Monthly Archive for: ‘January, 2021’

Riding The Hourglass Pattern9 29 20 16

CHASITY’S CHALLENGES: Riding the Hourglass Pattern: 9-29-20

0

After extensive work in the Round Pen getting Chasity and Wrangler light in the bridle, we are finally ready to graduate to the Hourglass Pattern in the open arena. They enjoy working together, so I just take them both together and tie one outside the working area while I work with the other. We only do these lessons weekly, but they seem to practice good posture on their own during turnout in between lessons. Their play and rest patterns are changing and their posture is improving dramatically. They can now support my weight efficiently in the saddle, so it is now time to hone their skills in a more open setting where we can work more freely. They could trot while sustaining their good postural balance in the Round Pen without my added weight, but that is a pretty restricted place to introduce the trot with my weight in the saddle. So I will tie up Wrangler with his “Elbow Pull” while I work with Chasity.

As always, she leads easily, politely negotiates the gate and stands quietly while I adjust her “Elbow Pull” and adjust her equipment. I will tighten the girth a bit more for lunging to hold the saddle in place. I always tighten the girth a little at a time and not all at once for her comfort. She appreciates my consideration.

In preparation for riding, I will lunge Chasity first. When I ride her, I want her sufficiently warmed up and responsive to perfecting our communication skills. The five rotations at walk, then trot in each direction is sufficient exercise with some speed as she is now well-balanced while performing these tasks. The faster gaits under saddle will come later.

Chasity executes a very nice reverse and immediately slows to the walk, maintaining her good posture. When they are in a good equine posture, the entire length of the spine is stretched, causing space and elasticity between the vertebrae.

If the equine is perpetually allowed to carry their head too high, the vertebrae can become stuck and calcified too close together and over time can cause a condition called “Kissing Spine” that keeps the spine rigid and inflexible.

After a sufficient warm up with the addition of a bit of canter while tracking to the right, Chasity is ready to be ridden in the Hourglass Pattern. She obediently comes out the gate and turns to me for her reward.

I politely mount, settle onto her back softly and offer her reward as I did in the Tack Barn and then in the Round Pen. She stands absolutely still.

Then we do a rein back before moving forward into the Hourglass Pattern. Contrary to popular belief, this “pattern training” will allow Chasity to concentrate on the details of tracking forward, bending and staying light in the bridle.

The arcs and turns in the Hourglass Pattern allow Chasity’s internal pendulum to swing from side to side and come to rest at dead center when she finally halts. She maintains straight lines and bends to the arcs through her rib cage.

When an equine is perpetually schooled on the rail or in too many circles in one direction and then another, this radical movement does not allow the internal pendulum to become centered and balanced.

There is an optical illusion that takes place when riding the rail that “pushes” the balance continuously to one side. Straight lines become difficult and bending will be stiff at best.

This swaying in the Hourglass Pattern from one arc to another keeps the internal pendulum moving freely from side to side while the equine moves freely forward. It produces fluid motion and relaxation in the equine.

All of this keeps the animal responsive, light in the bridle and facilitates good postural movement that results in squared halts and straight rein backs. They enjoy their work because it FEELS good!

Chasity stands still while I fish in my pocket for her final reward for a job well done! Her balance is solid!  

We then go back to the Round Pen area to retrieve Wrangler from his “spectator seat!” Wrangler and Chasity have been taught exactly and consistently the same way, so they are quite maneuverable and willing to do as I ask. I have not experienced a “balky” donkey or mule in years!

LMV WesternRiding

Longears Music Videos: Western Riding

0

See more Longears Music Videos

MCBasicTrainingforFoals2

MULE CROSSING: Basic Training for Foals Includes Common Sense

0

By Meredith Hodges

“Imprinting” is a natural process by which an animal (most typically, when young) comes to recognize another animal or a person as a parent or other object of habitual trust. Imprinting is also the way any equine is touched when he is a foal and handled throughout his entire life. It is never too late to use imprinting with your equine, and the way you do it will determine whether or not he develops a lifelong confidence and trust in you. NOTE: Imprinting should not be utilized only when your equine is a newborn, and then never utilized again. Imprinting should continue throughout his entire life.

Equine foals must be allowed to play—running, kicking and rolling. This is how they exercise so they can grow up to be healthy adults. Like any baby or toddler, a foal cannot be expected to have perfect manners, so keep lessons short (10-20 minutes every other day at the most) and use good judgment when you are with him to avoid being kicked or bitten. If he does kick or bite while you are doing things with him, use the flat of your hand and give him a quick thump on the rump for kicking or on the side of his mouth for biting, accompanied by a loud “No!”  He will probably run off, but should be able to be coaxed back verbally and fairly easily with soothing language and an offer of crimped oats. When he finally does come back to you, reward him with a nice pat on the neck, and then leave him to play. By doing this, you are letting him know that it is okay to play, but not to kick or bite. He has learned that bad behavior will elicit an unpleasant touch while his good behavior will illicit kind touch and soothing words. You can resume more serious corrective lessons later.

The most important thing to learn when training your equine is to dispense the crimped oats reward promptly and generously in the beginning of training, and only when your equine is complying (do not use anything but crimped oats for rewards). This will solidify the connection between the two of you and begin to establish a strong and mutually satisfying relationship. If, when haltered, your equine tries to pull away from you, just let go of the rope, reach in your fanny pack and offer the crimped oats to coax him to return to you. Remember not to try to progress through lessons too quickly, as this is usually what causes disobedience. Never chase your equine! Whenever at all possible, allow him to come to you of his own free will.

Before you begin your equine’s leading lessons—and during “tying” lessons—your equine should be rewarded frequently and whenever he is not pulling against the rope. This will help him to understand that he will be rewarded when the rope is loose so he is more likely to follow you when you do untie him and try to lead him. This concept is the same for each new task in each new lesson. Each time he easily complies, he should be rewarded. At this point you can move on to new lessons, but, in order to set him up for success, be sure to break down each process into small steps. Remember to always be generous with the rewards. An equine that learns to take the oats reward politely from your hand is less likely to bite you than one who has not had enough practice getting rewarded with the oats from your hand. When the correction for biting is done properly, your equine will learn not to be aggressive toward the reward and will learn to take them more delicately and gently from your hand.

If, as an adult, your equine gets too close or pushy, slap him on the side of the mouth with an open hand and a very loud “No!” Then put your hand up like a stop sign in front of his face. He should then step back or fling his head back, at which point you immediately step toward him and say, “Good Boy (or Girl),” and give him a reward for giving you your space. The next time he gets too close or pushy, simply put your hand up like a stop sign with a loud and abrupt “No!” This should be sufficient. Your equine should then be willing to back up and wait for the reward. You still need to be very consistent about when the rewards are given and when the correction is truly needed. “No” is the only negative verbal command you should ever give and should be the only word that ever denotes your displeasure so there is never any confusion (do not use any other negative verbal words or noises).

NOTE: Never leave a halter on an unsupervised equine. This is very dangerous! The halter can easily become snagged on something and can result in severe injury, a broken neck, or even death.

When thinking about the way horses, and particularly mules and donkeys learn, consider the way human children learn: They cannot accomplish many different tasks all at the same time. When tasks are not taught one by one and in a natural and logical order, confusion and failure are almost certainly guaranteed. If you want to have good results, you need to be working in a natural and logical order, with small enough steps that make sense to your equine. When training your mule or donkey, use a fanny pack filled with crimped oats, but do not offer a bucket of oats.

You should not even try to put on a halter and lead until your equine lets you touch him all over. Then you can approach with the halter. For instance, before you even halter your equine, ask him to come to you and then reward him with crimped oats when he does come. When he is consistently coming to you, the next step is to carry the halter with you without put it on him. Reward his approach toward you and his acceptance of the halter being present. Let him sniff and investigate the halter as much as he wants. Once he shows no sign of being at all bothered by the presence of the halter, you can then put the halter on him. When doing so, remember to always be polite and gentle. Reward your equine for the acceptance of the halter, and then try to loop your arm over his neck while feeding the crown strap of the halter from your left hand (from under his neck) to your right hand that is looped over his neck. This way, even if he starts to slowly move away, you can pull him back towards you with the loop around his neck and finish the process by putting his nose through the noseband of the halter. However, if he quickly jerks away, just let go of the rope. Then show him the oats and encourage him to return and try again, but do not give him any oats until he comes all the way back to your hand. Anytime he moves away, just ask him to return, but never chase him. Always make sure he comes all the way to you for his reward.

If you find that you are having difficulty during leading training, your own body may be out of good posture, causing you to take too many steps before stopping to square up. First, make sure you are in good posture. Then give the verbal command to “walk on.” Walk a straight line, pointing to where you are going with your right hand and keeping the left hand securely on your left hip. Make sure your steps mirror his front legs. Then stop, face your equine, reward him for stopping, make him stand squarely, make sure you are still in good posture and reward him for squaring up. Now just stand still for a few minutes, giving your equine time to settle and process what has just happened. Then reward him for standing quietly for a few minutes.

Next, turn and face the next direction in which you will be going, point with your right hand, give the command to “walk on,” and repeat the exercise. If done correctly, there will be many chances to hesitate a bit or stop between actions. All of these hesitations and stops will force your equine to pay attention and be ready for your next move. If you are performing each task in these smaller increments, he will be less likely to forge ahead. It will also give you the opportunity to do things slowly enough to get it exactly “right” and through repetition, your equine will be able to transform learned behaviors into automatic behaviors. If you try to hold a move too long or, on the other hand, do things too fast, your animal may not have time to properly comply, causing him to get confused, lose interest and engage in avoidance behavior.

You should not need to tug, pull or push. Just stand still in good posture when you stop and immediately stick your hand into the fanny pack and offer the reward. If you are doing all of this correctly, your equine might turn his head into your hand and swing his hindquarters around so that he faces you instead of stopping in his tracks. Not staying straight in his tracks is a temporary problem that you can fix by simply squaring him up after he has stopped and been rewarded. If he is forging ahead, one or more things are going on; either you are not doing things in small enough steps, not rewarding promptly enough to make him turn into you, or you are not using the fanny pack. These problems can be fixed by being more attentive to your own good posture and your movements, and to the times when he does cooperate. Keep lessons in small enough steps so he can be rewarded. This is called “setting up for success.”

You need to lead your equine with your left hand and shorten the lead rope, so he carries his head next to your right shoulder and cannot slip his head behind your back. He may try to walk ahead of you, at which point you can use your right hand to push his nose back into position. This will be very awkward at first and it will take time for you both to learn to do it properly. If he knows you are carrying a fanny pack of oats, he will be more apt to go in front of you than to follow you from behind or pass you, because he will be looking for the fanny pack. Again, use your free right hand to push him back into the correct position.

Without the reward, there is no incentive for him to do a task correctly, so always remember to dispense the reward promptly and appropriately, accompanied by a verbal “Good Boy!” whenever he correctly does what you ask. Do not spend more than 15 to 20 minutes every other day on lessons, as your animal can get bored and frustrated if you drill. At first, just practice “walk” and “halt.” When he has learned to stay at your shoulder, you can progress to the next step of halting and setting him up to stand squarely. Once he does this correctly, you can move on to trotting and turns. Remember—breaking the lessons into small steps, maintaining good posture and quickly rewarding will help your equine to achieve small victories because you are setting him up for success!

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.

© 2016, 2017, 2019, 2021 Lucky Three Ranch, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

First 100 Day Wild Horse Agenda

0

The following is from the American Wild Horse Campaign:

A new year, a new administration, and wild-horse friendly leadership at the Interior Department and on the House Natural Resources Committee. This is our moment to make real change for wild horses and burros this year — the 50th Anniversary of the Wild Free Roaming Horses and Burros Act. 

We have an ambitious action plan to make 2021 the best for wild horses yet… and we have the team in place to accomplish it! Watch this video message to hear the plan we delivered to the new administration, and then sign our First 100 Days Agenda Petition

Our 100 Day Wild Horse Agenda Includes: 

  • Urging the government to declare our nation’s wild horses and burros as historic and cultural resources, prioritize humane fertility control over roundups and prohibit cruel mare surgical sterilization as a management tool.
  • Continuing to demonstrate through boots-on-the ground work that humane management of wild horses is not just possible; it can be done. We’ll do this by working to expand our groundbreaking PZP program in the Virginia Range to other herds in the West.
  • Putting science at the forefront of wild horse management — we will be launching exciting new initiatives that analyze our PZP program data and create an economic report to highlight the missteps of the current mismanagement path and the cost-savings of an alternative approach.
  • Continuing to amplify our work and your voice on Capitol Hill while pursuing legislation to finally give our wild horses and burros the protection they deserve.

This is an ambitious agenda, but this is our year to fight hard for the change we want to see in the world. It will take every one of us stepping up however we’re able — whether it’s lending your voice, time, or money.

This is our time to prioritize, protect and elevate America’s iconic wild horses and burros and the public lands they call home. I’m so excited to see what we accomplish together in 2021. Thank you for standing with us – we can’t do this work without you!

Suzanne Roy

Executive Director

AWHC

Fine Tuning Wranglers Response92220 12

WRANGLER’S DONKEY DIARY: Fine Tuning Wrangler’s Response: 9-22-20

0

Wrangler always eagerly awaits his weekly lessons! When things are predictable and are not “drilled,” your equine will look forward to his time with you. I always try to keep lessons short (30-40 minutes), done in a logical order and consistent in the task executions. For instance, we always walk the same way, with the lead in my left hand, with a loose connection to his head to encourage self-carriage, repeated verbal commands and I walk with my feet in sync with his front legs. The gates are always executed the same way. He is rewarded with crimped oats from my fanny pack when halted and waits patiently while I close and latch the gate. Even though Chasity is tied outside of the Round Pen, Wrangler’s attention is 100% on me. Minimizing distractions by being consistent with the way we do things will create a solid base of habitually good behavior.

Wrangler continues to stand quietly while I make sure his saddle is centered in the middle of his back and the tension on the crupper is adequate, but not too tight. He should be able to relax his tail. I check both girths to make sure they are snug but not too tight (the front girth tighter than the rear girth), adjust the tension on the “Elbow Pull” and make sure the fleece at the poll is centered to prevent undue chafing when he has to “lean” on the “Elbow Pull.” The “Elbow Pull” will not tie his head down, but it will prevent him from raising his head so high that he inverts his neck and spine. It will assure that he is in a good balanced equine posture during his workout.

I first ask Wrangler to walk for five rotations before asking him to trot. Occasionally, he will be so full of energy that he offers the trot first. If he trots, I just adjust and let him do five rounds of trot first and let him walk five rotation afterwards. To start, I only asked for walk and trot until Wrangler began to break into canter  by himself. I then added one rotation at canter after the five rotations at trot before allowing him to walk.

I will add one more rotation at canter in each of the upcoming lessons. Then his warm-ups will consist of five rotations of each…walk, trot, canter, walk…then a reverse, and the same progression in the opposite direction before mounting him. He should always slow to a walk before executing the reverse so it is done in good postural balance.

This will begin to improve his balance and build his bulk muscle symmetrically.

After checking both girths one more time, Wrangler stands stock still as I mount him. I offer his oats on both sides as I did in our first mounting session in the Tack Barn. This is to make sure I keep his attention on ME! The oats are taken politely. He fully understands that these are NOT treats, only REWARDS for good behavior.

Once mounted and and seated in balance, I ask Wrangler for a rein back with a few more steps than he had done in his previous lesson. He responds nicely to the squeeze/release motion of my lttle fingers.

I keep a very light contact with the bit as we proceed forward. We add circles at random points along the rail to add variety to the workout and keep it interesting. We work on staying erect while he bends to the arc of the circles through his rib cage.

Wrangler’s “Elbow Pull” remains consistently loose as he walks leisurely along the rail and executes the “S” turns for changes in direction.

Wrangler gives Chasity a wink as he passes the spot where she is tied along the rail. She is proud of how well her “beau” is doing and watches intently! Wrangler is soft, flexible and elastic in the bridle. This is exactly what I want from him. We will be able to graduate to a larger area next week!

Wrangler spotted a jogger coming toward us along the road and didn’t quite finish his square halt, but halted nevertheless. I prudently waited for the jogger to go by before I asked him for a rein back and he complied easily.

I think too many of us get in too much of a hurry to RIDE and forget that our equine athletes need the same consideration from us that human athletes get from their coaches. They need to do exercises that prepare their bodies for the “game.”  When they are adquately prepared, their skeleton is symmetrically supported, joints are able to operate as intended and do not develop arthritis from uneven wear of the cartilage, and the internal organs can function in good health at maximum capacity. When we are patient and take the time to prepare our equines properly, there is much to be gained…a happy and willing equine companion that is capable of performing to their optimum ability. Training really CAN be safe and resistance-free! Being herdbound is not an issue because they really enjoy being with YOU as much as, if not more than, they enjoy being with their equine friends!

RichardShrakeClinic8 11 2010 195CC

MULE CROSSING: Myths About Desensitization

0

By Meredith Hodges

You really don’t want to desensitize your animals to everything. Here is Webster’s Dictionary’s definition of the word “desensitize”:

1) to make (a sensitized or hypersensitive individual) insensitive or non-reactive to a sensitizing agent.

Some people have the misconception that, in order to desensitize an animal, you have to make it numb to its surroundings and any stimulus it encounters. Not true! What you really want to do is sensitize your equine to different body language and cues from you, as the trainer. So “desensitization” does not mean achieving a total lack of sensitivity. Rather, it should be approached as a way of training your equine (in a way that is quiet and calm) to be less sensitive to certain objects or events that may be cause him to be fearful, so he can move forward with confidence and the right sensitivity toward the communication between the two of you.

When incorrect, harsh or overly aggressive desensitizing techniques are used on equines, the handler is met with either a very strong flight reflex or a stand and fight reflex.  In either case, an equine will either put up a fight and be deemed a rogue and, therefore, untrainable, or eventually just “give up” and succumb to the trainer’s wishes. This is  a sad situation because the equine is not given the opportunity to make reasonable choices in his relationship with his trainer. The equine’s instinct to warm up to the person training him is hampered by his fear of more desensitization techniques. Thus, he becomes resigned to his work and is not fully engaged in the training process.

Often, trainers will put obstacles such as a trailer, tire or tarp in an equine’s pen in the hope of getting him used to it by making him live with it. But ask yourself this: How much rest would you get if someone put a blaring radio in your bedroom to desensitize you to noise? Equines have many of the same reactions to their personal space that we do, and they do much better when their place of rest is just that—a place of rest and comfort. And when lessons are approached in a considerate, respectful and rewarding way, an equine is more likely to approach them with an eager and positive attitude that facilitates better learning. It is always better to turn your equine’s fear into curiosity than it is to just assault his senses.

When doing obstacle training, it is better to allow your equine a gradual approach with small steps and great rewards for his honest effort than to whip and spur him through just to get to the other side. When his fear is converted to curiosity, the chance of his refusal to go forward is lessened and his trust in you as the trainer allows you to, eventually, ride through any obstacle at the slightest suggestion. This is because he trusts your judgment and has not been frightened, hurt or made uncomfortable during the training process. This is your equine developing sensitivity to your demands and learning to willingly comply so he can become a participating partner in each activity.

Some trainers believe that breaking down tasks for the equine into tiny steps is a waste of time and that giving a food reward prevents an equine from learning to respect the trainer, but I disagree. When you break tasks down into understandable steps in the beginning stages of training, you will eventually begin to get solid, reliable behavior from your equine. You will have to pay attention to a lot of little details at the beginning stages of training (and that can seem overwhelming at first), but if you take the time to pay attention to these small steps in the beginning stages and through the ground work and round pen work that will follow, when you finally do move on to riding under saddle the lessons will go much more quickly.

Each stage of training should become easier for you and your equine to master. For instance, it actually takes you less time to train in something like a side pass if you have done your groundwork training with the lead line and drive-line lateral training before you even get into the saddle. It also follows that the side pass will come more easily for your equine if he has first learned to move on an angle in the leg yield before having to move straight sideways. This is an example of taking things in small, logical steps, keeping your equine sensitive to his surroundings and tasks without fear. It also greatly lessens the chance for a fear or anxiety-driven blow up from your equine later on.

There is a physical as well as mental aspect to all of this technique. While you are training your equine to perform certain movements and negotiations over obstacles, his muscles, ligaments and tendons are all involved in his actions. When an equine is asked to do a movement for which his muscles have not first been properly conditioned, he will not only execute the motion incorrectly, but his premature attempt will undoubtedly compromise his muscles, ligaments and tendons. Even if he can adequately assimilate a requested movement while he is young, he could easily be creating problems in his body and joints that will cause him escalating problems as he ages.

If you were asked to go on a 25-mile hike with a 50-pound pack on your back, how would you prepare in order to safely and successfully perform this task? You would break it down into small steps, working up to it by first running a short distance with a very light weight, and then gradually increasing the distance you run and the weight you carry, which may take as long as a couple of years of careful training and conditioning. But if you tried to prepare for this kind of grueling hike by simply walking around the block a few times for a couple of days, you’d wreck your muscles, compromise your health and probably fail—all because you attempted to do the task when you weren’t physically or mentally ready. And depending on how much you strained your body, you just might discover down the line that the damage is permanent and will worsen over the course of your life. I use this illustration to show that, just as with humans, when it comes to training and conditioning your equine, it’s always better to take it slowly—one step at a time. Your equine will learn to enjoy being a partner in your challenges and goals if you give him the time he needs to be able to do these activities comfortably and with success.

An equine that learns in this sensitized way can also make judgments that might even save your life when you might not be paying attention. This is because when your equine is calm and well rested, he actually seems to be able to anticipate consequences, making him more likely to stop and wait for your cue. The equine that is “forced” during training will most often become anxious about a challenging situation and will seldom stop and calmly alert you to a potential peril—and he most likely will not trust your judgment.

It is because I have trained my mules in this sensitized way that I once avoided going over a 100-foot drop up in the Rocky Mountains while on a trail ride. On that particular day, I was in front, riding my mule, Mae Bea C.T. with four horses behind us. When we came to a giant boulder semi-blocking the trail, I told the people on the horses to wait and rode ahead. I soon found that the trail had narrowed to an impassable two feet wide and a rockslide had wiped out the trail ahead completely! It was straight up 100 feet on one side of the trail and straight down 100 feet on the other side and there was no going forward. The horses behind me were still on the wider part of the trail on the other side of the boulder and were able turn around, so they were safe, but backing my mule around the boulder on that treacherous trail would be very dangerous. I thought we were stuck. At that point, my mule calmly looked back around at me as if to ask, “Well, Mom, what do we do now?” I thought for a minute and then shifted the weight in my seat toward my mule’s hindquarters. This movement from me allowed her to shift her weight to her hindquarters. Then, with pressure from my right leg, she lifted her shoulders, pivoted on her left hind foot and performed a 180-degree turn to the left on her haunches, and with her front feet in the air, she swept them across the open precipice of the cliff and turned us back around to face the wider (and safe) part of the trail. After completing the turn, she stopped again, looked back at me to see if everything was okay and waited for my cue to proceed back down. I believe, without a doubt, that my mule’s incredible and calm response to a life-threatening situation was the direct result of the sensitized training methods I used that created our unbreakable bond of trust.

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 FacebookYouTube and Twitter.

© 2013, 2016, 2018, 2021 Lucky Three Ranch, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

 

TT 28

LTR Training Tip #28: How to Square Up

0

There are many advantages to having an equine that can square up at the halt, because that means he is putting equal weight over all four feet for ideal balance and good posture.

Download Detailed Description

See more Training Tips

We delivered a 100 Day agenda for wild horses and burros

0

The following is from the American Wild Horse Campaign:

It’s been a wild first two weeks of 2021, but we’re standing strong at AWHC for our wild horses and burros. We’re a few days away from a new Administration and our team has been pushing forward with our plan of action to protect America’s wild free-roaming horses and burros from mass roundups and slaughter.   

First 100 Days Wild Horse Agenda for the Biden Administration

Just this week, AWHC submitted its First 100 Days Wild Horse Agenda to the Biden Administration with an urgent plea to reform the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM’s) wild horse and burro management program, which is careening toward fiscal and animal welfare disaster.  

Urgent action is necessary in light of the BLM’s plan to round up 90,000 wild horses and burros from public lands over the next five years, a move that would triple the number of horses maintained in off-range holding facilities while decimating wild herds at a cost to taxpayers of nearly $1 billion. 

This agenda can set the stage for progress and reform of BLM’s inhumane practices.

We’re hopeful that the new administration will take significant steps to rein in the BLM and its mistreatment of our nation’s wild horses and burros. By following our First 100 Days Agenda, the Biden Administration can take necessary first steps to finally granting these iconic animals the protection and humane management they deserve. 

Public Lands Rancher Appointed to Represent Public on Wild Horse & Burro Advisory Board

The last four years have been marked by an all-out assault on our public lands by the Interior Department under Secretary David Bernhardt and the illegally-serving BLM Director William Perry Pendley. America’s wild horses and burros have not escaped the destruction. Scapegoated for massive environmental damage to public lands caused by the livestock industry, these iconic animals face virtual extinction under the Bernhardt/Pendley Plan to cull wild herds by 70 percent. 

And now, in a parting shot, the outgoing Secretary has appointed a public lands rancher who views wild horses as a “protein source” to represent the public interest on the BLM Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board. Read more about this corrupt appointment and AWHC’s vow to fight it here.

AWHC Responds to One-Sided Sacramento Bee Article

Last month, the Sacramento Bee published a one-sided story on the Devil’s Garden wild horse herd, which gave a megaphone to ranchers who want the land where the horses roam for their cattle. The article dismissed wild horse advocates as having a romanticized view of wild horses, who the author believes are better off captured and fed in pens than living free in the wild. On Saturday, the newspaper published AWHC’s response in an OpEd entitled, “How to fix federal mismanagement of California’s wild horse population.” Read the article here.

AWHC continues to fight the mismanagement of the Devil’s Garden wild horses by the U.S. Forest Service, which recently announced that it was selling all wild horses captured in a fall 2020 roundup for $25 a piece. Previous sales of captured Devil’s Garden wild horses have resulted in many disasters, including the escape of two untamed mustangs who are still at large in Pennsylvania, the deaths of 9 horses from salmonella poisoning after being shipped to Florida, and 18 horses delivered to a remote Colorado property that can be inaccessible during the winter months.

Meanwhile, the Forest Service continues to charge ahead with roundups as its main management tool and declined AWHC’s previous offer to fund a pilot fertility control program for this herd, which is California’s largest and most significant wild horse population. 

Roundup Report from Eagle Complex

Another massive wild horse roundup is underway, this one in the BLM’s Eagle Complex in eastern Nevada. AWHC’s observer is on site to document this capture operation that aims to remove over 1,000 wild horses and reduce the population to just 139-265 in this 743,000-acre habitat area — that equates to as little as one horse per every 5,345 acres!  The BLM is clearing the land of wild horses so that thousands of cattle and sheep can continue to graze this public lands area. 

As with any roundup, the scenes we’re witnessing are truly heartbreaking. As of Jan. 15, 412 wild horses have lost their freedom in the Eagle Complex roundup and five have lost their lives.   

Below Are Photos Our Observer Took During Eagle Complex Roundup:

Watch a clip from BLM’s first roundup of 2021:

We are working hard to change this — in Congress, in the courts and in the field by showing that humane management works. We need YOU more than ever to keep showing up, speaking up, and supporting our work. Together, we will do everything in our power to protect America’s wild horses.

Thank you for your support, Meredith. Our wild horses — and their continued freedom — depends on all of us.

— The whole team at AWHC

Fine Tuning Chasity’s Response9 22 20 10

CHASITY’S CHALLENGES: Fine Tuning Chasity’s Response: 9-22-20

1

In the many years of the management and training of equines, I have learned how much the details really count! I learned about how much easier things can be when you are open minded and allow your education to grow. For instance, I learned how to train without the bit and bridle, but then learned that in doing so, I was not able to control postural development in the equine’s body. Thus, I invented my “Elbow Pull” as a response to Richard Shrake’s “Rhythm Collector.” I also found out that my “Elbow Pull” could be used in conjunction with the mild Eggbutt snaffle bit in a multitude of different ways, even for tying an animal. It is practically weightless and easily slips through the bit rings for optimum adjustment while the equine is in motion. It does need to be adjusted differently with horses, but the results are amazing as you can see with Chasity’s physical improvement.

Chasity’s huge cresty neck is practically gone now and the neck sweat has not been needed since she graduated to the Round Pen. This was because I have been repetitious in the way we execute ALL movements, even going through gates, in good equine posture! When we do this, Chasity uses ALL the muscles in her body to do these moves, and in this case, stretches across her spine to pull the Supraspinous ligament back into alignment while reducing the fatty tissues with efficient metabolic circulation. She is a lot more comfortable in her body, so standing quietly is no longer an issue.

Chasity has learned her verbal commands and responds promptly and quietly. Since donkeys do not freely  exhibit as much energy as horses and mules, I only ask for five rotations at walk followed by five rotations at trot. As she is better able to keep her balance in good posture, the “Elbow Pull” remains loose, with very little tension throughout her whole workout.

Only now, instead of halting, resting and then changing direction, I do the whole exercise with a reverse in the middle for the change of direction. Her core is becoming more stable in her self-carriage. The muscles  across her spine are becoming stronger and better able to support the weight of a rider.

She is relaxed, moves freely forward and most of the time halts four-square. Since she was a bit sticky with the reverse under saddle during her last lesson, I will add a step and ask for the reverse from the ground first.

Chasity understands what I mean and backs easily upon the command to “Back.” I then walk to the other end of the Round Pen and ask her to come to me with a verbal “Come,” also using hand signals. There is nothing more important than communicating clearly.

I politely ask Chasity to “Whoa,” with my hand put up like a “Stop” sign, and then mount her while she stands still. I pay special attention to lowering my seat slowly onto her back.

As I did in the Tack Barn when I first mounted her, I lean over to both sides and offer her reward of crimped oats for standing still, sit quietly in the saddle while she chews and then asked her to first rein back. I keep my contact VERY light, with an alternating squeeze/release from my little fingers on the reins, and a backward motion from my legs and seat.

When ready to go forward, I nudge her with my legs and then WAIT for her response. If she does not move  right away, I nudge her again after waiting a few seconds. It will often take donkeys a little longer to THINK  about what you are asking. It is far more productive to give them that time. Chasity walks off obediently and  keeps her mind on her work as she passes Wrangler, waiting patiently for HIS turn!

I now add small circles randomly as we walk around the Round Pen. We pay special attention to staying erect and bending through the rib cage. I keep things slow, controlled and accurate.

We do “S” turns through the middle of the Round Pen to change direction. Speed can come later as the strength in good posture is developed and the connection to her bit remains light at all times.

I have discovered with this approach, there is hardly ever (if ever) any resistance or bad behaviors. Lessons go smoothly and safely for both of you. This is something I greatly appreciate with age!

Chasity maintains her good balance and cooperative attitude as we ride for about 15 minutes, practicing the circles,  halts, “S” turns and reverses. Chasity comes to a “square” halt. I wait quietly for a few seconds.

Then I ask Chasity for a rein back and she compies easily…still light in the bridle. I dismount and tell her how pleased I am with her. I playfully massage her upper gums to illicit a smile! They like having their gums rubbed!

It was a very satifsfying workout for us both! Chasity follows me as we exit the Round Pen and get ready for Wrangler’s turn! Allowing one animal to wait while another is worked, makes it easier to do the training. They seem to get support from their “Friends.” Occasionally working them alone as they gain confidence lets them know that being with you can always be fun and that you will always return them to their friends. This approach allows you to deepen the relationship between you, so you become as good a friend to them as their equine companions. This greatly eliminates the incidence of your equine becoming herdbound.

Packing051118

Longears Music Videos: Pack It In: Packing

0

See more Longears Music Videos

1st 911 for the NEW YEAR! STARVING OLD LADY – MYSTIC IS 27, EMACIATED, STARVING AND WILL NOT SURVIVE WITHOUT IMMEDIATE HELP!

0

The following is from Chilly Pepper – Miracle Mustang:

URGENT HELP NEEDED TO SAVE THIS MARE!

She is obviously emaciated, has no top teeth, and has to be absolutely freezing in these cold winter temps.

I receive the 911 last night to save her. We are her only hope.

PLEASE HELP ME SAVE MYSTIC! She will need blanket(s), and lots of special groceries. She will also need the normal vetting, hauling etc.

She can come live with Grandma in the “Mash Pen” IF WE CAN SAVE HER!
She will need LONG TERM care, and definitely some blood work and vetting.

It breaks my heart to think of how miserable she is standing out in the cold with nothing to provide heat. No feed, – she HAS TO HAVE MASH, and no blanket or shelter.

PLEASE HELP NOW!

This is the link to our Chilly Pepper’s Wild Horse & Orphan Foal Adoption Page, where you can see the progress and new lives of the horses YOU HAVE HELPED SAVED! (I can’t believe I didn’t do this years ago, but it is so fun to see the horses, babies and critters that are enjoying and thriving in their new lives.)

https://www.facebook.com/groups/364129998164107/

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO KEEP HELPING US SAVE MORE LIVES, YOU CAN GO TO:

You can go to gofundme

You can go to Paypal

if you would like to help these horses.

->You can donate via check at: (PLEASE NOTE NEW PO BOX #)

Chilly Pepper – Miracle Mustang,

PO Box # 233

Golconda, NV 89414

You can also donate via credit card by calling Palomino at 530-339-1458.

NO MATTER HOW BIG OR HOW SMALL – WE SAVE THEM ALL!

SAVING GD’S CRITTERS – FOUR FEET AT A TIME

Chilly Pepper – Miracle Mustang, WIN Project – Rescue & Rehab

We are now part of the WIN Organization

WIN (WILD HORSES IN NEED) is a 501c3 IRS EIN 55-0882407_

If there are ever funds left over from the cost of the rescue itself, the monies are used to feed, vet, care for and provide shelter and proper fencing for the animals once they are saved.

Donate to Help

USED, ABUSED, STARVED AND THROWN AWAY! – TREASURE UPDATE!! IT’S GO TIME TO STOCK UP ON BABY SUPPLIES!

0

The following is from Chilly Pepper – Miracle Mustang:

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Thanks to your love and support, we were able to save Treasure AND get Smurf and Noel safely home.

Sadly, Treasure is in even worse shape than we were told. The first thing I did was take him to Doc to get his bloodwork run. He is severely anemic, and he probably had no more than a few days left to live, without being dewormed. Doc said he had so many bloodworms they were literally killing him.

His white blood cell count is horrendous as well. So much that Doc is afraid he has leukemia. I de-wormed him, and then we went into having scours immediately. For more than 5 days he had the most horrible diarrhea (scours), and it was, and still is hour to hour with him. We are now praying he does not have any blockages from all of the worms.

He is in critical shape at best, but is the most loving and kind horse I have ever met. We spent hours just sitting in the yard, while he stood with his head in my lap. He is literally breaking my heart, and I am doing everything I can with special feed and meds etc. He could really use another blanket or 2, as he tends to need his washed every day or so. His size is about a 78″. It is bitterly cold here and he has nothing to keep him warm, so it is imperative that he stays blanketed while it is cold.

It’s time to stock up on Foal Lac Powder, Foal Lac Pellets, Vaseline, Gloves, Baby Wipes, Paper Towels, Bute, Banamine, Shavings, Mare & Foal Pellets, syringes, needles, Colostrum (IGG) for the new born babies, Foal Response, French Clay, bandages, thermometers, scissors, baby halters, baby blankets, and the list goes on. If anyone would like to help us get ready for foal season, you can order off of Valley Vet or Fosters and Smith or Chewey.com. I still have to get the 2 stallions gelded and the goat’s leg amputated, and we need to be ready for the babies BEFORE they get here.

Little Annie Oakley says she would love some more Foal Lac Pellets. She is starting to feel much better and her wormy belly is finally gone.

Thank you so much for all the lives you saved in 2020 and before. It seems to be the norm that there is simply no “down time” anymore, and baby season is almost here. (Or here already – if you ask Annie, lol).

This is the link to our Chilly Pepper’s Wild Horse & Orphan Foal Adoption Page, where you can see the progress and new lives of the horses YOU HAVE HELPED SAVED! (I can’t believe I didn’t do this years ago, but it is so fun to see the horses, babies and critters that are enjoying and thriving in their new lives.)

https://www.facebook.com/groups/364129998164107/

Annie Oakley, home in Golconda!

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO KEEP HELPING US SAVE MORE LIVES, YOU CAN GO TO:

You can go to gofundme

You can go to Paypal

if you would like to help these horses.

->You can donate via check at: (PLEASE NOTE NEW PO BOX #)

Chilly Pepper – Miracle Mustang,

PO Box # 233

Golconda, NV 89414

You can also donate via credit card by calling Palomino at 530-339-1458.

NO MATTER HOW BIG OR HOW SMALL – WE SAVE THEM ALL!

SAVING GD’S CRITTERS – FOUR FEET AT A TIME

Chilly Pepper – Miracle Mustang, WIN Project – Rescue & Rehab

We are now part of the WIN Organization

WIN (WILD HORSES IN NEED) is a 501c3 IRS EIN 55-0882407_

If there are ever funds left over from the cost of the rescue itself, the monies are used to feed, vet, care for and provide shelter and proper fencing for the animals once they are saved.

Donate to Help

An update

0

The following is from the American Wild Horse Campaign:

Great news: our end of year fundraising totals are in, and thanks to your incredible support, we were able to reach our $125,000 goal and UNLOCK our donor match!  Your support will make an enormous difference for wild horses and burros as we launch our ambitious 2021 agenda.

We have a lot of work ahead of us, but we know we can always count on you to lobby your elected officials, support our critical legal work, and raise awareness across the country about the plight of America’s magnificent wild horses and burros. This is a tough fight, but this movement has stood up to the challenge over and over again and we’ll do it again in 2021. Please read on for a recap of the 2020 accomplishments that we’ll build on and a preview of what your generosity will allow us to do this year! 

Strengthened Political Support & Made History

We teamed up with our coalition partners and worked with members of Congress to introduce the first pro-wild horse legislation in over a decade. Passed by the House of Representatives, the bipartisan wild horse protection amendment would require the BLM to implement PZP fertility control to manage wild herds humanely on public lands. Although the final spending bill did not include the House-passed amendment, it did include strong fertility control language as well as other pro-horse provisions — a sign that Congress is well aware of our growing grassroots strength and increasing support on Capitol Hill for our cause. We have an incredible opportunity this year to make real change with the nomination of Debra Haaland as Secretary of the Interior and the continued leadership of Rep. Raul Grijalva as Chair of the Natural Resources Committee. Both are wild horse and burro champions who are committed to protecting these beloved animals and reforming the broken federal wild horse and burro management program.

Filed Suit to Protect Wild Mares

The day after the roundup ended in Utah’s Confusion Herd Management Area, our legal team filed suit to stop the BLM from conducting barbaric sterilization surgeries on many of the just-captured wild mares. This is our third legal action against the BLM for plans to conduct the risky and invasive “ovariectomy via colpotomy” procedure, and we’ve successfully held the agency off since 2016! Joining us as a plaintiff in the latest lawsuit is Utahn Rob Hammer, who has extensive knowledge of the Confusion wild horses and the public land area where they live. In 2021, we’ll continue to drive this case in the courts while we also work with Congress and the administration to eliminate this brutal surgery as an option for the management of our wild horses and burros, once and for all.

Created Accountability for BLM Roundup Abuse 

While the COVID-19 pandemic made traveling much more difficult in 2020, we continued to address roundup abuse by sending humane observers to nearly every one of the many helicopter roundups conducted by the BLM and the Forest Service last year. This year we took a step beyond documenting roundups by launching an initiative to create a mechanism for enforcing the BLM’s Comprehensive Animal Welfare Program standards, which the agency routinely violates. We’ve teamed up with the Animal Law & Policy Program at Harvard University Law School to develop a rulemaking petition to strengthen the BLM’s animal welfare guidelines and turn them into legally-enforceable regulations. The petition will be ready for submission to the new Administration this year. If it is not acted upon, we will have the option of litigating, so please stay tuned!

Proved Humane Management is Possible

Our in-the-wild management program reached new heights in 2020. Not only were we able to grant funds to boots-on-the-ground organizations in Arizona and Colorado to support their fertility control programs, we also achieved an unprecedented milestone in our own fertility control program in Nevada’s Virginia Range. Last month, our volunteers and staff surpassed 3,000 treatments administered to mares in less than two years, making this the largest free-roaming horse fertility control program in the world, according to the Science and Conservation Center! Just last week, the Deseret News — Utah’s second-largest newspaper — published a feature highlighting the success of our program. In 2021, we will continue to support local groups managing their herds, expand our fertility control program in the greater Reno area, and we’re working to expand our fertility control efforts to new herds in the West!

Launched Habitat Acquisition Project

We officially launched the pilot project for the American Wild Horse Conservancy, our new land trust, in 2020. The inaugural effort focuses on securing habitat for the famed Fish Springs Wild Horses who live on BLM and private land in the Gardnerville, Nevada area. The Conservancy overall will focus on critical land acquisition to secure key habitat for wild horses, grazing lease buyouts and compensation for reduced or non-use of grazing permits, and range improvements to improve the quality and quantity of habitat available for wild horses. We can’t wait to expand this innovative program in the coming year!

We have a lot of work to do, but together, we’ll make real progress for our cherished wild horses and burros in 2021. So stay ready, stay safe, and stay tuned!

With Gratitude,

Suzanne Roy, Executive Director

CROPTrailRidingCheleyretreat8 17 2010 295CC

MULE CROSSING: On the Trail with Mules

2

By Meredith Hodges

With the hectic schedule of spring and summer slowly tapering into fall, thoughts of cool, refreshing mountain streams, the sight of a massive bull elk, or the quiet majesty of the rugged mountain peaks on a relaxing trail ride, mountain hunt or pack trip begin to ease their way into our minds. What better time to share with your mule or donkey? What better place for him to show you what he was born to do? A mountain trail ride or pack trip are both perfect ways for you to get to really know your Longears and strengthen the bond between you.

Mules are remarkably strong and durable animals, making them excellent mountain partners. The cupped shape of their hooves allows them to track the rough mountain terrain with much more surefootedness than their counterpart, the horse. A mule’s superior intelligence and strong sense of survival help him to carefully negotiate the placement of his feet, insuring the safest ride possible. This is both important and comforting to know when heading for the mountains. The mule’s strength and endurance are sometimes unbelievable, but always dependable. On a hunting trip, he will take you through rough mountain terrain for days then pack out the “elk of your dreams” with the greatest of ease.

Around the campfire, he is wonderful company on those lonesome mountain nights. His blatant curiosity can make for some fun—and funny— situations, and his loving ways will win your heart. But first and foremost, he is a reliable companion when the going gets tough.

A few years ago, some close muleskinner friends of mine decided to take a hunting trip into the Rocky Mountains. Packing in, the weather was beautiful with warm temperatures, calm breezes, and not a cloud in the sky. After setting up camp and tending to their horses and mules, the hunters set off tracking elk. Hunting was good, but after a few days, the evening brought with it an unpredictable snowstorm of incredible intensity. The hunters crawled from their tents the next morning to discover their camp buried in more than four feet of   snow!

With no chance of the storm lifting, the hunters packed up what they could on their horses and mules and quickly got under way. Since time was of the essence, tents and much of their gear had to be left behind. As they left the campsite, the snow deepened and the terrain underneath was steep, rocky and treacherous. They had gone only a short distance when the snow became so deep and the terrain so hazardous that the horses refused to go one step farther. Anxiety was high when the horses could not blaze a trail out. The hunters were worried they wouldn’t make it off the mountain alive.

In the face of this great danger, my friend asked his trusted mule, Goliath, to break trail for the others. With slow, careful, deliberate steps, this well-trained, loyal mule led them all down the mountain to safety. Once there, they freed their trucks and trailers, which were buried in snow, loaded them up, and made their way back to the lowlands to safety. The storms on the mountain worsened and it was spring before the hunters could return for the rest of their gear, but they were eternally grateful to Goliath the mule for leading them safely down the mountain!

There are many stories like this one, where mules and donkeys have emerged as heroes in precarious situations. However, if you prefer not to take risks like my hunter friends, there are other less daunting activities you can enjoy with your donkey or mule.

Why not take your longeared companion along to the mountains for a hike or a picnic? He would thoroughly love just being with you in those beautiful surroundings. While you walk the trails, enjoying the marvels of nature, your donkey or mule can carry the lunch essentials. While you enjoy the wildflowers or try your hand at fishing a mountain stream, you can be confident that your Longears will enjoy the peaceful solitude and be able to stay out of serious trouble at the same time.

If you question taking excursions such as these with your longears because of a lack of training, there are fellow Longears lovers who can help you. All over the United States, excellent mule trainers are available to help beginners. A Longears lover once told me that his love for burros and mules began years ago when he found Dusty, a three-month-old wild burro caught in a blizzard. He took her home and cared for her, and, a year later, he entered her in the National Western Fall Classic Donkey and Mule Show. He and Dusty were awarded the title of Reserve Champion Donkey of the Show! Ever since, he has sought to help others enjoy Longears and horses in any way he can. In addition to breaking and training wild mustangs at his Medicine Bow Stables, he has included free clinics for burro owners to teach them how to handle and care for their animals.

Getting proper training for your donkey or mule can only enhance your relationship with them and in turn, they will enrich your life. This fall, why not take the time to really get to know these remarkable animals by letting them share in the fun, be it hiking, hunting, packing, or picnicking. The life you enhance may be your own!

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 FacebookYouTube and Twitter.

© 2010, 2016, 2021 Lucky Three Ranch, Inc.  All Rights Reserved.

Wrangler’s First Ride 9 15 20 21

WRANGLER’S DONKEY DIARY: Wrangler’s First Ride: 9-15-20

2

Wrangler has now completed his preparation for efficiently carrying a rider while staying in good equine posture with adequate core strength. Doing these kinds of logical and sequential exercises in a consistent manner makes all the difference in an equine’s physical development and mental attitude. Groundwork needn’t be boring for either you or your donkey. Doing these exercises the same way, every time, creates an unbreakable bond and deep understanding of what is expected between you. Before mounting your donkey in the Round Pen, there is one more interim step that needs to be done to keep your donkey standing still and his attention on you as you mount him. In the grooming area, I will mount the donkey and have him take oats from both sides of his body as we stand there. Then we will go to the Round Pen, do the preparatory lunging he has done before and mount in the same fashion. This will set up your donkey for success!

By now, your donkey should know his verbal commands and will not be complelled to just take off at the trot. He will walk leisurely along the perimeter of the Round Pen until you ask for the trot. He will remain in good posture and keep the “Elbow Pull” loose throughout his workout. He will have a rounded topline and overall balance that can easily support the added weight of a rider. Wrangler is doing beautifully!

After five rotations at walk and five rotations at trot, I ask Wrangler to slow to a walk. I then turn away from him in the opposite direction he is traveling and step in front of him to encourage him to reverse.

Then I send him to the rail for five more rotations at walk and then five at the trot. Wrangler is relaxed and moving freely forward. He is obviously strong in his balance and ready to be ridden.

I ask Wrangler to “Whoa,” reward him for his stellar performance and ask him to stand four-square with equal weight over all four feet in preparation for mounting. I do not want to throw him off balance as I pull my weight into the saddle. Most equines will move if they feel a loss of balance. I politely mount and settle my seat easily in the saddle. I do not rudely plop myself down on his back.

As soon as I was mounted, I balanced myself in the saddle and offered rewards for standing still from both sides. My first move while mounted was the rein back. This would get his attention off bolting and put his mind on a task he can easily do. He is then rewarded again and happy with his accomplishment.

We walked for two rotations tracking to the left and then did an “S” turn through the middle of the Round Pen to change directions. I paid special attention while bending his body through the “S” turn to keep Wrangler’s body erect. I encouraged him to bend through his rib cage to make the turn smooth, forward and fluid.

We did two more rotations at the walk, then I asked for a balanced and correctly executed reverse. It is important to pay attention to the minute details while working slowly. This will promote accuracy later when you speed things up.

I walked Wrangler into a smooth and balanced halt. I made sure my own body was over the center of balance and that my hands and legs were even on both sides. I waited quietly for a few second to allow him to settle.

Then I asked Wrangler for a rein back with a pull/release action on both reins, but added a little more alternate pressure from one side to the other in sync with the front legs that were coming backwards. Wrangler did very well for his first riding session, so I thought it best to quit while we were ahead. It is easier for your donkey to learn when you keep lessons short and productive. Drilling for hours never really works…they just get tired and can’t really listen or perform well.

Although Chasity waits calmly while she is tied and Wrangler is working, he has to play with the artificial flowers in the planter when it is his turn to be tied. Next time, I will remove the temptation of the flowers! After Chasity finished her workout, we all made our way back to the work station. It was another successful and enjoyable training session for all of us!

TT 27

LTR Training Tip #27: The Face Tie

Learn how to properly use the “face tie” restraint for your mule or donkey. This is a humane alternative to twitches, stocks and hobbles. This tie should NEVER be used with horses.

Download Detailed Description

See more Training Tips

CROPIMG 6216

LTR Training Tip #26: The Quick Twist

0

If you need some extra leverage with your equine during initial leading training, try using the “Quick Twist.” Meredith explains how to set it up, and when to use it in this Training Tip.

Download Detailed Description

See more Training Tips

TWR2 3CC

MULE CROSSING: The Responsible Use of Restraints in Training

0

By Meredith Hodges

There is  a lot of discussion about training mules versus training horses. There are some who say that mules are harder to train than horses and others who say just the opposite. It has been my experience that it isn’t really that one animal is more “difficult” than the other. They each have their own redeeming qualities and individual limiting factors. The people who are dealing with them also have their own redeeming and limiting factors. For instance, if you are leading a horse and he does not wish to follow you, because he hasn’t the strength in his head and neck as a donkey or mule and can be more easily bullied into complying with a quick jerk on the lead rope.

On the other hand, if you are leading a mule or donkey, they can easily jerk the rope right out of your hands because of the incredible strength they have in their head and neck. When you teach a mule or donkey something one day, he will ponder what he has been taught during the days in between lessons.  He will comply more easily during the next lesson.  Regardless of how many days or weeks have passed between lessons, the horse will tend to forget and will need to be reminded where the mule or donkey will not.

It makes sense that the handler needs to adjust his training program such that the horse has more frequent and consistent lessons to refresh his memory. The mule will only need lessons as frequently as it takes to maintain good physical condition. When applying lessons more frequently, the handler has the ability to make subtle adjustments to get the best from the horse. If he wants the mule or donkey to react properly, it is critical that he teaches the mule or donkey correctly the first time as they will learn EXACTLY what the handler teaches and will continue to repeat it. The option of changing your approach during the training sequence is limited. What this all amounts to is that one is really not more easily trained than the other. Rather, it is the experience and knowledge of the handler or trainer that really makes the difference.

Mules and donkeys, sensitive and intelligent creatures that they are, seem to be more concerned about the overall attitude of the trainer than are horses. With the intelligent use of negative reinforcement, a positive attitude and informed use of restraints, modifying the behavior of any equine becomes a lot easier.

When mules do not comply with our wishes, you need to get first his attention and do something to temper his defensive attitude. When we are intelligent about a situation, it minimizes the animal’s negative reactive responses. Our politeness and consideration promote an overall positive attitude on both parts, and opens the lines of communication. Since these animals outweigh us by several hundred pounds, careful and informed use of restraints must sometimes be used to perpetuate the close relationship between you and your mule or donkey (and sometimes horses) in the training environment. Restraints should be used to help “explain” what you wish your mule to do, but should not be used as a perpetual training “crutch.” Intelligence, attitude and restraints should always be used in conjunction with a “path of least resistance” to promote successful training sessions.

If we realize that correct development of mind and muscle takes time, we can relax, let the animal learn at his own pace, utilize these helpful restraints to minimize resistance in difficult situations and actually enjoy the training process with our animals. For example, in the case of Draw Reins, they should only be used lightly in conjunction with your regular reins and only when necessary. In the beginning, this might mean at every stride. It is rather obvious how the Draw Reins can be phased out over time, but what about a restraint such as the Scotch Hobble, which is a seemingly inflexible restraint?

The first time you use the Scotch Hobble, you will probably have to secure the hind foot so that it cannot touch the ground. As your mule becomes quieter and more accepting of what you are doing, you can loosen the Scotch Hobble a little at each session. If your mule’s behavior is good, adjust the Scotch Hobble so that his toe rests on the ground. Next session, you might let him stand on all fours with the rope tied loosely into position, until he has complied to the point where the rope is actually around only the hind foot and is lying loosely on the ground. Naturally, if he becomes fidgety, just back up one step and tighten your connections on the rope.

There are many restraints available for use in the equine industry today: martingales, tie-downs, side reins, draw reins, hobbles and the list goes on. In my estimation, these restraints are being used much too freely as “crutches” and are responsible for terrible body posture and limited responsiveness among today’s equines. A restraint should be used only as a helpful tool to allow you to attain a certain positive response from the animal. Once you get the proper response, it is your responsibility to phase out the restraint in order to instill in your animal the correct behavior itself.

Early in a mule’s life, he should be taught to be calm in restraints, which makes daily tasks much easier. Your veterinarian and farrier will thank you and it may save your mule’s life if he should get caught in a fence, fall into a hole or encounter any other such potential for disaster. The goal is to teach him to think before he struggles or bolts and tries to run. Many Longears do this naturally, but it is always better to reinforce this pause for thought with lessons.

CAUTION: NEVER USE THE FACE TIE ON A HORSE.

The following technique is useful when working around very young mules, although it works on adults as well. You must remember to step back if your mule begins to struggle—give him space to learn the situation.

To use the Face Tie:

  1. Wrap your lead around the hitch rail once until your mule’s face is over the rail and held tight against it.
  2. Slip the rope through the noseband of the halter and around the hitch rail again and secure it. For a more secure tie (or to keep your mule sideways to the rail for vaccinations), you can run the rope through the throatlatch and around the hitch rail again.

Use the Face Tie to aid in clipping your mule’s bridle path and other light weekly trimming to prepare him for show clipping later on. It can also be used to teach a difficult mule or donkey to be bridled.

If your mule is difficult to lead, you can use a Quick Twist in your lead rope to give you more leverage. Twist a loop in the lead rope and bring it behind the noseband of the halter. Slip the loop around your mule’s nose and pull it snug. Pull on the lead until it is tight around his nose, and then just stand still, holding the tension in the lead rope until your mule steps forward. Do not keep pulling or jerking on the rope or he will become resistant and go backwards instead. By using the Quick Twist, when you ask him to come forward, you are not just pulling the halter—you have more leverage. Repeat as necessary.

NOTE: Do not tie your animal up while using a Quick Twist. Remove the quick twist and use the face tie if needed when tying.

To further perfect your equine’s Showmanship technique, you can also use a Lead Shank with a chain under the jaw, but always tie him with the lead rope only—never with the Lead Shank.

A soft, three-foot (one-meter) rope can be used to make a set of front leg hobbles. Leather hobbles are generally considered an “appointment” (equipment accessory), and are sometimes attached to the saddle when showing in Western classes. They are dangerous and not very effective because they can easily break. So if you have a need for hobbles, be sure to purchase those that are meant to be used on the equine’s legs and not those made of thin leather that are meant only as an equipment accessory for your saddle. Be careful with nylon hobbles as they can chafe the equine’s pasterns if they are not lined with a softer material.

Probably the most helpful restraint there is when it comes to mules and donkeys is the scotch hobble. This restraint helps to facilitate good ground manners and prevent kicking by restraining one hind foot, causing the mule to stand still while you work on him, whether it’s clipping or shoeing him, or saddling him for the first time. But, as with any restraint, you should keep in mind that it must be phased out sooner or later. The first time a restraint is used, it will usually have to be used in its full capacity to get the desired response.

To make the 15-foot (5-meter) scotch hobble:

  1. Tie a nonslip knot around your mule’s neck.
  2. Take the excess rope down to the hind foot and around the pastern, then back up through the neck loop and back around the pastern a second time.
  3. Pull the rope just tight enough so that your mule must stand on his other three feet for balance.
  4. Wrap the excess around the ropes going to the foot and back up to the loop around the neck.
  5. Tie with a quick-release knot. By wrapping the ropes going to the foot, you prevent the foot from slipping loose.

The first time you use the scotch hobble, you will probably have to secure the hind leg so it cannot touch the ground. As your mule becomes quiet and accepting, you should loosen the hobble a little each time until you are not really using it at all. This is called “phasing (or fading) out the restraint.”

When he has learned to stand calmly in a scotch hobble, you can use a twisted lead rope (with no snap) in a figure eight to hobble his front legs with a safety knot. The same lead rope can be used to tie up one front leg by wrapping the rope around the bent leg, forcing the mule to keep all his weight on the other three legs. This type of hobbling is particularly useful when clipping the hair on the front legs of a mule. As you work on the leg that is not hobbled, your mule will quickly learn that with the other leg ties up, it is to his advantage not to try not to move the leg you are clipping.

On a difficult mule, you may have to use the twisted lead rope in conjunction with the scotch hobble. Adjust the scotch hobble so only your mule’s toe touches the ground for balance, but not enough to bear weight. Once he is accustomed to this restraint, you can safely put him in sheepskin-lined chain hobbles.

Do not use nylon hobbles—they can cause severe rope burns if they are not lined with a soft material! Leather hobbles are fine as long as they are intended for restraint use and not just as a saddle accessory. Now you can think about taking your mule into the high country, hobbling him and turning him loose to graze while you set up camp. You should be able to find and catch him the next morning, because mules generally do not wander far from their “families.” But keep in mind that mules are very smart and can quickly learn to hop along while hobbled. Also, if you have a horse with you that likes to wander, be sure to tie him up because mules will follow horses.

Choosing the right restraint for a given situation takes thought and consideration. You must ask yourself, which restraints are available to me? Which restraint will most likely bring about the response I desire from my mule? Will the response with this restraint come with little or no resistance and is it humane? Will it cause other more serious problems in the animal? And finally, can the restraint be phased out relatively easily?

Keeping these things in mind when using restraints will help to keep the relationship with your mule from becoming a battleground. Bear in mind that whichever restraint you use might vary from situation to situation and from animal to animal, so carefully consider your options. Remember, using intelligence, a good attitude and an informed use of restraints can greatly enhance your training experience together.

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 FacebookYouTube and Twitter.

© 1989, 2016, 2021 Lucky Three Ranch, Inc. All rights reserved.

New Beginnings in 2021

0

The following is from All About Equine Animal Rescue:

Thank you from the bottoms of our hearts for the love and support you’ve shown All About Equine (AAE) in 2020. It takes everyone from our volunteers, families, friends, donors, fosters, adopters, followers, and everyone in between to do what we do. Without any one of you, we would not be. Wishing you all good health and happiness in 2021.

New Year’s Day marks a new beginning, and “new beginning” has many meanings. A new year, a new season, a new life, a new start to name a few. Most importantly, new beginnings are second chances for horses-in-need to have a better life. We are looking forward to what this year has in store, and the stories we will be able to tell come December. We have a special story of new beginnings coming soon, stay tuned.

Sneak Peak

REMEMBER, SAVE A LIFE, ADOPT ONE IF YOU CAN!

AVAILABLE FOR ADOPTION

Martina

Blue

Diesel

Carly

Shooter

Chesney

Mabel

Tegan

Big

Rustic

Raye

Marlee

Clare

Sandy

Teea

Frankie

Allie

Mags

Merle

Curly

For more information, click on the name to visit the horse’s or donkey’s webpage, and submit an Adoption Inquiry if you’d like to explore adoption.

 

Donate

Thank you for your support helping horses each and every day!

Your donations, volunteering, adopting, and social media shares & likes

allow us to make this work possible!

HOW CAN YOU HELP?

SPONSOR A HORSE

Give the gift that keeps on giving by sponsoring a horse on behalf of a horse-loving friend or family member!

As a sponsor, your annual or monthly contribution helps support the costs of care for a specific horse.

You can sponsor at any level or any amount you choose. You will receive an electronic “gift letter” with a photo of an AAE horse, acknowledging your gift on behalf of your recipient.

Choose a horse to sponsor today!

Sponsor A Horse!

Patriotic Mustang T-Shirts

Horse fans will love this shirt!

The Patriotic US Flag/Mustang image on front and Mustang is My Favorite Breed (or Rescue is My Favorite Breed) in white on back. Available in Black, Ash Gray, Navy, and Brown.

Orders may be picked up at the AAE Used Tack Store in Shingle Springs or

shipped for an additional cost.

Order Now!

 

Stop by the AAE Used Tack Store to find the perfect gift for the horse lover in your life! Don’t know what they need? We have gift cards, too!

 

Here are more ways you can help!

Doing any winter cleaning? Donate your gently used tack to AAE’s Used Tack Store in Shingle Springs. We very much appreciate tack donations delivered to the store in sale ready condition (e.g. clean, conditioned, oiled). Please email tack@allaboutequine.org for information about donating or to schedule a delivery.

Proceeds from used tack sales help pay for feed, veterinary expenses, and other operational needs.

Donate Tack!

Have you considered adopting a rescue horse?

Check out our current horses

If you are interested in adopting one of our beautiful animals, please take time to complete AAE’s

Adoption Inquiry Form

Adopt a Horse!

Interested in Volunteering at AAE? 

We have a variety of opportunities and needs from daily care of the horses to our used tack store and everything in between.

AAE Volunteers are

the heartbeat of our organization.

Chasity’s First Ride9 15 20 19

CHASITY’S CHALLENGES: Chasity’s First Ride: 9-15-20

0

Chasity has come a long way since the end of March. She has worked hard and is now enjoying true strength in a balanced and correct equine posture. Her health has greatly improved as has her mental attitude. She is happy to be working with her companion Wrangler and they both enjoy being able to share their lessons. Sometimes they are walked together to the Round Pen and sometimes they are taken separately. This promotes independence while preserving their friendships with each other. I do not believe in deliberately separating my equines from their equine friends as that will only create anxiety. I want them to know that I am also a friend that they would like to spend time with or without their other companions. Sometimes they are worked alone and sometimes they are worked together. Tying one outside the Round Pen while working the other teaches them to stand quietly while tied with purposeful patience. I leave nothing to chance, so I break everything down into doable steps to promote success. Chasity is mounted in the work station first and rewarded with crimped oats from her back. This routine will keep her attention when we finally go to the Round Pen as she is mounted.

Chasity executes the gate perfectly, stands quietly to have her “Elbow Pull” adjusted and is then sent on the rail to lunge in preparation for mounting. She is now keeping her “Elbow Pull” loose at all times. Her balance and good posture is exceptional now considering her imperfect conformational restrictions.

I slow Chasity to the walk before asking her to execute a nice balanced reverse and she complies easily. It is important in the beginning to keep things slow and accurate. Speed can come later with much better results.

Chasity will now walk on command and will not change her gait until she is asked. She fully understands the verbal commands. She has smooth, upward and downward transitions as she changes gaits. She promises to be a smooth ride!

I ask Chasity for a halt and offer her a reward for a job well done! She is patient and stands quietly as I mount.

As I did in the work station, I offer her a reward from both sides. When she has finished chewing her oats, I ask her for the rein back. I use an even squeeze/release on the reins with a bit more pressure on one side and then the other as each front leg comes back. Even one step is sufficient for now. Chasity will give more with each new lesson.

Chasity walks calmly forward and I sit quietly to allow her to balance my weight. She keeps her body erect and bends through her rib cage as she executes an “S” turn through the middle to change direction. It is important to execute these moves with the lightest pull from my little fingers on the reins to encourage Chasity to become ultra-light in the bridle.

Donkeys tend to “lean” on the bit, so doing this kind of work in the Round Pen is really important if you want your donkey to be light in the bridle and respond to the lightest pressure from your seat, fingers and legs.

Be prepared to spend a lot of time on this. It will enhance all your donkey’s responses to your cues. Chasity executes a nice reverse and maintains her ideal balance at the walk afterwards. This is not easy for her to do with her hips being higher than her shoulders, but I am very pleased with her progress. She will only get better!

Chasity does a perfect halt, but is a bit reluctant to rein back. This move is difficult for her, so I will just take my time and accept what she has to offer. I know she is always honest in her attempts. One step is good, so I call it quits and reward her efforts.

Wrangler is outside the Round Pen waiting patiently for his “Lady Love” to complete her lesson. Then we all head back to the work station after our enjoyable time together! More lessons will promote more learning and more refined performance! We all look forward to our time together!