Thursday, May 26, 2016

Functional Medicine in Horses

Last article I wrote about a new emerging field of medicine for humans called Functional Medicine.  You can find my article here.  It's also published in my monthly column for May 2016 of

Dr. Mark Hyman, at the Ultra Wellness Centre defines Functional Medicine as:
    "FUNCTIONAL MEDICINE is the future of conventional medicine–available now. It seeks to identify and address the root causes of disease, and views the body as one integrated system, not a collection of independent organs divided up by medical specialties. It treats the whole system, not just the symptoms. Functional medicine addresses the underlying causes of disease, using a systems-oriented approach and engaging both patient and practitioner in a therapeutic partnership."
What that means is that this medicine treats the body as a whole instead of specialists only treating their field of speciality and referring you to others. (ie. working independently and not as a whole).

It also means using very nutritious food which is our natural way of eating as medicine. There are many proven studies out now that show that many of our modern day diseases like diabetes, cancer, auto immune, ADHD, autism, etc.. can be cured with 'what our Grandma ate'.

Staying away from sugar can have a HUGH positive impact on your health. Especially fatty liver disease.

What About Horses?

As I was doing my research, I was surprised to see a website talking about functional medicine for pets including horses. The website is by AcraNutura on functional medicine for pets found here.

To quote them: "Functional medicine essentially provides your pets with holistic, alternative healthcare options to treat the cause of their ailments rather than just the symptoms. "  They also make reference to Dr. Mark Hyman.

What Does All This Mean?

It means that medicine and food for horses or humans should be as close to natural in it's natural or whole state as possible. For us to benefit with the nutrition. Again, as most of our diseases are due to lack of nutrition in our food.

Whole foods like greens for humans and grass for horses. And no sugar for humans or for horses.

Grass feed meat (animals fed on pesticide-free pasture) for humans and pesticide-free pasture for horses. Pasture fed eggs - and you guessed it, pasture for horses.

What's In Season
It also means no grains or sugary grains for horses. Horses were not naturally meant to eat that much grain or seeds from plants. Only when in season.

Just like humans, we only ate whatever was in season. So humans generally ate fruit like strawberries and rhubarb in spring and other fruit in the fall. Horses started to eat grasses. As the grasses grew taller, the horse's digestive system was used to the grass.  Horses of course, would eat fruit in the fall.

According to Eleanor Blazer, equine nutritionist and owner of "Horses are meant to eat mostly forage. That is what Mother Nature intended them to eat. At least 80% of their diet should be in forages."

We as horse owners have seen an increase in human-like diseases like Crohn's disease and diabetes like diseases in horses. Perhaps it is from the grain or concentrates we feed them. I would bet on it.

It's proven in humans that food containing GMO grains like corn and soy and wheat are what causing the modern day diseases. I put forward that idea that this is also what is causes the modern day diseases in horses too.

Food for thought.

Putting my spin on pasture for horses.
@KISS Reinersue

Monday, April 25, 2016

Functional Medicine

... or what is called: "What your great grandmother ate."
Have you heard of the Urban Monk?

Have you heard of Functional Medicine?

According to Dr. Mark Hyman, (10 Times New York Bestseller List, Director of The Cleveland Center, Founder of the , Functional Medicine is :
  • FUNCTIONAL MEDICINE is the future of conventional medicine–available now. It seeks to identify and address the root causes of disease, and views the body as one integrated system, not a collection of independent organs divided up by medical specialties. It treats the whole system, not just the symptoms.
    Functional medicine addresses the underlying causes of disease, using a systems-oriented approach and engaging both patient and practitioner in a therapeutic partnership. It is an evolution in the practice of medicine that better addresses the healthcare needs of the 21st century. By shifting the traditional disease-centered focus of medical practice to a more patient-centered approach, functional medicine addresses the whole person, not just an isolated set of symptoms. "
What am I saying? Eating REAL FOOD will make us healthy. Which means we will be feeling better to be with our horses.

Like Hippocrates says: "Let Food by thy medicine. And let medicine be thy food."

I heard recently, with sadness, that Mark-Andre Blouin (equine nutrition expert 

for Agribrands Purina), is battling a rare and aggressive form of cancer. He's at the Juravinski Cancer Centre in Hamilton. That hits home for me. My niece's boyfriend is also battling stage 4 cancer and is at that same cancer center. It's painful to hear about these people. We know them. It's becoming more and more prevalent.

If you're like me, I'm getting really concerned (I'm an aquarian and am concerned about humankind and mother earth) about the current cancer rates. What's going on? We all want to enjoy our horses and be healthy.

Perhaps there is something to this functional medicine and eating real foods. What do you think? Stayed tuned for part 2, where I look into functional medicine for horses.

Putting my spin on wellness for us and our horses.
@KISS Reiners

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Bulletproof Cowboy Coffee

There's a new trend in North America to add butter to your coffee. It's called Bulletproof coffee and it's taking over the coffee world. Hello morning coffee!

Your first reaction might be , "Yuck", but it tastes very good! Please hear me out.

According to Dave Asprey of Bulletproof Exec, (the inventor of this coffee) " Bulletproof Coffee is a proven way to higher energy levels, better cognitive performance, and control over food cravings. But Bulletproof Coffee is just the start - we call it the "gateway drug into biohacking". 

Butter or fat in our coffee is bringing back an ancient tradition. Dave got his idea from buttered yak tea.  We've been told fat is bad. We fear fat. But no more! Just last month, the American Heart Association said that they had it all WRONG about fat - especially saturated fat.

I've been using it for a while now and I can vouch for what Dave is saying. I drink it in the morning and I'm not hungry until 1 or 2pm.

Can you imagine how much better we can ride our horses and do horse related activities if we were to down a cup of bulletproof java before heading out to the barn!  Higher energy levels, better cognitive performance and we're not hungry until many hours later. It's worth a try.

If you're not into coffee, it can be made with tea or hot cocoa. You simply add butter and MCT oil to your beverage of choice. And then give it a light blend with a hand blender. It looks like a latte when you're done. Yummy.  And it's good for you! 

Fat is our friend.  Fat and MCT oil is brain food. It's body food. It's good for us. I encourage you to do your own research on the internet about it.

If you're not into dairy, you can make it with coconut cream (full fat coconut milk) and MCT oil. MCT oil is liquid medium chain triglycerides (clear, liquid coconut oil with little taste). I get it at my local grocery store.

I have a link here to a video where Dave is making bulletproof coffee "the cowboy way". At the 1 min. 25sec. mark, Dave calls his bulletproof coffee making on the go, 'the cowboy way' of making coffee. Yes!

My food cravings are gone. My weight is down. Oh, did I mention that it helps with weight loss and intermittent fasting. Bonus! And the coffee is really delicious! Enjoy!

Putting a big, fat spin on my morning coffee!
@KISS Reiners

Monday, January 25, 2016

Oops. No, It's Ok Now. It's Counter Cantering.

Many years ago - I'm talking back in the 90's, I was in search for a new reining coach.  With there being no on locally that I wanted to go to, I became frustrated.  And so I opened my mind to accept different ideas and kept searching.

I read many horse magazines and one day, I noticed an ad with a website about horse training tapes. Western trainers were starting to come out with VHS training tapes of their "secrets".  I was intrigued.

Internet Mentors:
I bought tapes from people like Larry Rose, Tim McQuay, Heroes and Friends Series with Bob Avila and also Larry Trocha. These became what I call my Internet Mentors. My first version of tapes from Clinton Anderson were in VHS format as well. Shawn Flarida's may have been with DVDs.  I now no longer felt like I was stuck since travelling states-side was not really an viable option.

Discovering the Counter Canter:

I was watching Bob Avila's exercises on counter cantering and I remember a really funny story that he told about a conversation he had with a little rider at one of his clinics. Bob was demonstrating his counter canter exercises when this little rider came up to him and said: "Excuse me Mr. Avila. Did you know that you're on the wrong lead."  I couldn't help laughing with Bob's laughter and facial expressions as he recounted the story.

I had traditionally thought that way as well. I knew that being on the wrong lead was something we had to fix right away or be embarrassed. Ridiculed even.

It was revolutionary for me at the time to discover that trainers were doing it on purpose and it had so many good benefits. Picture me being blown away by what I was seeing. Just Wow.   That was a good day.

Rather than listing the benefits here which would just be repeating many others, I will refer you to the internet on the how's and why's.

 America's Horse Daily has an article here about it. There are photos as well.

I don't have a good photo to post here, so imagine a horse reverse arcing in a circle at the lope on the wrong lead.

 Here's another article titled, "Count on Counter Canter" at Horse&Rider with Bob Avila.

My Experience:
  Counter cantering really improved my riding skills tremendously. It definitely went up a notch. I did it thinking it would improve my accuracy of my lead changes. It definitely did. I felt more confident. My horse was more balanced and we were able to do a great, difficult skill.

  I would recommend using draw reins or a german martingale when doing the exercise. It helps the rider to concentrate on getting the horse to counter canter easily and not having to work on the face at the same time. Makes this easier for everyone.

My Counter-Canter Funny:

   Sometime after I had become proficient at the counter canter, I was observing what riders were doing for warm up at a reining show. One of the first coaches I ever had started talking about their warm up program and I was interested in hearing how it had changed since I was their student.

I joined the conversation and mentioned about doing figure 8s and loping on the wrong lead for the 2nd loop or circle. The former coach jumped in to insult me and said: "oh because you don't know you're on the wrong lead." and I said "no", I wanted to counter canter.  I was elated to see the look of surprise and bewilderment on the former coach's face.  My decision to move on was a good thing.

Putting my spin on doing the wrong thing right!
@KISS Reiners

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Catering vs Correction on Persistent Pawing

I was discussing the recent pawing video I did of my new 2 yr. old resale gelding and had quite a few comments on Facebook about it. It really can become a persistent problem.

This is the Facebook video I posted on pawing. Note that this video indicates that it's option 1 for correcting pawing. I use option 1 when I know that the horse is new to understanding that pawing is not ok. In other words, I use other options when the horse should know better than to paw.

Dealing with pawing: option 1: not removing him from his current position. Teaching patience.
Posted by Foundation Reining Training Centre on Monday, October 19, 2015

I find problems like these that elicit an emotional response usually are controversial. Why? I even had someone make a nasty comment about it. Thank goodness it's an accepted practise to block those drama queens. After all, if someone doesn't like something they see on Facebook (or elsewhere), then don't go there!

Anyway, I was discussing the problem of pawing with a friend of mine and she brought up a good point about correcting problems like persistent pawing.

What if Option1: Ignore. Leave at current position - doesn't work? How does persistent pawing get created?  How do we stop it? It must be frustrating for you if you have a persistent pawing horse.

Let's look at this together. Here's one scenario to consider.

All Together Now

 This is a common problem I observed when I used to board my horse at boarding stables. I did that for many decades and at many different places. No particular boarding stable is being mentioned here. I don't board my horses out - I have them at home.

 Scenario: Someone's horse is pawing and the owner is correcting it. She has tried every method she can think of BUT the horse is not changing their behaviour. The owner mentions to everyone at the stable who is seeing her horse paw to ignore the pawing behaviour. Do not give the horse attention..  Walk away. That way, the bad behaviour will stop. N.B. Similar to the video above.

But the pawing is now persistent. What happened? Why hadn't it stopped? Maddening, I'm sure! Time for other options.

This is what I've observed myself. The owner is correcting the behaviour but the other handlers are not. Let me say that again. The other people in the stables who handle the horse from time to time (say turnout and/or removal of horse from stall for stall mucking) are feeling sorry for the horse and letting the horse have what the horse wants.

I call that catering. 'Oh you poor horse. You want outside... Ok, the poor baby, let's let you outside.'. The horse gets rewarded for the pawing. The horse will paw every time it wants outside.

So, the problem is that as long as 1 person keeps catering to the horse's pawing, the horse will still paw. It's called 'variable reinforcement'. Everyone would have to do the same thing - correcting or not rewarding the horse for the persistent pawing before the horse will stop.

What to do? what to do? You can't make the other horse handlers, often part time barn help to change their behaviour (I know we wish we could!), so what does the owner do?

What did I do?  I MOVED my horse! That's the only thing I had control over.

I moved any time I knew the barn staff was going to teach my horse deplorable things.

Just saying...

Putting my spin on stopping pawing in it's tracks!
@KISS reiners

Video debut

I just got a new resale gelding the other day and was preparing to do my usual series of picture taking to include in my resale ads. I usually put up ads on, and facebook.

Kijiji ad for 2 yr. old gelding

I also periodically put up photos on my facebook page: Foundation Reining Training Centre to show the progress of the horse's training. I've learned over the years that people like to see the updates to know that I mean what I say. So you can imagine that I'm constantly taking photos as I train. Training has come a long way.

I always get perspective clients asking for videos. It's not a new thing. I'm sure you'd seen them or done them.  I've never been able to do videos as I've not had someone available on a steady basis to video me training my horses – until now!

My solution: a robotic cameraman - the Soloshot2. You can find great information on their website. I got the recommendation from Spencer King Photography when Spencer was videoing the August ORHA reining show.

I'm doing a firmware upgrade to the Soloshot robotic cameraman.
I wanted something to video me while I was riding as I didn't have to have another person around to do the videoing. It's easier and more convenient.
If you are not familiar with the concept, basically the Soloshot is mounted on a tripod with the video camera mounted on top of the Soloshot. The robotic cameraman is synced up to a device  (called a 'tag') on my wrist while I'm riding. The robotic cameraman will follow the tag thus positioning the recording video camera to video the moving object - namely me and my horse. Brilliant idea!
I'm new to the whole videoing idea. I've been playing around with it on my smart phone. On the first day of working with my new resale horse - the 2 yr. old gelding, I decided to use the video feature of my phone instead of the usual picture taking. My idea is to practise taking short videos to aid in my understanding of the whole video making process.  I'd like to do a youtube channel with my videos.
The result is that I made a bunch of small videos of my 1st cross tying session, posted them to facebook and had a blast doing it. I even made a short video on how I use coconut oil to desentize horse's to the spraying sound while conditioning the horse's manes and tails.

Desensitizing Video- spraying: new resale horse being sprayed with coconut oil for the day 1st time. All resale horses learn to like being sprayed. A part of their training program. Hope you enjoy.
Posted by Foundation Reining Training Centre on Monday, October 19, 2015

If a picture is worth a thousand words .....
how many words is a video worth?
I look forward to this new adventure in videoing horses.
Putting my spin on videoing!
@KISS reiners

For Sale: 3 yr. old palomino gelding. Grandson of Nu Chex to Cash

 LL SCAMPY NU CHEX    Lazy Lou bred horse

Note: My facebook page: Foundation Reining Training Centre always has the lastest updates and videos.

Update: Has had 1 month riding. It walk, trot, lope. Started trail riding. Extensive groundwork.

 Grandson of Nu Chex to Cash

Videos are available on my facebook page: Foundation Reining Training Centre.

Resale Video : 3 yr old palomino gelding. Grandson of Nu Chex To Cash. Just got him 2 days ago. 1st session. Cross ties. Remove burrs. Evaluate. Hope you enjoy.
Posted by Foundation Reining Training Centre on Monday, October 19, 2015

General Info:
Breed: Reg'd Quarter Horse   (AQHA#5514936 )
Temperament: Absolute sweet heart!
Sex: Gelding                                        Offspring: N/A
Age:  3 yrs. young.
Height:  14.1H
Color: palomino                                    Markings: unique blaze                      
Health: Guaranteed Sound              Reasonable firm Price: $2200 (HST included). No trades. No leases.

Buyers: Please see here for general information.

1. No health issues. All my horses are guaranteed sound.

2.  He does trailer. That is something ALL my horses have to do well.

Suitability:  Everyone!

- will make a great all around horse. He's so calm and level headed.

- Is being professionally started by me
- Will continue to be professionally trained by me until sold. 

Sire:  Nu Partender Chex x LL Tee Jay Socks. Lazy Lou Ranch 

Additional comments:

- Is not a rescue.
- What a sweet heart of a horse!!!
- Not an aggressive bone in his body! Will be in the low of the pecking order.
- Is very healthy. I always boost all my resale horses with wormer, shots, vitamins and lots of hay!

For more information or for viewing, please contact me.

Monday, September 21, 2015

SOLD. For Sale. Gracie. 8 yr. old Reg'd QH Palomino Mare

Foundation Reining Training Centre ( Durham ) offers : 

SOLD. Congratulations to Heather on the purchase of this lovely mare.

- Gracie's registered name is CCs Naughty N Nice.

- nice well trained western mare. She has had 3 months of professional tune up training by me. She will be trained until sold.

"Prettier in person than her photo!" ~ Dee of Puslinch.

- very trainable!! Suitable for beginner.
- very willing.
- slightly under 15h
- professionally trained
- guaranteed sound. Update: trim Sep.23rd. Worming: Sep. 24/2015. Dental: Spring 2014
- trail rides.
- Continental King breeding

more updated photos to come.  No video yet.

$3200 firm. (HST included). Paypal available. No trades. No leases. Price will go up with training.
Please contact me for more information or viewing.

Thanks for your interest.

Monday, September 7, 2015

A Short Course in Bits

I had a customer who was asking about picking up the right bit for a newly purchased horse. This client is new to horses and new to bits.  What followed was a short course on bits. I thought I would share that talk with you today.

Many bit manufacturers use the humane Myler bitting philosophy.

 Here are the basic technical points I mentioned to my client.
  1. A bit is used to improve the rider's communication to the horse, allowing the rider to have soft hands and soft cues and be effective in communicating.
  2. The mouthpiece is designed and matched to the horse. (I will get to how to do that below.)
  3. The shank is designed and matched to the rider. (I will get how to do that below.)
  4. SO, to determine the right bit for horse and rider, you find the right mouthpiece and put it with the right shank for the rider.
  5. A snaffle (meaning a bit with no shanks) uses no leverage, is a direct pull, has nothing to do with the mouthpiece and has everything to do with where the reins are attached to the bit so no leverage is used.
  6. There is no such thing, technically as a 'snaffle with shanks'.
  7. The more a rider needs to use their hands (ie, training, fixing, steady contact, a novice), the more a rider needs shorter shanks.
  8. Anytime a rider has quiet hands or wants quiet hands, the longer the shanks can be. The longer shanks gives the rider superior communication at the same time as precision communication.
  9. A rider generally has a few bits for specific purposes.

Here is the added information for the above mentioned points:

   0. There is a lot of wrong and confusing information in the horse industry about bits. I believe its because people have to justify the bit they are using when the reason for it is simply because it's always been the bit to use.

   1. All riders want soft, quiet hands that are effective. The right bit helps us get there as most of us are not so skilled that any bit will work fine.

   2a.  Pressure applied to the tongue via the mouthpiece, is what gives a rider a 'braking' system. The straighter the mouthpiece (ie, more surface area of the mouthpiece touching the tongue, the more braking power or  mechanical 'brakes' you have available for use, should the rider need it.) fyi. A broken or jointed mouthpiece gives a lot of brakes via discomfort or pain! So I would not recommend a bit with a broken mouthpiece.

  2b.  The mouthpiece needs to take into account the horse's personality.    According to Dale Myler, this is the most important factor. If you have a horse with a bad attitude or stubborn , for example, you will need a bit with a straighter mouthpiece in order to have a good 'set of brakes' in case you need to deal with the 'attitude'.  I still wouldn't as a last resort use a broken mouthpiece for this type of horse - I would get another horse.

  2c. My client has an older, very well trained, absolute sweetheart of a horse so the mouthpiece I recommended has a very large port in the centre of the mouthpiece, to give the horse lots of room for the tongue to move around since the rider won't need a lot of mechanical brakes. 

  3.  A long shank gives a skilled rider assistance in keeping our hands quiet and soft. It is my sincere wish that all riders and horses get to the point of successfully using a long shanked bit. 
   4a. Sometimes the bit to use is determined by the sport you do with your horse and/or the rule book. BUT, you can always train and practise in the better bit and just show in the regulated bit.  Those people who would ridicule you for it, don't need to know the bit you are using at home. :)

   5a. A snaffle is not about the mouthpiece. A snaffle is about a bit with no leverage. Which means the reins are attached so no leverage is used - generally on a loop.  A snaffle has been incorrectly associated with a 'broken' mouthpiece or a mouthpiece with a joint in it.
A snaffle. Note the mouthpiece.
   7a. Shorter shanks allows a rider to not be as quiet and still not be generally harsh as a lot of movement would do.

   7b. So short shanks are for rough hands, busy hands, fixing hands, training hands, novice hands, "I don't have good balance" hands. You get the idea. Anytime a rider has to use their hands a lot.

   8. Long shanks assist a rider in keeping their hands soft and quiet. It's part of a rider becoming a skilled horseperson.  It is my sincere wish that all riders and horses will get to the skill level of being able to use a long shanked bit successfully. 

  9a.  Riders need: 1. A snaffle for learning new activities or a tune up or anytime a rider has to move their hands a lot for some reason. My client bought a snaffle as the rider is still learning to ride and the horse is new to her.

 9b.  Riders need: 2. A curb bit to keep their hands and cues soft. My client also bought a long shanked curb bit as the rider is skilled enough to use it with a very well trained horse.

Note: I didn't mention combination bits which I love, to my client as it would complicate the basics he was looking for.

I hope this has helped you.  For more in depth information on bits, please search the other articles on this website. I'm also available for consultation. Thanks.

Putting my spin on bits.
@KISS Reiners

Friday, August 7, 2015

The Steps I Learned to Show

I've seen many people over the years come and go when it comes to showing reiners and other western events. Coming from all different backgrounds, I think what they all have in common is drive. And determination. And commitment. For me, I just really, really wanted to do it.

I've seen riders who have spent a fortune and those who have not and the process is still the same. It's like the ole saying: "you get out of it what you put into it".

Here is what the process was like for me. Hope it helps.

1. Get a good experienced horse.  I remember other club members talking about getting so well trained of a horse that 'any monkey could ride it.'.  Then you are pretty much guaranteed to win.  I used to think so too. But I've experienced it differently.

Yes, you do get a lot of wins riding that well trained horse. Yes, a good horse makes a good rider. But you also have to be willing to put in the time and practise to learn how to get the best out of that horse. (Here is a photo of me showing my 1st practise reining horse in 1993.)

My main goal for competing has always been to see how well my training program was working. I also tried to better what I had from the last show. It worked out well for me. Perhaps you have that drive too!

2. Get the best Trainer/Mentor you can find.  I was fortunate in that the guy I was dating at the time was training and showing reiners.  I wanted to do that too. He also was being coached by the best coach we had in the area at the time. So we spent almost every weekend at the coach's place during the spring to fall time frame. I always called it 'Reiner Immersion'.

 I have some of my best memories from that time.  I remember a funny story about me that I want to share. A bunch of us were training and practising in the arena as usual and I had just completed my turn. I stood atop my horse resting in the corner. The next thing I knew, I had woken up on a couch! Apparently, I have fallen asleep on my horse and had fallen off while still asleep! Ah, those were the days!

3. It takes Time to Learn the program.  One of the best pieces of advice I got from a few people was to learn the whole process or program first from someone before incorporating other people's processes into your own. It took time. It was great advice. Once, I learned a complete program from my coach, I then knew 'the whole picture' so to speak. I could then learn how to improve and customize the program or process to suit me.

One big example for me, is that I'm not very tall. I have short legs. Most teenagers are taller than me. So I had to learn to use spurs well in order to really communicate to my horse.

4. Learn from many sources.  In addition to riding and learning all the time, I also tried to learn from as many sources as I could. ORHA offered clinics.  Sometimes I rode. Sometimes I just watched. We were a small club when I first starting learning but we had greats like Shawn Flarida, Brent Wright, and Dutch Chapman.

 I also purchased and watched as many videos as I could get my hands on. That's where I started learning from the greats like Bob Avila. A handful of the greats had their own training tapes. Top trainers like Tim McQuay, Al Dunning and of course people like Clinton Anderson.

This tip wouldn't be complete without mentioning watching the greats at horse shows. At the All American Quarter Horse Congress, I used to stay up during the wee hours of the morning and watch all the best reining horse trainers get their horses ready for that day. That was the main reason why I went. To watch and learn.

Oh! Once I learned who wasn't good at showing, I stopped watching them. 'Nuff said.

5. Show Smarts. Showing is both an art and a science. I remember those first shows. Thanks to the Ontario Reining Horse Association, I was able to show 'in my own back yard'. They only had the 1 beginner class in those days - not like today with so many choices for new people. It was just the ticket! I was able to get the show experience and confidence I needed before trying other shows in the states.

6. Assist the Judges. One of the opportunities I have is to volunteer for my reining club.  Our judges require an assistant or 'scribe' as we call them to record the scores as the judge is scoring each maneuver for the contestant's run. I started to scribe over 20 years ago to not only help the club but also to keep on top of the changes in the rules. It also allowed me to see first hand who the judges were scoring our runs so that I would know best as well. Perhaps that is possible for your too.

7. Upward and Onward.  For me, the last process is one of moving up. As I progressed and wanted to learn more, I got a different horse. I think everyone can agree that showing different horses brings lots of showing experience.

Good luck in your showing!  If you're in the neighbourhood of Fletcher's Horse World in Waterford, Aug. 14-16th, I will see you there. I'll be scribing for the judges!

Putting my spin on learning to show.
@KISS Reiners

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Dearest Abbie

I've got a wonderful story to share with you today.  It's sad but has a happy ending.  If you want to hear a great, heart warming story then grab your tissues and please read on! 

You know that feeling you get when some situation turns out so well and the happiness you feel, feels like it's permeated right through your whole body. Well, that happened to me recently. It's a win-win-win situation. I hope you're smiling right now.

I was so full of joy to finally find a family that would recognize Abbie's worth and see how much of a sweetheart she is and decide to buy her for their 14yr. old daughter's first horse.   Ah! How sweet! It is.  I had a 'glow on' and a big smile on my face for 2 days. Finally, someone who saw her for who she is - an incredible horse. It only took me 3 years.

In an article I wrote last year titled 'Everyone Needs An Abbie', I talked about how "...everyone should have an Abbie. That will be my new saying. Everyone should have an Abbie.  I will really miss her when she's gone."
Abbie is the best babysitter for new students.

She's the classic example of a 'bomb-proof' horse. She's well trained western (a retired reining horse). She's well trained for trail riding (13yrs. on her resume). She's a celebrity (featured on America's horse) and an absolute sweetheart!

The problem I have with liking the resale horses I sell to clients, well, I have trouble selling them.  I usually cry when they go. Note to self: Have to stop buying the ones I like too. Another note: I did sell Abbie last year to someone but I had a better fitting horse for her so she traded.

So, I sold Abbie recently to my 14yr. old student named Sarah. It's the first horse for that family. What a great choice. She will have a very happy home  (In the 2nd photo, Sarah is posing with her 1st horse, Abbie).

Photo Credit: Mike Sloss

The thing is, she's 21 years old. My vet friend Brenda says that if she didn't already know how old she is, she would think Abbie is only 11 or 12. She's in great shape. 

'Why are you selling an old horse for that much money? I would buy her if she were half her age." My reply: "Then she'd be worth triple the money."

"She's way too old for me. I don't want anything more than 13yrs. old."

"I was told to buy a horse between ages 7 and 12."

Photo Credit: Mike Sloss

 It's a happy ending.  I'm so glad that a family recognized the fact that a horse in their 20s still has many good years left.

And yes, I will bawl my eyes out when she's gone.

Putting my spin on saying goodbye
@KISS reiners

Friday, May 29, 2015

How to Cheat Your Training and Have Fun Doing It!

Whether you're a recreational rider or a consistent show participant, training bridles and bits are effective tools to develop your horse's feel and responsiveness while giving the horse a bit of support to their everyday riding tack and training. It easily reinforces your training while riding casually.

With the decision to just go for a ride and enjoy the beautiful late spring weather, you don't want to bother with your usual show or work bridle with all of it's training additions. It takes too much time to assemble and it's just a casual ride after all. 

I developed this 2 piece training equipment team in my search for ways to speed up training and make it easier for me to reinforce the arena training while I was giving client's horses some training on the trail. Trying to maximize my riding time into training time.

Also referred to as a training bit with a german martingale, this 2 piece partnership of equipment is setup similarly to a traditional bit and martingale but uses the principle of multi-pressure points that feel to your horse more like a natural horsemanship type halter and medium shanked bit.

It consists of a regular headstall with a multi-ringed combination bit (here I'm using a Myler low port 3-ring combo for multi-training purposes) and the western style german martingale. The martingale's rope split fork is run through the top bit ring near the side of the mouthpiece and comes around to attach to one of 3 tiny D-rings on the western split reins. The western reins are simply attached to the bit in one of the 3 bit rings depending on the training level of your horse (I use snaps for a quick-change) and what you want to be reinforcing in their training while on your ride through the country side.

How It Differs

The difference between this setup and your regular bridle-bit-martingale combo is that the german martingale works on a pulley system compared to other martingales liking the running or standing martingale.

The positioning of the reins on the multi-ring combination bit, will give you either a snaffle effect on the top ring (shared with the rope split fork), the medium ring for a short shanked curb bit result or the bottom rein position for a medium shanked curb bit effect.

So how to incorporate this training equipment and practises into your everyday riding? It can turn your trail ride, cool out or non-training ride into a very positive reinforcement of your work.

How To Make It Work For You

The multi-ringed training bit, with a snap attached to the end of the rein, can allow for quick changes between the snaffle, short shank and medium shank positions of the bit. This allows for good responses to problems on the ride.

I use a Myler combination bit because the 3-ring shank has a stopper and acts like a small pulley.  The Myler bit also has a unique system where the curb strap and noseband are 1 piece of nylon so they work together instead of separately with other nosebands.

When the reins are picked up by the rider, the Myler bit will apply pressure in several places along the poll, noseband, curb strap and mouth before going to the tongue. the mouthpiece will slide along part of the top ring to give a presignal to the horse before stopping at the stopper. At which point the mouthpiece will put pressure on the tongue. This works great with the german martingale. It's so effortless for the rider and oh, so helpful for the horse. A rider's hands can be so light.

The pulley-system type martingale will teach the horse where to set their head and work on removing resistance while you are merely enjoying your time among the heather and hills.  There is little work to do for the rider as the split fork does all the work.

The rope split fork of the martingale when run through the top ring of the bit comes around and attaches to 1 of 3 tiny D-rings on the western reins. These 3 positions allow for 3 different head positions. The first position closet to the bit will allow the horse to get used to the feel of the pulley and asks for a small amount of giving to the vertical. Of course it also depends on how much the rider lengthens or shortens their hands on the reins.

The 2nd position teaches the horse the proper way to give to bit pressure, how to carry their head and how to respond properly to cues.

The 3rd position will really work on the horse's head set. This is good for really high headed horse's who have a tendency to pull the reins out of a rider's hands. The rider simply sets the split fork at the right D-ring rein attachment and enjoys their ride.

A simple change of equipment helps to get a fresh perspective on your horse's skills. It might also point out where the rider can make positive changes as well.

Simply attach your training combination bit and german martingale and enjoy your day! Oh yeah! How to cheat your training? Well. Doing it while riding for leisure is great fun! It kinda feels like cheating - though not really.

Putting my spin on multi-tasking while basking in the sunlight.
@KISS Reiners

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

SOLD! FOR SALE: 8yr. old Reg'd AQHA buckskin mare

SOLD! LL ZANS BAR FROST    Lazy Lou bred horse

Congratulations to Annette on the purchase of this lovely mare.

April 2015

May 2011

General Info:
Breed: Reg'd Quarter Horse   (AQHA# 4935066)
Temperament: Absolute sweet heart!
Sex: Mare                                          Offspring: None
Age: 8yrs. young.
Height:  15H
Color: buckskin                                     Markings: black legs                      
Health: Guaranteed Sound              Reasonable firm Price: $2500 (HST included)

Buyers: Please see here for general information.

1. No she has no health issues. All my horses are guaranteed sound. If not, then they are not for sale until they are.
2. No she doesn't have any injuries. She is guaranteed sound. I don't have a horse for sale if they have an injury.
3.  Yes, she does trailer well. That is something ALL my horses have to do well. I don't tolerate a bad loader.
4.  Yes, the horse has been off property as she has been on trail rides to various places.
5.  Yes she has been around cattle. She has been on a cattle drive and has been around cattle all the time.
6.  No, she has never had any foals.

Suitability:  Everyone! who has a sense of balance when riding
- very well trained horse for general riding, trail riding, competition
- great kids horse
- great for novices and mature people

- Has been professionally trained by me twice
- Was extensively trail ridden for many years
- Has had 1 owner since the breeder
- Will continue to be trained until sold. 

Sire:  PC Frosty Red X Sun Frost.  Lazy Lou Ranch 

Additional comments:

- Is not a rescue.
- What a sweet heart of a horse!!!
- Not an aggressive bone in her body! Will be in the middle of the pecking order.
- Is very healthy. I always boost all my resale horses with wormer, shots, vitamins and lots of hay!
- She is also on glucosamine as a preventative.

For more information or for viewing, please contact me.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

SOLD. For Sale: Continental Reining Saddle - Slightly Used

SOLD. Used Reining Saddle by Continental Saddlery 
The REINING Authority™ (888) 730-6464

#C62 Southern Belle Cowhorse Performer. Info here.

Tree: Full Quarter Horse bars, 6 3/4" Gullet width

Size: 16"
Length: 28" overall length
weight: ~ 31 lbs.
Saddle Color: natural (can be darkened)
Fender Length: medium (5'4" to 6')
Seat Material: brown nubuc (fake suede)
Skirt Lining: synthetic wool
Stirrups: Wooden (Don Orwell $165)
Horn: cowhorse
Cinch latigo and back cinch include

Excellent condition. Stored inside.
Used 12 times.

Continental price $3395.00USD +ship
Paid $2486 (tax incl.) Price $2000.
Will ship.  You can pay by cash, cheque, Paypal and credit cards.

Please call me for more information.
thanks for your time.
@KISS Reiners