Thrush can hide after you think it is gone!

OK, this has been a lesson for me! My mustang, Barney, had terrible thrush last year. My farrier and I thought that we had gotten rid of it. That was not the case as I just found out!

Here’s a photo of what has happened to Barney’s foot. The green is a “copper tox” treatment and the dirt is from Barney standing in the dirt after I cleaned his feet and put the copper tox on it.

The white area deep inside is into soft tissue, past the sole of Barney’s hoof. It is very tender to the touch, of course.

Thrush had gone deep into my horse’s hoof!

After last dealing with thrush, I had treated it as my farrier advised with a 40% bleach solution. I also used “Thrush Buster” at the same time. It took about 6 months to get rid of all visible signs, and olfactory sign (smell), of the thrush. The farrier declared Barney to be cured of thrush and I kept a close eye on him since, he does tend to stand in manure even though he has a 1/4 acre DRY pen to use.

Occasionally, I could smell thrush and would immediately treat it. That would get rid of the smell for weeks at a time.

When I went to clean Barney’s feet this time, I noticed the tell tale smell before even putting the hoof pick into action. It was as I cleaned around the frog that I found that huge hole! Barney reacted any time I allowed the hoof pick to touch that inner White area.

My plan for going forward is daily treatments! I’ll be using the bleach solution, copper tox, and Thrush Buster in a rotating regimen every single day for the next several months! I want this GONE! I want my horse to be healthy!

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The hard, ugly, disgusting, truth about horses in the US

Kill pen horses

Kill pen horses

So many people want so desperately to prevent the slaughter of a horse. I understand that perfectly!

Each year, thousands upon thousands of beautiful horses are sent off to slaughter. They are used for everything from dog food to human consumption.

Guess what? It is our OWN FAULT! That’s right, we keep breeding an over abundance of horses every stinking year!

The horse market is FLOODED! Taking a look on just about any site that allows for advertising horses for sale, you’ll find perfectly good horses being sold for $200 or LESS or even being GIVEN AWAY!

Why is that horse being sold for such a low price? Who knows? Maybe the horse had a behavior problem that the owner could not deal with. Maybe the horse got injured. Maybe it just isn’t pretty enough.

When that horse is sold, the previous owner is going to go out and find a young, two year old, horse to replace it!

The sold horse is quite likely to be bought by a kill buyer. The kill buyer is going to look over the horse and possibly decide “Hey, I can fix this horse, and advertise it as going to slaughter! That’ll get the attention of some soft heart and I’ll triple or quadruple my money!” or, he might just go ahead, and feed it up to send to slaughter.

Don’t blame the kill buyer! Don’t blame the slaughter houses! Don’t blame the end consumers of horse products!

Blame the idiotic HORSE COMMUNITY for continually breeding more and more horses to put into a FLOODED MARKET!

Right now, in the United States of America, there are tens of thousands of FERAL, some call them wild, horses that had to be rounded up off the range so they wouldn’t kill the range. The vast majority of THOSE horses are now in ‘long term’ holding and will soon be sold to….kill buyers! They simply can NOT afford to care for them forever. Why do they round up so many of our feral, some call them wild, horses? Because their population DOUBLES every four years! Without rounding up a large number of them from time to time, the horses, antelope, deer, and elk would begin to STARVE and die of disease! The range is a limited resource that they all have to share!

So, there is a huge excess of horses. Unless YOU can personally take full financial responsibility for at least ONE horse, DO NOT COMPLAIN about horses being sent to slaughter! I have two horses, and I know the reality of the horse population, I do NOT condemn the pathway to slaughter at all!

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My horse freaks at any new thing… this time, it’s a different rope.

Alrighty then! Mr. “I ain’t gunna and you can’t make me” Barney is one of those horses that notices and reacts to every new thing. This time, it’s a different rope… yep, just a different rope.

To you and me, and most other horses, a rope is a rope is a rope. Not so with Barney! It’s different and therefore highly suspicious! He has no problem with his lead rope at all! He has no problem with the long lunge line at all! But, this rope is a stiff lariat rope so, it must be some sort of monster!

Right off the bat, I had Barney loose in the round pen. I left him loose, this time, as I tormented him with this new monstrosity of a rope. In fact, I was simply teaching Barney that all of his panic would not really bring him the release he wants.

The video below is of that training session. It’s only 11 minutes long from start to finish. That is all the time it took for Barney to become fairly calm.

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Desensitizing my horse to falling objects

So, the other day I made the mistake of allowing the saddle to fall off of Barney…on the off side. He spooked badly, ran me over, and generally flipped out. The whole thing was avoidable but, I felt the need to quiet down the “spook factor”!

When Barney ran me over, I pulled a muscle and it took until today before I felt good enough to do some work with him.

During my time not working with either Barney or Willy, I developed a plan! I would find objects to toss near Barney’s feet, that make noise, or are otherwise worrisome to him. I would also place those objects on his back so they could fall off near his feet.

The objective is to get Barney more used to things falling around him so that he won’t simply blow up like he did the other day.

What I used was a small traffic cone and I found an empty feed bag to put plastic cups, bottles, rocks, and cans into. The cone would not be very traumatic but, that feed bag with all that noisy trash sure would be!

That is the cone and bag full of rattling trash I used.

Barney sniffing the bag.

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Posted in Bad behavior, General training, Horse safety, Pressure and release | 1 Comment

How to get run over by your horse

This is Barney waiting for me to give him some direction.

Well, once again, I have proven that horses can be dangerous animals. Today, I managed to spook my mustang Barney and he ran over me. The good part is that he managed to avoid stepping on me.

Most horses won’t want to intentionally harm their human. That is true for Mr. Barney too. I think he had to do some fancy moving to avoid putting a foot on me as he fled the scary thing.

So, what happened to spook ,my horse so that he shied into me? Well, in short, I happened.

After lunging Barney a bit, in preparation to ride, I stopped him to tighten the front cinch. I noticed that the cinch was off center so, adjustment was needed! Everything went well as I unbuckled the breast collar, rear cinch, and front cinch. Even while I adjusted the latigo to re-center the cinch, Barney was a very good boy and stood perfectly still!

The screw-up, on my part, came when I noticed how far back the saddle had slipped. I got it in my head that I needed to just adjust it forward. My plan was to slide the saddle fairly far forward then slide it backward to the right place so Barney’s fur was laying properly so as not to bother him.

What happened was that, as I tried to do the adjustment, I lost my grip on the saddle! Of course the saddle slid off of Barney to the far side…the side away from where ¬†was standing! Well, the saddle sliding off, and hitting the ground, spooked Mr. Barney. Of course, he wanted to get away from the scary thing, skittering into me, knocking me down.

All I could do was cover my head, curl into a ball, and hope that Barney managed to not step on me. That is what I did, and Barney did a great job avoiding me, as he jumped over me then ran off to the side of the round pen.

I curled into a ball and covered my head with my arms.

I know someone out there is going to say, “He should have been tied!”

I disagree! If Barney had been tied, it is almost guaranteed that he would have stomped on me since his range of motion would have been severely restricted!

No, where I screwed up was in not just taking the saddle all the way off! That would have eliminated the saddle falling issue, and there would have been no spook! Then, I could have simply put everything back where it was supposed to be, and that would have been the end of it.

Now, if I had been faster thinking, and faster on my feet, maybe I could have moved in front of Barney and avoided his shoulder slamming into me…maybe.

The good thing that came out of this is that I learned a lesson. Don’t shortcut things! Do it right! Another lesson learned, even the calmest horse can suddenly spook! Try to be aware and ready!

The video below is only about 4 minutes long. Barney’s spook comes at about the 3 minute 20 second mark.

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Posted in General training, Horse safety, Tack | 2 Comments

Riding my horse bit-less. Just his halter.

Well, after some serious consideration, I have decided to try going bit-less! I have a side pull bridle on order but, why wait?

After getting Willy saddled up today, I decided to not put on his bridle but to simply ride him in the halter, using the lead line as reins.

Willy is all saddled up and ready to go

I was pleasantly surprised! Willy was a more relaxed horse than he usually is. His ‘whoa’ was much more responsive than at any time before! In fact, simply lifting the reins and saying ‘whoa’ was usually all it took today for him to plant all four feet! Neck reining was the same, and direct reining was also very good.

We did have one little, five second, rough spot. I had ridden Willy into the brush and was working him with a lot of direction changes. As we came down one gentle hill, Willy kind of pitched a little fit. I’m not sure why he pitched his fit but, he did. Afterward, he was kind of keyed up for a minute, until I stopped him. I let him do a little weed diving and all was good after that.

All in all, I worked with Willy for about two hours today. The video is selected segments of that work. It starts in the round pen and finishes with our ride in the brush. Willy’s little hissy fit is in there too. The video is just over 17 minutes long.

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Take that halter OFF of your horse!

Halters help us humans when working with out horses. We can attach lead lines, lunge lines, and even reins to a horse’s halter to work them on the ground or ride them out on the trail.

But, when you’re done working with your horse and ready to let him go, into his pen, pasture, corral, or stall, take that halter off!

Clinton Anderson says “A horse wakes up with just two thoughts on his mind, ‘What can I eat?’ and ‘How can I hurt myself today?'”

Well, leaving a halter on your horse is inviting him to find a way to seriously injure or even kill himself! It is so easy for a horse to catch the halter onto just about anything, a tree, post, nail.

This horse managed to catch the halter onto something that did not give.

This horse caught his halter onto something that would not give way. In his panic to escape, he pulled and jerked so that the halter dug right into his skin!

The same with the horse below!

The halter here cut all the way down to the nasal bone!

I actually refuse to leave any kind of tack on my horse that might not come off should the horse get it caught on something.

No matter what it is, if you are not absolutely sure that it will come off with little effort, then take it off of the horse before you leave him!

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Using the passenger exercise on your horse.

One of the areas I need to dramatically improve is my seat! I have found that just being a passenger on my horse gives me time to concentrate better on doing that.

I suggest doing this exercise in some sort of enclosed area, such as an arena, or even in a round pen. The reason is that you are not guiding your horse at all! The only direction you give your horse is to keep him moving, you don’t care where he moves, just that he moves. In my case, I don’t even care what speed he chooses, for the most part!

Since I am not at all concerned with where Willy is going, I can put more of my attention into just how I’m sitting the saddle during whatever gait that Willy chooses to take up. Mostly, he walks. He did decide to trot since we were headed to an area he wanted to be in. That is the only time I did more than concentrate on my seat! In that instance, I insisted that he keep trotting in his favorite area until he moved away from it, then, I let him go back to a nice sedate walk.

The video below is part of that session of simply playing passenger while Willy chose the direction and speed…

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Examples of using pressure and release to train my horse

Below, you’ll find a video I took today. It’s edited to show examples of how I use pressure and release to train Mr. “I ain’t gunna and you can’t make me!” Barney. Pressure and release is really what everyone uses in horse training whether or not they know it! We apply some kind of pressure, looking for a response, the release the pressure as soon as our horse does what we’re looking for.

Mr. “I ain’t gunna and you can’t make me” Barney

It is pressure that causes the horse to start looking for something to do that will cause you to stop applying the pressure. When you release that pressure, the horse says “OK! I do that and the pressure stops!” It is the release of pressure that informs the horse that he has just done the right thing.

So, take a look! Please, comment, good or bad, below! Share too! Oh, yeah, subscribe!

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I want you to be here!

I struggled over writing this post. This blog is brand spanking new and, as such, the readership is still quite low. It’s to be all about my ventures into horsemanship, lessons learned, horsemanship advice worthy of passing on, and all that I consider valuable to people who want to learn, just interested in horses, or anyone else!

One of the huge factors that helps any blogger is interaction with the readers! I gain inspiration from you! Your issues become my issues to write about, unless you ask that I not do so.

So, with this one post, I respectfully ask that you comment on any of the posts on the blog, subscribe using the little form on the upper right side (it will only inform you of new posts, no spam!), spread links to the blog, or individual stories.

Do you like what I have to say? Great! Please comment, subscribe, and share!

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