Linton, Alexa Articles

kathy sierra, horse trainer, alexa linton, equestrian psychology, equine manual therapist

Source: The Whole Horse Podcast by Alexa Linton | with Kathy Sierra

relationship with horses, understanding horses, alexa linton, how old horses get, paddock paradise track system, natural environment horses

Vibrant Life Beyond 20 - Recently, I spent time with a horse named Sparky who is estimated to be over 40 years old. Understandably, you may be visualizing a tottering shell of a being, held together by medication and hay cubes, but this could not be further from the truth. Sparky is a sound, vital, cheeky, engaged fellow and the leader of the pack, although his teeth no longer work well for chewing hay. Out of curiosity, I studied his lifestyle, diet, way of being, and exercise routine with hopes of gleaning some insight to help me support my more “mature” equine clients as well as my own mare Diva, who turned 22 years old this past May.

how to play with my horse, alexa linton on horse play, mindfulness activities with horses, fun equine activities, how to reduce my horse's stress, alexa linton equine sports therapist

The mammalian nervous system is an incredible thing, with its complex functionality, and all the ways it regulates our systems, adapts to change, restores itself, and even mirrors the nervous systems of those around us. If any year was going to introduce us to the limits and resourcefulness of our unique nervous system, 2020 would be it. In this one year, every one of us has found out exactly how we cope with global uncertainty, massive change, potential scarcity of resources, and possible threats to the health of ourselves and our family and friends. Our nervous system is an integral part of how we cope with stress and change, working behind the scenes to recalibrate, reorganize and bring us into new ways of being in a healthy or not-so-healthy state.

alexa linton posture horse riding, importance posture horse ride, how to sit on a horse

As a rider, it can be tricky to discern exactly how much influence our structural alignment is having on our horse and our riding. The conversation about posture can be a complex and even frustrating one. In part, this is because we innately know that what is happening in our bodies can’t help but influence our horses, given their sensitivity to changes in weight and pressure, and the near impossibility of a rider being posturally “in tune” with their horse at every moment.

horse sleep, horses nervous system, rem sleep horses, phases of horse sleep, horses need to lie down, alexa linton

How Does Your Beauty Sleep? And why is it important? Sleep is one of my very favourite things. It’s at the top of my list of essentials for the well-being of my body, mind, and spirit — right alongside chocolate, a yummy and nourishing meal, and a great ride on my mare, Diva. Anyone who has experienced even mild insomnia knows that the negative impact of insufficient sleep on your brain, your mood, and your productivity is remarkable, and that a few nights of poor sleep can lead to general grumpiness, short temper, feelings of exhaustion and overwhelm, and impaired memory and focus.

lilly ludwig animal intuitive, alexa linton, horse psychology, equestrian psycholgy, connecting with horses

This chat with Animal Intuitive Lilly Ludwig was about as refreshing as they come, and her take on animal communication and busting down myths in the horse world is my cup of tea! In this episode, we discuss how to support our animals through transitions with the help of clear communication, how it doesn’t take any sort of gift to do it, what her mare Athena has to say about, well, everything, and the many ways our horses will surprise us if we let them. Enjoy!

traditional horsemanship practices, alexa linton, how to lead a horse, how to mount a horse, how to clean horse tack, best horse bits and saddle

Why do we have them? What keeps us practicing them? As I write this article, I find it ironic that I am laid up on the couch with a lower back injury, brought on by the age-old tradition of lifting, hauling, and generally doing way too much when my body wasn’t up to the task. From my recovery position, it seems fitting to attempt to grapple with the rather sticky topic of traditions, and why we often feel so compelled to stick to them. I’ve touched on this a little in my past articles, but today I want to really dig in and unpack why and how traditions become traditions and what keeps us practicing them, sometimes long past their best before date.

whole horse podcast, best horse podcasts, best equine podcasts, noah tillman young, steady horse llc, fearless rider formula

It was such a pleasure to chat with Noah Tillman-Young of Steady Horse in this episode of the Whole Horse Podcast!

josh nichol interview, alexa linton josh nichol podcast, horse podcast

This podcast episode with Josh Nichol went in an entirely different direction than expected, and I'm so grateful. It became a tribute to the two beings Josh supported in transitioning the previous day, including his best cattle dog Jake. Josh shares about his experience, the process that happened for both animals, the role of the other animals and his family and we got into ways to create a legacy for our dear ones, when they have left their physical forms. Get your tissues out, this conversation is powerful and important.

alexa linton whole horse, horse misbehaving, difficult horse, best way to train a horse, do horses have feelings?

Is it effective or abusive? I remember the feeling like it was yesterday. I’m about 15 years old, and I’m riding a lesson horse in a ring. We’re jumping, or we’re trying to. It’s not going well. My instructor is screaming at me. Screaming. In hindsight, my horse is terrified. He has refused a jump, more than likely because he’s scared of it. My instructor is screaming at me over and over: “Get it done!” and “Don’t let him get away with it.” Eventually, with much kicking and whipping, my horse carries his terrified self and me over the jump. Our hearts are racing. We are both scared, bordering on traumatized, in a place where we are unable to think or be effective in any way.

whole horse podcast alexa linton, heather nelson, liberty training

Source: The Whole Horse Podcast by Alexa Linton | Episode 52 - One of my favourite podcast guests is back, because we all can use a little humour right about now. Liberty trainer Heather Nelson joined me to chat about the training of her “magical unicorns” aka her three horse herd. We got into some excellent detail about the unicorn creation process, mainly diving into working at liberty in different positions (including long-lining) and in different ways with each of her horses, and I was riveted and inspired. I hope you will be too!

whole horse podcast alexa linton, stephanie kallstrom, black equestrians, canadian equestrians of colour

Source: The Whole Horse Podcast by Alexa Linton | Episode 63 - I am deeply appreciative to Stephanie Kallstrom for this opportunity to have an important conversation and to continue the discussion around diversity and inclusion within the horse industry, and to begin the essential conversation about anti-racism, the impact of racial trauma, and how we can begin to adopt a trauma-informed approach in barn cultures, horse communities and beyond. T

heather nelson horse training, alexa linton horse, whole horse podcast, training injured horse

Source: The Whole Horse Podcast by Alexa Linton | Episode 39 - Heather Nelson and I sat together on her parents cozy couch in Cowichan Bay, British Columbia, with her recently injured leg propped up for this hilarious, open and real conversation about being with injuries, seeing opportunities, laughter, the fun of felting horses and much more. So good!

alexa linton, how does a horse learn, josh nichol, hannah weston connection training, heather nelson liberty, equusoma, elsa sinclair

Adventures in Brain Power - Adaptability is an essential quality we think of in many contexts, and one synonymous with flexibility, learning, and growth. Yet, do we always overlay this quality on our horses and our training, or even more importantly, on the very thing that allows us to be adaptable in the first place — our nervous system? Have you ever met a horse or human who had a hard time learning or retaining a new skill, exhibited “bad” behaviour when under pressure, was challenged by changes such as moving, new environments, or with their schedule, companion, or training routine? I know I have, and I have also been that human, and had that horse. Often, we get labelled as overly sensitive, flighty, or even slow or challenged learners, but the reality is that each horse and human has a unique nervous system that functions, thrives, and learns in different ways and under different conditions.

happy horse, horse wellbeing, alexa linton, equine sports therapist, how to respect my horse, understanding my horse

The conversation surrounding needs is interesting and complex in terms of our non-speaking horses, especially within a culture that has a historically tricky relationship with the expression of needs. For the purpose of this article, let’s define a need as either a base need required for survival, namely food, water, shelter, and movement, or a need required to thrive, such as friends, space, play, touch, connection, purpose, praise/affirmation, supplementation, and interesting activities. When it comes to our relationship with our horse, the combination of the perceived needs of the rider and the potential needs of their horse can be a space of connecting growth or disconnecting frustration, depending on our perspective and openness to collaborative solutions.

Heather Nelson horse trainer, liberty horse training, connecting with my horse

Source: The Whole Horse Podcast by Alexa Linton | Episode 68 - One of my favourite podcast guests is back and dropping some amazing wisdom about horses and life! Heather Nelson and I connected over the interwebs to chat about what staying home for the winter means for her training and her own horses, where her new learning edge lies, and why and how she’s shifting the way that she’s working with her horses. It is showing up in my lessons with her and my mare Raven (and why I was quite terrible at it!). As always, we giggled a lot, and had an impressive amount of fun while discussing our horse time. Enjoy!

are horses sentient beings? do we need to ask consent to ride horses, alexa linton, should we domesticate horses?

In an effort to narrow down the conversation, as the topic of consent applies to countless aspects of our horse-human relationship, I decided to focus on consent around touch, because horses are one of our most-touched domesticated animals. This is a fascinating thing, given that in a feral or wild setting, horses might rarely ever touch each other, and would typically not do so without first either giving or receiving permission in the form of behavioural cues. In domestication, we touch horses to halter, groom, saddle, bridle, ride, train, bathe, treat, and often just to feed them. For most horses this happens numerous times every day and is often combined with a restraint of some kind, like a halter, meaning they are not able to move away from this touch.

the equine hyoid bone, does my horse have tmd? alexa linton, how to tell if my horse has an imbalance of the hyoid apparatus

Anatomy and Function of the Equine Hyoid Apparatus - The hyoid bone and its relationship with the fascia, and the temporomandibular (TMJ) joint between the temporal and mandible bone, are areas of fascination for me. In osteopathy, we are taught to see every part of the body as connected – and not only every part of the body, but everything from the structural, to the fluidic, to the energetic and beyond.

hot to open a horse's thoracic cage, the equine sternum, alexa linton, sports therapy horses,

Today, we get to hang out in one of the most thrilling, complex and well-built skeletal structures in the body, the thoracic cage. While thrilling might be a stretch unless you’re an anatomy geek like me, suffice it to say that this region and its resilient, flexible function has potential implications in respiration, saddle fit, behaviour, body control, bending, collection, energy levels, the ability to be symmetrical and free in movement, and more. And I’m not just talking about your horse.

Equine neck; equine cervical vertebrae, intervertebral joints, equine Nuchal Ligament

There is something uniquely beautiful about the neck of a horse. That curve, the arch of the poll, the dip towards the shoulder. In function, those elegant lines came to be out of necessity, with such length required to balance out long limbs, allowing them to reach to the ground to graze for up to 20 hours a day. With the head and neck making up about 10 percent of their total body mass, horses use their neck to maintain balance, stability, and their spatial awareness when they are in motion. Over time, the equine neck has shifted in function and importance, and in the factors that impact and promote its well-being, but the fundamentals have stood the test of domestication.

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