Ground Work & Handling

 training jonathan field, natural horsemanship, trailer loading, load a horse trailer

There are some legitimate reasons why horses do not like horse trailers. To a horse, even the most open, spacious trailer is still a small, confined space. Being a flight animal, nature has wired horses to be claustrophobic in order to protect them from predators. Because trailers are off the ground on wheels, climbing inside is a bit unnerving to a horse as the trailer moves around. Once inside the trailer, horses are further confined with the closing of the divider, and the shutting of the door. Finally, after being locked inside, the trailer starts to move. It bumps along the road, eventually stops, and then the doors are opened, and by this time the horse is thinking “Get me out of here!”

training jonathan field, natural horsemanship, trailer loading, load a horse trailer

When it comes to asking your horse to ride in a trailer, there are many things that can go wrong. Most of these situations present themselves due to the confined space of the trailer. When you think of it from the horse’s perspective, it is no wonder that he might hesitate to climb inside, and therefore not surprising that he might want to fly out backwards like a rocket when the door opens.

hores body condition scores horse, Reconditioning Horse, spring horse riding, get a horse fit, horse feed change, equine fitness, horse exercise, overworked horse

As we welcome the transition from winter to spring, we are eager to get back in the saddle and start riding regularly again. Canadian winters are not sympathetic to outdoor riding, and without access to indoor facilities many horse owners have not been able to ride or exercise their horses as much as they would like during the winter months. Bringing horses back into work after their winter vacation must be done gradually by starting at a lower level and increasing the duration and intensity of workouts. At the same time, the horse’s feed should be adjusted to address his present body condition (too thin or too fat) as well as nutrient requirements for the increased workload.

jonathan field, natural horsemanship, boxing horses, equine footwork, horse shoulders, horse footwork, natural horsemanship footwork

Spins with Little: The Flower Petal Exercise - In Part 1 of this series (Footwork to Free Up the Shoulders) I wrote about remembering what it is like to be a student, and shared some of my personal trials from joining a boxing club this past winter when I stepped into a completely unknown field. These lessons illustrate that horses benefit when their riders are more patient, just as students benefit when coaches are patient.

jonathan field, natural horsemanship, boxing horses, equine footwork, horse shoulders, horse footwork, natural horsemanship footwork

Footwork to free up the shoulders - During the past few months I’ve been teaching and developing my young horses and my program. Each year I take time to gain new skills and insights, mainly because I’m an avid student and always benefit as a clinician if I take time to become a student myself. I believe that leaders and mentors of others must never lose sight of what it feels like to be a student.

winter horse, riding in winter, training in winter, conditioning horse, keep horse fit winter, horse stretches, carrot stretch

3 Rules to Maximize Time Off - Periods of downtime come as realistic parts of horse ownership, although how a rider uses these stretches of poor weather or busy schedules contributes profoundly to a horse’s long-term soundness and performance. Recent data from biomechanics researchers and veterinary schools shows that large vacillations in fitness can be detrimental to overall health, particularly for horses past their mid-teen years. Most notably, periods of lesser activity lasting over a month can weaken deep postural muscles and supporting soft tissue.

jonathan field, equine drive line, ground work horse, round pen exercises, art of liberty and training

What is the drive line? In this excerpt from my book, I will explore the drive line and how important it is for you to understand where it is on the horse’s anatomy and how the horse responds to it when working at liberty, or when the horse is loose in the round pen. This, of course, is not a real, physical line; it is an imaginary vertical line which determines by body language the direction the horse will go in relation to your position in front of, or behind, the line. Think of the line more as a zone, not a hard line. Remember that every horse is different so the line’s position may also be different. Once you have the line firmly positioned in your mind, communicating with your horse will become easier, smoother, and more productive.

Pages

Advertisement

Advertisement

Tough 1 Contest