Welcome to the October 2014 Blog Carnival of Horses

Blog Carnival of HorsesWelcome to the October 2014 Blog Carnival of Horses. There are some great posts here, including an inspiring video on how to work two horses simultaneously (Freedom and Zelda take note) and a funny photo from Bromont (back in the day when I used to take photos at horse shows, I got a great photo of a friend of mine falling off her horse. It did not make me popular).

There’s also an interesting post on the economics of equestrian blogging — in other words, do we bloggers make any money by writing about the animals that we love? You may notice that I run WordAds on this blog. It’s WordPress’s version of AdSense. I hope it doesn’t bother any of my readers. I don’t make much money from the ads but they require no attention on my part and every little bit that goes to the horse budget helps.

Back Home in Bromont presents Oops: Lost my Rider posted at Back Home in Bromont saying, “During the Bromont International, I spent 12 hours a day shooting, scrambling to get press photos out and try and get at least one post on my blog of the days events. This went on for three weeks. One night I was getting a bit squirrelly and rather than post the winners of the day, I chose my favourite photo. The caption pretty much says what happened. To my surprise, it was an immediate hit and to this day it receives “likes” and comments on a number of sites. (It still makes me smile every time I look at it) (Oh and the rider was fine. A wonderful person, who’s comment to the crowd was, “My bad!”

Martine presents Pas de Deux Part Deux posted at Tails from Provence.

Martine presents Dressage at Vidauban posted at Tails from Provence.

Yulia Frolova presesnts EquiBingo posted at EquiGeo.

Lauren presents Equestrians at Sea posted at She Moved to Texas.

Lauren presents Mobile Ponies posted at She Moved to Texas.

Shya presents Saône Stahl~ A magnificent Sculptor!! posted at The Flying Shetlands.

Shya presents Longines LA Masters Grand Slam ~ David Mach~ posted at The Flying Shetlands.

Shya presents Heartland~Diane Williams ~Spirit Of Horses posted at The Flying Shetlands.

Katharine Wolcott presents Sine Die … Or Not posted at Rodney’s Saga.

Exploring Dressage Biomechanics presents What, When, and How in Horse Training posted at Exploring Dressage Biomechanics.

Tiny Tim presents Tim’s Wish on National Poetry Day posted at HoovesWho.

Becky presents Premature posted at Kicking On, saying “This post was my most popular piece last month – it’s a photo story of an extended trail ride we took some of our campers on during the final week of the summer. Great memories of possibly my best day at work!”

Becky presents A Thousand Words posted at Kicking On, saying, “I’ve been meaning to submit for a really long time, sorry it’s taken me so long to get involved! This post was one of my most popular ones in my horse category during September (my blog is split into two categories: “horsey” and “everything else”): it’s a photographic recap of my summer, which I spent teaching kids to ride at a camp.”

Viva Carlos presents 2Pointober posted at Viva Carlos. (Note: I’m afraid that my late posting of this Carnival means that if you want to sign up for this you need to do so by tomorrow. My old legs have told me that my baseline would be pathetic.)

Suzanne presents Just Say Yes posted at Confessions of an AA Event Rider and Convicted Overthinker. (Full disclaimer — this post features some awesome photos that Suzanne took of my Zelda).

Suzanne presents A Word to the Wise posted at Confessions of an AA Event Rider and Convicted Overthinker.

Amy presents ISO Saddle Time posted at A Work in Progress: One Middle Aged Broad’s Decent Back Into Horse Madness.

Bad Eventer presents Bad Horse Transporter posted at Tales from a Bad Eventer.

Fran presents 10 Years on the Hoof Blog: A Little About You posted at Fran Jurga’s Hoof Blog.

That’s all for this month. I hope you enjoy the posts as much as i did. You can submit your post for the next issue at any time.

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A little pre-hunt excitement

It was a beautiful, cool morning — perfect for hunting. Zelda was obviously feeling a bit excited about the prospect of hunting, so I turned her out to get her sillies out. She really enjoys running around in her field and her friend, Curly, got into it too. You’d never guess that Curly is 22, would you?

Thanks to Suzanne who had her camera with her and was able to take these great photos. I’m sure she was glad to see Zelda get her bucks out as she was the one riding her in the hunt.


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The three second rule

Biting horse

This biting horse is actually a wild horse, not a domesticated horse.

I think we’ve all seen horse owners who are afraid of their horses . . . and many times those horses see that leadership vacuum and step right in, treating the humans around them like they are subordinate horses in the herd — and that can mean biting or charging at humans.

I’ve been up close and personal with two horses who had those tendencies — one charged me in the pasture, rearing up and striking out at me; the other would try to bite you while you fed.

It’s no fun to be in situations like that and even less fun when it’s not your horse, because the owner might not appreciate your method of dealing with their behavior. In these cases I’m a strong proponent of  John Lyons’ three second rule. In Lyons on Horses he wrote:

The horse never ever has the right to kick or bite you. Biting is more dangerous than kicking because it is a more aggressive act on the horse’s part. You can’t every justify that action in your mind.

I don’t want to be bitten. If the horse tries to bite me, I will try to kill him. His act is that dangerous and my rule is that simple. I have three seconds in which to kill this thousand-pound beast. The only limitation I’ll put on the murder is that his head will be off limits. Remember, I don’t want to blind him, I want to kill him. Immediately after I’ve exhausted the three seconds, I’ll pet him to reassure him that I still like him, but he knows that he made a serious mistake that almost cost him his life.

While this might seem to be an overreaction, you should take some time and watch how horses interact in a herd situation. Retribution is swift, can look harsh, and when it’s over, they all move on.

I won’t say that I tried to kill any of those horses but for those three seconds I was loud and scary. With one, I carried a whip and used it (not on his head).

My own horses are not aggressive. They can’t be — I’ve always had larger horses and it’s meant that manners are important for my safety and for anyone else who handles them. I have a zero tolerance for bad behavior and so most potential issues get nipped (pun intended) in the bud, before they become a problem.

Freedom will, on occasion, give me the evil horse face and pin his ears, but he backs right off if you growl at him or assert your leadership. Once or twice he’s cocked a hind leg — when that happens, he gets to run around in the field a bit until he wants to “join up” and behave like a domesticated animal again. In fact, he looks very offended if you chase him off.

Zelda will push the boundaries (she is, after all, big) but in a totally passive way — by not moving, or by walking off slowly, knowing there is no way that you can stop her. With her, it’s important that she always respects my personal space, picks up her feet nicely for the farrier, and stands quietly for getting tacked up.  She occasionally needs to be reminded that she can’t always be the boss, and she generally takes reprimands well. A growl or chain over the nose is enough to convince her to step down before any force is required.

How do you keep your horse in line? Have you ever reverted to the three second rule?

Do you know what Cavaletti means?

Thanks to Denny Emerson’s Facebook feed, I do! And you should subscribe, too. He posts a wealth of information.

My tip for the day - Subscribe to Denny Emerson's Tamarack Hill Farm Facebook feed. He always posts interesting stuff. Click on the photo to go to his page.

My tip for the day – Subscribe to Denny Emerson’s Tamarack Hill Farm Facebook feed. He always posts interesting stuff. Click on the photo to go to his page.

The word “cavaletti” has the same roots as the word “cavalry” and “cavallo”, Italian for “horse”.

And although we trot horses over cavaletti, the name has nothing to do with actual horses.

It`s a diminutive term, meaning “little sawhorse.”


Feline Friends

My first horse, Bogie, loved cats. His particular favorite was a barn cat who resided at Red Raider, a barn in Ohio that I boarded out back in the mid-90s. He was never happier than when his cat came and visited in his stall and he would nuzzle him with such gentleness. I always wondered how the cat knew to trust him. If I were that small, I’m not sure I’d want a horse nuzzling me! Apparently the horse in the video below feels the same way.

Submit your posts for the August 2014 Blog Carnival of Horses

Blog Carnival of HorsesOn August 4th, Equine Ink will host the August 2014 Blog Carnival of Horses. You can submit your blog post here.

Each month I look forward to reading new blogs and revisiting my favorites. It always amazes me how many things equestrian there are to write about.

Please consider submitting your blog post to the carnival so you can share your stories with new readers. Or find more blogs to read.



The Benefits of Beta Biothane

Two Horse Tack

Zelda models her Beta Biothane bridle from TwoHorseTack.com. Yes, I know here throat latch is on upside down!

Last year, shortly after Zelda came to my barn, she broke my Micklem bridle. She did it while I was tacking her up by deciding to leave. She was slow and deliberate. She knew I couldn’t stop her (she’s large) and she kept going, stepped on the reins and the stitching broke.

The bridle was fixable, but at that moment I decided that she wasn’t going to get another expensive leather bridle until she learned some manners. I found a nice looking Beta Biothane bridle from TwoHorseTack.com and bought it. I had no idea how much I would like it!

Let’s see, let me count the ways that I have come to appreciate the benefits of a high quality synthetic bridle — because these are very nicely made, indeed. They really changed my mind about using synthetic tack.

  1. It isn’t expensive. Zelda’s bridle was about $40 including shipping (it did not include reins). In fact, it’s such a good deal that I bought two more. Here’s a link to the bridle that they both wearing.
    Freedom in his Biothane Bridle

    Freedom modeling his Beta Biothane Bridle from Two Horse Tack.

    bridles, one for Freedom and one for Zelda. I keep them in my tack trunk in my trailer. I love having a spare that doesn’t break the bank and I know that sooner or later, having that spare will mean the difference between riding and not riding when I’ve shipped out somewhere.

  2. It isn’t cheap. This is a nicely made bridle that just happens to not be leather and which isn’t expensive. My horses look quite fine in their Two Horse Tack bridles. I’ve had a Wintec bridle in the past as a spare, but I like this one better. The material is softer and more supple — even after a year there are no cracks.
  3. The Beta Biothane is strong — but the buckles provide a “breaking point” to make it safe.
  4. They have buckle ends which I vastly prefer. They make it so much easier to swap out bits.
  5. Cleaning it is SO easy. Just dump it in a bucket of water while you’re cleaning the bit. I am lazy so this is a great benefit, especially in the summer when the horses come back sweaty and their tack is grimy. I no longer feel guilty about abusing my bridle and it always looks new.
  6. It doesn’t get dried out, brittle or moldy so it is carefree piece of tack. My tackroom tends to get damp in the summer or too dry when I use a humidifier so my leather tack requires a lot of care even when I’m not using it. Zelda’s bridle is more than a year old now and it looks brand new.

I’m considering getting some of the more flashy options for the future. Zelda, in particular, would look might nice with some bright colors or some bling! I’m looking forward to trying some of their other products and am sorry that I now longer have a horse that goes bitless because their sidepull bridles look very nice.