Publications Mail Reg. No. 40045521 Printed in Canada
Stolen Horse: Update By Jenn Webster Reprinted in part with permission from Western Horse Review, www.westernhorsereview.com
ooster Kicker, a 2004 AQHA gelding, went missing from his stall at Westerner Park in Red Deer, AB, during the Canadian Quarter Horse Nationals on Sunday, August 24, 2014. The day prior, Nancy Pratch had finished with a first place in her amateur reining class but decided to stay one more night and leave first thing in the morning. When she did her last check on him at 12:30 am, “Kicker” was in his stall - which was securely latched both by its pin system and a halter fastened Rooster Kicker and Nancy Pratch in action. (Photo by HD2 Sports) around the bars. At 7:00 am on August 25, Nancy’s boyfriend Cory went to feed their horses breakfast but found Kicker’s stall empty, door pushed inwards, halter on the floor – horse and lead rope missing. The couple began to search the grounds for the missing bay horse. It was soon apparent that the horse was no longer at Westerner Park. Cory and Nancy contacted the local authorities, who advised a call to 911; after that call at 7:47 am, Cory and Nancy continued their search around the facility. At 8:39 am, Cory received a call from the RCMP stating that a horse had been found behind the south Red Deer Best Buy. Behind the store, the search party found Kicker in the care of Dan Metzger. According to Metzger, two homeless men had discovered the horse on Highway 2, wandering around a very busy intersection with a lead rope tied snugly around his neck. The men caught Kicker and led him down behind Best Buy, tied him to a tree and went to fi nd someone who could help. The two men made contact with The yellow dot indicates where Kicker was Dan, who contacted the RCMP. Nancy and Cory went to retrieve Kicker, and were relieved to find him eventually found. The red dot indicates unharmed. where he was taken from. There are several theories about Kicker’s disappearance; however, few solid answers have yet to surface. During the Nationals, the Quarter Horse Association of Alberta had hired a security company to patrol the grounds. However, this security contract was over as of the evening of August 24 – so there was no security in effect during the time of Kicker’s disappearance. The RCMP has concluded that there was no evidence to verify whether this incident was a crime or an accident, so they closed the fi le. Their advice to future competitors at Westerner Park is to ensure that “everything is locked up.” Rooster Kicker’s disappearance and the way he was found, with a rope deliberately tied around his neck, has left his owners with just one question: was the incident a random act of theft or was it planned?
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From the Editor… Features Missing (Stolen?) Horse Certified Horsemanship Association Barefoot and Shod Classical Horsemanship Trainer of the North BC Seniors Games Trail Challenges Equine Therapy (Pain) Meds for Horses Softer Horsemanship Saddle Fitting & Common Sense Schooling with Long Lines Shannon Ford Exhibition Top Peruvian Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games
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Our Regulars Cariboo Chatter Top Dog! KIDS Horse Council BC Lower Mainland Quarter Horse Back Country Horsemen of BC BC Paint Horse Club BC Rodeo Association Clubs/Associations What’s Happening? Let’s Go! Business Services Rural Roots On The Market (Photo ads) Stallions/Breeders Shop & Swap
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t this (press) time our three ‘female’ Canadian horse trainers are on their way to Oklahoma for the American Horsewoman’s Challenge being held October 3-5. Keep a lookout for Pam Asheton (AB), Winnie Stott (ON) and Marion Weisskopff (BC). Visit www.horsewomanschallenge.com for updates and each trainer’s blog. We know the three of you will do CANADA proud! Show ‘em what we’ve got!
Headin’ out at Jandana Ranch. That’s me on We ‘fi llies’ had a great time at our the left. Photo courtesy of Dave Jarvis. annual (year-end) trip to Jandana Ranch. They spoiled us this year with a wine and cheese on Saturday night (oops… was I not supposed to say that?). Thank you Janice, Dave and Lenox for always taking care of us! I brought my new horse this year and we had a great time! And so did she… didn’t want to load to come home. Saddle Up’s next issues, November as well as December, are BOTH Christmas issues which include our Gift Guide, so retailers – or those that have something to sell as a great Christmas present – don’t miss out! Deadline is October 15th for the November issue. We are gearing up for the Mane Event (our favourite trade show!) in Chilliwack at the end of the month. Do pop by our booth and say hello – and please introduce yourself, as we get so many emails from you, but never really know who you are (by face)!
Nancy CONTRIBUTORS: Stephanie Kwok, Janice Reid, Sam Scott, Christa Miremadi, Judy Newbert, Ross Buchanan, Ken Cameron, Hazel Plumbley, Bruce Roy, Marjolein Thompson, Shannon Ford, Cathie Taggart, Donna McNab, Cindy Richard, Geri Brown, Mark McMillan, Valerie Barry, Lisa Kerley, Andrea Blair, Naomi McGeachy, Sarah Wyatt, Lorraine Pelletier, Doug Campbell. ON THE COVER: Pyke and Buckley Performance Horses, www.itsmysite.com/mbquarterhorses MASTHEAD PHOTOS: (regular features) By Rein-Beau Images OFFICIAL VOICE FOR: Back Country Horsemen of BC, BC Paint Horse Club, Lower Mainland Quarter Horse Assoc., BC Rodeo Association MEDIA PARTNER WITH HORSE COUNCIL BC and BUSINESS MEMBER WITH AEF
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HCBC 2010 BUSINESS OF THE YEAR
HORSE PLAY AT JANDANA RANCH Book your cabin now for a perfect winter get away Riding in the snow – the Ultimate Experience! Enjoy ice-fishing or cross country skiing then cozy up in front of the fire in one of our lakeview guest cottages with all the comforts of home.
Only 30 minutes from Kamloops at Pinantan Lake 250-573-5800 ~ Janice and Dave Jarvis www.jandanaranch.com
Cover Feature Pyke And Buckley Performance Horses Enjoy the journey... At PB Stables, Langley BC Congratulations to our show team on a great year filled with many accomplishments and success! It was a great year of wins, success and personal growth for all of you, while enjoying good times and making wonderful memories. I am touched to have been trusted to guide you and be your greatest cheerleader along the way. You all are so special to all of us! Thank you also to all our wonderful clients who have learned so much and come so far, you are a joy to teach and train for. It is amazing to be a part of your lives, your horse’s education and to have you all as part of the “family”. Thank you also to our employees, friends and family who help so much behind the scenes. Your everyday support and contribution to the daily experience is worth it’s weight in gold. In addition to shows, Mellissa was well travelled teaching clinics this year, quite a few of them in the interior. With many of the participants faithfully attending again and again, Mellissa wants to thank them for their belief in what she teaches. Heartfelt gratitude to Amberlee Ficociello/Five Pine Ranch for being the organizing force and hostess for these events . We have a few open spaces for new clients and would be happy to tailor make a program suited to you and your horse. Our full board facility boasts large indoor and outdoor arenas, hot water wash rack, roomy stalls and large paddocks.
Specializing in happy all around horses in Youth, Novice, Amateur and Open Boarding -Lessons - Clinics - Training - Sales - Stallion At Stud www.itsmysite.com/mbquarterhorses Mellissa (604) 729-6616 firstname.lastname@example.org - Richard (604) 781-2122 email@example.com
HCBC 2010 BUSINESS OF THE YEAR
www.saddleup.ca • 5
Setting Standards with the CHA By Rebecca Knopf Whether you are looking for a riding instructor, or you are a riding instructor attempting to bulk up your credentials, the Certified Horsemanship Association (CHA) is there for you. CHA values safe, effective and fun horsemanship and certifies horseback riding instructors in multiple disciplines who can prove their ability to teach.
ounded in 1967, CHA values and promotes safety and horsemanship education. It is the largest international horsemanship instructor certifying organization in North America, with over 20,000 instructors having been certified. CHA not only certifies instructors, but also accredits equine facilities, produces regional and international conferences, has a monthly radio show and webinar series, and publishes educational manuals and DVDs. Certifications are available in English/ Western, in addition to Driving, Equine Facility Manager, Seasonal Equestrian Staff, Instructors for Riders with Disabilities, College/University, Trail and Vaulting. Recently, CHA-certified instructor Aimee Oâ€™Brien, at Rocky Mountain Pathways Ranch in Colorado, wanted to get a professional certification in order to better fulfi ll the Child Care Licensing laws in Colorado. Oâ€™Brien grew up attending a horse camp where all of the staff were certified by CHA. Familiar with the program, Oâ€™Brien found a CHA certification clinic nearby and signed up.
Oâ€™Brien finds that she was given a greater understanding and awareness of what her skills are and what she needs to work on, which is helping her confirm and enhance her teaching style. Oâ€™Brien has realized that receiving her CHA certification changed the way she sees herself as an equestrian professional. â€œIt really helped me strengthen my professional credibility and helped make me feel more empowered in my horse knowledge and care-taking abilities, as well as in decision-making around the ranch.â€? CHA not only helps the credibility of an instructor, but also helps entire programs gain and retain clients. Laura Jones from Ontario is a CHA Master Instructor and Clinician, and the Region 3 Director. She finds that CHA builds strong, safe, and effective riding basics that can later be fine-tuned to almost any discipline a rider wants to pursue, from western pleasure to eventing. â€œI like that there are no shortcuts [within CHA] when it comes to safety. It gives me a lot of confidence with my clients to follow the CHA safety standards,â€? Jones said.
CERTIFIED HORSEMANSHIP ASSOCIATION C COMPOSITE HORSEMANSHIP MANUAL H 4 4-level manual contains a complete p program for all levels of riders â€“ E English or Western. Written and riding tests. From how to halter to ďŹ‚ying lead changes - and much more!
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If you are in the equine industry, a CHA certification will not only help validate your knowledge and ability to teach, but also help you network and build professional relationships with those who value similar teaching principles. Tara Gamble from Alberta, a CHA Master Instructor and Clinician, and a CHA past president, comments that the clinicians at CHA instructor certification clinics are on the same page in evaluating the level of riders and instructors. â€œWe all know how it works, and itâ€™s because CHA is standardized.â€? â€œI think it is great to have standards,â€? Gamble said. â€œYouâ€™ve been evaluated against the set standards and can be credible as an instructor because youâ€™ve either met the standards or exceeded them.â€? Gamble thinks that the more people are evaluated and certified within a consistent set of safe horsemanship values and principles, the better off all equestrians will be. â€œThe more people we get up to standard, the more it will improve the industry. You canâ€™t go wrong.â€? For more information, visit www.CHAahse.org and www.CHAinstructors.com.
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Bridging the Gap between Barefoot and Shod By Kristi Luehr “NATURAL IS ALWAYS BAREFOOT, BUT BAREFOOT IS NOT ALWAYS NATURAL.”
hen I started my journey as a hoof care professional, I strived to learn all that I could, and to always keep the horses’ best interests at heart. I called myself a barefoot trimmer, because I was adamantly opposed to the use of shoes on horses. The benefits of barefoot are many, but the most important are: increased circulation and flexion of the hoof and increased dissipation of impact forces during movement. As I started to trim professionally and see a variety of horses, I was very concerned with the unhealthy hooves I was finding. It wasn’t that the shoes were ruining the hooves but, rather, it was the distorted hooves under the shoes that were the problem. If the hooves were healthy to begin with, perhaps they wouldn’t need a shoe for comfort. The shoe was simply a tool used to keep the horse comfortable while his hoof was perpetually distorted. I began to specialize in horses with distorted feet that relied on shoes for soundness. I pulled their shoes and rehabilitated their hooves so that they could be barefoot. This worked well for many of the horses I saw, but still a few went back to shoes as they could not cope barefoot. I was doing what I could to rehabilitate their hooves, but it left them with no hoof protection, weak hooves and unsound for riding. Horses that were able to be used before were now sitting in their paddocks. Surely there was a better way to transition them to healthier hooves without the discomfort? I began to look at alternative hoof protection in the form of hoof boots. There are some very good boots on the market built for all kinds of riding and comfort. And while boots work great for many horses that need added protection, they don’t work for them all, and not all owners have the time or desire to use them. This is where shoes become a useful tool. However, there are drawbacks to the metal horseshoe. It is too rigid and takes away the flexibility of the hoof; without the expansion and contraction of the hoof during movement, circulation is reduced. The beneficial shock-absorbing properties of the hoof are minimised and added stress is put on the joints and muscles. It does not seem natural to HCBC 2010 BUSINESS OF THE YEAR
me, given these drawbacks, to put a metal shoe onto a hoof. But now there is a product on the market that offers the best of both worlds. It is a flexible plastic shoe that provides the protection needed by some horses, while still allowing the natural movement of the hoof. These shoes are a great tool to use while transitioning horses to barefoot, or for horses that cannot adapt to being barefoot in their environment or circumstance. I can no longer say that I am a “barefoot” trimmer, as I routinely put these shoes and boots on horses that need added protection. They are not barefoot, but they do have a natural hoof working for them with all the advantages. It truly is working for the horse when you can go outside of your comfort zone to seek what is in the horse’s best interest. Hoof care professionals need to work together to educate and learn from each other. Regardless of what we call ourselves - natural trimmers, farriers or barefoot advocates - we all have the same goal: comfort and soundness for the horse.
A flexible plastic horse shoe by EasyCare Inc. can be applied with glue or nails or both for added durability.
Kristi Luehr is a Natural Trimmer, and founder of the BC School of Natural Hoof Care. She holds certification with the Canadian Farrier School as well as the Oregon School of Natural Hoof Care. Her focus is to educate horse owners about hoof anatomy, hoof mechanism, and the importance of a natural trim based on the wild horse model.
British Columbia School of Natural Hoof Care Learn to evaluate a horse’s hoof care needs and trim to achieve natural hoof mechanics and function based on each horse’s individual conformation and hoof type.
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Dealer www.saddleup.ca • 7
The Secret to Classical Horsemanship: BALANCE AND SELF-CARRIAGE By Rachel Reed
No matter the discipline, everyone in the horse world would like to create that “pretty picture” with their horse: soft, round and relaxed – moving freely and performing well no matter what he is asked to do.
nfortunately, the focus often becomes too much on the horse’s aesthetic and not on the physiology of the animal; so much time is spent trying to “get a horse’s face,” put him in a “frame,” or slow him down under the false impression that this means the horse is “collected.” The reality is that horses are perfectly capable of carrying themselves, so long as the rider learns to stay out of their way and allow them to do their job. Although everyone seems to know the rhetoric that true collection comes from an engagement of the entire body – not from the head - it is very rare to see riders throwing their horses some slack in the reins and have them travel in a balanced and collected fashion. Why is that? And how do we fi x it? When a horse starts being ridden under saddle, he often struggles to maintain his natural balance and collection or seems to lose it entirely. So often, we are inclined to support the horse with our hands, body, or pieces of equipment such as side reins, draw reins, tie downs or whatever else the flavour of the week is. These do nothing but impede the horse’s natural movement and drive his back end further out behind him. A properly-schooled horse will not fall onto his forehand or speed up when slack is put into the reins, nor should the rider need to feel his mouth in order to communicate properly – the subtlest signal from the body or the reins should suffice. The horse needs to understand what a signal means so he can put himself in the proper body position and execute the manoeuvre on his own. Remember, the reins are connected to the feet, not the face. The less the rider has to do to give direction, the more he/she is able to get out of the 8 • Saddle Up • October 2014
horse’s way, allowing him to move freely the way he is supposed to. The horse will then be travelling uphill and maintaining his own rhythm and his head and neck will go where they need to be for balance, eliminating the urge to pull back or hold. The three key elements to establishing this type of self-carriage are soft ness, correct body position, and impulsion. SOFTNESS First and foremost is that the horse must be soft in the rider’s hands, so when the rider picks up on a rein and puts leg on the horse’s sides, he should immediately come to that rein rather than brace against it or lean down on it. Being soft, in this case, does not mean the horse is holding onto light contact. It means the rider should feel nothing in his hand through the whole process. Lateral soft ness exercises are very effective at removing resistance from the horse and help maintain his fluidity while schooling. Often, people use the term “bending” to describe such an exercise; however, it is not the horse’s “bent” position that is important, but the soft ness and complete release of the bit. POSITION Once this lateral soft ness is established and the cue becomes signal, the horse will place his feet in a natural position and shift his balance point, thus executing the manoeuvre himself. Any time the rider makes contact with the horse, it interferes with this process and prevents him from balancing himself through a manoeuvre. IMPULSION Ninety-nine percent of the time, if
Rachel Reed and Maromac Prima Athena aka “Mud-Pie,” during ride 15, demonstrating the typical stretching of a horse’s topline as they develop strength and self-carriage. Note the engagement of the horse’s entire bottom line.
something isn’t working, the horse isn’t driving enough with his hind feet. He cannot go soft in your hands or place his feet in the right position unless his back feet are driving up underneath him. This is where the common saying that you should ride your horse back to front comes from. The horse needs to be allowed to move forward freely and never feel as if his movement is restricted. The key in everything is to let the horse know there is always a place for him to go where he can feel comfortable and there is no pressure. Before long, he will begin to hunt that soft place. Once the horse has been ridden in proper self-carriage for a period of time, he will become strong through his top-line and his abdominal muscles. He will go through a period of stretching like the horse in the first picture, so he can relieve tension, engage his bottom line, and use his head and neck for balance. The rider must not get in the way of this stretching, as it is what develops the strength and balance to allow the horse to carry himself in a more elevated frame. This “long and HCBC 2010 BUSINESS OF THE YEAR
Classical Horsemanship, cont’d
Mud-Pie, towards the end of the ride, is encouraged to move up into the bridle for a few strides. At this stage in her training, we don’t ask her to hold this position for long.
low work” should be returned to in every ride. When the horse is ready, he can be shown to work off the rider’s leg and the
slack in the reins in order to completely let go of the bridle one rein at a time while remaining soft and relaxed. Rather than backing off the pressure or leaning on it, he quickly begins to hunt that soft place where his whole body is engaged and there is absolutely no contact with the rider’s hands. The result is a horse in a collected frame, with his poll elevated and his head on the vertical, but with slack in the reins. Since the horse has been well schooled in self-carriage, he will guide off the subtlest body or rein signal and contact with the bit becomes unnecessary as a means of direction. In summary, the way to a truly collected horse is to ride him in balance and self-carriage by making sure to establish soft ness, position, and impulsion. The more slack that can be thrown to the horse, the stronger and rounder he will become. After being
ridden in a long and low carriage for a time, he will then be capable of carrying himself in a more elevated frame and performing the types of high-level manoeuvres sought after in the show pen. The result is a horse that loves his job, is easy to ride, and looks more beautiful than any man-made aesthetic while doing it. Rachel Reed works full time as an Associate Trainer at Tipton Horsemanship with Ian Tipton, who has over 30 years of experience training horses and teaching students in every discipline including reining, cowhorse, cutting, dressage, and pleasure. His style of training is derived from the principles of classical horsemanship and he strives to achieve the best possible communication and performance for both horse and rider, no matter the discipline.
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BVX 2014 Trainer of the North By Geri Brown The annual Trainer of the North Challenge, held August 21-23 during the Bulkley Valley Exhibition in Smithers, was another success. We had three great trainers participate Sarah Newman from Kamloops, Gerry Cox from Colville, WA, and Severin Pederson from Black Creek.
he horses were roping horse stock from Tom and Donna Davidson of Justwishin’ Quarter Horses in Houston. The horses were named Brett, Ayslin and Pistol; all were geldings. The judges were Frances Teer, Joy Allen and Ben Gumm. With their decades of horse knowledge, they sat for the fourteen hours of training to score the trainers. Results can be seen on the Trainer of the North Facebook page. The three trainers being presented with the The first day awards; (l to r) Harley Golder (organizer), Doug Veenstra and daughter (Smithers Feed Store started with the owners), Sarah Newman, Severin Pederson, trainers drawing for Gerry Cox and Geri Brown (organizer). the horses. Sarah drew
Our judges: Ben Gumm, Frances Teer, Joy Allen
Brett, Severin drew Ayslin and, to his dismay, Gerry drew “Pistol” - he was hoping the horse would not live up to this name. The training sessions started with Severin. He had Ayslin saddled and being ridden in that first session; things were looking good for him at this point and Severin entertained the audience with his flair. Sarah worked Brett through all the ground work and impressed
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Trainer of the North, contâ€™d
The Billy Cook saddle and the handmade halters
with her quiet manner and attention to detail, choosing to make sure the colt was very prepared before she put him through the saddling process. Gerry also made a lot of headway with his horse in the first session and had him saddled and put through the paces. Gerry was very entertaining and kept the audience listening throughout his sessions. The next three sessions saw the trainers go up and down in progress with their horses. Severinâ€™s horse stayed pretty cool and with him throughout, while Sarah continued to make good steady progress with Brett and kept building on her good foundation. Gerryâ€™s horse Pistol started to live up to his name as the sessions went on and gave Gerry some challenges but they made good progress. Severin was leading in scoring throughout the sessions, but Sarah was
gaining ground while Gerry started to lose some ground as time went on. The final on Saturday night was a good challenge. Severin drew first ride and managed to do all the challenges with his usual entertaining style. For his freestyle, he rode Ayslin through all his paces with no halter around the arena. Gerry was up next and did most of the obstacles, omitting only a couple. He entertained us and made many good wisecracks about not copying Severin with the halterless feat for a freestyle. He did some whip cracking and Pistol was accommodating throughout. Sarah finished up the challenge and put her horse though all the obstacles with little resistance from Brett. Sarah spoke a lot about safety and really promoted being safe around horses. It was nice to see this attention to safety around horses. Sarah did the tarp groundwork for her freestyle. While we were totalling the results, we had five local horsemen ride a bridleless trail pattern to entertain the audience. The riders Faye Golder, Larry Wierenga, Tiana Hooker, Donna Davidson and the eventual winner, Bibs Dallaire showed how willing and responsive a well-trained horse can be, going through all the obstacles with a quiet finesse that wowed the audience. When all the results were totalled, Severin came out on top and won the beautiful Billy Cook ranch saddle adorned with the Roy Henry Vickers-designed logo (donated by Smithers Feed Store), as well as a one-night stay at beautiful Bear Claw Lodge in Kispiox. The second place went to Sarah Newman and third went to Gerry Cox; they each received a handmade halter by Bob McHugh, featuring
a concho with the Trainer of the North logo. They also each received a Central Mountain Air ticket to be used anywhere CMA flies. Gerry chose to donate his to Hope Air as he would not be able to use it in Washington. We, the organizers, would like to thank the trainers for competing and sharing their training knowledge, and all the sponsors, judges, horse suppliers, audience members and volunteers who make this event possible. See you all in 2015!
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BC Seniors Games 2014 Compiled by Stephanie Kwok, with comments from Janice Reid, Zone 5 Photos courtesy of Sam Scott, visit IHC Photography on Facebook
lorious weather and the beautiful Milner Downs welcomed the 55+ gang to the 2014 Equestrian portion of the BC Seniors Games, held September 9-13 in Langley. Milner Downs was gracious, friendly and well-organized as host for Dressage, Driving, Reining, Mountain Trail and the new event this year, Western Dressage. Some forty horses were entered. A huge thank you to the owners of Milner Downs Joanne and Glen Simmie who did a wonderful job looking after the competitors and their horses. This event was no small undertaking to put on and with the extraordinary efforts of these amazing volunteers it was an awesome Games! Thank you to Sport Chair Natalie Vonk of Horse Play Your Way , Dressage Coordinator Monique Fraser of Rosewyn Stables , Driving Coordinator Cat Armitage, and the numerous other volunteers who put in long hours, hard work and kept smiling through it all!! RESULTS Dressage - HCBC Training Level Age 65+ Gold: Mary Anne Muscat Age 55-64 Gold: Shelagh Niblock Silver: Kathy Reimer Bronze: Susan Falk Dressage - HCBC First Level Age 65+ Gold: Carol Lalonde Age 55-64 Gold: Ruth Lick Driving - Level One Age 65+ Gold: Dave Franklin Age 55-64 Gold: Dina Popadiuk Silver: Margaret Cullop Reining Age 65+ Gold: Lynda Holland Silver: Judi Williams Age 55-64 Gold: Diane Thiessen Silver (TIED): Louise Chivers & Vicki Urquhart Mountain Trail In-Hand Age 65+ Gold: Karen MacGregor Silver: Dennis Hooge Bronze: Loretta Rondquist Age 55-64 Gold: Susan Chaworth-Musters
Camaraderie, support and friendship are words often heard at the Games. It is a special feeling. Debbie Pettit (from Hope) said, “I think everyone had a good time in Mountain Trail, I know I did, even though I did not win a medal. For sure I plan on taking part in 2015.” Mountain Trail judge Christa Miremadi summed up the two days well when she said,” I had an absolutely incredible time. I was honoured to have been asked to be one of two judges for the Mountain Trail portion, alongside a new friend Brooke Rempel from Alberta who was such a joy to work with. The Games were inspiring and impressive with some incredible horsemanship and beautiful relationships between the horses and riders.” Full results are available on the event website (www.2014bcseniorsgames.org). Next year’s Games, which are being rebranded as the “55+ BC Games,” will be held in North Vancouver on August 25-28, 2015.
Silver: Patricia Reid Bronze: Sandee Krause Mountain Trail Mounted Age 65+ Gold: Dennis Hooge Silver: Karen MacGregor Bronze: Janice Reid Age 55-64 Gold: Karen MacLean Silver: Susan Chaworth-Musters Bronze: Colleen Nestor Mountain Trail Combined Age 65+ Gold: Dennis Hooge Silver: Karen MacGregor Bronze: Loretta Rondquist Age 55-64 Gold: Susan Chaworth-Musters Silver: Karen MacLean Bronze: Colleen Nestor Western Dressage - Training Level Age 55-64 Gold: Linda Dieno Silver: Laurel Plimley Bronze: Kathy Reimer Western Dressage - First Level Age 55-64 Gold: Kathy Lifton
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BC Seniors Games, cont’d
Bronze Medal Winner Colleen Nestor and Fiona Multiple Medal Winner Susan Chaworth-Musters
Judges: Christa and Brooke Multiple Medal Winner Dennis Hooge
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Tips to Overcome Trail Challenges By Stephanie Kwok and Sandra Poppema For many horse owners, trail riding is the ultimate bonding experience for a rider and his/ her horse. Are you doing as much trail riding as you had hoped to do with your horse? If not, what is holding you back?
s your horse spooky or is he still green? Challenges both big and small abound on the trails - new sights, smells and sounds, new riding companions, gates, logs, water crossings, bridges, steep grades, gnarly footing, bears, mountain bikers and more. You need to prepare your horse for the variety of challenges you will face together on the trail. But how can you train your horse to overcome his fears in a way that reduces his stress, builds his trust in you and ultimately makes him a reliable trail horse? The answer is reward-based training. This is not a new concept. One of the first riding masters and founder of modern dressage, Frenchman Antoine de Pluvinel (15551620), said: “You can never rely on a horse that is educated by fear! There will always be something that he fears more than you. But, when he trusts you, he will ask you what to do when he is afraid.” The elements of reward-based training are simple. You identify your goals and then divide them into easy-to-achieve mini-goals. Next, you give your horse opportunities to learn and practice each one, pinpointing the wanted behaviour with a marker signal (a “click” from a hand-held clicker or a tongue-click) and rewarding him each time he is successful. If you reward your horse specifically and consistently after the “click”, he will quickly understand his lessons and be motivated to learn more. The net effect is that he doesn’t have to guess what he did right, which prevents frustration for each of you. Let’s look at these elements in a little more detail:
1) Patience and a Plan Building trust takes time. To begin, spend time thinking about the types of challenges you face on the trail. Which activities does your horse find difficult? Formulate those into training goals. For each one, think of a positive and specific “can-do” sentence (e.g. “We will open/close the gate at the trailhead while mounted”). Next, divide this goal into several smaller training goals, with the first of these mini-goals being one that you are confident your horse can easily achieve and, ideally, is one you could practice 14 • Saddle Up • October 2014
at home (e.g. “We will stand facing the paddock gate with four feet on the ground for one second”). Gradually, over multiple sessions, build up the levels of difficulty and duration.
2) Clear Criteria and Good Timing Before you begin a particular learning session on the trail, decide what sort of “clickable moment” you’re going to be looking for, so that you can promptly click/reward when you see it. For the gate skills scenario, you might “set your horse up for success” like this: “Last session, I rewarded when he could stand next to the gate with his chest up against it for 10 seconds. This time, I will bend forward to unlatch the chain. I will click/reward when I first touch the chain, if he remains still.”
3) Consistency and Rewards
Merlyn stands very close to the gate so his rider can reach the chain. (Photo by Karen Nixon)
Looping the chain around the post is tricky from the saddle. Merlyn stands perfectly still, waiting for his rider to complete the task. (Photo by Karen Nixon)
Horses relax and learn better when there is consistency from their people. Be a reliable teacher: if you click your horse for a task, give him a reward. But make sure the reward is valued by your horse! Horses who are not food oriented at all may work earnestly for scratches in their favourite spot. Experiment with different rewards to see what motivates your horse best.
Taking it to the Trail Below are some tips showing how to use a reward-based approach to overcome some specific situations you may encounter on the trails.
SCARY OBJECTS - such as bear-shaped tree stumps and giant “horse-eating” boulders; begin standing at the closest distance possible for your horse’s comfort, while facing the object, and click/reward for a short-duration halt, then a longer-duration halt. Approach slowly, with a click/reward for each step. If the fear shown by your horse seems too great, dismount and approach the frightening object ahead of your horse to demonstrate that it is safe, then encourage him to take a step HCBC 2010 BUSINESS OF THE YEAR
Trail Challenges, cont’d forward while you lead the way. Click/reward for any indication of relaxation or effort to move closer to the scary object, even if just one foot forward. Then repeat under saddle and reward for any effort in the right direction.
STEEP DOWNHILL GRADES - can weaken the horse’s confidence as he struggles to balance the load of the rider and keep his own balance on possibly crumbly/slippery footing. If your horse refuses to go down the steep hill or tries to turn around and leave, halt him facing down the hill. Wait a few seconds, click/reward for a nice halt. Ask for one step forward and, even if just barely half a step is offered, click/reward that “slightest try.” Build up to more steps from there. If, however, your horse still seems to fear the descent, dismount and lead him down in-hand, practicing halts every few steps along the way (click/reward), so that he learns to control his momentum and also that steep downhills are an opportunity to earn rewards! Future rides will offer more chances to practice under saddle. In our experience, a horse that is unwilling to go down a steep grade simply needs a chance to learn how to manage it on his own before he can do it with a rider aboard. BRIDGES - fortunately, you can do a lot of preparatory work at home to prepare for crossing bridges by practicing with a variety of surfaces (e.g. tarps, plywood, foam mats). Out on the trails, you can make it a habit to reward for the first step onto any bridge, so that the sight of a bridge will evoke good memories and motivate your horse to walk onto it. Alert! Obstacle ahead! (Photo by Stephanie Kwok) Another lesson, for those horses who rush over bridges, is “slowly all the way across,” which is done by slowing/halting in the middle (click/reward) and again at the end of the bridge.
Merlyn picks his way carefully through this rocky river crossing. He is rewarded for every two steps in the rougher section, which has the beneficial side effect of slowing him down. (Photo by Karen Nixon)
bridge just this once; we want the horse to remember this safe, positive experience so he will be cooperative and comfortable and trust in our guidance to handle the NEXT challenge on the trail, whatever that may be. Finesse Equine Clicker Training is founded by Stephanie Kwok and Sandra Poppema, experienced equine clicker trainers residing in the BC lower mainland. Through seminars, workshops and lessons, they teach horse owners and riders in any discipline how to use a reward-based approach to improve their riding, train their horses and strengthen the relationship with their horses. Visit www.clickertraining.ca for more information.
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WATER CROSSINGS - Muddy puddles, clear creeks, swift-moving rivers each water crossing is unique but the main strategy to use if your horse is reluctant to cross is PATIENCE. Having another horse Karen patiently waits while Chester considers there who is confident about crossing water taking the next step onto can help immensely, but is no guarantee. the bridge. (Photo by Click/reward the horse first for standing Stephanie Kwok) still near the water or any interest in the water (facing the water, head lowering, drinking); then ask for a tiny step forward of one foot and click/reward. If you stand parallel to the water and then ask for a turn of the head/ shoulder towards the water, his foot might accidentally step in the water - click/reward! Build forward motion from there. When it comes to dealing with trail challenges, it is imperative that it be a positive learning experience for your horse. We always need to remember that we are not trying to get across the water or over the HCBC 2010 BUSINESS OF THE YEAR
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Turning Back the Clock By Ross Buchanan Following my work with his 12-year-old mare, Gerry Mapstone of Langley told me that it seems like I “turned back the clock” for her. He says, “I have watched her progress from a horse that I hoped to eventually get back out on the trail, at best, to the working horse that I remember.”
hile Equine Therapy may not be able to “turn back the clock,” many clients confirm that Myofascial Therapy and Joint Mobility is a powerful combination when it comes to slowing down the effects of the aging process in horses. Over time, with all of the bumps and strains that our horses experience, there is an accumulation of tension in the soft tissue and immobility in the muscles that results in discomfort and pain. If this discomfort and pain is not released and stripped out of a horse’s body, it will negatively impact movement as well as temperament and behaviour. The one-two punch of Myofascial Release combined with Joint Mobility Release relaxes contracted muscles and stimulates the critical stretching reflex in the muscles.
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Simply put, the techniques of Myofascial Release therapy helps to lengthen the tight tissue allowing for better movement. Without a doubt, a less restricted horse displays a better attitude. To put it another way, a restricted horse displays a bad attitude. In the past, when pain was caused by myofascial tightness, the diagnosis has been difficult as fascia restrictions do not show up on traditional scanning options. But the good news is that with the advanced technology of Digital Infrared Scans you can see exactly where your horse is hurting. These restrictions play a significant role in creating pain and malfunction in the balance and alignment of the horse. Many times I am invited to help with a horse because of a balance or alignment issue and it amazes me how, after the session as the client watches the previously-sore and anxious horse transform into a model of bliss and contentment, the owner will comment that he/she has “never seen this horse so relaxed.” For an Equine Therapist it is a wonderful experience to help someone see the pain drain out of his/her horse. Just like it is with people, the tightening of the fascial system in the horse is a protective mechanism that is a response to some kind of trauma. The fascia loses its elasticity, tightens up and becomes a source of tension for the rest of the entire body. This loss of elasticity is intensified by the inflammation process as the collagen becomes dense and loses its resiliency. These restrictions and constrictions affect the quality and quantity of the horse’s movement. This often leads to disappointing muscular biomechanics, altered structural alignment and decreased strength and endurance. This tightening will also produce muscular compensations resulting in decreased performance of the horse. So what is Myofascial Release? Myofascial Release, or MR, is a hands-on technique that creates a stretch in restricted soft tissues. If you have been to a Physiotherapist for your own aches and pains you have probably experienced MR. A sustained pressure is applied into the tissue barrier and after 90-120 seconds you will feel the initial release. The equine therapist then follows the release into a new tissue barrier and holds. After a few releases are achieved the tissue will become soft and pliable. The restoration of length to the myofascial tissues takes the pressure off of the pain-sensitive tissue like nerves and HCBC 2010 BUSINESS OF THE YEAR
Turning Back, contâ€™d blood vessels, as well as restores alignment and mobility to the joints. By elongating the fascial system, we restore the proper mechanical length of the connective tissues which results in the re-establishment of the natural abilities of coordination, strength and power to the horse. An experienced and talented equine therapist can have great success with this approach, especially when combined with other treatment techniques such as joint mobilization and therapeutic exercise programs including both stretches and releases. As a therapist, I have the easy job. That is to help the horse release the restriction. The critical component of a comprehensive therapeutic exercise program including stretches and releases needs to be done by the owner on a regular basis. This is the key to overcoming the magnet-like pull of muscle memory. The combination of these techniques is beneficial in creating unrestricted, pain-free performance and happy horses. Which horses are most likely to benefit from Myofascial Release? Any horse that is showing indications of tightness such as head tossing, refusal to pick up leads, intermittent bobbles, lack of lateral mobility, issues with sore backs or showing soreness while being girthed or showing a resistance to move forward with impulsion may be able to benefit from
HCBC 2010 BUSINESS OF THE YEAR
this approach. By releasing and removing the physical blocks that create discomfort and pain, it is often as if you are turning back the clock as you allow your horse to optimize his movement and to do so without pain. If your wish is to allow your horse to age gracefully with comfort and mobility, you might want to see how your friendly, neighbourhood equine therapist can help. From his base in the Fraser Valley, Ross Buchanan provides equine therapy and thermal imaging services to clients. Best known for his specialty of aligning and balancing horses to eliminate pain and ensure soundness, Ross also focuses on the importance of rebooting the muscle memory to ensure that the preferred movement is retained. Ross is passionately committed to happy, pain-free horses and winning rides!
www.saddleup.ca â€˘ 17
NSAIDs - What Are They Doing in My Horse? By Doug Campbell Banamine, Bute, Previcox... do you know why they are so detrimental to the intestinal tract? NSAIDs can be a very useful treatment tool; however, their use is not always appropriate or warranted for many routine surgical procedures or injuries. Choose wisely about using them on your horse and be fully aware of what unseen side effects are occurring. What are they? A Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug (NSAID, pronounced “EN-sed”) is a medication that falls into the category of antiinflammatory drugs and pain killers that are commonly used to minimize swellings associated with an injury or tissue irritation.
How do NSAIDs decrease pain and swelling? Inflammation is a natural response that the body produces when an injury takes place. Tissue irritation triggers the release of prostaglandins, which are “messenger molecules” found throughout the body. When released, prostaglandins cause specific fluids (swelling) to be purposely flooded into the injured site, supplying that area with the substances (platelets, collagen, etc.) needed by the body to repair itself. In a nutshell, inflammation is the body’s way of delivering healing substances to the injured site, and prostaglandins trigger this action. This same principle applies for healing intestinal ulcerations prostaglandins are required. When NSAIDs are given, whether orally or by injection, they block the body’s release of prostaglandins. What you see after giving NSAIDs is that the symptoms of swelling and soreness decrease - not that healing has occurred. What you don’t see is the negative effect of decreased prostaglandin production on the mucosal lining in the digestive tract.
The Important Mucosal Lining The mucosal lining (mucous membrane) is a mucous substance that is continuously secreted in the digestive tract and from many other tissues (nose, lungs) and continuously performs several important
functions: 1. Provides a protective barrier that prevents toxins and harmful molecules from passing through the intestinal walls (“leaky” gut, colitis) 2. Forms a “mucoid cap” that provides immediate “first aid” to intestinal irritations at the microscopic level before serious tissue damage can occur (ulcerations) 3. Provides lubrication to ensure an easy and continuous flow of digested foodstuff from mouth to anus (constipation, impaction-type colics) 4. Is an integral part of gut microbe functions - together they are responsible for nutrient absorption and synthesis 5. In conjunction with gut microbes, it performs 70-80% of the immune function 6. It forms a hydrophobic layer that protects gastrointestinal surfaces from acidic pH levels (acidic stomach and hind gut acidosis) Ulceration of the equine stomach and hind gut are not the only side effects from NSAID use. The Merck Veterinary Manual indicates that clinical signs of NSAID use can occur days to weeks after NSAID therapy is discontinued and these range from colitis, scarring of the bowel (serious enough to block intestinal function), oral and esophageal ulcerations, even reduced blood flow to the kidneys. Research literature makes it apparent that even when using minimal doses of NSAIDs, detrimental effects are triggered immediately. Once in the body, NSAIDs show up in bile which is released into the small intestine on a continual basis. It has been shown that NSAIDs continue to circulate in the body sometimes for weeks after the drug therapy has been discontinued. It is unhelpful for an animal who’s trying to recover from an injury to have its digestive system disrupted. This not only negatively impacts nutritional absorption, but can have long-term consequences such as diarrhea, colic and reduced immune function.
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In cases where NSAID use is truly warranted, be proactive in minimizing the damage they cause. • Find out which NSAID is the most effective for that particular tissue injury. NSAIDs must not be used in combination with other NSAIDs and certain other types of drugs. • Use minimal dosages for as few days as possible. Certain new NSAIDs indicate that they are less disruptive; but less disruptive is still disruptive. The real side effects are not known until the drug has been HCBC 2010 BUSINESS OF THE YEAR
NSAIDs, cont’d in use for several years and time-tested. • Give the horse’s digestive system the best resources to repair and maintain a healthy mucosal lining: High quality roughage, a good mineral and vitamin supplement, loose mineral salt (not processed salt blocks) and a supply of clean water should be available 24/7. Minimize carbohydrate intake, including processed feeds containing grain, to help decrease the acidity levels in the gut. - Provide physical exercise - movement is what stimulates healthy digestion. - Administer a high-quality, digestive probiotic that contains a combination of live yeasts and bacteria during and after NSAID therapy. Although the probiotic does not stop the harm being done to the mucosal lining, it works to offset damage. New research indicates that betaglucans found in specific MOS prebiotics have a healing effect on intestinal mucosa. An effective probiotic and prebiotic will also enhance the digestion process, increasing the absorption rate of nutrients. What about omeprazole? Under normal situations, acid secretions in the stomach are a necessary part of the digestive process and do not pose a problem. This is because the portion of the stomach that is normally in contact with these acidic secretions is protected by a thick, healthy mucosal lining which continually renews and replaces itself. When NSAIDs are administered and prostaglandins production is diminished, the mucosal lining cannot repair and replace itself.
While omeprazole does diminish the release of stomach acid, it does not offset NSAID damage to the mucosal lining in the stomach and increases NSAID damage in the small intestine. In order to heal an ulcer, the mucosal lining must be restored and to do that requires the release of prostaglandins.
Your choice It is evident that NSAID damage to equine digestive tracts is rising sharply and it is important to keep in mind that ulcers in the digestive tract are indicative of an unhealthy mucosal lining. By understanding the effect that NSAID use has on your horse’s digestive tract, you can be proactive about removing this cause of digestive tract damage. An unhealthy digestive tract cannot produce a healthy horse. Without a healthy horse, sustainable winning performances are not likely, but vet bills are. Note: A list of the references used for this article is available at www.healthyhorses.ca under “Articles” tab. Doug Campbell is the product specialist for Equine Choice Products, made in Ontario. Doug has worked in the areas of ration, vitamin and mineral formulation for over 35 years in Canada and the USA. Over the past decade, he has developed Equine Choice Probiotics and Prebiotics and Acid FX with input from researchers, veterinarians, farriers and top trainers.
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www.saddleup.ca • 19
Softer Than You Could Ever Imagine By Christa Miremadi Over the many years I’ve spent riding with various horsemanship masters and working toward improving myself, one thing has been a common thread across the board...
Cisco and I, finding our mutual balance together softly. (Photo by Twisted Terrain Horse Park)
hether it was working with Mark Rashid while riding with him in California, learning with Bruce Sandifer when I was lucky enough to be invited to his clinic in Cache Creek, spending many, many hours talking, riding and working with Daryl Gibb in Osoyoos (and my own back yard) or my good friend Stefanie Travers, who has been a great help to me in the past year, the message (though said in a variety of ways) was the same: “Softer than you could ever imagine, as firm as you have to be.”
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I’ve heard this concept many times before, only worded a little bit differently: “As soft as possible, as firm as necessary.” This is also a beautiful and complex phrase with many different levels to it, but it’s limited Stephanie Evans and her amazing little QH mare, Annie, finding a soft connection by one’s experience. together. (Photo by Aynsley Cairns) “As soft as possible” provides a limit as to how soft it could get. The way my good friend Stefanie put it, “Softer than you could ever imagine” raises the bar and inspires creativity and imagination which, in my opinion anyway, is essential when it comes to working with horses. The second half of this phrase, “as firm as you have to be” provides a necessary limit to the level of pressure that one might use. It provides the opportunity to redirect unwanted behaviours or movement firmly while subtly suggesting that one keeps himself/herself in check and keeps things under control. This, to me, is often done by controlling one’s emotions and providing the direction or correction in the quietest and most straight-forward way one can. Get in, get out and move on. Another thing this phrase reminds us about is that communicating with a horse is a physical thing. The saying is not “quieter than you could ever imagine, as loud as necessary.” Rather, it’s referring to soft ness, a physical sensation, and firmness, another physical sensation. All too often people resort to sounds, words, noise and even reasoning with their horses when they feel stuck or frustrated. This phrase helps us to stay on track, keeping our focus on the way horses really communicate, through energy and body language. Most of us are doing the best we can with the knowledge we have at any given time. In fact, there are very few people out there (I believe) who know of a better way of working with horses, yet choose to confuse or stress them out anyway; however, when we run out of knowledge we generally resort to noisy, messy expressions of our emotions that do little more than share frustrated energy and the message that we’re unhappy. We all do this! No one is above this - it’s a human thing. It just takes some people a little longer to run out of knowledge than it does for others. When this happens and we resort to sounds and noises or even words, requests or verbal explanations of what we want, we have left our helpful mantra in the dust. Although words can be firm, and sounds can be helpful to focus our energy, they can also be distracting to the horse, taking his mind off the physical directions we’ve provided, or even worse, they can subconsciously replace our physical directions! I’m sure you’ve heard a few people point out the level of physical contact, energy and body language that horses use to communicate with one another. A horse might do a lot of bluffing - arching his neck, HCBC 2010 BUSINESS OF THE YEAR
Softer, cont’d lift ing a leg and winding it up, swishing his tail, pinning his ears and even baring his teeth; in other words, he does a lot of posturing. Sometimes horses follow through and that usually includes hooves or teeth making contact with muscle and hide. One thing Jupiter postures and uses body you don’t see often is them language to communicate his wishes using their vocal capabilities to his herd mates. to communicate their wishes. (Photo by Kristina Belkina) This phrase “Softer than you could ever imagine, as firm as you have to be” reminds me that communication with a horse is a physical thing and that although I may have to be very strong, clear and confident when I provide direction to my horse, that direction should be quiet My sister’s gelding, Jupiter (Photo by Kristina Belkina) and void of any emotionallycharged, over-reaction. It should be only as firm as I have to be, nothing less, nothing more and whatever level that may be, may actually be softer than I could ever imagine. It reminds me of something I often say to my students: “Could it be softer?” This is a question that I use to keep my students hunting. It keeps them digging for that next level and searching for something a little better than what they currently have. It keeps them from allowing their horses and their relationship to plateau and it provides a catalyst for that never-ending self-improvement that keeps us all and our partnerships with our horses moving forward. It is sometimes a challenge to find new sayings or new ways of saying old sayings in this business. We’ve been blessed with such incredible horsemen and women over the last few hundred years and they were smart enough to write their ideas and thoughts down in
books for us to benefit from. I’m always excited to hear things said in a slightly different way and although I had heard this particular idea a number of times from a few different sources, hearing it the way Stefanie put it was like a breath of fresh air and I am so grateful for that. Every day I ride with this phrase floating around in my head. Every day I try to imagine new levels of soft ness and ask myself, did I have to be that firm? As I continue with my work and strive to improve my horsemanship and my knowledge, I remind myself that communicating with my horses in a way that they can understand takes creativity, imagination, energy and physical body language. “Softer than I could ever imagine” is getting softer every day and “as firm as I have to be” is still sometimes firmer than I’d like it to be at times but I’m reminded that as long as I can keep the noisy, emotional reactions to how I feel about being firm under control, that level of firmness will continue to become less and less until it becomes softer than I could ever imagine. Christa Miremadi has been working with horses since 1984, and is a partner and facility manager in her family business in Langley, Silver Star Stables, where she also provides riding instruction and conducts horsemanship clinics. Christa is dedicated to creating harmony and building relationships between horses and humans through compassionate communication, and to strengthening partnerships by sharing the horse’s point of view. (See her listing in the Business Services Section under TRAINERS)
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www.saddleup.ca • 21
Saddle Fitting and Common Sense By Ken Cameron, K.C. Saddlery THE CINCH AND BLANKETING
HOW IMPORTANT IS THE CINCH?
he saddle tree; a solid frame that the saddle is built around has only one sweet spot to sit comfortably on a horse’s back. What keeps it in this spot?
THE CINCH The alignment between the saddle’s rigging ring that holds the latigo and the cinch ring must be in direct alignment, which means perpendicular. NOT on an angle. An angle will eventually cause the saddle to lose its sweet spot. How can you fi x that? Realizing the cinch will also have a sweet spot, there are only two choices: #1 choose a wider or narrower cinch, 3”, 4”, 6”, 8”, or #2 have the saddle’s rigging ring moved for perpendicular alignment. The cinch being the cheapest solution. If you ride more than one horse you can then just change the cinch.
What are sweet spots? The Tree: The construction of the tree is designed to emulate the configuration of a horse’s back, ½” back of the scapula or upper point of the shoulder blade. The tree sits on the back where there are no moving parts.
The Cinch: The cinch is designed to allow flexibility while maintaining a grip to hold the saddle in place, stable and secure. Mohair has proven over the last 150 years to be the most effective in conforming to the horse’s shape and health or well-being of the animal’s hide. The sweet spot is just behind the horse’s elbow. The mohair cords lay flat while allowing unobstructed movement of the horse. The worst case scenario is not paying attention to these details. The next worst is to listen to someone else. The third is not being able to afford what works. When was the last time you listened to you horse? Do you palpate to find tender spots before you get bucked off ? Of late, there is a lot of rhetoric about the old ways not working. When people had to make a living in the horse and buggy days workable ways were how you survived. No one willingly would cause themselves or their horses’ problems. Through every day exposure ideas that worked got passed around. Today – price and marketing have taken its place. For a moment, imagine an 1870 South Texas cowboy about to ride to Kansas on a cattle drive. Priority number one is to have a saddle that works for him and his mount. The outfit supplying the horses also has to have its act together. The reason the King Ranch put so much effort into line breeding their horses was to produce a horse that could make the trip.
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Saddle Fitting, cont’d The evolution of the Quarter Horse and Western Saddle has a lot of history behind it. Today we tend to misunderstand the importance of the small details. When we had AQHA Champions, the horse was measured by halter and performance points. Now we have halter horses that are not athletic and performance horses that wouldn’t even consider going in a halter class. When things aren’t working – you need to take some of the blame.
lanketing is one of the most important in keeping your horse comfortable. What I see from my 46 years experience as a retailer and saddle maker… things I don’t agree with: #1 customer wants a pad that doesn’t need washing #2 the thicker the better #3 the least expensive, and #4 something that doesn’t wear out.
The logic and fundamentals of blanketing: #1 heat and moisture absorbent and to what capacity #2 crushable – meaning the unevenness of the saddle and the horse’s back has a forgivable weight bearing surface. The pressure points disappear and the bridged area now carries some of the weight. #3 the whole blanket or pad is very flexible to allow the horse to move uninhibited.
Remember – the saddle is stiff, the horse is moving, somewhere between saddle and moving horse something has to be forgiving, otherwise the horse takes the stress.
Rules no compromises #1 no weight on the spine. If your bareback pad or treeless saddle or felt pad puts weight on the spine, you have a serious liability. #2 no weight on the withers. This means keep your blanket or pad from putting weight on the withers. This also means saddles that are too wide will rest on the withers. Remember, good horsemanship starts with common sense. Ken Cameron is 73 years ‘not’ old. He has 46 years of experience building saddles and 61 years as an avid horseman. For 21 years he has owned/ operated K.C. Saddlery in Red Deer, and 17 years at Stampede Shop in Dawson Creek. For 5 years he was teaching the saddle making course at Olds College and 3 years of custom saddlery in Penhold. Still an avid horseman, Ken currently has two 15-year-old geldings, one 6-year-old stallion and two mares.
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www.saddleup.ca • 23
Schooling a Young Horse Using Long Lines By Judy Newbert Long lining (also called long reining) and ground driving are terms used almost interchangeably in the driving and riding horse worlds. It is defined as the horse travelling straight ahead with the driver (trainer) following and steering the horse.
n the initial stages of breaking, this allows the trainer to accustom the horse to going forward on his own (no one is leading him) and steering and working at various gaits. It is a logical transition between the horse being led and the horse being ridden or driven. Your young horse has mastered lungeing at all three gaits, has accepted the lungeur as his leader and knows and obeys the voice commands for all three gaits as well as “whoa” (for a full stop) and “easy” to slow down within a gait and some signal for a lengthening within a gait. The horse double lunges (which introduces the use of the outside rein and the rein around the horse’s haunches) and has made the transition to the long lines. The reins for steering are still attached to the side rings on the lungeing cavesson rather than the horse’s mouth. The lungeing cavesson is an indispensable tool in training young horses. There is no adequate substitute for a well-designed lungeing cavesson. A well-fitting halter can be used but it is not nearly as effective as a lungeing cavesson. A driving harness backpad or a riding saddle can substitute for the surcingle if necessary. As the horse progresses, the driver may then attach the long lines to the bit. For long lining, I prefer the use of specific long lines rather than two lunge lines and the length of the long lines is adjusted for the size of the horse. The long lines are made with nylon round rope for the fronts (nearest the horse) because it slides easily through the rings on the surcingle and the driver’s ends are flat cotton because it is less prone to slippage and more comfortable in the driver’s hands. The lines are held the way ordinary reins are held for English riding, one in each hand. Ordinary driving reins from a set of harness are too short to be effective and put the driver too close to the horse where he may be kicked and lessens the control the driver has over the horse should the horse try to run away. Whether or not the ends of the reins are joined is up to the driver, but even if they are joined it should only be with a string which will break if the driver has been caught in the lines and is being dragged. A whip carried in the right hand is essential for follow up when 24 • Saddle Up • October 2014
the horse ignores the driver’s verbal commands. The whip should only be used on the horse’s ribs (where the rider’s leg would go). Use of the whip on the hind legs or the rump will cause kicking. The horse wears leg protection (brushing or galloping boots) on all four legs and bell boots on the front. The driver wears a helmet, gloves, and comfortable shoes Ground driving the young horse suitable for the footing. Holding and handling the reins is extremely important to maintain control and establish a contact with the horse’s mouth. Beginners should hang the reins over a fence rail and practice holding, shortening and lengthening the reins and looping the excess in their hands. Make the loops large enough so that there is no risk of getting your hand trapped in the reins and small enough that they do not drag on the ground where you could step in them. Then repeat the rein handling practice with the whip in the right hand. The driver must adjust his position with respect to the horse to allow the horse to take a contact and move freely forward. When driving on long lines, the driver stands at 8 o’clock when walking or trotting to the left and at 4 o’clock when walking or trotting to the right. The horse’s nose is at 12 o’clock and his haunches are at 6 o’clock. This position allows the driver to watch the horse’s footfalls to assess impulsion, to watch for correct bending on turns and to watch for correct body alignment during lateral work. When changing direction, remember that you will momentarily disappear from the horse’s view (when you are at 6 o’clock) and you will then reappear on the horse’s other side. This surprises some horses and they will scoot forward; ignore that, regain control and continue - the horse will get used to it. Working at the 4 or 8 o’clock position allows you to regain control should the horse suddenly move forward. If the horse tries to run away from you, let out some rein to avoid being pulled off your feet, move to the 3 or 9 o’clock position, turn the horse in a circle, speak calmly and wait until he settles down. His lungeing training makes your position familiar to him and he will settle down. If the horse kicks out, make sure you are out of the range of his kicking and keep the outside rein HCBC 2010 BUSINESS OF THE YEAR
Schooling, cont’d taut and down so there is no risk of getting the rein pulled up under the horse’s tail. The shocks from the kicking will be transmitted to the cavesson. He will be punishing himself with his bad behaviour. The driver should remain calm, speak reassuringly and continue to circle the horse until he calms down. Do not yell, scream or hit the horse with the
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whip. If the horse persists in kicking get help from an experienced trainer. Sessions of 30 to 45 minutes are long enough as the work on long lines, especially at higher speeds Ground driving the young horse and with tighter figures, is very strenuous. Always end on a positive note even Throughout the training sessions, I if it means ending the session earlier than monitor the horse’s legs for soreness or injuries planned. I always review the previous work and also how they come out of the barn for early in the session and then if the horse is work in the next session. doing well, I will try to introduce something For a basic introduction to lungeing new. If the horse succeeds or even makes a and long-reining Heinrich Freiherr von good try, I will praise the horse and end the Senden’s book “Long reining to Break Horses session. If I cannot get the desired result, I to Harness” is helpful. For help with exercise will return to a simpler exercise which the ideas, Cherry Hill’s book “101 Lungeing and horse should be able to do and when he does Long Reining Exercises” has many good ideas. it, praise him and end the session. Often To progress further in dressage and jumping, when I retry the new movement in the next Jennie Loriston-Clarke’s book “Lungeing and session, the horse will be successful. There is Long-Reining” or Philippe Karl’s book “Long no point continuing the session if the horse is Reining - The Saumur Method” are useful. not learning anything or if the driver or horse Once the horse has mastered steering is getting frustrated. Particularly with young at all three gaits and takes a contact with horses, I find that working them every second impulsion, he can be gradually introduced day is more effective than working them every to all manner of obstacles such as barrels, single day. It seems they need a day off to really bicycles, traffic, balloons, plastic sheets etc. absorb the information and if there are any (as bomb-proofing). You are only limited by impending soundness issues, every second day continued on page 26 is a much better training schedule.
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Schooling, cont’d your imagination. He can be exposed to all sorts of items he will be expected to handle while he is being ridden or driven. Some horse shows are now including ground driving classes in their shows. These include simple obstacle classes including weaving around traffic cones, stepping over poles, walking across a simple bridle, and pushing through two sets of “pool noodles” attached to jump standards. This allows both novice horses and novice drivers to handle a horse show situation while on long lines and before being attached to a cart.
Final Thoughts I view long lining as an essential and useful tool in the initial breaking of any horse whether for riding or for driving. Having a horse which steers, knows his voice commands and has had some bomb-proofing experience is much easier to handle in the initial stages of riding or driving. He will be much calmer and much more confident as a result of his long lining experience.
Bridge obstacle at Miniatures in Motion Show, July 2014
At Newbert Equine, we are “Everything for Driving.” The company is owned and run by Judy Newbert who has been driving for over 25 years and is a certified EC Driving Coach. She has competed in Pleasure and breed driving as well as CDE. NEE is a dealer for both leather and synthetic harness and Pacific Carriages (the best North American-made horse vehicles). We can fit everything from Mini to Draft. We also can advise on restorations, turnout, fitness and most other topics for driving horses. Judy also travels to give clinics and lessons.
Lungeing the young horse
See us at the Mane Event
26 • Saddle Up • October 2014
HCBC 2010 BUSINESS OF THE YEAR
The Proper Care of Longears By Marlene Quiring, Alberta Donkey and Mule Club Photos by Ashley Oliver
Our club website often gets questions regarding the care, behaviour and differences between horses and mules or donkeys. One subject that comes up is proper hoof care and trimming for a mule or donkey.
ot all farriers get this training and Heather Shandro of Vegreville, AB, and her miniature mule so it is up to the owner to make sure competing in the Log Pull that the farrier is willing to work at Tees Longears Days. It’s with a longears, has some understanding of important to use a collar that them and also has taken instruction about fits properly - not too tight, but also not so big that it slops the differences in trimming their hooves as around. Also the rest of the compared to those of horses. Unfortunately, harness needs to be adjusted there is a distinct lack of farriers in Canada to the size and body of the who are willing to work on donkeys and mule or donkey for optimum performance. mules, or know how to trim them properly. Consistent incorrect trimming can cause lameness and other problems. Please visit our website and look under RESOURCES for articles on proper trimming for mules and donkeys. Another subject that comes up often is proper fitting of tack for mules and donkeys. Like horses, mules will have a wide range of backs - short, long, wide, narrow, flat or with some twist. Donkeys, for the most part, will have very straight and flat backs and tend to have spines that somewhat protrude, as do some mules. It is very important that no
Bill Thorpe of Pincher Creek, AB, on his young mule. Using a well-fitted and properly-placed britching can help keep your saddle in place, especially when travelling in the mountains. When a britching is placed too low, it will interfere with movement of the hind legs.
pressure is put on their spines. Saddles need to be wide enough to fit individual backs, and the fit modified with a great understanding of the use of saddle pads and shims in order to achieve the best fit possible. If someone tells you that what you need to fit your mule is a “mule” saddle, be aware that you still have to make sure that the tree used in that mule saddle actually is the right shape to fit your mule! As with horses, care must also be taken to not ride with your saddle too far forward. If you do, you can seriously limit his range of motion and cause him much discomfort as the saddle tree can be interfering with the movement of his shoulder blade. Donkeys can be very stoical about bad-fitting tack, but mules... not so much! Again, I want to refer you to our RESOURCES section on our website, at www.albertadonkeyandmule.com, for many informative articles including several on Conformation, Saddle and Tack Fitting and Selection. My last little point is that mules love horses! First-time owners are often concerned about introducing their new mule to their horses. A mule seems to never forget his mother and carries with him, for life, a great love of the horse. Even if that horse treats the mule badly, the mule will still want to be with a horse as compared to being with another mule. Our semi-annual meeting has been set for Sunday, October 26, at 1pm at the Ponoka Drop-in Centre, 5015 - 46 Avenue in Ponoka, AB. Th is is the organizational meeting that sets the venues for 2015! Everyone welcome! Please bring a salad or a dessert to compliment Marlene’s chili supper after the meeting!
HCBC 2010 BUSINESS OF THE YEAR
www.saddleup.ca • 27
What a Summer for Draft Horses By Bruce Roy, www.wrdha.com Entries at the Central Alberta Draft Horse Show (Olds), the Calgary Stampede, Colonial Days (Lloydminster), the Vermilion Fair and Dawson Creek Exhibition were record in number this past summer.
The class for a stallion and three females, owned by the exhibitor, at the Central Alberta Clydesdale Classic. The stable’s stallion heads each entry, which is a line of four horses. This class evaluates the strength of an exhibitor’s breeding program. Right to left are entries from Willow Way Farm (Ohaton, AB), Calico Farm (Huxley, AB) and Riverside Clydesdales (Fawcett, AB), that placed first, second and third, respectively.
parking the added entries was Fiske’s Challenge. The cosponsors of Fiske’s Challenge were Fiske’s Hoof, Skin and Wound Care Products and Eberglow Chelated Vitamin and Mineral Supplement for Horses. The five stallions shown at the Calgary Stampede highlighted the Clydesdale exhibits. The feather flew as the five, tramping sires won
spectators’ hearts. Calgary’s Grand Champion was Willow Way Kelso shown by Wes and Kristen Gordeyko of Willow Way Farm (Ohaton, AB). Calgary’s Reserve Champion, Calico Iggy, fielded by Kevin and Tammy Pelonero of Calico Farm (Huxley, AB), was the Grand Champion at Olds. The $10,000 sire, 2S Above All’s Highland Hallmark, whom Michael and Patty Hill of Wildwood Clydesdales (Lloydminster,
Visit Rose Point Farms/Classic Touch Equine, Booth # 1102, at Mane Event for all your Fiske’s needs and education 28 • Saddle Up • October 2014
HCBC 2010 BUSINESS OF THE YEAR
What a Summer, cont’d AB) purchased in 2012 at the record-breaking 2S Clydesdale Herd Dispersal Sale in Indiana, was Grand Champion Stallion at Lloydminster’s Colonial Days. It has been decades since such a class of veteran Clydesdale stallions has been shown here in Western Canada. Willow Way Kelso, the Grand Percheron halter classes Champion Clydesdale Stallion. were dominated by females. Y.E.S Mystique, exhibited by Chad Munns of Diamond M Ranch (Garland, Utah), was Supreme Champion Percheron. She defeated the Champion Stallion and Gelding for the top honour. However, Eaglesfield Lexus, shown by Brian and Colleen Coleman of Eaglesfield Percherons (Didsbury, AB), was Fiske’s Ultimate Champion Percheron. Purchased on a $30,000 bid at the 2014 Select Sale at Madison, Wisconsin, Y.E.S. Mystique failed to qualify for the Fiske Challenge. Manor Mac T was the Supreme Champion Shire everywhere he was shown. Flown to Canada early this year by Dale and Maxine Campbell of Windcharger Heritage Farm (Dawson Creek), the massive, English-bred sire was invincible. When the Fiske Challenge points were
totalled, Manor Mac T was in third. The Challenge winners were Belgians. Prinsview Hidden Valley Melody, Champion of Cassandra shown by Bill the Mare Cart Class; Cody Woodbury has the lines in hand. and Dini Prins of Prinsview Belgians (Fort Saskatchewan, AB), was Grand Champion Belgian Mare at all five fairs. Second in the Challenge was Duhaime’s Nightendale. This loft y Belgian gelding topped the Clydesdale, Percheron and Shire geldings shown. Fielded by Albert and Emma Duhaime of Duhaime’s Belgians (Peyton, SK), Nightendale is a 3-year-old who has a great future in harness. The 3-year-old grey Percheron, Hidden View Melody, owned by Albert and Karen Cleve of Blue Ribbon Farm (Farmington, Missouri), scored at Calgary. Winner of the exciting Mare Cart Class, the Cleves paid $50,000 to own this fi lly at the Great Lakes Draft Horse Sale (East Lansing, Michigan) in February. The hitches at Dawson Creek were topped by Shane and Colleen Patterson of Spade Creek Percherons, with a hometown turnout. Elsewhere, Brian and Randi Thiel of Pleasant Grove, California, had the Champion Six. Their powerful turnout of black Percherons was shod, schooled and held in hand by Brian Coleman.
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Let There Be Light: French Classical Dressage By Hazel Plumbley Photos by Danielle Wegelin
Horsewomen and friends Ann Wallin, Catherine Clinckemaillie and Frances Weeks used their considerable collective talent to host a Demonstration Day featuring the Phillipe Karl’s Principles of Legerete.
eld in September at Wallin’s Copper Hills Equestrian Centre west of Kamloops, the demonstration walked attendees through the theories of French Classical dressage in-hand and under saddle. All three women were drawn to Karl’s theories because they emphasize the use of light aids, engage the horse’s mind, develop athleticism and keep horses interested in their training. Suitable for horses of any breed, age and discipline, those used in the demonstration included Paint and Quarter Horses, Thoroughbred and Warmblood crosses, a Lipizzaner stallion and a Georgian Grande gelding, ranging from 7 to 17 years of age.
Hand in Hand The demonstration began with work on a lunge line in all three gaits; then handlers Rebecca Crossan and Weeks, using bridled horses, moved the bit by hand in a way that teaches the horse to respond appropriately to the pressure of the bit, not on the bars of the mouth and sensitive tongue, but on the rubbery corners of the lips. Specifically, they relaxed the horses’ jaw and tongue, and suppled the
poll and neck to strengthen muscles that assist with self-carriage under saddle. Exercises were done at the halt, walk and trot. Frequent “rests” allowed horses to stretch, relax and “soak.” By controlling the height of the poll and neck, encouraging symmetrical flexion on both sides and by mobilizing the shoulders and hindquarters, handlers showed how to influence horses’ self-carriage and balance. Commentator Clinckemaillie summarized, saying “The purpose of in-hand work is to promote trust, suppleness and condition the horse, Catherine and Bayberry and to prepare it for riding.” Later in the day, certified equine sports therapist Crossun helped the audience understand how the in-hand work affects the biomechanics of the horse, promoting relaxation and activating key muscles that assist the horse to acquire balance and collection. These simple exercises also help riders assess, understand and remediate challenges horses have related to asymmetry, temperament and conformational limitations.
Back in the Saddle The next segment demonstrated how to transfer the horse’s understanding of in-hand aids to those used by the rider under saddle. Weeks guided the audience through a typical warm-up with riders Wallin and Clinckemaillie. She noted, “The goal of this style of training is to create an intimate bond between the horse and rider, and to promote willingness that comes from the horse understanding the rider’s requests. Warm-up is used as an assessment of the horse on that day, using remedial exercises to address weaknesses, increase dexterity and obedience. Use whatever the horse needs to help them to understand what you want. Do your work in the horse’s time.” As with the in-hand work, riders began at the halt and progressed to the walk, trot and canter, using bending, counter-bending/flexion and neck extension at each gait.
Balancing Act An adjunct demonstration to the ridden work, Wallin introduced the audience to the Anat Baniel Method (ABM) of studying movement to emphasize that balance of the rider in relation to the horse is important. Using slow, focused movement, she explained how the ABM helps riders overcome their own asymmetry caused by injury and ageing. Leading participants through several movements, Wallin noted, “Brains are incapable of learning if we go too fast; we resort to our 30 • Saddle Up • October 2014
HCBC 2010 BUSINESS OF THE YEAR
Let There Be Light, contâ€™d habitual movement patterns that are usually asymmetric. Pauses during these exercises have nothing to do with the body needing to rest, but the brain needing time to process! Itâ€™s exactly what we do when we ride and train â€“ intersperse periods of rest for the horse to process what we are teaching them.â€?
The Last Dance
The event raised $120 in donations for the Kamloops Therapeutic Riding Association. Hazel Plumbley is a late-blooming boomer who has spent her first half century on the ground, being responsible and studious. She is committed to spending her next half century on a horse, taking herself far less seriously.
The final feature of the demonstration included exercises that prepared the horse for advanced lateral work, flying changes, and collection. Clinckemaillie and guest rider Barb Edmonson took the stage riding horses in advanced training. Emphasizing the dayâ€™s theme of respectful partnerships, Weeks explained, â€œIf the horse gets heavy or slows in the walk, a quick transition to trot or canter followed by a return to the renewed walk is better than forcing the more active walk. Donâ€™t â€œmuscleâ€? the horse or become antagonistic. The emphasis is to avoid confusing and boring the horse. School incrementally, each exercise consolidating skill and understanding while preparing for the next degree of difficulty.â€? The demonstration ended with a solid MAHINDRA 3016 Pas de Deux by these two skilled riders and 3-cyl Mitsubishi diesel, 28hp, 4X4, their horses that arguably made the day. But including loader the testament to this training method was 17-year-old Quarter Horse â€œAJâ€? doing a steep half pass and an impressive extended trot across the diagonal. The fitness and suppleness this horse had acquired through the exercises ES LA ST! UA NTITI WHILE Q of classical dressage will see him well into his senior years.
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