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Issue No. 7






FUN with





04 Winter Fun Sometimes you just have to

22 Winter Woes

enjoy all that snow!

Beat the ice buildup before it beats you


26 Fun with Fences

08 Stay Fit Simple exercises you can do to

stay fit when you can’t ride


12 Get your Stretch On

34 Introducing our 2015 Featured Rider Team Getting to know Jamie & Sophie

Easy stretching exercises to do with your horse.

18 Mind Games

Engage your horse’s brain, even when it’s too cold to ride

Simple jump and cavaletti exercises for horse and rider

HEALTH TIP 39 Cooling out in Winter

The importance of making sure your horse is properly cooled out in winter months

Editor’s Desk Hello and welcome to our first issue of 2015. It’s the first of many great issues we’ve got planned for the upcoming year, and hope you are looking forward to them as much as we are. While we are all wistfully looking forward to spring, especially here in the great white north, and the great things that come with it (show season, no more snow, warm temperatures!), this issue is jam-packed with some great tips to help you and your horse get through these last few brutal winter months. Whether you were lucky enough to escape somewhere warm this winter, or are still trying to survive the freezing temperatures, this issue is jam-packed with training tips to keep you and your horse active, engaged, and fit before summer roles in. Even if it is nice and warm where you are now, many of these exercises work great year round and can be great tools to add to your training toolbox. This issues also serves as the first official welcome and introduction to our inaguaral featured riders! We hope you enjoy learning about them and hearing their strories as they move forward with their riding careers. I hope you enjoy this issue, we’ll be back with an all new one in June!

Stay safe and warm (and hopefully spring finds you soon)!

Cover Photo by:

Editor In Chief Krista Rivet

Social Media Allyson Lowe

Guest Writer/Blogger Tia Culley

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The Eloquent Equine is a quarterly publication, producing four full issues a year. Reproduction of any material from this issue in whole or part without written permission is strictly prohibited.

The Eloquent Equine • 3


The Eloquent Equine • 5

Photo | Celeste Genesse

The Eloquent Equine • 7




oth you and your horse are performance athletes, regardless of your discipline and riding experience; being in good shape keeps both of you happy, healthy, and relatively injury free. Unfortunately, winter can seriously restrict your saddle time, especially if your barn is not equipped with an indoor arena.

So how do you stay in shape? Try these simple exercises you can do almost anywhere, at home or at the barn...

The Essentials • Stay Fit

WALK / JOG This is an exercise you can do yourself, or with your horse. If you have an indoor arena at your barn, but are just looking for a few extra minutes of cardio to help you warm up before your ride (or cool down after), this is an exercise for you. It’s also a great option on days where you may not have time to get a full ride in, but want you and your horse to get some exercise. Before a ride, if you or your horse has been stuck indoors for a while, take a few laps around the arena before hopping on (5 – 10 minutes). This will help to stretch out tight muscles and encourage your horse to loosen up (especially for a cold backed horse). Further, to increase the power of this quick workout, mix some jogging into the routine. Try walking along the short side of the arena, and jogging down the long side to get your heart pumping. This is a great exercise for your own cardio, and will also help your horse warm up before a lesson. It’s also a great way to help your horse work on his ground work (and paying attention to your cues). As an added bonus, its great practice for the jog during show season! After a ride, for some added exercise, opt to walk your horse out on foot. Cooling out in the winter is especially important for horses, but instead of sitting on your horse and getting cold while he cools out, hop off and walk with him around the ring. This will help you cool down and burn some extra calories. Its also another great opportunity to work on your horse’s ground manners.

PUSH - UPS While push-ups may stir some unpleasant memories of school days past, they are an excellent exercise for building upper body strength. It’s a great exercise because it doesn’t require any equipment, has minimal space requirements, and can be modified to work different muscle groups.

Fig. 1. The “up” position of the push up and starting position for the plank

The Standard Push-up This is the one almost everyone is familiar with, arms at your sides and weight on your toes, your abs stabilizing your core. Your body should be parallel to the ground as you push yourself up and down.


You can modify this push up by widening the position of your hands to work on strengthening chest muscles, or alternatively, bringing your hands closer to your body allows you to work on your triceps.

These are another great go-to exercise for riders, with no equipment necessary and minimal space required. When done properly, they will help build muscle and balance your strength equally on both legs.

If you are struggling with the full push-up at the start, try a modified one, with your weight on your knees instead of your toes [Fig. 3].

Start by standing upright with both your feet together, and then take a big step forward with one leg, bending at the knee and allowing your rear knee to hover just above the floor. Your forward leg should be far enough in front of your body that your rear leg is almost straight [Fig. 2].

Try to achieve 10 push ups at the start of your routine, and build-up in numbers as you grow stronger and more comfortable.

Next, push yourself back up into the starting position using a fluid movement, pushing through your legs as you move upwards. From the starting position, repeat the exercise again with the opposite leg. You’ve now completed one full repetition. Make sure that your head is up, and that you keep your back straight and upright throughout the exercise. To start, try 10 repetitions, and then build up as your strength increases. You can also add some dumb bells to this routine to increase the challenge level. If you don’t have any, there are many household items you can substitute to add a bit of weight (try some big soup cans, or frozen water bottles).

Fig. 4. Side Plank Fig. 2. The Lunge

THE PLANK While it may be on your list of dreaded exercises, the plank is a great tool for building core strength, something all equestrians need. This exercise also helps build strength in the shoulders, arms, and glutes.

Fig. 3. Modified push up or lunge position with weight on the knees

Full Plank For a full plank, start by going into a push up position with your hands palm down on the floor, in line with your shoulder, and your weight on your toes (this is the “up” position of the push-up, where you are furthest from the floor [Fig.1]). Then slowly lower both of your forearms to the floor so that your elbows and forearms are flat on the ground. Ball your hands into fists and curl your toes under (towards your head). Engage your abs by pulling your belly button towards your spine and lifting through your pelvis until you achieve a neutral (straight) spine. Try to hold this position for 30 seconds to start, but if you notice your form starts to deteriorate before that time, rest and then repeat. Repeat this exercise several times, and work towards being able to hold position for 60 seconds.

your shoulder, and your rest arm should be in alignment with your body. Your forearm should be supporting your weight and should be perpendicular to your body. Tighten your abs and glutes as you hold the pose. For an added challenge, life your entire weight with your hand, instead of resting on your forearm. Bring your elbow off the ground and extend your arm so your palm is flat on the ground (be sure your arm is in alignment with your shoulder) [Fig. 4].

Your elbows should be in line with your shoulders throughout this exercise, and your spine should remain neutral (straight). Look at the floor and keep your head in line with your spine (don’t let it hang down). The goal of this exercise is to stay as solid and straight as possible.

If you find a full plank too challenging, like the push-up, you can start with a modified version that puts weight on your knees instead of your toes [Fig 3.].

There are also a range of plank variations you can use to work different muscles, or increase the complexity of the standard plank. Advanced variations of the full plank include the single leg (when in full plank, lift one foot off the ground at a time) and the single arm (when in full plank slowly lift one arm in front of you and then return, avoid moving your hips while you do this).

Having a great exercise routine that you stick to is the best way to keep in shape, regardless of the season. There are many exercises that are easy to do, and when combined in a short workout work together to strengthen those key muscle groups vital to supporting you during your ride.

Side Plank You can also do a side plank by lying flat on your side on the floor and propping up your body on one elbow. Your support arm should be directly underneath


It’s important remember to build a work out that achieves your goals, and that you stick to. Even spending 15 minutes a couple of times a week is enough to see some improvement, and you often don’t need to drive to the gym to do it.

The Eloquent Equine • 11




ou’ve surely been told time and time again just how important it is to stretch before, and often after, serious exercise. Working out with stiff and cold muscles can often lead to discomfort and even injury, so why do we so often forget this when dealing with horses? In the winter especially, when many horses are stabled for longer periods of time or suffer from restricted movement because snow and ice in pastures prevents anything other than walling, stretching before riding can be vital. We’ve got three simple stretching exercises you can include in your warm-up routine. On top of being great for your horse’s muscle health, they are a great training tool, and can be a way to interact and engage your horse even when you may not be able to ride. To develop a comprehensive stretch routine to really benefit your horse, consult your equine chiropractor, massage therapist, or even your vet as they may have some specific tips tailored for your horse.

The Essentials • Get your Stretch On

GROUND STRETCHES Things to keep in mind: Before starting your ground stretching routine, here’s a few things to keep in mind for the health and safety of you and your horse: •

• •

• • • •

Ensure you have a confident handler to help you with your horse. Over time, as your horse gets used to the process, you may not need an assistant, but until he learns the skill, having an extra set of hands can keep you both injury free Don’t use any twisting motions or pull beyond your horse’s comfortable range of motion, keep the stretch in line with the horses body when stretching the legs Be attentive to your horse, if he is showing clear signs of distress or discomfort, stop what you are doing Only hold the stretch for a short amount of time, don’t expect your horse to hold as long as you would when stretching (a few seconds or less is usually enough) Move slowly and quietly, don’t force your horse, especially if he is new to the stretching process All stretches should be performed on an area with level footing, free of visible hazards Build up stretch time gradually, it will take time for horses to develop the ability to stretch for a longer period of time Stretches work best if your horse is warm, so walk him around for 5-10 minutes before stretching pre-ride

SPECIAL THANKS to Stephanie Jensen and SJE Addiction for serving as models for this issue.

The Eloquent Equine • 13


(OFTEN CALLED THE “CARROT STRETCH�) This stretch will help your horse increase flexibility as well as range of motion through the neck and back.

To Stretch: Start by asking your horse to stand squarely. Stand next to his barrel, and with a treat in hand (carrot, crunch, etc.), ask him to bend his neck and bring his nose towards his barrel. Hold the stretch there for 5-10 seconds, then feed the treat and release. Repeat on both sides. Once your horse is experienced and comfortable with this stretch, challenge him further by trying to get him to reach his nose to his withers and hold it there. Other variations of this stretch include having your horse stretch his nose to a point between his front legs, and to reach his nose to the side and down to a point level with (and slightly behind) his front fetlock. Encouraging your horse with his favourite treat will help motivate him to stretch down into new positions, and serves as a great reward before releasing the stretch.

If you find that your horse is tight or resistant, or simply prefers the easy route to the treat, and is swinging his front end towards you (and moving the hind end away) versus actually stretching to reach, try the stretch next to a stall or aisle wall to block this movement. Also, try to lessen the distance you are trying to ask him to reach, if he is tight he may not be able to reach that far and it may be why he is evading.

FRONT LEG STRETCH This stretch is a great shoulder release stretch for your horse, and will also help stretch out the leg, back and topline. Many riders also find that it helps to remove any wrinkles that may have accumulated under the girth after saddling.

To Stretch: Stand in front of your horse’s shoulder, facing the tail. Ask your horse to lift his leg, and then place your hands below the fetlock and gently ask him to bring his leg out in front of him. Bend through your knees into a crouch position and ask your horse to stretch forward through the leg and down close to the ground. Hold for 5 seconds. Slowly release the leg and let your horse return to a standing position, repeat on the opposite side.

| QUICK TIP | You can perform this stretch by cupping your hands around the back of the pastern, or by cupping the back of the hoof. Pick the option most secure and comfortable for you and your horse.

The Eloquent Equine • 15

HIND LEG ( BACK ) STRETCH This stretch is good for the hip and stifle.

To Stretch: Stand beside your horse facing his hip. Ask him to lift his hind leg, and slowly extend the hoof outwards away from his body. Gradually extend the leg backwards and downwards toward the ground and hold for 10 seconds. Slowly release the leg and let your horse return to a standing position, repeat on the opposite side. You can also perform this stretch forward, by extending the hind leg forward and downward under the horse’s barrel.   Horses that have difficulty lifting their hind legs for hoof picking may struggle with this stretch, and it may be best avoided. Consult with your vet to be sure.

| QUICK TIP(S) | Some horses will extend themselves, but for those less eager, don’t force the stretch as you could strain the hock or stifle. Also, be careful, as a nervous horse may pull his leg quickly from your grasp (so make sure you are safely able to get out of the way if need be).

[COMING SOON] to theeloquentequine.com

DONTE & OLLIE They’ve had a bit of Valennne’s day fun, and as spring approaches Donte & Ollie are back to bring you a whole new set of episodes. From geeng in shape to playing superhero, there is a whole lot of fun in store!

JOURNEY to JUNIORS Join The Eloquent Equine as it takes a look at one riders Journey to Juniors, an all-new, fast paced and informaave documentary series that doesn’t just look at a rider’s journey, but the team that supports equestrian athletes on the road to the show ring, and the highs and the lows of pursuing your compeeeve dreams.



f you don’t have an indoor arena and live in an area that suffers from harsh winters, keeping your horse fit when the snow is a foot deep can be problematic. While winter hacks are great exercise for body and mind, sometimes even these are not possible when Mother Nature has dropped a ton of ice and snow on your barn. Keeping your horse’s mind active and engaged through the winter is not only important for overall horse health, but will keep them from finding ways to entertain themselves and the potential destruction (or injury) that results. Here are our tips for keeping your horse mentally engaged this winter, though many of these exercises also work season round.

The Essentials • Mind Games

TURN OUT At bare minimum, turn out is essential. In frosty climes it’s really easy to want to keep our horses stabled all day long, but turnout is essential to good physical and mental health. Being outside in a large pasture allows your horse to move around, graze on hay, and socialize with other horses.

HORSE TOYS There are a range of options on the market these days, and horse toys provide a great way to get your horse thinking and avoid boredom when he may not be able to get the training or pasture time he needs. While larger balls and other toys that can be pushed around are great for a horse who has space to run around outside, if your horse is stuck in a stall or is turned out in a small paddock due to weather, go for a more challenging play object. Treat toys that can be hung up in stalls are great distraction tools, and many brands offer different levels of challenge. The harder it is for the horse to get the treat, the more time he will likely spend playing with it and the more stimulation he will get. There are also a range of wall mounted stall toys that make sounds or release scents or treats when moved.

GROOMING It may be too cold to ride, but it’s never too cold to spend some time with your horse. Bundle up in some extra layers and give your horse some quality grooming time on those days you can’t get in the saddle and he may not get as much turnout time as he likes. Think of it as a spa day for the horse, it may be cold for you, but he’ll surely enjoy it.

GROUND WORK The winter is a great time to go back to the basics with your horse. There are a range of training exercises you can work on, without ever having to actually get in the saddle. Many of these exercises are great for building vital skills that will help build your partnership when you do get back to riding.

In-hand Work Lunging is a great exercise in the winter if it’s a bit too cold to actually ride. Lunging should be treated as a training activity, and not just an opportunity for your horse to expel some energy. Done constructively, lunging can help to engage your horse’s mind, correct movement, and improve his responses to your voice and aids. If you don’t have an indoor arena, or the footing outside isn’t safe to lunge in, try working on your horse’s manners on the lead. This is something you can do anywhere where the footing is safe, be it outside the barn or in one of the aisles. Does he pull on the lead and race ahead, or drag behind? Does he ignore your cue to stop, or regularly push into your personal space? If you said yes to any of the above, there’s something you can work on. Work with your horse on walking beside you, not pulling on the lead, and paying attention to your cues. You can also work on simple skills like standing in cross ties and standing quietly while being clipped or braided. Or work on simple movements like backing up and yielding the front and back ends while in hand. The goal of groundwork is to refine the attention span and improve how he responds to your commands. It’s also a great relationship building tool.

The Eloquent Equine • 19

Desensitizing Is your horse a bit spooky? Did you notice last summer that bright yellow flowers really caused some issues on course? Well if that’s the case, winter is an excellent time to work on desensitizing your horse and building up his confidence around scary objects. This is another easy in hand exercise that doesn’t require a lot to achieve great results. Start by gathering up some common scary objects you may have floating around the barn, such as feed bags or jump fillers with coloured flowers, or any other object your horse may have shown fear around. You are going to need a bit of space to undertake this exercise, as cramped quarters (like a stall) may make your horse feel a bit claustrophobic, and the tight quarters could put you in harm’s way if your horse spooks suddenly. An indoor arena, wide barn aisle (free of obstructions and other horses), or a sheltered area with solid footing outside will work great. You just need a space where your horse can move around and turn without bumping into things. Start small with your training and build up, you don’t want to terrify your horse within the first few minutes. Good desensitizing conditions the fear out of the horse, so be attentive to how your horse is reacting, and back off if he is showing signs of growing distress. The goal of this activity is to reward good behavior, and in desensitizing training some of the best reward is praise and release. Praise and reward your horse when he reacts calmly to the scary object, and then take that scary object away for a minute before moving forward. That way your horse learns that acting calmly gets them a reward (praise, perhaps a treat, and the scary object goes away) and eventually the scary object will become far less scary. To start, hold the scary object in front of your horse and let him smell it. If he immediately tries to get away (e.g., by backing up), ask him to stand. Work on this until your horse is able to stand quietly with the object near him,

The Essentials • Mind Games

but not directly touching him. Once you’ve mastered this skill, you can push your horse’s comfort boundary a bit more. See if you can encourage your horse to touch the object with his nose, if and when he does, praise him and back off for a moment. Try this exercise again until your horse shows no signs of stress when asked to touch the object. When you’ve succeeded in getting your horse to touch the object, ask him to stand quietly while you rub his shoulder with it. Move the object slowly, in movements that mimic the grooming action (small circles). When he calmly stands for this, slowly try to move the object around his body (up his neck, down his barrel, etc.). If you horse at any time shows signs of distress, stop and “release” the action by moving the scary object away. Allow your horse a minute or two to settle, then return to the last point your horse was comfortable. From there move back towards the action that caused the fear response. This will help build your horse’s confidence, as well as shape their response by reinforcing the fact concept that calm behaviour results in a reward. It may take some time, but eventually your horse will realize that standing still and not reacting is the best response and his confidence will grow in relation to handling scary objects in the future. As a next step, depending on the object you are using, you can often ask your horse to step on or over the scary object as well.

Touch / Target Training This is a fun activity that is both interesting and engaging for you and your horse, and can be done regardless of the weather as it involves very little space and equipment. It’s also an easy trick to train, and serves as the foundation of many more advanced tricks, should you want to teach them to your horse at a later time. Some people like to use a “clicker” device for this type of training, but it’s not necessary, as any sound will do (e.g. you can click with your voice, say “yes” or “good boy”, etc.). Training this trick involves very little equipment. All you need for success is some treats your horse loves and a

target object (a cone, a bucket, a pylon, a ball, etc.). You want to make sure your treats are out of reach of your horse, as you want him to focus on the task at hand and not get pushy about getting snacks.

Put those empty feedbags laying around your barn to good use as a desensitizing tool.

To start, show your target to your horse and hold it near his nose. Don’t move the target towards him, just hold it where he can see it and wait for him to make the first move. For most horses, curiosity will make them move their nose towards the target, often to smell it, and when that happens be prepared to reward the minute his nose touches or brushes the target. Repeat this exercise a couple of times, then try moving the target to another spot (further from your horse), and getting him to touch it again. One of the big keys to this type of training is timing and reward. You want to praise your horse at the exact moment he does what you’ve asked (in this case the moment they touch the target). Praise your horse verbally first, then give him a treat. Rewarding too early or too late won’t “catch” the behaviour of your horse, and they won’t make the connection that touching the object gets them a reward. Also, don’t get frustrated if (after the first few attempts) your horse seems to get bored and loose interest, or simply stares at you as if he forgot what you were doing. The initial curiosity about the object may wear off once he realizes what it is, and what it smells like. Resist the urge to push the target towards him, and try moving it to a different spot to get his attention again. If this still isn’t working, try rubbing the treat on the target and entice him with its scent. If you can’t get your horse to touch the target exactly, you still want to shape his behaviour towards eventually fulfilling that action. To do so, reward him if he even moves his nose closer to the target, or if he looks at it.

Pylons make great target training tools!

Eventually he will understand what you are asking; it just takes time and may take multiple sessions. As with all training, try to end it on a good note, either when he finally touches the target, or gets super close. Reward him, and then take a break and try again later. This isn’t meant to be a stressful event, but a fun one.

The Eloquent Equine • 21



n the winter months, snow and ice can quickly become a serious problem. It impacts your ability to ride (and sometimes even get to the barn), and can cause a lot of different problems depending on the weather your area is subjected to. Anyone who lives in an area that is subjected to sub-zero temperatures knows that ice can become a serious problem. It affects the footing outdoors, your horse’s ability to access water, can build up on rooftops, and even in arena footing. To combat this common winter hazard, here are a few tips we’ve compiled to help you banish ice from your barn. While snow can’t really be avoided, the best way to deal with ice is to prevent it from ever being formed.

ICE IN THE ARENA Even if you have an indoor arena, ice can still be a problem for you. While store bought de-icers like sand and salt can help deal with ice in doorways and walkways once its built up, preventing it before it happens is often the best course of action. Ensuring the land around your arena is graded (sloped) away from the building will ensure that any snow melt and dripping water will be drawn away from the building and won’t refreeze right in your doorway. As anyone with a metal arena can attest, sunny days and rising temperatures can cause serious problems as ice sheets careen off the roof and crash to the ground. It’s a sound that can send most horses running, and can be a hazard to anyone outside in the vicinity of falling ice. Installing products like snow guards on your metal roofing can help prevent this problem from occurring, as it will stall the movement of ice sheets and keep them from hitting the ground, while still allowing water to run off your roof.

Featured • Winter Woes

Have you ever felt like it was raining in your arena on a particularly sunny, or slightly warmer, day in the winter? This is caused by condensation that results from thawing ice and differing internal and external temperatures, especially in un-insulated metal structures like arenas. While the sound isn’t more than a nuisance, dripping water can cause ice balls to form up in your arena footing, or along the arena edges, which can be a riding hazard. Keeping an eye out for these ice buildups is your best measure, and flagging them with pylons can help riders avoid riding over them. Harrowing your arena regularly can also help prevent these ice chunks from building up, and can loosen the smaller ones enough for you to be able to remove them. Using salt or any other de-icer can also help to break up the ice in these problem areas.

SNOW AND ICE BUILDUP IN HOOVES For anyone who keeps their horses shod over the winter, ice and snow buildup in the hoof is common and potentially dangerous problem. You’ve likely seen it, your poor horse stranded and elevated off the ground as a result of those pesky little ice balls wedged firmly inside his shoes. Standard horseshoes don’t have the best traction on slick surfaces, and built up ice and snow in the foot only makes this problem worse. Ice balls in the hoof are more than uncomfortable for your horse; they can increase the chances of slipping and falling, and in severe cases can actually cause bruising to the sole of the hoof. If your horse is turned out for long periods in an area of deep snow (wet snow is especially bad for building up in the hoof), your best solution is constantly checking his feet and picking them out. You’ll want to pick his feet out every time he comes in, and may want to check and pick out his hooves regularly throughout the day.

Some “anti-stick” household products, like cooking spray or petroleum jelly, can provide temporary solutions to snow buildup in the hoof, but you will still need to check your horse’s feet regularly if he is turned out for long periods of time. Many farriers also offer solutions that can assist with this persistent winter problem, installing studs and pads can often help give your horse better traction and reduce snow build-up if he keeps his shoes on in winter.

ICE IN THE PASTURE AND BARN AREA Ice and snow buildup around the farm can be a serious hazard for both humans and horses. Being prepared for winter weather is the best way to ensure that everyone stays safe and injury free. Having a plan for clearing off main walkways of snow and ice in the winter is essential, and you should ensure you have the required supplies on hand long before the first snow fall. Regularly check areas frequently trafficked by horses and people to ensure they are free from obstruction. While common walkways may be the first to come to mind, don’t neglect other popular horse hangouts like run in sheds and pasture gates. If water collects near any of your gates and turns to ice, horses (and you) can easily slip and fall when coming

in and out, and legs can get caught under (or through) a gate, leading to injury. Proper drainage can ensure that water doesn’t have a chance to build up and freeze, but if you are noticing a problem, try spreading sand or other absorptive products (e.g., shavings) over the area to help keep it from freezing and to provide some traction.

significant buildup after a series of de-thawing and refreezing periods or after a particularly bad ice storm can impact the integrity of roofs and support beams. If you are concerned that a structure might collapse, remove the horses pastured there to another spot and make plans to reinforce or rebuild the shed in the summer months.

Also keep an eye on the doorways and other entrances to the barn. Depending on the way your roof is sloped snow and water run off could fall directly over a doorway and will need to be cleared. Snow dams and icicles falling from rooftops are a constant hazard that need to monitored and dealt with.


Old household mats, carpeting, and stall/trailer mats provide great tools for dealing with ice on pathways. If you need to move a horse over an icy walkway that you can’t get thawed, throw down mats for added traction. Just be sure to pick them up when done, as wet and frozen mats will be of no use to you in the future. You will also want to watch for ice buildup in pastures, as significant ice buildup can be dangerous to pastured horses, especially if the ice is blocking access to important resources like water, hay, and shelter. Also, be sure to regularly check the structural integrity of outbuildings like turnout sheds. Ice is heavy, and

Regardless of the season, an adequate water supply is essential to ensuring your horse remains healthy. Water buckets and troughs need to be regularly monitored in the winter months to ensure that they remain hazard free and unfrozen. While automatic waterers are often equipped with heaters and designed to keep water flowing even in freezing temperatures, standard buckets and troughs are prone to freezing if not regularly maintained. Installing water heaters before freezing temperatures set in is the best way to keep outdoor troughs from freezing, but will still need to be inspected regularly to ensure they are on and functioning properly. If your barn is not well insulated or heated in the winter, you will also need to regularly check your indoor water buckets to ensure they are ice free.

The Eloquent Equine • 23

Some tips to keep in mind to make sure ice buckets don’t freeze: • If you notice a thin layer of ice forming, break it up immediately • Scoop out any ice chunks forming in buckets – kitty litter scoops work great for this • Water floats can help slow the speed at which a bucket freezes, as it encourages water movement (which prevents freezing) when your horse pushes it around to get a drink. Plastic balls work great as a cheap DIY float solution • When filling buckets, fill them half way with hot water. The increased water temperature will help keep ice at bay, at least for a little while. Insulated buckets are a great way to slow down ice build-up in buckets, you can buy these from the store or make one yourself with some duct tape and bubble wrap.

---Ice and snow are a constant problem for those who live in northern climates, but a little preparation can go a long way in helping you and your horses survive winter. Having the right supplies on hand before a big snowfall can put you in a better position to deal with weather hazards that arise. Similarly, keeping track of the biggest winter hazards you experience can help you better prepare for the next winter. Use the summer months to improve your barn in ways that will make the next winter more manageable, and plan your maintenance strategy around your hazard areas. Is there a spot in the pasture where the snow drifts get especially high or thick? If so, think about the fencing behind that drift, are there materials you can use that will be much sturdier and help it survive the winter intact? Similarly, talk to your farrier about winter shoeing options before you need them, that way you can explore the best solutions in advance and have them in place before the first big snow fall. While it’s easy to forget about winter once it’s gone, it will come back, and being prepared can save you a lot of time and stress, and keep you and your horses safe and healthy. Remember, it’s a lot easier to fix a fence in the summer than it is to try to do in January under two feet of snow.

Featured • Winter Woes

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avaletti and jump exercises can be a great way to keep your horse focused and fit in any season. You don’t need to ride hunters or be a jumper to benefit from these exercises, as they build skills vital to all disciplines. There are a wide range of exercises you can try that offer varying degrees of difficulty and work on different skill sets. You can be almost endlessly creative with your setups, depending on the equipment and space you have available. Don’t despair if you only have one or two trot poles, or only one cavaletti, there is still a range of activities you can undertake with your horse under saddle and in hand. For the winter months, when you may not have access to an indoor arena or safe footing to ride outdoors, why not try setting up a small cavaletti or trot pole in a wide aisle in your barn.

Raised Pole(s)

Or, try setting up two trot poles on the ground (make sure there are no obstructions in your path) about 3 feet apart (you may have to adjust based on your horse’s striding).


Featured • Fun with Fences

Start by walking your horse over them in hand, then try trotting him over (if there’s space and the footing is safe enough to do so). It may seem like a simple exercise, but even walking over

a few trot poles will engage your horse’s mind and encourage him to articulate his joints and use his muscles. To add complexity to the exercise, why not raise one end of each pole and walk him over them again. This will force him to have to lift and engage those muscles even more.


If you have the space you can also incorporate one fence or low rail into a figure eight pattern. This is a great exercise to work on communication while in hand, and bend and suppleness while mounted. Perform your figure eight as if it were two 20 metre circles (or 8 – 10 metres if you have less space), going over the rail each time you transition to the second circle in the eight pattern.

Single Rail Figure 8


The Serpentine:

If you have a bit more space to play with, and access to more poles or cavalettis why not try some of these exercises.

On the flat, the three loop serpentine is a great exercise for working on bend, collection, and change of rein, so why not enhance the exercise by adding some ground poles or low fences.

The Line: Put two poles on the ground (approximately 5 ft. apart) for a simple but effective trot pole exercise in hand or mounted. For an added challenge, raise one end of each pole for a raised trot pole exercise, or elevate them and create to small cross rails to really make your horse work to pick up his feet and pay attention to the task at hand. For a more challenging version of this exercise while mounted, place two poles in a line (approximately 9 ft. apart) and canter over them. This short one stride exercise (or “bounce) is great for helping your horse develop a better round canter stride for jumping, and will help work on spacing and pacing (as you don’t have much room to play with!). Up the complexity of the exercise by raising the level of the poles to a small cross rail, or use a cavaletti in place of the ground poles.

To execute, place four poles in a line down the centre of the arena (evenly spaced apart). At the trot, this is a great exercise for building communication and working on bend and suppleness, and at the canter it is a great tool for working on flying changes.

The Figure Eight (on the diagonal): On the flat, this is another great training exercise for working on bend and communication. Incorporate your fences by placing four of them in a square at the centre of your arena (around “X”). You should form two pairs of diagonal lines with two fences each.

The Half Circle: Place two ground poles perpendicular to each other, on what would be two of the quarter points of a 20 metre circle. Trotting and cantering your horse over these poles will help work on his balance and bending, and force him to pay attention to your aids and stay supple on the circle. As always, raise the height of the ground poles to small fences for more of a challenge.

FOUR FENCE EXERCISES With just a few more poles (or fences) and a bit more space the range of exercises for you and your horse grows exponentially. Here are some exercise to work on straightness, lead changes, communication, balance, and bend. Some of them are more difficult than others.

The “Y”: This exercise is a great test for the rider to improve their communication, aids, feel, and ability to think quickly in the saddle. Place two rails on a straight line, and then place one to the right and one to the left of that line (on the diagonal).

The Eloquent Equine • 27

Ride straight into the first line of fences at the canter, and then chose which arm of the “Y” to canter over depending on which lead you land after the second rail. If you horse lands on the left lead, go left, and if he lands on the right, go right. You’ll have to think on your toes and be aware of your lead as you come of the second fence in the initial line.

The Full Circle: If you tried the two rail exercise on the circle, now is the time to increase the challenge by adding some extra rails. Place one ground pole or cavaletti on each of the quarter points of the circle, making a large pinwheel. Trot and canter over this set of rails on the circle to help improve balance, bend, and overall communication with your horse.

The Spiral A more complex take on the fan rail ground pole exercise (four poles in a fan pattern), this is a great exercise to work on bend and gaits (extension and collection). This exercise will also help build up your horse’s strength and flexibility. Place four poles in a fan shape, with the inside end of the poles close together (almost touching). When aligned, your fan of poles should be no wider than a half circle. Ride your horse at the trot or canter around the poles in a full circle, making each subsequent circle smaller and smaller until you have reached the center. Then spiral back out again. For horses that are less experienced or have difficulty collecting their gait, this will be a very challenging exercise.

Featured • Fun with Fences


SHORT ON EQUIPMENT? If your barn isn’t equipped with a large number of traditional standards and trot poles, never fear, there are many affordable and do it yourself options that will work just as well. Plastic buckets or hay bales work as great standards for small cavalettis, cross rails, and raised trot poles, and you can pick up some PVC piping or landscaping poles from the hardware store to serve as your jump rails.

---If you have the space and really want to challenge yourself and your horse, try combining the smaller exercises into one big course. There are a range of possibilities, allowing you to challenge your horse with a combination of activities that engage different muscle groups.

Need some ideas to get you going? Check out some of the course ideas we came up with on the following pages.

I’M A “Y” FAN “Y”, meet fan rail. We’re definately a fan.

START The Eloquent Equine • 29


Featured • Fun with Fences

GET YOUR BEND ON This one will challenge your steering skills with a two rail line that turns into a full circle pinwheel and then leads into a two loop serpentine. The course ends with a two rail “bounce” line.

The Eloquent Equine • 31

THE PIN WHEELED 8 This course combines the challenge of a figure eight on the diagonal with two full circle pinwheels.


Featured • Fun with Fences

! T U O T I K


GYMNASTIC EXERCISES Easy to set up and execute, these quick exercises are great tools to add to your training arsenal. [HFN 1.3 & 2.1]

HOOFNOTES HoofNotes are your on-the-go downloadable training tip sheets. Find them at [theeloquentequine.com]

In the fall of 2015 we put out a call looking for aspiring and competitive young riders (of any discipline) who wanted to be a part of a unique opportunity. Our Featured Rider program offers riders an opportunity to share their stories, the challenges they face and the triumphs they achieve with our global audience of readers. We selected two great riders to serve as part of our inagural Featured Rider team. You may have seen our introduction of them on social media, or learned a bit about them through our Instagram Featured Rider Fridays, but we’d like to officially welcome them to the team and provide a chance for them -- in their own words -- to tell you a bit about themselves! So take a look, these two have inspired us with their dreams and achievements, and we hope they inspire you as well!



Rider’s Corner • Featured Rider Team




ello everyone! Last time I had an update, if I remember correctly, I was hoping to start off the show season with a new horse, Dallas, and had one big goal: state finals. I am incredibly happy to be able to say that not only did Dallas and I qualify for finals, but we finished 6th in our division! That day was crazy, first off, within five seconds of walking into the very intimidating finals ring, Dallas spooked. Now I’ve been riding long enough to know that a spook really isn’t a big deal but the thing is, Dallas had never spooked with me before, and I had taken him on walks through the woods, been with him during a thunderstorm, I had even ridden him in a field only feet away from a football practice, so naturally I took that as an omen of “this is not going to end well”.

Yet somehow Dallas decided to but his game face on and even though five horses, yes five, spooked at one point or another in the class, Dallas remained cool as a cucumber and carried us to 6th at both of our very first finals. This year, I made the decision to lease Dallas again, and I am not quite sure what we are going to do as far as classes, I’m hoping to figure that out in March, when the lease officially starts. Also, since my last update, I became a featured rider for the Eloquent Equine! This was something I was incredibly excited about (as you could probably tell by my tweets if you follow me on twitter). I feel that being a featured rider has made me respect myself and this sport more, I feel much surer of who I am and the decisions I make regarding horses.

@jamienkenney @jamienkenney

The Eloquent Equine • 35

I think that the incredible opportunity that has been given to me by this magazine has allowed me to make great strides in my writing, and riding and I will forever be thankful for that. I cannot wait to see what the future holds for the magazine, and I am so glad they allowed me to be a part of something so special!




I am Sophie, a 20 year old 2nd year Optometry student and amateur event rider from England. I am studying Optometry at Cardiff University and loving it (despite all the hard work!) I have been riding since I was 2 and had numerous horses and ponies over the years who have all taught me so much. I would say my greatest achievements to date are:

• Being selected to represent Wales and the Borders region in the National u18 regional eventing championships in 2011. • Coming 3rd at the National Pony Club Open Eventing Championships in 2013 as a member of the Ludlow Hunt Pony Club team. • Completing my first BE Advanced, and attempting (although unfortunately not completing) my first FEI CIC*** in 2014.

Sophie & Henry • Being selected for Cardiff University Equestrian’s A team and qualifying for the regional finals in 2014. • Qualifying for the BE JAS finals at Hartpury in February 2015. • Being selected to represent Great Britain as a member of the British University’s Riding Team at the Student Riding Nations Cup which is being held in Belgium in April 2015 (I am so excited about this)!!

Photo | Gr8 Images

I currently have two main horses to compete this season, and a further 3 horses who will be worked alongside. Max is an 8yo show jumper from Ireland. We bought Max in September 2014 with the view to introduce him to eventing. So far Max has not disappointed, and has been placed at every competition, coming home with numerous first rosettes!

@WRAGGSA1 @sophiewragg1

The Eloquent Equine • 37

Our greatest achievement so far has been finishing 2nd in the Novice JAS in January, and qualifying for the JAS final at Hartpury.

Henry is a 6yo ex-racehorse, bought in August 2014 with the view to event. He is a beautiful little horse with the best attitude; whatever you ask him to do, he does. He completed his first event last year and stormed round the cross country like he had been doing it for years! We hope to get him out eventing by the beginning of April, once I have broken up from University for the holidays.

Sophie & Dudley

My additional 3 horses are: Scarlet (a 16yo 3* eventer); Dudley (an 8 yo ex-racehorse) and Sam (a 3yo intended to be broken in at the end of this year). I look forward to keeping you updated with their progress. My favourite exercises for keeping both me and my horses fit are jumping and fast-work. Jumping fences off turns or on circles is a great way to get the horses thinking for themselves and looking for what fence is coming next. And a good pipe opener up the hills is a great way to get the heart racing; nothing beats the feeling of galloping through the countryside!

Sophie & Scarlet

Sophie & Max Photo | Ultimate Images

Rider’s Corner • Featured Rider Team

COOLING OUT IN WINTER A HORSE HEALTH TIP While cooling out your horse properly is always important, it is especially so in the winter months. While the outside temperatures may be below freezing, if your horse is worked hard enough he will still work up a sweat. When not cooled out properly, cold temperatures can leave your horse prone to the chills, and thick hair coats can cause moisture and sweat to get trapped, delaying drying times. There are a few key actions you can take to ensure that your horse’s temperature returns to normal, and that he is dry when turned back out or put back in his stall. Cooling out in the winter will take longer than in summer months, but taking the time can ensure your horse stays healthy and happy for the months to come. When you get off your horse after riding, you will want to check how warm he is. There are a couple of ways you can do this: • Place your bare hand or wrist on his chest to feel his temperature • Look for clear signs of “steam” coming off him, if the air temperature is cold enough you should be able to clearly see the steam coming off his body • Loosen the girth and feel under it and the saddle, if his hair is wet he needs to be cooled out more If you horse was worked actively during your ride, you are going to want to spend at least 10 minutes after your ride cooling him out before you begin untacking. Walking him around the arena during this time allows his temperature to gradually return to normal and his breathing to even out. If the air temperature is really cold and his temperature is up, now is the time you can throw a cooler or quarter sheet over him, to help protect him from the cold air and to keep his muscles better insulated so they don’t cramp up. It also helps to loosen his girth when you dismount, but leave the saddle on so that cold air cannot reach those really sweaty spots under the tack just yet.

The best coolers and quarter sheets for cooling out your horse in winter are made of fleece. This material allows heat to be removed from the body, but also keeps your horse insulated and will absorb some of the excess moisture on his coat from sweat. If you horse is really damp and sweaty, you may have to swap out his cooler after a few minutes, as a damp cooler won’t be able to absorb any more sweat, which won’t help your horse dry off. When untacking your horse, try to get a cooler on them as soon as possible after the tack is removed. Additionally, rubbing your horse down with a towel before putting the cooler on, can help dry him out and speed up the cooling out process. Once your horse is completely dry and, upon touch, his temperature feels normal, then he can be turned out again. If you blanket your horse in the winter, you do not want to put the winter blanket back on until after your horse is completely dry, as these blankets do not have the same wicking properties as fleece coolers do and will trap moisture inside causing potential discomfort, and may lead to chills. If it is especially cold out and you are worried about your horse’s temperature, place his winter blanket over his cooler. Just ensure you still remember to check the cooler after a few minutes to make sure it’s not too damp.

| QUICK TIP | If you intend to ride actively in the winter, it may be beneficial to clip your horse. You don’t need to do a full body clip, a partial one (e.g., under the tack or a trace clip) will help to keep those areas that sweat a lot significantly drier, which will speed up your cooling out time. The disadvantage is that you will need to be prepared to blanket your horse for the winter to keep those clipped areas warm when he is out in the cold temperatures.


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The Eloquent Equine | No. 7 - Horse Health & Rider Fitness  

Beat the winter blues and get ready for summer with our March 2015 issue. Jam packed with training tips to get you and your horse in shape,...

The Eloquent Equine | No. 7 - Horse Health & Rider Fitness  

Beat the winter blues and get ready for summer with our March 2015 issue. Jam packed with training tips to get you and your horse in shape,...