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Another Augie and Spuds Adventure: 2nd Hitch to Cart
“Here we go again, Spuds, but something feels really different and strange.”
“Did you say strange, Augie? Well, I’m outta here!”
“I think she said “Whoa,” Spuds!
“Whew! I’m glad she switched the lines back BEHIND the terrets instead of in front of them!
It was putting a kink in my neck, Spuds!”
“Me, too, Augie! Besides, I like it much better when I can really FEEL her hands.”
“I’m sure glad she took the time to review ground driving before hitching us up again!”
“Okay Spuds, now let’s get lined up straight for her!”
“No problem, Augie!”
“Hey Augie, I recognize this! It’s the hourglass pattern we’ve been ground driving for
the past few months!”
“Are Sean and Steve in sync with us, Spuds?” “They sure are, Augie!”
“Get ready, Spuds, we’re gonna WHOA!”
“And we’re off again, Augie!” One…two…three…four…”
“Yup Spuds, I’m really glad she decided to go ahead and cross the lines BEHIND the terrets even though she said it was ‘against the rules’!”
“Hmmm, this grass looks pretty tasty, Augie!”
“Whew! What a long workout for twenty minutes!…I’m tired, Augie!” “Me, too, Spuds!”
“Hey Spuds, how about next time you pull and I push like Sean and Steve are doing?!”
“Not a chance, Augie!”
NOTE from Meredith: Equines are always honest in their reactions to training. When things go wrong, it is always the handler’s fault. Everything I have learned about driving said that when driving a team, put simply, you should thread the inside lines through the terrets of the opposite equine making the lines cross in an “X” just in front of the terrets. With my larger equines, this never really posed a problem…until I tried it with Augie and Spuds.
I had always ground driven Augie and Spuds single and then together as a team with their lines going directly from their mouths through their terrets on their harness saddles and to my respective hands. I could then clearly feel the connection from my hands to their lips holding all four lines. This never posed a problem until I decided that maybe I should thread the lines in the more conventional way with the lines crossed in front of and running through the opposing equine’s terrets. It worked fine until they got uneven. When I said “Whoa” and pulled back on the lines, the inside lines acted like “drawreins” with too much leverage for their short little necks. The only direct and light contact I had was on the nearside (left) and offside (right) lines of the team. When they could no longer feel the even contact on both sides of their mouths, they both bolted as shown in the picture above. I immediately changed the lines back to their original position with the lines crossing into my hands BEHIND the terrets instead of in front of the terrets. I could then feel the connection on both sides again and so could they. The result was immediate compliance! We were again “connected!”
When using split lines, the draft lines go from the nearside bit ring of the near side equine and the offside bit ring of the offside equine direct to the driver. A series of holes in the coupling lines allow for adjustment. The nearside coupling line passes through the inside terret of the nearside equine and across to the bit ring of the offside equine and vice versa. To avoid any confusion for the equines, I think it is important to train with two sets of lines in the beginning, until they are clearly aware of their job and actually can feel the connection to your hands. I would not advise split lines for beginning training. The connection from your hands to their mouths is too loose and it is hard for them to understand your intent, especially in the case of miniatures since the distance from their mouth to the terrets is so short and the action on the lines can be so severe. Once proficient with four lines, they can then “graduate” to split lines for your convenience.
What’s New with Roll? Riding the Hourglass Pattern
Roll was a little hesitant and stiff during his workout in the dressage arena through the hourglass pattern with me riding today. I couldn’t tell at first if he is just being overly careful because I was on board or if he was truly having issues with his feet. The more he did, the better he got as far as traveling, but there was significant problems keeping him between the reins. I attribute that to previous drivers with very bad hands. He does seem to know how to track straight between the reins with adequate forward impulsion. He clunked the ground rails as I led him through the pattern the first time, but after adjusting the distance between the ground rails, he did much better both on the lead line and under saddle. He did very well staying erect and bending through the rib cage around the corner cones. He also gave me intermittent surges of impulsion and did not seem at all lame when he did it. At trot, he got wiggly on his straight lines, but I am encouraged that will pass as he gains more strength and impulsion. All in all, it was a very nice first-time serious hourglass workout under saddle!
Roll was anxious to go to work!
The first order of business was to survey the course…
…and be led through in sync with each other.
Then Roll did a nice square halt!
Before mounting, I checked all his gear to make sure everything was in good shape and that Roll was comfortable.
Roll backed easily on request after mounting.
Roll walked the pattern nicely and stayed on the bit. Note the loose elbow pull!
Roll did lovely bends through his rib cage around the corner cones…
…and tracked easily over the ground rails.
When asked, he lengthened his walk as best he could!
I hadn’t planned on trotting, but Roll was having so much fun that he offered it and I accepted! His movement was so BIG, it shot my legs forward!
His hind quarters came well underneath his body through the halt…
…and after so much work and energy spent, Roll decided instantly it was nap time!!! What a good boy he is!
Secret Documents Leaked
We must continue to shout it from the roof tops that there is corruption and secrecy in the wild horse and burro management program. Here is the proof: http://www.yeaspage.com/#!Secret Documents Leaked/cwjb
Many of you are experiencing compassion fatigue after speaking out time and time again for the horses and burros to seemingly deaf ears – me too! This week the Bureau of Land Mangement (BLM) began rounding up wild horses in Wyoming. The BLM will remove 800-950 wild horses. They want to zero-out the area, no wild horses are allowed on that land because it is “checker-boarded” with public and private land intermingled. It breaks my heart.
How could this deal have been made that strips the land of the horses? The BLM is adamant and so are the courts that due to a previous ruling (2013 Consent Decree between the BLM and the Rock Springs Grazing Association) the horses must be removed.
I am here to tell you: Never get tired of doing good. Momentum is building. More and more people are finding out about this.
Here is a great way to raise awareness for the cause. In a challenge issued by The Cloud Foundation, they asked us (and you) to tweet the Department of Interior about the BLM with the hashtag: #Justice4Mustangs.
Here is another way: attend your local Regional Area Council (RAC) meetings. Laura Leigh of Wild Horse Edcuation suggested this in a recent post and we are listening. Leigh says, “RACs are often very vocal in recommendations to land use planning, where the WH&B Advisory Board is not. Land use planning, and the subsequent documents, literally create the legal framework that specific actions are based on, including wild horse and burro roundups.”
With your support, we will attend the RAC Meeting in Las Vegas tomorrow. The last time I attended a BLM staffer suggested that I apply for the Wild Horse and Burro Specialist position. (Not within the BLM but within the RAC). I am considering “throwing my hat in” and I wonder what you think about it? Should I persue a volunteer position with my RAC?
Yes, I am just a kid. But I have a big passion. I will not stop speaking out for wild horses and burros until there are “management options” that make sense and until corruption is rooted-out from the program.
Another Augie and Spuds Adventure: Hitch to Cart
“Hey, Spuds, where are we going today?!”
“Well Spuds, we’re in the grass. Maybe we get to graze?!” “Not likely, Augie!”
“Here comes the cart, Augie!”
“I knew she had something up her sleeve, Spuds! At least we’re not going forward and back in the Tack Barn again!”
“Hey Spuds, do you think she know she’s supposed to release the brake?!”
“I’m glad she finally figured THAT out! We’re really goin’ now, Augie!”
“Tee hee! This isn’t so hard! We just have to listen to what she says!”
“Even if it’s the first time ever hitched in the open, it’s actually kinda fun, Spuds!”
“I’m glad those two guys are finally out in front and out of our way, Spuds. Now we can really do our thing…one…two…three…four…”
“Look out for the turn, Spuds!”
“I got you covered, Augie! We’re a team and in it together for the long haul, you know!”
“Nice goin’, Spuds!” “Thanks, Augie, you, too!”
“Really nice job, Boys!” “We know, don’t we Spuds?!
To learn more about Meredith Hodges and her comprehensive all-breed equine training program, visit LuckyThreeRanch.com or call 1-800-816-7566. Check out her children’s website at JasperTheMule.com. Also, find Meredith on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.
© 2014, 2017, 2021 Lucky Three Ranch, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
What’s New with Roll? Obstacles
After a couple of weeks working on flatwork leading training through the hourglass followed by a couple of lessons in the round pen, I decided to do some coordination work over the obstacles. In Stage One of obstacle training, the only task is to get through the obstacles, changing fear into curiosity. In Stage Two, we break things down into smaller steps and square up at every interval to facilitate good equine balance and add coordination to his movements.
With constant repetition, going through gates is a cinch for Roll.
The first stop is at the foot of the bridge…stop, square up and reward.
Next, we ask Roll to put two feet on the bridge, square up and reward…
…and then four feet on the bridge, square up and reward again.
Roll did this quite easily, but in this next position, you will notice how uncoordinated your mule really is. Most equines will either push through you and keep going forward, or if you hold them back, will fall off the side of the bridge and turn around to face you. This exercise helps them to become stronger and really learn to hold their balance for prolonged periods of time.
Once he has held this position for a couple of minutes, you can then walk off the bridge and square up one last time. As you can see, Roll is doing very well and has sustained his core muscle strength that enables him to be strong and coordinated in any position.
The tractor tire is a perquisite for lateral work. After learning the turns on the forehand and haunches, the tractor tire helps to finesse this movement.
In the beginning, a light tap with the end of the lead will cue him to move the hind quarters over, but once he know what is expected, a simple glance or hand signal will do as Roll is doing here.
A slight indication with the lead gets him to take those last two steps in the 360 degree movement. As a side note: the elbow pull has multiple uses and being a lead is one of them including the option of using it to tie them up, but there is a trick to how to tie it to the post or hitch rail.
Tires are a good exercise for proprioception or body awareness. It is not as important if they place their feet in the holes as it is that they place their feet strategically underneath their body in a balanced and organized fashion.
It is the same with the ground rails whether they are six inches in diameter or only one inch in diameter as shown. You know they are doing well when they don’t even move a one-inch PVC pipe (as they are easily kicked out of the way). Roll is VERY careful in his foot placement!
The Back-Through “L” helps them to not only pay attention to foot placement…
…but also how to bend their body through the rib cage and how to strategically move their feet while keeping their body erect and in good equine posture.
Walking forward through the Back-Through “L” is easy, but backing through can get a little tricky in the middle at the right angle so make sure there is plenty of space between the rails!.
Elevated rails make it easier for them to “feel” and execute the turn correctly…
…and back easily to the end of the final section. Roll never ceases to amaze me in his willingness to perform. This was only his second time through the obstacles!
Then just for fun, we went and watched the guys dig a hole in the driveway looking for a broken waterline! It was fun for us, but not for the guys, I’m sure!
Take A Stand: #Justice4Mustangs
This week, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) begins its assault on the beautiful wild horses of the Adobe Town, Salt Wells Creek and Divide Basin Herd Management Areas (HMAs) in Wyoming. The helicopter roundup will remove over 800 wild horses from their homes on the range to appease the Rock Springs Grazing Association, whose members want wild horses from gone from all the land – public and private – in this area known as the Wyoming Checkerboard.
At the same time, BLM holding facilities for captured mustangs are near capacity, and the BLM has been forced to relocate thousands of warehoused horses from holding facilities that are closing. (Most recently, the Utah Department of Corrections gave the BLM a 30-day eviction notice for nearly 1,200 wild horses incarcerated at a prison in Gunnison.) At least 80 mares died in one such relocation of 1,400 wild horses from a long-term pasture to a feedlot in Kansas where they continue to languish.
Yet the roundups continue, driven by special livestock interests that view wild horses as competition for cheap, taxpayer-subsidized grazing on our public lands. It’s time to let our government know that the public lands belong to all Americans! Join us in seeking #justice4mustangs by signing the petition, sharing your photo with the hashtag #justice4mustangs, and making a phone call – please click below!
We Need To Make A Lot of Noise, Will You Help Us
Yesterday, we told you the bad news that the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals denied our motion for an injunction to block the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) from rounding up more than 800 wild horses in Wyoming.
Although we will continue to pursue the case on its strong merits, the roundup will begin in the next few days. As the helicopters descend on the beautiful horses of Adobe Town, Salt Wells Creek and Divide Basin, please help us launch a massive grassroots uprising.
Here’s what we need you to do.
1. Call Secretary Jewel at 202-208-7351 and email her by clicking here.
Here is a sample of what you can say: “I oppose the massive wild horse roundup about to take place in Wyoming. The BLM did not provide any opportunity for the public to participate in the decision. Nearly 1,000 wild horses will lose their freedom to appease ranchers who graze their livestock on our public lands. The American public opposes this roundup. Please stop the Wyoming wild horse wipeout. Our public lands belong to all Americans.”
Update (12:12 pm EST): Secretary Jewell’s office is being inundated with calls and is now sending calls directly to voice mail. Please do leave a message for her. As well, you can send a short email byclicking here. Be sure to personalize your message so it will get individual attention!
Public lands 4 all Americans: Stop WY wild horse wipeout. #justice4mustangs
3. Post this message below (just by copying and pasting) on the Interior Department’s Facebook page:
It’s time the Interior Department manage public lands for all Americans. Stop the Wyoming wild horse wipeout. #justice4mustangs
Our hashtag is trending – please help us get it out there!
The setback at the Appellate Court is disappointing, but we continue to fight for these magnificent horses. While we cannot stop the roundup, we can pursue our lawsuit with the goal of establishing a precedent that will prevent the BLM from doing this again and hopefully obtain some relief for the Wyoming wild horses, including possibly forcing BLM to return to the range some of the horses captured during the roundup.
Please stay with us, stand with the horses, help us build momentum and keep up the fight!
Thank you so much!!
– The AWHPC Team
Bad News: Court Green Lights Wyoming Wild Horse Wipeout
We have some very bad news to deliver today. We just received word that the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals has denied our motion for an injunction to block the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) from rounding up more than 800 wild horses in Wyoming.
Despite the herculean efforts of our attorneys and coalition partners, we were not able to stop the roundup. However, it’s important to remember that the Court of Appeals simply issued a one sentence cursory and did not address any of the BLM’s blatant legal violations. While disappointing, the court’s ruling is not unexpected, because the standards for obtaining an emergency injunction are extremely high and the cards are generally stacked against us
So many of you have pitched in to support our efforts to defend Wyoming’s wild horses in federal court and we can assure you that the merits of our case remain very strong. While we cannot stop the roundup, we can pursue our lawsuit with the goal of establishing a precedent that will prevent BLM from running roughshod over public opinion and federal law in the future and with the hope of obtaining some relief for the Wyoming wild horses, including possibly forcing BLM to return to the range some of the horses captured during the roundup.
Meanwhile, we need to protest this assault on Wyoming’s wild horses loud and clear. Here are two things that you can do right now:
1. Tweet: @SecretaryJewell Public lands 4 all Americans: Stop WY wild horse wipeout. #justice4mustangs
Public lands 4 all Americans: Stop WY wild horse wipeout. #justice4mustangs
2. Post this message below (just by copying and pasting) on the Interior Department’s Facebook page:
Manage public lands for all Americans. Stop the Wyoming wild horse wipeout. #justice4mustangs
Tomorrow we’ll send another email asking you to call the Interior Department.
These things take just moments of your time, but together we can create a lasting impression on the minds of policy makers that citizens from all walks of life are taking a stand against the injustice our wild horses and burros are suffering at the hands of the ranchers and the BLM.
Let’s do this,
– The AWHPC Team
Hearts and Horses Clinic
The following is a guest post from Hearts and Horses, the Loveland, CO-based equine therapy center.
Last week, Meredith Hodges came out to Hearts & Horses for an incredible day of professional development for the Hearts & Horses staff. During the day, Meredith demonstrated training and equine handling techniques, using Allie and Sadie, the two mules that she donated to Hearts & Horses. Hearts & Horses staff spent time in the classroom and in the arena with Meredith as she shared her training tools that aid in effectively communicating with equines while developing their balance and working toward conditioning, so they can perform to the best of their ability as equine therapists and in any other career.
<p”>While Hearts & Horses focuses on equines as Therapeutic Partners, Meredith’s training techniques are invaluable for horsemen and horsewomen of all backgrounds.
Meredith and Lucky Three Ranch have been long time supporter of Hearts & Horses and all of our diverse programs. We so value her support and guidance and look forward to our continued partnership and friendship in the future! Thank you Meredith!
<p”>Click here for more information about Lucky Three Ranch including tours, training and education opportunities.
Media Round Up from the Unwanted Horse Coalition
Winners of the Ariat “Champions Win A Grant” Program Announced
Thanks to Ariat International and the dedication of three volunteers in the Champion Equine Service program, three well-deserving charities devoted to horse welfare and the horse-human bond have received grants to put towards their programs. Heroes on Horseback, which aids children with mental and physical disabilities through equine therapy, was awarded $2,500. Free Rein Therapeutic Riding received $1,500. Finally, Roanoke Valley Horse Rescue, which provides treatment, rehabilitation, and adoption services for horses that have been abandoned or abused, was given $1,000.
Sales Sector Increases Support for TAA
The Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance (TAA) reports that it has received significantly increased support from buyers and consignors at North American Thoroughbred auctions, with voluntary contributions totaling more than a quarter million dollars. Sales revenue is one element of TAA’s goal to establish a broad-based, automatic funding mechanism at every point in a Thoroughbred’s life. “We are grateful to see a growing number of buyers and consignors equally invested in promoting and supporting our mission,” said TAA Executive Director, James Hastie.
Horses of a Different Color
Gulfstream Park Racing & Casino has announced Horses of a Different Color, a public art event that will take place at Gulfstream Park early next year. Two dozen life-sized fiberglass horses, hand painted by local and national artists, will be displayed throughout Gulfstream Park and auctioned off at select events over the course of the 2015 racing year. Proceeds will go to several charities, including the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance.
Teen Rider Competes Rescue Horse at International Event
Last month, novice teen rider, Taylor Long, and her rescue horse, Heartbreaker, competed against over 1,000 competitors at the prestigious National Barrel Horse Association Youth World Championships. When Long received Heartbreaker two years ago, he weighed only 200 pounds and was incredibly skittish. But with time and patience, Long has given her diamond in the rough the opportunity to shine on the international stage.
Heart of Horse Sense Helps Children and Veterans
Shannon Knapp, founder of Heart of Horse Sense, has been busy conducting free equine therapy for at-risk children and veterans throughout the summer. Participants get to groom and feed the horses and, if they want to, ride. In addition, all the horses at Heart of Horse Sense have been rescued and rehabilitated. “They all have a story,” Knapp says. “A lot like out clients. And they need a lot of love.”
Paso Robles Group Pairs Kids and Horses in Need
Since 2003, the Equine Alliance Youth Foundation has paired local youth–specifically those who have experienced neglect, physical and emotional abuse, and abandonment–with horses to train and care for. The majority of the 12 horses who live on the small ranch are rescues who have also suffered abuse and neglect. Together, the kids and the horses who participate in the program learn trust and gain self-confidence. “When kids and horses work together, the youth begin to show affection, empathy, gain understanding and self-control,” said the program’s executive director, Lori Harmon.
New Mexico Program Allows Inmates to Help Horses
A new rehabilitation program launched by the New Mexico Department of Corrections lets prisoners at the Springer Correctional Center care for rescued horses. Through the program, inmates benefit from the soothing company of their equine partners, while the previously neglected or abused horses benefit from daily care and attention. And while the goal of the program is to teach inmates personal and professional skills that could lead to jobs after their release, it also aims to rehabilitate and re-home each horse.
A Home for Every Horse Announces Second “Equine Comeback Challenge”
A Home for Every Horse (AHFEH) will host its second Equine Comeback Challenge at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show in October. AHFEH has given 10 trainers 90 days to work with their assigned rescue horses in preparation for the showcase. Following the event, each horse will be listed on Equine.com and sold privately through their trainers to approved homes. “With a competition like the Equine Comeback Challenge, rescue horses are given that much-needed opportunity to showcase their abilities and potential. Ninety days is all many of these horses need to find their forever home,” said Mariah Hammerschmidt, Project Coordinator for AHFEH.
TheHorse.com Rescue Poll
In a recent poll, TheHorse.com asked their readers: “Have you ever rescued a horse?”
Of the 575 total respondents, 450 (78%) reported that they had. Respondents also left encouraging comments about their experiences rescuing horses and offered advice to those interested in the process.
Rescue Group Prepares for Microchipping Clinic
In September, Connecticut Draft Horse Rescue, in conjuction with the Equine Rescue Network (ERN), will host its first microchipping clinic. After Hurricane Katrina, microchipping gained popularity among horse owners, but more recently it has caught on with the equine rescue community. ERN volunteers scan horses at auctions and, if a microchip is found, contact the registered owner of the horse. In addition, the ERN hosts a 24-hour hotline and Facebook page to connect owners with horses who have been lost or stolen. Dr. Stacey Golub, founder of Connecticut Draft Horse Rescue, predicts that microchipping will become the norm with horse owners as they begin to see “the numerous benefits and the potential ‘safety net’ protection it offers as more at-risk horses are scanned.”
Hay Assistance Program in California
Because of the damage caused by the drought in the West, SAFER North Counties Horse Rescue, a nonprofit organization dedicated to finding homes for displaced horses and educating the public concerning horse welfare, is offering temporary assistance to horse owners who cannot currently afford to feed their horses.