NORTHWEST RI DE R Written by Horse People for Horse People
January 15, 2020
The Eyes Have It The Power of Presentation and Interpretation by Mary Corning
Also Featuring: Look Forward / Look Back Competence Improves Confidence Do You Move My Feet, or Do I Move Yours? Using Your Yearly Wellness Exam to Achieve Your Horsemanship Goals Feed Extra Hay at Night to Prevent Wood Chewing in Winter
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January 2020 • Volume 28 • Number 1 Owner/Editor Wendy Hensley email@example.com Telephone 360-567-7211
Table of Contents 6 8
Look Back/Look Forward by Vonie Kalich Cover Story The Eyes Have It The Power of Presentation and Interpretation by Mary Corning
Competence Improves Confidence by Scott DePaolo
7 Principles for Success With Your Horse
Using Your Yearly Wellness Exam to Achieve Your Horsemanship Goals by Dr. Chris Wickliffe, DVM
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Website www.nwridermagazine.com Mailing Address 30703 NW Spencer Road Ridgefield, WA 98642 NW Rider Magazine reserves the right to reasonably edit all copy submitted. All contributions become the property of NW Rider Magazine. The magazine assumes no responsibility for loss or damage to unsolicited photographs or manuscripts. © Northwest Rider Magazine is published monthly. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or part without written permission is prohibited. Opinions expressed herein are of those consulted and not necessarily those of Northwest Rider Magazine, the editor, or the owner of the magazine. Northwest Rider Magazine is not responsible for any damages beyond the cost of an advertisement for any error or omission that may occur that we are responsible for.
Do you move my feet? Or do I move yours? by Nick Donohue
Feed Extra Hay at Night to Prevent Wood Chewing in the Winter by Heather Smith Thomas A Note From the Editor by Wendy Hensley Equine Services Directory Calendar of Events
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Look Back/Look Forward
by Vonie Kalich
As a life coach, I’m always working on ways I can help women to achieve success both personally and professionally. With education and teaching being my top values, I need to make an impact and help others. When I provide the best possible service to my clients and to help them achieve their dreams and goals is rewarding and makes my heart sing. One of the workshops I have hosted the past two years does just that. It’s called Look Back/Look Forward and this year we not only looked back on 2019, but we reflected on the last decade. We examined what we learned, what we were proud of, what we accomplished versus what we were lacking in, or didn’t do. The entertaining part of the workshop this year was the horses. Elliott Horsepower Ranch, where the workshop was held, has a viewing room and arena that were perfect for our classroom. With the heat on and window open, the horses were poking their heads in the window and showing a lot of curiosity for the participants and providing support during coaching experiences. Once done with the review portion of the workshop, we dove into the next decade and what top goals to set for 2020. We asked questions like what goals would we set? What tools would we need to accomplish the goals? Who do we have to become to achieve the goals? What character traits, habits or sills would we need to develop or strengthen to make these dreams happen? So many questions, and not all of them easy to answer. It truly is a reflection and a mindset for growth. One of the participants had recently relocated to a new barn and desired to achieve more horse experiences and create more friendships with likeminded horse ladies in 2020. We set time aside for a coaching session with Cody. He offered a great deal of love and support to her as she processed through creating new friendships. With the many demands of work, how could she find a work/life balance that would give her the desired time she wanted with her 6 | www.NWRiderMagazine.com
horse? Together, we came up with some reasonable solutions and ways to overcome obstacles that might interfere. Work/life balance seems to be a common thread with many of the women I coach. If you’re at all searching for some answers or still trying to figure out what you want this next decade to look like, talk to your horse. Let them be your coach. Get into a round pen with your horse. Ask yourself some of the hard questions you don’t seem to have an answer for. Get centered in your body, and start walking counterclockwise. Without demanding your horse follow or without a lead rope just start walking. Let him/her connect with you and help you facilitate the answers. Here’s how, if you aren’t honest with yourself and staying in your body and get out of your head, your horse won’t connect. If you do, they will follow. When you stop being centered and, in your body, they will disconnect, step in front of you or do many other things to get your attention. Be with your horse and let them coach. Listen to the subtle cues they give you. If you find yourself still not sure, reach out and let a coach help your horse facilitate the coaching process or come on over to my barn and let Cody help me help you. If you’d like some of the questions I provided during the workshop, reach out to me at vonie@ atailofnewbeginnings.com, I’d be happy to send them over to you. Happy New Year, Vonie
January 2020 - Northwest Rider Magazine | 7
The Eyes Have It The Power of Presentation and Interpretation by Mary Corning Several decades ago, I learned a phrase that has been useful in many areas of my life and in my horsemanship. The phrase came from one of the great teachers of horsemanship in the 20th century. Her name was Sally Swift. The catchphrase that impacted me was what Ms. Swift called “soft eyes”. Strictly speaking, for the implementation of riding purposes, “soft eyes” was described as a way of utilizing peripheral vision. As with the majority of horsemanship I learned in my life, I explored this practice in depth. With “soft eyes” I found much more than a method for softening my seat and hands and letting the energy flow without being blocked. With “soft eyes” I shifted my entire perspective. I found “soft eyes” to be a way of opening my mind and freeing myself from harsh details. Details such as judgment, agenda, expectations and limitations all softened when I softened my eyes as directed. And there was another thing that I came to notice. It wasn’t only my eyes that were softening, it was my horse’s as well. As I brought this concept into my human relationships, I found communication with a greater peripheral vision was an open door for understanding, empathy, and creativity. So, as with the other select few, profound teachers of horsemanship, Sally Swift taught me much more than riding with softness. She taught me living my life from a broader perspective. The real beauty in the education was not only enhancing my relationship with my horses but also with my dogs, my family and friends and even my environment. Soft eyes helped me learn to shift my perspective and change my world. Horses and life represent a mirror for me. They show me my weaknesses and my strengths. They do this through the expression of relationships. Unity in the saddle can often translate to my life situations. Improving my perspective of life ultimately improves my relationships with my horses. I don’t separate these two, as I am the common denominator in both. I am fifty percent of every relationship I am in. When I learn to overcome my hardness, I improve my relationships through the subtly of presence. This is particularly true with my horses. 8 | www.NWRiderMagazine.com
The eyes are both an avenue for interpretation and for presentation. A greater peripheral view opens options and allows other perspectives a way in. With this in mind the eyes have a powerful purpose in what I practice, both in life and in horsemanship. Horsemanship (as with all relationships) is a two-way street. There are two elements that influence the outcome, either effectively or ineffectively. We must learn both sides of that street. To be effective we have to learn to be both a good listener and good communicator. We need to understand what works and what doesn’t and why. To this extent soft eyes is both what I choose to offer and what I hope to receive. Understanding what the eyes are saying is useful both in presentation and interpretation. Horses are brilliant communicators. Though obviously not verbal, they still find a way to offer real and decisive messages when we are willing to understand them. The eyes can tell of pain, intention, fear, receptivity, joy, and even introspection. The eyes are truly a distinctive means of communication in and with horses. The Value of Eyes for Interpretation About 20 years ago I realized just how dependent I was on reading the horses’ eyes. I had wandered into a rescue barn while looking for a facility to host a clinic. The gal running the rescue seemed sincere and inspired by her work with horses. She
had 40 stalls and it was obvious that she had a lot on her plate. I offered my support (should she need it) in gentling horses. Not three days later she phoned me and told me of a mule who had come into her care. This mule had been snubbed up so long that the halter had grown into his head behind his ears. By the time I got there to see the mule the halter had been surgically removed. He was bandaged up and the bandages were held secure by a fly mask. This frightened mule was defending himself in no uncertain terms. This defense proposed a danger to those volunteers working in the barn. The owner asked me if I would help this mule find a sense of security and to let down his defenses. It was two weeks before the bandages were removed and I had the opportunity to look into his eyes. This experience offered me a wonderful education. I had to learn how to read the muleâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s fear and resistance without the benefit of seeing his eyes. Of course, thank goodness there were many other signals. I will say that it was much more difficult to be early in my support of him without the benefit of seeing his eyes soften. That mule, who I came to name â&#x20AC;&#x153;Saintâ&#x20AC;?, finally did find forgiveness for the world in which he lived. And he went on to live happily ever after on a ranch in Lakeview, Oregon. I never did forget the lesson that Saint taught me and I never again took for granted the benefit of looking into the eyes of another. I have a horse in my care now who came to me with an extremely high head-carriage. He also had a line of white all the way around both his eyes. He is a tall and athletic horse. I feel that sometimes people assume that this high headed, white eyed posture is simply how some horses are built to carry themselves. When it has become a way of life for a horse, the option of softening
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“correct”. As I practiced riding with “soft eyes”, I realized that not only my posture changed for the better but so did my perspective. I felt the contrast between allowing my peripheral vision to bring my environment in from all directions and focusing hard eyes on one object in my line of vision. I felt a significant shift in my attitude, my inspiration and my physical relaxation. As I softened my view, I also realized I softened my intellectual judgments of how well the ride was going. All these years later, I still remember how applying soft eyes to my ride changed everything about the experience. This teaching also brought me to a greater understanding of what I had been missing in my life.
their posture can surprisingly go unnoticed. When I first saw this beautiful horse I thought, oh my goodness that looks uncomfortable. That white around the eyes looked to me like a store-house of stress and habitual defense. He is an extremely kind horse and it’s obvious he wouldn’t hurt anyone. Thankfully the owners care enough about him that they were willing to dedicate time and energy to shifting how he saw his world and in turn this changed how he carried himself. It has been a wonderful experience for all of us to watch as his eyes have softened. Now the eyes are filled with depth in endless pools of brown and he stretches his head all the way to the ground in relief and appreciation. At times this big sweet horse’s habit of being white-eyed will still show up. But only in temporary defensiveness and habit. But for the most part he carries his head where it is comfortable and where he is capable of using the gift of peripheral vision. This was not only a physical change, but a psychological and emotional one as well. We don’t get to separate out the package deal when it comes to seeing through hardness in our world. Whether it is horse or human, the body, mind and spirit operate as a system. It requires attention to all three to bring softness to perspective. The Power in Presentation When I originally learned about “soft eyes” and started applying it in my riding, a somewhat mystical experience evolved. Back then, a great deal of my horsemanship was founded in technique and striving to be as good as I could be. I seemed to focus on right and wrong, and whether or not the horse and I were 10 | www.NWRiderMagazine.com
I realized how hard my focus had been on my ambitions, my roles, and most of all my relationships. I realized how hard I was on myself and others. I could see that this hardness limited my options and greatly affected my creativity. Finding soft eyes on horseback translated to my entire perspective for living. Then came the greatest awareness of all. I realized that my horses responded in a more gentle and open perspective when I approached them with my newfound soft eyes. They seemed to be more consistently in a learning frame of mind. I noticed they were more curious, open and enjoyed our time together more than before. My soft eyes were not only affecting my perspective they were affecting the horses’ perspective as well.
This was a great awakening for me. I realized that
how I had been presenting myself to my horse (and in life) had come from a rigid agenda, from judgment or even an opinionated feeling of separation. How could I find unity with my horse if I couldn’t find that softness in myself? You might say that soft eyes offered me an education inward to a greater outward expression. And for that reason, this one unique lesson has gone on to serve my practice with a perfection that could only come through the heart. Soft eyes are the windows to the soul, both mine and my horse’s. The practice is simple. While facing forward without moving your head, take in as much of your environment as is physically possible to see. Notice the difference from a peripheral vision to a hard focused one. Notice how different this feels to the body. Soft eyes can also be used as a psychological exercise. When we have an opinion about something, we can open our minds and ask is there another way? Am I trying to be right or making another person wrong? How can I take in what is being presented and use it in a positive way? What would soften my perspective? Does my perspective need to be hardened in order to have it. This exercise of soft eyes can also be explored as an intellectual experiment. How can we learn something new if we are sharply focused on what
we already know? We can find enjoyment in the opportunity of experimentation in our life and with our horses. I suggest wearing the watch on the other wrist or brushing teeth with the opposite hand. Anywhere we can break the hard and fast routine of things is an opportunity to soften our world. We can learn to lighten up on ourselves and our horses. We can open our minds to learning new ways of seeing and new ways of being. The body, mind and spirit all benefit from the practice of “soft eyes”. And, from where I stand, my world has benefited greatly as well. The eyes have it and I am grateful each day for the gifts that softening mine has presented me. Let’s make the year 2020 an opportunity for a perfected vision. We can do this by practicing presence and by adding a greater awareness to our lives. We can re-educate our minds to look for the beauty in each encounter. We can find the purpose in our pain and with that we can change conflict into confidence. Broadening our perspective and opening our minds gives life a deeper meaning. Routines, rigid rules and inflexible schedules dull the mind and the senses. I speak from experience when I say horses and life enjoy expansion and a good way to start is to expand our own vision. Don’t take my word for it. Try it for yourself. See how shifting perspective can change the world you see.
January 2020 - Northwest Rider Magazine | 11
Competence Improves Confidence by Scott DePaolo
A new year is ahead, and I hope that you have hit the ground running. November’s issue discussed the importance of knowing your why. Last month we learned which tools improve odds of success in accomplishing any goal. I hope you’ve chosen to move forward this year in your horsemanship as well as your own personal growth, to accomplish what you’ve wished perhaps for years. To make the time you work with your horse and on yourself the utmost importance! Well, what is it that is holding you back now? For many of us it may be our own lack of confidence. Maybe you are new to horsemanship; it’s been a life-long goal that you finally have the time and means to strive for. Perhaps you have been riding for years and think you should know all of this by now, however, you still find yourself unsure. Possibly you rode like the wind without a care in the world when you were young, but now you have fear and some reservation. For many of us, age has made us wiser and we just don’t bounce like we used to. But maybe you heard about, saw, or were involved in an accident and find it hard to get back in the saddle, no matter how badly you want to. Whatever your situation is, one thing that I know to be true is that competence improves confidence! Confidence is one thing you may need to move forward. Good horsemanship is a life-long pursuit that, if done correctly and with a growth mindset, you can look forward to continuously learning from and improving in over a lifetime. For this to be true, you must have a good foundation with set standards for every horse, every ride. A good foundation is like rebar in concrete, holding everything together and getting you started on the right foot. John Wooden was one of the greatest college basketball coaches of all time. He lead UCLA and ten NCAA national championships. One of his most important strategies for his teams was continually concentrating on building a rock solid foundation 12 | www.NWRiderMagazine.com
in each one of his players. This foundation helped his players make each day a masterpiece and build confidence through competence. Confidence is what is needed for me and my horse to accomplish goals and fulfill dreams as a team. Here are the six steps (or the rebar) for building and developing competence in every horseman and every horse for every ride. Number One: Groundwork. I have noticed that the best human-horse relationship and communication involves a well thought out groundwork routine. This routine should begin as you catch your horse and should continue through the entire pre-ride preparation from leading to grooming, saddling, and mounting. A good routine should set boundaries, build a solid relationship, focus on asking and answering questions as well moving, directing, and controlling your horse’s feet. Good groundwork is mostly about developing communication and a willing mindset. It could occasionally be the sole activity you do with your horse that day. Number Two: Safety check. In the September 2019 issue of Northwest Rider, we learned about the importance of safety checks. Imagine the confidence gained as you take a moment to complete a once over. This would entail a quick check of yourself and your clothing, moving to your horse, looking over the tack on the right side and then moving to the left, checking to make sure everything is ready for your ride. The last thing you will do before you mount is one last cinch check and tightening if needed. It is what airline pilots call a pre-flight check. How would you feel if the next time you flew, the pilot said over the speaker, “Folks, go ahead and take your seats. I am going to skip the pre-flight check this time. I think it will be alright. I believe I may have done one last time we flew this plane.” That sure would not help you with your confidence and you would not think your pilot was very competent. Make sure you do a good pre-flight safety check. Number Three: Nothing. Yep, that’s right— nothing is the first thing you do when you get on your horse. Your horse should stand like a rock before you get on, and if he does not, you may need to go back to the groundwork and take a little more time to make sure everything is right. I see many good intentioned horse riders who allow their horses to walk off as they get on. I recall Tom Dorance saying
to never put your leg over a moving horse. They are only one step away from a full gallop and a runaway. Whether you have a runaway or not, a step or two is a sign of where your horse’s mind is at. If your horse is leaving without the leader, the leader would need to do something about this. Make sure you have the horsemanship competence for your horse to stand while you mount.
whether or not this is true, but I do know that if you can move their feet where you want them to go, you can go anywhere! If you have never done hind end under front end across, be patient and keep at it. At first, it can be difficult for the rider to set up good coordination for the horse. Getting competent at this foundational maneuver could entirely change your horsemanship for the good. It did for me.
Number Four: Lateral flexion or bend them!
Jim Rohn said that what is simple is not always easy! Don’t get discouraged as you work on these basic foundational steps. Years of studying, patience, and practice helped me build them into a natural skill. Remember, competence improves confidence and competence comes through practicing and doing it over and over again. I heard an old Chinese proverb once, or maybe it was just a good piece of cowboy logic. It said, don’t practice until you get it right; practice until you can’t get it wrong.
I heard someone say once if you can’t bend your horses, you can’t turn them and if you can’t turn them, you can’t stop them. This is just another check to make sure your horse is still listening and has a good mindset. You should be able to pick up a rein and bend your horse’s head around without him moving his feet. If his feet move, quietly wait. Once his feet stop, pause for a moment and then release. Now go to the other side, and do the same thing. Do this a few times each direction. Look for softness. One day your thoughts will become his thoughts and his head will turn softly in the direction you are thinking. When you are confident that you can bend him softly, you will be much better prepared to direct his feet. Number Five: Walk off. You will be much more prepared to walk off by allowing time to make everything just right. Let him get quiet and then just ask him forward. Look for a soft, quiet, controlled, confident step forward. You should be striving to use the least amount of pressure, which is how it can and should be when we communicate well and check that the team of horse and rider are prepared and ready. Just walk off!
If you would like further instruction on any or all of the six steps, consider signing up and riding or auditing my clinic and workshop called Overcoming Fear and Building Confidence on April 18-19. This clinic will be chuck full of ground work and great mounted exercises. It will add a solid foundation and diversity to anyone’s skill set as well as give the tools to overcome fear and build a ton of confidence. Spaces are limited. Hope to meet you there! Make it a great day and happy trails, Scott D.
Number Six: Hind end under front end across. The great horseman Xenophon wrote one of the earliest known horsemanship manuals, The Art of Horsemanship, over twenty-three centuries ago. In its simplest form, this is the oldest known horsemanship maneuver. It is a turn on the forehand and then a turn on the haunches put together, or hind end under front end across. It is done continuously and with forward motion throughout the entire maneuver, allowing your horse to release energy without you trying to make him stop. Xenophon’s maneuver is recognized as a foundation used by many natural horsemen to gain control of the horse by disengaging the hindquarters and bringing the front end through. If you have a good groundwork routine, you will probably recognize this as a foundation used to change direction, disengage the hindquarters, and bring the front end through! When this maneuver is done correctly, all four corners of the horse are willingly controlled. I have heard it said that all horsemanship maneuvers lay inside this one maneuver. I am not sure January 2020 - Northwest Rider Magazine | 13
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7 Principles for Success with Your Horse
Do You Move My Feet? Or Do I Move Yours?
by Nick Donohue A very basic principle that horses live by, is they are always asking this question: who moves who’s feet? An example in a herd might be which horse can move another horse away from the best patch of grazing, or which horse can direct the herd somewhere. The lead horse is the one that can cause another horse to move. The same principle applies to the relationship between the horse and the human. Does the horse yield their feet to the human, in the speed and direction that the human asks for, or does the horse cause the human to move? It might look as basic as the horse stepping in toward the human during grooming and the human yielding by taking a step back away from the horse. Every time a horse causes the human to move their feet, it is reinforcing to the horse that they are leading and the human is not. If more folks would understand this principle a little better, it would solve many of the issues they might run into on the ground. If you are always moving around your horse, or even worse, away from your horse, you will not have a healthy relationship with them. You do not have to dominate them, but you must be the one who moves the horse’s feet, for your safety and the ability to teach your horse to be a good citizen. They are large animals who can move and react very quickly, so you want to be seen in a light that they would never even think to move your feet. The hard part about this, is that most of the time, things might be going well enough and we don’t notice the little times that we move around them or that they move us, because when circumstances are good it is not real evident if we are not very aware. The problem with this is that when circumstances are suddenly not good and the horse runs us over, steps on us, spooks and drags us off, we think it came out of nowhere, but if the horse could talk, he would tell you that is the relationship you have had. The horse is always aware of your interaction and is always learning; make sure they are learning the right things. How I go about setting up our relationship to be one where I move their feet is through some basic groundwork exercises where I direct and move their feet often. I then am very aware of them and myself when I am around them, whether I am interacting 16 | www.NWRiderMagazine.com
with them or not, to make sure that I don’t miss an opportunity to move their feet or miss them trying to move mine. Observation/Awareness Something that always amazes me is when I see riders who are in dangerous situations with their horses and are completely unaware of how dangerous it is. But the bottom line I have learned is that most of us are unaware of a lot of the things going on around and with us. I am not sure why as a society we have become this way, but we are. We don’t pay attention to the details, we are unaware of where we are in space, what we are doing, what the horse is doing. Learning to be observant and aware of yourself and your surroundings will help you be consistent with you horse and see what is happening and how things are shaping up good or bad before they do. Feel Feel is a hard one, as it can be a bit abstract. It is everything from how you feel inside your guts, to how you walk through the barn, how you reach for you horse’s reins and ask them do something, to the energy you put out just sitting or standing there. There is a reason this is after Observation/Awareness, because without developing those, developing feel is virtually impossible. So often we are unaware of how we come across to others whether it be our friends, family, co-workers or horses. Feel is how we come across to others. Start paying attention and see if you can get an idea for what your feel is and how to develop it into something that horses and people want to be around. Timing Timing can refer to everything from when you pick up on a rein, apply leg, ask for something from your horse, when it’s appropriate to teach something to your horse, how long you might do something, etc. As you are probably gathering by now these are not simple principles or ideas to understand and that they can be complex and most of all, take being aware and observant. When asking your horse to do something, remember that if their foot is on the ground they can’t move it and if it is headed to the ground and you try to move it, you will throw them out of balance. It will take time and awareness to learn where the feet are and
when it is appropriate to ask them to move. They will know if you are trying and will appreciate that, if you are right 10% of the time at first, they will give you 20%. Just keep working at it and over time with awareness and observation it will get better. It also helps to get help from someone with more experience who can tell you when to start teaching new things, how to go about it, how long to work on it and when to move on, until you gain the experience and develop the judgment to have good timing. Balance Balance refers to both the rider and the horse; if either of them are out of balance then you will run into trouble or obstacles. One thing we see a lot of are horses that are heavy on the forehand which puts them forward out of balance; these horses have trouble rating, stopping and steering. They tend to be a little bothered as they always feel like they are falling and trying to catch themselves. This can be from physical issues, poor riding, poor training or poor confirmation, but it is definitely a problem. I use a lot of lateral work to try to help horses learn or gain balance, but I work hard at it. The rider must learn to be balanced and secure as well. For one, if they are not they will put the horse out of balance, but it also makes it difficult for the horse to do things even if they are still in balance, since you two are not together. You donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t want the horse feeling like they are pulling you around or pushing you around, you should go together. Observation and awareness come in handy here as well, as it is difficult to fix if you are unaware of the problem.
and the best way to get along with them and to help them thrive is to live in the now with them. This is probably the hardest principle to do, as it requires control over our emotions, the ability to make decisions and live with the results or consequences. But if you can do that, if you can make a decision and truly accept whatever happens after, it will allow you to relate to horses in way that you may have never thought possible. It isnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t always going to work out, and you learn from that. You must make good decisions and ride a horse appropriate for your skill level, otherwise you wonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t be able to. The important thing to remember here, is you have to accept the consequence or result of your decision and action, without that you cannot turn loose completely. So these were just a few thoughts on a few principles that I have been thinking on lately while working horses. I really hope that they help or at least spark a flame inside of you that can grow with time. We would love to hear your questions or thoughts. You can find us on Facebook or Instagram at Donohue Horsemanship.
Ability to adjust When I enter up on something, I always give it 100% as if I know without fail it will work, but after it has been executed I always ask myself, what happened (wait, there is that awareness/observation again) so that I can decide if I need to adjust or if I was happy with the result. Sometimes the adjustment can be pressure, timing, balance or completely going about it differently. The important part of it, is that we know what we want, we know what we want to do, we know what we actually did and we know what actually happened. Knowing those things will guide us through adjusting so that we get the desired result. Turning loose and letting go Last up, if we expect our horse to turn loose to us and let down, we must turn loose to them and let go. If we are holding on to our fears, to our expectations, to our past or future, we are holding ourselves and the horse back. They live in the now January 2020 - Northwest Rider Magazine | 17
Using Your Yearly Wellness Exam to Achieve Your Horsemanship Goals by: Dr. Chris Wickliffe, DVM As the new year starts it is traditional to set goals for the upcoming riding season. An essential part of this process is consulting with your veterinarian to make sure that your veterinary care is appropriate and is timed correctly. Having your veterinarian do a complete exam on your horse once a year is very important. It doesn’t matter if your horse is a 9-month-old headed out to its first spring pasture, a 9-year-old at the top of its roping game or a 29-year-old transitioning from school master to the retired barn mascot. Getting a yearly exam is essential for planning for the next year’s medical needs. Since our horses can’t tell us what is going on in their bodies, a hands-on physical is the best and really, only way for your veterinarian to check the physical condition of your horse. Additionally, it is the best time for you to discuss your horsemanship goals for the upcoming year. To me, it doesn’t matter if that goal is to get under 7 seconds in a barrel pattern, to qualify for Dressage regionals or to avoid laminitis this spring so that your “old man” will be around for the grand kids over the summer. The time that your veterinarian spends with your horse and with you is the most important step in this planning process. It doesn’t just provide information on the current state of your horse. But, as years go by it also yields huge dividends in both tracking the health of your animal and in fostering a relationship of care and respect between you, your horse and your veterinarian. A typical yearly Wellness Exam consists of checking the overall condition of the horse. This can include assessing the physical environment the horse lives in, checking if the horse is skinny or fat, if the hair coat is healthy and of normal thickness and length, checking for external parasites like ticks or lice, the hooves are normal, there are no visible areas of injury, the horse is chewing and swallowing normally, the eyes appear normal, the horse is able to move normally and is of a normal mental status. Most veterinarians are very well practiced at this and often are making these assessments while they are greeting and doing a quick walk around your horse. The next stage of the exam is to assess the physical condition of the horse. This includes taking your horses temperature (as long as it is safe to do so), listening to the heart for both rate and rhythm, listening to their trachea and lungs for normal air flow, listening to the abdomen for normal gut movement and sounds, feeling (palpation) for areas of heat, pain or swelling 18 | www.NWRiderMagazine.com
on the head, neck, body and legs and checking their teeth. These observations combined with a discussion of your concerns and plans (including travel) will allow your veterinarian to properly advise you on the best actions to help you achieve your goals. Often, part of these recommendations may be a more specific exam to give additional information on an area of concern. Specific exams beyond the yearly Wellness Exams your veterinarian commonly include:
Parasite Control This includes both internal and external parasites. There have been many changes in the way we control parasites over the last several years. Recent research has shown that not all horses in a given barn should be managed the same way. Your veterinarian is the best individual to help you formulate a plan that is both safe and effective for your horse.
Vaccinations There are many vaccines that are now available both through your veterinarian and over the counter. Not every horse is at risk of contracting a given disease. As a result, every horse should be managed as an individual. Your veterinarian is the best educated and best equipped to help you make decisions on what vaccine is appropriate and that it is timed correctly for your horse. This is especially true if your horse is young or old or if you are traveling with your horse. Nutrition Basic nutritional counseling is an important part of a yearly visit to your farm. As the owner you can really help your veterinarian out by gathering the appropriate information so that it can be reviewed at the time of or ideally before our visit. Pictures of Feed Tags, Supplement Ingredient Labels (all of them), Hay Testing Analysis and the quantities fed of each emailed before an appointment will help your veterinarian give you accurate advice in this very important area.
simple to perform (all you need is a bit of blood) but can yield invaluable information on managing your horse. However, lab testing also includes muscle/ organ/mass biopsies, hair testing (genetic), bacterial/ viral/fungal identification (culture and PCR) and fecal parasite testing. All of these are important and are an essential tool for your veterinarian to help manage your horse’s health. Cost Helping the owner establish an anticipated budget is a very important part of the yearly exam. This allows the owner and the veterinarian to establish a timeline of expected exams, testing and treatments
Dentistry Equine dentistry has come a long way in the past 20 years. A good oral exam can identify many abnormalities ranging from the uncomfortable to life threatening. Regular dental care is essential for the long-term health and peak performance of your horse. In many states (Oregon included) animal dentistry can only be performed by or under the direct supervision (meaning they are standing watching the procedure) by a veterinarian. Lameness Often, this is part of the performance horse’s annual or semi-annual exam. It gives both the owner and the veterinarian a chance to observe the horse’s current state of soundness and fitness. This information then allows the management team (Owner, Trainer, Farrier and Veterinarian) to develop a realistic plan to get that horse to a place to accomplish the owner’s goals. This exam can range from the simple “watching a horse go” to flexion exams to advanced computer assisted gait testing. Lab testing The most common in this family of tests is the blood test. These can range from a basic Complete Blood Count and Chemistry to hormone or even genetic testing. A basic blood panel or the more complete “Geriatric Panel” are often recommended for horses that have metabolic concerns or as a baseline to compare to as a horse grows older. Blood tests are January 2020 - Northwest Rider Magazine | 19
for the next year. This helps to avoid unexpected expenditures but more importantly it provides a path to better health and performance for your horse. 2020 also marks some changes in the requirements for Oregon horses traveling across state lines. The required EIA blood test (Cogginâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Test) is now good for 12 months from the date that it is issued. That means no more 6-month blood pulls! However, the travel passport that allowed for travel in the Northwest and California for 6-months with a single health exam is now discontinued. So, a 30-day certificate of veterinary inspection (health certificate) is now required to cross state lines. If you have questions you can ask your veterinarian or contact the Oregon State Veterinarianâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Office. We here at Cascadia Equine Veterinary Clinic hope that you had a wonderful holiday season! I always find myself looking forward with renewed anticipation and excitement for all the new year will bring. I know the opening of our new hospital and rehabilitation center this summer will create a year of amazing change for us. I hope that the new year brings you and your horse peace, health and the ability to set and achieve your horsemanship goals.
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You and your horse deserve the very best. Locally owned feed store. Knowledgeable, friendly staff. Outstanding customer service. Open 7 days a week. Conveniently located just 2 miles from the Clark County Event Center!
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January 2020 - Northwest Rider Magazine | 21
Feed Extra Hay at Night to Prevent Wood Chewing in Winter
By Heather Smith Thomas
morning feeding. Cold weather increases the horses’ need for fiber fill. Under natural conditions, the horse grazes more or less continually, and the fibrous forages are broken down and digested in the cecum by the action of micro-organisms. This digestion process creates heat and helps keep the horse warm. If he’s cold and has no food in front of him, he usually feels a need to munch on something--and if there’s no grass, and no more hay to clean up, he chews on the fences or anything else within reach.
Bored horses and hungry horses often chew on fence posts and rails, trees in the pasture, stall walls and mangers. Even a well-fed horse that has all his nutrient requirements met by pellets or some other concentrated feed such as grain--with minimal roughage--will chew wood, just because he doesn’t feel full. In cold weather, horses require more roughage just to generate enough body heat to keep warm, and even if they have an ample amount of hay they may finish it in a couple of hours and then feel cold and hungry before morning, and start chewing on the fences or stall walls. Grain and high quality, high energy feeds may more than satisfy horses’ needs for actual calories and the horses may even be too fat, but they are still short on fiber and chew time and feel like they need to eat more. They may also have problems staying warm in cold weather. Digestion of fiber in the hindgut (cecum and large intestine) creates heat during the breakdown process. This helps produce the necessary body heat on a cold night. With the advent of pelleted and concentrated feeds in recent decades, and less reliance on hay, wood chewing problems have increased, especially in confined horses. A lot of wood chewing occurs at night, after the horse has eaten his concentrated meal and has nothing else to do. Winter nights are especially problematic; the nights are long, with a lot of “hungry” time between the evening meal and 22 | www.NWRiderMagazine.com
The horse is a grazing animal. In the wild, he roamed around and grazed more or less continually through the day and night, just stopping periodically to rest, go to water, or interact socially with his herdmates. His digestive tract works best when there is feed moving through it at all times; in natural conditions at pasture he spends much of his time grazing. This is the healthiest situation for his peace of mind and for his gut, since the cecum and large intestine continually ferment and digest forages. A number of studies during the past several decades have looked at reasons for wood chewing. A Cornell University study in the 1970’s documented the fact that horses chew wood when no hay is available, even when they are fed an adequate diet. Ponies in that study were fed a pelleted ration and no hay, but had access to pine boards (2 by 4’s). Each pony chewed up or consumed about 3/4 of a pound of pine wood per day. When hay was added to the ponies’ diet, their wood chewing decreased by 80 percent. More recent studies have shown that increasing a horse’s hay ration prolongs the time he spends eating, and therefore decreases wood chewing. Concentrated feeds do not satisfy a horse’s need for fiber fill nor chewing time even though they satisfy his nutritional needs. It takes only about onetenth the time to eat a pelleted ration, for instance, as it does to eat hay, leaving the horse a lot more time to be bored and idle and looking for something else to do. It also leaves his gut relatively empty for more of the day (or night), which stimulates his craving to chew on something. On a cold night he may be shivering, since the heat from digestion will be minimal without adequate roughage.
If your circumstances do not permit having a horse at pasture, or his nutritional needs require energy-dense feeds, he will still do better if you can provide some low energy roughage for him to munch on between meals--especially during a cold winter night. A very plain grass hay will readily satisfy his need for chew time and give his gut the “fill” it needs for healthier function, and drastically cut down on stable vices like wood chewing, cribbing (a compulsive behavior that is much more serious than wood chewing) stall walking, weaving, or pawing. If weather is quite cold or continually wet, you should increase the feed for all horses; they need more total calories just to keep warm. If a horse doesn’t get enough food to generate heat, he’ll burn fat and muscle tissue to keep warm, and lose weight. If temperatures drop, you need to feed more hay, not more grain. In very cold temperatures a horse will do better if you increase his hay ration to the point of all he will eat, rather than increasing his grain. More body heat is created by the digestion of roughage than by digestion of grain. A pound of hay generates more heat than a pound of grain. Hay is digested in the large intestine and cecum, by fermentation (which produces heat), whereas grains are digested in the small intestine. Corn, though it is higher in energy content than hay, gives off less heat when digested. This is because the horse can utilize the energy in corn more efficiently; thus less energy is lost as heat in the digestion process. Corn is more useful for weight gain than for heat production. If you are feeding grain in winter, it’s often better to use oats than corn. Oats, because of their higher fiber content, produce more body heat than a similar weight of corn. Two pounds of oats and plenty of hay will usually produce the body heat the horse needs for keeping warm.
busy and warm. If horses are bedded on straw in cold weather, they’ll eat the bedding, and this can lead to impaction or digestive problems. It’s better to give the horse extra hay so he won’t have to resort to eating the bedding. Some horse owners feed big round bales in out at pasture, giving horses continual access to hay. This feeding method has advantages and disadvantages. The big advantage is having hay in front of the horses 24/7 so they can eat as much as they want on a cold night—which generally eliminates wood-chewing. The disadvantages include more wasted hay, and more risk for respiratory disease or colic if the hay is dusty or moldy, and eye problems if horses eat into the bale, with dust and chaff falling down into their eyes. Some horsemen feed a little alfalfa along with the grass hay during cold weather, since horses can metabolize the extra protein into heat energy. But care should be taken to avoid any dusty or moldy alfalfa, which can lead to coughing, heaves or digestive problems and colic. Mature grass hay is actually best to feed during cold weather, to meet the need for heat-producing roughage, unless the horse needs more nutrients. Hay cut in mid to late stages of growth contains the most fiber. Feeding a horse 2 or 3 pounds of a more mature grass hay in addition to his regular hay feeding can give him the extra heat he needs in cold weather. A handy rule of thumb for feeding is to increase the hay ration another 10 percent for every 10 degrees C. below freezing.
Horses should always be fed at least twice a day, and during cold weather the larger feeding should be given in the evening. Nights are not only colder, but also longer (in northern regions there may be 16 hours of darkness compared to only 8 hours of daylight--and if you give your horse his evening feeding before dark, it is a long time till breakfast!) The evening feeding should include as much grass hay as the horse will clean up. Don’t shortchange your horse on roughage at night or he may try to nibble the fence posts, bedding or anything else available (even his pasturemate’s tail or mane) because he is cold and craving more roughage. Plenty of hay at night will help keep him January 2020 - Northwest Rider Magazine | 23
Donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t let your competition knock you off your feet. Advertise! Online, digital, and print advertising options available. email@example.com 360-567-7211.
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SCOTT DEPAOLO HORSEMANSHIP
SCOTT DEPAOLO 2020 CLINICS
New Year New You January 11-12
Fear & Confidence April 18-19 Willpower & Habits July 18-19 Peak Performance November 14-15 Pre Fiesta Roping Clinic August 1-2
Fiesta September 11-12-13 *Evening Workshop is included in the cost of the clinic, bring family and friends or sign up just for the workshop!
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Rock Your Horsemanship & Lifemanship Register with Jami Kaptein at: firstname.lastname@example.org Location: 29015 Meadowview Rd. Junction City, OR 97448 Phone: (541)-607-1902 / www.scottdepaolohorsemanship.com
To thine own self be true. ~Hamlet Act 1 Scene 3 January 2020 - Northwest Rider Magazine | 25
A Note From the Editor by Wendy Hensley
I don’t even know how it got to be January already. I’ll be honest, I did next to nothing with my horses over the holidays. I barely got my Christmas decorations up in the barn. And by decorations, I simply mean stockings hung for Christmas morning snacks from Santa. I was in a whirlwind of holiday-ness that meant my horses (and therefore my soul) suffered horribly. So, after last month telling you I was going to be feverishly working on my goals in 2020, I find myself sitting here admitting that I haven’t done one single thing to get me closer to my goal. Sigh. I’m thankful for this article to remind me I’ve got to kick it into gear. Accountability is a good thing! I refuse to let the entire month slip by without doing at least something that progresses me further toward my competition goals!
I did get a chance to ride in a one-day workshop with Beth Weaver at Northwood Farms. What a great experience! Everything worked together that day. From hanging out with good friends, to learning from an amazing instructor, to connecting with my horse on a few maneuvers ... it was exactly what I needed to get me through the holiday frenzy. I love these ladies. Truly. We had a great time laughing and sharing in the day together. I was excited to make progress in my horsemanship but more-so it was nice to be reminded of what good girlfriends can do for your soul when you need a boost. 26 | www.NWRiderMagazine.com
OWN YOUR OWN UNIQUE BUSINESS! Field and Brush Maintenance, LLC is for sale and it could be yours! We are currently based in Sherwood, Oregon, with customers throughout the counties of Washington, Yamhill, Polk, Marion, Clackamas, and Multnomah. The business was founded 10 years ago and has a full client list as well as equipment for sale. The owner is only selling because he’s ready for retirement. Income for 2018 was $54,000 and only included a work cycle of approximately 6 months (April thru Sept), because the owner focused on Agricultural jobs only. With aggressive marketing and sales, there is no limit to its real potential.
As an aside, up until recently, we’ve been blessed with some amazing late fall and early winter weather. That’s made for some incredible sunrises. One of my favorite times is morning feeding. I turn my horses out, toss the hay, and there have been so many mornings lately where the sunrise just blows me away. So, now onto my riding goals. First up, a clinic with Scott DePaolo later this month. I’m ready to go back to fundamentals and work on a few things I skimmed through with Addie before. She’s a great horse, but if we can get a few of our groundwork issues moving correctly (such as leads and cantering circles), I think we’ll be set up better to work on other things for Western States Stock Horse (WSSH). In case you missed it, check out the Facebook Live interview I did with Nick Donohue on WSSH. He’s got some great clinics coming up as well that are targeted specifically to people wanting to compete at the upcoming shows. I plan to attend a few of them and hope to see you there! So here’s to keeping on, keeping on and much, much, much (much much much!) more riding as the month and year goes on.
We are now approaching the busy time of year, so a quick sale now would, as part of the deal, allow the owner to spend the rest of this year training you and your personnel with the equipment, introducing them to customers, and training in the use of Quick Books. If sold to private party, books could be transferred to their name and be continued from there. In addition to the owners free consulting time for the buyer for this year, he would also be available to fill-in on jobs periodically during the transition this season for a special hourly rate. If you have interest, please contact the owner immediately so you can benefit from this busy time of year. LETS TALK !
Denny Devlin Field & Brush Maintenance field.brush @yahoo.com (503)939-4777 (cell)
Until then, ride on and write on, my friends. January 2020 - Northwest Rider Magazine | 27
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Equine Services Directory Horse Trainers
Donohue Horsemanship Silver Spade Ranch: Horseback Riding Lessons: All Ages and abilities: Colt Starting: Problem Solving: Training: Stock Horse Showing/Training/Coaching: 503-593-8775 www.Donohuehorsemanship.com
R&R Equestrian Center Boarding and riding facility in Woodland, Washington. Stalls, indoor arena, outdoor arena, turnouts, and overnight stays. www.rrequestriancenter.com 360-225-3950
Scott DePaolo Horsemanship Training at all skill levels. Clinics, lessons, and more! www.ScottDePaolo Horsemanship.com Facebook: scottdepaolohorsemanship
Whispering Meadows Equestrian Center 40 acre horse boarding facility with an indoor and outdoor riding arena. Conveniently located between Eugene and Junction City, Oregon. We have 47 stalls, 23 with runs and many outside paddocks. www.whisperingmeadowsec.com 541-607-1902
Rafter 2S Ranch Over 20 years experience in horse training specializing in colt starting and finished performance horses. Orchard grass, barley hay, and quality beef also for sale. Kristi Siebert, Goldendale, WA 509-773-4268
Shavings K Bar D Enterprises, LLC Delivering premium bagged Fine shavings to the Pacific Northwest. Delivery available from full semi load to 1 pallet (40 bags) Call David - 503-806-0955
Leather Work Big Hat Saddlery Big Hat Saddlery is dedicated to providing custom made leather goods for horse & rider, made from the finest materials. Can also repair and clean saddles. Brent Skill 360-837-3482
Veterinarians Amazia Veterinary Services Large and small animal care. Serving all of Clark County, Washington. 360-892-7524 www.amaziavet.com Cascadia Equine Veterinary Clinic Fully mobile equine veterinary practice serving the Willamette Valley in Oregon. Tel: 541-207-8308 Email: email@example.com www.cascadiaequine.com
Want to get listed? Limited space available.
January 2020 - Northwest Rider Magazine | 29
Calendar of Events OHC Indoor Eventing Oregon Horse Center January 17, 2020 9 AM – 6 PM
Posse Obstacle Fun Night Yamhill County Sheriffs Posse January 17, 2020 6 PM – 9 PM ts only $20 for 3 hours! No pre-registration needed. Just sign in and pay when you get there
Winter Open Show Series Mt. Hood Center January 18, 2020 Daily High Point & Reserve prizes awarded. Ribbons to 5th place in all classes. Series High Point and Series Reserve High Point Per AGE Division. Office Opens @ 8AM Show Begins @9AM
Mountain Trail Schooling Challenge Flying M Stables January 18, 2020 Did you make a New Year’s resolution to ride more in 2020? Start off right by attending this clinic, while having fun and meeting new friends.. CHA Certified Master Instructor Angela Greenshields will guide you to build confidence and communication skills and give you the tools you need to follow through and ride more this year! Lunch is included, and there will be a guided discussion on overcoming obstacles to regular riding.. Hosted in an indoor arena, lots of parking and turnaround space. Limited to 6 participants so there is individualized instruction to fit your needs. Sign up for one clinic or all 3! $125 or $335 for all 3. Elma, WA.
MRBRA Barrel Saddle Series & Play Day Mount Rainier Barrel Racing Association Yelm, Washington January 19, 2020 5 Saddles given away to 1st place in 5D Barrels at year end awards. Awards to all other places in Barrels, Poles & Figure 8. More riders in the awards series the deeper the awards go so spread the word!
Cowboy Mounted Shooting Practice Molalla, Oregon - Bar88Arena Riding On Faith January 19, 2020 Practice will be from 10-1. Please be ready to ride by 10. Members fees = $15 arena fee and $5 a run for ammo. Non Members fees = $20 arena fee and $6 a run for ammo. Spectators are always welcome
Ranch Roping Clinic Triple JC Ranch (on Facebook) January 25, 2020 Ranch roping clinic brought to you by Chris Doukas and Mike Wiltse. This is our “and then what” clinic. We all can get a cow roped, and then what? We will focus on horse, rope, and cattle handling skills that will help us be successful and , most importantly, safe in our roping endeavors. This clinic is great for beginner to intermediate ropers. Or folks with horses that are green to roping. We will start out with rope handling and shot placement, then move to horse handling a bit. Next we will putting it all together and work on some exercises to help us handle our horses and ropes at the same time. Then we’ll finish up with cattle handling and some roping. $80 per person lunch provided. Please private message one of us for the address or any other questions.
Intro to roping: rope handling, safety and positioning on a cow Forrest Grove, Oregon January 18, 2020 Designed for the person that has always wanted to rope and learn the basics. Introducing rope handling from the ground up, starting with the roping dummy on the ground, how to handle your rope and build a loop, working on safety on horseback, and correct positioning on a cow for improved catch percentage.
Want your event listed? 360-567-7211 firstname.lastname@example.org
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Mark and Lee Bolender
Silver Creek, WA
131 Crated View Drive
We at Big Hat Saddlery are dedicated to providing custom made leather goods for horse & rider, made from the finest materials we find. Our primary concern is the comfort of the horse first, then the comfort of the rider.
Custom Leather Work | Tack Repair | Saddle Cleaning
January 2020 - Northwest Rider Magazine | 31
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