Sunday, December 16, 2012
Wednesday, November 21, 2012
The picture here is of Jim Masterson performing his “integrated equine performance bodywork.” I could just as easily show a pic of Linda Tellington-Jones doing her TTouch or Mary Midkiff using aromatherapy or the late Ray Morris massaging a horse. Each of these protocols has its own particular value but what they all have in common is touching the animal in a comforting way.
You can do your own version of this. Just clear your mind and think about what your horse means to you. Now touch the horse. Don’t pat or slap. Touch. Get as much of your body in contact with your horse as possible. As the old song puts it, “Let the love flow.” Horses are sentient beings. They have feelings that, even if they aren’t exactly the same as ours – they are a dramatically different species, after all – still correlate to feelings we have. We enjoy a loving touch and so do horses. It calms them and it calms us.
Touching your horse is a way of giving something without asking anything in return. But of course, you do get something in return, and that’s exactly why horses are still relevant in this technology age. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!
Monday, October 8, 2012
Interview someone. Promote your breed or sport. Cover something interesting. I'm open.
Still queasy about the assignment? Here are some tips that might help:
1. Try a radio interview first. It’s easier and I’m more likely to use it.
2. Your smart phone probably has a memo recorder for making grocery lists, etc. Use this to record.
3. Put the phone really close to the mouth of the person speaking. This minimizes background noise.
4. Don't worry about length or editing. I'll make it right.
5. Email the file to Rick@TheHorseShow.com.
Fine print: There is no compensation for your journalistic efforts and no guarantee I will use the recording on radio or television. If I do, I will credit you for it and you can update your resume. In sending the file to me, you assign all rights to me in perpetuity and give me permission to use your name and the names of any people featured in the recording. More questions? Email me at … well, you know.
Saturday, September 8, 2012
Chunking is an instructional design practice that breaks content into small, focused, and easily-repeated chunks. I started chunking in 1999 with “The Horse Show Minute,” my daily radio feature and the heart of my second book, Horse Smarts for the Busy Rider. In 2009, we began chunking on TV by embedding two-minute, standalone features in our shows. So far you’ve seen “Trail Tips,” a how-to series for trail riders, “Nutrition Nuggets,” an overview of horse nutrition, and “Ask the Expert,” a series on custom diet formulation for different types of horses. A new chunking chapter begins in November when we roll out two new embedded series using this super learning format. The first brings back Dr. Judy Reynolds to debunk horsekeeping myths. The second takes on hoof care with anti-lameness crusader, Gene Ovnicek.
Friday, August 17, 2012
I’m a big believer in getting a ramp with your horse trailer but it’s not because I feel it makes loading horses easier. There are pros and cons to a ramp for that purpose. No, my fondness of a ramp is that it allows me to use the trailer for other things. Both of my trailers are designed such that everything in the horse compartment can be removed easily, leaving a big open box. I can haul my garden tractor to the repair shop or help a friend move furniture. The ramp is handy in both cases.
One of our trailers is a living quarters model. The front part is like a travel trailer or motor home with bed, dinette, fridge, stove, sink, toilet, shower and storage. The back part is for the horses, although we often clean it out and use it as a big work room when we’re on the road. Horse people know that an LQ trailer makes for very comfortable accommodations but they are foreign at most RV parks. Often when I call to reserve a space, an incredulous voice over the phone asks, “You’re going to sleep in your horse trailer?”
Saturday, July 21, 2012
Thursday, June 21, 2012
Thursday, May 31, 2012
Wednesday, May 16, 2012
Now, what about the tweaking part? This always reflects the reality of the particular horse’s situation. What is his current body condition? How old is he? How does he live? How is he used? He may just need a daily dose of vitamins and minerals not present in adequate quantities in the forage part of the diet. But he may also need more energy than he can get from the forage. How these varying needs are met – the products and byproducts combined to produce the desired effect – is where the state of the art in equine nutrition lives today. The most important development in recent times is the move away from cereal grains such as corn, oats, and barley, once staples in equine feeds. Recently I sat down with Dr. Reynolds to explore exactly why she designed the ADM feeds as she did. This episode has received great response. Enjoy!
Thursday, April 26, 2012
One activity I’ve found that is practical, fun, and perfect for getting your brain out of the way is leading (ponying) one horse while riding another. I did a fair amount of this a few years back with our baby, Sarah. She had a lot of energy, which took a lot of my attention. Sometimes she got out in front of us on the trail. Candy and I would canter along behind her for minutes on end like a skier following a ski boat. What I remember most fondly about that experience is how free I felt, unencumbered by any worry about riding correctly. Yet my riding improved. Lately, I’ve been doing something similar when I walk our mares in the neighborhood. We keep the speed down to a walk or trot and I vary which horse I ride. Oh yes, I’m doing it bareback, which has dramatically improved my confidence about riding without a saddle. Before ponying, my brain had me firmly convinced that I didn’t belong on a horse’s bare back. Sometimes thinking is overrated.
Thursday, April 19, 2012
Recently I gave several talks before packed crowds at Equine Affaire in Ohio. The lecture is a classic way of offering up the ingredients for a learning experience. If my lecture is relevant and thought-provoking for my audience, chances are pretty good that ideas will start rolling around in some noggins and a bit of processing will occur. For those folks who talked to me one-on-one about their horses, the likelihood of learning increased dramatically, and not because of anything I did. It was what they did. They became active learners, formulating questions, taking in my responses, breaking apart ideas and putting them back together in ways that made sense to them. In the language of constructivist learning theory, they were creating meaning, a much higher form of learning than simply memorizing facts.
Now just because creating meaning is a high-level form of learning doesn’t mean that all learning must be active. For example, if I ask you for directions to the airport, I want unadorned facts to flow from your brain into mine. I learn the directions by simply accepting what you have told me. When I drive that route, your directions may take on new meaning as I view the scenery, but that embellishment wasn’t critical to what I wanted to learn.
You can read more at my learning blog: http://ricklamblearning.blogspot.com/
Thursday, April 12, 2012
Today there is a different problem at that address. The original pen and owner are long gone and the new occupant is an older woman with a safe but equally inappropriate home for her single horse. The living area is as sturdy as a prison cell, with a similar feeling to it. A five-foot solid block wall defines the perimeter, blocking both view and air circulation. A single brown mare lives inside, isolated from the world and other creatures in it. When I walk down the street with my horses, she hears us and runs over to the wall. She nickers at us and tries to peek over the top. It always saddens me.
I try to remember two things at times like this. First, horses are extremely adaptable and this horse will probably be just fine. Bored, yes, but in any real danger? No. Second, it also matters what the human is getting out of this deal. There is a reason my neighbor went to the trouble and expense of building this little horsey prison. Maybe the little mare is bringing something very special to this human’s life. I wouldn’t deny that to anyone.
So why even bring this up? Because it’s an opportunity to tell you what I would have done. I would have spent a fraction of the money and put up a v-mesh or non-climb wire horse fence such as those made by Red Brand. This is not a commercial for Red Brand, I promise. That just happens to be the product I would use. This would give the horse a view of her surroundings and allow air to circulate through the area, which is absolutely critical when you live in the desert as we do. I would also get the horse a companion. Another horse would be ideal, but a mule, donkey, mini or goat would be fine. Even a chicken or duck could provide companionship for this horse. Horses have a primal need to live in a herd. Any kind of herd.
I do not know the new neighbor. We said hello one time as I walked by and she seemed nice enough, as is usually the case. Most people don’t deliberately abuse or stress their horses; they just don't know any better, and there's no shame in that. Every good horseman I know grieves for the horses he or she failed along the way. Growth requires stretching, reaching for something better than we have and are. All I can do is hope that my neighbor continues growing.
Sunday, April 1, 2012
Rick’s answer: Hi Woody. Choice of boot is largely personal preference. However, in competition, there are sometimes rules about what you wear. For recreational riding, there are some pros and cons with each design. I like the ankle support of a lace up boot and I don’t mind the extra few seconds needed to deal with the laces. I wore black lace ups while trekking in Iceland last summer. They looked great with my stretchy black riding pants! However, some people consider lace ups – or any boot that doesn’t come off easily in an accident – a safety hazard. As a young ranchhand, Dr. Miller was dragged across an arena before his tight cowboy boot came off. Now he recommends buying riding boots a size too large. Of course, wearing boots that don’t fit can be uncomfortable and that's definitely a down side for me. When the cameras aren’t rolling, I usually wear these old Justins with the short Roper heel. They’re loose but not too loose. You can see they’ve given me many years of service. Bottom line for me is that riding should be enjoyable so I wear boots that make me feel good.
Thursday, March 22, 2012
I have a mustang/Morgan who is sweet, kind and respectful but a little fearful of things like smoking burn piles, moving noisy electric gates with plywood figures on them. He refuses to go past them unless lead. The real issue is my friend says I should wear spurs and force him to go on. The smoke had him trembling. She says I’m letting him call the shots. I’m 63 I don’t need to get dumped. Should I force him when I know he’s scared? He minds me pretty well and will even leave my mare while she is screaming for him and goes down the road alone with me. Thank you.
Barbara, you have good instincts. You are observant and thoughtful. You are trying to come up with the best deal for both your horse and yourself. Most important, you are not allowing someone else to pressure you into doing what you feel is wrong.
Now, let’s get to work. First, your friend's analysis is partially correct. Your horse is not completely confident in your leadership or ability to keep him safe. However, spurring an already frightened horse is liable to escalate the fear. I don’t think that’s the right approach for you. Instead, give your horse a job to do to take his mind off what scares him. This requires that you be an active rider, not a passenger. This will change how your horse sees you and how he sees the scary object.
Let’s say the scary thing is the burn pile. First, expect your horse to walk right past it with no problem. Visualize your horse doing that and carry yourself as if that is happening. Often horses live into our expectations of them. If your horse still spooks, stay calm and direct him away from the scary thing. Be careful here because he might want to pick up speed. Put him in a tight circle and disengage his hind quarters repeatedly if he does. Once he is calm, trot around where he feels safe. I don't mean a dainty little Western jog. Get him really moving and using his air! When he gets a bit winded, let him walk toward the scary object. Even let him stop and rest there. Repeat as needed until he is calm near the thing that scared him.
You see, horses are naturally worried about things that are not familiar to them. But they are also worried about using up their energy and air. At some point, the latter concern becomes greater than the former. What used to be scary is now a place of rest and comfort, a place to replenish his stores of energy and air. Incidentally, this is a good underlying strategy for getting a horse to load in a trailer. Make the inside of the trailer the easy place to be and the outside of the trailer the difficult place. Final thought: You are your horse's ultimate protector. Never abdicate that responsibility to someone else.
Tuesday, March 13, 2012
The Aussies of 2012 earned their buckles the hard way. Trailing Team USA at the end of Day One, they suffered a setback when Dan James, scheduled to step back into the round pen at the start of day two, fell ill. While Dan rested and received IV fluids, teammate Guy McLean took the first slot and Dan’s business partner, Dan Steers, advised and assisted from outside the pen. By the second session on day two, Dan James was back in the contest, still not 100% but determined to compete. On day three, the Aussies were the only team to take Tootie Bland’s offer of an extra 30 points each if they would switch horses for the test. Using the saddling pen as a training pen for more than half of the 40 minutes allotted for their tests, each Aussie was able to connect with the horse his teammate had trained and go on to produce a winning performance. The most memorable moment came when Guy McLean coaxed his mount into the optional water obstacle, stood on the horse’s back, cracked two stock whips as fast as machine gun fire, and followed it all up with an emotional bush (cowboy) poem written especially for the occasion.
Jonathan Field and Glenn Stewart of Team Canada got extra points before training began for switching the horses they had each chosen, and they made exceptional progress near the end of the event, but time worked against them in catching the Aussies.
Team USA was the leader at the end of day one, which was actually a bad omen; historically, the person or team who leads after round one does not prevail at Road to the Horse. Team USA faced an additional challenge when Pat Parelli’s colt was scratched for medical reasons after the first day. Per the rules, Pat had to pick a new colt, start over on day two and show up at 5:30 am on day three to get in his second training session. The fatigue factor aside – and it was a factor for all of us at this marathon event – Pat was under the continuous scrutiny of all six judges during that second session, something no other RTTH competitor has ever had to endure.
All in all, Road to the Horse International made a fitting farewell to the Tennessee Miller Coliseum in Murfreesboro, home to seven of the nine Road to the Horse contests thus far. For 2013, the event will be held in the Alltech Arena at Lexington’s Kentucky Horse Park. Tickets are already on sale. Get 'em early.
Other notes: Publisher Darrell Dodds presented the Western Horseman Award to Dr. Robert M. Miller in opening ceremonies on Saturday. Only a handful of other horsemen have received the award, including two other RTTH judges, Bob Moorhouse and Jack Brainard.
This was the first year that judges' scores were posted on the big video screen during the event. Everyone loved the added suspense.
Finally, I'd like to thank my good friend and 2009 RTTH champ, Richard Winters, for assisting me with the hosting of Road to the Horse 2012. I could not have done it without him and I hope he will share the duties with me again next year.
Tuesday, February 28, 2012
Oh yes, this is a soldout event. BUT you can watch it live online all three days. Here’s the link: http://horsecity.com/video-media/webcasts Thanks to the good folks at HorseCity.com
for putting the webcast together.
Wednesday, February 22, 2012
Tuesday, January 31, 2012
Frederic Remington left us this painting of Florida Cracker Cowboys.
Great article on derivation of the term: http://homepages.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~fcc/main/what's_a_cracker.htm
Keep your eyes open for my upcoming TV show on the Florida Cracker Horse.