News

Purple Spoon cooking class and wine tasting

Sept 30th at the Purple spoon with Chef Kristina!
Help the horses with this unique, hands on, culinary and wine tasting  experience!

$50 per person includes the Tapas class, recipes and service.
Wines can be purchases by the glass. Non-alcoholic beverages will also be available.

Class starts at 6pm and ends around 8pm.
For reservations please email to events@purplespoonfl.com. OR call them directly at 239.908.3842
purple spoon

New Barn Party/BeMer Demo/Tacos

Join us Sat, August 26th to help celebrate the generosity of those who contributed to our shelter! We will have a BeMer Demo starting promplty at 9am, where Lisa Diamond will treat our horses and answer questions. Afterwards we will relax with cool drinks and have the most AMAZING Tacos for lunch!

if you don’t know about BeMer it is an amazing healing process, for both humans and horses, this demo will focus on Sport horses and their injuries. BeMer promotes rehabilitatiaon and muscle rejuvination! I will post links in the Discussion part of this event.

Our shelter was completed just a few weeks ago, it was construction, then water, then electric and stall mats, and fans, and so much went into this beautiful addition of 2 medical stalls and an attached shelter to protect the horses from teh incredible heat and storms we have here in the summer.
August 26th 2017
9-noon
At our facility
Rsvp to us at tracktotrailthoroughbreds or join our Facebook event IMG_6686

Standards of Care

Sec. 14-77. General Standards of Care. Anyone who owns or maintains an animal-related business, animal-related organization, commercial breeder, non-commercial breeder, or rodeo must provide that animal:

Freedom from hunger or thirst by ready access to fresh water and a diet to maintain full health and vigor;

Freedom from discomfort by providing an appropriate environment including shelter and a comfortable resting area;

Freedom from pain, injury or disease by prevention or rapid diagnosis and treatment;

Freedom to express normal behavior by providing sufficient space, proper facilities and company of the animal’s own kind; and

Freedom from fear and distress by ensuring conditions and treatment which avoid mental suffering.

Minding Me

Recently we took two horses to a local Festival as part of our outreach program.  As you can imagine, there is a lot going on.  We had the opportunity to walk Wiley and Stevie through the section that housed the carnival.  For most horses, this would be total overload.  The festival itself, muchness the carnival.  We walked in past the games w rides eventually ending up at the Tilt-0-Whirl.  It was large, spinning, blinking and making a whole lot of noise.  A friend asked me, how do you do that?  How do you take your horse to an event like that?

The short answer is, trust like that comes from some serious work.  Imagine the canine that works with his handler, either law enforcement, or service dog, they get professional training w a handler and experience so much outside the realm of normal pet ownership, because they are working.  I think Thoroughbreds, in particular, because they have been exposed to so much, and have a wonderful work ethic, combined with their innate curiosity and play drive, make them excellent candidates for this sort of activity.

When the horses arrive here, right from the very beginning they learn what behavior is appropriate.  I think one thing that may be unusual here is that I am the primary caregiver, so that means handling and rules are consistent.  That doesn’t mean that they are perfect or that I am perfect, simply that they know where they stand with me.

You hear a lot about herd behavior, the dominant mare, or the alpha male and how that translates into the need to be the boss of your horse.  That you need ‘respect”  You also hear that non of that is true and that is not in fact horse horses react to each other.  What I look at is how the horses here interact with each other.  And in fact, there is one horse, that has the ability to push everyone off the hay, off the water, directs when it is time to nap, and time to play .  None of the other horses mess with him.  And when that horse defers to me, or minds me about things, it seems to somehow resonate with the other horses.

Equine Emergency Management Plan

Officer Paul from Collier County’s Domestic Animal Services came out to discuss ways to prepare and deal with emergencies in requires to our horses.  The following is a list of what he discussed and my personal notes, along w links to outside sources. This information is specific to our county and area of Golden Gate Estates, but can be applied anywhere, taking into account your own local situation.

HAVE A PLAN- WHERE WILL YOU GO, HOW TO GET THERE, WHAT YOU NEED
Establish local and out of area, out of state evacuation sites

1. Establish Phone Tree- have at least 3 people on your phone tree that can offer assistance w a trailer ride or a place to evacuate your horses.  Take into account your location– have people in different areas set up as fires,  flooding, or downed trees/power lines can make areas inaccessible.

2. Horse Identification-
Paperwork: Collier County requires proof of a  negative Coggins test as well as Rabies shots.  Have your paperwork current and with you.  You can even laminate the Coggins to protect it during storms. This is a way to identify your horse and your ownership.  You also need a current Coggins to legally transport your horse.  Boarding facilities may also require horses have certain vaccines, check your local facilities to see what is required for them to accept your horse. f you have recently acquired a horse, have a copy of your bill of sale in your paperwork. Current close up photos of your horse can help too, especially to post on social media should your horse get loose

Physically mark your horse:

-ID cards for your breakaway halter
-ID bands that go on neck, or coronet
-Grease pencils can be used to write your number on your horses side ( as can spray paint but that washes off easier)  or on the horses hooves
-main and/or tail braids
-Microchip

3. Evacuation Kit
– Paperwork mentioned above
-Feed for at least 5 days
-Any medications needed
-First Aid Kit
-Vet and/or Emergency Vet number

PREPARE YOUR PROPERTY
Here are some things you can do to prepare

-Keep fencing in good condition

-In case of hurricane, put away as much as you can that will be picked up by the wind and store in a secure location. Flying objects can seriously injure your horse.

-Dead or dying trees should be removed, branches trimmed, they can come down and injure a horse, damage a fence or in the case of fire, add to the problem.  Down trees can also block access to trailers and vet vehicles that may need to access your property.

-Water – if you are out here on well water be aware that if you loose power you will loose access to  water – portable generators or a simple hand pump added to your well will ensure that you have clean fresh water.  Remember in the summer here water goes bad quickly, access to FRESH water is necessary.

LETTING YOUR HORSE GO
Here it is common to hear people talk of  letting their horses “go” in case of a major hurricane coming in, with the thought that the horses are safer out of the barn, where they may be trapped.  Ability to be in a large area can be beneficial without a hurricane proof barn, but they also can be punctured by flying objects, stepping on all sorts of things (boards with nails and are at risk of running out onto a street.  Your best plan of attack if you feel your barn is not a safe structure is to have a large pasture, free of debris, with a solid fence.  Remember that hurricanes often spawn tornadoes  As always, make the best decision for your horse and your situation.  In fire conditions, Never leave horses trapped in a barn.  Ever.

LOST AND FOUND HORSES
– Call Sheriff’s AG Unit 239-252-9300 (if your horse is missing, call AG unit first!
– Domestic Animal Services 239-252-7387
-Golden Gate Estates Horse Owners FB page
-Lost Pets of Collier County FB Page
-Microchip company if chip is found

Think about – if you find a horse, it may be sick or have parasites, keep it at least 30 feet away from your horses.  If you use your halter and lead line to catch an unknown horse, sanitize it before using it on your horse.  Same for feed and water buckets

SUPPLIES:
With hurricanes feed and hay supplies can be destroyed, both at your home, boarding facility and local stores. Supply chains can be disrupted throughout the state .  You may consider storing feed and hay cubes inside your home or garage.  Hay cubes are a substitute for hay, a complete forage. Hay pellets are not, and do not meet the horses need for fiber.  Cubes are an easy way to stockpile for an emergency.  In any evacuation situation, as horses are moved, people are often needing to buy more hay and feed as theirs has been left behind or destroyed, so local feed stores may run out of supplies.  Its a good idea to have extra food even if you are not in the evacuation area.  the same with vet supplies and medications, your vet is going to be busy and  may run out of supplies,  keep a supply medication that you might need.

 

To bit or not to bit, that is the question

Trail riding your OTTB
Bits. Out of site out of mind. Not all bits are bad and there are in fact many skilled riders out there. But for those who are unskilled, they can cause a lot of physical and emotional pain to the horse.

I worked w a local horse some years ago. Not an OTTB, but its very relevant to what we do.  He would bolt and throw his rider. Anxious, and no brakes.  Her friend that was “expert” took the horse on a trail ride and said she would “sort him out”. End result was that the rider had to “see saw” w the bit, on his face the entire time. Pulling back harshly on one side, then the other.  The ENTIRE ride.  She could hardly lift her arms up afterwards she was so exhausted. But she was proud. She had controlled the horse and he had not bolted and thrown her. She showed everyone what a great rider she was.  Or so she thought.  What did the horse think of the rider’s technique?

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Eventually the owner was injured so badly she was in three months bed rest.
She asked me to work w him and I did. But it started out with getting to know him, working on anxiety issues that he had and showing him the trail was a place to look forward to, not be anxious about, and it was so much better than sitting in his stall.  Which he did a lot of.

Some horses are what people call great trail horses. They can sit in a barn, day in and day out, have a rider show up and go out for a ride.  No Problem.  But for some horses, that is a problem. No regular work, they become barn sour or buddy sour, maybe have ill fitting tack, pain from a bad saddle fit, perhaps even an abusive home in the past.  These horses, they don’t make great trail horses. Not for people who expect them to be more like a vehicle than a live animal.  If you really want to show up once in a while and pop on that horse, lease them out, hire a trainer to work with them, find a kid to ride them, give them some way of coping w being cooped up.

Better yet find a pasture where your horse can have buddies, play, nap, and sometimes even squabble, but where he  has buddies.  Not only will your horse be happier, you will be safer if he is mentally not a train wreck. The best way to have a great trail horse is to ride your horse.  Frequently, if need be in short sessions until they get comfortable w the trail.  We deal mainly w OTTB’s here, who have for the most part never ever been in the woods, smelled panther or bear, had to duck under palm trees, and watch their footing w cypress knees.  So we start all the horses by taking them into the woods, on a lead line, and getting them used to the sights and smells first BEFORE their first trail ride.  If they are cool and casual about it, then they start their rides sooner, if they are anxious, we work on that BEFORE getting in the saddle.
So what does this have to do with my original story about the bolting horse?  Even though both owner and “rider” had many, many years in the saddle,  using a more severe bit to solve an issue, instead of looking at the underlying cause, shows lack of skill.  It doesn’t mean they were bad people, but just that they lacked the ability to problem solve, probably both doing what they had been taught.  They didn’t know, or believe, in any other way.

I never put a bit in his mouth. We rode out w a rope halter and loose reins.  And this story, it is not so much about me, the owner or the other rider, it is about the horse and how there are different ways to deal with behavioral problems.

The horse was barn sour, so we worked on that. He was anxious about the woods, we worked on that. He hated the bit, I took that away, he had a bad fitting saddle that caused pain, and I got rid of that. Once I got rid of everything that bothered him, we had nice trail rides with zero issues.  Eventually the owner was able to ride again. She told everyone what a difference their was in the horse and she enjoyed a few nice trail rides.  Then he was back to old behavior.  Why? Because while I could work with him and he was open to change, she was not.  Her ways brought him right back to their previous situation.  I don’t think they ride anymore. Horses are easy to work with, humans are not.  We all have our ways of doing things, our fears, our biases, and our learned behavior that is much harder to change.  Even when it clearly benefits us.  Perhaps that is just part of being human.  But its worth consideration if you are having issues w your horse and your safety.

This is a great video that explains how a bit works.  And yes, we can’t see it, so often it is out of mind.  When I train a new student, I never let them use a bit.  Not until they have soft hands and a good seat.  A bit can be a wonderful tool, in the right hands w the right horse. It can be a very bad idea for an anxious horse and a heavy handed rider long term creates so many problems, that take a long time to resolve.

I am also not suggesting everyone toss their bits and ride bitless.  Work with your horse on the ground, can you control speed and direction?  Will your horse stop when you ask him too? If not, you will not control speed and direction from the saddle. Start slow and work your way up.  But it is worth the time you will put into it. Trail riding should be fun AND safe for human and equine.

Happy Trails!

Western style bitless options

Equine/Human Wellness Classes

Equine/ Human Wellness series

As we strive to bring horses and horse owners together, and introduce new people to horses, we are starting a wellness series, each month a different topic  $30 per person no previous experience required. REGISTER ONLINE or call 239-963-7296

Feb 12th yoga and balanced riding– led by Darlene Casey bring your yoga mat!
In this session we will explore how Yoga can benefit us while in the saddle. We will explore the transition of basic yoga concepts from the mat and onto our saddles. In this session we will be exploring a Yoga Flow series of postures designed to open our hearts and hips, and stabilize our core (Please bring a mat or towel with you to practice on).

Yoga principles of alignment, symmetry, and rhythm are all essential components along with flexibility, balance, core strength and breath. These principles will allow us to bring balance, flexibility, awareness, and focus to our riding. We learn to develop a conscious awareness of our bodies and our minds which allows us to communicate and move in harmony with our equine partners. A rider who is balanced and confidently in control of her body, mind and spirit will instill confidence, symmetry and focus in her horse.

March 12th  Stretches for you and your horse followed by massage: led by Darlene Casey
In this session we will learn several easy everyday stretches that you can do with your horse. We will also explore some basic horse massage techniques that every horse owner should know.

Did you know that the muscular system makes up over half (60%) of a horse’s total body weight? So it is easy to understand why most motion problems originate within the horse’s muscular system.

It is well known that many horses (and riders) can benefit from a massage. A massage helps to increasing circulation, relaxing muscle spasms, relieving tension, enhancing muscle tone, and increasing range of motion in horses. It is important to note that massage benefits not only an ailing animal but provides a means of preventative maintenance for all of our animal companions.
March 19th Reiki circle led by Amy Poss

April 8th Guided Intention Meditation by Dimitra  

May 13th  Using Essential Oils and Flower Essences: Led by Darlene Casey
In this session we will learn the basic uses for Oils and Flower Essences with our Horses. We will discuss how to properly use essential oils and the many ways that oils and essences can benefit the horse (and rider!) Even though Essential oils are Natural and considered Safe – there are many precautions you should be aware of before administering essential oils to yourself or your horse.

Before horses were kept in stables, they roamed free and were able to keep themselves healthy by grazing on a large variety of plants. Horses were able to use their deeply ingrained instincts to seek out the plants they needed to maintain their own health. The animals would seek out certain plants at different times according to their needs. Thousands of years of herbal tradition tell us that herbs work.

No experience required! $30 per class – and it goes to the feeding and care of the horses here!
Events page https://horserescueflorida.com/events/

Instructor  Bios
Darlene Casey

Darlene Casey has been an avid horseperson since she was old enough to walk, owning and managing several barns, teaching lessons, leading workshops, and generally being a student of all things Equine. Darlene has such passion and love for these amazing animals. It was her relationship with her own two beloved “boyz” that inspired Darlene to seek out additional avenues to broaden and deepen her own experience. She became a certified Yoga Instructor, Reiki Practitioner, and Equine Massage Therapist. Additionally, she poured countless hours of study and research into other complimentary modalities such as Essential Oils, Dowsing and the study or Equine Chiropractic Techniques.

Now her goal is to share what she has learned and to help others in caring for themselves and their animal companions. By incorporating tools such as Centered Riding Techniques, Yoga, Reiki, Dowsing, Animal Communication, Equine Massage, Natural Horsemanship, Essential Oils and Flower Remedies; she helps her students to foster a positive, healthy relationship with their equine friends based on understanding, love and compassion.

Dimitra

Amy Poss

VOLUNTEER SUE W CYPRESS
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