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NEW MEXICO HORSES

RIDES

TRAINING

PEOPLE

PLACES

New Mexico FEB/MAR 2017

Get ready for spring tips from experts in:

&

WHAT TO DO WITH YOUR HORSE CRAZY KID THE PURE BEAUTY OF THERAPEUTIC RIDING

TRAVEL TIPS FOR A HEALTHIER HAUL TRUCK WHAT TO KNOW TO BE READY TO GO RIDING SPRING RIDE IN THE DOŃA ANA MOUNTAINS FREE! / GET READY FOR SPRING -- YOUR HORSE, YOUR RIG & YOU / TRY THIS TRAIL!


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Classes Demonstrations • Trade- Saddle Show • Raffle Silent Auction • Horse Sale Trade• Show - Silent Auction - Demonstrations


GET READY FOR SPRING ISSUE -TRAINING / TRUCK CHECK LIST / HAULING HEALTHY

FEATURES

2 0

14 F ind and F ix th e Holes in Y our Horsemansh ip

2 2

5 easy-to-fix habits that will improve your horse handling

16 Build a Stronger Bond

5 steps to encourage your horse to be your partner

18 A G ift for th e J ourney

She gave herself and her horse a precious gift–training

20 5 Endurance Riding Tips

Hit the trail with confidence with this expert advice

22 F rom W oolly to W ild

Reining tips to help any horse behave better this spring

23 Th e End of Y our W its' End How to know when it's time to get training

24 Th e Truth Ab out Conseq uences Find out if the science of training is for you

26 On the Road Again

Basic truck know-how is the key to keep you on the road

29 Attack Your Tack Clean tack means safe tack

30 Haul Safe & Health y

How to reduce health risks when you trailer your horse

32 Don' t Hide Th eir Craz y

How to help your child be horse-obsessed

35 J oy ous J ourney s

Insights into therapeutic riding and volunteering

PLUS

3 8

36 F eb ruary / M arch Ev ents 37 Horse Serv ices Directory 38 Try Th is Trail– Doňa Ana M ountains Horse Around New Mexico is printed six times per year: Feb/Mar, Apr/May, Jun/Jul, Aug/Sep, Oct/Nov, & Dec/ Jan. Submissions of articles and photos from all around NM are welcome! See our website or email/call for submission standards/deadlines: www.horsearoundnm. com, HorseNewMexico@gmail.com, 505-570-7377.

Horse Around New Mexico©2017. All rights reserved. Horse Around New Mexico and Horsearoundnm.com are copyrighted, trademarked, and the sole property of Cecilia Kayano. Individual content copyright belongs to the author. All the opinions expressed herein are the sole opinions of the writer and do not necessarily reflect bias or belief on the part of the editor, publisher, distributors, printer, advertisers, or other contributors.


ou always remember your first and of course, m talking about your first horse, and in my case, my first advertiser. My first horse was a free Shetland Pony named Fuji. At age 8, had no riding lessons, no -H, no Pony Club, no nternet, no free horse magazine packed with info. There was no parental guidance as my mother was from Tokyo not a lot of horse activities going on there and my father was from a Polish dairy family Horses are tools . Fuji taught me how to ride by running away with me, brushing me off low branches, and tossing me into puddles. loved her so. ike Fuji, my first experience with Horse Around advertisers was a bit of a wild ride. When acquired the magazine about one and a half years ago, was terrified of getting advertisers. had never sold a thing in my life. The first advertiser to say yes was Thomas arcia of Taos Tack. When he said yes, let out a holler EAH Not a very calm, cool, professional response, but sincere. About the same time, Associate Editor Peggy Conger and visited Morey iebling, owner of Sandia Trailer Sales and Service. We sat in his office near Edgewood, along with Rico, his iant Schnauzer. Peggy had an idea of pitching him the back cover. Morey liked it because he is a logical man. He did the math and said, f my ad is on the back cover, there is a 50 chance that the magazine will be set down on a table showing my ad. He said yes, and got all emotional, and thanked him from the very bottom of my heart for believing in the magazine and for generally being a great guy. Thomas and Morey continue to advertise, as do most of the businesses that advertised before took over. Advertisers, let me get emotional again please Although may not love you like loved Fuji, KE A T Really. want your businesses to thrive. want NM horse owners to be able to frequent businesses run by horse owners/enthusiasts, most of which are small mom and pop stores. This magazine is a reality because of the advertisers, and of course, the readers. Now, a new support group has arrived, our Facebook friends. Check us out. ur Facebook page went from 100 likes to 1200, and our posts have reached 11,000 people Horse Around staff know that a burgeoning Facebook page just doesn t happen. ou have to work it, constantly, sincerely, with enthusiasm and exclamation points. Plus it doesn t hurt to post a photo of two drop-dead gorgeous chocolate/flaxen Rocky Mountain Horses So while am fondly reminiscing about Fuji and HANM advertisers, would like to add to my appreciation list everyone who has liked, commented on, and viewed our Facebook page and posts. ou are one in 11,000. Err, check that. As we go to print, it is now 11,685.

ano Cecilia Kay

New Mexico Editor/Publisher CECILIA KAYANO Associate Editor PEGGY CONGER Facebook/Events SUSIE SPICER Manager Contributing Writers PATRICIA BARLOW-IRICK & Photographers STACIE G. BOSWELL DEANNA COLEMAN PATRICIA CONOWAY MATT COULOMBE JESSICA DICAMILLO THERESA FALZONE THOMAS GARCIA ERICA HESS MUSTANG CAMP JOHN O'DONNELL ONE DEFINING MOMENT PHOTOGRAPHY JULIE PHILLIPS CRISTINA RIVERA FRANK RIVERA JEFFRAY RYDING SUSAN SMITH KAREN TROGLIN NADINE WESTERMANN LISA WESTFALL Staff Writers & EVALYN BEMIS Photographers KAREN LEHMANN Graphic Design/Layout MARIE ANTHONY Advertising & Sales

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Facebook Manager Susie Spicer, Editor Cecilia K ay ano, and Associate Editor Peggy Conger.

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Check out our Facebook page: Horse Around New Mexico.

Well-written, informative articles and high-resolution photos are welcome. Submissions will be considered and are subject to editing. The next issue, the Vacation and Travel issue, will appear at New Mexico outlets on April 1, 2017. The deadline for submissions is February 20, 2017. The deadline for ads is March 5, 2017. For information contact Cecilia Kayano, HANM Editor, 505-570-7377, HorseNewMexico@gmail.com, www.horsearoundnm.com

Need more trail riding details, horsey events, and equine inspiration? Check out our expanded Facebook page. Make sure to like us! COVER: Jessica DiCamillo and Karen DiCamillo ride the Baylor Pass Trail in the Organ Mountains. Photo by Cecilia Kayano


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BY J ULIE PHILLIPS

Find and Fix the

Holes in Your Horsemanship Not everyone has had a textbook horsemanship experience. Many of us started our horse owner journey on our own, or with advice from parents or friends. We may not have had a solid foundation or years of classical training. Maybe we learned by doing, then got help when needed. Maybe we missed something...

H

aving holes in your horsemanship is not uncommon. We all have them. That does not mean we are unskilled or uncaring. Here are a few of the holes I frequently witness and ways to correct them. All of these tips create connection, which is important in good horsemanship.

Asking, not snatching, from the paddock

The hole: The rider walks directly up to the horse to catch it, halter it and ride. There is always an assumption that the horse will agree with this direct method. People think the “horse is a horse," he/she has no particular feelings, thoughts or moods. If there are other horses, the rider does not realize that they are busting into the herd 14 HORSE AROUND | Fe b /Ma r 2 0 1 7 | w w w . h o r s e a r o u n d n m . c o m

and removing one of its, possibly reluctant, members. The fix: Realize your horse sees you from far away, and forms an opinion of you and your intention. My horses watch me through the windows of my house, and are evaluating me all day. You want your actions to develop a positive response in your horse. By the time you are approaching him, you want him to say, “Pick me! Halter me! What are we going to do today?” Is your horse saying pick me or is he/she leaving you? If your horse is left-brained (a more confident type), he may stand quietly, or even come up to you out of curiosity. If your horse is right brained (a less confident type), he might be reluctant, even frightened. For either type of horse, put your hand on him, below the withers and just stand. Breathe calmly and stand with your hip cocked to one side, a stance of relaxation.


Leading with trust

Approaching and being with your horse in a relaxed manner, instead of rushing up with a purpose, sets the stage for connection.

The hole: Leading with a too-short rope. A lot of people do this. They may have a fear of letting go, or maybe they are not aware they are doing this. They hold their horse super-tight. Imagine if your friend or spouse did this, grabbing onto your arm firmly and holding you tightly as you walked. This makes the horse feel trapped. The fix: Lead your horse with “float” in the rope. The length of rope varies upon the situation, but try for 4-5 feet. Expect the best from your horse. But be prepared to correct if your horse follows too closely, passes you, stops, or pulls. If he does not walk with you at a respectful distance, be prepared to correct him by sending him in a circle, laterally away from you, or backing him. When your horse follows on a floating rope, he is not being micromanaged. He is following your feel, which develops more of a partnership.

Bridling without banging

Haltering without excitement The hole: A person pushes the halter’s nose band on the horse first, then puts their right hand under the jaw of the horse causing him to raise his head and slaps the strap over the horse’s head. It’s not the best way to start your ride. The fix: Place your arm over your horse’s neck. Have the halter in your left hand and your lead rope over your left arm. Reach your left hand with the halter in it under your horse’s neck. With your right hand, reach over his neck near the top and grab the crown piece. Open the halter under your horse’s head/neck. During all of this time encourage him to look for the nose opening. This makes him be a part of the haltering process. Slip the halter on and take a moment to praise your horse.

The hole: I admit, sometimes I bridle one of my horses without taking the time it takes. I do this when I’m in a hurry. She sees me coming, clenches her jaw and raises her head. I insist that she takes the bit. My bad? Yes. The fix: Take the time it takes to get your horse to lower his/her head. Teach him to pick the bit up from your hand. Sometimes you can do this just by asking your horse to open his mouth and then place the bit on his tongue and allow him to pick it up. If you have a horse that is reluctant, you can put a treat in your hand under the bit and let him pick them both up. Then he has a good experience and you can build on that.

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Saddling gently

The hole: The rider throws the pad on, then the saddle. The saddle is too far forward, making it difficult for the horse to move his shoulders. Then the rider tightens the cinch with one yank. Done! The fix: Understand that horses’ shoulders need to be free to move back and forth. Make sure you place the saddle at a distance behind the withers, giving enough room for free movement of the shoulders. Before you cinch, lift up on the front and back of the pad with the saddle. This creates one unit and provides some air beneath the pad. Rock the saddle gently by the horn to let it settle into the correct place. Never tighten the cinch with one pull. Tighten 2-3 times, a little at a time. Then lead your horse off before the final tightening before you mount. Remember, horse handling and riding is much better when your horse is your willing partner. When you take the time to learn to be a better horseman, you are making life so much better for your horse. In turn, your horse will make life so much better for you! Julie Phillips competes in sorting, is a horse trainer and owns Starrynight Guest Ranch. Reach her at jubileejp@msn.com or visit www.jubileehorse.com .

A good ride starts long before getting in the saddle. It starts with nurturing the connection you have with your horse. Pictured are Julie Phillips aboard Bodie and Kim Meyer riding Danny at the Starrynight Guest Ranch in Llaves.

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Photo by One Defining Moment Photography .

could chase him around, corner him, run him around in the round pen, but when he is caught he would not be happy and I don’t feel he would’ve learned anything except maybe how to be faster. He may also give in because he feels it’s useless to fight. So instead I greet the little horse with my hand outstretched, let him blow on it, and then quietly move away. I may stand around with him. I may see what he’s interested in. I emulate his rhythms without driving. I am checking my own energy, modulating it as I feel he needs, so that sometimes I have more forward energy, sometimes I drop my energy into my feet, but always staying centered. I am building relationship, from the ground up. Ultimately, he grows interested in what we are doing together, realizes I’m not a threat, and the halter becomes a non-issue. People’s energy has so much to do with their success with horses. If you learn to read the energy in yourself more accurately, you can know what you are projecting to the horse. If you are wishywashy, the horse will blow you off. If you’re too strong, the horse will shrink from you. Here are five tips to building the companionship/relationship bond:

1. Meet the horse where he or she

Build a

Stronger

Bond

BY SUSAN SMITH

5 steps to create partnership

A

As strange as it may seem, the more horse-like you become, the better relationship you have with your horse. And not just with your own horse, but with other horses as well.

First of all, we want to meet the horse where he/she is. Not where we want him to be, not where someone else thinks he should be, but where he is, both physically and emotionally. Take this little colt I’m working with. He didn’t want to be caught and haltered. It turns out he actually is afraid of the lead rope and the halter. I 16 HORSE AROUND | Fe b /Ma r 2 0 1 7 | w w w . h o r s e a r o u n d n m . c o m

is. And I mean that physically and emotionally. Always greet your horse. Use the manner I described above – hand outstretched, let him or her blow on it. If she doesn’t, it’s not a big deal. Eventually she will. Walk away and give her space.

2. Sit with the horse with some hay and

water in the space you’re working. Don’t let her crowd you and don’t hold treats. Read a book. or knit, or meditate, some activity where you don’t have total focus on your horse, so she can relax. (Try not to use a cell phone unless listening to a meditation or something soothing. No world events!)

3. Take an interest in what your horse

is interested in, even if it’s a pile of poop. They are interested in what their friends have left behind; it gives them a ton of sensory information that is meaningless to you. The most intelligent animals have great curiosity. Find ways of nourishing this in your horse.


4. Pay attention to the horse’s

rhythms. When horses are kept together in shared space, they move each other, usually from behind but sometimes from the side or head on. These rhythms sustain the health of the horse both physically and psychologically. These are the rhythms we want to learn and embody when in your horse.

5. Notice your own energy,

and I don’t mean just whether you have a lot of it or not. How are you around your horse? Is your energy forward or reserved, up in your head or down in your feet and/or in your core? Are you really focused on getting a certain thing accomplished (like getting a halter on)? When I was riding endurance, I formed deep relationships with my horses by riding long distances. We shared so much together that we became a unit. As I began to explore relationship without having to ride so far, I found these ways of relating by observing horses together. How could we interact with the horse “like” she interacts with other horses, that takes into account the human body strengths and limitations as well as safety?

The steps of Liberty Foundation will take you from the initial sitting together through becoming a more important member of the herd. Each step along the way reinforces your position in the herd, and increases your leadership. Ultimately, you grow a working bond. We want this leadership relationship to translate to the saddle, of course. Even if your horse is already safely under saddle, true liberty reinforces the bond so that you will share more deeply with your horse and be able to rely on each other when the going gets tough. I call this the “centaur” relationship, an extension of the trust we have built on the ground. So sit, meditate, be in the moment with the horse. If it’s too cold to sit, repair something in the barn, but be with the horse, without expectation. Find out in those quiet moments what your horse likes. Provide a balance of repetition and curiosity. If I’m riding, I want to sit on my horse’s back for a moment before moving and breathe and contemplate, making sure we are as one.

Herds of any size, two or more horses, can give us a lot of information about how horses interact. We can reinstate their instinctive behavior of equine community with liberty work, that is, interacting with the horse without a lead rope or halter. Leadership is important to horses. They want to know they can trust you and that you will reinforce clear boundaries. True leadership will come from deep inside you and shows the horse you have her back.

Susan Smith with Eiffel, a draft cross. Susan was asking h im to stand and "whoa" while she walked all the way around him. (Photo by Deanna Coleman.)

Imagine having a relationship with your horse where he seeks your company. Here Sharon Bice connects with her young colt Rio. (Photo by Susan Smith.) Ultimately, I want my horse more connected to me than to the jackrabbit that’s about to shoot out from behind a bush. I want to be in the moment, centered, listening and feeling with all my senses. As I’ve become more horse-like, I’ve begun to take greater joy in what nourishes and attracts horses. Susan Smith teaches Liberty Foundations workshops as well as Equine Body Balance workshops. She is an associate OrthoBionomy instructor & advanced practitioner, living in Santa Fe. In her horse life Susan has also covered many miles of trails. For more information and schedule of Events, visit her website at www. susansmithsantafe.com Email info@susansmithsantafe.com or phone 505-501-2478.


I

t was very still in the barn. The mild resistance of the currycomb in my hand, the old bay Andalusian’s steady breath. A snuffle and shift as he stretched his neck to show me I’d found a sweet spot, the scratch that answered his itch. I loved this horse’s calm, the wisdom in his huge dark eye, the ease with which, in those moments when I rode him well, he rewarded me with beautiful form, breathtaking movement.

A Gift for the Journey

I loved that he was well-trained. A patient schoolmaster, older but still with the brio condido – hidden fire – to break into passage at the sight of an unknown mare on the trail, or to perform piaffe at E, if I could only get the aids right. But mostly he was quiet, and getting quieter with each passing year. In memory I visited that other bay horse, the Arabian gelding with the huge trot. The one I’d lost to colic just as we began to figure each other out. The horse of my heart. The one I’d never forget, and never replace. Wishing, I imagined a tractable Andalusian combined with a spirited Arabian. Was there such a thing? Wouldn’t that be the perfect horse for me? If only... Six months later, I brought home a four-year old stud colt. A sporty Polish Arabian mare bred to an elegant Andalusian stallion had brought the image in my head to life. I’d thought I would never see another horse that could compete with that lost bay Arabian’s fiery attraction, let alone combine it with the sweet disposition of the Andalusian dressage horse–but my first five minutes in the presence of this little grey powerhouse proved that sad conclusion to be wrong, in a wonderful way. He was the best of the two breeds, a nearperfect example of the Hispano-Arabe, though without the registry papers that would grant him official status. I didn’t care about the papers, though–I knew I’d lucked into an extraordinary horse. Now we’ve found each other, I thought. The journey begins–and this time, I’m doing it myself, the right way. My way. Then I added a full-time job to the two parttime gigs I’d cobbled together. Broke my wrist (in an accident unrelated to horses). The new horse was soon gelded, but still acted like a stallion. Winter came and it was muddy and cold, and I spent quite a bit of time in the grey’s paddock: grooming,

BY KAREN LEHMANN

What happened when I gave myself and my horse the precious gift of training BY KAREN LEHMANN

leading him around, playing simple “games” intended to establish a healthy human/horse relationship. All of this within the confines of his paddock–because outside the paddock he was basically airborne. Just getting him across the property to the barn could become an hour-long back and forth struggle, with him overexcited and me insisting on reasonable behavior. Like many colts left ungelded for too long, he’d never been turned out with other horses–his anxiety about this isolation combined with a lack of simple manners creating a Catch-22. How could I expose him to the company of other horses, if I couldn’t trust him not to hurt them–or me? With my arm in a cast and my confidence seriously challenged, my stress level heightened by consistent 50-hour

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work weeks, the whole situation seemed poised to turn from dream to nightmare. I decided to give myself a gift–even if it didn’t feel like what I really wanted. Leaving my horse at the trainer’s barn was even harder than I’d thought it would be. I’d never sent a horse out to training before, not even in those difficult moments when I was right at the edge of what I could handle. My first thought would be “…if I just had the money, I could send this bratty horse to a trainer for a few months and get back a nice push-button pony!” But the next thought had always been “…then why bother having the horse at all? Isn’t this all about building a relationship? Building your skills? How will you ever do that if you outsource the hard part?”


Training the young horse myself felt like a milestone; some evolution in my horsemanship and challenge to my personal growth that went way beyond the physical steps involved. Sending the horse out to someone else’s barn was cheating, somehow –cheating myself out of what could be my once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to bring a young horse along, using every bit of savvy and know-how I had. Asking for help was like admitting my incompetence at a time in my life when I wanted–needed–to prove to myself that I had learned enough and was strong enough to do it myself, the way I wanted it done. The day I unloaded my horse at the training barn, he learned his first lesson. He was not allowed, under any circumstance, to crowd the trainer’s space. She held the lead to the halter in one hand and a light whip called a “bat” in the other; if the horse crowded her, she turned to face him and used the flat leather piece at the end of the whip to tap his chest and move him backward. I tried it out on my own leg–the thing didn’t hurt much, but because of the flat leather piece it made a very impressive “whump.” She used a sound, as well–a quick blow of air between closed teeth–“Chit!"–that she later explained had the effect of interrupting undesirable behavior, creating a moment for the handler to signal what was wanted. What I admired most was her matter-of-fact manner. There was no drama, no anger, no over-involved ego. When explaining her methods, she did not reference a need to establish dominance over the animal; rather, she drew boundaries and made suggestions about preferred behaviors or movements. How? One tool was a whip–long enough to reach the horse’s hip if need be. He was taught that the whip pointed in front meant “stop” and pointed behind, meant “go.” With this established, she could refine the communication: slow down, speed up, change direction, move shoulder, move hip, move sideways, etc. Within the first week, she had the little gelding up on a pedestal –all four feet. This was my first lesson: I watched the two of them accomplish this in under 20 minutes, without either of them breaking a sweat. My horse is not a genius; the key to the exercise is the trainer’s timing. Asking at exactly the right volume, and releasing the pressure at exactly the right millisecond. Could I ever develop that kind of feel? I went twice a week to the training barn to work with her and my horse, to learn as much as I could about her timing and methods as well as to track his progress.

Mostly, to be a part of the journey–I had as much to learn in this process as did my horse, and I wanted to keep up. Some days were really tough- I couldn’t get it, didn’t feel physically able to do what was asked. My wrist ached, my balance was off, I felt awkward and heavy. I hated using a whip, my signals were all screwy. She guided me with the same no-nonsense firmness as she did my horse. Every once in a while, what she said matched up somehow, and the knowing in my head translated to an understanding in my body and I got it. I got it! We got it, my horse and I together.

"

Asking for help was like admitting my incompetence at a time in my life when I wanted – needed – to prove to myself that I had learned enough and was strong enough to do it myself, the way I wanted it done.

"

After 10 weeks, I took my horse home. I had the “tools” I needed, and my horse was more accustomed to taking direction. Every week, I loaded him up and we drove back down to town for a lesson–and every week, she came to the barn. Emails and texts were encouraged as I got to know my horse again in this new context. We practiced, he and I, the simplest things. Standing still–no matter what. Keeping his attention focused on me when leading. Moving forward, back, to the side; moving shoulder and hip separately then together. Soon I could stand in the middle of a large round pen and direct his movement around the periphery–by pointing the whip, or using my hand, or a finger. His responsibility was to respond to my slightest gesture–my responsibility, to stay in the middle, to control my movements, to give the signals deliberately, lightly. All of this translated to the riding arena and eventually, to the trail. Simple building blocks that provide a foundation upon which we can build, with virtually no end in sight. .

K aren Leh mann and Rico pause during a trail ride at the Galisteo Basin Preserve.

I think that most people take their horse to a trainer to get that “push-button pony.” Maybe they’re looking for certain movements, for certain skills–three nice, rhythmic gaits, or flying changes, or some level of enhanced physical fitness. And we got some of those things–my horse learned a lot about balance, about straightness and how to carry a rider. He came home fit and strong. But most people would probably consider what he got in 10 weeks to be “just” basic training. That’s okay with me. What I brought back from the training barn is a horse that I can work with, safely and with steady progress. I could list a

bunch of skills here–things she taught him to do or exposed him to that will stay with him for the rest of his life, and for which I am sincerely grateful. But the real value is the gift of confidence–both his and mine. Knowing that this extraordinary horse and I have unlimited potential together, that we are still somewhere near the beginning on what will hopefully be a long journey, and knowing that I can take it from here–and that I can also ask for and receive help. The gift is understanding that my journey with this “horse of a lifetime” is not devalued by inviting others to travel along with us; their perspectives, their knowledge and their skill can only make the trip smoother. Karen Lehmann writes from home in the small NM mountain town of Sandia Park. When she’s not working on something for Horse Around, or over at the barn with her horses, you’ll find her at karen@ phrasesincorporated.com. For the tools mentioned here and a lot more besides, she and her horse thank trainer Michelle DeCanditis (3hintegrated.webs.com).


FIVE ENDURANCE RIDING TIPS TO GET READY FOR SPRING Endurance riders usually ride all year long. That’s often not the case for pleasure or trail riders: You may take a few months off, or ride less often during the winter season. But you don’t have to be an endurance rider to have a horse “legged up” and ready to ride come spring. Start now with these five endurance tips to have a horse that is in shape and happy on the trail. BY JESSICA DICAMILLO


1.

If you want to start riding in, say, March the best time to start preparing would have been a few months ago. Even a brief session of walk, trot, walk, three times a week during the winter will help your horse stay fit. It’s good for you, the human, too! Try to stay active during the cold months. Cutting back is better than stopping, then trying to get fit again when spring is around the corner.

If you did take a few months off, start riding now, at least three times a week. Start with a walk. Every few days increase either time, distance, speed, or add some steepness to the trail. Aim to ride for two hours or eight miles at a walk, trot, and canter. Practice on different inclines, and terrain with rocks, logs, and maybe even a water crossing. Endurance riders increase their distances by about two miles a week until they are riding at their chosen distance.

2.

To reconnect with your horse, hand walk him. Brush him and give him a bath. To just say hi, and

throw a saddle on him after 2-3 months off could be quite shocking to your equine friend.

3.

If some respect has been lost during the time off, do ground

work exercises with your horse. Lunge for respect, instead of working up a sweat. Have him move his hind end away from you. Back him up and make him stand until you give him the next command. Always start with ground work after several weeks off, or if you sense your horse is not respecting you or paying attention.

4.

If your horse needs a brush-up on his social skills to ride with other horses, start teaching

him immediately to play nice! Ride with a friend, and slowly ride closer to her horse. If your horse displays aggressive behavior, reprimand him verbally or with your foot or crop. Make sure you keep his hind quarters angled away from the other horse, and you have the ability to move it away quickly if your horse pins its ears or gets ready to kick. If needed, get help with this, as kicking other horses (and humans) can quickly sour a spring ride.

Radu Ciubic (left) rides Khysus Mezaj (Kiss) and Marcelle Hughes rides Oliver Swift during an endurance ride at the Indian Springs Ranch near Socorro.

5.

If you are planning to travel with your horse in the spring, make sure

he can load and unload easily. If this is difficult for you, enlist the help of a horse-savvy friend or trainer. Some horses will take several weeks to train to load in a relaxed, reliable manner. Jessica DiCamillo is an endurance rider and teacher and is part of a family team that puts on endurance rides at their Indian Springs Ranch near Socorro. Visit www.aerc.org email indiansprings. endurance@gmail.com, or follow on Facebook, IndianSprings DiCamillo.


from

WOOLL Y horses to WILD

Melanie Bushlow practices her spin atop her quarter horse, Reys N Cane, at her property in Alamagordo, with Sierra Blanca Mountain in the background. Melanie started taking reining lessons from trainer Josh Armstrong about six months ago and is now competing. (Photo by Nadine Westermann.)

A Re i n i n g Tr a i n e r ' s Ti p s f o r Co m i n g Ba c k Af t e r t h e Wi n t e r Br e a k

T

BY PEGGY CONGER Trainer Josh Armstrong ‘s expertise is ranch riding and reining. From his training center in Mesquite, NM, he offers horse starting and training, showing and event-specific training, private riding instruction, and clinics in the U.S. and abroad. His tips about getting back to work after a break call for some thought, some planning and some plain old simple horse sense.

1.

Is your horse woolly? Take that into account when working him. “It takes them longer to cool off than when they’re slick,” Armstrong says. Cool them down slowly, and keep an eye on the clock: Avoid getting your horse hot near the end of the day. If he has a heavy coat, you’ll be setting him up for a cold night.

2.

If your performance horse has been off more than a couple of days, make it a “lope day,” Armstrong advises. “You don’t want to do too much stopping or spinning,” he says. Work your horse up to more strenuous work over a few days after a layoff.

3.

Another tip that all riders will find valuable: “I always tell my horses they can stop and look at something,” instead of pushing them past obstacles, Armstrong says. “Once they know they can always have a minute to look at something, they get progressively more courageous.”

4.

On the same note, Armstrong always warms his horses up in the middle of the arena, especially at competitions. “I give them time to get bored with whatever is on the other side of the fence,” he says.

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5.

Find out what your horse anticipates, and you can use that as a training tactic to make your horse more responsive. In other words, if your horse anticipates breaking into a gallop, ask him for a slow lope instead. If your horse likes to poke along, request speed in your workouts.

6.

Work on your stops. “I always want to know I can stop a horse,” Armstrong says. “And every horse has a speed at which he will not stop.” Armstrong says to work on the stop, he looks for a speed past where the horse finds it easy to stop but before that point where the stop becomes harder to get. Josh Armstrong is a Top 10 Finisher at both the NRHA and Congress Reining Futurities, and a European National Champion Reiner. Josh Armstrong trains in Mesquite, NM. He can be reached at 575-312-2291.


YOUR WITS' END

H

Erica Hess walks side-by-side with Rolo, a horse she and J oost Lammers trained for th e 2016 Horse Sh elter G imme Shelter Trainers Challenge. (Photo by John O'Donnell.)

How to know when it’s time to get training BY ERI CA HESS AND J O O ST LAM M ERS

Have you ever found yourself at your wit’s end, absolutely loving your horse, but not knowing how to help it overcome an issue so that it is safer or easier to handle and ride? You wonder, Is it time to get some help training my horse? Here are some things to consider for all horse owners, those with “problem” or “perfect” horses:

Q: Is my horse running into

• We are always training our horse. Either we train behavior we want to see or behavior we do not want to see. • Training never, ever stops. Know that a horse isn’t "finished" until its retired or dead. The training process goes on and on. • To become a really good horseman, on the ground and in the saddle, requires training. • At the very least, training helps us stay on track to help us not backslide.

increase in my anxiety level while I'm with my horse–either riding or on the ground? This is also a really good time to ask for help. Why? Because you simply can not fool your horse into thinking you are one thing (knowledgeable, relaxed and a trustworthy leader) when you are actually another (unsure, nervous and a being that needs leadership).

Take this test

If you have ever had the sentence, “Maybe I’m in over my head,” pop into your thoughts, ask yourself these questions:

or on top of me, dragging me along instead of me leading him? These behaviors indicate that the relationship needs adjusting. Sometimes we are able to change the dynamic by ourselves, but if it persists and we don’t see how we’re reinforcing the behavior, it is time seek help.

Q: Am I experiencing an

Q: Do I ever feel unsafe

around or astride my horse? If you feel unsafe, then you are. Quite simply, our fear produces fear in our horse and a fearful horse is a dangerous horse. Know that having a horse that is safe, one that feels safe, is the number one requirement to not only keep you safe, but to keep you having fun with your horse. An 1100-pound animal

can be very dangerous if you’re not aware of what you are doing. Being a self-confident, strong leader results in a confident horse and is the only way to have any amount of control.

Q: Have I ever thought about

giving up on my horse? When someone gives up on a horse, it breaks our hearts. A person keeps trying and trying, and never thinks they will lose hope in their horse, and then it happens. Think of it this way, the horse-human relationship is like a marriage. Training is like marriage counseling. Don’t wait to get help until the D word (divorce) is hanging in the air. Love alone is not enough to train a horse and improve the relationship.

Q: Could my ego be stopping

me? What if training shows you that your behavior is the crux? Know that training will undoubtedly show you what you have been doing incorrectly. But it will also show you ways to be better. When you help your horse through training, a beautiful thing happens. I see it again and again. The horse tries. It gets better, more trusting and more loyal. It “forgives and

forgets” the mistakes the owner has made. This ability of the horse to forgive and forget is a lesson to us. It can make us better human beings. The solution to a “problem horse” is to find a connection with the true “heart of the horse” –a connection that enables the horse to trust us. It becomes a being that looks for our leadership and wants to operate with us as a unit. It becomes a horse that does not walk away when we approach. It raises its head in curiosity and eagerness as if saying, “Choose me,” or “Let’s go to work!” Look at your horse today, and imagine it being that horse, the horse of your dreams. With help, it can happen. Erica Hess and Joost Lammers are owners/trainers at For The Heart Of The Horse Sanctuary in Santa Fe NM. Reach them at 505-474-5480, info@ fortheheartofthehorse.com or visit www.fortheheartofthehorse.com. They will be offering a free clinic at their Santa Fe ranch on March 18, 11:00 – 3:00. Space is limited. Call to reserve.


Here is an example of positiv e reinforcement : Th e trainer asks Cuddles to touch the rope with her nose. Cuddle sticks her nose in it and as a consequence, the trainer gives her a treat. Cuddles is likely to repeat this behavior when presented with the rope.

use to train each horse, and can clearly teach you what to do to get the same results. • Have a training plan that breaks overall goals into small easily achieved steps. They use a training plan on every horse. • Analyze their training experiences to see where improvements can be made. • Intentionally create emotional responses in their animals towards themselves, their equipment, and other things in the environment. Focus more on getting the animal to offer good behaviors and focus less on limiting the animal from offering bad behaviors. Set the animal up for success and then provide consequences that will encourage the animal to try that again.

Choosing a trainer

THE TRUTH ABO UT Consequences How the Science of Animal Training Uses Conseq uences to Teach BY PATRICIA BARLOW- IRICK, PH. D

Every horse owner is interested in helping her horse to behave better–to do what is asked with the least amount of effort, to spook less, to keep trotting until we tell him to walk, to turn with only a suggestion. Many of us look for trainers to help us or for information to make us better able to teach our own horses. Too often what we find is confusing and makes it seem like magical skills are required. Good news, though: the science of animal training can provide us with the background we need to recognize trainers who use this approach. It can even help us become better horsemen ourselves.

What is the science of training?

Quite simply, it’s effective animal training. It’s a distillation of ancient, but effective traditions, interpreted by psychologists and refined by decades of research. There are plenty of trainers who have filled their toolboxes with the science of training and its useful principles. Here are some tips if you are selecting a trainer, and want to find one who uses this method. You know a trainer is using the science of training because they: • Can accurately describe the principles they

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When selecting a trainer, it is helpful to observe them with your horse. Listen to what they say, how they get results from your horse, and ask questions. • Does the trainer clearly and instantly know whether they want more or less of a particular behavior? • Does the trainer ask for such small steady improvements that the horse can’t help but be successful and show improvement? • Observe how the trainer sets up consequences for the horse to find. Do they instantly respond to the horse’s behavior with the appropriate consequences? Trainers want to increase the probability of a horse doing many kinds of behaviors. They want them to load into a trailer, follow them when led, lift their front hoof for cleaning, turn in response to rein and leg. Increasing a behavior is called “reinforcing” the behavior. Trainers want to decrease the probability of other behaviors. Trainers want to discourage kicking, biting, bucking, and running away. Decreasing a behavior is called “punishing” the behavior. They use consequences to encourage or discourage behaviors. All trainers use consequences to motivate animals. Animals will tend to repeat behaviors which have consequences the animal likes and to not repeat those with consequences that are annoying. The consequence can involve something the animal likes or something that annoys the animal. Grain is usually something a horse wants. A bite of grain might be something


the animals will work for; but not being able to get to the grain would be something the animal would find annoying. Reins are used to create annoying discomfort or “pressure” that the animal will work to avoid or stop.

4. Negative punishment starts when his

In a nutshell, to control behavior, a trainer (and you!) can simply make up rules about when to give or take away the things the horse wants or doesn’t want. A behavior can be reinforced (increased) by giving the animal what it wants or taking away what the animal finds annoying. A behavior can be punished (decreased) by giving the animal the annoying consequence or taking away what the animal likes.

Understanding positive and negative consequences

Understanding and employing positive and negative consequences can be confusing, so set aside your preconceptions. Giving either the liked or annoying consequence is called “positive”. Positive includes giving the horse grain as well as pulling on the rein. Positive doesn’t mean nice here, it means something new was given as a consequence.

Punishing, unfortunately, has lots of problems attached to it. There are never behaviors that haven’t been reinforced in someway. So, our problem, as horse owners is trying to understand what unintended consequences might be interfering with our plan to change the animal’s behavior. For example, you once taught your horse to give you kisses as a trick, now your horse wants to put his nose on your face when he gets scared. He is not going to understand why you slapped his nose.

With years of experience taming wild horses, author Dr. Barlow-Irick, Ph.D. distills the principles of Applied Behavior Analysis to the problem of taming and training any species of animal.

This book connects the behaviorist, the companion animal trainer, the exotic animal trainer and the horse trainer through the application of a common language based in scientific principles.

If the idea of training science interests you, find a trainer who speaks the language to help you put these tools in your horsemanship toolbox. Dr. Patricia Barlow-Irick, Ph.D. is the executive director of Mustang Camp, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping wild horses in captivity make the transition to a life with people. She is the author of How 2 Train a _____ (fill in the blank), available through Amazon.com

2015 Edition

Fill in the blank

Mustang Camp

So now you have four well defined tools to put in your training toolbox:

If this is befuddling, be aware that it might take time to sink in. But know this: It is much easier to teach your horse what you want it to do instead of focusing on what you don’t want it to do. Reinforce what you want and you won’t have much to punish.

Barlow-Irick

You can teach your horse almost anything using these four methods

The thing to know for sure

And, if we remove the reinforcing consequences that an animal has already Photos courtesy of Mustang Camp. learned to expect, Dr. Patricia Barlow-Irick, Ph.D. that animal will go I f you w ant to lear n the s cience through a period of of anim al tr aining a nd you a r en’ t How 2 Train A frustration and try af r aid of lear ning s om e technical __________ harder and more lang a u ge , t his is the book f or you. frequently to make it start working again. For example, your https://www.createspace.com/3850436 horse has been pawing the fence as you bring Use this code for $5 off his hay for years. DURJ9M4W Normally he paws and you drop the hay. A textbook of animal From Aardvarks to Zebras, Today you want to Applied Behavior Science has a rational prescription for training theory wait for him to stop creating behavior change. How 2 Train a _______

Taking away what is liked or what is annoying is called “negative”. This is where you can get lost, but think about it this way: getting slapped is positive because you received something; while mom taking the car keys away is negative because something was taken away.

opportunity to get something he likes is taken away as a consequence of his behavior. If your horse enjoys being scratched, you can stop him from turning his neck to put his nose on you by not petting when he is not standing with his neck straight and his head in front of his chest. You punish him by simply stopping the scratch.

before you drop the hay. Science predicts he may tear down the fence before he stops.

Oxytocin

1.

Positive reinforcement involves giving the animal something that it wants so that he is more likely to repeat the behavior. When the horse does what you ask, you give it a reward such as scratches or a treat.

2.

Negative reinforcement works by removing an annoyance when the animal performs the behavior, making it more likely that he will respond the same way again when it is annoyed. When the horse yields his haunches, you instantly remove the spur you were pressuring him with. He learns how to stop the annoyance by yielding his hips.

3.

Positive punishment is learned from a consequence the horse doesn’t like. He gets a bop from your elbow just as he tries to bite you. If the chance of him biting again are less, then the behavior has been effectively punished.

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| Fe b /Ma r 2 0 1 7 | HORSE AROUND

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ON THE ROAD AGAIN

BY MATT COULOMBE

G

etting ready for that long-awaited spring road trip with your horse has plenty of stressful challenges: Did you pack all the food and clothes? Did you remember all your tack? Do you have travel papers? The list goes on and on. But all of that preparation could be for not if you haven’t taken care of your vehicle.

When was the last time you had an oil change? Are your tires properly inflated and in good condition? How old is your battery? You may feel that you just don’t have time to deal with these things, but I assure you you’ll have plenty of time to think about it while you’re sitting on the side of the road waiting for a tow truck! Here are basic areas of your truck to focus on to avoid unexpected layovers: Start with the owner's manual Unlike horses every vehicle comes with an owner’s manual. Usually they are found in the glove box in mint condition with a page folded over on how to set the clock. Although owner's manuals do make for terrible reading compared to the latest romance novel, they are full of worthwhile information like recommended service intervals. According to AAA and other towing services, the five most common calls for roadside service are: flat tire, out of fuel, dead battery, overheated engine, and vehicle is stuck. (i.e. sand, mud, snow). Let’s look at each one of these.

• Flat tire.

While flat tires can be caused by a road hazard, nail, glass, etc. they also fail due to improper inflation, excessive wear, and just plain old age. Industry averages recommend rotating them every 6-8k miles. Tires should be checked for proper inflation and uneven wear at every oil change. Did you know tires have a date stamp on them? Usually not so conveniently located on the inner side wall you will find a DOT stamp with some confusing numbers and letters all mixed together. There should be a group of 4-digit numbers at

the end. These numbers translate into the week and year that the tire was manufactured. Example, if the last four numbers are 0511 that means the tire was made in the fifth week of the year 2011. Automotive and truck tires near their end of service at approximately six years. If an average driver drives 12k miles per year, they will likely wear out before they time out. However if you use your vehicle primarily to tow, and drive it significantly less miles annually, they may age out before wearing out. If in doubt ask your mechanic to check the date and advise you on the tire’s age and condition. Keep in mind trailer tires become questionable after four to five years and almost always age out before wearing out.

Useful tips for changing a flat. Try and pull as far from traffic as possible. Destroying an already flat tire to get a little farther out of harm’s way, especially alongside a high speed roadway, is always a good choice in my book! When changing a tire be sure to chalk at least one wheel. When the jack is used to raise a wheel off the ground, the vehicle could shift or even roll away if it’s a rear tire. Be familiar with your tire changing tools and keep in mind the tools to fit your truck tires may not work on the 26 HORSE AROUND | Fe b /Ma r 2 0 1 7 | w w w . h o r s e a r o u n d n m . c o m


The time to get your truck ready to roll is not the morning of the big spring trip. Check it now for readiness and prepare yourself for glitches.

Getting there safely is a cause to celebrate! Pictured here a group arrives at a dispersed camping spot near the San Gregorio Reservoir Campground which gives access to trails in the San Pedro Parks Wilderness. Left to right are Linda Waggoner Arnold, Angel Shaw, and Carol Wells. (Photo byTheresa Falzone.)

trailer tires so check this ahead of time. Loosen the lug nuts before you raise the vehicle so the tire doesn’t spin while you’re trying to loosen them. Torque the lug nuts to the proper tightness after the vehicle is lowered back down.

• Out of fuel. While this one

may seem self-explanatory it does happen due to more than just driver inattention. Keep in mind towing reduces fuel economy and will reduce miles driven per tank. Also faulty fuel gauges should be fixed verses trying to guess how many miles are left before you’re out of fuel. Lastly you may have had a mechanical failure and developed a fuel leak. When a vehicle runs out of fuel it’s not always easy to get it restarted and could result in running

down the batteries, especially if they are in marginal condition to begin with. Running out of fuel could very well be one of the most embarrassing road side emergencies, one that your riding buddies won’t ever let you live down. In most cases this scenario is completely avoidable.

• Dead battery. Although

battery technology and advancements have increased over the years, so have the electrical demands to run a vehicle negating any significant increase in the life of automotive batteries. Even when vehicles are shut down, multiple computers, clocks, radios, and modules continue to create a parasitic draw on the battery. If a vehicle is started and operated on a regular basis this w w w .h o r s e a r o u n d n m .c o m

is typically not a problem, so try and avoid having your vehicle sit unused for periods over a month. Automotive batteries are not “one size fits all” so be sure to get the proper physical size battery along with the proper cranking amperage your vehicle requires. Keep in mind diesel powered vehicles typically will have two batteries, and for optimum performance and life span they should be changed together. Regardless of how many months the battery may be warrantied, the highest failure rates occur between four and five years of age. Keep the terminals clean and have the batteries tested each time you have your vehicle serviced. It’s much better to be advised of a marginal battery and decide to replace it on your terms verses waiting for a complete failure. | Fe b /Ma r 2 0 1 7 | HORSE AROUND

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1

2 1. This is where the tire date code is located. If you're not sure how old your tires are, check the date code, especially on your trailer tires! 2. Make sure you have a jack and all the tools to change a tire before you need them! It also helps to know how to use the tools. 3.This is where your truck's critical fluids are located. This isn't "your father's Oldsmobile." Modern vehicles use many specific fluids which can be very confusing. Consult your owner's manual, and/or take it to a service facility before adding any fluids! 4. Modern equipment allows vehicle batteries to be checked for state of charge and life expectancy. Get yours checked at every oil change.

4 3

• Overheated engine.

Overheating can occur from a multitude of problems: lack of cooling system maintenance such as flushing or use of proper coolant; mechanical failure such as a leak or a broken fan belt or failed cooling fans, and; airflow obstructions such as debris, pollen, bugs, cottonwood cotton, leaves, etc. on the radiator and coolers. Rubber and design advancement have made the "ol’ blown radiator hose" very uncommon. Twenty years ago industry standards were to change your hoses every four years, but now it’s common to see ten-year-old hoses still in good shape especially on vehicles that have had proper cooling system flushes. The best bet is to have the belts and hoses visually and physically inspected at every oil change and look for softness, leaks, fraying or any signs of trouble before problems occur. 28 HORSE AROUND | Fe b /Ma r 2 0 1 7 | w

• Stuck vehicle. This is another one that can sometimes occur due to circumstances beyond your control. Changing road conditions, or sometimes poor planning, can get you into a real jam. Roads that may start out looking good can change to impassable with little warning so being familiar with the route, especially when hauling a trailer is extremely important. Should you need to pull over, soft shoulders can suck you in, especially with the added weight of a horse trailer, so use caution. Being stuck can be a real challenge without assistance or proper equipment, so be cautious and conservative when driving off the beaten path.

Now back to that little jewel called the owner’s manual: It’s full of useful information that you should familiarize yourself with prior to needing it. How w w .h o r s e a r o u n d n m .c o m

Thank you, Matt Coulombe, for these photo illustrations.

to use the jack, where to place the jack, what type of oil does my vehicle use, etc.. All of this information can be found in those crisp and clean unread pages. Being generally familiar with your vehicle’s operating systems and maintenance requirements will help achieve a long vehicle life and minimize unexpected failures. Connect with your mechanic Just like with your equine services, it’s important to establish a good relationship with professionals in the field. While you may be able to worm, vaccinate, and maybe even do some of your own hoof maintenance, at some point in time you will need to solicit the help of a professional. Jumping around from vet to vet, farrier to farrier, trainer to trainer rarely produces good results. Vehicle care is no different: If you’re capable and willing to do some of your own maintenance knock yourself out, but establishing a good working relationship with a professional repair shop is invaluable. Just like with horse care, chasing the cheapest option isn’t always the best option. Having a trusted mechanic look things over before heading off on that trip is a great investment as often an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Along with being an equestrian and the President of New Mexico Mounted Search & Rescue, Matt Coulombe has been an owner and partner in Morris & Comanche Auto Service LLC and American Diesel Service LLC in ABQ since 1986. For gasolinepowered vehicles call 505-293-1091 and for diesel-powered vehicles call 505-299-0591.


Before Spring Beckons...

A ttack your tack Imagine sitting on your meticulously-groomed horse, not a winter hair can be seen, and your saddle glistens from the latigo leather to the Chicago screws. With a little time, elbow grease and maybe cash money, this picture could be you. As the days grow longer, patches of green appear and we get brush-loads of hair when we groom our steeds, our thoughts turn to riding. Springtime is the perfect time to go over your tack inventory, throw out the useless, replace the worn, and repair what can be repaired. Clean everything you are going to keep and inspect every item. Here are steps:

1.

Use saddle soap to remove dirt and grime from all leather. Use a brush and pay attention to all deeply-ingrained dirt. Finish with a soft cloth and make sure all dirt and grime is removed. TIP: Use Fiebring’s Saddle Soap or Lexol Leather Cleaner.

2.

Rinse the saddle soap off with a wet cloth and let the leather dry.

3.

Apply a good conditioner to keep the leather soft and supple and impart a waterproof or water resistant finish. TIP: Try Skidmore’s Leather Cream

Cleaning tack not only helps you and your horse look great, it is a needed safety precaution b ecause y ou may find weak spots in your saddle or bridle.

or Neatsfoot Oil. Keep in mind that Neetsfoot oil will, overtime, darken the leather, so know that before you apply it to light-colored leather.

4.

Inspect your bits for signs of wear, sharp edges or cracks that may lead to problems down the road, either breaking, not functioning correctly, or harming your horse.

5. Check for signs of wear on

your cinch or girth, including the latigos. This is especially important! Cinches and latigos are your safety belt that keep your saddle and you in place, safely on your horse's back.

6.

Test each Chicago screw to make sure they are tight, holding your bridle together, and keeping your reins on! I have seen many headstalls brought in to have a different bit put on and they are missing Chicago screws. At $2.75 for a package of ten, it is cheap insurance to prevent a lost headstall and a runaway horse.

7. Check your reins and

curb straps or chains for signs

BY THOMAS GARCIA

of wear. Repair or replace as needed. Rawhide Romal reins need special care. Use a cleaner/conditioner such as Vaquero Rawhide Cream to both clean and condition rawhide reins and other rawhide gear.

Don’t forget

Saddle pads and saddle blankets should be washed and rinsed. If they are worn or damaged, or no longer function as they should, replace them. Some pads become compacted over time and no longer provide sufficient cushion.

Also look at other riding equipment such as saddlebags, hobbles, blankets, etc.. As with other tack, this is the time to clean, repair or replace. Remember that worn out or damaged tack and accessories may cost money to replace, but the cost will be little when compared to a possible tackmalfunction-related-injury to you or your horse. Thomas Garcia owns Spanish Creek Performance Horses and Taos Tack & Pet Supply. He can be reached at 575-737-9798. An electric toothbrush helps get the saddle soap and conditioner into intricate parts of the leather.


HAUL SAFE & HEALTHY A veterinarian shares the latest thinking on keeping horses healthy when trailering

H

BY STACIE G. BOSWELL, DVM, DACVS

Health consequences of trailering your horse can range from mild to extreme. A research group in Australia in 2016 identified the most common problems in trailering. Of the horses with problems, traumatic injuries (45%), gastrointestinal problems (including diarrhea and colic, 30%), muscular problems (13%), respiratory problems (12%), and overheating (10%) occurred. When the numbers are added up, it is clear that some horses had more than one problem. Behaviorally, the horse is stressed during trailering because his main defense – flight – has been completely taken from him. This stress may weaken his immune system at the same time he is exposed to new horses and the viruses they may be carrying. Here are some suggestions for traveling with safety and good health.

Trailer inspections

Loose or weak floor boards, a malfunctioning braking system, or a tire blowout can result in a disaster while shipping horses. Before every trip, the trailer coupler should be triple-checked that it is properly engaged, that the lights and brakes are plugged in, and that the emergency brake battery is charged and connected properly. The truck and trailer ball or coupling should be properly size matched. An annual trailer inspection should include evaluating the floor, the wheel bearings (and packing if needed), the brakes and emergency brake box, and all hardware and latches. Unexpected mechanical issues can occur, but regular inspection and caution will prevent many problems.

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Driver safety

The driver should be confident with the truck and trailer in their charge. Practice, practice, practice with an empty trailer. If possible, a backup plan should be in place with a secondary driver in case the primary driver is injured or becomes ill. A smooth, confident ride will prevent the horses from the slipping and falling that can happen on an erratic ride. Drivers should be well rested and alert; driving drowsy is just not worth the risk! This goes without saying, but drivers absolutely should not use cell phones while shipping horses. At least pull over to use the phone or have a passenger assist with necessary calls or navigation.

Horses have preferences

Understanding the individual horses in the trailer is helpful. If the two chestnut mares don’t get along, trailering them next to each other should be avoided if possible. Does one horse prefer to go into the trailer last and come off first? Does one drink just fine on the road, but the other needs coaxing? If someone else is shipping your horses, the shipper should be able to identify each horse in his or her care. In case of emergency, it is important that horses have identification on them. Examples include a leather neck collar with a name and phone number, or an ID band with contact information affixed to the halter.

Halter and tie horses properly

The halter and tie chosen is very important. A breakaway halter or tie is an absolute necessity at all times in the trailer. Do not let horses stick their heads out of windows while the vehicle is moving! With few exceptions (e.g. horses that fight with their neighbors), the horse should be tied so that he can get his head down below the point of his shoulder to cough. This helps clear the airway and is of extreme importance – especially if traveling more than four hours. Clearing the airway is the primary way to prevent pneumonia. The rope halter is worth a particular notation here. Many people enjoy the use of these halters, as they are convenient for many sizes of horses, don’t break easily, and help control the horse more efficiently than a flat halter. The thinner rope has more “feel” and helps achieve the desired response from the horse as the handler applies a more concentrated pressure.

Think about it this way: the smaller point of a pencil will get more response than the flat end with an eraser with the same amount of pressure. But horses should NOT be trailered in a rope halter. If the horse is riding in the trailer and balances himself by partially leaning on the halter, it is unfair to have the extra “bite” of the thin rope punishing him! Additionally, the halter/rope non-breakable combination is not appropriate for trailer travel.

Dress horses properly

Shipping boots or leg wraps or nothing? What about sheets and blankets? The trailer quickly becomes much warmer (20 degrees or more!) than the outside and horses can rapidly overheat. However, livestock trailers or those with a design open to the wind justify a blanket for a windbreak in colder weather. Horses in enclosed trailers generally do not need blankets as they are more likely to sweat. Sweating leads to dehydration and loss of electrolytes. Those losses are the primary contributing factors to colic associated with travel. Leg wraps can contribute to overheating. If not applied properly, the wraps or shipping boots themselves can contribute to injury. If a horse is not accustomed to wearing the wraps, he may become agitated and kick or stomp. This can result in trailer damage, injury to the horse, and injury to other horses. Open trailer? The horse should wear a fly mask to prevent particles from injuring his eyes or face. Any gear a horse is wearing should be in good repair.

Air quality is key

Traveling with vents open is important for controlling both air quality and temperature. Fresh air flow is critical to reduce ammonia inside the trailer. Ammonia build-up from urine results in damage to the cells that line the respiratory tract, thus increasing the risk of pneumonia. Shavings on the floor are not a good idea, especially in open trailers – the dust and particles harm the respiratory tract. On the subject of particles, if a hay bag is hung, wetting it down will drastically reduce the dust that it will emit.

Travel time

Although a recent study concluded that equine respiratory tract inflammation is minimal to absent for most horses traveling less than two

and a half hours, it is also well-documented in veterinary literature that horses traveling for more than four hours have an increased risk of developing pneumonia. Stop for a few minutes and allow horses to rest, cough, and drink. Offering water every 3-4 hours, even if they don’t partake, is important because dehydration is the number one contributing factor to colic. The Australian research group found that the longer the horses’ journey, the higher the risk of respiratory problems, gastrointestinal problems, and death of any cause. Heat stroke, injury, and muscular problems did not have the same correlation with length of travel.

The bottom line

Trailering horses may be necessary for medical care as well as recreation. Drivers should be confident, and the trailer and tack should be in good working order. Maintaining good hydration for horses and good air quality in the trailer are critical for preventing illness. Longer trips carry a higher risk; stopping for a break is important for both the driver and the horses. Stacie G. Boswell, DVM, DACVS is an equine veterinarian in Edgewood, New Mexico. She has shipped her own horses across the

country and back, and regularly travels for trail riding and horse camping. She can be reached at stacieboswell@gmail.com

Photo page 30: Apache arrives safely at th e Dav id Cany on trail h ead in th e Cib ola National Forest near Tijeras. (Photo by Lisa Westfall.) Below: Ceasar and Megan at the Baylor Pass trail head on the west side of the Organ Mountains near Las Cruces. (Photo by Frank Rivera.)


D ON'T H ID E TH EIR CRAZY H OW TO H ELP, NOT H IND ER, Y OUR CH ILD 'S OBSESSION WITH H ORSES BY PEGGY CONGER

G

Got a horse-crazy kid? Before you do anything–like worry about the expense, or the possibility of your kid getting hurt, or where the heck you’re going to keep a horse –take a moment to thank your lucky stars. When most youngsters 8-18 spend an average of 44 hours a week involved with their various screens, having a kid with a passion that gets them outdoors is a plus. Parents of kids involved in horses say the focus, hard work and persistence required to learn to ride, to care for a horse, or to compete serve their horse-crazy kids well.

The four Hs–head, heart, hands and health

“It brought her out of her shell,” says Karen Troglin, of her 18-year-old daughter Jordyn. Jordyn parlayed a little-girl interest in horses into two buckles at the 2016 New Mexico State Fair, numerous additional wins and ribbons in other competitions, and two rounds as president of the Bernalillo County 4-H Horse Project’s Horse Council. Jordyn will go to college next year to pursue a degree in equine science.

The Troglins were not a ranching or rural family. In fact, tourist trail rides were Jordyn’s only exposure to horses before the family got stationed in Albuquerque when she was in middle school. She asked her parents to find her a place to ride. They arranged lessons at Bosque Circle Ranch with Sylvia Martin, a young entrepreneur who offered lessons at her mother’s North Valley boarding stable. “I used to beg Sylvia to give me work, let me muck or anything, so I wouldn’t have to leave,” Jordyn says. She got her first horse. Both Jordyn and Karen got involved in 4-H. Soon, Jordyn started competing in shows. She got her second horse, and then a third to pursue her plans to compete. 32 HORSE AROUND | Fe b /Ma r 2 0 1 7 | w w w . h o r s e a r o u n d n m . c o m


Holly Chavez (right) and her friend Shyanne plot how to win the toilet paper game at the Santa Fe County Fair Horse Show. A fair favorite, the game requires two riders to make their way around the arena holding a stream of toilet paper between. The team that hold it together wins. Holly and Shyanne's planning paid off. They won at last year's fair. Holly says she likes showing because, "It's just me and my horse showing the world what we can do." PHOTO AND CAPTION BY EVALYN BEMIS

One of the things Karen appreciates about Jordyn’s passion is the responsibility her daughter willingly takes on. “She always feeds. Even if she’s out, she makes sure she is back in time to take care of her horse,” Karen says. “She doesn’t drink, she doesn’t do drugs. The opportunities this has given her are just amazing.” Jordyn has taken on a leadership role in 4-H, and working with younger kids in the program means a lot to her. “I like to see them getting excited and learning.” 4-H has brought both mom and daughter a network of friends. “It’s more like family,” Karen says. She herself serves as the head of the Bernalillo County horse project and on the state fair committee. One thing Karen wants parents to know is that your child does not need to have a horse to participate in the 4-H Horse Project. “There are things for kids to do

that don't require you have a horse right away.”

Joining the club

The same is true of Pony Club, an international group dedicated to educating kids about horses. Jeffray Ryding, who with her husband Tom Angle, owns Goose Downs Farms in Galisteo. Jeffray is Joint District Commissioner of the Santa Fe Pony Club with Lindsay Lechner. Pony Club was originally founded in 1929 to teach horse fundamentals to the children of equine enthusiasts in England, she says. The tradition continues today, with kids not only learning how to ride safely and responsibly, but all the basics of horse care and welfare. The group meets at least once a month year round. This winter, Santa Fe Pony Club has been hosting a lecture series, which concludes with Courtney Kiser, a rider who completed the 1000 kilometer Mongol Derby last summer.

Jeffray says all kids age seven and up are welcome in Pony Club. The Santa Fe group is lucky to have two wonderful school horses right now, Chama and Aziza, to teach the kids the basics of riding. Supporter Karen Nord of Santa Fe also provides well-trained school horses to kids without their own mounts. Many young Pony Club riders go on to compete in rallies and dressage, eventing, hunter jumper and other disciplines including quiz, a non-riding horse knowledge competition. Eighteen-year-old Ankita Schwarting took riding lessons as a young girl but was sort of on the fence about going forward in horses. Joining Pony Club helped cement her interest. “You can take lessons and that’s okay, but with Pony Club, it’s really great because you meet other kids who are doing the same thing, and that makes it more interesting and fun.”


Her mother Rebecca Champion says working with horses has made her daughter more confident. These days, Ankita is working on her show jumping skills on a quarter horse named Wyatt. “I love him because he’s really great at jumping,” Ankita says. Like Jordyn Troglin, Ankita is considering pursuing a career in horses when she goes to college next year.

Rodeo and vaulting

There are lots of other routes in New Mexico to get your horse-crazy kid riding. Rodeo groups, like First Impressions Rodeo Club, located in Albuquerque’s South Valley, help kids 6-18 compete in affordable rodeo competitions. The Bosque Farms’ Rodeo Association has a junior division and 4-H also sanctions youth rodeo competitions. Youth riders can compete in barrel racing through groups like the Cowgirls Rodeo Association in

Portales and Rodeo de Santa Fe in Santa Fe. Vaulting, a form of gymnastics on horseback, is another popular youth sport. Four clubs in the Albuquerque area offer instructions and competition. Whatever avenue your kid takes on a journey into horses, it will have benefits beyond the arena or trail, if Jordyn Troglin is any example. “I tell my friends get out and do things and talk to people, not be on social media so much,” she says. “That’s what I like to do.”

Jordon Troglin rides R.C. Slick at the New

Horse Around NM Associate Editor Peggy Conger Mexico State Fair. (Photo by Karen Troglin.) is a writer, editor, blogger, and trail rider. She rides an adopted mustang and a quarter horse. She can be reached at p_conger@yahoo.com

CONTACTS: • Santa Fe Pony Club santafeponyclub.org • First mpressions Rodeo Club fi rc.bravesites.com • Cowgirls Rodeo Association cowgirlsrodeoassociation.net • Rodeo de Santa Fe rodeodesantafe.org • Bosque Farms Rodeo Association bosquefarmsrodeo.org • To get involved in local -H activities, contact your local county extension offi ce • To fi nd a New Mexico vaulting club avaregion .org/clubs.html Pony Club members with horse Chama. From left are: Ankita, Sydnee, Mosi, Madison (in background) and instructor Lindsay Lechner. (Photo by Jeffray Ryding.) Wyatt Mortenson aboard Colt, his mounted shooting champion horse. "When I ride, I feel unique especially when I'm shooting a gun off my horse, trying to pop balloons. Every single person has their different ways of riding. They might be clumsy, elegant, tough, or smooth, but when everyone rides, they're happy." (Photo by Evalyn Bemis.)

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JOYOUS JOURNEYS

BY PATRI CI A CO NO W AY

Therapeutic riding and other equineassisted therapy can work miracles Therapeutic riding, as defined by the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship (PATH), encourages participants to become a better rider or horseperson, rather than a passenger. Posture and foot placement in stirrups, use of the hands and directing the horse are all encouraged, as is taking the horse through and over obstacles, and learning to stop and walk forward.

A

As I approached the large indoor arena for a therapeutic riding session at Las Campanas near Santa Fe, I witnessed a small miracle. I’d gone to observe a six-year-old boy ride a horse. He was carefully lifted by the instructor and his father from his combination stroller/ wheel chair onto the back of a patiently waiting elderly gelding named Bruno. They placed him belly down on Bruno’s back, which bore only a bareback pad. Spinal injuries prevented the boy from sitting up straight. One person lead the horse, and two side-walkers, one on either side, ensured he wouldn’t slip or fall. Due to this boy's brain injuries, he couldn’t speak, but his reaction to being on this horse was profound. He giggled, gurgled, and grinned. His legs, unable to carry him, moved to and fro, and occasionally he had to be re-balanced. The child’s joy was palpable. The horse Bruno looked terribly proud of himself. The following week, I became a therapeutic riding volunteer. What is equine-assisted therapy? There are four basic areas of equineassisted therapies: recreational, hippotherapy, competitive (Para & Special Olympics) and behavioral health.  Participants range in age from two years to the elderly and range from those with Down syndrome, autism, cerebral palsy, and brain injuries, to those with psychomotor challenges, PTSD and Alzheimer’s disease, just to name a few.

I have never seen anything but a positive outcome from a ride, or even an “on the ground” experience. A participant who arrives for the lesson in a sad or less-thanideal mood always leaves with a better attitude and huge grin. There is no question that equine-assisted therapy or therapeutic riding helps quiet a troubled, confused, or challenged brain. Working with horses also can help participants obtain better balance, improved speech and psychomotor skills, not to mention greatly enhanced self esteem. What better way to feel on top of the world than with a 1,000 pound animal that is fully cooperating? I believe that many horses understand when they carry or work with a challenged human, and respond with tolerance and patience. It’s a beautiful thing. I’ve witnessed participants improve in a myriad of ways, because of therapeutic riding or just being around a horse, grooming, talking, or singing to it. You benefit by volunteering Therapeutic riding organizations always need volunteers. Horse knowledge is welcome, but not necessary. There is a training period, the length and depth of which is particular to each program. Volunteers do everything from helping to groom and saddle a horse, to preparing the rider, leading the horse, or being a side walker. Sometimes a side walker helps hold the rider in place with a "gait belt”, a velcro belt worn around the waist by the rider. Volunteers also help with unmounted activities. Rides usually last around 30 minutes.

It just so happened that the facility where I volunteer, a non-profit, is run by a PATH advanced certified instructor. There are others, some for profit, which offer different types of equine therapy for humans. Steps to volunteer Becoming a PATH volunteer involves a variety of steps, including being mentored by someone who is PATH-certified. There is a certification test of your riding and teaching skills. A therapeutic riding instructor must be familiar not only with horses, but also with the symptoms and manifestations of many physical and/or mental challenges a participant might face. The precious smile of one boy The little boy I observed died a few months after I met him, just after his seventh birthday. Injuries sustained from infancy ultimately took his life. A few weeks before he died, some other volunteers and I helped him ride his last ride. Before he was lifted onto Bruno, he seemed listless and tired. Afterwards he smiled, giggled and let loose with laughs from somewhere deep within. He moved his legs and hugged his beloved Bruno who gently carried his precious cargo, a look of satisfaction on his face. Patricia Conoway lives in Cerrillos, NM, is the author of Listening With My Eyes and is an avid horsewoman. She also volunteers at The Horse Shelter.

To Pa r t i c i p a t e o r Vo l u n t e e r

Families or individuals interested in equine-assisted therapy can visit the PATH website or search online for equine-assisted therapy. Medical professionals or counselors may also refer people to equine-assisted therapy organizations. The following therapeutic riding facilities would love to have more volunteers • Santa Fe - as Campanas Compadres • istening Horse, NMCTR, Challenge New Mexico • Taos - Equine Spirit Sanctuary • Albuquerque area- oving Thunder, Rio Rancho Cloud Dancers, Corrales Horsen Around, Belen

PATH is only one of many equine assisted/therapeutic riding organizations. w w w . h o r s e a r o u n d n m . c o m | Fe b /Ma r 2 0 1 7 | HORSE AROUND

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4 WindsEquestrian Center You and Your Horse Deserve First Class Boarding Services

Find Them at 4 Winds Equestrian Center Check out our Website for yourself! www.4windsequestriancenter.com We are centrally located in the foothills of the beautiful Manzano Mountains 360 Acres of riding room Indoor & Outdoor Arenas And so Much More! Give us a call at: 505-384-1831 or Email us at:

4windsec@qwestofÞce.net

........... FEBRUARY 4 Ranching Sorting Finals www.bosquefarmsrodeo.org Bosque Farms 12 Buckskin Shaggy Show~All Breed NM Buckskin Horse Assoc. www.nmbha.com Bosque Farms 18 Fuzzy Horse FUN Show Benefits Walkin N Circles Ranch www.wncr.org; 505-730-0842 Edgewood....See ad page 11 7 25-26 SW Quarter Horse Assoc. Show www.swqha.com Las Cruces 26 All-Breed FUN Show Loal Tucker Horsemanship Suzanne 505-306-1091; Facebook Lamy

EVENTS: Feb - Mar MARCH

4-5 Albuquerque Downs Classic US Team Roping Championships www.ustrc.com Albuquerque

18 Arab Chamisa Show~All Breed Arabian Horse Assoc. of NM www.nmarabs.org Albuquerque

February 18-19 & March 18-19 John Baird Horsemanship Coaching Sessions 4windsequestriancenter.com Estancia....See ad page 36

4-5 Spring Series Barrel Racing Rockin Horse Ranch www.rockinhorseranch.net Moriarty

25-26 SW Quarter Horse Assoc. Show www.swqha.com Las Cruces

March 3-5 A Legacy of Legends 7th Annual Gathering www.alegacyoflegends.com Fort Worth....See ad page 2

5 Hairy Horse Show Pecos Valley Horsemen Facebook Roswell 11 Woolie Horse Show Desert Sun Equestrians Facebook Portales 12 Buckskin Shaggy Show~All Breed NM Buckskin Horse Assoc. www.nmbha.com Bosque Farms

To submit your event for listing consideration, send information to: EventsHorseAround@gmail.com. Listings are at 36 HORSE AROUND | Fe b /Ma r 2 no 0 1 charge. 7 | w w w .h o r s e a r o u n d n m .c o

26 All-Breed FUN Show Loal Tucker Horsemanship Suzanne 505-306-1091; Facebook Lamy 31- Apr 2 New Mexico Championships US Team Roping Championships www.ustrc.com Clovis

HORSE ✽ RIDER February 4 & March 11 Patty Wilber Private Lessons 4windsequestriancenter.com Estancia....See ad page 36 February 11 Santa Fe Pony Club Winter Lecture Equine Nutrition ~ Richard Patton www.santafeponyclub.org m Eldorado

March 4-5 Conformation, Compensation or Both? Clinic with Susan Smith www.susansmithsantafe.com Santa Fe....See ad page 98 March 11 Santa Fe Pony Club Winter Lecture 2016 Mongolian Derby Competitor Courtney Kiser www.santafeponyclub.org Eldorado March 18 FREE Clinic @ Heart of the Horse Sanctuary; 505-474-5480 info@fortheheartofthehorse.com Santa Fe....See ad page 10


HORSE SERVICES DIRECTORY

Listed here are horse-related services provided by the February / March 2017 issue advertisers. They are experts in their fields. Many of the business owners are also horse owners and enthusiasts. They are the reason Horse Around New Mexico magazine exists and why the magazine is growing. If you enjoy this free publication, please show your support by supporting our advertisers. BARNS/BUILDINGS Ironhorse Pipe & Steel, page 11 Morton Buildings, page 7 BOARDING Mac’s Overnight Stables, page 37 BOOKS How 2 Train A _________, page 25 EQUESTRIAN CENTERS 4 Winds Equestrian Center, page 36 EVENTS Legacy of Legends, page 2 Fuzzy Horse Fun Show, page 11

GUEST RANCHES N-Bar Ranch, page 8 HORSE RESCUE/ ADOPTION Four Corners Equine Rescue, page 9 MASSAGE Life and Vitality, LLC, page 12 REAL ESTATE Horse Property, page 25 Roni Merbler, page 5 SADDLES Mortenson Silver & Saddles, page 7

SPECIALTY SERVICES Albuquerque Pet Memorial Service, page 39 Doolby Mobile Blood Draw, page 6 TACK AND FEED STORES Hitch’n Post Feed, page 10 Horsemen’s, page 9 Miller’s Feed, page 7 Paul’s Veterinary Supply, page 8 Taos Tack and Pet Supply, page 6 Village Mercantile, page 13

VEHICLE/TRAILERS American Diesel Service, page 12 Hal Burns Truck & Equipment, page 6 Sandia Trailer Sales and Service, page 40 VETERINARIAN Santa Sophia Equine, page 12 Western Trails, page 13 WESTERN WEAR Dan’s Boots & Saddles, page 11

TRAINING For The Heart of The Horse, page 10 Julie Phillips, page 39 Susan Smith, page 9

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Try This Trail in the DOŇA ANA MOUNTAINS

BY CRISTINA AND FRANK RIVERA PHOTO BY CRISTINA RIVERA

Gr e a t l a t e w i n t e r /s p r i n g r i d e i n t h e Do ña An a s The Doña Ana Mountains are an isolated cluster of peaks located about five miles north of Las Cruces. The foothills and base of these spectacular mountains are by far one of our favorite places to ride near our home in Las Cruces. There is a large variety of terrain, from flat sandy stretches, perfect for smooth trotting on our mules, to rocky climbs, perfect for showing off our mules’ sure-footedness.

So there are plenty of trails. Some of them climb hills of varying degrees of slope. Some follow naturally-created arroyos. Not finding what suits you? Create your own favorite course! We try to ride the Doña Anas several times a month. Because this is an open area, it can be somewhat busy during weekends with people out riding their 4-wheelers or jeeps.  For this reason, we generally ride there only during the week and we rarely encounter motorized traffic. Riding back in the hills, we are constantly amazed at how beautiful these desert mountains are.  Sitting on our mules atop a massive, rugged rock, we often savor the beauty we are blessed with here in New Mexico. 

How to get there: From I-25 exit at Doña Ana.  At the bottom of the ramp, turn east and proceed a very short way where you will come to a stop sign at the corner of Thorpe Road and Del Rey Blvd.  Turn north (left) on Del Rey Blvd and proceed north about 3.5 miles.  After you pass the Hill Community Collection Center, go about a half mile till the road makes a sharp turn west.  Here, you will see several dirt roads.  Look for a place where you can park your trailer alongside one of the dirt roads.  Unfortunately this area does not have any well-established trailer parking areas. 

Another way to reach this area is to proceed north from Las Cruces via highway 185. From the intersection of Picacho This is BLM land, open for and US 185 (Valley Drive) hikers, bikers, 4-wheelers, proceed north.  After you and mule (and horse!) riders. have reached East Picacho Elementary School, continue 38 HORSE AROUND | Fe b /Ma r 2 0 1 7 | w w w . h o r s e a r o u n d n m . c o m

north for approximately 5 miles to Lujan Hill Road. Turn east on Lujan Hill road and continue east on the blacktop.  This will take you under I-25 (underpass clearance is 13.7 feet). Continue on this road for a short ways and look for where several dirt trails meet up with the blacktop (which at this point the road curves south). Park here. Note: Camping in this area is not ideal, because the areas near the pavement may have trash. If you are coming from a distance and want to dry camp, try the area near the west trail head of Baylor Pass Trail on the west side of the Organ Mountains. It's only a 20-minute drive and from there, you can ride up and over Baylor Pass, 6 miles one way. Submit your "Try This Trail" idea to HorseNewMexico@ gmail.com


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| Fe b /Ma r 2 0 1 7 | HORSE AROUND

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Horse around new mexico february march 2017  

Learn about New Mexico's gorgeous trails, campsites, and talented people! This issue is packed with training tips from our state's best hors...

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