Mark Russell’s “En”-lightening Approach

Posted on October 16, 2019 by Jerrilee.
Categories: equipment, riding, therapy, training.

“..elicit a calm thoughtful movement from the horse..”

While he is no longer with us to teach in person, Author and Horse trainer Mark Russell continues to explain the value of suppling the horse before and during the riding session in his book, “Lessons in Lightness”, available through his website. The book delves into the bio-mechanics of both saddle and ground work with engaging additions of his own personal life lessons that helped to shape his riding talent.   His web site: naturaldressage.com still provides insights through his articles. Here is an excerpt of one that was published in PRE Magazine:

The Pursuit of Artful Riding  (by Mark Russell)


author demonstrating: Lessons in Lightness

Artistry and lightness in riding is often an elusive goal for riders although paving the path to its development is really very simple. The integration of a few basic principles and adherence to them throughout the training process will create a scenario in which responsiveness and lightness will flourish.  The Reality We Present to the Horse is the Reality That He Lives In.. One of Natural Horsemanship’s most significant contributions to the development of the horse is its approach to the training process from the perspective of the horse. This includes an understanding of who our horse is and how he learns: qualities to which we temper our approach. The horse learns from us every moment we are with him and each of his behaviors, no matter how subtle, reflects a message he is sending us.  Importantly, this process includes mindfulness of ourselves: where we are emotionally, what information we are sending the horse through the reins and through our seat. There is a continuous back and forth conversation between us and our horses every moment we are with him whether intentional or not.

Artistic dressage forsakes force. A horse that has been brought down the path of learning in his comfort zone will easily learn balance without brace. Channels of energy will be opened in the relaxed horse which the rider can then direct. Once the basic principles become a staple in the horse’s training we can begin to advance the concept of relaxation through releases of the jaw, poll, neck, through the back and hind end of the horse. Flexion, impulsion, balance, and freedom of movement will thus come easily. An attentive and conversant rider creates a scenario where their requests can comfortably be followed by the horse. The outcome will be a horse who will be able to express free flowing energy and movement which is a pleasure to ride and beautiful to watch.

You can read the entire article at: Mark Russell Dressage

 

 

 

Dangerous Horse at Mealtime?

Posted on September 30, 2019 by Jerrilee.
Categories: health, history, therapy, training.

Some horses are a threat to both people and other horses at mealtime. Behavior disorders that you may see displayed range from pinning ears back and shaking heads to an all out assault as shown in the statue in the photo above. Animals who cannot be trusted are a serious menace to others around them. If they cannot be rehabilitated quickly, they may end up euthanized. Of course, the larger the animal with dangerous behavior, the more quickly the decision to remove it must be made.

Training methods for correcting defensive eaters abound on the internet.For an intelligent and humane approach we recommend the article: “Re-training the Defensive Eater“.  You can also visit our Equi-TV page for some great training videos this month.

Dorsal Wall Lifting

Posted on September 20, 2019 by Jerrilee.
Categories: handicap, health, history, hoofcare, therapy.

Theory of laminitis explained

(exerpts from: equinehoof.co.uk)

The easiest way to explain this new model for laminitis is to look at the hoof as a simplified structure, broken down to its basic components, this enables an easier understanding of what is happening.

Fig 1: Normal hoof section growth

Fig 1: Normal hoof section growth
Fig 2: Chronic laminitis hoof section growth

Fig 2: Chronic laminitis hoof section growth

To examine the effects of normal and laminitic hoof growth, a flat rectangle of hoof can be used to represent a section of hoof (Fig. 1), as new horn is produced in equal amounts on each side of the rectangle, the hoof section grows without distortion.

When laminitic hoof growth is examined in the same way, one side of the hoof is growing faster than the other, horn produced under these conditions will grow in a curved or distorted manner (Fig. 2), the lower extremity of the horn will be deflected forward.

By increasing the complexity of the model to a simple hoof capsule consisting of three sides, a front or dorsal wall and two sides that represent the medial and lateral quarters, we now have an approximation to a hoof capsule.

In the normal simplified hoof the dorsal and quarter areas are growing at similar rates and the hoof grows down in a consistent way (Fig. 3).

Fig 3: Normal hoof capsule growth

Fig 3: Normal hoof capsule growth
Fig 4: Chronic laminitic hoof capsule growth

Fig 4: Chronic laminitic hoof capsule growth

In the laminitic foot the quarter areas are growing faster than the dorsal wall and the hoof grows in a curved manner to accommodate this difference (Fig. 4). The dorsal wall now has a dished dorsal surface, caused by the curved shape of the medial and lateral walls deflecting the dorsal hoof wall forward.

A revised interpretation of acute Laminitis

It is proposed that when a horse encounters a systemic disease that is known to cause laminitis, one of the first events will be an increase in rate of growth at the quarters (Fig. 8).

Fig 8: Simple acute laminitic hoof capsule model

Fig 8: Simple acute laminitic hoof capsule model

This increase in heel growth does not initially cause pain but eventually after a period of time, which may be hours or several days, the hoof capsule will distort beyond the limit that can be tolerated by the laminae. The distorting hoof capsule will then traumatise the laminae and tissues that are situated between the hoof and distal phalanx (pedal bone). In the early stages, any hoof distortion may not be obvious to the naked eye but at a laminar level it will cause pain. (Fig. 9).

Fig 9: Acute laminitis hoof capsule growth

Fig 9: Acute laminitis hoof capsule growth

This delay between the triggering event and the onset of pain is consistent with a developmental or pre-acute phase of laminitis, while the trauma induced in the sensitive tissues will cause the symptoms that have previously been identified as a vascular crisis.

In the early stages of the acute phase, distortion will be concentrated at the distal border of the dorsal hoof wall. As the heels continue to grow the dorsal wall will be elevated away from the distal phalanx in a peeling motion as the distortion migrates up the dorsal wall (Fig.10 – Arrow B). Peeling provides a better explanation for the separation observed between the distal phalanx (pedal bone) and the dorsal hoof wall, it is the most efficient method of mechanically separating two strongly bonded surfaces and requires less force, peeling would also be very painful. When the peeling process has separated enough laminar attachment, the distal phalanx will be detached from the dorsal hoof wall.

As the distal dorsal wall is lifted, the solar horny plate will be pulled upward towards the distal border of the distal phalanx. This upward movement of the horny sole will compress the solar corium, causing pain within the solar corium and compromise blood flow by entrapment (Fig. 10 – Arrow C). Bruising is often subsequently seen in this area of the sole after laminitis and is evidence of this trauma to the solar corium.

As the distal dorsal wall is lifted, the proximal border of the dorsal hoof wall will be pressing inward, again causing pain and compromising blood flow (Fig. 10 – Arrow A). Horn growth at the proximal border of the dorsal hoof wall is often restricted in severest forms of acute laminitis.

Fig 10: Acute phase - Hoof distortion

Fig 10: Acute phase – Hoof distortion
By including the hoof capsule in a causal role in laminitis, the qualities of the hoof can be seen as influencing the intensity of pain felt by the laminitic animal. The level of pain experienced during the initial phases of acute laminitis can be correlated to the shape and strength of the hoof capsule. In round feet, hoof distortion will spread from the toe medially and laterally towards each heel, causing the whole hoof to expand open, this will predispose the distal phalanx to sinking as a greater area of laminar attachment is lost. Long narrow hoof capsule shapes will tend to predispose the foot to rotation as most of the distortion will be concentrated at the toe of the hoof.

This new interpretation of laminitis is still in it’s formative stages, it is hoped that further research will be directed toward confirming that this model is a more accurate account of the changes seen in the feet of equines suffering with laminitis. Time will show how accurate this proposed model is. Whatever the outcome of this research, we must continue to look for ways to help the laminitic equine.

Trimming the Laminitic Hoof

Posted on September 19, 2019 by Jerrilee.
Categories: breed, health, hoofcare, therapy.

laminitis effect on hoof

Crucial information from: johnthevet.co.uk

Remember that when the clinical signs of laminitis are seen, separation of the laminae is already occurring.
• Prompt attention to your horse is imperative to try to minimize these changes.
• If your horse develops laminitis contact your vet.
• If the horse will pick up its feet easily, apply frog supports.
• Walking the horse is contra-indicated but may be necessary to remove the horse from the cause of the laminitis e.g. from pasture.
• In this case it may be safe to walk the horse a short distance, with frog supports on, if it can walk relatively easily.
• If the horse is very reluctant to walk, wait for your vet’s arrival.
• It may be necessary to box your horse back to the stable.
• Stable the horse on a deep bed so that it is happy to lie down if it wants to.

When deciding on what angle the feet are trimmed, the question that we have to consider is whether the pull of the deep flexor tendon is of more significance than the effect of the weight of the horse on a tilted pedal bone.
It would appear that most are agreed that the aim [of the trim] is to establish weight bearing “along the entire solar surface” (O’Grady), or to “all parts of the hoof capsule” (Strasser) and that this is brought about by trimming the foot with a P3 solar surface that is parallel to the ground.

If we trim the feet with a ground-parallel pedal bone:
As weight is applied down the leg, the load is spread more evenly around all the laminae rather than particularly down the dorsal wall.
It will also reduce the pressure applied by P3 on the solar corium at the toe.

This will hopefully reduce the pain in the feet and with it the reflex contracture of the deep flexor muscle and thus reducing the tension in the deep flexor tendon. (I now advise massage of the deep flexor muscle following trimming of the heels).
There should be less pressure applied by the extensor process of a rotated P3 on the coronary papillae of the dorsal hoof wall and this should allow more even growth of the hoof.
laminitis
There will be a more even pressure around the whole of the coronet and this will mean that new horn growth is more likely to grow down parallel to the dorsal surface of P3 allowing the basement membrane that has not been irrevocably damaged to bind, as best it can, the epidermal and dermal laminae together providing a stronger and more stable foot.
Chronic founder cases are unlikely, certainly initially, to be involved in great athletic activity, but when there is sufficient new hoof growth and stability is achieved we can then trim the foot to a more “normal” angle.

However, if we lower the heel we will have a toe that is “long”, particularly if there is already distortion of the dorsal hoof wall. It is imperative that the toe is taken back sufficiently to allow easy break-over and thus avoid any pulling on the weakened laminae by the dorsal wall otherwise it will be pulled away from the bone.

If we leave P3 rotated:

  1. The centre of mass is moved posteriorly, thus putting more weight down the dorsal wall and pressure on the solar corium.
  2. There is likely to be more distortion of the coronary papillae of the dorsal hoof wall.
  3. This will, in turn, result in slower growth of horn at the toe compared to the heel.

Coffin Bone Remodeling

Posted on September 14, 2019 by Jerrilee.
Categories: handicap, health, history, hoofcare, therapy.

Healthy Hoof Interior

New information regarding the changes in the coffin bone of the hoof have been released. The Fischer Equine Lameness Group have provided their in depth results into the remodeling of bone in the hoof during the time it remains shod. This information is a must for all horse owners!
From the “Heal the Hoof” web site: Sheri and her husband Mark, an orthopedic surgeon, fly internationally and present lectures on Wolfs Law of Orthopedics and how this affects the equine distal limb.  Their presentations have been given in Europe and throughout the US.  Recently, Sheri has lectured to the veterinarian students at the University of Minnesota and several veterinarian clinics throughout the US.

“Bone Remodeling of the Equine Distal Limb”
(We strongly recommend reading the complete article)

Excerpts from their article:   Wolfe’s law refers to how bone adapts itself to a variety of influences. Bones can remodel in a generalized fashion – that is, affecting the whole bone, or even the whole skeleton; or they can remodel in a very specific fashion in response to a local influence. It is important to remember that bone remodeling is a balance, and many factors can influence the balance, so that the net effect is either bone gain or bone loss. Most of the clinical situations we encounter in both human and equine situations involve bone loss to an extent to which problems occur.  According to Wolfe’s Law, failure to stress and stimulate bone by the mechanical forces generated by weight-bearing and muscles results in the activation of osteoclasts, leading to generalized loss of bone content and ultimately strength. The importance of exercise with respect to bone strength is well known in many human studies. This would suggest that any program which includes any significant amount of stall rest would promote the loss of bone. In a similar manner that cast treatment or immobilization can protect bone from stress, resulting in bone loss, application of a mechanical stress-sharing (i.e., aiding the bone in bearing a stress) device to bone can have the same effect. An example of this would be the use of horseshoes. An example of altered hoof weight bearing stresses affecting bone would be a deformation of the hoof capsule resulting from the horseshoe. The horseshoe puts direct pressure on the sides of the hoof, causing contraction and then bone loss due to altered stresses. Removal of shoes, depending on the timing as well as other influences, may allow the coffin bone to remodel. It seems obvious, however, that promoting a situation which several million years of evolution adapted the coffin bone for – that is, not applying horseshoes and keeping the coffin bone ground parallel within the hoof capsule – would make the most biological sense. In other words, never putting shoes on the horse, and keeping the coffin bone ground parallel for even distribution of stress along the edges of the coffin bone, would make the most sense for the bone according to the arguments advanced in this report.

In most cases, bone loss is recoverable once the conditions are changed to promote physiologic stress on the bone and to allow for the inflow of nutrients.

Hoof Deviation Terms

Posted on September 6, 2019 by Jerrilee.
Categories: handicap, health, history, hoofcare, therapy.

 

coffin bone dropping into sole

coffin bone dropping into sole

The above x-rays indicate the horse’s struggle for soundness when the coffin bone is affected.
Many readers have asked for more information regarding the terms used for hoof deviations.
The following should help:
Rotation of coffin bone: the coffin bone (P3) of the horse has dropped downward toward the interior bottom (sole) of the hoof. This means it has separated from the flesh (laminae) that hold it to the toe wall. In extreme cases the sharp point of the bone can fall far enough to cut through the sole of the hoof. The bone is still connected to the interior laminae on the sides, or quarters, of the hoof. Most cases can be fixed through correct trimming and hoof boots.
Sinking of the coffin bone: the coffin bone is completely detached from all the laminae of the hoof wall. The coffin bone rests on the interior sole of the hoof. Correct trimming and boots ease this problem but I have no documentation of a full correction yet.
White Line Separation: the flesh (laminae) are in process of separating from the coffin bone. Again, fixed through correct trimming.
Flaring: in most cases,the laminae have finally separated from the coffin bone resulting in rotation, or dropping, of the toe portion of the coffin bone. Oftentimes flaring and white line are used synonymously though there is a difference.
Mechanical Founder/Road Founderof the hoof: This is the term used for sinker & rotation of coffin bone which came about due to hard ground,shoeing,or the daily wear of a long toe that eventually separates the wall from the coffin bone.
Laminitis Founder:the laminae (flesh holding the coffin bone to the hoof wall) become inflamed and dropped their attachment to the coffin bone. The source of the inflammation must be determined to stop the founder in this case. Typically the cause is the diet and the shoeing of the horse; other causes include recent trauma,squalor conditions,abusive handling.
To understand in depth the care and trim required for Founder read Marjorie Smith’s full explanation.

Working with the Local Sheriff Posse, by Steve Lock

Posted on September 1, 2019 by Jerrilee.
Categories: equipment, handicap, riding, therapy, training.
learning rescue techniques

learning rescue techniques

When I was younger my focus was mainly in the area of Eventing. Shortly after the 9/11 attack, I joined our local Sheriff’s Mounted Posse. Being involved with the Sheriff’s Posse opened a whole new world for me with horses. I learned a lot more about desensitizing horses. I learned how valuable horses are as a search animal. As you can imagine, they provide a much larger field of view, they cover more ground and move faster, and they will alert you when there is something you need to check out. It may not be the person you are looking for, but then again, it may be. There are people who in recent years have started training horses to air scent, like some dogs do, and with good success. I spent about four years as a Training Officer with the Posse, and one year as President. I experienced many positive things I may never have had the opportunity to experience had I not been a volunteer with the Posse. I would encourage anyone wondering what to do with their horse, looking for something new to do with their horse, or who wants to serve their community to seriously consider joining their local Sheriff Posse if there is one, or if not, joining a Mounted Search and Rescue group. You and your horse will learn many new things, make some wonderful new friends, and have your lives enriched while you have great fun doing it. It is a very satisfying experience.
In addition to the Search and Rescue, as volunteers with the Sheriff’s Posse, we also rode in our local Christmas Parade each year with the Sheriff’s Department component. We patrolled the parking lots at our local county fair each year to deter break-ins and help people find their cars. We sat on our horses at the entry gates of the county fair and let people pet our horses, and answered the many questions they had about the horses and what work we performed. It was great fun for us, and great public relations for the Sheriff’s Department. We participated in Toys for Tots each December. As you may expect, we had training in many areas. A former San Francisco Mounted Policeman and Instructor trained us in friendly crowd control and formation riding. We participated in a four-day Search and Rescue training each year with several other Mounted Search and Rescue units. We learned about living and surviving with our horses in the wilderness. I had the opportunity to participate in a training demonstration put on by a former Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department Mounted Officer and Trainer at the Western States Horse Expo two years in a row. All in all, it was a very enriching experience. One I am glad I did not miss out on.

Music of the Peers

Posted on August 18, 2019 by Jerrilee.
Categories: breed, history, riding, therapy, training.
USEF photo of Stefen Peters & Ravel (2012 Olympic Freestyle)

The dressage industry was one of the last disciplines to add the element of music to competition. The freestyle ride was long debated and denied as a performance class mostly because performance judges feared the option given to riders to create their own programs would initiate a trend toward circus-like presentations. In their opinion, over a period of years, the aberration of dressage movements could leave the classical principles of dressage in the shadows of  history. In the 1970’s, however, came a more immediate threat for the dressage industry: the financial burden of its horse events. Rising costs of stabling, insurance, maintenance of the ring footing, required such an excess of cash that the backing of corporate sponsors was essential. As they came on board, these sponsors began to encourage show organizers to consider more  ‘entertainment’ in the dressage field since it lacked both spectators and public appeal. To them, the musical freestyle seemed to perfectly fit that need.

The United States Dressage Federation and the Federation Equestre Internationale (FEI) met individually to decide on restrictions to set in place to protect the historical and classical nature of dressage in musical competition. Judging sheets were designed to include technical and creative scores. Freestyle riding forums were set up worldwide in order to publicly define acceptable performance movements and also to somewhat direct the quality of music expected. During the 1980’s, most freestyle riding refrained from extravagance with presentations almost exclusively relying on classical music. In addition, these original musical rides, constrained by rigid adherence to traditional movements, were only modestly artful in scope. Even so, dressage lovers were thrilled with the new classes. While spectators still yawned, the concept of dressage as a living, spontaneous “art form” was now dawning on its devotees. It gained even more momentum the moment it was finally allowed into the Olympic Ring in 1996.

With the new millennium came new riders with fresh ideas. New talent pushed toward the impossible in freestyle riding. No longer did Beethoven and Bach rule the freestyle ring. Hand-picked music picked up the beat with modern tunes. Daring riders heated up the competition through their innovative uses of mandatory movements. Overnight it seemed that empty bleachers became standing-room-only. The new phenomenon of the freestyle dressage class had commenced. Audiences cheered and applauded their favorites in the classes. Sponsors were elated. Judges were thrilled. Spectators left competitions with GPS directions to find the next up-coming freestyle event. Dressage became known as the ‘ballet of horseback riding’. Eager to keep competition classes fully attended, riders were generously rewarded in their scores.

However, some conservatives squirmed. The dark side of freestyle, so long ago feared, was beginning to emerge. Observers who set up alongside warm-up rings chronicled the use of controversial training methods bordering cruelty to defenseless mounts. Not only did Grand Prix riders lack common horsemanship, their brutality was heartily encouraged as the new, productive training method.

So-called ‘Roll-Kur’ technique seen in 2008 Olympic warm-up 

It was the shock wave that blackened the freestyle classes. In the 2008 Olympics the division widened between dressage camps as infuriated classicists revealed the barbarism of the new “Roll Kur”, a training technique that forced the horses to move briskly forward with their heads pulled into their chests, or all the way onto their knees. In addition, they pointed out that the  Individual Dressage Champion of the Olympic Games never performed the required full-stop at halt at any time during the test. Nor did its extravagant leg movement ever co-ordinate with the horse’s torso movement. The pressure of the bit in the horse’s mouth was so severe that it created a ‘blue-tongue’, proving lack of circulation, something never acceptable in correct dressage. It was demanded that the FEI, an organization long considered the protectorate of equestrian sports, meet to resolve the issue before the next Olympics. By the time of the 2012 Olympics,  stringent qualifications, ensuring that horses were more humanely prepared for show events, were put to the test. These corrections are still being evaluated and re-written to improve the public representation of classical dressage within both standard and freestyle Grand Prix classes. It is evident that the state of global dressage will always require keen scrutiny to maintain the classical principles. But the true highlight of the dressage freestyle is its breakout from the obscure timidity of its earlier days. It is finally acknowledged as a beautiful and accomplished art form. It has pranced forward to prove that both quality and musical entertainment are possible in the dressage industry.

Same horse in 2012 Olympics.Corrections to use of bit show a more classical ride

The Shying Horse

Posted on July 30, 2019 by Jerrilee.
Categories: breed, equipment, history, military, therapy.

photo courtesy of: Your Horse Co.UK

It is the classic story of the horse who ran back to the barn. In every crowd is a person who remembers the time they rode a horse who spooked and ran away. “I’ll never ride again!”, they confess.  Unlike a bicycle or a skateboard, the horse is a living creature with the ability to think and observe. This means they are capable of reacting to whatever they see. Riders cannot control the random events in the woods or the ring where they ride, nor predict the reaction of the horse to those events. But it is possible to minimize the reaction of the horse by pre-training them to respond to guidance from the saddle. The historic mounted cavalry was highly successful in training their horses to charge straight into battle regardless of the noise and confusion. The average horse can be trained to understand that the rider’s directions are a priority over any instinct to run away. This pre-conditioning will bring momentary hesitation when the horse discovers a wild deer or a motorbike out on the trail. This hesitation gives the rider a chance to reassure the horse before he loses control.

However, occasionally you encounter a horse who stubbornly resists any training efforts and continues to spook and leap sideways at every noise. They are displaying a learned behavior rather than an instinctual reaction. We call these types of horses ‘shyers’.

photo:Linda Parelli teaching horse to focus

The habitual shyer is a menace for its rider. The constant bolting or sideways leaping to get away from imagined danger unseats the rider and can leave a loose horse on the run. To develop safer behavior in these horses it helps to determine the reason for their continual disruptions. While there may be several factors involved, here are three basic reasons why horses develop the habit of shying: aggression, insecurity, or the rider. Let’s look at these individually.

Aggression.   Over the centuries, the horse’s job was to carry soldiers through battle. Through the trials of war, certain breeds of horses demonstrated the ability to be warriors in their own right. They quickly grasped the need to charge, bump, or even trample down the enemy troops. They didn’t flinch as they took a stab from a bayonet or a bullet in the flesh, but continued into the thick of battle with wounds that were often fatal. These breeds still exist today and carry the genetic code of their ancestors. They excel in police work where they are asked to intervene and redirect the public through bumping or stomping into unruly crowds, or in search-and-rescue work where they must crash through rocky, wooded terrain in search of criminal escapees or lost hikers. These ‘warrior’ horses fit very well and yield very quickly to a forthright, commanding personality who assumes control such as the policeman riding on mounted patrol. But when ridden by an indecisive rider who avoids confrontation, the horse will assume control. Centuries of breeding make the warrior horse dominant and vigorous. Without a dominant rider, disaster is immanent. These horses will develop the habit of shying because they need an object to be overpowering and a reason to charge forward.  It is best to always have a job for these horses to keep them occupied.

Insecurity.  The oversensitive, insecure horse is clearly the opposite of our warrior horse. Ever fretful and in need of a soft touch and kind word, they refrain from the overt action of the bolder horse. They are generally the quieter horses in the corral who follow the lead of the warrior horse. When ridden they prefer a soft seat from the rider and perfectly fitting equipment. Beware of using bits too harsh for their mouth assuming it makes them easier to control. It will only elevate their hyper-tension, making them squirm and spin until the problem is fixed.  Sensitive horses do their best trail work with a dominant horse as a mentor. They ride behind their mentor, who shows them how to walk over rough footing, cross water in creeks, or step over tree trunks that may have fallen across the path. If they aren’t guided in this way, they often develop skittish behavior, shying at every leaf that scuttles across the path because they are too afraid to be out on their own. This is why the rider of sensitive horses finds their role to be more of a cheerleader, building the confidence of the horse and convincing the horse to work for them. Once their confidence is won, these horses are nearly indefatigable. They display a brilliance and intuitiveness in show competitions and ring work that never wanes. The complex work of dressage or the split second timing of stadium jumping are equal to their level of focus and intelligence. This is why so many of these horses compete at the international and Olympic level. They are best matched with the analytical, ambitious person with long range, competitive goals, rather than wandering through wooded trails.

Riders.  Developing your competency in the saddle is a life-long necessity. Each decade brings changes in physical abilities through the aging process that we need to adjust in both ourselves and our horses that we ride. If you love your horse you’ll want to be sure that your position in the saddle is balanced and easy to be carried around. This correct posture in the saddle is your best protection from the unpredictable, shying horse. Equally important is matching your interests and personality to that of the horse.  If your horse is constantly shying on the trails and nothing is fixing it, you need to analyze the personality of the horse and see if it fits with yours. It may be time to find a horse that better suits your personality. If you want to keep your horse in spite of its problems, consider help from a professional who can work with you and your horse. Their suggestion to change your saddle posture, or the saddle you ride in, could make a big difference. Riding should always be adventurous and fun. With a little homework, you can make your rides outstanding!

Olympic Rider Kyra Kyrkland on Matador

Quartermaster and Horse Keeper

Posted on June 12, 2019 by Jerrilee.
Categories: breed, equipment, handicap, health, history, military, therapy.
76th Brigade, 1917

76th Brigade, 1917

The land, or Army, Quartermaster Department is the unit responsible for organizing and distributing supplies to our troops. The availability and volume of materials they control provides the means for military operations. Its inception here in the United States was just before the Revolutionary War in 1775.  It became a powerful role in the equine development of our country. Our first Quartermaster General, prior to the breakout of war in 1776, was appointed by the Continental Congress whose members included two future presidents: George Washington and John Adams; it also included the business/philosopher Benjamin Franklin; and the famous freedom fighter,Governor Patrick Henry.  Their first appointee, General Thomas Mifflin, tried for nearly two years to run the new department but eventually became overwhelmed with the sheer enormity of the job, especially since the lack of supplies to provide, and roads to bring them to the troops, nearly lost the war more than once.  The first Quartermaster General resigned in 1777.
A  young Rhode Island Officer, Nathaniel Greene, was appointed his successor. Edward Payson writes of Maj. Gen Greene (in the 1950 Quartermaster Review): “Throughout the winter he [Greene] had vigorously protested against conditions in the Quartermaster General’s Department, particularly the shortage of forage for horses, hundreds of which, he pointed out, had starved to death. ”
Gifted with leadership and organization, Greene established a transportation system for stock and wagons, agents to examine and purchase animals and equipment, and multiple sites for forage depots in an effort to keep soldiers and animals from starvation while out in battle. The results had an immediate beneficial impact and strengthened our position in the war, earning the Officer some of George Washington’s highest praises.

Nathanael Greene

Nathanael Greene

The availability of horses during wartime was always a problem.  Equine casualties were grossly high, ranging into the multiples of thousands of dead horses. Because of this it was impossible to maintain enough mounts.  When regional supplies of horses available for purchase were exhausted, private horses would be seized for military use. During the Civil War, for example, the approach of Northern troops into a southern town meant raiding of the horse barns, as well as their food pantries. Many southerners used their crossbred horses for battle and left their valuable breeding horses at home. When these were seized, the bloodlines of some of our founding breeds were lost forever.
Eventually, the Quartermaster Division realized the need to establish their own equine division which would include their own breeding farms. This Division can easily be called the predecessors of the US horse industry. When the field quartermaster soldiers who had worked with both mules and horses, returned to the private sector they entered their communities with well honed horsemanship skills. They regenerated the field of horse services. Also the retired Calvary Officers left their posts to become competition judges and were a powerful influence on the core principles of horsemanship and horse husbandry, principles which are still widely practiced today. During peacetime the military equine division brought about mutual competitions, establishing  3-Day Eventing Competitions and eventually becoming international, which ultimately led to participation in the Equestrian Olympics.

equi-works

equi-works