Thursday, December 22, 2016

The power of Acupuncture

Today, we pulled Heyday Black Hawk's shoes for the winter and we studied where he had progressed to in the past year. "Luke" is an 11 yr. old Morgan gelding. Before arriving at our farm, he had 2+ years off from regular work. He had had good care, just no serious regular working exercise.

He arrived here in mid summer of 2015 so he only worked a few months before being laid off for the winter. He started up again in April of 2016 and worked 4-6 days a week until early November. He is being trained and used as a carriage driving horse. He competed lightly and gave many lessons. see in this photo the 'fever rings" on both front feet? (red arrows)  Generally, it is thought that these rings become evident after elevated temperature, infection, or inflammation that disrupted a horse's circulation and affected hoof growth. The position, mid hoof wall, is such that experience tells me and my farrier that these rings began around 6 months ago. So what happened to Luke 6 months ago that might be the cause ?

He has no record of any health issues, no episodes of elevated temperature. No illness. No injury. No significant change in diet or routine, except more exercise.

Well, go back to this statement: "these rings become evident after elevated temperature, infection, or inflammation that disrupted his circulation".  The key here is "circulation". What disrupted his circulation about 6 months ago? The records show that he was treated by Dr. Ann Christopherson with acupuncture in mid May and again in July of 2016. . Dr Anne treats the whole horse. That means mainly blood circulation, energy. Her goal is to restore the horse to it's optimal physical and mental condition  within the limitations of its genetics and previous permanent damage to the horse whether thru historical poor physical and psychological care and misguided training, and/or traumatic injury.

If you look carefully at the left front foot, you will see that the hoof is actually growing out slightly more narrow than it was a year ago, particularly the lateral wall. In other words, the top half above the ring is growing down narrower than the older half below the ring. In this horse's case, this is what we were after. His feet were too spread out and too flat. Sometime early next summer when the fever ring has grown out, he should have grown the foot we are after.

It is my belief that the primary cause of these fever rings are the result of Dr. Anne's acupuncture. She has improved the systemic circulation of this horse, improved the flow of energy through and around his body and also restored a balance of relaxation and tension in his musculature.

A couple of additional factors have gone into his changes over the last year. He has recived two chiropratcic traetmenrs by Scott Hie, in conjunction with the acupuncture. His farrier, Kevin Wade, has been careful to trim him and shoe him to provide proper support. Luke has had correct dental work to ensure his dentition is not adversely affecting his proprioception* . And all of this has supported by good care and proper training aimed at correctly developing him as an athlete.

* For more on the relationship of dentition and proproception:

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

" Grandfather's house we go"

Bet you didn't know that this poem was written by a prolific female feminist abolitionist!

The poem was originally published as "The New-England Boy's Song about Thanksgiving Day" in Lydia Maria Child's Flowers for Children. It celebrates the author's childhood memories of visiting her Grandfather's House. (*see below) 
Lydia Maria Child was a novelist, journalist, teacher, and poet who wrote extensively about the need to eliminate slavery.
The poem was eventually set to a tune by an unknown composer. The song version is sometimes presented with lines about Christmas, rather than Thanksgiving. For instance, the line "Hurrah for Thanksgiving Day!" becomes "Hurrah for Christmas Day!". As a Christmas song, it has been recorded as "A Merry Christmas at Grandmother's". 
Although the modern Thanksgiving holiday is not always associated with snow (snow in late November occasionally occurs in the northern states and is rare at best elsewhere in the United States), New England in the early 19th century was enduring the Little Ice Age, a colder era with earlier winters.

* Grandfather's house, also known as the Paul Curtis House, is a historic house at 114 South Street in Medford, Massachusetts. (Still standing today) It is claimed to be the original house named in the American poem "Over the River and through the Wood" by Lydia Maria Child. Although many people sing "to grandmother's house we go," the original edition shows that the author's words were "to grandfather's house."
The house, which was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975, is also the best preserved example of Greek Revival architecture in Medford, and is noted for its association with Paul Curtis, a prominent local shipbuilder.[3]
The rear portion of the modern house was built as a small farmhouse in the early 19th century. Lydia Maria Child (1802–1880) recalled the farmhouse when she wrote of her childhood visits to her grandfather's house in the poem "Over the River and through the Woods", published in 1844.[2] The house is located near the Mystic River, which is believed to be the river referred to in the poem. The referenced woods have long since been replaced by residential housing.

The New-England Boy's Song 
about Thanksgiving Day

Related Poem Content Details

Over the river, and through the wood,
    To grandfather's house we go;
        The horse knows the way,
        To carry the sleigh,
    Through the white and drifted snow.

Over the river, and through the wood,
    To grandfather's house away!
        We would not stop
        For doll or top,
    For 't is Thanksgiving day.

Over the river, and through the wood,
    Oh, how the wind does blow!
        It stings the toes,
        And bites the nose,
    As over the ground we go.

Over the river, and through the wood,
    With a clear blue winter sky,
        The dogs do bark,
        And children hark,
    As we go jingling by.

Over the river, and through the wood,
    To have a first-rate play —
        Hear the bells ring
        Ting a ling ding,
    Hurra for Thanksgiving day!

Over the river, and through the wood —
    No matter for winds that blow;
        Or if we get
        The sleigh upset,
    Into a bank of snow.

Over the river, and through the wood,
    To see little John and Ann;
        We will kiss them all,
        And play snow-ball,
    And stay as long as we can.

Over the river, and through the wood,
    Trot fast, my dapple grey!
        Spring over the ground,
        Like a hunting hound,
    For 't is Thanksgiving day!

Over the river, and through the wood,
    And straight through the barn-yard gate;
        We seem to go
        Extremely slow,
    It is so hard to wait.

Over the river, and through the wood,
    Old Jowler hears our bells;
        He shakes his pow,
        With a loud bow wow,
    And thus the news he tells.

Over the river, and through the wood —
    When grandmother sees us come,
        She will say, Oh dear,
        The children are here,
    Bring a pie for every one.

Over the river, and through the wood —
    Now grandmother's cap I spy!
        Hurra for the fun!
        Is the pudding done?
    Hurra for the pumpkin pie!

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Cone Repair

Driving Cone Repair

Outside view. Red dot shows end of crack
Inside view

The repair was made using Gorilla Clear Repair Tape and Gorilla Super Glue. I cleaned the cone around the crack and in inside the crack as best I could with Isopropyl Alcohol. This is a critical step in producing good results, IMO.

I spread the crack apart as much as reasonably possible and dabbed the Super Glue in the crack. A little goes a long way. The crack wanted to spread and it took a fair amount of pressure to keep closed. I held it closed with my fingers for about a minute then put a few pieces of the tape in strategic places to help hold it closed while the glue further set.

Once the glue was set, I used Super Glue and baking soda to make a patch at the inside bottom of the crack. This is a tricky maneuver! Not so easy to make it look like a nice finished repair but it's on the inside so who cares? I spread the glue in a sort of puddle over the crack then sprinkled some baking soda on it. It set almost instantly. I repeated a second time to build up the patch. It sets rock hard.

I then used several pieces of tape on the inside of the cone across the crack and along the length of the crack. The adhesive on this tape is pretty aggressive and the tape itself is thicker than regular packing tape. I chose not to use tape on the outside as it is shiny and does reflect some light. I wanted the repair as unobtrusive as possible.

I put some more Super Glue along the crack at the very bottom of the crack on the outside, from the ground up about an inch to give it some extra strength. I also ran some up the crack and wiped it into the crack to give it a good seal.

 In the photo below, you can see the crack but not the repair. From 10 feet, it's all but invisible. 

Now we'll see how long it holds up!

Driving Straighter

An exercise to drive straighter.

Set three pairs of cones, wide enough to fit thru your vehicles easily. 
No need for a tight clearance here.

Set them at D, X and G, down the center line, or in a straight line in your driving area,set 30 meters apart from each pair.

In the above photo, there are about 10 trips down this line indicated by wheel tracks left in the stone dust. You can see the first few trips indicated by the red arrows. Note how off center they are and how much they veer from straightness. The blue arrows indicate trips 6 thru 10. Note how much straighter they are and how much less they veer from straight.

This will help the driver feel what straight is *and* it will familiarize the horse with what it feels like to travel straighter and better balanced. Driving horses can not benefit from the guidance provided by a rider's legs. One way to help a horse is to repeat work in a way that is more efficient for them. A balanced horse does less work. Horses are evolutionarily wired not to work harder than they have to. Show them a way to work which requires less effort and they more readily will 'go there' themselves.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

The Remarkable Story

March 11, 2016 - It is truly remarkable that 64 mistreated Morgan horses were adopted by the Morgan Community in just over a month from Beth Lyn Hoskin's Eden Farm in western New York. My heartfelt gratitude goes out to the court appointed receivers who gave of their personal time and resources above and beyond what was required to help these animals. Sincere thanks to the Morgan owners who stepped up and took the horses back to their farms where they will know care and love  like they have never had, To me it is a very moving chapter in teh story fo the Morgan Horse.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Andrew McLean investigates Objective Dressage Judging

Andrew McLean investigates Objective Dressage Judging | The Horse Magazine – Australia's Leading Equestrian Magazine:

“Each element on the scale needs a fundamental definition. Take rhythm for example – every trainer and rider has different view of its fundamental definition. My own surveys of judges and trainers say rhythm is about regularity, fluidity, fluency, evenness and many other qualities. But there is a more important definition: “the horse keeps doing whatever it has been asked until asked otherwise.” This definition is old, because even Grisone mentioned it 455 years ago – the trend continued through Baucher, Steinbrecht, and as recently as Decarpentry and Oliveira last century. Today many trainers will stress this point, but it isn’t given enough consideration in judging. If they did, the rankings would change.”

“I think this ‘self-maintenance’ definition should be paramount in determining rhythm where the judge can see that the horse is not held in its speed by rider but is trained to remain in gait, tempo and stride length/height.   The notion that the horse should ‘continue to keep going’, means that if the horse is seen to be held by the reins or rider’s leg in speed, straightness or outline, then it isn’t going ‘on its own’ – it isn’t in self-carriage and it’s bad for the horse’s mental well-being. Elements such as regularity are subsets of this notion. This has to be the fundamental definition of rhythm, for many reasons especially the horse’s mental welfare. It seems a relatively easy task to see whether or not a horse is going ‘on his own’. Also many issues that are seen as ‘contact’ issues are in fact rhythm issues (i.e. the open mouthed horse would run if you let go of the reins). Precisely sticking to a definition of rhythm as self-maintenance of speed would be a huge step in improving the welfare of dressage horses. It would significantly alter the positions of many riders at all levels of competition. It would make dressage riders better trainers.”


'via Blog this'

Monday, February 8, 2016