All during my life, until a couple of years ago, I heard ‘Always saddle form the left side of the horse!’. I didn’t question it, everyone said it, it had to be the only acceptable thing to do!
Well, no. When I decided to get back into the horse world, I also started to study about horsemanship and horse training. As I learned that each horse is a decidedly two-sided critter, what you teach one side must be retaught to the other side, I also learned that it is perfectly acceptable, even preferable, to saddle from the right side!
Saddling from the left is problematic
Yep, if you saddle from the left side, you gotta sling all that stuff over the horse’s back. If you saddle from the right side, you have much less gear to toss over. Another issue is teaching the right side of your horse to accept whatever activity you need to do on that side!
If you have a horse that has only ever been saddled from one side, you’ll have to reteach him to accept that activity on the other side. Once you do though, your horse is likely to be much less reactive to other activities that are going on, on his either side.
Here’s a little video of me saddling and tacking up Willy- Please comment below and subscribe to the blog on the right side of this page!
I had my camera running as I cleaned Mr. “I ain’t gunna and you can’t make me” Barney’s hooves. I thought it might be good to show the process. The camera work is not all that great since it’s just a GoPro on a chest mount but, You’ll get the idea.
Cleaning horse hoof
The objective here is to get rid of anything stuck in the hoof, around the frog, that might cause a problem. This is usually just horse poop but, rocks can get stuck in there too and cause bruising to the hoof.
While I was cleaning, I could smell some thrush. It smells like bad athlete’s foot. That is pretty much what it is too, the horse version of athlete’s foot! A fungal infection of the hoof. If left untreated, it can eat into the sole and frog of the hoof badly.
Treatment for thrush is pretty simple. There are a lot of expensive commercial treatments on the market that work well but, when you catch it early, the most highly recommended treatment is simply household bleach. It’s what every farrier I have talked to suggests and does not damage your horse’s hooves. I just put some in a spray bottle and, after cleaning the hooves, spritz it on!
OK, right off the bat, I need to let you know that Willy knows leg cues already! He just chooses to ignore them a lot of the time. So, time in the saddle reinforcing them is required.
You see, Willy is a very opinionated horse who had distinct likes and dislikes. He doesn’t have any issue at all with carrying a human around all day but, he wants to dictate things like speed and direction. If he can move toward other horses, the gate, the barn, anywhere other than away from those places, that’s what he’ll try to do.
In the video below, I’m simply using my leg to direct Willy in the round pen. Continue reading →
This is a touchy topic for a lot of people. There is general agreement that unwanted, and dangerous, behavior from your horse needs to be corrected. However, there is also a lot times when people simply don’t provide the kind of response to that behavior that is effective.
Here are just two examples of unwanted/ dangerous behavior:
I only use rope halters with my horses. I feel that a rope halter is absolutely the best there is and that’s why I use them. They are tough, your horse will not break one unless it is worn out. The pressure that a rope halter puts on a horse encourages his compliance better than other halters without causing damaging pressure to the horse.
However, many people using rope halters do one little thing wrong that can mean trouble. It’s the simple act of tying that halter that needs to be done correctly.
Every horse responds to pressure in some manner and every horse learns from the release of that pressure. For the horseman, learning how to apply pressure to gain a desired response and know how to release that pressure once the response is gained, is paramount.
In my efforts to understand what I needed to do in working with my horses, I did a lot of research. What I found out is that I had to gain some very fundamental knowledge then apply it!
Horses are prey animals, humans are predators. the human-horse relationship is unnatural at its most basic level. Humans even attempting to have a harmonious relationship with horses is a very recent thing. For most of human history, humans saw horses as a food source!
So, as I posted in my first blog post, my real adventures into horsemanship really started with my adoption of Mr. Barney Rubble from the BLM program at the Northern Nevada Correctional facility in Carson City.
This is the very first post to the blog. I should have started this two years ago but, hey, I simply didn’t think to do so!
Well, here I am.
The short version of my story in horsemanship is that a couple of years ago, at the age of 59, I decided I would need to get back into horseback riding. The reason for that need was that I have a nice 57 acres plot of land in the Nevada high desert I will be moving onto when I actually retire. Due to the remote location and the lack of roads, I figured a horse would be a good alternative mode of transportation.