Barn Lessons from Mom

Had to share this that I created about 10 months ago.  Wisdom from our elders, in this case my mom, can help us with success at the barn.  Sometimes it is the simple things we need to take care of for success.

FIVE THINGS MY MOM TEACHES ABOUT TIME IN THE BARN WITH HORSES

#1 — Do not yell in the barn.

If your horse wanted to be around a braying ass, she would go spend time with the donkey.

#2 — Clean your tack/grooming supplies monthly, at the very least.

Who wants to be brushed with a filthy brush and wear a dirty piece of clothing?

#3 — Never raise your hand to threaten or hit your horse.

You do not like it when someone threatens you; why would you think your horse will accept it any better.

#4 — Quit talking on your cell phone.

You would not like it if someone came to visit you and then spent the entire time on the phone and never chatted with you.

#5 — Spend a few minutes watching your horse in her stall/paddock.

Horses can teach you so many life lessons if you just take the time to pay attention while they teach.

Dr. Mike Guerini is a clinician 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 at www.hydrot.com.

 

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Leadership in Horsemanship — Part IV Safety

Leadership in Horsemanship — Part IV Safety

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.

Although last in the discussion, safety is likely the most important component of Leadership for Horsemanship. Think back to a time, possibly in college or high school, where somebody asked you to be part of something wild and crazy and it turned out to be unsafe. If we are honest with ourselves, we need to admit that when someone puts us in an unsafe situation we begin to trust him or her less and less. In fact, we may distance ourselves from someone who is not safe.

Now let us think about safety in terms of our horsemanship and being a leader. If you never practice safety with your horse and your horse continually gets into predicaments/hurt/scared because of your lack of safety — it is very probable that your horse will not look to you for leadership.

Today while I was touching base with a fellow horsemanship coach (Kristina Mundy), she said something that is spot on accurate. Kristina said “…owners must be dedicated to the good of their horse…” and I would add that the good of the horse means the safety of the horse.

So let us ask a series of questions to evaluate how safe we are with our horses:

1) Do we check our tack each time to make sure it is ready for the ride?

2) Do we scout the trail or get info from someone who has ridden the same path?

3) Do we use proper equipment for protection of our horse (leg wraps, shoes/proper trims, etc.)

4) Do we ride with a helmet?

5) Do we pay attention and ride actively so that we see potential issues before they can hurt us?

6) Do we ride with safe people?

7) Is our hauling equipment (trailer, truck, etc) safe to operate?

8) Do we check our horse out for 1 to 2 minutes of groundwork before riding?

9) Do we wear appropriate clothing and footwear when working with horses?

Therefore, when we speak of safety there is an underlying debate out there. Some folks say — I have ridden for years and never needed to pay attention to any of those things. Others are concerned about the relationship and protection of their horses so they consider each one of the above questions. Those that consider safety first are sometimes silently laughed at by those who have “ridden a long time and never been hurt.”

Two final points about safety as part of Leadership for Horsemanship.

1) If you practice safety first, then you significantly decrease the chance of you and your horse getting hurt. If you are not hurt, then you should be mentally and physically able to help your horse. If you get hurt — who is going to help your horse? I sure would want a leader who can help me if I get into a bad spot…and I am certain your horse wants a leader who can keep him/her safe.

Now it is this second point that I know has the biggest area of disagreement but I want to make sure I say a few words here.

2) Children under the age of 18 should wear a helmet while riding. Why under the age of 18 — because after that you are an adult and can make your own choices. If we want to see the next generation of great equestrians — we need to help them be safe. There should be no need for laws…this should be common sense. (Note: my equine liability insurance requires that all students under the age of 18 wear a helmet while I am teaching)

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) cite some interesting statistics relating to Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and horseback riding with respect to children. Click here for information — http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6039a1.htm

In a nutshell — CDC the above link will share with you the following information:

During 2001–2009, an estimated 2,651,581 children aged ≤19 years were treated annually for sports and recreation–related injuries. Approximately 6.5%, or 173,285 of these injuries, were TBIs. Overall, the activities associated with the greatest estimated number of TBI-related Emergency Department (ED) visits were bicycling, football, playground activities, basketball, and soccer. Activities for which TBI accounted for >10% of the injury ED visits for that activity included horseback riding (15.3%) [this is ~2900 kids per year], ice skating (11.4%), golfing (11.0%), all-terrain vehicle riding (10.6%), and tobogganing/sledding (10.2%). One more link with information worth reading is found here  — http://www.biak.us/brain-injury-and-horses.

I encourage all of you with children to have them wear helmets and I urge all of us to speak to our delegates from the different breed associations, rodeo events, 4H, FFA and other horsemanship activities to find ways to encourage children to wear helmets.

In summary — practice being safe. To be that leader that your horse wants, you need to be healthy and able to help your horse. If you become injured — who is going to take care of your horse partner?

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 www.dunmovinranch.com. Dun Movin Ranch is also home to the Equine Hydro-T (www.hydrot.com).

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).