Because I Say So!

Domination, intimidation, confrontation, anthropomorphism – and the effects on your horse.

In this article, we will briefly explore how our ‘frame of mind’, interaction and communication styles affect our horses – mentally and physically!

Watching a young father today with his unruly but content and curious toddler at our local Wholefoods, I remembered a standard sentence that I heard when I was a child: “Why?” “Because I say so.”

The memory triggered number of other phrases that people in my generation will still be familiar with:

  • Don’t talk back.
  • Children should be seen, not heard.
  • ….. the list goes on.

Not blaming the generation of my parents here, who learned their parenting skills from a generation born into monarchy. Not listening was utterly ‘un-Prussian’!

What I am saying in a nut shell: We all know that what we learned to be true at some point, may no longer serve our higher purpose and we can unlearn and relearn to better meet our own and others’ needs – including our horses!

One of those things many riders and horse people need to desperately unlearn and relearn – in my opinion – is the way they interact with horses.

Negative Effects of  Confrontational and Threatening Interaction

Ever walked down the street and heard a sudden crash from a car accident? How did your body respond? You went into ‘defense mode‘, preparing to fight or run. Horses and other mammals respond very similarly – with ‘hyperarousal‘. scared-horse-200x132

Here from loom, S. L. and Farragher, B. (2010) Destroying Sanctuary: The Crisis in Human Service Delivery Systems. New York: Oxford University Press. (pp. 102-106)

“Like other animals [like horses…], humans have formed a highly effective protective system that evolved in our original evolutionary environment when human beings lived in small groups of family members and were threatened by hungry predators. This defensive action system is a total body mobilization, driven by powerful neurochemicals that flood our brain and body. To survive, we must pay attention to any information from the environment that might help us, so many of our senses become more acute—eyes dilate, hearing improves, smells sharpen. Whenever threatened, our attention becomes riveted on the potential threat, and we become hypervigilant to what is going on in our surroundings. … This state is called “hyperarousal” (Horowitz 1986). Below the level of our conscious awareness, we choose appropriate survival-based action: fight, flight, freeze, appease. If we survive the threat, recuperation follows, which is characterized by rest and isolation, wound care, and gradual return to daily activities (van der Hart, Nijenhuis et al. 2005).”

Confrontational Interaction with our horses keeps the horse in a constant state of hyperarousal. This does not always show up as a ‘hot’ horse. The following can be indicators of chronic hyperarousal:

  • Shut down and dull, perhaps ‘lazy’
  • Shut down and occasionally explosive/unpredictable
  • “Rude” – another way of being ‘shut down’ (walks right over you, pushes into you, just wants you to ‘go away’…)
  • Aggressive (bites, kicks, aggressive toward other horses)
  • Tense (stiff movement, holds breath, grinds teeth, leans on bit or gets behind bit, etc.)

Possible long-term health problems resulting from chronic hyperarousal (examples):

  • Arthritic changes (namely in the vertebrae from staying stiff under saddle)
  • Ulcers and chronic teeth or TMJ problems
  • Stress on muscles, tendons, ligaments and resulting injuries (from lack of suppleness, chronic tension)
  • Possibly Insulin Resistance (see source below)

Your frame of mind – and how it plays into your horse’s mental and physical soundness

Our ‘frame of mind’ determines our reality, to a great extent. It provides basically the color glasses we see the world thought. We will then also behave and communicate according to this ‘frame’ and draw respective conclusions.

Example: If I am a surgeon, I will look at every wart as something that can be removed surgically. If I am an herbalist, I will think of a tincture to apply.

When entering the barn – have a ‘horse lovers frame of mind’. And to love the horse means to strive to understand the horse’s nature and actively work to meet its mental, emotional, and physical needs!

“Lasting success can only be achieved, if the heart and soul of all superiors and subordinates [instructors and pupils] is filled with the joy of riding and the love of the horse.” (HDV12 German Cavalry Manual on Training Horse & Rider, Xenophon Press)

Part of our ‘frame of mind’ is composed by things we learned throughout our life, meaning learned behaviors that become – sometimes deeply ingrained – habits. This includes attitudes relating to interaction with others and the respective communication style.

Example: If I have learned that I get ahead at the work place by behaving in an intimidating and dominant manner and that this is the way to get results, I may behave similarly at the parent teacher conference (or at the barn!).

Houston – there is trouble!

Over the years, I have observed many kinds of unhelpful and downright harmful interaction with horses, resulting in behavior and performance problems and unsoundness:

  1. Confrontational behavior
  2. Demanding obedience
  3. Intimidation
  4. Punishment
  5. And the greatest sin of all: Anthropomorphism (meaning subscribing human traits, feelings, thought patterns, motives, etc. to your horse)

Number 5 is key here: Perhaps it is possible to be a tough one to deal with at work or at home, if your ‘frame of mind’ at the barn is that of a person, who realized that the nature of the horse demands a completely different set of skills and attitudes, namely:

  • Non-confrontational interaction
  • Asking for cooperation
  • Non-threatening behavior
  • Punishment only as immediate response to dangerous behavior (the very rare exception)
  • Deep understanding of the nature of the horse as a prey animal that lacks a human’s ability for cunning, strategizing, manipulative, intentionally malicious behavior.

Anthropomorphism (treating your horse as if he/she was a human) sets you up for the following interaction patterns that are not only unfair but also extremely stressful to your horse (examples):

  • Untimely and unwarranted ‘reward’ and ‘punishment‘ – often long after the fact, something a horse cannot relate to.
  • The habit of assigning human-like motives and strategies to horses. Horses live in the moment. They did not ‘plan’ to do anything more than 3 seconds in advance!
  • Expecting your horse to ‘understand’ what you want. (He knows exactly what I want, but doesn’t want to do it.) If your horse understood, he/she would be happy to do it, if you set it up right and strive to understand yourself. Example: Riders, who kick their horse’s sides and shoulders because ‘the horse doesn’t WANT to give me his shoulder’ should be flogged, tarred and feathered. Because that is what that feels like to the horse.
  • Constant nagging, tugging, pushing, jerking, yelling, as a response to perceived ‘misbehavior’. This includes making annoying ‘eh, eh, eh’ sounds!
  • Treating your horse like a pet and interpreting disrespectful behavior as ‘cute’ or as a sign of ‘intimacy’. Your horse needs to know you will keep him safe. Let  him know you are doing that by setting boundaries.
  • Being inconsistent and spoiling your horse. You are puzzling your horse! A spoiled horse is a dangerous horse. Create consistency and predictability in every interaction.
  • The list goes on…

When looking at your horse – see a horse! Do not transfer the way you understand humans and the behaviors, expectations, interaction and communication styles you may have with humans to your horse!

4 simple steps to improve interaction and relationship with your horse

  1. STOP THINKING OR SPEAKING OF YOUR HORSE AS IF HE/SHE WAS A HUMAN!!!

If you have developed this habit, it takes practice to break. For the next week, simply observe how you think and talk about your horse. Does it sound like you are talking about your favorite nephew or some bully in class? Take a deep breath, acknowledge you ‘anthropomorphized’ your horse, and move on. After this first week, you will feel the NEED to change this.

  1. ASK – DON’T TELL!

Start by changing your vocabulary around that.

I worked with my horse all morning.                NOT I worked my horse all morning.
I am asking for a rein back.                                  NOT I am making him rein back.

Later, you can expand on that by framing every request to your horse in an ‘ask’, not a ‘tell’.

  1. DON’T THREATEN YOUR HORSE

You may think you don’t…. But many of us do. Example: I recently stood next to a horse in conversation with the owner, the working student was holding the horse. The working student incessantly jerked on the lead rope/halter every time the horse so much as breathed. It was clear that the expectation: BEHAVE was communicated in a manner that horse must find threatening. This is a hard habit to break as it requires a lot of awareness. My tip: Read the original horse whisperers (Tom Dorrance, Ray Hunt). After that, you may find more wisdom in modern horsemen/women but you will know what to look for.

  1. OBSTAIN FROM PUNISHMENT

This is a tough one. The horse was ‘bad’ (anthromorphism) and needs to be punished, isn’t that so? Don’t we hear trainers say – time and again – “Don’t let him get away with it!” or worse “Whack him!”. We don’t want to be bossed by our horse, we don’t want him to get the upper hand and ‘push our buttons’. Right? Wouldn’t this make us look stupid or incapable? No worries… The only worry you should have is how you look in the eyes of your horse. Don’t punish. Redirect, start over, reward.

Exception: My rule is, if a horse shows learned, dangerous misbehavior such as biting humans, I do punish swiftly, clearly, without anger (that’s tough) and without letting this moment linger on. 1 second punishment, the next second we simply move on – on a good note.

IN SHORT

  • Horse are horses! Do not interpret horse behavior within the frame of mind applied to human beings, who have completely different needs, behaviors, motives, and agendas.
  • Learn non-confrontational interaction with horses!
  • Don’t threaten your horse! (Get help in identifying what these threatening behaviors are!)
  • Don’t punish your horse! (Redirect, start over, reward. Exception: Learned, dangerous behaviors!)

The reward:

  • A better relationship with your horse.
  • A more willing horse.
  • Better performance.
  • Often, improved health and soundness due to a more relaxed body and mind.

Enjoy your horse!

SReinhold_sm

Stefanie Reinhold
www.ReinholdsHorseWellness.com

Sources:

Anthropomorphism

Horse Behavior – A Review of the Human-Horse Relationship

Stress as possible cause of insulin resistance

 

 

 

 

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How to Care for Leather

HOW TO CARE FOR YOUR VALUABLE TACK, BOOTS & LEATHER ITEMS

Used Dressage Riding Saddle and Girth with shallow depth of fieldSaddles, boots, bridles and other leather items are valuable investments and we want to get the most of our treasured equipment. You’ll want to keep your new boots and saddles wonderful your our older, well-worn-in treasured favorites good-looking and functional for a long time.

With the right care, we can keep them beautiful and functional. Here some tips:

1.       Clean off loose dirt and dust before applying any product. Use a rag on smooth surfaces and a small, firm brush for crevices and hard to reach places or stubborn, caked-on dry dirt.effax_leder-combi_500ml-680x680px_1
2.       Apply leather cleaning product. Effax Cream Soap: Apply a small amount to a lightly damp small sponge and clean leather in circular motion. Effax Leather Combi: Squirt a few squirts on a lightly damp sponge larger sponge and thoroughly wipe item all over.
3.       Wipe off dirt and product with a lightly damp rag and let sit to dry off a bit, but not completely. Let the item air dry, but not in the sun or direct heat! (Do not use a blow dryer, do not place in front of radiator, etc.…)

Cleaning saddle
Wipe down after every use

4.       Condition: Effax Leather Oil (twice per year): Apply a thin coat with the included brush all over the item. Let sit for half an hour, then dab any excess oil away with a clean soft rag. Let completely dry and polish (I like to wait until the next day). Effax Conditioning Leather Balm (every couple of months): Either use a clean brush to apply to the leather item or – better yet – apply a generous amount to your hands and massage the product into the leather and use a brush to get into nooks and crannies. Let dry and polish (I like to wait until the next day).

STORAGE TIP: Keeping your leather items covered or tucked away in a cubby will help keep them dust-free and low-maintenance. Wipe off sweat and dirt with a little squirt of Effax Leather Combi after every heavy use or if items are sweaty (bridles, breast plates). Use breathable, not water-proof covers to keep away mildew that thrives in moist conditions. (Sometimes, an old sheet will do the trick!)
CONDITIONING TIP: Oiling and conditioning with Effax products has a lasting effect! There will be no need to constantly oil or condition your leather items. Heavily used items can be conditioned once a month. It is more important to keep the items in a clean and protected environment than constantly oiling them, which can make the leather too soft if overdone.
CLEANING TIP: Clean both sides of the leather! For thorough cleaning, take the saddle or bridle completely apart and clean all nooks and crannies. Reassemble after conditioning and drying.
CAUTION: Never apply oil or conditioner to a dirty leather item. Do not overoil your tack! Do not place your saddle in an overly humid or overly dry (near radiators, etc.) environment!

Thanks for reading, be well and enjoy your horse!

SReinhold_sm

Stefanie Reinhold
Reinhold’s Horse Wellness
HorseWellness Store

RESOURCES:
For those, who are serious about leather care or have a passion for restoration and maintenance, here a wonderful resource with comprehensive instructions and many images. Just love this book! Leather Care Compendium: For Shoes, Clothing, and Furniture

Everything you need to  keep your leather clean and conditioned can be found in our leather care department at the HorseWellness-Store.

Here a video from Effax, showing some of the above steps:

Here a handy infographic from King Ranch Saddle Shop about boot care outlines some basic steps to keeping your Western or other shoe ware nice.king-ranch-boot-care-graphic

Can a Grey Horse Shine?

white-arabian-jpg
A shiny white horse – only in our dreams?

A shiny coat – (almost) every horse owner dreams of a shiny coat. Whether we look at old paintings or photographs, show footage or horses in our environment, a horse with a shiny coat stands out and has always been revered as a symbol for vibrancy and health.

Most of the time, we associate a shiny coat with certain coat colors, especially black, bay, or chestnut. There is nothing like the glow of a dark bay or coppery chestnut horse! But what about our white or grey horses? Can we produce shine in a grey or white horse?

What makes a horse’s coat shine

There are several factors to consider:

  • Genetics
  • Feed
  • Grooming technique and level of cleanliness

Genetics

bvy-08sm
Does Paladin have the ‘shine gene’?

My horse Paladin – a dark bay – seems to have the ‘shiny gene’. So there must be certain factors that make dark hair shine. The university of Delaware on (human) hair color: “Hair color is determined by the amount of eumelanin (which is dark brown) and pheomelanin (which is reddish). The amount of eumelanin ranges continuously from very little, producing light-blonde hair, to large amounts, producing black hair. People with large amounts of pheomelanin have red hair, which can range from pale red (“strawberry blond”) to bright red to reddish brown.”

 

People and horses are mammals, so genetically and as it pertains to hair, the biochemistry is basically the same. The article further explains that certain genetic aspects seem to be associated with one hair color or another, which explains the whole ‘method in the madness’ of breeding.

But does the hair of dark horses actually have a component that creates ‘shine’? No. The simple fact is that smooth, dark surfaces play with light in a different way than smooth light surfaces. Think of a white car and a black car, both equally clean and polished. Which one will seem more shiny?

Grooming technique and cleanliness

And here comes the deciding factor: Smoothness and cleanliness. If the surface is smooth (again think of a car) versus textured (think of a wooden picnic table), there will be more light reflection. So the key is to create a SMOOTH & CLEAN surface.

 

Adding ‘polish’ (car) just makes the surface smoother and thus more shiny! Where is the polish on the horse? It doesn’t come from a can. Our horses have the polish built right in! It is produced by little oil glands attached to each hair root. The key to a shiny coat lies in

  1. Cleaning the coat
  2. Distributing the ‘polish’ (body oils) over the hair and
  3. Smoothening the coat.

(More on “How to Groom Your Horse to Shine Naturally” right here.)

Feed

Just like in us humans, only a healthy horse will have a healthy coat. Feeding the right amount of essential nutrients and healthy oils will be the precondition for a smooth, healthy, vibrant, and shiny looking coat!

Shiny white and grey horses

Shine on your white or grey horse will not be as obvious. It will be a healthy glow and glisten when the light falls in just right. Just because light surfaces reflect light different than dark. The challenge with white and grey horses is that manure and grass stains show up more than in their darker herd mates, which immediately distracts from an overall good-looking, healthy and clean coat. We will talk more about how to tackle stains in white and grey horses in a different post.

461_dsc04006
The glow and glisten of a healthy, clean, light-colored coat.

CONCLUSION

Yes, white and grey horses can shine! But their shine will not be as obvious as that of a darker horse since dark surfaces reflect light differently than light surfaces (again, use the car example). The key to a vibrant looking white or grey horse: Good feed, cleanliness, and proper grooming techniques!

Enjoy your Horse!

SReinhold_sm

Stefanie Reinhold
http://www.ReinholdsHorseWellness.com

Sources: Light and the law of reflection http://wimedialab.pbslearningmedia.org/resource/lsps07.sci.phys.energy.lightreflect/light-and-the-law-of-reflection/

 

Essential Tips for Horse Owners

Or: Is there something I don’t know yet?

This summer, I received the generous offer to review a book. This happens every now and then and – just like I would expect from someone reviewing my work – I am dedicated to an honest opinion.

The book sounded like ‘another one of those’ horse tip books: “Horse Owners’ Essential Tips: Grooming, Care, Tack, Facilities, Riding, Pasture”. There must be hundreds of those books on the market, I thought, and did not have great expectations. (A horse owner’s) Life, however, can be full of surprises and this was a positive one!

Let’s examine the book’s promise:

“More than 500 Practical Ideas”

What sounds like a drag to read through, is actually a very well presented wealth of really good, imaginative, practical and downright frugal ideas, covering anything from grooming over tack care and facilities to riding and pasture.

Granted, some of the tips may not be down your alley (not wanting to create a hand-made net?) but many will. One I really liked and that alone would make it worth the purchase: Easy to make stirrup covers that will prevent the stirrups from scratching up your saddle when you put it up. It’s not rocket science, but the point is, I never had the idea!

“Horse Owner’s Essential Tips will quickly find a place in the stable office”.

Yes, indeed. It’s easy to read format and delightful illustrations make it wonderful to have at hand for perusing when you only have a little time to kill (waiting for the vet, for instance). In those 10 minutes of browsing through the book, something will catch your eye that will make a difference to your (horse) life, all while enjoying a well-illustrated book, written in a light and easily digestible style.

It is now a part of our barn library to be enjoyed by all.

Some of my favorite horse tips from the book:

  • Oil to ‘cure’ chestnuts: Apply sunflower or olive oil to large, dry chestnuts daily until they fall off on their own. (I might add: Apply once or twice weekly afterward to keep them from growing back.) This is a low-cost, easy solution to a common unsightly problem.
  • Secure blanket clasp: Many horse owners blanket their horses in the winter, only to find that their expensive blanket will not stay on the horse. The problem: The clasp keeps opening. Meyrier suggests an easy solution: Use a rubber gasket such as found on certain beer or lemonade bottles to prevent the clasp from opening. A nifty illustration shows how it’s done.
  • Dried up tear stains on your horse’s face: Many horses don’t appreciate the feel of a wet sponge around their eyes, especially once you start rubbing. Philip Meyrier had an idea: Use moisturizing make-up remover pads: The dirt sticks to the wipes, it’s easy and the horse seems to like it better! (Of course, you could also use Aspire Natural Tear Stain Remover.)

In short:

  • An enjoyable read, great to keep in the barn or take along on a show or horse camping trip.
  • A chock full of innovative, imaginative and often frugal and funny tips and tricks to make your horse life easier.
  • A useful addition to any horsey library.
  • On my personal list of horse friend Xmas gifts!

So, if your are so inclined, I recommend you put Horse Owners’ Essential Tips: Grooming, Care, Tack, Facilities, Riding, Pasture in your shelf or on your Christmas list. It’s a keeper!

As always, Enjoy Your Horse!

SReinhold_sm

Stefanie Reinhold

http://www.ReinholdsHorseWellness.com
http://www.HorseWellness-Store.com

Riding to Music? Easier than you may think!

10 Easy Tips to get YOU Started Riding to Music

As we follow the Olympics (or not…) or view Youtube videos of the classic ‘Pas de Deuxs’ of yesteryear or spunky dressage Freestyles of today, we may get the idea of riding to music ourselves. Not a dressage rider? Never done this before? No problem! You do not have to wear any special kind of pants to have fun with music.FElixBuerkner

For those, who have never tried this and would like to give it a shot, here some tips

1. Getting the ‘horse to ride in rhythm’

Hmm… this is actually not how it works. It works the other way around! Find your horse’s natural rhythm in all three gaits and certain exercises (according to your schooling level) by determining Beats Per Minute (BPM). Thanks to modern mobile technology, that’s easy with a Smartphone app such as the Android App BPM Tap. This video shows how it works.

Have someone tap the rhythm on the Smartphone while you ride and write down the respective bpm for trot, canter, for example.

Here a similar app for the iPhone: Beat Counter for iPhone

If you prefer to take a video of your horse under rider and then determine the needed bpm on your desktop, this is the app for you: BPM Online Counter for Desktop

Here the average BPMs – your horse, depending on size and breed – may differ from this!

  • Walk – between 50-65 BPM
  • Trot – between 75-90 BPM
  • Canter – between 95-110 BPM
  • Passage/Piaffe – between 60-65 BPM

2. Determine the kind of music you like

What type of music do you like? Classical, Pop, Rock, Reggae? Dig around in your CD collection, on your MP3 player, your iTunes, record collection or on Pandora.com.

Unsure? Let your horse guide you! What type of guy or gal is your horse? Daredevil or sensitive flower? What kind of expression do you have as a pair? Serious, sense of humor, goofy, elegant? Have fun with this!

3. Find the songs with your horse’s BPM

Oh my! Just when we thought this was going to be easy. Here a good way to start:

  • Go to Equimusic.com, a free resource created by Michael Matson, creator of the “Dancing Horse Fund” or to the very comprehensive, searchable BPM Database.
  • Enter the desired BPM in the search field and ‘enter’ to bring up search results.
  • Browse the songs and listen to the song (youtube, iTunes, etc.) to develop a feel for the rhythm.

You can either use the suggested songs or find one with a similar rhythm in your own collection. In that case, double-check with your BMP tap app.

4. Create a log of suitable music per gait.

A great tool is Evernote. You may just be sitting at Starbucks and hear a song that may work for your horse’s trot, tap the beat, confirm, and want to remember that song later! Evernote will work across all your mobile and desktop devices.

5. Create a first practice routine

Motto: Keep it simple and make it short and sweet! Have fun! Just ride in the arena and experiment, then write down what your’d like to do and practice a few times.

Once your are relatively secure, have a friend time the different sequences or take a video so you can time them yourself.

6. Assign music to sequences

Decide which of your selected pieces would be fun to combine and write down your plan.

7. Be the mix master!

Purchase (if needed) the music and mix to match your routine. A useful tool I like and that is also recommend by Equimusic, is the open source application Audacity.

8. Load and go!

Load your mix on your mobile device, get the ear phones going or hook up to your arena speakers and give it a whirl!

9. Some don’ts…

  • Do not try and force your horse into a rhythm just because you like the song!
  • Your horse has ears, too! Heavy Metal may not be the best choice.
  • When it comes to speaker volume: As high as necessary, as low as possible.
  • Mix it up and create built-in walk breaks. Be mindful of your horse’s fitness level!

10. Last not least…

  • Don’t be surprised if your horse shows a side of his/her personality that you did not know yet. You will feel different and so will your horse!
  • Riding to music can be addictive. You will never listen to the car radio the same way!

Most of all, make this an activity you BOTH can enjoy and keep in mind that it’s easier to overdo it when you are having fun…

As always, enjoy your horse!

SReinhold_sm

Stefanie Reinhold
Reinhold’s Horse Wellness

 

 

Can You See the Real Me?

“Riding is not about “riding”.  It is about everything that happens before we even get to the mounting block.”

A guest blog article by Horse Behavior Specialist Anita Kush

In my practice as a coach to horse owners and trainers, who seek a more mindful connection with their horse, I come across many, who have become caught up in a vicious cycle of unfulfilled expectations, shattered hopes and dreams, disillusionment, and more – albeit adjusted – expectations. The way out of this cycle is to start by asking ourselves the right – and perhaps uncomfortable – questions.

[Now, please take some quiet time, read each question, pause after the question, answer it for yourself, honestly. Then move on to the next …]

When we arrive at the barn, what do we really see?  Is it what is before us?  Or is it our vision of what we want to be or achieve?  And is our horse – our colleague in this endeavor – a partner or a slave to our ambitions and desires?

Is our goal predicated on a picture in a magazine, a moment frozen in time, a video, an idea, a concept, a wish, a book telling us that – yes – we too can look like and be THIS…if only we will follow a certain method or buy a certain product or gadget…

What is meaningful horse work?  It is work that is considerate, fair, helpful, firm (when necessary) and facilitates long term understanding in relationship  of the two parties involved.

Wscared-horse-200x132hat is the difference between “disobedience” and learning? Is it possible that what we interpret as disrespect or unwillingness to perform certain tasks, may be in reality lack of understanding? The horse showing us what he knows and that he is unable – not unwilling – to fulfill the request?   Or that perhaps our question isn’t clear. What is accomplished by demanding that certain things happen – even though it may be physically or emotionally impossible for the horse to comply?

What is the process of learning that we need to understand?  Making mistakes and struggling means: Your horse is trying to figure out a way to accomplish what you are asking. He is not avoiding the question!

“Remember, it is not about the task, it is about how we come to it. Is it with willing cooperation or grudging resentment?  The choice is ours.” (Anita Kush)

Riding is not about “riding”.  It is about everything that happens before we even get to the mounting block.  Getting on is the culmination of the totality of the relationship between you and your horse.  No gadget or video can give you the answer. There is no one size fits all method or equipment.  See beyond mechanics and arm yourself with deeper knowledge.

The horse has all the answers! Look at the horse in front of you: He’ll always tell you the truth and live up to your expectations. Learn to expect what you want to see – a non-confrontational, cooperative and mindful interaction with your horse!

anita

Anita Kush

[If you are interested in a consultation with Anita Kush, please see her bio here or call +18477910494 or email caprioles at hotmail dot com.]

Equestrian Socks – who needs them?

How I fell in love with a product I didn’t know I need

My favorite perfume, an old hand bag, a rock my grandma found on the beach long ago and now… equestrian socks? All under the header “Things I don’t want to live without.

A little joy goes a long way. And it can come in surprising packages. Not long ago, I got an email from Ben at Sox Trot, a US company that has been manufacturing fun socks right here in the US for 35 years. And a bit of fun is just what the doctor ordered: When Ben asked if I wanted to try their socks and possibly write a review, I didn’t think twice after seeing the unusual and wonderful designs on their web shop.

sox

When the socks arrived shortly after, I opened the envelope to find 2 pairs of socks with horse designs that would make any horse loveresse’s heart beat faster: a fun spin on a classic design a la Hermes and a design playing on an ‘open range’ theme with a Western flair. The minimalist packaging – a small card stock wrap – the soft feel of the material (Nylon & spandex) and the fun design were promising first indicators of a lovely product.383481210

What I liked:

  • The socks are just right for a knee hi: Pull on easy, stay in place, no pinching or cutting off blood circulation, soft – yet strong – feel.
  • Maintains shape
  • Easily washed by hand (ideal travel sock!)
  • Smile on my face, every time I look at my sock
  • No funny smell (like cheap, China-made socks often have)
  • Many designs plus solid colors available
  • Do not bulk up under your riding breeches or make your boot feel tight
  • Lovely for any occasion – don’t hide them under your riding boots!

What I didn’t like:

What’s not to like? For someone, who values quality and ‘made in USA’ along with tasteful, fun design – this product is a winner! Especially since it not only comes in equestrian designs, but also in a large variety of other designs – from cheery, tongue-in-cheek to traditional plaid and solid colors. I am about to order a half dozen to take along on a trip to Europe. These wonderful fun socks take up no space at all. Oh, I should get some more for my daughter, daughters-in-law, friend for her birthday, stocking stuffers…

What a sweet, affordable pleasure!

Now back to horses….

SReinhold_sm

 

Stefanie Reinhold