Friday, 3 February 2017

Gotta love ponies!

Are ponies tougher than horses?
French researchers say so.
Speaking about the ways we can preserve the welfare and sanity of riding lesson horses, Dr. Clémence Lesimple said that poor riding technique has the greatest impact on the presence of injuries, and it also has an effect on stereotypy development. (ie. cribbing and weaving).
“Frequent forage feeding, regular free time in the paddock with other horses, straw bedding, and good riding techniques are also  critical elements for promoting equine welfare in riding facilities,” she said.
“We often hear that ponies are more robust than horses, and our study shows for the first time that they are less inclined to develop signs of poor welfare and that they are more resistant to deleterious equitation.”
Deleterious equitation means bad riding. A clashing of cues.
Ponies seem to roll with it.
 Anyone have a resilient pony story?

Friday, 27 January 2017

Riding patterns

The more we ride them the better we get at memorizing them. We build upon previous experiences and observations. Our brains are actually changed. We’re learning to learn.
So, if experience goes through the routine, perhaps wisdom says, This is the way things typically go.
 Left lead skills are typically followed by a lead change and some right lead skills.  After jumps to the right come the jumps to the left.  From dressage ring to hunter course to reining pen.  Wise riders are ones who’ve learned to recognize the flow of the show – patterns, schedules and horses – the way things usually work.
Taken a step further, the wise rider not only sees of the rhythms and routines, but applies what she knows.
I love the ancient Hebrew word for wisdom, Hochma – conveying the image of a pattern woven into the fabric of the universe. Jesus commended those who
1. recognized the pattern and 2. applied it in their lives.
This is the way things typically go. Connecting the dots. Seeing the warning signs. Making different choices next time in the same situation.
In light of my past experience, my present circumstances, and my future hopes and dreams, what is the WISE thing for me to do? Andy Stanley, pastor.

Friday, 20 January 2017

Why do we love our “kissing horse face” photos?

They’re everywhere – advertising vacations to vaccinations (if you love your horse, you’ll immunize with…)
Winston Churchill got it right- “There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man.”

Horses are therapy.  They make us feel good.

But let’s be honest, our horses might not be feeling the love as much as we are when they’re kissed.
1. Kissing isn’t your horse’s “love language”. Horses express their bonding preference for herd mates in other ways. Kissing is a human expression, we learn as toddlers.  Research shows they actually prefer being scratched or massaged, particularly around the withers, by their people.
2. Horses will tolerate, but not naturally enjoy their noses touched. First, he can’t see you. Objects immediately in front of or below a horse’s nose are beyond his range of vision. Second, it’s a really sensitive zone. Muzzles are designed for “seeing” – sorting through bedding to get the last hay strand.
3. It’s risky – if you’ve ever been bopped by a horse’s head, I’ll bet your eyes are tearing up just thinking about it.
Ever consider how we may speak a different love language, human to human?
Dr. Gary Chapman noted that we each have a primary way of expressing and interpreting love and we all identify primarily with one of the five love languages: Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Receiving Gifts, Acts of Service, and Physical Touch.
 He also found that, for whatever reason, people are often drawn to those who speak a different love language than their own.
If that’s true, as we study our children, spouses, friends…and horses, we’ll be “speaking” in the language they understand!

Monday, 21 November 2016

Hope comes riding…

Well, as the dust settles from the US election, some are left standing with their hopes dashed - others had their hope stirred.

Hope for peace, prosperity, rescue…

I love the words of the late Chuck Colson:  “Salvation will not arrive on Air Force One.”
Removed from his seat of power as Counsel to the President, landing in a jail cell for his role in the Watergate scandal, he discovered his own hope in political success …was lame horse.

So what is your hero riding on a white horse? That next win, next show  prospect, next relationship ? Financial security, retirement…?

Chuck Colson discovered something prison -  that his only hope was a relationship with God.  He said,

“Where is the hope? The hope that each of us have is not in who governs us, or what laws are passed, or what great things that we do as a nation. Our hope is in the power of God working through the hearts of people, and that’s where our hope is in this country; that’s where our hope is in life.”

“The normal human tendency, particularly for strong-willed people, is to rely on our own strength and resources. But when those are not available to us, when everything has failed, when we have to abandon every other hope, we are forced to trust God alone.”

Monday, 31 October 2016

What does it mean to earn a horse's "trust,"?

Research in equine-assisted mental health has explored how people develop trust by working with horses, but is trust the same for horses as it is for humans?
Social psychologists agree that trust involves giving up some control and accepting vulnerability, with the expectation of being protected from harm.
Dr Robin Foster, Researcher and equine behaviour specialist says
“The balance of power in a relationship affects the balance of control.... the employer-employee and parent-child relationships have an unequal balance of power, with a leader and follower. ...Some   leaders control through intimidation, and aggression…
... most interactions involve an imbalance of power with the human as leader and the horse as follower. Consider, for example, jumping serves the rider’s interests—recognition and a ribbon! The horse, however, takes a risk by jumping, and given a choice most horses would probably take the safe route and go around. An important question is, why does the horse cooperate and jump? Does past experience [ indicate] that the rider will ensure his safety? Or does he jump to avoid pain that might result by not cooperating?”
She continues “Trust is fragile, and repeated trust violations can damage both present and future relationships.”
So, researchers agree that horsemen can earn a horse’s “trust” by:
·       using consistent and skilled handling techniques (cues, movements)
·       be tuned in to the to the horse’s emotional state (tension/relaxation)
·       provide frequent, positive experiences
So let’s go out and be trustworthy riders!