Friday, February 19, 2010

Lying down on the Job!

We seem to be equally delighted to see our horses galloping around and lying around! Of course, the first represents that sense of freedom and spirit that we so love to see, and the latter represents a sense of relaxation, trust and comfort that we so love to see as well! Horses can lie down in favorite spots, funny spots and even on the front door mat! - as my little miniature colt used to do! Lying down with your horse is particularly heartwarming and feels wonderful. Lying on them while they are lying down is fun too! Shows trust, confidence and respect - on both sides! Here Corbello waits patiently for 'the bus'.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Through your horse's eyes

If you were your horse, how would you feel about so many of the things that your human (you) subjects you to? Would you like your human, respect your human, look forward to seeing your human? How would you feel about the places you go, the float you travel in, the things you were asked (told) to do? To truly do this exercise, without placing your human values and perspectives on your horse (anthropomorphising) you need to understand something of horse psychology! Make it a goal this year to learn more about your horses' mental and emotional needs, not just the physical needs!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Is your horse hungry?

You know what it's like when a child, toddler or baby is hungry! They let you know it, loud and clear - they become irritable, their concentration span lessens and they can be difficult to soothe. I often liken horses to children (you wouldn't yell at your child or strike them or punish them when they didn't understand something!) when talking about patience, kindness and understanding.
So, like a child, a hungry horse can be a challenge to teach and they can show anxious, disrespectful and fidgety behaviour. During clinics I encourage people to bring plenty of hay for their horses as I know that around the 90 minute mark they start to look for food and lose concentration (this is all the reason to keep your learning sessions short and take frequent snack breaks).
I say there are no 'naughty' horses ... they are only doing the thing that makes most sense to them at any given time!
Driving around to lessons this past week, I've seen many horses standing in bleached paddocks with hardly a stem of decent forage. What is there, is sour and lacking in nutrition and the horses have a vague, hopeful look about them when they see me stop to have a look. Horses need about 2% of their bodyweight in forage (grass,hay) a day, so weigh your horse (use a weight tape) and calculate what he/she needs.
Crankiness can be plain old hunger ... so make sure your horses' daily food needs are being met before you blame him/her for being cranky!