Heat Stroke and Cooling your horse

By: Dr. Mike Guerini (www.dunmovinranch.com)

This past weekend I was at the Western States Horse Expo in Sacramento California.  On Saturday I was working with a team of excellent horsewomen (Sher, Alison, Linda, and Karen) demonstrating Western Dressage.  The temperature reached 108 F and of course we kept our demonstration short since we were focused on keeping the horse from being overheated.

As we unsaddled and worked on cooling the horses out we discussed some of the important lessons around cooling and bathing horses as well as dealing with the heat.

1) Never leave the water sitting on the skin as you are bathing or cooling your horse.  We saw a few people dousing their horses with water and then not slicking that water off.  Sure water can help cool but if it is left on the skin, it serves as an insulator and keeps that heat on the horse.  You can actually overheat a horse who is soaking in water when the temperatures outside are hot to extremely hot.  Water is a pretty good insulator and has the capacity to retain heat so get the water off and that thin layer left on the horse will evaporate and help in the cooling.

Spray your horse with cool water — beginning with his legs first — to help lower his body temperature. Scrape excess water off quickly because it soon rises to the temperature of the over-heated horse.

2) Make sure stalls are well ventilated with cross breezes (air can move in and out of the stall) or make sure your horse can move out of the stall on his/her own free will.

3) Keep your horse from standing in the direct sunlight on these extremely hot days.

4) Another reminder is that if you use cool/cold water, do not apply this directly to large muscles that have just finished a rigorous workout.  Lukewarm water is better.  A sudden burst of cold water on large muscles can shock those muscles and cause the horse either stress, pain or injury.

5) If you suspect heat stress with your horse — call your veterinarian immediately.  Always consult your veterinarian for any medical emergencies.

Some signs of Heat Stroke include

  • Temperature above 104 degrees F. (A normal temperature is 99-100.8 degrees F.)
  • Rapid heart and pulse rates that do not recover within 10 or 15 minutes after exercise.
  • Rapid breathing that does not slow down after exercise.
  • Less sweat than expected.
  • Hot skin (might progress to cold if skin circulation shuts down).
  • Signs of dehydration, including loss of skin elasticity, sunken eyes, tacky membranes and cessation of urination.

You can learn more about some of the professionals Dr. Mike worked with this past weekend by clicking on the name here — Sher Bell Boatman

Dr. Mike Guerini is a clinician, author of multiple Horsemanship books, co-inventor of the Equine Hydro-T and specializes in western performance based instruction and you can learn more about Dr. Mike and his 6 C’s of Horsemanship at www.dunmovinranch.com. Dun Movin Ranch is also home to the Equine Hydro-T (www.hydrot.com).

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Leadership in Horsemanship — Part III Creativity

Leadership in Horsemanship — Part III Creativity

By Dr. Mike Guerini (www.dunmovinranch.com)

In this four part series, I will be exploring my Leadership in Horsemanship philosophy. The four components to my leadership philosophy include: 1) Honesty, 2) Wholeness, 3) Creativity and 4) Safety.

We are half way through the four components of leadership so it is appropriate to recap.  Part I is Honesty.  In honesty we need to analyze what we can and cannot do at any given time.  Sometimes we are not ready for the challenge presented by a horse — but we can learn and get ready.  We also need to be straightforward in our dealings with the horses we are working with.  Part II described an analysis of the Whole situation — Wholeness.  In Wholeness we need to understand how our actions and those of the horse create reactions.

Part III deals with Creativity in leadership.  Every good leader will admit that he/she do not always have the answer.  A leader is someone who gather information and adapts to changes.  So you ask — how does Creativity apply to leadership with horses.

Well as leaders of horses we need to adapt our methods and approaches to work with each and every horse.  Horses are unique and as long as we use principles such as “Pressure and Release”, “Foundation training activities” and understand the “Prey vs. Predator” relationship, we should be able to find/create new ways to work with each and every horse.

While we all know that repetition and consistency help in training, we also need to make sure we are creative and keeping the horse thinking and responding to our aides and signals rather than anticipating what we want.

Here are some examples of how we can employ creativity in our horsemanship leadership:

1) Learn new methods from other people

2) Adapt/change an old method to work safely in the current situation

3) Use different exercises to help teach your horse a specific task

4) Use cross-training when teaching your horse

5) Attend a clinic being taught for a different discipline

6) Take a lesson with a new instructor

7) Ride a new horse that can teach you

Overall, Creativity in Leadership for Horsemanship focuses on the human person learning multiple ways to teach a horse something.  There may be 10 safe ways to teach a horse something new — we should be creative (not boring) and learn how to apply those ten different ways.

One of the ways I continually work to be creative is that I get to work with other trainers and I also attend (as a participant) clinics taught by others.  What I want to emphasize here is that for you to be the leader for your horse and to develop strong teamwork and success — you need to develop a relationship that is full of new experiences.  Teach your horse something new, but expose them to many different, creative and new ways that you may ask them to perform.

Dr. Mike Guerini is a clinician and author of multiple books and you can learn more about Dr. Mike and his 6 C’s of Horsemanship at http://www.dunmovinranch.com. Dun Movin Ranch is also home to the Equine Hydro-T (www.hydrot.com).

Leadership in Horsemanship — Part II Wholeness

Leadership in Horsemanship — Part II Wholeness

By Dr. Mike Guerini (www.dunmovinranch.com)

In this four part series, I will be exploring my Leadership in Horsemanship philosophy. The four components to my leadership philosophy include: 1) Honesty, 2) Wholeness, 3) Creativity and 4) Safety.

Part II continues with some ideas around the concept of Wholeness. Webster’s Online Dictionary defines Wholeness as “An undivided or unbroken completeness or totality with nothing wanting.” That certainly seems to be a mouthful but as I read that definition it struck me that it defines what we are all seeking with horses. How cool!

I fixated on the words “nothing wanting” and have contemplated how this fits in with leadership and it struck me that one of the keys of Leadership in Horsemanship is being able to put together a complete package that includes, horse, and rider working as a team.

In Wholeness, we seek to understand how everything fits together. The best way I could represent this concept is in the form of a figure with many of the components that make up the complete package of horse and rider. I may be missing some components and I always encourage you to share your ideas and comment.

Click on the figure to enlarge.

One of many things worth noting in this diagram is that I shaded those items that the horse brings. Notice how the horse brings five items whereas the human brings so many more. The sum of all these items makes the complete/whole package a success.

Conclusion of Part II

As we take into account the honesty portion and now add wholeness, we see how much of the equation for leadership in horses relies on the human component. To work on our leadership, we need to constantly evaluate where we are with each of the human components and assess our horse on his/her part of this matrix.

Share your thoughts and ideas on this write up. Next up, Part III — Creativity in leadership.

Dr. Mike Guerini is a clinician and you can learn more about Dr. Mike and his 6 C’s of Horsemanship at http://www.dunmovinranch.com. Dun Movin Ranch is also home to the Equine Hydro-T (www.hydrot.com).

Hyrotherapy is GOOD for your Horse

This is a Guest Blog from my mentor — Dr. Robert Keene, DVM

“For many years veterinarians, trainers and other equine enthusiasts have used water as a therapy for sore limbs and muscle injuries. After a long day of work, or a vigorous exercise routine, many people take the opportunity to indulge themselves in a few moments of pleasure with a water-jet massage in their home spas or showers. Hydro-therapy spas are wonderful for people but not practical for the horse owner or trainer when you consider cost limitations and design problems. Ideally, a stream in our backyard or training facility would provide an excellent means for relaxing not only the rider but also the equine athlete.
With the advent of the Equine Hydro-T™ the benefits of a human hydro-therapeutic spa, along with the convenience of a backyard stream, are combined into one product. The patented Equine Hydro-T™ attaches to a hose at the barn and directs a pleasant, pulsating hydro-therapeutic massage to the tendons, joints and muscles that have experienced a workout or injury.
Throughout the years in my veterinary practice I recommended using a regular garden hose to help reduce swelling and provide a therapeutic treatment for medical problems associated with injury or strenuous workouts. When describing this therapy to clients I often used a shower massage analogy to explain how this treatment could help their athlete. While driving away I always contemplated the need for a massage unit like those found in most people’s showers or spas. I also was discouraged at the inconsistencies inherent in using a garden hose. The Equine Hydro-T™ answers this need by providing inexpensive, consistent, pulsating hydro-therapy using a convenient handheld instrument. With routine use of the Equine Hydro-T™ your equine athlete will stay on top, whatever the discipline.” Rob Keene, DVM
Check out the Equine Hydro-T at www.hydrot.com