Out with the old…
I’m not happy to see 2013 go. It was a great year! Some of the highlights? I was fortunate to be able to escape BC weather, and head down to Santa Maria, CA in early spring to be able to ride with Mike Bridges in a Seeking Refinement clinic. My good friend Dana graciously allowed me to rider her great reined cow horse mare Spotty, it was great to ride with Mike in a new location, and Dana and I made many new friends.
In early May, I would normally be hauling down to Bend, OR, with my mare Valerosa in tow to participate in a group called The Project with Mike Bridges, The Project is a private study group that meets with Mike twice a year, to learn the art of developing a cow horse over a 5 year period from the hackamore, into the two-rein, and then straight up in the bridle. Mike is a very knowledgeable horseman, with an almost encyclopedic bank of understanding of the history and methods of classical dressage. It is always a great pleasure to ride with and learn from him. My mare V had pulled a muscle in her hindquarters a month earlier, and was still lame, so Dana kindly offered Spotty to me once again. I flew into southern OR, was picked up by my fellow Project friend Greg and his wife Virginia, and we drove to Greg and Virginia’s home in northern CA where Dana and Spotty were waiting. We spent a few days riding with Greg in the beautiful high desert before making the haul to Bend, OR, where we met with Mike, showed him our homework from the previous session, and learned our new subjects to take home and practice and study.
In July, I flew to the 2013 ISES conference held in Delaware and Pennsylvania. In addition to attending, I was also really looking forward to meeting in-person some colleagues I had met online. The profession of equine behavior consultant is a relatively new one here in North America, and being able to connect and talk with colleagues was a great opportunity.The conference did not disappoint, and it was hard to sleep at night, thinking about all the information I had absorbed each day. Prior to flying out, I was hired to write ten media releases for ISES, translating the presented science into information more readily understood by the general public. Doing so also helped me digest the information that much more deeply, and I am grateful for the opportunity.
Summer was busy, working with my own personal horses, trying to get caught up on my Project homework with V, and teaching horsemanship and doing behavior consults. Early October V and I packed up, and headed back to Bend, OR for our fall Project session. We got some ‘well done’s’ and some ‘needs more practice’ on our homework from Mike – good thing we have the covered arena to ride in over the winter! Late October I attended BC’s Mane Event for my second year running, and it was a very busy three days, talking to horse people and answering questions at my booth.
And in with the new…
We are ten days in to 2014, and it’s already feeling like a good year. I have a series of Winter Workshops planned for the next few months. If you think it’s too cold to ride, winter is a great time to stay warm, and increase your knowledge. I’ll also be doing a short presentation, ‘The Horse’s Manifesto’, at this year’s Vancouver Pet Lovers Show in February. Check out the schedule on my webpage for details of other upcoming events.
My friend Dana has invited me back to Santa Maria in March, riding with her very talented horse Sliderman this time. And who am I to say no to perfect weather, good friends, and great horses? May will see me and V, and maybe Pistoleta or Calcite, hauling back down to Bend. The ISES conference is in Denmark this year in August. Denmark, eh…? The Mane Event and The Project in October are also on the calendar, and I have some other trips and ideas planned for the year too.
Before all that, I better be working on my homework that I’ll need to show Mike come May: smaller trot and canter circles, turns on the forehand and haunches, shoulder ins-and -outs, travers, leg yields, counter-arc circles at the trot, walk to canter departs, and more…Eeek! Time to get off the computer and ride!
Whatever you have planned for 2014, I hope our paths may cross, and we can share some good time together talking horses. Until then, I wish you and your horses health, happiness, and good horsemanship.
All the best,
(PS – Not a horse, but horsepower! In October, one of my Project friends, Wally, took us for a ride in the hills of Bend in his fully restored Cadillac. Don’t I look great, pretending to drive it in the driveway? Thanks Wally!)
Lauren Fraser, CHBC offers relationship-based horse training that blends the art of horsemanship with behavioral science and the practical application of learning theory. She provides horsemanship coaching, behavioral consultations, solutions to problem behaviors, foundation training, clinics, and educational presentations.
Fear-based behaviors are common in horses, and if left...
Many horse training methods claim to be kind, and in...
Fear-based behaviors are common in horses, and if left...
True narcolepsy is rare in horses, but sleep deprivation is not.
This video shows an older mare who is sleep deprived, falling into REM sleep while standing. Horses must lay down to achieve REM sleep, and when deprived from doing so it may manifest as the behaviors you see here. Sleep deprivation is harmful to the health of all animals, so it is very important that your horse has the ability to lay down each day, and feels safe to do so.
Horses won't lay down to sleep for a number of reasons such as pain, lack of suitable resting sites, or when they don't feel safe to lay down. It's reported that two factors resulted in this mare not laying down to sleep - the arrival of a new horse, and undiagnosed arthritis pain ... See MoreSee Less
Sleep Disorder Case : Horses require 30mins/day REM sleep. Siri is a 22 year old Arab X mare. Last summer after a new, dominant horse was introduced to the herd, she lost weight and was seen to have frequent episodes of partial collapse, once falling onto her side. The episodes resolved, but a couple of weeks ago the same behaviour was observed again and New Forest Equine Vets were called in to investigate. Collapse in horses is fortunately uncommon, but when it does occur can obviously be hazardous to both horse and handlers. Three types of 'collapsing' are seen in horses; seizures, syncope (fainting) and sleep disorders. Siri underwent a very thorough clinical examination including neurological and musculoskeletal assessments, and had a range of blood tests performed. The most significant findings were; The original association of the behaviour with the arrival of a new field-mate. A low grade right hind lameness, with severe persistent right hind pain with flexion tests. The gradual lowering of the head, before the front legs buckle. We also found a cardiac arrhythmia; Siri has a second degree AV block, but this is a normal finding in horses and would not cause fainting. Siri's condition is a Sleep Disorder. True narcolepsy can occur in horses, and is usually associated with events like grooming or saddling. Siri is most likely suffering from sleep deprivation. Horses require 30 minutes of REM sleep per day and although they can doze standing up, they need to lie down for REM sleep. We expect that when the new dominant herd-mate arrived, Siri was not comfortable to lie down in the field with him. Now she has lameness and finds it painful to flex her right hindlimb, which is likely to be preventing her from wanting to lie down to sleep. She is currently on a bute (pain relief) trial, and her owner has made her a lovely deep stable bed that she is coming into daily to encourage her to lie down – so far, no further collapsing episodes have been seen. A very interesting case and a good reminder of how important it is for horses to feel comfortable, physically and psychologically in their herd/environment, so that they don't miss out on their REM sleep.
3 days ago ·