Ballou, Jec Articles

grooming horses, how to groom horse, horse psychology, equine psychology, how to connect with horse, jec ballou

In this episode, Jec talks with Robin Foster, a certified applied animal behaviorist and a professor at the University of Puget Sound in Washington State. Foster cites an interesting study on grooming by Lea Lansade, a researcher in France.

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When it comes to cantering, riders seem to divide in two camps. In one camp are those who favour it above all else, while the other camp includes those who find it scary or unpleasant. I would like to add a third camp: riders who understand the unparalleled physiological benefits of cantering their horses. Beyond the obvious cardiovascular conditioning, cantering can improve muscle tone, symmetry, and flexibility more than other gaits. Let me explain this further, in addition to offering some tips and guidelines.

Source: Best Horse Practices | Season 2, Episode 21 

In this episode, Ann Firestone of Save Your Ass Long Eared Rescue joins Jec in California-to-New Hampshire phone conversation. Ann has been ardently devoted to this mule and donkey non profit for years.

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Purpose and performance of a foundational exercise - Certain exercises in a horse’s athletic development serve as a foundational skill set and a remedial tool later on. Leg-yield is exactly this kind of exercise. It offers valuable physiological benefits that improve a novice horse’s balance while also resolving specific impediments to an advanced horse’s quality of movement. It is the kind of tool that tunes up a number of shortcomings in how a horse is carrying himself.

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Develop an exercise therapy program that gives your horse the best chance of recovery - Subtle lameness or signs of pain that do not lead to a clear veterinary diagnosis can be extremely frustrating, costly, and time-consuming. Unfortunately, they are also quite common, leaving many owners feeling helpless to plot a path forward. In this article I will offer guiding principles for tackling these scenarios along with specific examples of how I implemented them with Remy, a mare that came to me with bucking behaviours and signs of back pain but with no clear diagnosis.

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Rider fear can be all-consuming, and riding is as risky as it is fun and rewarding. In this episode, Jec Ballou, Amy Skinner, and Maddy Butcher share their thoughts and experiences on rider fear.

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Most of us intend for our daily rides to improve our horse at some level, either by adding to his physical conditioning or progressing his training skills. But whether or not your horse actually makes these gains often comes down to the amount of time you spend on each phase of the ride. The format of your ride determines the outcome of physical improvement.

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Source: Best Horse Practices | Season 2, Episode 4 

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Many classical dressage masters from the past often praised the merits of long schooling sessions at only the walk. This kind of training refines muscle recruitment, releases tension stored in poor postural habits, and stimulates the slow-twitch fibers used for stabilizing the skeleton. In other words, there is big value in workouts at the walk. And note how I have used the term workouts, since that is how you should think of them. These are purposeful sessions, not strolls.

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Moving Well by Breathing Well - At some point, most riders aboard a horse that is breathing heavily will draw a conclusion about its fitness. Respiration, though, can be a fickle fitness marker. And it might sometimes tell you more about a horse’s mental state, physical tension, or plain old natural aptitude than his current fitness. Respiratory rates are always telling us something important. The key is figuring out what the message is.

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In the episode, Jec and Amy Skinner meet in the Coaches' Corner to discuss the nuances of mounting. It's simple. Sure. But a challenging-to-mount horse might mean backing up to make sure you have all the pieces in place for a safe, fun ride.

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In this segment, we kind of continue - tangentially anyway - with our Gender Gyrations project to talk about mare/gelding bias in the horse world.

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This milestone episode is a Coaches' Corner with Jec Ballou (host), Amy Skinner, and Katrin Silva. They have a lot to say about the state of horse shows.

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The disappointing news of fitness is that we cannot keep repeating the same thing to get results. After a while, we need to modify exercises in order to keep gaining conditioning adaptations from them. Otherwise, the body becomes so efficient and habituated at performing movements that it recruits fewer muscle fibres to do them and operates with less involvement from the nervous system. Movements become robotic, a state in which no conditioning gains occur.

horse to lateral work Jec A. Ballou prancing dressage horses, lateral movements shoulder-in haunches-in dressage exercises, conditioning horse, offer unrivaled conditioning effects for almost any equine athlete

Why and when to introduce your horse to lateral work - While they used to be predominantly the domain of prancing dressage horses, lateral movements like shoulder-in and haunches-in offer unrivaled conditioning effects for almost any equine athlete. Exercise science has shown them to be on par with gymnastic routines like hill repeats and cavalletti routines in terms of muscle recruitment, with a bonus of altering motor sensory patterns. Below I will explain how and why you might consider incorporating them.

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Source: Best Horse Practices Podcast | Episode 10 - Maddy Butcher and Jec Ballou meet for the ongoing segment called On the Fence, in which the two discuss horse-related musings. In this episode, Butcher and Ballou chat about experts, open-mindedness and how to keep things fresh if you're a learner, teacher, or both.

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Due to its effectiveness in helping the horse carry his body with good form, the longe cavesson is arguably one of the most useful pieces of equipment to own. Yet, only a surprisingly small number of riders who know about it. While early depictions from the 16th century refer mostly to its value in lateral poll flexion, its benefits for groundwork extend to a horse’s entire body. For anyone who performs groundwork it is an indispensable tool, as I will explain. Common misalignments of horses during groundwork include a twisted poll that comes from a handler using a line attached under the chin, or one-sided pressure on the bit when using a bridle. The alignment and state of positive — or negative — tension in the poll directly affects the rest of the body.

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Each of the horse’s gaits offers a unique tool when conditioning for performance and, used correctly, can accomplish results that might otherwise be missed. Optimally, horses should spent equal time in all three gaits during training sessions in order to achieve both looseness and strength. Certain conditioning phases, though, sometimes necessitate prioritizing one gait over another. This article will clarify how and when individual gaits can serve the equine athlete, especially the way he uses his back, and how cavalletti routines can help.

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Source: Best Horse Practices Podcast | Episode 7 - In our 7th episode, Jec Ballou interviews saddle fitting expert Kristen Vlietstra. The California-based saddler works with horses and riders of all disciplines.

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