Friday, May 26, 2017

Registration Data

I am on plenty of horse groups regarding my chosen breed and a frequent topic of conversation is how do we increase registrations?  Breed participation?  Reduce costs?

Inevitably, the conversation steers to how the shows are too expensive, registration is too expensive, the horses are too expensive, and so forth.

This evening, while taking a break from (poorly) painting my bathroom, I decided to look more closely at what various registries charge to registry foals.

Before anyone gets up in arms, the chart below assumes a few things:
  • Foal in question is six months old
  • DNA must be done on the foal
  • Registration is done via snailmail
  • Breeder is a member of the parent organization
  • Foal is conceived via shipped semen

The Gypsy Vanner registry I used is GVHS.  The Curly registry is ABC. 

Do any of these breeds surprise you?  What do you feel is a reasonable registration fee for a young foal?

Friday, March 31, 2017

Liberty Work

Clearly not at liberty, although Chili wishes she was

Here is a short clip taken off my cell phone of some of the sort of things we have been working on at liberty.  I've been having hip and SI issues so riding has been difficult.

Here are some of the things we've been working (but obviously not perfected yet):

-Standing up and reaching for halter, which she already knew
-Turns on the haunches aka perhaps we will be able to do showmanship some day
-Turns on the forehand
-Lining up at liberty at the mounting block
-Bowing on the right leg, which is her off leg and a lot more difficult
-Touching the terrifying flag or anything else that flaps and makes her anxious

Any suggestions for other things to do?  I want to teach her to lay down, but my attempts so far have been unsuccessful.  She doesn't lay down often, so asking her to do it on cue isn't very simple.


Thursday, March 23, 2017

Black and White and Shades of Grey

I was clicking through some video that I took while riding the other night.

As in took--I mean I set the camcorder on top of a jump standard, so it wasn't particularly focused and the lighting in the arena leaves a lot to be desired as far as image quality.

So here are the images in black and white instead.

I have a handy dandy stick with the flag on it as seen in the first photo.  Chili is what I would call a noise-reactive horse.  She doesn't really like weird looking things, but weird looking noises particularly bother her.

This is unfortunate as I don't usually hear whatever weird thing is going on.  On the plus side, if we need to run away from a ticking bomb, she has us covered.

But back to the flag--the purpose of the flag was to be able to control and introduce a stimulus with a noise factor.  I originally began pairing the flag with a treat so that flag=treat.  Eventually, I established a verbal command of "Touch it", so she has to touch the flag for the treat.

She does some pretty impressive "carrot stretches" to touch the flag.

The other night was the first time I picked up the flag and rode with it.  Apparently carrot stretches still apply while in the saddle.  The goal is to engage "curiosity".  High fear animals often have high curiosity and I am hoping by engaging her curiosity in touching this flag that we can continue to establish a verbal cue to remove fear and instead seek it out instead and be reinforced for that behavior.  We shall see if it works out. 

Training and working with horses is all shades of grey and not just black and white, right? 

Friday, March 17, 2017

Just a Little Irish

Last year, I spent St Patrick's Day in Ireland.  This year it is a cold, dreary day outside and I'm not traveling.  It is just above freezing with a gray unpleasant drizzle.

In a day where many people will be wearing green and drinking green beer, I'm just reflecting on a fantastic trip to an incredible country.  Friendly people, an incredible history, and more than just a few castles just about everywhere.  I'd recommend traveling to Ireland sometime and just immerse yourself in a country that's a joy to travel, beautiful, and just think of the history that shaped Europe and in ways, parts of the world.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Viva Carlos Blog Hop: Naivete
What horse related or equestrian related piece of knowledge did you believe was true for an extended period of time that turned out to not be true?

I was always told that Baucher bits generated poll pressure.

It was a bit of a surprise when presented evidence to the contrary.  I still see in many places online discussing if they exhibit poll pressure or not, however, I was given a study in which they did measure to see if there was pressure generated on the poll and it wasn't.  I'll have to see if I can find and link to the study.

Until then, here is a diagram from Bit Bank Australia that illustrates the principle of how you need a lever arm to generate poll pressure. 

So reluctantly I have to say that I was just another obnoxious kid on the internet that was wrong and defending my professor's teachings.  Go figure, that my professor taught me something incorrect.  ;)

So what did you believe that was incorrect?

Hop on over to Viva Carlos to add your blog link or comment below.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

In Pursuit of the Perfect Horse

Recently I have seen two important things circulating on Facebook.

One is a commentary in regards to doping in the hunter/jumper industry and how that it is commonplace which no one really thinks twice about.

The other is a photo of an Arabian hunter pleasure horse in a what appears to be a too tight flash noseband, draw reins, and a thin training snaffle.

Both point out that the we are in pursuit of the perfect horse.

How have we created a situation where horses cannot have any bobble?  Too much expression?  Not enough expression for the English Pleasure horses that have had cocaine drug violations! 

Can we go back to the idea where the best horse may really enjoy his or her job jumping the fences?  Maybe the Arabian hunter horse for half a millisecond comes from slightly behind the vertical to almost on or in front of the vertical? 

If a tent blows over, is it so terrible if it's OK if a horse flicks an ear, thinks for a second and then responds to his or her rider?  Isn't that truly the more responsive horse than the horse that requires so much equipment to be subdued that they truly never want to move his head off his chest for fear of punishment? 

There's certainly teaching tools that have proper use in proper hands, but why even permit them on the show grounds?

In this era of camera phones and instant media, more information is being exchanged than ever before. My Facebook is littered with hundreds of friends sharing happy horse selfies, pony hugs, and other such images on a daily basis.  When it comes to show season, I see the show photos, and most bring a smile to my face.

But why even put yourself in the situation where the situation could be misinterpreted in the case of that Arabian hunter horse?  Why use equipment that isn't show ring legal.  There are many that are rushing to the defense of the unnamed rider stating that it is USEF legal to use in the warmup (true), the person loves the horse (no doubt), the photo doesn't show the real situation (perhaps).

But why use such equipment at the show grounds in the first place, except for the pursuit and appearance of a perfect horse.  But to me, that demonstrates that perhaps the horse needs a different job, more training, or a different judging standard where leniency is allowed for momentary bobbles.

I attended a clinic once with an upper level dressage rider who told me he had a horse absolutely blew a movement and received twos, which is basically stating nice try, your horse didn't even really do anything, but great job staying in the ring.  He still won his test and received a respectable score regardless of this major bobble.  I think that's the way these judged events should be.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

One of Those Days

Horses are such fragile creatures.  A thousand pounds on top of a tiny springing foot. 

They allow us to do incredible things to them and with them.  Strap things to them, climb on them, drag things behind them, pet them, cry into their manes, jump fences, and pull plows.

To some, they are just livestock.  They serve a purpose and are a piece of equipment.

To others, like my friend, they are a member of the family.  The first foal she welcomed into this world and sadly not the first she helped guide out of this world, but certainly one of the most important in her life.

The horse that introduced hundreds to horses.  The horse that was the patient teacher in the show ring, the lesson arena, and later as a therapeutic riding horse.  Veterans, children it didn't matter.  She took care of them all.  She was the grandmother to young weanlings in her patient ways.  They would try to nurse and she would gently nudge them and say, no there's hay over here.  Let's go.  

My heart always breaks when one of these special, fragile creatures leaves us.  Ten years, twenty years, thirty years doesn't seem sufficient. 

What words come close to even saying what needs to be said?