Building trust and working on transitions

Feeling a little under the weather this week, but wanted to get a video out before heading to the Rocking Horse Stables Winter II Horse Trials, which is a great event, but in a location where cell service is a major challenge.

This week, I continued to make great progress doing bareback and bridleless work with Sharpie.  It’s very important to begin every session with some stretching.  Not only is it a good warm up before engaging in physical activity, but its a good for building mutual trust and forming a strong bond with your horse.

This was only Sharpie’s 4th bridleless ride, so I want it to be really relaxing as we continue to build our relationship, at the same time as we focus on learning basic cues and transitions.

Slate and Sharpie go to School

This week I took my two off the track thoroughbreds, Slate and Sharpie (owned by Michelle Chisholm), to the Georgia International Horse Park for a schooling show hosted by Brookwood Sport Horses. These shows are great for introducing young horses to an atmosphere and gaining experience in the ring.

Slate raced 42 times under the Jockey Club name of Run Slado run. This outing was encouraging because he is getting more confident and handled the experience like a champ. He surprised me with how far he had come since we first started working on his confidence on cross country back in November.

Every day I am more and more impressed with Sharpie, a classy war horse who raced 61 times under the name of Sharp Johnny. He took the experience in stride and performed well. He reminds me a little bit of Johnny. While he is a sensitive horse, he tries really hard.

I’m excited about the future with these young horses, and having a lot of fun being a part of their journey.

Games to engage your horse’s curiosity

It continues to be really cold here, which means I need to use my imagination to find things for my horses to to do. Engaging curiosity through games in which your horse is likely to succeed is a great way to introduce new behaviors.

In this vlog, I show how I teach young horses like Sniper (aka Reloaded) to spanish walk using a step block.

I also got some new toys to play with, to expose my horses to new sounds and colors.

This year I plan to make my arena different every day, as a way of building confidence and preparing my horses for changing environments. Sniper in particular can get really distracted, so using these new objects to play games was really helpful in getting him to focus. Pressure and release combined with positive reinforcement is the number one strategy I use in this kind of training.

Ten Top Videos from 2017 You May Have Missed

In 2017, I uploaded more than 100 videos that add up to over 1,500 minutes of content. That’s a lot. Looking back over the past year, its fun to see which videos earned the most attention. Check out my top ten most-watched videos of 2017. Any surprises? Do you have a video that didn’t make the list? Let me know in the comments below. Continue reading “Ten Top Videos from 2017 You May Have Missed”

My Feeding Program

In this week’s vlog, I have some fun with my 2016 Retired Racehorse Project Horse Henri (who earned 2nd in the Eventing division). It’s really important to play with your horse. It builds relationship, and helps you to identify and nurture natural strengths.

In the feed room, I discuss how I use feeds from Buckeye Nutrition to tailor feeding programs to meet the specific needs of each individual horse. I don’t typically use a lot of supplements, but I have recently started using Hypona MagVet (http://www.hypona.com/magvet.html) to address a magnesium deficiency that we discovered in Simply Priceless after Badminton. Both highly bio available and palatable, I’ve seen tremendous results with this magnesium supplement, and am delighted to add Hypona to my list of amazing sponsors.

I’m off to the Jump Start Horse Trials this weekend for a final outing with my current Retired Racehorse Project horses, Vindicated and Fly With Me, before the Thoroughbred Makeover, which is now just two weeks away!