ON WITH THE SHOW…In Your Own Hands
As a writer, I am always searching for information; always gathering
news and observing trends related to horse lovers. This isn't limited to
breeding, raising, feeding and showing. It goes much further than that.
Today, horse lovers have broadened into psychology, fashion, legislation
and all manner of discoveries, coming at us in a bombardment of
information like never before.
I felt the sense of excitement and the pulsing murmur of voices. It was
good. It was creative. It was inspired by the love of horses.
Spreading this news isn't just up to the "powers that be." It's up to the players, themselves, too. If your horse wins a class, or your dog show business has something new to offer, these things are of interest to the general public. It doesn't hurt to type them up as a brief report and send them to a newspaper editor. If enough horse lovers send reports of their victories to their local newspapers, radio stations and TV stations, these places will report them.
SHOW TIPS FROM THE FARM
Show season is here and it's time to "clean up your act". The horses have been out in the pastures, growing wooly coats and grinding in the dirt. Time to get ready for the shows and make them look like the beautiful creatures they really are. Here are some tips:
BATHING: Don't do it if the weather isn't over 60 degrees. You don't want your animal getting sick. Instead use a shop vac and a curry. Briskly rub the curry with a circular motion to lift the dirt to the top then just vacuum it off. There are several horse catalogs, i.e. Jeffers, Valley Vet, etc. that sell a curry that fits on the end of your vacuum hose (for about $3.00). This works well as you are vacuuming while you curry.
FINISHING: When you are all done cleaning the deep dirt, take a clean towel, dip it in alcohol and rub your horses coat until it shines. White legs can be cleaned then dusted with powder, corn starch or leg whiteners from the tack store.
CLIPPING: You want to remove that long hair from your horses legs and ears? Remember, don't clip your horse the night before the show. All clippers leave tracks. Do the major clip work at least one - two weeks ahead. You can do fine finish work, i.e. inside ears, muzzle the night before with a finish clipper or fine blade on your regular clipper.
Don't forget to trim around the coronary band to leave a finished look on the hooves.
BEGINNING TO END - MANES & TAILS: There are many products available to condition but the cheapest and easiest is to clean with soap and water and use Suave Conditioner…leave it in. Periodically work baby oil through the tail and keep it braided and wrapped or tied inside an old sock.
You do have to take it down every few days, brush and re-braid.
SHOW TIPS (Continued)
Never, never, never cut your horse's mane (I know, we all do it and take shortcuts sometimes). Pull the mane for a more natural look.
DAY OF THE SHOW: Polish your horses' feet with either black hoof polish (if the feet are dark) or clear (if your horse had white feet). Make sure that when you get home from the show you put extra hoof conditioner on so that the polish doesn't dry out their feet.
Highlight your horses eyes, muzzle, ears and the dock of the tail with a horse highlighting gel or plain baby oil. Just a dab, you don't want them looking like they used the "greasy kid stuff". Rub a dab of the oil into your hands and run your hands over the areas you want to highlight.
Always make sure that you have a clean towel with you right before you go into the ring. You can wipe down any dust on your horse, your boots, saddle, etc.
CLEAN YOUR TACK: Make sure that your saddle is clean and conditioned. This not only looks good but keeps your saddle lasting longer.
Take your bridle apart and clean it well. Make sure that your bit is cleaned and polished on a regular basis. You don't like putting dirt in your mouth so why would your horse. The bit should be cleaned after every time you ride. You may not realize it but some judges will take into consideration the condition of your horse and tack when pinning a class.
YOU: Choose and lay out your clothes the night before and check for any stains, tears or damages. Clean and polish boots. Just a tip…don't but on that super shine coating that wipes on, it makes boots extra slippery…just shoe polish and buff.
Training Miniature Horses as Guide Animals
In 1999, Janet and Don Burleson completed a successful feasibility study with miniature horses as assistance animals for the visually disabled. Janet is a retired professional horse trainer with over 30 years of full-time horse training experience and an extensive record of success in training performance horses.
While Don and Janet Burleson only intended to develop a training program, they were overwhelmed with requests from blind horse lovers asking for a trained Guide Horse. Although she was confident in her skills as a retired professional horse trainer, Janet Burleson needed to learn what a guide animal must know in order to keep their handler safe.
The initial training has shown great promise, and two tiny Guide Horses have already been trained to guide blind people in public. The prototype, a 14 year-old dwarf mare horse named Twinkie, has successfully guided blind people in a host of environments, including shopping malls and congested urban areas with heavy traffic. Nine other horses are currently undergoing training, and the Guide Horse Foundation also has a substantial waiting list of blind people who have applied for a Guide Horse.
Once the Guide Horse Foundation announced the result of their feasibility study, the ability of horses to guide the blind was confirmed from a number of independent sources. We received numerous responses from blind people who ride horses, both in competitions and on trails, and they confirmed our findings that the horse is a capable guide. One blind woman stated that she sometimes uses her full-sized horse as her Guide Horse. She says that her horse makes allowances for her needs and walks beside her for miles in the woods, gently nudging her whenever she strays from the trail.
Guide Horse Training includes the following:
Ø1Basic Lead Training
Ø2Voice Command Recognition
Ø3Stationary Obstacle Avoidance
Ø4Surface Elevation Change Recognition
Photo by Wiley Miller
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