunks, and she's parked out in obvious agony. I had only owned a horse for 6 weeks and had a terrible farrier and didn't know it. Someone kindly pointed it out to me the next day and I felt AWFUL once I knew. If I had just known to check for swelling, I could have saved her so much pain :(

How to check if a horse has a sore back - Again, my poor mare. I didn't know her back was sore until I slipped on her bareback one day and she crashed out from underneath me. :( I feel really guilty about it still.

Euthanasia - Cost, decisions, options, when to do it - nobody talks about it, but it's something we should plan for.

Safe Ways of Fattening up a Horse. This could go hand-in-hand with "Signs your horse is too skinny."

Bits: These are STILL confusing.

Tack Room: What you REALLY need to have in your tack shed, as opposed to what everyone is going to tell you to have (Vet Wrap, Furazone, kotex for absorbent pads, halter, vet's telephone number, fly spray, etc, etc.)

Anonymous said...

For those who may not be keeping their horse at home, I think it'd be beneficial to teach them how to spot a good place to board and the right questions to ask a barn manager.

Joy said...

I haven't got much to add to all the very good comments. I did want to say that something my trainer has always stressed to me is safety. And I guess it's something you have to learn along the way somewhat, but he always says "muchos ojos" (or however you spell it, meaning "many eyes" in spanish.) His teaching me to be safe and pay close attention in every situation has saved my ass many a time.

Breathe said...

Here's what I needed:

How to recognize lameness (Sounds crazy, but I missed the signs in my mare because I didn't know that's what a nodding head meant!).

How to pick out your horse's hooves.

How to tack your horse (or cinching so you don't create a cinchy horse!).

Reading the trail - don't run your horse over rocks, dismount for deadfall, how to ride inclines, water safety (or, do you know how deep and cold that is?).

How to bathe your horse - how do you clean the face, where do you start with the hose, etc.

Funder said...

(Hi Breathe! You know I'm not trying to pick on you but you made me think of a good example of something...)

But here's a problem - the advice gets conflicting. When I was a new rider, everybody told me (and everything I read) said to lean back for downhills and forward for uphills. When I moved to Nevada and started riding 90% of the time up or down hills, I started to realize that's not really ... comfortable? right? If I stay balanced in the saddle, my mare will tuck her butt and scoot down any hill - if I lean back, she hollows out and refuses steep hills.

So what do you tell a new rider who might not have great balance yet?

Anonymous said...

I am a new horse owner and all of these are things that I feel should be covered. I just want to add that there it would be great if examples of things could be shown.
For example, a talk about how to pick good hay should include an example of good hay, okay hay, and bad hay. This way people can see/smell/feel good hay and compare it to bad hay, as well as to hay that is ok to give if there is nothing else available.
I find I need to see/touch/do things in order for the information to really stick.

AareneX said...

Breathe/Funder: I have always lived and ridden in hills. Hell, we don't have any flat ground at all, except the bottom of the lakes. Rather than "lean back" or "lean forward", try to keep your back roughly parallel with the tree trunks. That's easier to keep track of, anyhow.

Stuff for beginners (in addition to all that other good stuff people have said): basic truck/trailer driving and safety! Including how to figure out if you have too much "tail" and not enough "fish".

Hannah said...

I wish someone had taught me early on WHY things like grooming properly and picking feet were so important. I was just told how to do it and that I "have to", but nobody ever told me why. Being a young teenager and wanting to "break rules", sometimes I didn't always do everything I was supposed to do. Had I known why picking feet and getting every little bit of mud off (from the saddle area at least) was so important and that not doing so can result in losing valuable weeks of ride time due to injury, I probably would have been much more thorough.

I wish I had known as a beginner which discipline to begin. I started as a western rider, and it's making my switch to English very difficult. I have to un-learn everything I already learned. I guess a "clinic" on this could be what exactly is entailed with each discipline, the sub-disciplines (jumping/dressage/hunter etc vs western pleasure/barrels/roping). I suppose, running these out of a western-based riding school, it's not an issue, but maybe something to think about.

I also agree with the previously mentioned trailer-driving course. I SO wish I knew how to drive a truck and trailer, and as a college student, it's hard to find someone willing to teach me (because I'm "immature" and a "crazy driver". No, I'm really not. I promise.) I also have the disadvantage of only ever really driving small cars (Mazda 3, for example), so the prospect of driving something as large as a hauling-capable truck is a bit daunting. Add the trailer, even just a small two-horse, and that's downright scary. The lady who owns the horses I ride will probably teach me someday, but I have to become an EXPERT at driving a manual transmission first because that's what her truck is. She's actually the person who taught me to drive a manual, so hopefully the truck/trailer will happen someday soon. Ish. (The car I drive now is a manual, so I'm partway there!) Anyway. Tangent. Sorry.

Anonymous said...

As a relatively knew horse owner, I'd like to think I'm relatively informed. That being said, I would personally love to know more about shoeing. My boy is barefoot, and I stand by that decision, but I don't feel it's an informed decision. What kind of shoes are there and how are they used? What are the benefits? What are barefoots benefits? Where do easy boots fall in all of this?

Blanketing. What weight do I need? When should I start using it? I know these are all a personal opinion kind of thing, but it would still be nice to have a general guide line.

Where are good places, both in the area, and online to find the basic things. Vet wrap, supplements, halters, blankets, things of that nature.

How do you properly wrap legs? I once asked a vet student that, and she couldn't give me a clear answer. Find a good resource, give a demo, make it common knowledge!

What about making a list of local trainers who will go with you to pick out your next horse. They might charge a fee, sure, but who will even do it and give you an honest opinion?

What about a talk about bitting your horse. There are a million different kinds. Talk about what they're used for, and how to use them effectively.

What about a quick discussion on seat building exercises for the rider without a trainer?

How about writing up a list of solid manuals in horse care, basic health care, beginner rider instruction for both english or western disciplines, maybe even a book talking about equine communication and reading your horse. Personally, I take terrible notes, and always wish I had a text to fall back on for these things.

Can you get a local chiropractor and massage therapist to come out and give demonstrations? Talk about why it's a good idea, if not important to get your horse regularly adjusted.

glenatron said...

A lot of good stuff there.

Maybe a mention of dentistry as aside from saddle fit and foot care that is kind of the third point of the triangle of stuff that most often causes pain in horses.

The tools I found it hardest to acquire are being able to evaluate the work that professionals do.

For example, knowing what shape a good foot should be both on the underneath and on the break angles and what it looks like when a foot has heels too long, flare, toes too long or too short and so on. It's actually fairly simple information and it enables people to judge what kind of a job a farrier is doing. I see so many horses with terrible feet who are being failed by their farrier- the owner think they're doing fine because they're getting shod every few weeks, but because the farrier doesn't know his job they're not doing their horse any favours.

Likewise the basics of saddle fit and the symptoms of a badly fitted saddle.

The principle that if a professional is telling you something different to what you think your horse is telling you, you should at least ask them about it.

When to call the vet is a big one.

How to assess what a horse needs in terms of rugging or clipping and their comfortable temperature ranges. Certainly here in the UK people over-rug their horses constantly and the poor ponies end up cooking in their stables wrapped in massive great duvets.

Nicole said...

How not to "ruin" your first horse.

The first horse tends to take the brunt of the problems caused by the steep learning curve in first time horse ownership.

The basics of the BAD mistakes that are easily avoidable in both horse and handler safety, and comfort with knowledge.

Safe tying, feeding, don't put the lead rope over your shoulder, basic horse thinking (predator vs. prey animal), hoof care, how to fit and choose tack (of all kinds).

Hope you get good turnout at these clinics.

Fyyahchild said...

I think safety can't be stressed enough. At one barn we had some well meaning begginers that would fasten their horse's back cinch first before the front on a young green horse. Also many beginners don't know how to tie a quick release or why we use them. What to pack for any kind of distance trail riding or horse camping is also a good topic and a group I belong to has put together some check lists for our members.

Another thing I feel like I'm finally learning as it relates to feel is where to put your body when you want to move your horse, what you should expect the horse to do and what to do when they don't do what you are asking. I see so many beginners struggle with getting pushed around because they don't know what not to put up with or how to correct it even from a horse that was once well trained.

MalteseLizzieMcGee said...

I would want to know about feeding and stabling requirements, as depends on size/breed of horse.

Anonymous said...

How much does a "free" horse cost?

What do Mom and Dad need to know?

Anonymous said...

If I were brand new to the horse world, I'd want a seminar titled "How to avoid killing your horse (or yourself)" At least go over all the common areas that horses can end up miserable or dead, and likewise for humans. Stuff like the difference between disciplines or how to choose among a variety of mild bits is great, but it can wait a few weeks or months without making anyone miserable.

I also like the suggestion of teaching horse body language. You don't have to know every detail of tack fitting or soreness if you can hear your horse say Ouch! Stop that!

It might be worth giving the attendees some advice on choosing an instructor or other mentor. They'll still have an immense amount of stuff to learn when they walk out of the clinic, so getting them pointed in the right direction is important. Especially listening to that inner 'this doesn't sound right' alarm bell and getting second and third opinions when they have questions.

I guess tools to get newbies started in the right direction is much more important than covering all details. Hope you have fun with it!

Muddy K said...

Dead-on comments, so all I can add are the following. One, groundwork - what it is, why it is, and how and when to do it. Two, continuing education via trainers and riding instructors - when do you need them and how do you find the right ones. Three, how to play with your horse.

Anonymous said...

Most of my ideas were taken, but there's a couple that i do have to stress.

Teach people how to wrap legs! I went to college for equine science and they were SO strict about this, for a very good reason. It's pretty much the first thing you learn, and you learn it WELL. the instructors can and will call you out on it, and if you have to dismount to fix your polos in front of six of your peers, that's one thing you will know how to do.

Also: teach people the signs of basic major illnesses, like colic, laminitis, tying up... things that could happen if they are beginners and accidentally make a mistake. When I first took my horse home, i was so glad I knew what to do while the vet was coming(walking a horse for colic, etc). It will save alot of worry if you can determine what you're looking at, call the vet fast, and do what you can in the meantime.

One more: teach people that it's important that someone (preferably themselves personally) at least visually scans for injury EVERY SINGLE DAY. even if the horse is in pasture, even if the barn owner lives on-property. that doesn't necessarily mean the BO is checking. be specific. one of my instructor's horses was on a big pasture and the BO went to check on the horses every morning. well, he basically only did a head count and missed the gaping wound on one horse's off hind leg. the next day it was seeping, and the horses were facing the other way, so the BO finally caught it. but it got infected from sitting open for a whole day, and the horse never recovered all the way.

Half Dozen Farm said...

Have students stand inside a horse trailer (without holding on as much as possible) and haul the horse trailer through a cones course in a large parking lot. Demonstrate the wrong and right way of stopping, accelerating and cornering with a horse in the trailer. Would solve a lot of trailer loading issues right there.

Anonymous said...

hoof physiology, hoof care, hoof disease, proper trimming, what does a healthy hoof look like, what is a sign of trouble.

Anonymous said...

Waste Management - HANDS ON CLINIC

Albigears said...

Basic horse communication, how they interact with each other, how hierarchy works and where you fit in. Why you have to be the herd leader and how to do it. Why you have to have clear boundaries and be consistent every day, every time.

The prey animal thing (and the fact that we're predators) and the fight/flight instinct. Why your horse will run from a stump instead of trying to figure out what it is.

Consider how horses live in the wild when choosing accommodations for your horse. Think about the choice (from the horse's perspective) between a 12x12 box stall and a pasture with buddies to play with and room to roam. I've found that a ton of "problem" horses had their problems disappear when thrown out with a herd. As a beginner, you don't want to have to deal with problems caused by being locked up.

Horses never lie and live in the moment. What you see is what they're feeling. They don't feel one way and act another. You should return the favor.

Don't take things personally when they go wrong. Learn from it, take a breather, and adjust. Horses can have bad days just like people, and one bad day doesn't mean the horse is ruined for life.

If a horse kicks, bites, or intentionally causes you physical harm, you have 5 seconds to do whatever it takes to make them learn to NEVER do it again. And you DO need to do something. After 5 seconds it's done and you need to let it go. This one goes back to being the herd leader.

Basic parts of the horse. Fetlock, forelock, cannon...

Not as important, but info on breeds and their specialties and horse colors besides "brown".

Arena etiquette?

Trail etiquette?

Safety- safe places to stand near horses. How to walk behind a horse. Tying to something planted in the ground. Tying with a slip knot. Boots with heels and helmets. How bits and bridles work. Snaffle bits that are not made of nickel. How to fit bridles.

There's my 2 cents.

Albigears said...
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Albigears said...
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Albigears said...
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nagonmom said...

I feel I could contribute a book here.
How to keep your horse healthy. Basics of food, water, bedding, worming, vet, farrier, dental care, shelter needs, accessory needs (blankets, rain sheets,fans, heated water buckets, which halters are safe, lead ropes, horse-proofing a pasture/barn)With cost analysis.

How to evaluate a boarding facility.

How to care for your horse on your property
Safe fencing, safe fields, water of good quality, security, barn safety, fly management, hay storage, pasture management, mud pit prevention,(Or why you need a dry lot/sacrifice field) And yes, you need a road to the barn in all weather, cause the vet may HAVE to get there urgently.

Equipment, ATV, drag, manure spreader, shovel, ?tractor? wish I had a Bobcat! Trailers, what to pull a trailer with, how to prepare for trailer breakdowns on the road,Oh yeah horsey equipment, manure fork with basket, muck buckets, etc

Tack. I have permanent tack dyslexia, and have wasted more money on stuff impractical and unusable.

This really does scratch the surface. Emergency evacuation planning. There is learning when to call the vet, what plants are toxic to horses, when to blanket, and how to know each horse, in order to tell when they are "off" in some way.
You're going to scare them to death.

Stasha said...

I love the idea of having a clinic for parents. Walking through the lesson barn, it seems like there are very few parents around who actualy know anything about horses. The problems arise when they're expected to foot the bill. I think it would be a great idea to have a seminar on what you can save money on; things like second hand clothes, used saddles, working in exchange for lessons, etc, and contrast it to things you need to spend money on, like a good trainer, farrier, and feed. Outline how to pick out a good trainer for your child, and explain what makes a good kids mount.

I love Soph's idea for a crash course in body language. And manners 101 is a fantastic proposal. At the end of the brochure, or schedule for the day, you should have a list of sponsors or local trainers who have lesson openings - sort of a "continuing education" list.

I absolutely love your clinic idea. Please keep us posted as to how it all works out!

NewHorseMommy said...

Hay... How to tell good from bad. And not just fluffy green alfalfa from straw, but good and bad examples of different varieties! Some hays just look less appealing than others (oat, rye, etc.) but they may be perfectly fine to feed. What does good oat hay look like? I am basically feeding my horses a grassy alfalfa mix because I like the way it looks compared to some of the "coarser" varieties!

Storm said...

I'm late to the party here but I would like to add "How to discipline/deal with bad behavior". So many new people end up listening to all kinds of advice, and unfortunately, they sometimes take the advice that isn't correct. My husband and I Barefoot trim and start colts/board/lessons/etc. In the last month alone we met a guy that actually tied his horse's head to it's front legs because said horse wouldn't allow the bridle to be put on. After he had a vet clear the mare, I worked with her with nothing more than a cotton lead rope and bringing it up over her head like a bridle. Every time she tossed her head violently, moved away, or threatened to rear up I made her move. Tight circles, backing, etc and in about a half an hour I could slide the lead up her face and to her ears. But the biggest part of my accomplishment was the look on the guys face when he realized how effective that method can be. In less than a week she could be bridled fairly easy. There are still others that have tied a horse to a tractor and pulled it into a trailer because it refused to load, putting in a bigger/harsher bit for more control, use an ear twitch during trimming because of kicking (which we NEVER do), and many other things that make me cringe. So many issues can be fixed by simple discipline, patience, and consitentcy and most people don't realize when/how to do it. Teaching someone how to encourage basic respectful behavior and how that basic respect can benefit everything from vet/farrier work to saddle work to trailer loading would be a big benefit I think.

Jess said...

Hooray, first time posting!

I agree with everyone who suggested some kind of basic horse first aid. How to deal with emergencies, what to do before the vet arrives, what kinds of minor things you can treat on your own, and what needs vet attention ASAP, things to keep in your first aid kit, and so on.

I have a barn-mate who has owned her horse for about 5 years now and STILL calls me every time her horse gets an injury to ask what she should do, even after I remind her that a.) I'm not a vet, and b.) I cannot tell the severity of an injury over the phone to make a recommendation on whether I think she needs a vet or not.

glenatron said...

Seems like the problem is going to be more along the lines of editing ideas down than finding more...

Lizzy said...

Your horse is not a lapdog/lapcat aka why you need to be "mean" to your horse for it to be happy. (I've seen a few too many nice horses/ponies turn into rank sob's because thier green owners didn't want to be mean to them.

When you need to say "good bye" and euth. aka your vet says that we can try to fix it at$$$$$ cost- just remeber the vet is making $ out of this, and is it really in the horses best interest??(Things I have seen/heard in the last few years - 17yo gelding having shoulder pinned - has never been fully sound since and is now a "hard keeper" but "he's not in pain". 9yo horse with repeat tendon injuries - was kept on 10-15 acres, is now in a yard/stall/small turnout, and keeps re-injuring having somthing else go wrong, is now also getting incredibly rank from boredom and lack of exercise - and dare I say it, pain - this has been nearly 18mths of issues. I know it is horrible having to euth a horse, I've had to do it, but think long and hard about what a horse would rather be doing/living like rather than how horrid it is for you.)

sheesh said...

The MOST important thing that I would like to see beginners/new horse owners be made aware of is to get help from an experienced, knowledgeable horse person to pick out the right first horse for them. I have seen so many green riders with a green or inadequately trained horses and it makes me shake my head every time. One of the two has to know what to do or there will certainly be trouble or injury afoot. New or green riders need a confidence building horse so they can learn to ride and have fun, and that horse doesn’t need to be amazingly beautiful or the flashiest color. It will cost more money to get a good horse, but that is the best money that will ever be spent in the world of horse ownership.

Hannah said...

In response to Lizzy's examples for this: "When you need to say "good bye" and euth. aka your vet says that we can try to fix it at$$$$$ cost- just remeber the vet is making $ out of this, and is it really in the horses best interest??"

How about a 22-year-old horse having colic surgery? One of the horses I ride had exactly that (and shortly after developed a "permanent" [though it's gotten considerably better and doesn't affect her at all] heart murmur...and she already had arthritic hocks and no left eye), and is still alive and kicking (well, not kicking, because she doesn't do that. But certainly running away with you if you're not paying attention.) today at 24. The catch? Her owner is a vet...and said vet's other two horses were sick with fever/infection of some sort at the same time. I'm not sure if that vet actually did the surgery or if she made her colleague do it and just watched, but it was done. She later told me had her other two horses not been sick as well, she probably wouldn't have done the surgery...but all three are "healthy as horses" today!

Crowguys said...

I completely agree with Sheesh. Getting the right equine partner is one of the most important things a person, especially a novice, can do. When I became interested in getting a mule, I let my trainer do the searching. She found me an appy mule that was wormy and dumpy but had a great mind. Four years (and a lot of TLC) later, Maxine is happy and healthy, and we have earned a wall full of ribbons. It makes me sad to see folks at shows and on the trail who are over-horsed, because I know they're not having as much fun as they could.

My other tip would be to be wary of advice delivered by someone who talks in absolutes. (I'd NEVER do this and I'd NEVER do that!) I've found that the best horse people are thoughtful and can explain their reason for doing something instead of simply putting down those who do things differently.

Lizzy said...

It's awesome that your vets horse is right again - both of the horses that i mentioned were in competiton (approx 3ft - 3ft 6inch eventing)and were horses that were best off with jobs, and have undergone major changes in attitude and the ability to hold weight, even though they aren't in work.

Your vets horse sounds like other than the heart murmur it is still behaving as it always did.
To me that sounds like the horse is happy.

It's when the behaviour changes, the horse no longer holds weight, I start thinking that the horse isn't happy, even if it's not trying to curl up and die. Times like this are when I wish I could write better... if I had video of the 2 horses I mentioned before and now I think it would be easy to see, I only saw them very month or 2since they got injured, although I hear about what is going on, on a nearly daily basis (I worked with the owners) so maybe I see the changes more clearly. Oh to clarify, the pinned shoulder happened a few years back (when I - was in a different job and even town and the tendon injury is still on going - my relationship to the owners in both cases has been occasional feeding when the owners were out of town and "eyes on the ground" or camera person when they were training for an event and wanted to check something so then I was seeing the horses on a weekly or 2 weekly basis and have ridden both.

Lizzy said...

Oh and the how to pick a good learner horse is a brilliant idea - so much trouble and pain for both horse and rider could be fixed with the right horse for the rider.

shadowlake said...

Hey Mugs-- this os an excellent idea, & I sure hope it's followed through with. Completely OT, I believe I read there's another book about that 'effin Flowers'! ;)

Leah Fry said...

I was lucky to have good people step in to help me. Manners, manners, manners!!

Tansy said...

Paddock and stable management: how much grass is enough, when is it grazed out, poo picking, harrowing, cross grazing, parasite prevention. What to look for in a paddock or barn...
God, All the things I wish I knew when i got my horse...

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