There is a unique emotional bond between humans and horses ever since the first man tried to mount this wonderful animal. Horses seem to have the ability to sense a person’s mood and react to it. It is no wonder then that so many people enjoy books and feature films with horses as the stars. Here are some of the best known horses-actors.
The book “Black Beauty” was written in the 1870’s by writer Anna Sewell. She worked most of her life with horses and wrote the book especially with the intent to report and correct abuse against these animals. People all over the world know the story of Black Beauty, even if they never read the book. Since the 1940’s three movie films have been made about this animal, telling his story in his own voice. Even a TV show was made that run for several seasons.
My Friend Flicka
Flicka was the horse of a young rancher’s son Ken McLaughlin in Wyoming. At least it was so in the children’s novel written by Mary O’Hara that told of their incredible adventures together around the Goosebar Ranch. The first movie was made in the 1940’s and a remake in 2006 stars Alison Lohman as young farm girl Katy … A television series ran from 1955 – 1958.
The story of Seabiscuit is based on a true story. Seabiscuit was a racing horse during the Great Depression, but not a very good one at that. For some years he performed at the very lowest levels of horse racing. But then three man saw the talents that apparently were hidden. Author Laura Hillenbrandt made him into a legend by writing a bestseller about him. The consequent movie adaptation was inevitable.
Another real and living horse was Trigger. His fame came from the actor Roy Rodgers, who always appeared in films as cowboy. He bought Trigger in the 1930’s. Since then the two became virtually inseparable and Trigger was as popular if not more popular than Roy Rodgers himself. Trigger died at age 33 and when he died his hide was stretched over a plaster likeness. Even today you can see Trigger in the “The Roy Rogers/Dale Evans Museum”. (Roy Rogers-Dale Evans Museum: 3950 Green Mountain Dr, Branson, MO).The museum gets over 200,000 visitors a year and not surprisingly most people come to see Trigger..
Like Trigger, Mr. Ed was a dark-blonde Palomino horse. And although the show aired in the 1960’s even children today are familiar with the talking horse. Mr. Ed was not just another horse, no, he wanted to be more human than man and this meant that his owner, Wilbur got into all kinds of trouble very fast whenever Mr. Ed got his “hands” on a phone or was able to get out of his stable.
There are many questions that are asked everyday that no one knows the answer to. Some of these questions are more like riddles, for example, why do convenient stores that are open twenty four hours a day have bars on the windows and doors? These types of questions will get the wheels turning in a person’s brain. Then there are some questions that could cause a brain to explode. An example of this type of question is why do women love horses?
A person could easily spend the rest of their lives trying to figure this one out because there is not a clearly defined answer and the worst part is that if you were to ask a woman why they all seem to love horses so much they will not even know the answer. Many people have tried to answer this question, but there is not a solid answer.
One theory that has been proposed is that a woman’s love for horses is simply part of their DNA. Many people will say that there is a tiny gene located somewhere in a woman’s DNA that programs them to love horses. This “horse loving” gene is similar to the “sport loving” gene that all men are born with, yes guys; this is why you are drawn to all types of sporting events.
Many times the “horse loving” gene will begin to express itself during a woman’s childhood. Anyone will be able to determine when the “horse loving” gene is starting to express itself because this is when a young girl will start to play with toy horses and ponies, but it is important to know that the “horse loving” gene will be expressed more strongly in some girls that in others.
The girls that have a really strong “horse loving” gene will want to own their very own horse. Anytime a girl has the opportunity to ask for a horse, she will. This means that parents can expect to always see a horse on their daughters Christmas and Birthday lists.
Sometimes the “horse loving” gene will go into remission. This will usually happen about the time that a young woman turns sixteen and wants a car. Parents should keep in mind that it is often less expensive to purchase a horse for their daughters than it is to purchase a car.
Just because the “horse loving” gene has gone into hiding does not mean that it will stay there. There are many occasions when a woman’s “horse loving” gene will resurface. This is why you see many middle aged women buying horses for the first time. Now they do not have to rely on their parents to purchase a horse for them, instead, they now have the means to own a horse.
It is important to remember that all women are born with a “horse loving” gene. The only thing that differentiates all of the women of the world is at what point in their lives that their “horse loving” gene will makes its presence known.
Do you have Horse DNA? Stop on by our horse resource links below and join our community. We would love to hear from you and share some great stories.
Super Saver wins Todd Pletcher’s first Kentucky Derby out of 25 trips to the derby. Calvin Borel nicknamed Calvin “Bo-Rail” for his habit of riding next to the rail won the derby on Super Saver for the third time in 4 years of riding in the Kentucky Derby. He lived up to his nickname by hugging the rail on a sloppy wet track and swinging wide to run up between horses.
Super Saver was the third Derby winner in four attempts for jockey Calvin Borel, and the first winner out of 25 entries for trainer Todd Pletcher.
The yard was unusually busy and filled with anxiety when I arrived. Amongst the chatter I managed to glean that not long before lunch one of the livery horses had collapsed and been rushed to the vet school. Her life was hanging in the balance.
The cause was every liveries worst nightmare… an encysted red worm burden. It was so severe she had been given less than a 50% chance of surviving. Even if she did survive she would have permanent damage to her intestine that would mean careful dietary management for the rest of her life.
The horses at the yard, as with many yards, were turned out in groups and the groups never mixed. So any horse not in the group with this mare were most likely going to be unaffected. That didn’t stop many of the liveries going in to an emotional meltdown. My head was spinning and my stomach turned over as I digested the news. This mare shared a field with my youngster!
Regular worm counts as well as wormer for red worms and tape worm are part of my horses worming regimen so, in theory, my youngster should be fine. If only that was enough to stop me worrying.
The whole yard was put on ‘lock down’, grazing was off limits and horses were all stabled. An emergency worming programme was put in place and every horse had to follow this programme over the course of a week. It’s bad enough having to worm a horse a few times a year, I wasn’t about to disagree given the potential risk for my youngster.
My horses started out great with their week-long wormer regimen. They weren’t happy about it, but we were coping. Then around day 3 the yard owner decided that he would ‘help me out’ and he decided to worm my youngster before I arrived at the yard that day. I wasn’t particularly happy about it, but all seemed well.
Day 4 came around and it was time for the wormer. I prepped the tube and opened my youngsters stable door. He had one glance at the wormer tube and reacted as if I had thrown a snake in to the stable with him. This was not his usual reaction and I heaved a sigh as I could only imagine the scene the previous day with the yard owners approach to worming my youngster.
I pot the tube away and calmed my horse. Then went to find the yard owner. As my horses reaction had indicated, the previous days wormer administration had not gone well at all and it seemed that an approach along the lines of ‘pin it down with 4 men and a boy’ was taken. This was devastating news to me. My horse as showing me that a lot of emotional damage had been done in a very short space of time. Damage that was going to take more than one nights training to resolve.
There was nothing else for it. I had to quickly put a training plan together in my head as to how I was going to worm my horse that evening. It had to be done. The risk of not doing it was just too great. My approach was that of microshaping. I looked for the smallest approximation of the behaviour I needed from my horse to make this procedure as emotionally and physically safe as possible.
I wanted to tease apart what aspect(s) of the wormer was an issue so i broke it down in to steps to find what was OK and I could build from there. Starting where things were not OK was not going to lead to better things. I asked if I could open the stable door (no wormer in sight), yes, click and treat. Could I go in to the stable, then touch him, could I build up to touching him around his nose and his then his mouth. As long as he was calm and relaxed with each step of the process it was reinforced a number of times before moving on. At any time if he gave any indication that things were not OK then I took a step back in the training plan.
The next steps involved the wormer itself; could I stay on the other side of the door and simply hold the wormer tube, click for calm behaviour, wormer tube away and treat. We built this up gradually so that I could step in to the stable with the tube in my hand and he stayed calm.
It was surprising how quickly he learned that staying calm and relaxed about the process was preferable to getting anxious. Anxiety could easily have escalated but by approaching the training a small step at a time, by repeating each step and following Karen Pryors 10 Laws of shaping behaviour the end result was being able to worm my horse without force.
After just one nights training the behaviour was definitely not as good as I would have liked it to be, but we had a few more nights to work on that.
Over time I polished the behaviour by asking the horses to voluntarily bring their mouth to the wormer tube, open their lips and place their lips over the tube.
The final bells and whistles to the process was to teach the horse a cue where they knew “this time I plan to give the wormer”. If they were not ready they removed their mouth from the tube. If they are ready their mouth stays over the tube. Giving wormer paste to our horses is a necessary evil for most of us. However, we can give the horses control over the worming process and allow it to be their choice when the paste is given. We can make it a more positive experience for the horses.
The good news is, my horses are still in control over their wormer paste, neither of them were affected by the outbreak and the mare… she survived!
At the end of a fun-filled, but long day out with your horse all that’s left to do is get your horse in the trailer. You walk your horse to ramp, walk in and before you know it you’ve ricocheted off the end of the lead rope. You walked on the ramp but your horse slammed on the brakes as if hitting a glass wall at the foot of the ramp. He’s refusing to load! A circle around, another attempt; he’s refusing point blank to even put a foot on the ramp. Tired, hungry, now feeling a little embarrassed and desperately thinking of ideas. ‘Stubborn’ and ‘pig-headed’ fleet through your mind, maybe even a little anger surges as you mutter, “just move!”. But that’s not going to help get him loaded, in fact those thoughts might make matters worse as they tempt you to pull harder on the lead rope; he plants more firmly, or put a couple of sharp tugs on the lead rope; he reels backwards with his head in the air. You’re running out of ideas.
Through Their Eyes
Travelling our horses in trailers, or lorries, seems simple, but how often do we stop to consider it from the horse’s point of view. Why would a horse refuse to load? We’re asking them to go in to a confined space and possibly be isolated from other horses. Previous experience may have been unpleasant (e.g. rough journey or going for painful vet treatments). Think about standing for a whole train journey without holding on; it’s just as hard work for horses. After exertion in a lesson (you want to get the most out of the instructor who is only there once a year), or at an event, he’s tired and another journey might be physically daunting.
Imagine being taken on a mystery tour not knowing where you are going and what will happen. It might be fun, it might not be, you just don’t know. The uncertainty of not knowing can be stressful. You know home, a deep bed and a good feed awaits, but your horse won’t know that, not for sure.
What’s the Plan?
You might never know the complete answer to why the horse refused to load, but you still need to ask the questions. What you do know for sure is that you need to get the horse on the trailer to get home. You need a training plan. More specifically, you need a training plan that will teach the horse to willingly and enthusiastically trailer load when asked and that will keep you both calm and focused.
It’s important to note here that motivation to do something is not the same as motivation to avoid the consequences of not doing it. To ensure willingness and enthusiasm (desirable emotional response) to do what is asked the rules of positive reinforcement need to be applied. For this clicker training can be a useful approach.
There are 3 key steps to creating a successful positive reinforcement training (clicker training) plan;
Step 1; Decide what you DO want from your horse
Step 2; Create a training plan
Step 3; Do the Training! Think about, decide and focus on what you want and, very importantly, how you want the horse to feel about doing it; willingly and enthusiastically trailer load when asked.
It’s your job to motivate your horse, that requires reinforcing (click and treat) each small piece your horse is prepared to offer you. Don’t ask for more than is already on offer. The smaller the pieces you reinforce the more likely it becomes that your horse will be successful. Letting him be right and to choose to participate is a big part of building enthusiasm. He just stopped bracing against you, click and treat. Now he’s stretching his neck forward, click and treat. Can he walk away from the trailer, come back round and do that again, click and treat. Small steps towards the end goal will ensure a higher success rate in getting your horse loaded as well as help to ensure a positive emotional outcome for you and your horse.
Everyone knows how important it is to worm our horses regularly to make sure they are healthy and happy! This is especially important for those horses that are on pasture 24 hours a day, but is also important for stabled horses.
A few tips for worming horses:
Treat all horses grazing together at the same time and with the same product.
Take into account the horse’s age and type, local environment and climate.
Keep an accurate record of when you worm your horse and the product used.
Treat horses that are at grass during the winter, even if only for short periods.Do not overstock the paddocks.
When moving horses to new grazing worm them 48 hours before the move to help prevent the spread of parasites.
No single worming drug will kill all the horse’s internal parasites
Do not administer the drugs more frequently than recommended.
The key to worm control is to break the life cycle of the parasite, through drugs and pasture management.
Killing the four main groups (Large Redworms, Small Redworms, Tapeworms and Bots), will also kill all the other important worms. When you are moving from the warmer months and into autumn and winter, you may notice Bot flies hanging around your horse (mainly their legs). These annoying flies lay small white eggs on your horse in autumn, so using an effective boticide (ivermectin) when you worm at this time of year.
If the active ingredient in a worming product is used continuously on a property for a long time, there is an increased likelihood that the worms (especially Small Strongyles) may develop resistance to that family of drug, rendering the products no longer effective. Make sure to rotate wormers every year or so – this means getting a different wormer with a different active ingredient and not just a different brand – make sure you read the label or ask someone (such as your vet or the supplier of the worming paste) which active ingredients are different from the wormer you have been using.
The reason we do this is to ensure the worms within our horses are not building up a resistance to the type of drug in the wormers we are using – this can be a real problem as horses can carry heavy infestations of worms in their gut even though they are wormed on a regular basis, and start to lose condition and become unhealthy.
Ensure that your horse gets the correct dose for his weight. Don’t under-dose as this can lead to resistance in the worm population and the horse not being wormed effectively. This is particularly important to remember when you have a larger horse such as a friesian, as these horses often weight more than the highest dose level on the worming paste – often these pastes only go up to 550kg-500kg, and many friesians are over 650kg, with our heaviest horse weighing in at around 750-800kg!! The ‘mectin’ family of worming product is the most common class of wormer used in Australia currently – wormers such as Equimax (abamectin), Equest (moxidectin) and Equimec (ivermectin) are some examples. The ‘mectins’ are very good wormers, but there are growing concerns that over-use will lead to resistance in the horse industry and cause a loss of it’s effectiveness.
How to Avoid Resistance
Give the correct dose – especially do not under-dose
Use an effective worming product (not a product where resistance has developed, as it may make the problem worse)
Prevent the horse from spitting the paste back out and reducing the dose he gets – put the wormer all the way to the back of the tongue, and make sure to hold the horses head up for around 15 seconds after administering or until you can see that he swallows all of the paste. Rotate wormers (the drug not just the brand) – this can be done yearly.
Maintain good pasture hygiene – rotate paddocks and harrow in the summer months, or pick up manure in paddocks, or clean stables out daily. These measures avoid increasing the worm burden in the paddock/stable and hence also in the horse.
Remembering these simple steps and guidelines will ensure that your horse is happy, fit and healthy, on the inside and outside.
I always knew what I wanted to do as a child. I bounced around from several different career choices but all of them revolved around horses. As my senior year went by, I spent countless hours researching equine science degrees at four-year colleges and applying to schools all over the country that had programs that fascinated me. I ended up at Colorado State University, after debating between West Texas A&M, Tarleton State University, and Texas A&M. I graduated from Colorado State University with my degree in equine science and promptly attempted to enter the work force searching for my place in the equine world. What a learning experience!
If you are about to graduate high school or maybe you have a son or daughter who is about to graduate high school and they are determined to go to school for equine science. On one hand, it is an awesome thing that they know what they want to do, especially considering the astounding numbers of undeclared majors in state universities these days. On the other hand, the reality is, equine science is almost a worthless major in the eyes of most employers. It is also a degree that requires a lot of entrepreneur spirit in order to succeed in the equine world. If you are a follower and not a leader, this may not be the correct degree choice to work towards.
This is a tough place as every parent wants to support their children’s dreams. You can make a living at anything if you are truly determined to do it and you love what you do. The problem is after visiting college campuses and having a ton of smoke blown up your butt about how wonderful each school is, there is a lot to an equine science degree that nobody ever tells you until you get into the thick of it all and waste a ton of money on the degree.
Equine science is a popular pre-vet degree. Most four-year schools that offer the degree also have a veterinary program. What this means is, if you are not interested in becoming a vet, you still are going to class with pre-vet students who must get an A in every class. What this means for the average equine science student who is there to further their knowledge of the horse industry is, there are no curve grades, and the competition to get into classes with limited seats is tough. First preferences often times go to the pre vet students leaving the average equine science student to get pushed back anther year before they can take that required class that is only offered in the spring once a year.
Another feat perhaps more difficult than getting into your required classes when competing with vet students and pre-vet students is getting a job in the field so you can get experience most employers’ want you to have while you are still in college. Once an employer learns that you are not pre-vet often, times you, get bumped all together from those equine employers employee choices. Best way to avoid this is to inquire if the school’s internship program is actually hands on about placing students with employers, which allows a more fair opportunity for those who are going to school just to get their equine science degree to actually get a job around horses. Most schools that have placement programs do this, as internships are required in order to graduate from their equine science program. Employers will usually choose vet students and pre-vet students for positions within a barn or equine facility because they like the thought of having someone with veterinary knowledge around the horses for a minimal investment. 9 times out of 10, the equine science student will not even be called in for an interview when they are competing with vet students. This is why having a school placement program is crucial for avoiding this problem all together.
One of the other interesting little tidbits you learn while trying to get an equine related job while in college is that the equine industry in notorious for expecting you to work your butt off for free. This means you better be the master of the shovel, willing to work every spare minute you have for little compensation, and do it with a smile and maybe, just maybe you will get the opportunity to ride a horse, or work with an incredible trainer, or get some responsibilities that are not the bottom of the barrel work. I have to admit that the equine employers that think they are doing the educational system a favor by offering these internships are truly looking out for their own best interest and trying to find cheap labor. It surely is not for the students benefit in most cases. They assume every equine science student is a kept pony princess or prince whose bills are paid by their rich parents and that the college credit they are giving you in exchange for your hard work is equal to the compensation they would be paying a non-student. The other problem is most of these jobs, as I mentioned before you are stuck not really learning anything, but doing all the chores and work, that nobody else will do on the farm other than migrant workers. Which guess what, as an intern your even lower than that because they have to pay the migrant workers! It is a pretty sad and discouraging system. I do agree that scooping poop does build character, but there’s a limit to how much character building a college student needs while trying to learn the ropes in the equine industry while in school. There are also a fair share of equine employers who severely abuse this system and only participate to get their free slave college labor.
The reality is once you graduate with your equine science degree, what you do with it is up to you. It’s a degree best suited for those of you who want to start your own equine related business as employers look at it as a worthless degree otherwise. Most equine science graduates end up making their living in an industry outside the horse industry and often times run into roadblocks because of the validity of the degree itself. This is why I would encourage those of you pursuing this degree who are not vet students to minor in a degree or attain a second bachelor’s degree in a field that will help you get employment in the instance you are not working in the equine industry after graduation. I would recommend business, marketing, computer science, legal, or anything related to the energy field. All of these choices will complement your equine science degree and ensure you have plenty of career choices after graduation.
Do not be surprised that the low pay continues after graduation with your equine science degree. Most equine employers think they are being generous by offering you housing along with a huge monthly salary of 1500.00 a month in exchange for 60 hour a week worth of hard labor. This labor almost always includes scooping more crap, yes even after all the experience you gained in your internships doing this equine employers still feel you need more practice at it for little pay! What they usually do not tell you is the housing they are offering is nasty, rat hole, and you will have to share that housing with the other farm help, and you get to pay the utilities. Oh yes, the equine industry is tough. This is why if this is your direction you are choosing I would highly recommend that you minor in business. As the most successful in the equine industry are self employed small business owners that set off and started their own businesses to make a living. You really have no other choice unless earning a $1500 a month salary and living in a rat hole with no free time is your ideal career choice.
If you are lucky enough to find an equine job that is not on a horse ranch, breeding facility, or training facility the pay usually is not great, and you are expected to work hard! My example comes from personal experience. April of my senior year in college I got a position at The Arabian Horse Association as a Member Services Representative. I was so excited to actually get a horse job, I did not mind the 82-mile one-way drive to Denver, or the crappy pay which at the time was less than 10.50/hour. I thought the job was perfect for me as I focused a lot of my effort in learning about equine event management, and was stoked that I might actually get the experience and chance to help the AHA put on their breed shows. It also put my family at bay for not giving me a hard time not working in the horse industry, as up until that point I could not afford to go work for the equine slave drivers in college for free as I was not a pony princess, I had to pay my way through school which meant paying bills not just paying for alcohol. I was responsible for paying for a truck, my housing, my food, and my horse. Spending the time I was not in class working for free was not an option for me. I spent a year and a half working at the AHA, only to discover they kept wanting more data entry work, I rarely got to leave my cubicle hell, and the biggest raises they gave hourly employee’s was.05 an hour and in the year and a half I got one.05 raise. In that same year and half fuel prices increased over.30 a gallon. During that time several salaried higher paying positions came available within the AHA, but what you do not know is that the positions I applied for that were in the breed association development department, they wanted people with marketing, and business degrees, not equine science. The other problem with my job was the long commute. I could not afford to move closer to my job because it was in the middle of the city and I would have to board my horse an hour plus away from where I would be living and spending more money to have a horse, while being able to see my horse less just so I could get an extra hour of sleep, and avoid an 82 mile 1 way drive. I was living on a 5-acre horse property with my horse for less money than what is would have cost me to move closer to my work. Yeah, screw that. I quit and started my own business in the oil and gas industry after a bunch of prodding from my future husband that I was sitting on the road to nowhere. He was right.
I was regretful that I did not spend more time learning more about business and marketing in while I was in school. It is hard to even think about going to school since I went for 5 years paying out of state tuition only to discover the degree was worthless. Every successful equine business owner I know will tell you that they know dozens of people with my degree that do not use it. Therefore, my advice to those of you still determined to do this:
You had better be thick skinned and prepared for a lot of rejection. Competition with vet students is cut throat.
You will need to make a living until you can find a job, so find other talents that you have that will allow you to make a living until you can secure that dream job in the horse world.
Be prepared for the equine scum employers, it will never matter how much crap you scoop, many of these positions are dead end and they are just out to look for cheap labor. They have absolutely no interest in giving you what you want, they will work you until you quit or give up for as little money as possible.
Do not take any more than one job in your college career that entails scooping horse crap, seriously, it is not doing you any good and you will be wasting your time. You will learn more by getting work from other businesses that can help you become a successful business owner in the future. I worked one tax season for an accountant, it was one of the best experiences I ever had in college, and it taught me so much about being a business owner the experience was incredible!
If you have a truck, do not let an equine employer talk you into using your personal vehicle for their benefit unless they intend on fairly compensating you for it. I had one job in college at an Andalusion farm where the owner seemed to think that not paying me very much included free use of my truck to haul hay was included.
Narrow down you career choices while you are in school than contact future potential employers to find out what they are looking for when they hire for those positions. Why, because you don’t want to find yourself in an entry level job in the horse industry to only find out that the better jobs they offer require a completely different degree like I found out at The Arabian Horse Association. This will allow you to be working towards the best degree for your chosen career path, and not end up with a worthless, useless degree that will make it more difficult for you to attain employment with in the future.
2 year degree programs are good for getting a lot of hands on experience but they do not allow you to get participate in a backup major such as business.
2-year programs typically are better suited for those looking to go into horse training, riding instruction, and coaching. These programs are also cheaper, and typically, they are a much easier degree academically to complete. Just remember many careers require a 4-year degree unless you are in a job that is primarily a technical position such as an electrician, plumber, or other specialized career that requires special training.
4 year University Equine Science programs typically will have programs in equine reproduction, where you can learn the art of Artificial Insemination and semen collecting, as well as the skills required to work in a reproduction lab or breeding facility.
4-year equine science degrees typically are less hands on than a two-year equine science degree. You spend a solid 2 years at least working on core requirements that every major the school offers requires students to take. These include classes such as algebra, speech, English, statistics, chemistry, biology, foreign language, and public speaking. Of course, most of these classes are completely useless and will not make or break you in the real world.
There are some 4-year equine science programs out there where you never even handle a horse. Be cautious of this, after all there really is not much point to getting an equine science degree if you never handle a horse. If all you want to do is handle & work directly with horses a 2-year program may be the better choice.
Personally, I can attest to the fact that I regret getting my degree in equine science. I also wish that the career advisors at my school had been more honest with me. I paid a lot of money for that degree only to find out after graduation its true value. Your best defense in this world if you want to work in the horse industry is to be prepared to start your own business as that’s really the best way for you to make a decent living. It is a tough world and if you graduate with that degree and are expecting to get a high paying job, you are going to be searching for a long time because very few of them exist. In fact, there are very few equine science positions that even pay $35,000 a year. Many higher paying positions in the equine world also have other degree preferences for their job candidates that are not equine science degrees and only require that you have hands on knowledge of the equine world, not an equine science degree.
Finally, if you are looking for any job to just pay your bills, often time’s equine science degrees will not count, thus making it more difficult to attain employment outside the equine world. Your best defense in this world is to round out your education, do not get tunnel vision thinking horses and only horses. Attain a second bachelors, or get a minor in a degree program that can not only help your equine career but help you secure a job outside the equine industry if need be at a later time. Most importantly, do not let your college baffle you with bullshit, they only want your money and truly do not care what happens to you after graduation. Supporting yourself after graduation falls on you not the school, you graduated from, and there is no degree that has a guarantee you will be able to find employment after graduation, especially in today’s job market.
Canter has a definite left and right leg sequence. If your horse is on the wrong leg his legs are moving in right canter sequence on the left reign or left canter sequence on the right reign. A correct sequence is:
inside hind and outside fore together
Your horse stretches his inside fore further forward than the outside to help him stay balanced (As you would put out a hand to steady yourself) which is why he needs to strike off correctly.
Take a look at these common mistakes – and why they won’t help your horse.
Turning your horse’s head or leaning your body to the inside.Imagine all your weight was on one side of your body on a corner. You’d put out your other leg to try to stay upright, right? That’s exactly what he’ll do. To stay balanced he’ll throw his weight onto his outside front leg and make it his leading leg.
Using your outside leg harder. If your outside leg is banging on your horse’s side he’ll bend away from it. If he’s bent to the outside he’ll take that lead.
Turning a tight circle in the hope you’ll ‘encourage’ your horse to take the correct leg will only unbalance him. If he feels he’s falling to the inside he’ll throw his weight to the outside and take the wrong lead.
Most riders know the aids to canter but how you give them can have a huge effect on your transitions. Sitting trot is a key part of any canter transition. Do you avoid sitting for too long so you don’t upset your horse? Think again! What you actually need to do is sit for longer so he has time to relax.
Practice sitting trot. As you sit relax every muscle in your seat. Forget about how you look. If you’re a bit unstable initially it’s actually less unsettling for your horse than sitting and asking for canter in one stride.
Your horse must bend to the inside to strike off correctly but to do that he needs to bend through his body not from his head. Keep your contact even in both hands and use your body to bend him. He’ll mirror everything you do with your body with his. Turn your shoulders and hips to the inside and he’ll do the same.
Your outside leg moves back to tell your horse which leg to start cantering with (his outside hind). A firm nudge from your inside leg tells him when to go. Once in canter remember to move your outside leg back into position so you stay square and balanced in the saddle or you’ll unintentionally be asking him to move his quarters in.
Practice asking for canter on a 20m circle. Stay in sitting trot. Canter half a circle and trot half. Concentrate on the transitions. Ride 10 on each reign before you finish. Stay calm. One wrong lead isn’t a disaster. Settle your trot and ask again.
Remember your horse can only do what you ask. If he gets the wrong leg stop and think for a second. Are you sure it’s his fault? Or is he just doing what he’s told?
Do you want to keep up-to-date with the latest equestrian news, laugh at some funny horse bloopers or get inspired by beautiful horse quotes?
When owners and riders think about the horses back, the sacroiliac region is an area that is often overlooked or not considered significant. However injury in this area can cause the horse to be in a lot of pain or discomfort and can cause problems without there being any visible abnormality.
A study by the University of Minnesota reported that over half of the 124 horses presented to the clinic with suspected back pain had a sacroiliac problem. This suggests that the sacroiliac should be given some serious consideration when looking at back problems.
The sacroiliac junction connects the horses spine at the sacrum and the ilium of the pelvis. The joint is capable of very little movement and contains little or no joint fluid. It is supported by the ventral sacroiliac ligaments. In the area are also dorsal sacroiliac ligaments although these do not have anything to do with the joint structure.
Causes of pain in the sacroiliac region include:
Ligament injuries of the ventral sacroiliac ligaments or the dorsal ligaments running from the tubersacrale to the sacrum.The significance of this injury depends on the severity ie, if the ligament it torn or just strained.
Misalignments of the tubersacrale can cause discomfort in this area as joints may not be functioning within their normal range of movement (ROM). A McTimoney practitioner will often treat this area to support optimal joint function.
Fractures, predominantly stress fractures of the iliac wing have been found in racehorses. These are often too small to be seen on x-rays and are so found post mortem, this means they may well be present in horses of other disciplines but due to the lower incidence of post mortem examination they may not be picked up.
In certain equestrian disciplines the SI region can be put under extreme strain. Extremes of engagement, hind limb action or speed can over stress the joint. This means showjumpers, racehorses, dressage horses and some western disciplines such as barrel racers are at risk. Conformation of the horse is a consideration and whether the horse has conformation which is suitable for the job they are doing.
Sacroiliac injury can also be a result of falling, slipping and rearing particularly those that have gone over backwards.
Signs which may suggest that your horse has SI pain include:
Lacking topline and in consistent muscle development across the back and hind quarters
Lack of impulsion, reluctance to engage the hindlinmbs when ridden and reluctance to go forward
Bucking or kicking out whilst ridden
Hindlimb lameness where other conditions have been ruled out
Definitive diagnosis is difficult unless there is an obvious injury as the joint is deep and therefore cannot be examined by usual methods such as x-ray. The vet may suspect SI injury when the pain cannot be localised by nerve blocks right up to the stifle. Sacroiliac pain may be suspected by the McTimoney practitioner if the horse is sensitive to palpation over the tubersacrale.
Prognosis is generally good although this depends on the nature and severity of the injury. Ample time off work must be given to allow for ligament repair, it is thought that when recovery has been poor it can be due to not allowing enough time off work. Treatment options address the symptoms rather than the cause of the problem and can include: acupuncture, manipulation and corticosteroids.