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My general checklist: • Treat for ulcers using Regenereq EQ • Put them on a probiotic such as Biotic 8, and Gastra FX for gut health • Have a chiropractor and massage therapist do an assessment and treatment plan • Use my Accuhorsemat to address back pain • Remove shoes and allow their hooves to grow/toughen, using Scoot Boots if needed • Saddle fit checked and use a saddle pad with impact protection like Thinline • Get their teeth done by an equine dentist • Consult my vet for vaccines, work ups, deworming, or other care. • If they’ve done a lot of racing I also tend to put them on a joint supplement like Sinew-X. • When buying supplements, I use quality tested products from Omega Alpha. Tip #3 Find a Calm Connection One of my favorite sayings is that ‘with a calm connection you can take a horse anywhere.’ It’s where I think so many people get ahead of their horse - they jump right into training for performance and they forget to date their horse. That might sound funny, but horses are emotional animals that naturally have social relationships, which are a major part of how they function and communicate. If we take the time to show them that we care about them, understand them, and that they can be connected to us we will have a much more willing partner. It’s the reason that I can take my horses into hotels, tv studios, have them be lesson horses, jumpers, extreme cowboy

competitors and summer camp saints. Not a specific horse for a specific task but a well rounded partner that can do all of the above. I start this by doing the calm connection exercises from the Harmony Training Continuum. One of the exercises includes Square, which is about learning to walk and move together in relaxation. Tip #4 Teach them to Say Yes Neural pathways in the brain can be tricky to change. I teach my horses that it is important to say yes. I establish a pattern of: • I ask, • You try, • You get rewarded This means I start using positive reinforcement. Rewards can be many things - treats, scratches, rest breaks, play, or something else your horse desires. The reward needs to be something the horse genuinely desires. So for example if you horse doesn’t like being scratched on the withers (even though many horses do), then you can’t use it for a reward. Could you imagine showing up for work and instead getting your pay cheque you got pizza and beer? Now for some of you that’s not too bad, but some don’t like that. If you aren’t rewarded with what is meaningful to you, then you probably will work less hard, or try not to show up. Ever wondered why a horse is hard to catch? Maybe try using more or different rewards during their work. There are many other things about catching horses,

Equestrian Ontario December 2017  
Equestrian Ontario December 2017  
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