Welcome to this month's HorseConscious Newsletter.
Well, the big news story of the month has been the meeting of the FEI and their subsequent announcement on the subject of rollkur/hyperflexion.
If you've not heard the news, here is the official statement:
Following constructive debate at the FEI round-table conference at the IOC Headquarters in Lausanne today (9 February), the consensus of the group was that any head and neck position achieved through aggressive force is not acceptable. The group redefined hyperflexion/Rollkur as flexion of the horse's neck achieved through aggressive force, which is therefore unacceptable. The technique known as Low, Deep and Round (LDR), which achieves flexion without undue force, is acceptable.
The group unanimously agreed that any form of aggressive riding must be sanctioned. The FEI will establish a working group, headed by Dressage Committee Chair Frank Kemperman, to expand the current guidelines for stewards to facilitate the implementation of this policy. The group agreed that no changes are required to the current FEI Rules.
The FEI Management is currently studying a range of additional measures, including the use of closed circuit television for warm-up arenas at selected shows.
The group also emphasised that the main responsibility for the welfare of the horse rests with the rider.
The FEI President HRH Princess Haya accepted a petition of 41,000 signatories against Rollkur presented by Dr Gerd Heuschman.
Let me paraphrase a section of that again: hyperflexion/Rollkur has been defined as flexion of the horse's neck achieved through aggressive force and is unacceptable.
It remains to be seen what guidelines they will give to the stewards and how exactly they intend to fully police this although the use of video cameras will certainly help.
I think the real policing (and power) does not lie with officialdom at all but the people who love horses and follow the sport. It is their presence in the warm-up arena and elsewhere that will safeguard the health and safety of the horses in the future.
The people have spoken and now know that they have a platform and a voice that perhaps they have never had before. I was actually interviewed earlier in the week for a forthcoming documentary on the subject and made the comment that with the internet and the power of social media, we are now seeing democracy in action. No longer can public figures, such as the riders, and those in authority, the FEI in this instance, consider themselves untouchable and beyond reproach.
Did you notice the number of signatories? 41,000!! Here are some other numbers to underline the public support for this campaign:
* The original Blue Tongue video on YouTube (and wherever else it has been posted) has been seen nearly 200,000 times
So you do have a voice and through you, the horses now have too. If we can bring about this change, what else can we achieve? This month's newsletter features a couple of articles giving you the chance to show your support for the other issue that needs it - saving America's wild horses.
Before we leave the Rollkur debate for this issue, if you are interested in taking the measure even further, Nevzorov Haute Ecole have started a petition to ban equestrian sport altogether. Their statement said the following:
"Whether or not to take part is only up to you to decide. Some will simply not be able to close the window, others will look through and quickly forget it, meanwhile others still, terrified, will watch the development of affairs. We do not call for anyone. We just give you an opportunity, here and now, to become a part of history. But - it is up to you to decide."
Here's another story to illustrate that times are changing.
I received an email this week from a lovely lady called Katariina, who wrote:
"A bit about my background: I have been "into horses" for over three decades. I was once very much involved in the sport of Equestrian Vaulting, in fact, I started the sport in my native country Finland. I worked for the National Equestrian Federation, trained the National Team for years and traveled international competitions after which I married and moved to California. I continued coaching and training and my American team won the Bronze medal at the World Championships in 2004. I have taken part to three World Equestrian Games and competed in three different disciplines nationally in three countries. But at the moment all this means nothing, because rather than being proud of my achievements, I feel sad that I didn't realize that all those years I spent chasing my dream I was asking horses to give up theirs. My life has now changed and it's time to give back to the horses."
I have to admit that Equestrian Vaulting is one of my pet hates! I'm sure I will be roundly reprimanded by some for saying this but it seems to me that this particular form of sport is for gymnasts who can't quite make the grade and resort to (ab)using some poor horse to show off what remains of their talent. I consider it an insult and a disgrace and I'm pretty sure the horses feel the same way.
You can just imagine the conversation in the gymnasium changing room one day:
"Oh man, I'm never going to be National Champion on the pommel, I'm useless, there's just no hope for me"
"You mean the pommel horse"
"Wait a moment... say that again..."
Anyway, jokes apart, hats off to you Katariina for seeing the light and thank you now for all you are doing to spread the word. I recommend visiting her blog which features her views on different issues related to horses. The site is:
In 1 post, she relates how she watched the movie Spirit with her son and Katariina makes some touching comparison with the situation horses find themselves in today. She also quotes the following from the beginning of the movie:
"The story that I want to tell you cannot be found in a book. They say that the history of the west was written from the saddle of a horse, but it's never been told from the heart of one. Not till now. I was born here, in this place that would come to be called the Old West. But, to my kind, the land was ageless. It had no beginning and no end, no boundary between earth and sky. Like the wind and the buffalo, we belonged here, we would always belong here. They say the mustang is the spirit of the West. Whether that west was won or lost in the end, you'll have to decide for yourself, but the story I want to tell you is true. I was there and I remember. I remember the sun, the sky, and the wind calling my name in a time when we ran free. I'll never forget the sound and the feeling of running together. The hoof beats were many, but our hearts were one."
An interesting point to note is that Dreamworks, the makers of the movie, chose Return to Freedom as the permanent home for Spirit, the Kiger Mustang that served as the model for the film. For those of you not familiar with Return to Freedom, it is a wild horse sanctuary in Lompoc, California and Spirit now spends his days there in peaceful retirement. You can read more about Spirit here:
and more about Return to Freedom in a special feature later on in the newsletter.
Talking of new blogs, Stormy May, the maker of The Path of the Horse documentary has just begin her new blog, which is following her journey with her horses. In usual Stormy fashion, it is totally honest and straight from the heart. You gotta love that gal. Here's the link, so please visit and support her:
I have some announcements about some great FREE calls coming up for all HorseConscious newsletter readers:
Wednesday March 10th at 10am Pacific / 1pm Eastern / 6pm GMT / 7pm CET - Lisa Murrell will be joined by Annemieken Van Reegingen when they will be discussing Pioneering the New Standard in Equine Assisted Coaching as well as marketing your (horse) business. You can find out more and sign up to receive details of the call here:
** N.B. This call it totally free and open to all **
Lisa will be my special guest on a HorseConscious call in April, so this is also by way of introduction to her if you are a HorseConscious Member.
For 3 Sundays in March, I am delighted to announce a series of calls with Liz Mitten Ryan, when we will be joined by a succession of wonderful people with whom Liz will be working this year:
* Sunday March 7th at 10am Pacific / 1pm Eastern / 6pm GMT / 7pm CET - our guest will be the incomparable Linda Kohanov, pioneer in the field of educational programs employing horses to teach people leadership, assertiveness, personal empowerment, relationship, intuition and emotional fitness skills. She is the best-selling author of The Tao of Equus <
The wagon rests in winter, the sleigh in summer, the horse never. ~Yiddish Proverb
Pure Practical Performance<http://www.horseconscious.com/images/XII/PPP2010.jpg>
The amazing Klaus Ferdinand Hempfling will be giving the first of his brand new workshops in April in Sydney, Australia.
Spend 8 days in the company of a master horseman and not only watch him get to know each of the horses but follow as he starts to train them. As the name suggests, the workshop will be very practical in nature meaning you will get to learn a tremendous amount from Klaus by watching him and listening to him as he explains how and what he is doing. A true masterclass.
Reserve your place at this once-in-a-lifetime event in either Sydney, Australia in April or the Netherlands in September by clicking this link <
Connie with her Horse Mosaics<http://www.horseconscious.com/images/XII/horse-mosaics.jpg> Life is a mosaic. Live it!
by Connie Funk
Life is full of unexpected circumstances that can change the course of our path forevermore. It is my belief that these are not purely accidental, but ways of shifting our thinking and priorities. Nudges to wake up and live our lives more fully. To realize the gifts that we have been given.
After falling totally in love with our first horse, Chad, who came into my life when I was forty and my son Evan was five, his death four years later as a senior gentleman was completely devastating. Burying his huge body on our farm was a bittersweet comfort but I could not conceive that his presence would not be the same after all he had offered us. It was incredibly painful for me to go near the stable and tack room and I left buckets hung on fence posts in the pastures unattended for months.
For those of you who have read my first book, Beauty from Brokenness : Bits and Pieces of My Journey Into Wholeness, I shared the story of how I came to create my own mosaics. In short, my husband Gary and Evan surprised me with a wonderful Italian dinner that they made for my birthday. The then ten- year- old Evan escorted me to my table with a linen napkin over his arm and my mascara brushed above his lip to create a moustache. After a delicious meal, they asked me to leave them alone to bake my favorite cake----carrot with cream cheese frosting. It was hard to protest such a gesture, even on a school night as it became late, so I conceded and went upstairs with the dogs to read. Pony Mirror Mosaic<http://www.horseconscious.com/images/XII/pony-mosaic.jpg>
A few minutes later I heard Gary holler to ask me where the grater was for the carrots. As I reentered the room, I saw in slow motion his arm connecting with a stack of museum quality bowls I had collected over many years go crashing to the ground when he was rummaging in the cupboard below. Gary and Evan looked at each other and then at me. Evan, though completely innocent, started to cry and said that they had ruined my birthday. Naturally , I was disappointed, but assured them that their idea to make my day special was what I would remember and that I would ask my friend to make something from the shards.
I called my friend the next day and she assured me that I should be the person to make something out of what was so meaningful to me. She talked me through the process and I was hooked. It made me realize that I had a lifetime history of creating art from found and damaged materials---breathing new life into something discarded and unwanted. Creating 'beauty from brokenness' became my motto for living, hence the title of my first book, with a mosaic as part of the cover art. And since I use many damaged and vintage materials, they are very much in the genre of what is known as 'bits and pieces" mosaics.
Creating mosaics after Chad's death became a shining example of the therapeutic expressive art therapy that I have such a deep belief in and now use in facilitating equine guided learning and discovery. This is the essence of the wonderful new DVD that Mark Mottershead has created with artist Kim McElroy: Secrets of Drawing Horses <
Initially making pieces for family and friends, I began getting requests to take them to shows, retail outlets, magazine features and teaching classes. As I progressed in my ability and passion and outgrew my garden shed, I began using Chad's wonderful stable as my studio where my healing and grieving his loss really began. Yet I continued to resist Gary and Evan when they suggested we find another horse. I did not feel ready to fall in love that deeply again when the ending was so sad.
A few more birthdays went by and I left for a trip to France with my parents and brother, the first time I had ever been away from my family and animals at home for any length of time. On an idyllic day in southern France as I was riding a lovely Bay Paso Fino stallion though forests and vineyards and olive groves with a young dark haired guide named Damien, Gary and Evan were purchasing a Palomino colored mare from another young dark haired man named Damien across the miles at home for my forty seventh birthday. When I returned late at night weary from traveling and met Chasta in the moonlight, I had a fully embodied realization that my life was changing forever. To say that Chasta turned my life upside down would be not only literally true, but an understatement.
For one thing, I was scheduled to give a class that weekend on how to create mosaics and all of my supplies were stacked in the stable and Chad's stall. Cowgirl Mosaic<http://www.horseconscious.com/images/XII/cowgirl-mosaic.jpg> They had been carefully labeled and arranged for me to pack my truck and were now pushed off in the corners to make room for fresh grass hay and my new equine teacher. What happened over the next years is recorded in my books, with the stories courtesy of the horses we have been so blessed to share our lives with--all thanks to Chasta and the soft-hearted guys who brought her home. This is a case of being 'wise guys' in the very best sense!
Enjoying success with home and garden themed pieces selling at the Seattle Flower and Garden Show with a wonderful display from Christianson's Nursery , I enjoyed giving classes in their one room Meadow Schoolhouse circa 1888 near our home. Facilitating and inspiring others is what I do best, so this was a natural evolution until my Mother became ill and needed my time and care so I took a hiatus.
My faith, family, friends, horses and animals helped me to cope with the deep grief of my Mother's death, and sitting on Chad's grave still gave me bittersweet comfort as I was surrounded by my four legged companions who were with me through it all and continue to be on a daliy basis.
Last June I had the honor and privilege in joining my dear human herdmates Sandra Wallin (
www.chironsway,com) Kim McElroy (www.spiritofhorse.com) and Davina Andree (www.arrowheadgraphics.com) in hosting three venues up the Northwest Coast to show the amazing documentary film Path of the Horse by Stormy May. This is what led me to learn of this wonderful 'movement' founded by the incomparable Mark Mottershead. Mark and his lovely partner, Elke, joined us as moderators and documented our heartwarming and paradigm shifting time together. This was a confirmation for all of us that we have been called to help expand this message of the beauty and life giving energy of the horse human bond and that we as a human herd must unite and support each other fully.
When the very talented graphics artist and designer Davina was here at our home, she was excited by the horse themed mosaics I had and asked if I would be an artist on her site which features exquisite equine art by two of the Horse Conscious teachers, Kim McElroy and Liz Mitten Ryan as well as Diane Williams and Jan Taylor. As honored as I was to be asked. I explained to Davina how difficult it is to find the vintage items, how expensive they are, how I do not want to incorporate intact antiques into my creations and all the reasons why it would not be possible. She simply smiled and assured me that my limited thinking response was not like me and told me I would find a way.
Davina, as usual, was right. Rather than focus on what was difficult, I started thinking and imagining the possibilities. I contacted another mosaic artist friend who helped me make molds out of my antiques so I could form flat backed relief items in clay, glaze and fire them. Another friend showed me how to make tiles using my vast collection of copyright free equine ephemera, much of it from another century. I was back teaching at the schoolhouse and mentioned that I was looking for a second hand kiln and voila, one was given to me---and delivered! Suddenly I realized with a new and fresh look that life, indeed, is a mosaic of all that we are and do. Do we allow ours to happen to us or do we create our own beauty from our circumstances--many of them 'broken' and beyond our control? Chasta and I were broken inside and out and now are deeply bonded.
Each mosaic that I create is one-of-a-kind and tells a story. Some are mirrors since Horses Are Our Mirrors that reflect to us our deepest inner being and help us to embrace and heal our shadows. Some are garden themed since Horses Help Us Grow. Some call on indigenous wisdom of all cultures since Horses are Good Medicine. Some inspire us to find our best inner cowgirl and cowboy and dressage dancer or whatever our hearts desire is in our healthy relationship with horses that reflects the true partnership that HorseConscious is helping to define and expand. Mirror Mosaic<http://www.horseconscious.com/images/XII/mirror-mosaic.jpg>
I am and have always been madly in love with horses so inspiration is everywhere. Pressing antique lockets and seams of old worn jeans into clay make unique shapes and textures. Relief patterns are created from a Depression era candy dish that belonged to Evan's great grandmother. Hand painting new pieces made from old things and glazing them with colors that compliment shards from vintage broken plates creates an absolutely unlimited palette. My mind's eye sees a completed mosaic so the process is deeply meditative for me. I am simply filling in a complex puzzle in present moment time. Each piece is a prayer sent out to all life. Clay is a very evocative medium--we are clay--of the earth. Every culture has decorated clay in their most sacred rituals--from wedding feasts to celebrations of life at memorials.
Since I still get asked regularly about having a DVD to accompany my classes and available to those who live in other areas, I will gather some of my favorite horsemen and women this September to film one that I hope will provide as much inspiration as information. My true message is far more than materials and 'how to', but to learn to live in the creative flow of energy that nourishes and sustains us all. Whether or not you ever create a mosaic of any kind, learning to be the artist of your own life and inspiring you to do just that is my mission statement. Davina will design all the graphics and HorseConscious member and horsewoman and friend Lori Keehr will do the videography. The lovely woman who brought Chad into our lives will be there with her horse loving husband. Herdmates Kim and Sandra will join the reunion as well as the friend who talked me into making my first mosaic as well as the one helping me now. I will invite my new equine teacher and friend Debra Olson Daniels, herself an artist and multi-faceted teacher. Debra was introduced to me by Stormy May as someone who is solidly on the Path of the Horse in the most wondrous ways. Her amazing horse, Magic is an artist as well and you can watch him paint on her site which is linked to HorseConscious.
This is another way for me to express to the world the beauty and magnificence of horses. If people stop to take a look at the details on an intricate mirror with images of horses, I hope it takes them to the moment when they touched their first pony and inhaled the sweet aroma of horsehair and grass hay. To remind them that Pony Longing is life's longing for the divine and our connection to all.
Life is a mosaic. Live yours! Love yours. It is never too late to have a happy childhood and create Beauty From Brokenness.
Temple Grandin paints a picture of a young woman's perseverance and determination while struggling with the isolating challenges of autism. Grandin became a successful doctor in animal science through her unique connection to animals and is now a world-renowned consultant in the field. She is widely recognized within the animal welfare and livestock-handling industries as a pioneer in the ethical treatment of animals.
Grandin was a consultant for The Horse Boy and encouraged their journey. She is also a member of the American Humane® Certified farm animal program. American Humane Certified, the farm animal program originated by the American Humane Association, is the nations pre-eminent and fastest-growing monitoring, auditing and labeling program that attests to the humane care and handling of animals raised for food. More about the American Humane Certified program can be found at
As a holistic practitioner for more than 12 years, I have assisted more than 100 horse owners with equine diets and nutrition. I have studied and gained quite a bit of experience with equine veterinarian, Dr. Lee Miller, for fifteen years. It is my intention to share my personal experiences, both educational and in the field, regarding what I have learned about feeding beet pulp.
Nutrition and digestive processes affect performance and overall condition. Different feeds break down differently based on the horse. Some of these effects include lameness, arthritis, colic, and other health-related illnesses. beet pulp<http://www.horseconscious.com/images/XII/soaking-beet-pulp.jpg>
Many times feed companies and veterinarians will recommend beet pulp for COPD horses for added fiber, or as an alternate hay and grass source. Although beet pulp may present no problems in the short-term, there are no significant studies on the long-term effects. Please note that alot of horse owners feed beet pulp with no apparent problems, while other horse owners will have exhausted all treatment protocols and still not know why their horse has loose stools, stifles issues, hip problems.
Not looking at what they are feeding: so let's see what the expert vet in his field says and clear up the beet pulp issue once and for all:
Lon Lewis DVM - Feeding and Nutrition care of the Horse 1982 states quoted: Excess amounts of oxalates (form of salt) may be present in these plants-halogeteon, greasewood, BEETS, dock, rhubarb-(Beets =product beet pulp) - If the horse consistently eats theses plants over a LONG extended period of time, calcium deficiency will result. Insoluble oxalate crystals will deposit in the kidneys resulting in kidney damage - Could be the reason for the water molecules trying to flush the kidneys? Beet pulp originates from sugar industry. It is an insoluble fiber, meaning that it does not interact with the body. It rushes through the intestines taking with it whatever supplements have been given. Simply put, it cannot be digested. It takes four molecules of water for the body to process beet pulp-adding water weight, and making the horse appear heavier. Once beet pulp is removed from the diet, the horse loses weight quickly, leading the owner to believe that the horse needs the beet pulp.
Dr . Joyce Harman of the Harmany Equine Clinic,
www.harmanyequine.com <http://clicks.aweber.com/y/ct/?l=E3GOt&m=1eayibRlQi3pRz&b=oyFhq1o74gM.Q7ehKXIdMQ> states that not all sugar can be eliminated from soaking the beets, therefore some remains in the pulp. Sugar contributes to insulin-resistance, and a condition known as Cushing's syndrome. Like many other crops, sugar beets are treated with an extensive array of herbicides to limit weeds and grasses in the fields. The herbicides are absorbed by the beets. Nothing removes the chemicals from the pulp. In addition, growers top the beet plants with a chemical defoliant to kill back the tops before harvest. These chemicals also end up by-product beet pulp.
Dr. Eleanor Kellon, DMV, says that beet pulp is safe; it is washed with water to remove the solvents. However, the water only removes what is on the outside. The soaking process removes the sugar from the outside, but not the chemicals. Toxins are stored in the pulp not the juice.
Often, if the horse is unable to digest the beet pulp. Their hind-ends "shut down" and become weak. The common complaint being, "my horse has a weak hind-end."
Case in Kentucky - A lady emailed me about her paint that had been seen by vets, chiropractors, etc. to no avail her paint was weak from behind, bad stifles? He was 4yrs old they said arthritis, I said what are you feeding? Turns out she was feeding a product that was mostly beet pulp and rice bran. She took the paint off the feed, then sent a email stating her horse was moving much better and was able to ride him again.
A reputable event trainer, Katie Worley from Rock Solid Training Center, asked me to check her horses. I found was they were all weak in the hind-end, and Katie agreed. After looking at a tag from her feed, we found beet pulp listed as the third ingredient. After Katie took her horses off the beet pulp feed, she called to say they were using their hind-ends, and were much stronger.
Another owner, M.D. Kerns, wrote in to tell me about his horse which had been on beet pulp for nine months. "Although I was very skeptical at the onset, I am now prepared to admit that Bodhi is looking much different and much fit than he did when he was on the other feed. His coat looks good as ever and his waist (loss of all the water trapped in the hind-gut by the beet pulp fiber) is nearly back to its former Thoroughbred elegance and slimness, he is without a doubt the most handsome horse at the farm." What does this all mean? Ask yourself these questions:
* Does my horse feel weak in the hind end?
* Are his hooves brittle?
* Does it seem like his stifles are weak?
* Does my horse appear to be lacking energy?
* What about the coat? Is it dull?
* Does my horse have loose stools? Are his stools loose or hard?
If you horse has any of these symptoms then: Try the following for three months. Take your horse off beet pulp, and use good quality hay pellets, or grass hay, remembering to soak in water. for COPD horses- Make sure that your horse has access to free-choice minerals. In addition, read your feed labels. Most of them list "roughage by-products" which can actually contain beet pulp. Take a before and after picture, and really look at the hind-end. Notice how your horse moves after three months. I don't intend to offend anyone with this article if your horse is fine on beet pulp great, but if you are having any of theses symptoms you may take a look at what you are feeding. Wouldn't you agree that prevention is far cheaper than the cost of treating health problems? We are our horse's caregivers. We owe it to them to be as knowledgeable and informed about what we put into them.
Lorrie Bracaloni is a certified holistic practitioner helping horse owners. Lorrie has received certifications in the following areas of equine health and preventative care: equine lameness and nutrition, acupressure massage and herbology, homeopathic, essential oils, and nutritional reflexology, energy body balancing, equine chiropractic techniques, and muscle injuries and trigger point stress relief therapy. She is currently the holistic consultant for Horsenet Rescue in Mt. Airy, Maryland, helping neglected and abused horses recover to optimal health. For more information, contact her at (301) 432-6216 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org,
"Horses have hoofs to carry them over frost and snow; hair, to protect them from wind and cold. They eat grass and drink water, and fling up their heels.... Such is the real nature of horses." - Chuang Tzu
Nevzorov Haute Ecole is glad to announce that the third issue of "NHE Equine Anthology" is ready. Among the articles in this issue, there are: -
- Continuation of a vital School document, where Alexander Nevzorov speaks about cordeo usage, pesades and suberbia, a mysterious psychological tool, which would be used by School masters at all times.
- Story by their Italian representative Maurizio Patti (who appeared on a HorseConscious towards the end of last year), about two marvelous students in the School: Mr. Cypro and Mrs. Lency. Who are they? Read to find out.
- In the column "Colloquium" there is a conversation with Australian hoof-trimmer Peter Laidely about horse health, human politeness and who will win in "hoof wars".
- And other articles in regular columns "Cartularium", "Horse Revolution" etc.
Please note, that from this issue onwards (and not waiting for the printed version), they have started publishing the book "The Horse Crucified and Risen (Horse Encyclopaedia)" by Alexander Nevzorov in English. Five years ago this book, together with the film of the same name, changed Russian readers' minds, altering forever the march of the horses' history in the humans' world. Now you can read how and why, only in the latest edition of the "NHE Equine Anthology", available here:
Painted Horses are Mane Attraction for Anatomy Students
With 205 bones and 700 muscles the horse is a challenging animal for anatomy students to study. That was until champion rider Gillian Higgins came up with the novel idea of showing people how it all works. Rather than bog them down with dusty diagrams and skeletal sketches, she hit upon the idea of painting the inner workings of the horse on the horse itself.
Gillian Higgins shows-off her anatomical study on thirteen year- old Kiitos ahead of a lecture on equine anatomy Now veterinary students, race horse trainers, eventers, pony club members and dressage judges are flocking to her lectures to see the horse painting in action. Ms Higgins uses water-based hypoallergenic paints which are easy to wash off afterwards. She takes four hours to apply the equine make-up - painting the skeletal structure on one side and the multi-coloured musculature on the other. More... 'Painting the skeleton and musculature on the side of the horse really helps to bring the subject to life,' she says. 'You can discover how to get the best out of your horse by seeing exactly what happens as it moves.'
The champion rider Gillian Higgins paints the flexor muscle chain on one side of the horse Gillian, 27, a sports remedial therapist, from Nottingham, first hit on the idea three years ago after completing a degree in equine business management at the Royal Agricultural College in Cirencester, Gloucestershire. She said: 'I realized that many riders and trainers could benefit from a better understanding of how the horse works. With all those bones and muscles with incredibly long names, it can be a bit much to take it all in. 'I'm trying to show the anatomy and how the horse works in an interesting and easy to understand way. 'I started gradually with a bit of paint but then became more and more in demand. Now I go all over the country from Cornwall to Inverness and I'm soon flying off to South Africa to give a demonstration there.'
A horse has 205 bones and 700 muscles. Painting a steed helps students remember which one is where Normally her models are her 12 year old eventer Freddie Fox or six year old Henry - although if she travels further afield from home she relies on schools and colleges to provide a steed for her. Greys are best because the colours show up more clearly. Gillian, who won a gold medal at the student riders nations cup in 2006, said: 'Freddie Fox is the best model because he has just the right temperament and loves to be the centre of attention at the demonstrations. Being painted isn't much different for them as being groomed or handled. They don't mind at all. 'The worst thing that has ever happened was when a horse that had not minded being painted in the slightest, then had to go into an arena in front of 150 people. He got a bit spooked up by the crowd and was jumping around and became a little bit too much.'
For more information and details of Gillian's book How Your Horse Moves visit
When government helicopters stampeded the last wild horses out of the snowy Calico Mountains into traps outside of the public's view, Terri Farley, author of HarperCollins' best-selling PHANTOM STALLION series based on the Calico mustangs, decided to take action.
"The true privilege of any wild horse is to live a life of freedom, surrounded by their family in the land of their birth. Fewer and fewer have that privilege," says Cloud Foundation founder, Ginger Kathrens, whose films and books about Cloud and his wild herd are real-life adventures. "Terri's books may be fiction, but they capture so realistically the drama of living wild and free. And, like her wild horse characters, she too has grit and determination. She is not afraid to stand up and speak for our mustangs who seem to have no voice or place in the Obama Administration."
In response to her readers, Farley partners with The Cloud Foundation to launch the Hearts for Horses <
Supporters are encouraged to cut out paper hearts; decorate them with glitter and messages before sending them to First Lady Michelle Obama. They can make short YouTube videos showing the plight of the horses, print out petitions, find reading lists, articles and more ways to get involved.
Farley devoted much of 2009 to bringing the world of wild horses into classrooms, libraries and conferences. Most recently, she's been interviewed by the national media and addressed rallies to save America's wild horses and burros.
The writer isn't sure she's cut out for activism, but says PHANTOM STALLION fans leave her little choice.
"When my stories show readers that they should speak up for what they believe, even if their voices shake, I can't very well sit home at my computer with a cup of tea and a cat on my lap, can I?" comments Farley.
Already Farley hears from hundreds of readers daily. "I max out my email limit constantly," she says. Understandable as the PHANTOM STALLION series has sold over a million copies internationally.
"These kids are readers and they love wild horses," she says. "They're giving themselves a crash course in democracy so they can be sure Congress knows what they're thinking. Their letters speak of the balance of nature, compensatory reproduction and viable herd genetics. I guess they're learning some biology, too. So, really, they shouldn't be dismissed as teary-eyed kids. They're writing from their heads as well as their hearts."
The most recent BLM roundup ended weeks ahead of schedule and 600 mustangs short of their 2,500 horse goal with BLM saying they "were satisfied" and stating that 600 mustangs now remained on the half million acres, formerly the last stronghold of the American wild horse. Before the hasty ending, at least 39 horses had died including two foals (under a year old) who literally had their hooves run off as a result of the roundup. Many of the horses shot or euthanized were old mares (females). Some were in their twenties. More than 30 mares have spontaneously aborted their foals in the corrals resulting from the stressful winter roundup. Advocates expect that number to increase.
The public cannot be sure how many horses will die as the BLM begins "processing"--gelding (sterilizing) the stallions and freeze-branding all 1922 captured mustangs. BLM is denying humane observers and the public the right to visit the facility after Saturday February 13th. With the pending lawsuit, advocates state the BLM must not castrate the stallions since there is a possibility of returning them to the wild. If the lawsuit does not protect the Calico horses then their eventual fate is to be warehoused at taxpayer expense, joining 34,000 mustangs already in holding. There are now far more wild horses in holding than in the wild.
The assault on some of the horses closest to Farley's heart--the Calico herds--convinced her to join a federal lawsuit to stop the roundup. Farley became a plaintiff in the case In Defense of Animals v. Secretary Salazar in December 2009. The preliminary injunction to stop the roundup in December was denied but the animal cruelty case will be heard April 30, 2010 in Washington.
"These round-ups aren't being done to save the range or protect the horses," says Farley, "and you don't have to be a conspiracy theorist to suspect they are being conducted in response to special interests with deep pockets."
She devoted 2009 to talking about wild horses instead of writing about them, readers approve, but are impatient. Farley is eager to get back to her computer, to the West she can control with a keystroke, but she refuses to let the mustangs disappear without a fight.
"I don't want to grow old in a world where kids believe wild horses only lived in fairy tales--like unicorns."
The American public has protested in nearly 20 cities from coast to coast and rallies for the wild horses will continue with upcoming protests in Atlanta and Washington D.C.
http://clicks.aweber.com/y/ct/?l=E3GOt&m=1eayibRlQi3pRz&b=EonPDprIiGd4txuFuSoPPg> Klaus Ferdinand Hempfling, with his professional background in communications has shaken up the international horse world. He is at the forefront of new ideas on working and interacting with horses. The basis of his work is consideration for the horse's psyche, communication via a body language that is understood by the horse and interaction with these powerful, beautiful, dignified creatures in accordance with nature. The development of the rider's "presence" and an orientation to holistic principles is integral to this work. Klaus' first book, "Dancing with Horses" (translated into more than 10 languages), met with overwhelming international success; thousands of spectators have witnessed a way of interacting with horses that made the horses the teachers, the bearers of mysteries, whose proximity could transform human lives.
To watch the video and read more of Klaus's articles, visit Klaus Ferdinand Hempfling on HorseConscious <
Anna Twinney<http://www.horseconscious.com/images/XII/anna-twinney.png> I am very fortunate. When I look back over my life, for the most part, I have always wanted to get out of bed, welcome the day, and witness what life has in store for me. It's the thought of those every day wonders about to happen right in front of my eyes that keep me excited; seeing the miracles nature has to offer, meeting the people and experiencing the multitude of cultures all around the globe.
I adore the fact that every experience is an opportunity to learn something new, albeit challenging at times. Each encounter with friends, family and those around me is a chance to gain and share insights into the life lessons individual to us all yet shared by everyone. And if we are paying attention we can witness the impact trickle down to the next person and the next and the next...
When working with your horse hold on to these types of feelings as best you can as this is what we want our horses to feel when they see us. We want them to greet us with joy and excitement asking, "What's in store today?"
To read the compete article and more of Anna's articles, visit Anna Twinney on HorseConscious <
Tractate On A School Mount: A Man On The Back, Part 2
Alexander Nevzorov nevzorov<http://www.horseconscious.com/images/XII/alexander2.jpg>
In part one we discussed the sensation of a saddle with a rider on a horse's back and some of the damage this can cause. In part two we will continue that discussion as it relates to NHE and what we have learned through our research.
Let's frankly confess that the Nevzorov Haute Ecole Rider, when on horseback, in principle, can bring to the horse the same unpleasant physiological feelings as an alcoholic show-jumper. I assure you, the endomysium or perimysium of the muscle experiences compression and distress, which translates to discomfort or pain. The title, degree, and intentions of a rider aren't important. The horse doesn't care if this discomfort comes from the desire to just stupidly "pleasure ride", jump over painted bars or from the fine intention to rehearse a difficult element. This confession is a turning point, an incredibly important moment. But even its sincerity should be based on absolute knowledge.
To read the compete article, visit Alexander Nevzo <
Return To Freedom<http://www.horseconscious.com/images/XII/return-to-freedom.jpg>
Return to Freedom is a non-profit wild horse sanctuary founded in 1997 by Neda DeMayo, and is the realization of her life-long dream: to protect the freedom and natural lifestyle of America's free ranging wild horses.
Return To Freedom is dedicated to preserving the freedom, diversity and habitat of America's wild horses through sanctuary, education and conservation, while enriching the human spirit through direct experience with the natural world.
Return to Freedom provides a safe haven to nearly 200 wild horses and burros Recognizing that wild horses live in tightly bonded herd groups, Return to Freedom became the first sanctuary with a focus on rescuing entire family bands. Designed to be a model program, they implement alternative and minimally intrusive management philosophies.
Return to Freedom's educational programs facilitate a direct experience with nature and animals through non-intrusive, sensitive observation. Through direct contact with the natural world, they hope to inspire a deep reverence for the communities and family groups that exist in nature. Their programs were created with the intent that, for things to change, a new human being must emerge. It is their hope that policy changes and legislation that have the best interest of wildlife species and natural habitats in mind will be supported through re-education.
American Wild Horse education<http://www.horseconscious.com/images/XII/rtf2.jpg>
The American Wild Horse of Today is a re-introduced native wildlife species, represented by diverse biological groups each with their own genetic and historical significance. Whether they come from Spanish ancestry, cavalry horses, draft herds or others, America's Wild Horses have evolved over the years and become one of our nation's most treasured resources. Return to Freedom is a virtual Living History Conservancy, managing various herds according to their geographic origins.
The Next Step . . . The American Wild Horse Conservancy
Return to Freedom is poised to take the next step and establish The American Wild Horse Conservancy. This historical land trust will be a large scale wildlife and habitat conservancy that integrates the American Wild Horse as a wildlife species
To find out much more about this marvelous organisation and cause, please visit:
Teaching Old Ponies New Tricks: Positive Reinforcement Effective
What's best for teaching an old pony new tricks? The carrot or the whip?
New equine behavior research is pointing us to the carrot. According to results from a recent study in France, awarding horses for correct moves during training is more effective and has longer lasting results than coercing them with negative influences. It also strengthens the horse-human relationship generally.
The study, led by equine behaviorist Carol Sankey, MSc, a PhD candidate in ethology (the study of animal behavior) at the University of Rennes, involved 21 riding club ponies, aged 10 to 16. Sankey taught the ponies to back up on a vocal command ("Back") without the use of reins or lead lines. The ponies were free-standing in an arena with Sankey, who stood in front of them. If the ponies did not step backwards on the first try, she would tap her foot. One group of ponies received positive reinforcement (grain pellets) when they took a step backwards. The other group received negative reinforcement (a whip shaken in front of their heads) until they did not take a step backwards. Each pony was trained for one to three minutes each day for five days.
Horse and carrot<http://www.horseconscious.com/images/XII/horse-and-carrot.jpg> At the end of the five days, all the ponies had learned the command, but it took much longer for the negative reinforcement group to respond to the command. Every pony in the positive reinforcement group stepped backward by the second try, but that was only true for half the ponies in the negative reinforcement group.
Cardiac assessments of the ponies showed that the negative reinforcement ponies had significantly increased heart rates during and even before training, revealing anxiety. "It's clear that the ponies were anticipating a negative influence even before the training session started," Sankey said.
True to Sankey's other studies on equine behavior, the effects of positive and negative reinforcement during those five days stretched beyond than the training ring. When the ponies were loose in an open paddock at the end of the training period, the positive reinforcement ponies were much more likely to approach Sankey. They stayed close by her eight times longer than the negative reinforcement ponies did, even though before the training period started, all the ponies were equally friendly with people. Even five months later, the negative reinforcement ponies stayed away farther and longer, not only from Sankey but from other humans as well.
"Through these experiments it's obvious that there's no real advantage to using negative reinforcement when training horses and ponies," Sankey said. "But with positive reinforcement, there is much to be gained for everyone."
thehorse.com, by: Christa Lesté-Lasserre, February 14 2010, Article # 15813
Clicker Training with Debra Olson Daniels<http://www.horseconscious.com/images/XII/clicker-training.jpg> Exploring Equine Clicker Training
If you all enjoyed our most recent call with Debra Olson Daniels on Clicker training, she has some workshops coming up:
April 3rd and 4th, 2010
Saturday: 10:30am - 6:00pm
Sunday: 9:00am - 4:30pm
The Magic Center
Do you wish for a stronger bond with your horse? Do you want to find a way to communicate better without force? Clicker Training creates the most delightful way to learn for you and your horse. Horses learn to think, understand what you are asking for and are happy and eager to work.
No prior clicker training experience is necessary. We will cover operant conditioning training theory, how we use the marker signal to create what we want our horses to do. During the information-packed-filled-weekend we start with the foundation exercises to get you and your horse off to a solid start using this amazing technology to create the horse of your dreams!
This seminar is also open to horses and people who understand the foundation work and are ready to incorporate the beginnings of lateral flexions....one of the gateways into balance and collection.
If you or others you know would be interested in exploring this amazing communication tool please go to her website