Reflecting on 2015

2015 was marked by new beginnings.  I immersed myself in the study of nutrition and microbiota health, for both people and our equine friends. You can read a bit more about this here.  We welcomed Rachael Clawson and her beloved Domino to Blue Waters.  Rachael serves as Stable Manager at Hassler Dressage.  We also welcomed back Cory (Gregory) O’Connor and Wylie.  Cory was a long term intern at Blue Waters and is now a very successful professional trainer and owner of Elimika Sport Ponies.  We welcomed Teri Beste’s, Dubonnet into our training program and Lynn Schriver and Kara Buttimer into our teaching program.  We all benefitted immensely from biweekly long line clinics with Richard Malmgren.  Although he and his wife JJ Tate, have relocated to South Carolina we will be continuing with monthly clinics in 2016.  Martina enjoyed a great show season with her homebred Cordialle at Training and First Level.  Kara Buttimer won big with her beloved Abigail at Training Level and also found a new passion for fox hunting.  The New Year also gives us the opportunity to celebrate the successes of our offspring and their owners.  Here are some of the highlights: Continue reading

Why I Am So Excited About Microbiota!

E. coli bacteriaDid you know that your intestines are home to a complex and fascinating community of microorganisms including eukaryotes, archaea, bacteria and viruses?  In fact there are ten times more bacteria in our bodies than cells.  These microorganisms account for 1-3% of our body mass.  In healthy people, these microbes exist in harmony within our bodies serving essential functions such as synthesizing certain vitamins, breaking down and extracting nutrients from the food we eat, train our immune systems to recognize invaders, produce anti-inflammatory compounds, and balance our brain chemistry.  A growing body of research suggests illness, stress, poor diet and certain medications can adversely affect our microbiota, potentially causing disease1.  On the upside however, it may also be possible to heal disease by rebalancing our gut environment.  Scientists working on the The Human Microbiome Project, are busy exploring these questions.   An identical effort, The Equine Microbiome Project, is underway on behalf of our equine friends.  Using technology developed during the sequencing of the human genome, both projects are working to isolate and characterize microbiota across as many people and horses as possible, with the intent of identifying microbiome differences associated with health and disease.

The Biddle Lab in the Department of Animal and Food Sciences at the University of Delaware is front and center of the Equine Microbiome Project.  Dr. Biddle and her team are discerning differences between the microbiota of “hard keepers” versus “easy keepers” as well as horses impacted by colic and laminitis and those horses who have not been afflicted. They are also looking at how age, environmental stressors and diet, impact gut health.  You can become part of this exciting project by submitting a sample of manure from your horse.  The bacteria present in your horse’s manure will be identified using DNA sequencing.  You will receive the results which you can compare with samples already in the database.  You can submit new samples over time to evaluate how your management is affecting your horse’s microbiota.  I am planning a seminar around this important area of research in the coming weeks.  Follow our Facebook page, for more details!

  1. Auto-immune diseases such as type II diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia and certain cancers. Neuro-chemical imbalances in the brain such as schizophrenia, depression, bipolar disorder may also be related to microbiome dysfunction.

Further Reading:

  • To learn more about microbiota, click here.
  • To learn more about the Human Microbiome Project, click here
  • To learn more about the Equine Microbiome Project, click here
  • To submit a fecal sample to learn more about your microbiome, click here,
  • To submit a manure sample from your horse and participate in the Equine Microbiome Project, click here

The Elusive Pursuit of Straightness

In the classical riding schools, riders begin their education on the lunge line astride well-trained school masters to develop correct and effective positions.  In the U.S. however, this is rarely the case.  Most riders are trying their very best to make progress with challenging horses, limited financial resources,  limited time and limited access to instructors with school masters. This can feel endlessly frustrating.  I have prepared four articles to help and encourage you. Continue reading

Giving Honor To Whom Honor Is Due

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The weather may be dreary, but my spirit is brightened when I reflect on our client’s victories in 2014.   All three of Kroniek’s offspring, bred while on lease to Lazy J Sporthorses, had a fruitful year in the show ring.  Faberge Blue by Contango (owned by Lara Mitchelson ) debuted and won at training level under Michael Bragdell with scores to 78.4%.  Full brothers Grafiet Gabriel and Hancock by Rousseau, earned 8th and 10th place respectively in the Dressage at Devon breed show making their owner Cindy Mattern very happy! Continue reading

Monitoring Your Horse’s Vital Signs and Administering Medications Safely


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. Continue reading

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