Monitoring Your Horse’s Vital Signs and Administering Medications Safely

equine-vet-examining-horse

I assembled this collection of veterinarian produced videos, to help you gain confidence monitoring your horse’s vital signs and administer injectable and oral medications safely.  By gaining these skills you will be better prepared to evaluate your horse in an emergency and convey key information to your veterinarian.  As always, be sure to consult with your vet before commencing any treatment.

God Will Preserve Your Dreams During A Season Of Caregiving

My hope today, is to encourage those in a long season of caregiving.  Your riding goals may seem a distant memory, but they are not forgotten by God.  He greatly honors your commitment to care for your loved one.  “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me”  Matthew 25:40.   In such a season myself, the Lord is teaching me to rely upon His provision rather than exhausting myself overthinking every challenge.   Continue reading

Hope For Your Challenges

“My horse would be further along with another rider” is a sentiment I hear all too often from clients and friends.  This thought tends to coexist with the belief that their horse would have a better life with a better rider.  This grieves me because the truth is, horses don’t care if they’re at training level or FEI so long as their needs are being met and they’re stewarded with love and respect.  Through the Lord’s divine providence, He brought you and your horse together to learn, grow and enjoy each other richly.  Continue reading

Tristan Tucker Clinic

Tristan Tucker, Indoor Brabant, March 2014

Tristan Tucker, Indoor Brabant, March 2014

I have been using elements of John Lyons style groundwork for years, but have had difficulty transferring that work to the saddle in a way that is compatible with the dressage training scale.  Last weekend I had the good fortune to attend a clinic with Grand Prix dressage trainer, Tristan Tucker, based in the Netherlands.  His “conditioned response system” was developed out of an eclectic background as a games, eventing and jump rider and working alongside his mom in a racing barn before relocating to Europe.  His program progressively raises a horse’s tolerance for pressure, improves their proprioception, enhances suppleness and improves their fore and hind limb range of motion.  Tristan worked with each horse/rider combination 1 hour per day which began with mobility work then transitioned to de-spooking exercises where standing still was the correct response and finished with fore and hind limb range of motion exercises.  I found his communication style to be especially effective and was impressed how much he accomplished in a short time frame. Continue reading

Train your eye to better identify lameness in your horse

I came across this well done, five part video series, that helps us better identify lameness in our horses.  This first video discusses how lameness is diagnosed and the next four videos are actual case studies.  Each video is 1.5 to 4.5 minutes in length and was prepared by Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph.  Enjoy! Continue reading

On your mark, get set, breed show!

Ariane -/*/* Dressage at Devon Produce of Dam Champion (83.5%) in 2004 and Reserve in 2003.

Ariane -/*/*, Dressage at Devon Produce of Dam champion (83.5%) in 2004 and reserve in 2003.

Last week I discussed whether breed shows could benefit your youngster.  This week, I will help you prepare for your first show!  One month prior:

1.     Familiarize yourself with the USEF 2014 rule book (pages 91-100) and the competition prize list.

2.     Acclimate your 2-year-old to working in a bridle.  For help http://youtu.be/PCOUJvBL27c Continue reading

Are breed shows worthwhile for my youngster?

Dressage at Devon Breeder's Group Champion 2006, 2004 and Reserve 2005, 2003, 2002

Dressage at Devon Breeder’s Group Champion 2006, 2004 and Reserve 2005, 2003, 2002

At Blue Waters, we are in Devon prep mode and are honored to prepare horses for several of our clients.  Often I am asked if the breed ring is a good opportunity for youngsters to get exposure to their future life as a performance horse.  My answer is always a resounding, maybe!  In general I recommend very shy or nervous youngsters stay home until they grow into more confidence.  This includes foals who are still at their dam’s side, even if mom herself is calm.  The high energy of show grounds, particularly a venue like Devon, can really overwhelm them.  On the other hand, an independent and confident foal who has a fretful mom can still have a positive experience provided the dam is mannerly with her handler.  One of my broodmares was quite herd bound and became anxious when taken off the farm, however her foals enjoyed having new adventures and performed very well.  If your primary goal is providing life experience for your young horse, then by all means give breed shows a try.  If you are hoping to bring home a ribbon, then you have more to consider.  Foals, yearlings and two-year-olds are tricky to assess, given the fact that their bodies and movement seemingly change by the week.  It’s important to find peace with this reality, or you may set yourself up for disappointment.  If results are important to you, consider having your horse evaluated by a seasoned breeder, professional handler, breed judge or stallion owner.  Judges are charged with evaluating a few minutes in your young horse’s life and it’s a very difficult task indeed.  By no means does the outcome prophesy the potential of your youngster!  Continue reading