"Powered by Oats -
Do not Step on Exhaust".
For The Good Of The Horse
Large and strong enough to revolt, horses are willing to work hard to please if they are given a chance to understand, and develop the skills. The horse's physiology and mental make-up should dictate what is acceptable in the way of care and training.
- FARRIER LIST of the Kenai Peninsula "Who you gonna call???" Local phone numbers listed.
- Tribute to Farriers
- Website of Hoof Care
(no foot, no horse)
This website has information on laminitis, and on other conditions affecting the hoof included in articles, discussions, links.
- Horseshoes: Cad-Re carries almost two tons of shoes in all sizes and many styles. Plains, T/H, Rims, Eventers, Draft, Pony, EZ and Extra-EZ.
Diamond and St. Croix.
- Training a Horse to Stand Still While Shoeing...and Have Legs Touched
RESCUE ..ALASKA EQUINE RESCUE...Information and contact numbers.
CARRIAGE DRIVING INFORMATION
- Carriage Driving Webzine
- Carriage Tour This tour shows pictures and describes all sorts of carriage and sleigh styles. The write-ups give an interesting view of life before cars.
- Commercial Driving Tips from Experienced Carriage Drivers
- About Bits
- About Stopping
- About Standing Still
- About Standing and Having Legs Handled
- About Trailer Position
- About Not Walking
- About Youngsters and Growth Plates
- Working with Stallions
Leather Terminology (under constsruction)
Harness Honey **Available at Cad-Re,** is a conditioner that softens and preserves in a unique way. It does not rot the stitching, nor does it allow mildew do form.
Harness Honey promotes flexibility even in cold weather.
Harness Honey is odorless and non-toxic. It contains no solvents, so it won't evaporate...once absorbed into the leather, it stays there!!
Harness Honey makes leather water-repellent, controls mildew and leaves no oily residue. It won't interfere with dye or glue. '
Tirade from Barb Lee, Harness Maker Barb Lee gives her strong opinion on using quality harness and leather goods because of their safety value. Barb now specializes in Biothane materials, and works with Australian, Rob Johnson, on innovative harness designs. Her website is Nearside Harness
- Horse Weight Gain Formula
- Chiropractic for HorsesSometimes an apparent disobedience by a horse is actually caused by a pain response, which can be fixed by a chiropractic adjustment. This Dr. Kamen offers a book and a video which show the whole proceedure for testing and treating a horse. The greatest value in reading the book, and watching the video is to catch an understanding of the procedure so that you can evaluate your own horse and then find a professional to do the work. However, since that is not always easy, the directions are there for home use, if needed. Also, Dr. Kamen gives seminars, should anyone be travelling.
- West Nile Virus Natural Remedy
- Talk to a horse's spirit
Describes a different level of communication.
Mr. Fletcher is writing a book about this topic- the spiritual horse and collecting stories about spiritual communications. To contribute your stories to the book, please contact Charles Fletcher
- Equine Studies Institute--Youngsters and Growth Plates
Dr. Deb Bennett website offers in-depth information, consultation, and literature on horse anatomy, training, attitude, and more. An exerpt from her article on growth plates............
"Maturity in Horses"
By Vertebrate Paleontologist Deb Bennett
Specialist in Equines
Back to Training
No horse on earth, of any breed, at any time, is or has ever been mature
before the age of six (plus or minus six months). This information may come
as a shock to many people who think starting their colt or filly under
saddle at age two is what they ought to be doing. This begs discussion of
(1) what I mean by "mature" and (2) what I mean by "starting."
(1) Maturity-Just about everybody has heard of the horse's growth plates,
and people tell me that the growth plates are somewhere around, or in, the
horse's knees (actually they're located at the bottom of the radius-ulna
bone just above the knee). This is what gives rise to the saying that,
before riding the horse, it's best to wait "until his knees close" i.e.
until the growth plates fuse to the bone shaft and cease to be separated
from it by a layer of slippery, crushable cartilage.
What people often don't realize is that there is a "growth plate" on either
end of every bone behind the skull, and in the case of some bones, like the
pelvis, which has many "corners", there are multiple growth plates. So do
you then have to wait until all these growth plates fuse? No, but the longer
you wait, the safer you'll be.
Owners and trainers need to realize there's a definite, easy-to-remember
schedule of fusion-and then make their decision as to when to ride the horse
based on that rather than on the external appearance of the horse. ....."
and it goes on to explain.
Check out the website. It is vastly informative.
- A BIT ON BITS
There are basically two types of bits. One is the snaffle and the other is
the curb. The snaffle bit can have several different mouthpieces such as
jointed, double jointed (French link and Dr. Bristol), mullen and straight.
There is no leverage action with a snaffle and these are all snaffles
regardless of mouthpiece. The second type is the curb. When shanks are
added to any of the above, the bit becomes a curb action bit and a chain is
added to apply pressure under the chin. These bits may also be jointed,
double jointed, straight, mullen, etc and do include the Kimberwicke. Many
people think the jointed snaffle mouthpiece, regardless of whether or not
it has shanks or not is indeed a snaffle. It is not. A snaffle is
basically two rings and a mouthpiece and nothing else.
Horses do not stop with their mouths. They stop with their brain. What
matters is how effectively your hand can work with and reach the brain.
Myler mouthpieces can be very effective or just as ineffective as any other.
It all depends on what has meaning to the horse.Back to Training
Subject: Re: Halt question
Anyway, this lady likes to have her horses halt with the thighs, not with
the reins. I do believe that is so that the horse does not learn to brace
against the bit, I will have to ask. Regardless, her thought is that one
thigh flex is a half-halt, whereas two flexes equal a halt. I have rode one
of her horses, and two flexes did indeed mean a halt! Interesting feeling
from a canter...
So, what is the accepted way of asking for a horse to halt from a
cart/carriage? Dressage style, if that makes a difference. Saying the word
*whoa* would be one way, but what about the reins? Do you just keep a
contact? Resist? Something else? Does this make any sense?
You make a lot of sense and that's a really critical question..
It's all about biomechanics. In a proper halt or half halt the horse steps
up under himself, contracts his abdominal muscles, flexes the lumbo sacro
joint in his croup and a bunch of other things. the point is that he stops
from rear to front and that has very little to do with the mouth and reins
when properly done.
Your dressage instuctor correctly has you doing transitions from your seat
which controls the hindquarters in a direct biomechanical way.
In driving, because you only have your whip and voice as forward aids and
no seat to directly control the hindquarters, it's more about allowing your
horse to go forward then manipulating that forward with well timed
resistances. To make everything work the way it should, your contact needs
to be totally elastic so any resistance from you can be felt easily and will
mean something to your horse. Perfect contact is the Holy Grail of driving.
I've also become convinced over the years that it's really important to
teach your horse early on to fold up his body from end to end and become
longitudinally supple, otherwise it's more likely that there will be
resistance to the rein. That's a little out of the usual dressage order of
training, but so is back up for driving, a safety measure and an indicator
of the horses ability to fold up. Flames to Joe.
In the half halt, you do a soft resistance until the horse yields then, THE
MOST IMPORTANT PART, you soften back to your horse immediately, You don't
release the contact except with a very green horse and even then not
completely. The timely softening allows the horse to come through and stay
forward yet still be supported. Repeat until the desired effect is
achieved. The concept is simple, the perfect execution takes practice, but
there are no substitutes. Actually britching helps you here because it can
push the hindquarter up under the horse especially on a downhill.
I know I said that it doesn't have a lot to do with the rein although in
driving it necessarily has more to do with the rein than riding. The rein
is a means to an end but it's still what's happening behind that counts. I
see people pulling the horse's mouth all the time, but the pull has nothing
to do with how the horse is stepping or where each hind foot is in it's
individual flight. If the horse is not stretched and supple it gets even
worse. Voice can assist in a downward transition, but it's a secondary aid
and can interfere with your understanding of this biomechanical process.
When the horse does this well, little voice is necessary and trust me, if
the s**t hits the fan, you can yell whoa till the cows come home and it's a
rare horse that will stop, but you may have a chance if he's normally
obedient to this yielding process that directly affects how he moves.
Anne Councill * Driving in Birch Hollow * Stewartstown, PA
Back to Training
- TEACHING "STAND"
Patience is number one and Consistency is number two.
Start with just a halter and lead rope and position your horse as if you =
were going to show in halter, at least the kind of halter that wants =
your horse square. End the positioning with "whoa" and then "stand". =
You should be facing the horse about 1-2 feet away, closer if need be. =
Count silently to yourself to five. If the horse did not move a single =
foot, I mean did not pick it up off the ground, never turned their head, =
but just stood there, you got your first 3 second stand. However, most =
of us will have horses that move a foot, turn to look at something, etc. =
Any movement of any foot requires that you say, "No, Stand" and put the =
foot back exactly where you first put it, in the hoof print if possible. =
Every time the horse turns their head to look at something you say, =
"No, Stand." and guide their head back to where it started from and so =
on. If all you can get is the count of two without movement great, take =
it. Turn around and face the forward direction and ask your horse to =
walk a few steps and repeat the whole exercise. I idea is that the =
horse needs to learn that when you say "whoa" it means stop. When you =
say, "whoa, stand" it means don't move.
You can teach this to babies as young as a few months, depending on the =
baby, as long as you don't ask for too many seconds in a row, but the =
sooner you start the better. Also, by always asking the horse to stand =
square, you emphasize that this the position I want you in when I say =
stand. Helps with those halts at X... And all halts for that matter. =
It becomes a habit for them.
When you can count to 50 or 100 without your horse moving any feet and =
not even turning his/her head, 10 days in a row, you have probably =
taught it from the ground. Now you can start at the beginning teaching =
it from the saddle or the carriage. Back to Training
- THE HORSE'S PREFERENCE IN TRAILER POSITION
Re: trailering positions
A woman did a well planned experiment for Masters Degree at
LSU. she noticed that when a horse traveled in a box stall they automatically
placed themselves in what turned out to be the least stressful position to
accomodate braking and acceleration. She took a group of horses and trailered
them in all the accepted positions, did all sorts of blood tests, muscle biopsies
and other stress determining tests. what she published was that facing
backwards was the least stressful, backwards on a slant next, forwards on a slant
next and straight forward most stressful. The reason is that accelerations are more gradual than
deccelerations so heavy bracing for braking is done by the almighty
powerful hindquarters. When they are facing forward they take all stress on
their front legs when you slow down and they lean into the direction of travel
. Facing backwards all effort is on the hindend. The
amount of stress they take is also directly proportional to how badly you drive
the towing vehicle. Another article in a national TB magazine interviewed
commercial drivers and aircraft pilots who transprt horses. They pointed out
very plainly that you cannot do "2" things at once when hauling horses. You must
accelerate and deccelerate on the straight. The pilots even come to a halt
at the end of the runout before they turn off the runway. this translates into
NOT accelrating through turns as you would when hurrying to a soccer game,
NOT slamming on the brakes to go around a turn. Horses really appreciate a
driver who anticipates whats coming up a 1/4 mile down the road. If you see a
horse leaning or scrambling in a trailer you can be pretty sure he's the victim of
a bad driver. Horses never forget anything thats
done to them - it only takes one distracted trip on your part to enjoy a horse
who tells you he'll never get on a trailer again.................
If you position him so he's least stressed and drive him like he's FtKnox he'll look forward to road trips.Back to Training
- HORSE WON'T RELAX TO WALK ??? (applies to both carts and astride)
Even though pony is 20 years old, he is relatively green in
the cart, so he starts out each drive at a fast trot and can
only be convinced to walk after about 20 minutes.
This raises a red flag for me. I think he can be convinced that walking is a
good idea from the get go. It will take some work but he has convinced you
that he needs this warm up when in fact he is expressing some anxiety about
driving and manifests it as trotting out til he's tires. This isn't so
unusual when you understand that he is at his core a flight animal. The
question you have to solve is why is he anxious? Until you solve that, he
will not get better. Its not normal, nor safe. He needs to be put at ease
about his driving so that he will walk, stand etc right from the moment he
is hooked. Not 20 minutes later. Only be seeing him in action can anyone
hazard an accurate opinion about what is bothering him and how to proceed.Back to Training
- Stallions-A whole different mindset:
Subject: Re: Drving a Stallion (LONG)
There are many
really good stallions with enough smarts to know when they can when they
can not act like stallions. Their owners train, use and show them and
never seem to have a problem. The inexperienced observer may see this
often enough to believe there really is not that much difference between
using a stallion or a mare or gelding. Nothing could be further from
the truth and in many instances inexperienced people try to use a
stallion in this way with disastrous results. There are many stallions
who should not even be stallions and there are people who should not
have and attempt to use stallions. For those who feel their young horse
should be kept a stallion and wish to try to use him in driving and
other activities around other horses I suggest the following:
Establish good manners very early on and insist on the horse using them
at all times. Don't allow the stallion to push the boundaries at any
time for any reason. Don't make excuses for him. Stallions do not
"accidentally" bump into you, push against you or step on you. He
should not enter your personal space or touch you with his head / mouth
at any time. Correct him each and every time he does this. A stallion
nuzzling you is not cute and is not affection. His nature is to seek
dominance and he will find all kinds of little ways to see if he can
dominate you. Remember that training is nothing more or less than habit
to a horse. Get him in the habit of being respectful or your space and
keeping his head and mouth off people at all times. You don't have to
be rough or loud.......in fact rough, loud discipline will probably work
against you. Simply push his head away when he brings his mouth around
to explore you, hold it away from you and scratch him on the shoulder.
Make a habit of this. If you take care of the little transgressions and
make a habit of doing so the big things are not as likely to ever
happen. Do not allow people to pet the stallion on the face or play
with his mouth. If anyone is going to touch him they should be
instructed to scratch his shoulder while making sure that he keeps his
mouth away from them. Your message to him should be: "I can touch you
any time, anywhere but you can't touch me."
When you are around a stallion have your attention on him at all times.
Don't turn your back on him EVER no matter how good he is. Many people
have died because they thought they could trust a stallion. Remember
this: When a stallion strikes he does so with lightning speed and
intent to kill. It doesn't matter that he has never done this before.
It only takes once. His nature is to lull the unsuspecting into a false
sense of security and strike when it is least expected. Don't ever give
him the opportunity. Stallions are the peacocks of the breeds and there
is nothing IMO more endearing or enchanting than a wonderfully well
bred, trained stallion BUT KNOW WHAT YOU ARE DEALING WITH. If you don't
have experience get help from someone who has handled and trained many
From the very beginning of your training make OBEDIENCE first and
foremost in your mind. Know how to correct him effectively and fairly
and do it each and every time he makes a mistake. However, DO NOT pick
on him. Be generous with your praise and reward him with a scratch on
the neck now and then. KNOW the difference between an honest mistake
when he is trying hard to please you and the times when he will be
messing around and trying to see what he can get away with. Stallions
will do a lot of this and you must know the difference.
Don't set him up to fail when you take him out around other horses
especially in the beginning. Keep a comfortable distance and keep his
mind on you. When he starts to become distracted move him farther away
and get his mind back on what you are doing. Then move gradually closer
to other horses / distractions and keep his mind on you. Spend many
hours working with the stallion in different settings. Ground driving
along the road is good once he is going forward well. Go beside
pastures with other horses and insist that he pay attention and do his
job without talking or showing off. If he doesn't do it right correct
him with your voice, turn around and go the other way, settle him and
then come back. Tell him what you want and stay with it until he does it
right. Teach him to halt and stand still then practise doing this in a
variety of places / circumstances.
Make sure that you find and use the correct driving bit! This sounds
easier than it actually is. I trained Amazing Kite with an ordinary
half cheek snaffle. 98% of the time this bit is just fine. He has a
very light mouth and is very obedient to the bit. In fact he could
easily get behind the bit if I was not extremely careful with my hands.
However, there came a time when we were out around other horses and he
surprised me by walking right through the bit. I needed to find a bit
that would give me the control when I needed it but would not be too
harsh. I also needed to make sure that I was consistently correct in my
use of the reins. We tried a liverpool and then a buxton and found that
they were not right for Kite. Eventually I found that a butterfly with
a curved mouth was just right on the mildest setting.
In short, training and using a stallion is a challenging, fun and very
rewarding endeavor. It is NOT just like training any other horse. When
we keep and use stallions we are responsible for making sure that all of
the horses needs are met physically, mentally and emotionally. Those
who are not sure how to do this properly should not attempt it without
help from an experienced person. There is so much more to it than I
could put into one post. Don't set yourself and your horse up to fail
or get hurt! Training and using a stallion is not something that anyone
should attempt to learn through trial and error. Look ahead in every
circumstance. Know and anticipate what the horse is likely to do or how
he is likely to respond BEFORE you proceed and know the YOU are
absolutely in control before you do anything.
I was at a clinic with Amazing Kite last week. We had a lovely sunny
day with a hint of fall in the air. Kite was very happy to be there and
feeling quite full of himself when we started long lining. I noticed
that the crupper needed some adjustment and asked Kite to halt. He did
so but was very "puffed up", snorting and blowing and looking like he
might go to the moon at any moment. The clinician was leary of
adjusting the crupper for me in case Kite might kick at him (wise man).
So, knowing Kite as I do, I adjusted the crupper while the clinician
headed the horse. My statement was: If he kicks at either of us he
will be a GELDING tomorrow and he knows this! The clinician laughed and
we had a wonderful time driving Kite put to my beautiful new Meadowbrook
cart. Kite was spectacular, we did shoulder in, breath taking
extensions, flying lead changes, superb collection and a lovely free
walk. I couldn't have asked for anything more! Working Kite never
fails to give me the thrill of a lifetime and he moves me to tears with
his spectacular spirit, intelligence and beauty but..... KNOW
THIS........we have invested many years and a lot of work to get this
talented sweet tempered guy to this point and we are still learning!
Generally speaking good horse
handling skills are important when handling any horse.....mare, gelding
or stallion. We simply need to step it up a notch when handling a
stallion and be sure that our skills are fine tuned. I once saw a woman
lose her nose to a twenty year old gelding whom she had owned all of his
life. She was standing in front of him and kissing him good-night on
the nose. He didn't do it viciously or with intent. Her nose was
simply there, in his face and he closed his teeth on it. Not a pretty
scene. does this mean you shouldn't kiss your horse? No, it means you
should know the potential of horses and stand in the right spot when you
kiss your horse! My old riding instructor, Staff Sargent Fred Rasmussen
told a story of a young policeman in the RCMP Musical Ride who lost his
life to the stallion he rode every day. He was brushing the horse in a
standing stall when it came around and bit him in the side crushing his
spine and kidney. He was dead before anyone could get to him. On a
personal note; Many years ago (20) I was washing a stallion that I had
raised and trained by the book. I rode him every day around other
horses and in lessons. People often commented on his quiet, mannerly
demeanor. On this day he saw someone bringing another horse up toward
us (fifty feet away) and it happened to be a horse he didn't like. As I
turned to shut the water off he grabbed me with his teeth and moved me
away from that other horse then stood over me protectively. The bite
was on my neck and crushed my carotid artery. By the time they got me
to the hospital I was in respiratory arrest with a BP of 40 / 25. It
was a hard way to learn that I should have tied the horse! Before that
day he never gave any indication that he needed it. In fact he was so
well behaved that I could have laid the lead rope on the ground as I
would have with any of my well trained, mannerly horses. Or so I
Where it is true that a stallion should be treated like any other horse
there are certain things that a stallion will do that other horses are
not as likely to do. We never know when something will trip their
primordial trigger and cause them to respond like a stallion. As
someone else said, stallions are generally immune to pain so hitting
them serves no purpose as a general rule. Unless you are going to pick
up a baseball bat and swing it with all of your might (not recommended!)
you aren't going to make anything close to the impression a mare would
make by kicking him so why bother. Being loud, yelling at him generally
just makes a fool out of the handler and the stallion continues on with
his own agenda. So what works? Having a deep, personal, intimate
relationship with the stallion based on respect and knowledge of the
individual horse. Being in his space every day, brushing, tacking up,
working, etc. engaging in a partnership that is kind of like a dance
where you always lead. Knowing and taking care of the little tiny
details that communicate with him and correct quietly and positively.
Standing in the right spot while working with him so you can quietly and
gently remind him by the use of your body language what is OK and what
isn't. He will be checking every day to see if you are still in charge
so be ready. Hand feeding treats doesn't spoil the horse. Hand feeding
the wrong way does. Knowing the difference is essential...especially
- Draft Horse
He was asked, "How difficult is it to drive an
eight-horse hitch? Is there a separate rein for each
"Yes," he replied, "for each horse. There are eight
reins, four in each hand. I guess; excuse my
adjective; it just takes guts! I worried more about
driving the tractor-trailer the first time than I did the
eight horses. When you think you've got eight ton of
animals pulling against those reins, you've got to
have a mind that isn't thinking truly. But there are a
lot of people driving them, and they have good luck
with them, so they've got to be trained. As I say,
the most important thing is that they understand the
- COMMERCIAL CARRIAGE DRIVING HINTS
From: Michele Goudie-Lowe
Subject: Commercial carriage driving tips
I've been driving in Chicago for 11 years now. I've driven nutjobs and
deadheads. While I prefer the nutjobs (they keep me awake), a deadhead will
be your best pal. They may not always be pokey, but you can rely on them
most of the time to not get you into trouble.
Some thoughts on top of the rest of the advice.
Use your ears. Listening to what's behind you can tell you a lot of how
fast a vehicle is, and approximately where. You may not be as good as the
horse, but it will come in handy.
At night, look on the ground. Cars can be very quiet, and you won't know
they're behind you. You can see the light reflecting off of the pavement,
which lets you know they're there, and to make room for them to pass on a
one way street.
Learn to sidepass and parallel park your rig. If you're stuck behind a
broken down car, you're tight on the bumper, there's nothing more valuable
than a horse that can sidepass the carriage out of the situation. Parallel
parking will come in handy when you least expect it. The ideal sidepass is
to have the horse bring the wheels left or right with little or no forward
movement of the horse. That's idea. If you can't get ideal, check for back
up room then sidepass out.
Mirrors are wonderful, but don't rely on them. LOOK over your shoulder if
you're not sure where things are. Another carriage behind you? Raise your
hand in a "stop" gesture to let them know you're about to stop or slow down
If in doubt, stop. Screw the traffic behind you, safety for you, the horse
and the passengers come first.
At intersections, if you have a flashing hand to let you know the light's
about to change, stop. Don't run it, it only creates a bad habit in the
And lastly, but not least, if your horse bolts, don't ever. EVER. Hesitate
to give it a come-to-Jeebus moment. I'll make my horse sit on their heiny
before I let them get anywhere.
From: John Thompson
Subject: City Driving
I think that the book "Training Teamsters/ Training Workhorses" by Lynn
Miller is a very good book to help horsepeople who don't know driving get
into the mindset of draft and harness. The book is not about dressage and
turnout- it's about getting a JOB done.
I once knew a dressage queen who got a job driving at our city company...
she was blessed with a lunk of a drop dead beautiful dappled grey hard
mouthed nose dragging percheron who KNEW HIS JOB and could do it with
nothing by a Jack Russel on the box... but this little queenie gets out a
stinking whip and decides that she is going to drive the old man "on the
bit" at a walk (by the way- we NEVER trotted our horses on pavement- grounds
for firing) for a 8 hour shift... ummm no hun- you can put your whip away
and save it for the skateboarders who try to hitch a ride off your
fenders... don't torment that good horse who knew all about doing what had
to get done before your fancy pants schooling showed up on the scene and
decided that he was going incorrectly with your high falootin' ideas about
what's proper... he is going to get you through the day without killing
anyone or doing any damage, he's going to draw them to you at the carriage
stand and he is going to pay your rent at the end of the month... and THAT"S
PLENTY- don't get your ego wrapped up in forcing the perfect perpendicular
on his heroicly honest nose. You give him a carrot and a hug and get your
damn whip off his rump.
Sooo... that's my little warning about what "schooling" your employees may
come to you with. What works in a show ring or a dirt arena (for ribbons)-
does not apply at all to what works in traffic and concrete (for safety and
I worked 8 years in Philadelphia (a decade ago), very heavily trafficked,
very narrow streets, very demanding tour, very competetive carriage business.
From: JC Dill
Subject: TOUCHY LEGS
> Advice requested: this new mare I bought has never had her feet
> done. She really doesn't want anyone to touch her lower legs and has
> put in a strong vote, fore and aft,that she not be touched. I am not
> sure exactly what to do this side of tranquilizers and/or dropping
(Step 1..see Stand above)
For this mare, you are stuck at step 2. One safe way to work on step 2
and not get your head kicked off is to use a sweep broom (the type you
use to sweep the kitchen floor) to brush the legs. That way you can
stand back and brush and if she kicks or strikes you are out of range.
Start by just using the broom on her body as a dandy brush until she's
100% OK with the broom as a grooming tool, before you move on to use it
to brush her legs.
One problem with succeeding at step 2 (below) is that when the horse
moves your hand comes away from the leg, so they get "reinforced" by
moving, the irritating thing stops when they move. I'm going to assume
that she's OK with brushing to the knee. What you want to do here is
brush with the broom along the body and along the leg where she's OK
several times (so that she doesn't associate that the broom always means
you are going to try to brush below the knee), then *quickly* brush down
the leg, and then take the broom away (don't do it again, immediately)
before she can move *while* you are brushing. If she stands still for
this single brush, *praise* her. If she moves just ignore it and go
back to brushing her elsewhere, then brush on the upper leg a few times
(be sure this is *random*, if you always brush 3 strokes to the knee and
go all the way down on the 4th stroke this just teaches her to
anticipate the 4th stroke as being the one she doesn't like) then all
the way down the leg again. Also brush on the upper leg a few times and
do NOT go all the way down but go back to brushing her back or
something, back and forth, so that she doesn't always associate that
when you brush the upper leg you *are* going to brush all the way down
before you go off and do something else.
Your goal here is to get her to just stand still for a *single* brush
that goes below the knees, and to praise her for standing. Don't do
more than that on the first day. I also suggest you just work with the
front legs in the "touchy" zone the first few days and get success
there, and brush the back legs only above the touchy zone until she's
better on the front. Once she "gets it" in front, then you can start
working on the back legs too.
On the second or later day, once she stands without getting upset for
just one brush below the knees, *then* try brushing twice in a row.
Again, if she moves after the brush, ignore it, but if she stands still
then *praise* her and go on to do something else for a bit. All 3 of
these things are important:
1) Ignore the undesired behavior (focusing on it by "correcting" can
make it *more* likely to reoccur).
2) Praise when she does the desired behavior.
3) Take a break after the desired behavior (don't try to get it again,
If she's food oriented (most horses are :-), you can add in a treat with
the praise. If you want to really motivate her to stand, you can also
look into clicker training which links a sound (the clicker) with the
thing she did to earn the praise/treat. It takes some extra time to
train the horse to understand the clicker, but once the horse knows what
the clicker means they start working to *earn* that click and you can
often make huge breakthrus in training in just a few sessions with the
clicker marking the progress steps. If you haven't learned how clicker
training works, you need to know that the clicker is a *training* step
and not a *doing* step - you won't/don't always need a clicker to get
the desired behavior, it is just used during the initial learning to
help the horse understand when you say "Yes, you did it, that's IT,
thanks!". As the behavior is learned you go from always clicking and
treating to using the clicker in a random reinforcement manner to ensure
the behavior is really learned then you phase out the clicker use entirely.
 There are 10 steps to training a horse to stand for shoeing:
1. Standing: Horse stands still while you work around them. (You
can't do anything if they don't stand still!)
2. Brushing: Horse stands still when you stroke the legs (brushing).
3. Unweighting leg: Horse stands yields to pressure (unwieghts the
leg) when you push forward on the fetlock, without moving off (becoming
scared). It's OK if they do 3 and 4 together but if they don't, focus on
getting 3 alone before asking for 4 (the actual lifting).
4. Pick up leg: Horse yields the leg (picks it up) when you press on
the tendon, or push the fetlock forward (leg lifting cues).
5. Hold leg: Horse allows you to hold the leg in the "home position"
briefly (home position is the place where the horse lifts the leg, you
don't try to move it you just briefly support it at that position then
let it go).
6. Pick out hoof: Horse lets you pick out the leg while it's being
held in the home position.
7. Move the leg: Horse lets you move the leg to other positions away
from the home position (forward, back, to the side).
8. Hold the leg in the "farrier" position: Horse lets you place the
leg in the farrier position for brief moments (less than 30 seconds).
This step actually has 2 components, because there are 2 "farrier
positions", one where the farrier trims and nails on a shoe, the other
where the leg is pulled forward and the farrier rasps off flares or
clenches and finishes the shoeing job. You have to practice both of
these positions if you want your horse comfortable and happy letting the
farrier hold the leg in both of these positions.
9. Trim the hoof: Horse lets you place the leg in the farrier
position and perform a farrier task (such as removing the shoe or trimming).
10. Nail on a shoe: Horse lets you nail on and clench a shoe.
The problem is that most people jump from step 1 (maybe) to step 6 to
step 10 and never work on the intermediate steps and stay there until
the horse is completely comfortable with what you are asking.
If the horse moves away while trying any of these steps, it's because
the previous step wasn't really solid and the horse wasn't really
accepting it. Go back a step and get it solid before moving forward again.
 Kicking is something I never allow, but when you have a horse that
is really touchy about the legs you may need to allow her to kick (and
have it be ignored) in the beginning, just to get her to stop being
afraid of having her lower legs touched. For the first few lessons with
the broom, you can just ignore undesired movement so you can focus on
getting the desired movement and she starts to "get" what she has to do
to get you to praise and stop (the *stop* is the real praise, BTW) which
is to stand without moving or striking or kicking. Once she understands
what gets the good results, THEN you can add in correction when she
kicks or strikes. If you punish her in the beginning this usually just
makes her fearful of the whole process of having you touch her low on
her legs. If she kicks or strikes every time you touch low, and you
punish her for kicking or striking then she associates being touched low
with being punished and doesn't understand that she's only being
punished for kicking or striking. So you have to get past the fear by
ignoring the kicking and striking until it's an uncommon occurrence, and
THEN you can punish her for doing it, because at this point she should
be willing to try standing and both avoid the punishment AND earn the
praise/treat/reward/break that she has come to associate with doing the
Subject: Re: Spring grass
Vet - Cori Stava explained
"The pastures will soon be turning green - signaling that Spring is
here. These lush pastures can be a great source of nutrition for some
horses and the source of pain and laminitis (founder) in others. Some
grasses not only store energy in the form of starch in their seed
heads but as fructan in their roots, leaves an stems.
High levels of fructan are produced in the Spring when the weather
warms and the pasture grasses begin to grow rapidly. During daylight
hours, the plants produce more energy than they need and the excess
is stored as fructan. The fructan is then converted back to energy
that is required by the plant to grow during cool nights or on cloudy
When a horse eats lush Spring grass containing fructan, the excess
sugar causes bacteria in the horse's intestinal tract to multiply
rapidly and release toxins into the horse's bloodstream. These toxins
can damage the laminae of the foot leading to exstream pain and the
development of laminitis.
There are ways to adapt your horse to these pastures and prevent
laminitis from occurring. The BEST TIME TO ALLOW YOUR HORSE TO GRAZE
IS EARLY IN THE MORNING OR ON CLOUDY DAYS, especially if the
temperature at night is above 45 degrees Fahrenheit, since fructan is
used by the plant at night or on cloudy days.
The MOST DANGEROUS TIME to allow them to graze is late afternoon or
early evening on a sunny day.
(this is also the case for cutting hay - makes the hay sweet BUT
dangerous for those prone to problems)
Overweight horses are especially prone to grass founder and should
only be allowed to graze for a few minutes to a couple of hours each
day until temperatures warm up and the grass growth rate slows.
Start with 15 - 20 minutes per day till the horse becomes acclimated.
Grass consumption can also be limited by allowing your horses to fill
up on hay.