Hi everyone! We've been a little sluggish lately with updates, videos, and pictures. We hope you'll forgive us for neglecting you for so long, but uprooting and moving 800+ miles is a bit rough.
You'll notice we've done some spring cleaning, and our website had gotten a face lift for the new season and new location. Now that we're all settled in North Carolina we can kick things back into gear, so stay tuned!
Whenever we get a new horse in, regardless of how much training they have had, we start from the absolute beginning with them. This allows us to get to know the horse and lets the horse get to know us and what to expect from us. It also lets us find out if there are any holes in their training.
Cerice's new 8 year old Friesian mare, Lyra, is a fully trained driving horse and has some riding experience too. Lyra has been no exception in our start from the ground up policy. So far she's done great with all the ground work and Cerice has backed her. We bitted her today for the first time, and she did get a little panicky. We took that opportunity to practice putting the bit in and taking it out of her mouth (since she's got such a long neck and can get her head up so high it's easier if she's relaxed about the whole thing). We made sure there was lots of praise and were calm and cool about it all. She relaxed quite a bit and we ended on a good note. It's always important to end on a good note with a relaxed horse. They carry that feeling through to the next lesson.
We officially made it to our new home base in Shelby, NC on November 29th. We've spent the last week getting our bearings and making sure the horses settled in well. We've caught up with some friends, started getting the barn organized, picked up our new horse and a youngster for training, and started on our new journey!
For our friends in New York, don't worry we haven't completely abandoned you. Cerice is back today and will be available for lessons for anyone interested. Knutur will be back at regularly scheduled intervals to serve our shoeing clients and teach as his schedule allows.
Hey Ladies! Cerice here. I'm taking full credit for this post, since it requires a certain... inside perspective.
Over the past two days at Equine Affaire, I have been watching women of various skill levels and disciplines ride in clinics on some pretty fancy horses, with some very talented clinicians. As a woman, and a teacher I find myself cringing in sympathetic discomfort as I watch women go bouncing past, yes in that way. As a woman with an ample enough bosom, I can speak from experience and say with sincerity, "Save The Ta-tas!"
It doesn't matter if you ride on a trail horse, a dressage horse, a western pleasure horse, or a smooth gaited tolting machine; if you are on a horse your girls need a lot of extra support. Aesthetics aside, there are some very important reasons why all women who are larger busted than an A cup need the most support they can get. We're talking about damage control, center of gravity improvement, better balance, relief of back pain, and making your horse's job easier. All that from making sure your girls are snug and secure!
Even a little bit of bouncing around from the movement of a horse underneath us is enough to cause soft tissue damage. To put it mildly, if they're bouncing enough for you to notice, you are potentially doing damage. A good, and I mean REALLY good sports bra is going to give you enough support that you can ride the most god awful, hollow backed, peg legged, trot all day. You may not have any teeth left in your head, but your girls won't feel a thing.
The right sports bra will also lift your bosom up and strap it in snugly enough to your chest, that your center of gravity will move further in to the core of your body. In essence, you won't be weighted down in the front. This will make it easier for you to open up your shoulders, straighten your upper back, sit deeper in the saddle, and be able to follow your horse's movement with a lot more ease. It's sad but true, that sometimes our choice of bras can really drag us down.
With our two nearest and dearest friends safely and securely buckled in for the ride, this allows for our balance to improve, and may even result in lower back, shoulder, and hip pain and strain lessening. Wouldn't it be nice to be able to relax more in the saddle and not have to reposition ourselves in an attempt to alleviate this or that stiff muscle? It might be just as simple as changing your bra!
With all this improvement in center of gravity, balance, and relaxation we'll also be making it easier for our horse to balance and support us. Every time we shift or get tight in the saddle, we're changing the balance of the horse as well. When we're stiff, we impede their ability to move freely. When we're uncomfortable, they're uncomfortable. Really, it all comes down to this, if you love your horse support your ta-tas.
How do you find this magic undergarment you ask? It really comes down to trial and error. Be determined. Take your best girlfriend with you, and go to the mall or department store. Be resolved to try on as many bras as it takes. I personally have spent hundreds of dollars searching for a sports bra that was comfortable enough to ride in, and that also gave me the support I needed. Now I'm not going to get too personal here, but suffice to say that I need a good bit of support. After trying on, and unfortunately buying dozens of sports bras (some claiming to be specifically for the equestrian woman's needs), I struck gold. For me, the Champion Shape Scoop-Back Full-Figure Underwire Sports Bra (pictured above) does the trick. In the dressing room, it passed the most rigorous jumping up and down I could manage, and in the saddle it holds up (no pun intended) to some really awful bouncy warmblood trotting (no I don't just ride Icelandics). I'm not saying that this bra will work for you, but I am saying find something that does. It is a life changing experience.
What you choose to do with your horse's winter hoof care really depends on a couple of things. Do you plan on riding a lot? Will you be riding mostly indoors, outdoors, in the snow, on rough terrain? The shoes are mainly there to protect your horse's hooves and give them added traction. We'll cover some points to consider when deciding what route to take with your horse's hoof care, but also recommend consulting with your regular hoof care professional. Your farrier or trimmer will have a good idea of the condition of your horse's hooves and their material, in order to help you make an informed decision.
If you plan on riding mostly indoors on soft, groomed footing, or not riding much at all, it can be good to give your horse some time without shoes if the hoof material and toughness will support that. Some benefits of giving your horse some barefoot time include allowing the hoof to expand and toughen up, particularly in the sole. If your horse is on pads regularly, some time without them will allow the hoof to breath and with treatment may help reduce or eliminate any possible bacterial development like thrush.
If your horse has poor hoof material or very sensitive hooves, going barefoot may not be the best choice. The hard ground in the winter can add to breakage and chipping, and could cause the tender-footed horse un-necessary pain, bruising, and possibly accesses. This will vary on a case by case basis. Sometimes going barefoot can help toughen the sole and develop calluses that may alleviate some sensitivity. This is something you should discuss with your hoof care provider.
If you plan to keep your horse on shoes in the winter, they NEED studs for traction and pads to help prevent the development of snow balls. Shoes without traction are dangerously slippery. Snow balls and ice build up inside the hoof, and can cause tendon and ligament injuries, bruising, and further inhibits traction. Discuss with your hoof care provider what kind of riding and terrain you plan on encountering so that they can give your horse an appropriate amount and type of traction on the shoes. Snow ball pads are either a rim pad around the inside of the shoe, or full rubber pads that have a rounded part in the middle. Both types work well.
If you've ever had to soak your horse's hoof, you more than likely know the frustration that you both can face with trying to keep their hoof in a bucket of water and medications or cleaning products. This technique may save you and your horse from the chaos that can arise from trying to soak their hoof. Watch this video and see for yourself! Happy Soaking!
Empty IV Fluid Bag (You can get this used from your local veterinary hospital)
Very warm water
Medicated products or cleansing products
Vet Wrap, Duct Tape, or Elasticon
Today's world is one of social media, instant connectivity, fast food, drive-thrus, super-marts, instant drink mix, shake and bake, now, Now, NOW! We are programmed to seek instant gratification at every turn. We know where we are and what we're doing ten steps before we're done with what we haven't finished doing so that we can do what we're doing now. Make sense? No. Of course not. Now imagine how our poor horse feels!
We speed into the barn and zip through grooming and tacking up so that we can spend a little time with them in between work and errands and dinner. No sooner do we get on our horse, than we start asking them for something they may or may not be ready for. In their daze from speed grooming, they maybe haven't caught up with the program, or worse yet they resent the rushing around.
Our horse is a little slow to respond, or maybe a little resistant. We just want a little relaxation and cooperation! We push a little harder. The horse resists a little more. We get cranky. They get cranky. We get frustrated. It just builds from there. We've all had these days.
Lets rewind part way through this scenario. 'We just want a little relaxation and cooperation.' It's important to realize that while we're going a million miles a minute to cram every item on our to do list into our day, our horse has been spending the day at the pace of nature, and the sun, and the rain, and clouds. There is no agenda, to do list, or next big project on their schedule until we get there and ask them to take on ours. So while we're rushing to spend time with them, they are wondering what the rush is. They are there. You are there. What more is there?
We can learn a lot from our horses. Way more than they can ever learn from us. Horses live in the now. They experience each moment, be it good or bad at 100% capacity. It's only when they interact with humans that they start to project and anticipate what is to come. It's through our dealings with them that they learn what rushing, and stress, and anxiety are. If we could just learn that when we are with them, every moment is what it is. That moment is perfect for the fact that we are in it with our horse, be it a moment of good or bad. We can use it to enhance each following moment if we are present to experience and learn what it has to brings us. If it is a good moment, we can seek to replicate it in future moments. If it is a bad moment, we can learn what made it so and avoid replicating it. The important thing is, that each moment is just that, a moment. It is not eternity, and it does not define the next moment or the one after that.
When we stop anticipating what's next, when we stop regretting what was, we can be and accept. With acceptance, our horses become more relaxed. They become more willing, and able to work with us. When they feel that we have slowed down to let them catch up, the greet us as a long lost friend. We can both relax and we both feel cooperative.
So what can we do to be with our horse in each moment?
Sit in the car for a few moments when you first arrive at the barn. Take a few deep breaths. Wait for a moment out side your horse's stall before getting them out to groom and tack up. Breath. Experience each smell, sound, sensation. Feel each brush stroke, visualize each cue, feel your horse's breath and movement. Smile.
Welcome to Tips, Tricks, & Thoughts. This is our blog for providing you, the horse owner, with little tidbits of information and knowledge to help you along in your journey. We're enthusiastic to reach out and address your questions, share helpful tips, and start thought provoking discussions.
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Just For You!
Pangaea Equestrian Services provides tips, tricks, and thoughts on care, training, and discussion topics for our friends in the horse world.