Horse Problems Australia
Post Office Box 1361,
Victor Harbor, SA. 5211



25,000 letters answered and counting




14th September, 2014


Hi Folks. Hope You had a lovely Week.



It is very difficult dealing with the Death of People, that is spread about on Facebook but my best sources do confirm that Rosie Heath, a lovely Equestrian Coach and Health Professional, has committed suicide. I'm hoping it is untrue and am sure I will get a Phone Call pretty quick if so. At any rate however, Rosie was a lovely Lady who had been dealt a few rough Cards during Her Life.

I've been working alone for the last two Days and have been very sad :(



Mrs. HP has been conducting a two Day School at the Marrabell Pony Club, answering the call of Her Mother who is Member. She could hardly say no :) I have been in charge of the Boys and their care. She has just arrived Home, exhausted and hoarse but had a great time.





I told You how he was going to get a Standardbred and break it in to show me his style but fortuitously, right on queue, along came an untouched, unbroken Colt that couldn't even be touched in a Horse Float after being Herded in there. He was also carrying an injury that needed treating.


Hi John, Just wanted to shoot a quick email to let you know how Thumper has progressed. These are the activities we have done with him in the two weeks we have had him (ten work days and four rest days).

 · Human contact x 50! ·

Halter breaking (as instructed and discussed) ·

Join up ·

 Full NH games (extra focus on rope flicking and flopping around the legs) ·

Stockmans hobbles · Front leg strap ·

Back leg hobbles ·

 Back legs tied up · brushing ·

 Bagging down ·

 Farrier simulations ·

Flopped over his back ·

Some stock whip work (was going to do more but owner is collecting now)

· Immunization needle!!! ·

 Hard Tying up training done too.

I can see the whole ‘back leg restraint is the holy grail’ point of view 100%.  Anyway, thanks for the work and the coaching, it has been a game changer for me personally. Very deep I know. I’m going to miss the young fella Dave


Well done. Not a bad start. One good sign.....You will miss the Horse. Good sign


Gainsborough is full and the place is looking a picture. Credit to Dave and Rach. Mrs. HP walked around there Friday and said it was a pleasure. The vibe was also good on the place.

Dave and Rach have some big plans, including Adult Education Classes with Vets and other Professionals. Watch this space.

Bonfire organized with all soon.






Well done Kid. Who knows, one Day You may actually fit one of these Horses :)




Hi John and Lynda We missed you guys this week. Thought we would give you an update on our homework. I rode him mid week and he was lovely. Rode him again today and he was in a bit of a mood even working on the ground for Steve but soon came around. I rode him in the round yard just walk and trot. We are really getting the hold and release sorted now and he barely even attempts it! Good boy. He was getting a bit moody in the trot going anti clockwise. Just one point (the same spot each time) he would start tossing his head and when that didn't get the reaction he wanted he did try plant his front feet and get squirmy with his back end (not sure how else to describe it really) but we worked through it and got two lovely circles and left it at that. Took him out of the round yard and just went for a nice loose rein walk around the property for something a bit different. Look forward to seeing you guys this Saturday. Jane



Lovely Photo Jane. The Horse is actually changing shape and his eye looks better. Your problem will be the 'Round Yard' and riding on own property. Both being anti Horse stimulation. Needs to get our in the Forest. See You next Week. Lovely Reins!!!!




Not ready to hang the Boots up yet, I have a new one coming Tomorrow Night, from NSW. No doubt it will be 3am in the Morning as is normally the story with these Trucks :)





Hi John, Whilst this is not in Australia , I share it with you as I believe your work ethic and stance on the 'political arena' , will undoubtedly make the link with the similarities between what is being said here and the lack of incentive for small businesses throughout Australia. The attitude of "YOU OWE ME" , as against our era of 'get out there and work and work hard' to receive your reward, is one which greatly concerns me and I wonder just how long before these D H pollies will wake up. Thank God for someone who has some backbone and is trying to turn this country around. As my wise old blacksmith grandfather once told me "Boysie, when your income is exceeded by your outgoing, then your upkeep will be your downfall" ! Lets hope that this continual outgoing of $$$ can be stopped and we can return to the Credit side of the ledger ! Love you work, Keep yourselves well David Subject: FW: Letter to Employees Whilst this is written by an American business man - a small business man it is as true here as it is there and in Australia......... A great lesson for all young and old.

It's ironic that you should come with that Today Sir. Here is a Photo I took yesterday, of a Street Corner in Victor Harbor, South Australia, where the State Labor Govt Social Experiment is going on as we speak. This immediately reminded me of the Todd River in Alice Springs. (just prior to the Pic, the Dude in the centre had been lying on his back like a Bull Walrus, Sunning himself.

Of course these are the result of the "You owe us Training' of the Labor Govt, that will eventually bring this Country to it's knees. The Working People and Businesses can only sustain so much before we break. We can only pay for so many Losers, Scum Bags, Fat Bastards, Drug Addicts, Criminals, Dole Bludgers, fake Invalid Pensioners and the list goes on and on and on. Yes, praise the Lord for Tony Abbot. He is our only hope.



Michael A. Crowley, PE is the owner of Crowley & Associates, Inc. and was President and an owner of Crowley, Crisp & Associates, Inc. and Michael A. Crowley, PC. As President of Crowley & Associates, Inc., Mike is a lead designer of water supply, treatment and storage projects, regional sewage lift station design, and residential and commercial site development projects and is responsible for the management of the firm. Mike's industry background includes over 20 years experience in the civil engineering field inclusive of executive level responsibilities in Marketing and Project Management. Prior to founding Michael A. Crowley, PC, Mike held positions with several engineering firms in North Carolina and Maine. Mike holds a B.S. Degree in Civil Engineering from University of Maine and a Master of Business Administration from Boston College. Mike is a member of the American Water Works Association (AWWA) and holds professional registrations in North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Arkansas, Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, Indiana, Maine, Tennessee, Australia, and Trinidad & Tobago, West Indies. Mike is a native of Norridgewock, Maine. The Crowley family resides in Wake Forest. Subject: Great letter To All My Valued Employees, There have been some rumblings around the office about the future of this company, and more specifically, your job. As you know, the economy has changed for the worse and presents many challenges. However, the good news is this: The economy doesn't pose a threat to your job. What does threaten your job however, is the changing political landscape in this country. Of course, as your employer, I am forbidden to tell you whom to vote for - it is against the law to discriminate based on political affiliation, race, creed, religion, etc. Please vote for who you think will serve your interests the best. However, let me tell you some little tidbits of fact which might help you decide what is in your best interest. First, while it is easy to spew rhetoric that casts employers against employees, you have to understand that for every business owner there is a back story. This back story is often neglected and overshadowed by what you see and hear. Sure, you see me park my Mercedes outside. You saw my big home at last year's Christmas party. I'm sure all these flashy icons of luxury conjure up some idealized thoughts about my life. However, what you don't see is the back story. I started this company 12 years ago. At that time, I lived in a 300 square foot studio apartment for 3 years. My entire living space was converted into an office so I could put forth 100% effort into building a company, which by the way, would eventually employ you. My diet consisted of Ramen Pride noodles because every dollar I spent went back into this company. I drove a rusty Toyota Corolla with a defective transmission. I didn't have time to date. Often times, I stayed home on weekends, while my friends went out drinking and partying. In fact, I was married to my business -- hard work, discipline, and sacrifice. Meanwhile, my friends got jobs. They worked 40 hours a week and made a modest $50K a year and spent every dime they earned. They drove flashy cars and lived in expensive homes and wore fancy designer clothes. Instead of hitting Nordstrom's for the latest hot fashion item, I was trolling through the Goodwill store extracting any clothing item that didn't look like it was birthed in the 70's. My friends refinanced their mortgages and lived a life of luxury. I, however, did not. I put my time, my money, and my life into a business --- with a vision that eventually, some day, I too, will be able to afford these luxuries my friends supposedly had. So, while you physically arrive at the office at 9 am, mentally check in at about noon, and then leave at 5 pm, I don't. There is no "off" button for me. When you leave the office, you are done and you have a weekend all to yourself. I unfortunately do not have the freedom. I eat, ****, and breathe this company every minute of the day. There is no rest. There is no weekend. There is no happy hour. Every day this business is attached to me like a 1 day old baby. You, of course, only see the fruits of that garden -- the nice house, the Mercedes, the vacations... You never realize the back story and the sacrifices I've made. Now, the economy is falling apart and I, the guy that made all the right decisions and saved his money, have to bail out all the people who didn't. The people that overspent their paychecks suddenly feel entitled to the same luxuries that I earned and sacrificed a decade of my life for. Yes, business ownership has its benefits but the price I've paid is steep and not without wounds. Unfortunately, the cost of running this business, and employing you, is starting to eclipse the threshold of marginal benefit and let me tell you why: I am being taxed to death and the government thinks I don't pay enough. I have state taxes. Federal taxes. Property taxes. Sales and use taxes. Payroll taxes. Workers compensation taxes. Unemployment taxes. Taxes on taxes. I have to hire a tax man to manage all these taxes and then guess what? I have to pay taxes for employing him. Government mandates and regulations and all the accounting that goes with it, now occupy most of my time. On Oct 15th, I wrote a check to the US Treasury for $288,000 for quarterly taxes. You know what my "stimulus" check was? Zero. Nada. Zilch. The question I have is this: Who is stimulating the economy? Me, the guy who has provided 14 people good paying jobs and serves over 2,200,000 people per year with a flourishing business? Or, the single mother sitting at home pregnant with her fourth child waiting for her next welfare check? Obviously, government feels the latter is the economic stimulus of this country. The fact is, if I deducted (Read: Stole) 50% of your paycheck you'd quit and you wouldn't work here. I mean, why should you? That's nuts. Who wants to get rewarded only 50% of their hard work? Well, I agree which is why your job is in jeopardy. Here is what many of you don't understand .. to stimulate the economy you need to stimulate what runs the economy. Had suddenly government mandated to me that I didn't need to pay taxes, guess what? Instead of depositing that $288,000 into the Washington black-hole, I would have spent it, hired more employees, and generated substantial economic growth. My employees would have enjoyed the wealth of that tax cut in the form of promotions and better salaries. But you can forget it now. When you have a comatose man on the verge of death, you don't defibrillate and shock his thumb thinking that will bring him back to life, do you? Or, do you defibrillate his heart? Business is at the heart of America and always has been. To restart it, you must stimulate it, not kill it. Suddenly, the power brokers in Washington believe the mud of America are the essential drivers of the American economic engine. Nothing could be further from the truth and this is the type of change you can keep. So where am I going with all this? It's quite simple. If any new taxes are levied on me, or my company, my reaction will be swift and simple. I fire you. I fire your co-workers. You can then plead with the government to pay for your mortgage, your SUV, and your child's future. Frankly, it isn't my problem anymore. Then, I will close this company down, move to another country, and retire. You see, I'm done. I'm done with a country that penalizes the productive and gives to the unproductive. My motivation to work and to provide jobs will be destroyed, and with it, will be my citizenship. While tax cuts to 95% of America sounds great on paper, don't forget the back story: If there is no job, there is no income to tax. A tax cut on zero dollars is zero. So, when you make decision to vote, ask yourself, who understands the economics of business ownership and who doesn't? Whose policies will endanger your job? Answer those questions and you should know who might be the one capable of saving your job. While the media wants to tell you "It's the economy Stupid" I'm telling you it isn't. If you lose your job, it won't be at the hands of the economy; it will be at the hands of a political hurricane that swept through this country, steamrolled the Constitution, and will have changed its landscape forever. If that happens, you can find me in the South Caribbean sitting on a beach, retired, and with no employees to worry about. Signed, Your boss,


In 1992, Mrs. & Mrs Hp were living in a Shed, that Mr. HP built with his bare Hands. Broke thanks to the good old Sprint Racing Folks who we never got a Thank you Card from :) So yes, even Today, Mrs. HP this Week, has sore Feet because the soles of Her Boots are stuffed and have been for 6 Months. She learnt that despite success hard won, to never take it for granted.


Meanwhile, it looks possible that Adelaide may lose the Multi Billion Dollar Ship Building Contract to Japan. Want to know why?????.......because we can't work!!!! We are Fat, lazy, spoilt and think the World Owes us.

 Regards my Friend.



This month Parliament will vote on amendments to the Marine Park’s legislation to keep our Fishing Industry afloat. This legislation has already passed in the Upper House with Cross bench support.On the 18th September, the State Liberal Party will be asking for the same support from both of the Independent members of parliament, Minister Brock and Minister Hamilton-Smith.We are calling on Geoff Brock and Martin Hamilton-Smith to vote with the Liberals in protecting regional jobs and local economies.





AN EXPERIENCED Perth horse owner has been banned from owning animals for 15 years over one of the worst cases of horse neglect ever seen by a top animal welfare agent.

RSPCA inspectors seized three horses and a pony from Richard Robert Drozd, 52, in February .

2013, after grave concerns were raised about the health and welfare



One of the stallions was so badly emaciated he collapsed several times during initial treatment

The chief inspector for the RSPCA in WA, Amanda Swift, said the stallion was one of the worst cases of horse neglect she had seen in her 15 years with the RSPCA in WA and the UK.

During the RSPCA’s investigation, Drozd lied to inspectors that a vet had checked the animals.

He also claimed he was unable to feed the horses after separating from his wife, but refused to surrender them to the RSPCA until months later.

After receiving treatment, the pony and one horse were euthanased due to unrelated medical conditions.

The other two horses have since recovered and been given new homes.

Drozd pleaded guilty to eight charges of animal cruelty in the Joondalup Magistrates Court on Friday.

He was fined $16,000 and banned from owning or being in charge of animals for 15 years.

The court also ordered Drozd to pay more than $10,000 in veterinary costs.

Ms Swift said as an experienced horse owner, Mr Drozd knew how to care for them.

“The treatment of these horses is disgraceful and his actions completely inexcusable,” Ms Swift said.

“The good news is that, against the odds, two of these horses were successfully rehabilitated and are now in great condition and in loving homes.”



Bucking horse dies at Dixie Roundup


ST. GEORGE – During Thursday’s opening night of the Dixie Roundup Rodeo, a bucking horse collapsed during the bucking bronco competition in front of a packed Sunbowl stadium. Picture of a bucking horse, Dixie Rodeo at the Sunbowl. St. George, Utah. Sept 13, 2014 | Photo by T.S Romney St. George News A bucking horse at the Dixie Roundup, St. George, Utah, Sept. 13, 2014 | Photo by T.S. Romney, St. George News “We believe he died of a heart attack,” Jeff Flitton, general manager of Bar T Rodeo, the rodeo production and stock company that provides livestock for the Dixie Roundup, said. “There was no signs that anything was wrong. One minute he was performing, the next he was gone.” Flitton said the horse, a 22-year-old bucking horse, was bred to buck on the Bar T Rodeo ranch in Chester, Utah, and had been with Bar T Rodeo since it was born. “We have around 250 horses on the ranch up there,” Flitton said. Flitton, who has been involved in rodeo for nearly 40 years, said there are a lot of misconceptions when it comes to bucking horses.

 They are not mistreated nor are they wild and aggressive, he said; it is in their nature and training to buck. “The bucking horse we lost Thursday was a member of the family,” Flitton said. “We lost one of our own.”



Horse dies of EEE in Madison County

A horse in Madison County has died of the Eastern Equine Encephalitis virus, the Madison County Health Department reported today.

The horse had been stabled in the Town of Lenox, outside the area known to harbor the EEE virus in Madison County. Since August 14, Madison County has had no new mosquito pools test positive for
A horse in Madison County has died of the Eastern Equine Encephalitis virus, the Madison County Health Department reported today.
The horse had been stabled in the Town of Lenox, outside the area known to harbor the EEE virus in Madison County. Since August 14, Madison County has had no new mosquito pools test positive for EEE.
A vaccine is available to protect horses from EEE. Horses are very vulnerable to EEE if they are not vaccinated. All equine owners, especially those in known EEE areas, are encouraged to vaccinate their horses annually from EEE. An infected horse cannot pass the EEE virus to other animals or people.
The Health Department continues to monitor for EEE in mosquitoes and horse populations as part of our overall disease surveillance activities. Identifying positive cases in animals is another way to identify the continued presence of EEE in our communities.
Geoffrey Snyder, Madison County Environmental Health Director said that “The EEE virus likely remains in our environment. The best way to prevent EEE is to protect against mosquito bites. While there is a vaccine for horses, there is no vaccine for people. This means it is very important that all residents continue to use personal protection measures to prevent mosquito bites through the season, and that we continue to take steps to reduce mosquito breeding grounds near our homes.”
All Madison County residents are encouraged to:
• Continue to limit exposure to mosquitoes between dusk and dawn.
• Change water in bird baths and horse troughs at least twice a week to discourage
mosquito breeding.
• Use insect repellents according to label instructions.
• Wear shoes, socks, long pants, and a long-sleeved shirt if you are outdoors for long
periods of time, and when mosquitoes are most active, between dusk and dawn.
• Replace or repair broken screens.
• Eliminate standing water around the home.





SHELBYVILLE — A federal Department of Agriculture report shows there were almost double the number of soring violations at the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration competition this year compared to 2013. The Tennessean reports monitors found 219 violations of the Horse Protection Act during the competition, which was held over 11 days in Shelbyville. That's compared to 110 violations noted last year.

Animal advocates say the numbers show that there is still a problem with soring, which occurs when a horse's legs are intentionally injured to make the animal have a higher gait. "All these years the industry has said they've solved the problem, yet soring is still rampant," said Keith Dane, vice president for equine protection for the Humane Society of the United States. Celebration CEO Mike Inman says rules were enforced differently this year, leading to a higher number of incidents. "We've had the same horses and the same inspectors for years," Inman said. "The only thing that's changed is the interpretation." He said using fewer subjective ways to monitor horses would lead to inspection results that are more consistent. Officials with the USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service said inspection procedures weren't altered. Department spokeswoman Tanya Espinosa said inspectors were using more advanced technology, such as thermal imaging, to identify sored horses. "Soring practices are always evolving and require APHIS to incorporate state of the art technology to capture soring techniques that may not be visible to the naked eye," Espinosa said in an email.




The horse racing industry is reeling from an unusually high number of deaths in the two month long Del Mar meet. Del Mar, dubbed "Where the Surf Meets the Turf" is widely accepted as one of the most beautiful race tracks in the world but it has a history of horse fatalities including 14 this year (at time of writing). The track switched to a synthetic surface and a new turf course a few years back to try to stave off some of the catastrophic injuries but it clearly hasn't worked as injuries have risen. And many are pointing to deficiencies in the turf as being the main culprit in the rise of horse deaths. But it's not just Del Mar that has seen a spike in horse deaths. Saratoga has seen 9 horses die this year and several other tracks have seen a spike in fatalities. And while the horse racing industry may be unwilling to seriously address it stating it's a part of sport and has been an issue for over a century, to new horse goers it is a turnoff.

I recall taking my wife (then girlfriend) to the horse races for the first time in 1991 to watch the Canadian International at Woodbine Racetrack in Toronto when one of Canada's best horses, Izvestia, broke down during the race and was euthanized almost immediately afterward. Since that day she says she can't watch a horse race and a potential fan and bettor was lost to the industry. Similarly many parents refuse to take their children to the races for the exact same reason. I was talking recently about the issue to a trainer in the industry and his response was pretty callous and inane – "humans break their legs while running all the time or suffer sprains. Just look what happened to Mary Decker. Yet no one was blaming the Olympics for her broken leg." What he failed to mention of course is that when humans break their legs they don't have to be euthanized, plus of course humans have the ability to decide for themselves whether to run. And humans can verbally express when they aren't feeling well. Horses on the other hand, can only express that point through their actions but those actions will be futile if the pain is masked. Nevertheless the question of why horse racing is becoming so dangerous for horses and jockeys had to be raised and I thus spoke to three horsemen, one from the U.S., one from England and one from Australia to get their opinions. They pointed to four main factors for the increase in breakdowns – medication, surface, training and breeding.

The main factor in all three of their viewpoints is medication. Until the 1970s medication to help a horse during a race was absolutely forbidden, but in recent years the restrictions have been lifted. Lasix, a diuretic which has been use to stop horses from bleeding during races was the first drug to be introduced in certain parts of the U.S. and New York was the last jurisdiction in North America to lift the ban on its use in 1995. Prior to the use of Lasix, horses that bled three times in their career were banned from competing for good. In Australia, South Africa and Hong Kong that rule still exists and while there is no similar ban in the UK, Lasix is still not permitted to be used. While the drug has been useful in stopping bleeding it also masks other issues horses may have, which is actually a reason the Olympics disallows athletes to use it. Nick Zito admitted to Thoroughbred Daily News that Lasix is a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde drug because it allows horses to race, when without it they may not be able to, but is also causing horses to run less frequently because it takes them so long to recover after using the diuretic. At the same time he also doesn't want to see it banned for good because he believes many horses wouldn't be able to run at all without it which would lead to field shortages, track closures and industry layoffs. Of course that's always the debate – the safety of horses and jockeys or the profitability of the industry.

But as concerning as Lasix is the bigger culprit is Phenylbutazone (bute). Bute is an analgesic pain killer with effects similar to ibuprofen. It helps to reduce inflammation and acts as a mild pain reliever for muscle aches and pains. Many trainers give it to their horses to help alleviate any slight aches or pains before a race and all jurisdictions in the U.S. now allow horses to be given a single dose of bute 24 hours before a race. The short half-life of the drug ensures it will be out of the horse's system by race time. The problem with Bute is that it allows horses that are lame to race and as such eventually can lead to a breakdown. In fact, before Bute was allowed in horse racing in the U.S. the average number of breakdowns was one every 15 days and after its use was permitted it increased to one every 4 days. Plus a study by Louisiana State University a few years back showed that the use of bute actually decreased the number of times a horse was able to run in a year because the drug leads to so many other complications including gastric ulcers and liver damage. Trainers argue that Bute is needed and the fact it is out of the horse's system ensures that a horse will not run lame, but trainers have been known to take liberties and the result is catastrophic. In fact Rick Dutrow was suspended for 10 years after he was found to overmedicate his horses with Lasix and Bute as well as using clearly banned drugs like xylazine (a sedative). In fact the horseman from Britain told me that he refused to even follow the Breeder's Cup until a ban on Lasix and Bute was put in play because he finds the practice of allowing potentially sick horses to race as being barbaric. Ironically, horse racing fatalities in the UK are even higher than in North America, although the main reason for that is steeplechase and hurdles racing, which is rare in the U.S. but common in Europe. Studies show that the risk factor for injury from hurdle racing is 800 times greater than flat racing and there have been calls in Europe to ban the practice for that reason. But that's to be discussed in another article.

The second factor most point to is the racing surface. In Europe and Australia all racing was run on the turf until tracks like Wolverhampton, Kempton Park and Geelong put in a synthetic racing surface. No jurisdiction overseas was willing to run horses on dirt claiming it was a dangerous surface but the synthetic surfaces offered the advantages of dirt racing without the danger since they did not become so hard or soggy in cases of heavy rain or drought. And in fact the use of synthetic surfaces has resulted in a slight decrease in the horse injury rate although some synthetic surfaces like the ones at Woodbine and Arlington seem to produce fewer injuries than the ones in hotter climates. But many tracks absolutely refuse to switch from dirt surfaces and the statistics are clear that races run on bogged down dirt tracks or on tracks that have had no moisture produce much higher injuries than in good weather. The Australian horsemen I spoke to was adamant that this in his view was the main culprit for horse fatalities. "Try running a mile on heavy rain soaked mud or on a sand packed beach that has had no rain and you'll realize just how straining it is on the muscles and joints."

Similarly turf courses that get no moisture are just as dangerous. The Australian horseman told me that running on a turf course with no moisture is like running on a highway without shoes. He also made it clear though that in Australia the tracks will cancel race cards very fast if the turf or synthetic surface is not ideal for racing. "It's always been a wave of contention here that courses like Flemington will cancel major cards because the turf is too damp when many jockeys will say it isn't that bad. But in Australia the industry is more concerned about horse and jockey safety than it is about completing a card on the date it is set out. In the U.S., on the other hand, they rarely if ever cancel cards due to race conditions and if the turf is just unusable they'll likely just move a race from the turf to the dirt or all-weather track. And that causes other issues because you end up with horses running on surfaces they aren't prepared for. " There's no doubt that the lack of rain at Del Mar has created a turf course that is very hard and unfortunately it seems Del Mar has not adapted to somehow ensure proper moisture in the turf course.

The third factor that most point to is training. While injuries during races are an issue what most fail to realize is that most of the injuries take place in training. In June an exercise rider was killed at Woodbine when a horse he was exercising suffered a heart attack, crashed through a fence and landed on him. And unfortunately it's not that uncommon. Trainers know they have to exert their horses to get them ready for races and so they often train them too often, too hard or too early in life resulting in horses that simply can't stand the strain of the training. Add to that the fact that trainers aren't subject to the same rules in training as they are for races themselves and trainers will often take many liberties during the training exercise with respect to medication, creating a ticking time bomb when a horse actually does race. As one trainer at Woodbine once opined to me "a good trainer is one who lives by all the rules and develops a horse that will provide a profit to its owner but a great trainer is one who will do whatever it takes to make the horse a superstar. And one year at the top is better than three years in the middle." And while most trainers realize that horses are flesh and bone animals subject to the same physical restraints as humans, they also deem them as goods that must be maximized for their livelihood to continue.

"She ran with the heart of a locomotive, on champagne-glass ankles."

The last factor is breeding. All three of the horsemen I spoke to suggested that horses are just becoming too fast for their own good. The British horseman just shook his head when he hears people talk about which horse will become the first to break the 1:07 mark for the Breeder's Cup Sprint. Right now the record is held by Midnight Lute who won the sprint in 1:07.08 and last year Secret Circle won in 1:08.73. It wasn't that long ago that the best horse would run 6 furlongs in 1:11 and the average allowance horse would run 6 furlongs in about 1:13. "Horses aren't supposed to run that fast but the notion that faster is better is creating horses that just are too fast for their own good. When Eillo won the first Breeder's Cup sprint in 1:10.2 was it really any less exciting for the owners or for the fans than when Midnight Lute ran the same distance over 3 seconds faster? If horses weren't forced to run those types of times there's no doubt horse racing would be safer." In that regard, many still point to Eight Belles who collapsed after the finish line in the 2008 Kentucky Derby and had to be euthanized on track. The industry and animal protection agencies pointed to the trainer, breeder and jockey for the horse's death but ultimately put the main blame on the breeding. Not long after the race Sally Jenkins, a Washington Post writer penned, "She ran with the heart of a locomotive, on champagne-glass ankles." Horses that once were known for sturdy legs now have paper thin ones that can easily break with too much exertion. In any case if horses continue to be forced to run beyond their capabilities the results have to be catastrophic.

Horse racing is clearly at a moral fork in the road. The industry realizes there is a problem with horse fatalities but they also know they need to fill fields. The industry has tried to address the issue by putting in measures in 2011 to toughen rules of the 1978 Interstate Horse Racing Act but most agree that the measures have not gone far enough. And statistics speak for themselves. Younger people have turned away from the sport for many reasons including the number of horse breakdowns. The number of deaths this year at Del Mar is proof that measures have to be strengthened even more. Without doing something the industry will certainly become obsolete in the near future in the United States.




Being a horse vet in the United Kingdom (UK) appears to carry the highest risk of injury of any civilian occupation in the UK, according to the results of the first-ever survey on injuries within the profession. This study, commissioned by the British Equine Veterinary Association (BEVA) and conducted by leading medical professionals at the Institute of Health and Wellbeing and the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Glasgow, has prompted BEVA to raise awareness of these risks within the equine industry and look at ways to make equine veterinary practice safer. Previously, largely anecdotal information suggested that veterinary practitioners involved in equine work frequently sustain injuries as part of their work with horses, but the prevalence and type of injury have never been quantified in the UK.

It is widely thought that some vets have to give up equine work due to a work-related injury and while very occasionally fatalities have happened, these might be inconsistently documented. Former BEVA President Keith Chandler, BVMS, CertEP, MRCVS, outlined further: “We were coming across reports that vets were being injured, often seriously and occasionally fatally, when dealing with their patients. As a result, we commissioned this study to quantify and qualify the risks, which our members were facing whilst pursuing their professional career. It is a sad irony that some vets are being seriously injured in their efforts to protect the health of horses.” A total of 620 equine veterinarians completed a work-related injuries questionnaire between September and November 2013.

The study results indicated that an equine vet could expect to sustain between seven and eight work-related injuries that impeded him or her from practicing during a 30-year working life. Data from the Health and Safety Executive suggest that vets working in equine practice in the UK thus sustain a very high number of injuries compared to other civilian occupations, including those working in the construction industry, prison service, and the fire brigade. Participants were asked to describe their worst-ever injury. Most were described as bruising, fracture, and laceration, with the most common site of injury being the leg (29%), followed by the head (23%). The main cause of injury was a kick with a hind limb (49%), followed by a strike with a forelimb (11%), followed by crush injury (5%).

 Nearly a quarter of these reported injuries required hospital admission and, notably, 7% resulted in loss of consciousness. “We were shocked to discover the extent of the injuries sustained,” Chandler said. “Of greatest concern is the number of vets who suffered head injuries and unconsciousness. These injuries appeared to be more common when certain procedures were being performed, such as endoscopy of the upper respiratory tract, when vets are often only partly sighted while using examination equipment, or during wound management and bandage-changes, where vets are often crouched down for long periods next to the patient.” Thirty eight percent of the “worst” injuries occurred when the veterinarian was working with a pleasure horse, and most frequently (48% of all responses) the horse handler was the owner or the client at the time of the injury. While the number of laypersons or handlers injured at the same time was low, Tim Parkin, BSc, BVSc, PhD, Dipl. ECVPH, MRCVS, veterinarian and lead researcher, pointed out: “This work should act as a wakeup call to all involved in the training, employment, and engagement of equine vets.

The risks associated with handling and working with horses should be the primary consideration for equine vets and horses owners alike, every time a horse is examined or treated. In addition, the experience of the horse handler should be considered when undertaking riskier procedures.” David Mountford, MA, VetMB, MRCVS, chief executive of BEVA, continued: “The results are very concerning and justify a careful prospective scientific quantification of the risks. In the short term, knowledge of these risks allows us to better inform all vets who work with horses. In turn vets will be able to inform horse owners, horse-keepers and trainers of the risks, and this may provide justification for having trained assistance on-hand or the more extensive use of sedative drugs in practice, potentially reducing the risk of injury.” BEVA will now look to work with the Health and Safety Executive, veterinary schools, large employers of vets in the UK, and our members to help develop policies to mitigate the risk of serious injury for vets working with horses.”




Perhaps no horse demonstrated the versatility of the breed at the National Standardbred Show better than Chocolate Delight. The 4-year-old son of Chocolatier won a race at Freehold Raceway on Monday, Sept. 1, then competed in several classes at the National Standardbred Show, held Sept. 6 and 7 at the Horse Park of New Jersey. Victoria Hegdal, 13, of New Egypt, rode the horse her father, Oyvind trains for racing. "I'm really proud of him," said Victoria of the nearly black trotter. A student at the New Egypt Middle School, Victoria rides many of her dad's racehorses.

Riding makes them stronger in the hind end, and makes them better racehorses, she said. ChocalateDelight2.jpg Victoria Hegdal, 13, rides Chocolate Delight in jumping classes at the National Standardbred Show. While her dad trains Chocolate Delight for the track, Victoria trains with Merrie Musto of Cedarview Farm, in New Egypt, for flatwork and jumping. Musto said that over the years, she has transformed numerous Standardbreds into successful show and hunt horses.

 "Victoria and Chocolate Delight joined the Cedarview Farm show team for the last year and half, scheduling between races. My years of experience have enabled me to ascertain a balance between the race track and the show ring," said Musto. "The patience and persistence of horse, rider and trainer have lead to success. We're looking forward to many more blue ribbons and championships." On average, Chocolate Delight races about once every two weeks, earning about $43,000 in his career. At the show, Victoria earned ribbons in hunter under saddle, cross-rails and junior equitation. The pair also trail ride and are learning some dressage.




Law enforcement authorities in Illinois believe thunderstorms could be to blame for a barn fire that killed two horses in Kane County. Kane County Undersheriff Pat Gengler said that on Sept. 5 firefighters and police personnel responded to a call involving a barn fire in unincorporated Elgin, Illinois. Two horses died in the fire, and a third horse escaped unharmed, he said. Gengler said strong thunderstorms swept through the area at the time of the fire. “We had lots of trees down and lots of downed power lines,” he said. “We got hit pretty hard.” Gengler said the storms might have caused the fire; however, the cause of the blaze remains under investigation.




Equine sarcoids are a good news-bad news kind of condition. The good news: These tumors themselves are typically not life-threatening. The bad news: They often develop on the head, abdomen, and legs, which can interfere with equipment and tack, and they are notoriously difficult to treat. “The treatment of equine sarcoids, particularly large ones, remains challenging and can be frustrating for owners and veterinarians alike,” said study author Bettina Dunkel, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ACVIM, ECEIM, ACVECC, MRCVS, senior lecturer in equine medicine at the University of London Royal Veterinary College.

To test the efficacy of one treatment option—Newmarket bloodroot ointment—Dunkel and colleagues carried out a retrospective questionnaire-based study of 49 horses diagnosed with sarcoids. Bloodroot ointment has cytotoxic and immune-modulatory effects on sarcoids, meaning it causes the abnormal cells to stop growing and shrink, Dunkel said. Still, the ointment’s full mechanism of action is still poorly understood, she noted. In the study, the 49 horses received Newmarket bloodroot ointment to treat seventy-four sarcoids.

Of those: 49 sarcoids resolved completely; 15 sarcoids responded, but did not resolve completely; and 10 sarcoids either did not respond or worsened. Small sarcoids (less than 2 centimeters) that had not been treated previously often resolved completely after being treated with Newmarket bloodroot ointment. "Bloodroot ointment seems to have a similar efficacy rate for small sarcoids as other topical treatments available,” Dunkel said. However, she noted that sarcoids greater than 4 centimeters did not respond well or at all to treatment. The exact reason for this difference in response is unknown, but she says the larger size might make it more difficult for the ointment to penetrate the sarcoid tissue effectively. Dunkel says most treatment periods lasted 21 days or less, and treating veterinarians reported very few side effects (such as occasional hair loss and/or soreness).




A trio of horse dealers in Pennsylvania are facing multiple animal cruelty charges after they allegedly attempted to sell three allegedly maltreated animals through a New Holland, Pennsylvania, auction. A spokesperson for the Lancaster County Courts said that Charles and Lori Fisher and Patty Sherwood each face multiple animal cruelty charges stemming from the alleged July sale of three horses through the New Holland auction. The spokesperson said the Fishers and Sherwood attempted to transport and sell three allegedly maltreated mares. Of those, two animals died. A third is receiving rehabilitative care. Authorities subsequently charged the Fishers with multiple animal cruelty counts, multiple counts of transporting an animal in a cruel manner, and using a disabled animal. Sherwood is charged with multiple animal cruelty counts as well as three counts of transporting an animal in a cruel manner and three counts of using a disabled animal. The Fishers and Sherwood were unavailable for comment. Lancaster County Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Director Susan Martin said her agency led the investigation into the incident. An anonymous call resulted in the organization’s involvement, she said, declining to comment further. The case remains pending.






I have a 2yo stock horse I've had for about 8months. He was a bit underweight when I got him but not severe. Was such a quiet steady boy, scared of nothing and happy to be alone. I Fed him up well over winter and now he has started becoming very stubborn. When I first got him id take hin for walks and taught him to yeild his head. All of a sudden he decided he doesn't like leading nicely and wants to crowd me so every time he gets to close I ask him to back up. But he's become aggressive if asked to back up and comes forward. It's like he wasn't to dominate me. So I hold the rope infront horizontal in my hands so he can't head butt and I move into his space and touch it to his nose to ask him to yield backwards. And he shakes his head and gets cross then lashes out and tries to bite me.

This fella doesn't care in the least. A tap with the crop doesn't bother him, a growl, he's like who cares and any extra pressure you try to create he gets more into your space and more dominant. I do have a trainer who is coming to work with him, but last time he was a little saint for her, he just hates me and it's not like I've treated him bad in any way. Just wanted to know if you have any advice for me? Like I said never ever had a biter or a horse this unaffected by a reproval, he is unflappable and I have not the least idea how to fix the biting. Cheers Cassie


Hi Cassie. This is a very good opportunity for You to progress in Your Horse Ownership skills and to take the next step. This Horse shows all the classic signs of having arrived at a place where it has lost all respect for You and of course this is when it becomes dangerous to Your personal safety. Horses don't do these things without some basic mistakes being made by the Owner. Trust me.

Your Coach should have told You how to overcome all of these problems and in fact showed You. If they didn't, get another Coach but essentially, Your Horse is "Out of the Box' so have a rad of that article

So there is confusion going on and the Horse has arrived at "Learned helplessness" which is what has triggered the current behavior. Get the Coach to fix it immediately. Regards


Hi thanks, have read the out of the box article. I agree that the problem is to do with me, I haven't done a lot of work with this horse as he was pretty I handled when I got him and wanted him to get used to being around people and he was a bit sensitive when touched. But the reason I got the trainer was because he was crowding and I wanted my space respected. And I was unsure how to enforce my request. I have threaded lightly because he is young and I didn't want to discipline him if he didn't understand what's required. But I see that discipline and teaching what's required of hand in hand. I am not afraid but I can see I need to crack down on him and not tolerate crap but correct him consistently. What is like to know is this: If I ask him to back up and he shakes his head or comes towards me I should... If he goes to bite me I should... And if he does bite me I should... These are the areas I'm having trouble enforcing. With leading he didn't want to come along and ie fixed that, now he sneaks up behind me, so I turn around and ask him to move back and then we have a barny over it haha. It's really quite stressful. I also have not done enough work with him as I'm worried my inaction to correct his bad habits is making them worse :-O The trainer is coming tomorrow. This is only our second session.

If You have to "Correct him consistently" your training has not been effective. Then the "we have a barny over it" again, you cannot have that and every time You do there is much frustration for the Horse. This all shows 'confusion' AND "learned helplessness' and that is what is driving Your biting. You need Lessons urgently but read my article and you will find the immediate short term fix. Regards








I am chuckling.. Thanks for the response. Except that he isn’t a Quarter horse he’s 50% Arab! Other 50% may have some QH in there somewhere.. Anyway – nice to know you think he could hack some dressage work Regards Anna

That's fine Anna. Same  build though :)






Hi I have been reading your arena construction information with interest. I am about to have a pad levelled for a grass arena. We can't afford sand at this stage and as our new property was previously an orchard I have no where flat enough to ride. My plan is to gradually add to this arena to one day have sand. An excavator friend suggested putting the base down now and pushing top soil back over to grow grass. Eventual we will edge it and add sand. Unfortunately I don't have the $2+k extra to do this in road base at present. He suggested looking into slag, we aren't too far from the steel mill and can get it for $10 truck load plus cartage. Apparently it rolls down to set hard. Do you have any experience or thoughts in using this? Kind regards Sharon


Hi Sharon. No, I don't know what that stuff is so can't comment but I can catergorically say to You that NEVER put dirt back over a base and NEVER think You can grow Grass on an arena. Doesn't happen and when You want to remove the dirt, the Machines will make a Hell of a mess and remove half Your base by accident



Thanks for the help. I looked at a slag driveway. It sets between cement and road base by the looks. So too hard for my liking.  I've decided to have a pad flattened out to ride on and keep saving for a base and sand for the future.  Sharon






Hi John, I saw the tv documentary on dangerous horses where they spoke to you so I have been on your website and saw your offer for the free 145 page eBook. I would love to read more on listening to horses as we try to do the best for ours and have rescued a few (more than I can count). One in particular I thought you might like to hear about, was head shy on the bridge of his nose so we knew he couldn’t be a lead pony for a beginner as leaders generally use too much pressure do we didn’t re-home him we kept him as a paddock companion. Had his teeth done and worked out he was fine to lead from the bit but not the headstall he trusted us enough to put it on but no-one else could. We decided his nature was too nice so got head scope & xrays done and sure enough there was a cyst! We try to listen to what all our horses are saying and am glad we heard this old boy and could give him relief for the last few years of his life. he passed away at 31. We look forward to hearing back from you. Regards, Lisa

Well done Lisa. Great effort.! Regards





Hi, My name is Maggie Steen. I came across your article "halter breaking the foal" online. I am looking for any tips, tricks, and help I can get. I have been asked to halter break a filly who is a year and a half old. Unfortunately, her owners did her (and now me) a great disservice by not doing ANYTHING with her. Normally, I halter break horses as young as possible. However, that is no longer an option for this horse. When I was very young we got some wild paint horses- to halter break them they told us to use fence panels, corner and press them against the fence, and put the halter on. While it did work, I would like to try and avoid this method if at all possible because it seemed traumatic. My initial plan was to use a bucket of grain, put the halter in it, when she sticks her head in the bucket buckle the halter on her... then I was informed not only has she never had grain, but she has never seen a bucket before either. I attempted a join up with her, we made progress from the time we started to where we stopped, having said that we did not make a lot of progress. We worked in the round pen for about an hour and a half. She will let me stand by her neck and rub her on the neck, but she is constantly trying to turn on her haunches to get away, I stay with her, but like I said- we didn't make as much progress as I expected. I waited for her to look at me, lick and chew, etc and sent her off when she turned away with her rump to me. A related problem occurs here- if given the chance she will abruptly stop, turn her rump in and stick her entire head and neck through the fence but I am planning on making the round pen fully enclosed. Also, she does not want to canter, even when a lunge whip is used. She CAN canter around the round pen and is balanced at a good pace, she just takes A LOT of work on my part to get her to canter and keep her there. Any other methods that may be helpful or tips you have would be very much appreciated! Also, please feel free to call me at 1615-545-8847 any time. Thanks so much! Maggie USA

Hi Maggie. Sounds like quite a saga :)

The "Join Up' You are trying to carry out, is in fact one of the most difficult systems to master and basically out of the scope of the Amateur People. I note You mention 30 Minutes whilst I do it in 2 Minutes. You can imagine the frustration and discomfort for the Horses, not to mention the often massive confusion and even 'learned helplessness' So therefore, I recommend You try a new tactic.

I won't try and peddle my systems of 'join up' upon You but give You a simple one to try, so that You can get a Hand on this Horse in 60 seconds and then proceed to do the necessary from there.

Take a Long Rope, 30-40 foot. Get a Friend. Take one end each, shilst standing opposite sides of the Round Pen. In Your end, tie a small noose. DON'T WRAP ANY ROPE AROUND YOUR LIMBS!!!! Wear Gloves.

Walk slowly each side perimeter of the Pen, holding the rope loosely in mid air at CHEST HEIGHT. The Horse will run between You. ALLOW THE ROPE TO GO WITH THE HORSE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! When it reaches the other side, You walk across to the Friend or they walk to You, depending on how Horse is facing, passing rope over back of Horse. Put end through noose and pull against Neck of Horse so noose slides down and along and around Neck. DON'T FIGHT WITH THE HORSE. Just start to play with it, commence Halter Breaking. Easy. It's all on my Disc 2 of Halter Breaking DVD's Regards





Hey John I really like this, I've been using a very long time before I saw your website (i found that somehow looking for stable designs). I learnt it off my old mate (John Carter) who I've been riding with my entire riding carrier (he's 84). He taught it to me I don't know how long ago, I started riding 30 or so years ago. I've also come across it in dressage instuctions with Malcom Kerridge, but he never (or I wasn't smart enough) explained exactly what we were doing with this exercise, or the added benefits outside of dressage. I had a little chuckle myself when you mentioned handing back horses you have broken in to competition types. I don't claim to be great or even good, but if they were worth their salt they wouldn't come to you, it's not that hard. BUT i suppose it's easy to stuff up too, I know the couple I've done under supervision weren't perfect. It was great to read your article anyhow, as it reinforced and help me understand better what I've been doing, and some things to improve on. Claude-Henri Narrabri

Hi Henry. Nice to hear from You.

Well done and interesting to hear what You have to say. Many thanks. Regards




Dear John, I am wondering what your opinion/experience is regarding vets injecting steroid into this area to aid healing? My WB mare was broken in in February this year and has gone from being a quiet, fairly straight, easy moving ride to a pigrooting fiend under saddle when asked to circle to the left, travelling with HQs in on the circle and shoulder out.​ ​ I have had her treated 3 times by two different chiropractors since being broken in. One said she was very tight in the semimembranosis and semitendonosis muscles but neither of them said there was any pain or weakness in the sacroilliac area. After one of them treated her, I rode her 2 days later and she could go straight on a left rein circle but this only lasted the one ride. I have now stopped riding her. It has been pointed out to me by an instructor that she is uneven in the hindquarters - the right side is higher and more muscled than the left - not a huge difference, but easy enough to see. She has had a trauma to this area when she panicked in a float and ended up with her back end under the back bar. I expected the breaker to find a problem with her from this, but he did not and she seemed to be fine to ride. I have been talking to a vet who said this sounds like a textbook case of sacroiliac pain/damage and says he can inject the area with steroid. He says I must start lunging her in side reins (I have your lunge reins) until she is very sore so he can identify the area to inject as it is more effective the closer he can get to the damaged area. I am attaching a video of me riding her the day I picked her up from the breaker. I am wondering if you can see anything amiss with her as I didn't notice anything that day - but she has deteriorated steadily over the last 6 months. At one point I was sure she was bridle lame, but would she show the same problems on the lunge - I did notice something amiss on the lunge fairly early on, so I'm not sure. Please give advice. Thank you Alison 

Hi Alison. Yes, we have viewed the Video and can say that the Horse did show issues on that Day and the lack of symmetry of the Muscles was also evident back then. I don't know what the Vets think is the cause of these issues but the two main areas that we believe are responsible, via our observations of such Horses, is twofold. Breaking in too Young or at least starting 'performance' stuff too early and of course with the Race Horses, again, a combination of too Young and too much performance stress........of, Twisted Pelvis from Foaling.

The question must be asked when You have a Young well cared for Warmblood at the early stage of the breaking in or starting process, with noticeably Muscle degeneration, one must ask the question of why and how long. Well the why is the unknown but the how long must be considerable. Therefore, paddock accident or Birth imho.

You know my view of side reins and need to take into account that the majority of Vets recommend old established lectured systems that may or may not be current. We have found that they are not. As to treatment however, that is one for the Vet's but don't rule out acupuncture and correct Muscle building Work, the Video about Mrs. HP is half way through right now.

However, consult Your Vet.








Hi again Just thought I would let you know the result after the vet visit from my horse Axel so you can inform others to check if they have a similar issue. I was the one that sent the bad video in the sun (wouldn’t have happened if my friend had showed up at the correct time grr) with the horse humping at the back end and kicking out. Anyway, won’t take offence at the riding comments as was not me riding and this was not a schooling session, was merely for 2 mins to show the hind action for the vet. Definitely not how he is usually ridden! Results were: capped hock (slight fracture on the very tip), tendonitis also around the area. This soreness resulted in him avoiding using his hind end correctly (hence the weakness in the back end due to atrophy) and this lack of muscle in the back and the straight leg action to avoid bending at the hock was causing his stifle to lock. Vet feels once he is using his leg properly, the stifle will no longer lock (this has already happened) and rest just needed another 4 weeks and back to normal. Yay! Regarding your horse floats. When are they going to be available to purchase and do you know what sort of price range they will be yet????? Thanks Megan

Well done Megan. Great result. Regards





Hello John and Linda,   I would like to receive the free e-book as promoted on your website.   Also, just like to say a how thankful I am for your website and podcasts! Only last week I purchased a 6yr old black standardbred gelding, who would have ended up at the auctions (knackery). Gorgeous boy, seeing a few behavioural traits coming up – very hard to catch, very cautious, and a small power struggle. A lady at my agistment recommended I look at your site for advice.   Your site and podcasts (which I watched all 79 in a day!) are providing brilliant tips and techniques, which is giving me the reassurance I need! Starting off with  the correct horsemanship will no doubt save me much time and dramas!   I’ll be soon purchasing your dvd on ‘retraining the standardbred’, I’m looking forward to many years of great riding and a beautiful relationship with my new boy! Bree

Remember Bree......."Power Struggles" only occur when the Human in the equation doesn't understand what the Horse does" :)

Take Him slow for they often have a hard time in their lives. Regards





You’ll be happy to know HP that I am no longer a legend in my own lunchbox.......I hit the dirt today (first time in over 20 years)... well it was actually a lush carpet of grass, THANK GOODNESS!!! Indy and I were having a lovely trail ride and decided to have a loping canter up the hill.  Afterwards we were chilling out while walking along....beautiful day, beautiful view, life’s good.......then life was up and to the right in one big LEAP and within a millisecond!!!! It happened that fast I was flying before realising what had happened.  Actually, I still don’t know what happened!! Thinking that because He’s coming back from a spell, so feeling pretty good and was a tad annoyed that I wouldn’t let him eat (his tummy rules his mind, the site of that lush green clover was more than he could handle)....and I apparently got what I deserved!!!  Fortunately my falling off shocked him as much as it shocked me! After realising that he was riderless, he turned around looking for me, snorted as I arose (very slowly) from the long grass and walked over.....just as well!!!


Perhaps this is a sign? My 15 year old son has been nagging me for permission to purchase an ‘R’ rated grand theft auto game that he has worked hard at Macas to save for??!!!! It would be easier if I just gave in and said ” yes”.  After all, his mates have it, his younger cousin has it and his youngest brother has played it at a mate’s place apparently –(much to my horror!)..........HELL NO!!!!  I cannot give in!  Looks like I’m gonna pay though.......I can’t find my Ipad, my phone, hair straightener, makeup, my....SANITY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Riding and falling off horses is much easier that being a parent sometimes!!!!!!!!!!



Glad You survived!!!! Mothers are at a big disadvantage where Horses are concerned. Most of the Woman who come for Lessons with Mrs. HP, can't relax properly for Horse activities because they are always HYPER because of Kids. Chin up.





7th September, 2014


Hi Folks. Hope You had a good Week. 9mm of Rain keep the Green Grass ticking over but not enough still.

I have been slowly finding time to do more Horse work lately now that I am getting the place under control and enjoying it very much. Some of those appear here below, with their stories.....yes, they all have stories to tell.




I don't have to tell You my views on the protection that such training gives to Horses, especially Young one's and the protection of your assets and often Life's savings. So yesterday, this lovely Young and valuable unbroken Warmblood came for such work, which he handled with ease and then within 5 Minutes of the end of the Lesson, found Himself gaining protection from injury via a combination of his nice temperament, work done by the Owners and no doubt the Leg Restraints Training he had received for he got cast in his Stable here, when being a typical "Juvenile Delinquent' got both back Legs in his Feed Bin and got Cast against the wall. A non event as it turned out.






Then to my little Buckskin and his first Day of 'Leg Yield' training as he goes around 'flexed off' and it is not helping his Muscle Development or his future soundness. This little Horse has drastically changed from the 'webbing halter' wrestler to the wonderful statue on the ground. A pleasure to handle now.


The Owner (seen here) told me she looks like the Coach and me the Pupil. She is for I learn from anyone with a Tongue.!


Conformation plays a  big part in soundness as You know. It is educational for You to look at these two Quarter Horses, the one above and the one below.

Appols, removed first photo due to complaints. from Photographer of the previous Horse.


You will note the two different angles of the top of the Rump to the Dock. This is then why that it is always important to build the topline Muscles of those with more angle for it is a weakness and creates more pressure on the is the case with this Horse, who has issues.

Another reason why 'Leg Yield Training' is a necessary ingredient in the proper management of the soundness of the ridden Horse.





This in my experience through three cases and again just in the last two Weeks, is another word for "State Sponsored Euthanasia' Nothing more. It is straight out Murder of wonderful People, and is a time when the Family Doctor is suddenly the Enemy.

Palliative Care was called to our lovely Neighbor, who had been rejected and ejected from the Health system despite spending a fortune on TOP COVER of Private Health (another Fraud on Society) and declared to be fine to stay Home. They refused to admit her as she was fine to stay Home. Of course the fact that she had not been eating or drinking for 3 Weeks since Her Operation, after which there was ZERO MEDICAL FOLLOW UP, thus proving just how strong she really was. The following Day, the Neighbors had Her admitted to Hospital and 3 Days later she was Dead. We attended Her Funeral Friday.

So read my Lips and let me spell this out. 'Palliative Care' is the removal of Water and Food, called Starving Humans to Death, something that we would be locked up for if we did it to a Horse. If You don't watch them like a Hawk, they will Kill Your loved ones.




" Never do up a Breastplate on a suspect Horse, until the Saddle is girthed firm"




Hi John I was wondering if you provide horse starting and training services at your property. I’m not sure if I have told you in my previous emails about the problems I’ve been having with the lady I have purchased three horses from last year in july. She is from NSW and claimed she could provide anyone with a horse from complete beginner upwards including the RDA. Out of the horses she sold last year 9 families are taking her to court and she is under investigation for selling un broken horses to beginner riders. I am the only one who hasn’t perused this as I haven’t received my horses (I was meant to get them in December 2013) yet and have been trying to make something good out of this situation. She can’t provide starting/training and I believe she has gone bankrupt, needless to say I’m in-between a rock and a hard place with no one who can really help me make these horses safe for my beginner daughters and myself. She said she would transport them if I could find a trainer. I want to make sure I can find one that can also teach me more and can give the horses the best start possible. Are you able to help me with this, I’m located in SA about 2 ½ hours from Adelaide. Any tips and costs involved would be a great help to me. Cheers


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I recently asked and gained permission to use one of the lovely Victor Harbor Horse Drawn Tram Clydesdales, to be a model for a new 'Heavy Horse' Rope Halter that I have for Sale on my Site.

I got a message from the Officer in Charge, wanting to know who gave me permission as it was a "Security Matter' This prompted me to give some free advice to the Gentleman, that "There is NO SECURITY" for the Horses, under the current arrangements of their Day Stables because even when we arrived, People were feeding the said Horse, over the Fence and patting Him. I explained that it was we now live in a World of 'Crazies" and that they are walking the Streets in Victor Harbor, courtesy  of the State Govt "export of Ferals' programme, so that they can live amongst the nice People, in the hope that we may help control them.

Today, we have one such occurance.

POLICE are appealing for information after the apparent deliberate slashing of a grazing racing horse. Officers attended reports of an injury to the horse in a field off Pesspool Lane, Haswell, east Durham, today (Thursday September 4). It was initially thought the 10in to 12in horizontal cut to the animal’s neck may have been accidentally caused by contact with barbed wire. But, on further examination, it was considered it was more likely to have been a deliberate slash wound. Distressed owners Andrew Blench and Alison Cook said they had no idea why anyone would carry out such an attack. But they were also angered by the incident and fear, with the ongoing risk of infection, the road to recovery may prove long and expensive, given the vets’ fees required. The injuries were to the right hand side of the neck and consisted of a 4ins-deep cut, causing a heavy loss of blood. A local vet attended and said the horse, a five-year-old “trotter”, Tommy, could have died from blood loss had it not been found until later. Almost 100 stitches were inserted to close the wound and Tommy is now recovering at stables several miles from its home field. The attack has put a halt to Tommy’s rise in the world of "sulky" racing, having won nine of his last 12 races, with top three finishes in the other three. Police are appealing for witnesses and information to lead to the arrest and conviction of those involved. Investigating officer, PC Kevin Woodcock, said he has never come across anything “so barbaric” in his 20-plus year police career. “The wound was horrendous and could not have been the result of an accident. “We suspect something like a butcher’s knife may have been used.”


Security Cameras DO NOT provide Security for Horses. They only provide the identity of Crazies, after the event.

I also note, since taking notice, that the Home of all of the Horses also has NO SECURITY Fencing but is on a busy Highway to the Subdivisions of the 'Crazies" Be warned Folks.....oh and another just now














It's a tragic turn in a Sandusky County case involving two horses that were part of a cruelty investigation and recently became the focus of a dispute between the Humane Society and a former worker.

One of the horses died late Thursday afternoon after hitting its head while being loaded onto a trailer.

The horses were seized from a Woodville Township home this summer and were originally being cared for at a foster home

According to the Humane Society, a few weeks later the lead investigator on the case, Shannon May, moved the horses to her brother's farm without the permission of the board.

May says she was riding on one of the horses without a saddle, when the horse was spooked by a dog and she fell off. She spent several days in the hospital.

The Humane Society asked May to turn over the horses because of liability issues, but she refused prompting the sheriff's office to get a search warrant and seize the horses Wednesday afternoon.

The second horse was taken to an undisclosed farm, where it will be cared for while the case moves through the court system, according to the Humane Society.

We're told it will eventually be put up for adoption.




Livingston County firefighters rescued a horse stuck up to its neck in a Marion Township swamp Thursday.

Firefighters responded to the 6:30 p.m. call for a citizen assist in the 1000 block of Dutcher Road near Munsell Road to find a large female horse stuck in a swamp behind the house.

Assistant Chief Gary Beal of Howell Area Fire Department said about 20 firefighters were on scene for a couple of hours, with about a dozen at a time using ropes to pull the horse out of the muck.

Once responders were able to clear the horse’s front legs from the swamp, she was able to assist firefighters in her release.

A veterinarian from Kern Road Veterinary Clinic sedated the horse to keep her calm during the process, Beal said. Once the horse was free, the vet gave her a bath and a clean bill of health, he added.

Members of the Livingston County Tech Rescue Team, which is comprised of Brighton, Howell, Hartland and Putnam fire departments, assisted at the scene.

“It all went well working as a group,” Beal said.

Firefighters do not know how the horse got stuck in the swamp.




GUNNISON — Disagreement over the costs associated with a wild horse gentling program at the Gunnison prison has led to its suspension, and efforts are underway to find a place for 1,500 horses.

The program's cessation means the Bureau of Land Management will move about 90 percent of the animals to out-of-state facilities, with a prison-imposed deadline to have that accomplished by Oct. 6.

"The BLM's Utah State Office has valued our relationship with the Utah Department of Corrections and regret that it has decided to terminate the Wild Horse Inmate Program at Gunnison," said Tom Gorey, acting spokesman for the BLM in Utah. "This program has aided in the rehabilitation of inmates and has, through the gentling of horses, helped place animals into good, private care."

Gorey added that the state agency decision to end the program will complicate national efforts to make sure there is enough off-range holding capacity for wild horses and burros that are removed off public ranges.

Mike Haddon, deputy director of the Utah Department of Corrections, said the program was losing money and had very little inmate participation. The BLM was informed of the agency's decision on Friday.

"We are not able to sustain the program without losing money," he said. "The program was not cost-effective, and we do not know if it was effective in reducing recidivism. We do know it was not serving a lot of inmates."

Since its inception in 2007, the program had 175 inmates who gentled horses for the public to adopt through BLM-managed programs. Of those 175 graduates, Haddon said only 82 of them had been released from prison — too small a number to effectively judge if the program had any viable, lasting impacts.

Haddon said the differences over money arose in 2012 when the initial five-year contract was renegotiated from a per-head, per day rate to another model of reimbursement.

"There was a discrepancy and dispute between what the BLM believes the department should be reimbursed and what the department believes it should be reimbursed," he said.

An audit by the Office of Inspector General released last year shows a more than million-dollar discrepancy between the two entities that raised questions over the costs.

The Utah Correctional Industries under which the program operated reported costs of a little more than $5.3 million for the five-year contract period, of which auditors said $1 million was "questioned" —or not allowable under the terms of the agreement.

Of that million dollars, $928,000 was deemed "unsupported," meaning documentation related to the costs was insufficient, the report said.

The audit concluded that the discrepancy in costs and conflicting reimbursements arose from the use of different accounting systems between the state and federal government.

In the case of the Utah Correctional Industries — which Haddon said is mandated to be self-sustaining — the audit said its accounting records and financial statements were organized like that of a business enterprise fund and not typical of government operations.

The BLM estimates that it has overpaid Utah Correctional Industries by about $2 million, Gorey said, adding that the agency is in the process of securing an outside, independent audit to verify this figure.




An exercise rider was killed during training on Friday morning in an accident at Belmont Park in New York, officials said. Juan Vazquez, 39, was aboard the horse Global Warrior, an unraced two-year-old, alongside the horse Broadway Bay when Global Warrior veered into the inside rail at the training track, said Bruce Brown, who trains both horses. "They were nearing the end of the work, and Juan reached back to hit the horse once, right-handed," Brown said in a statement. "The horse ducked into the rail, and he (Vazquez) ended up over the inside rail." Vazquez, who trained several horses on his own in addition to working as an exercise rider, was taken to North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, New York, where he was pronounced dead, said Belmont Park officials. It was not immediately clear what the exact cause of death was or what injuries he had sustained.




A 70-year-old woman was transported to an area hospital Thursday after she fell off the horse she was riding and into a ditch and then had the horse fall on top of her, according to a Basalt Fire Department official. The initial call to the Fire Department at about 11 a.m. said the woman suffered traumatic injuries and that the horse was still on top of her. The incident occurred at Lazy O Subdivision in Old Snowmass. Division Chief Richard Cornelius said people at the scene were able to get the horse off of the woman and out of the ditch before an ambulance crew and other responders arrived. The woman suffered rib injuries from the horse falling on her, Cornelius said. The ambulance was able to drive up to her location and provide aid before transporting her to the hospital. The woman’s name wasn’t released because of federal privacy laws.



 In each incident, five or six boys surrounded the carriage, nearly knocking the driver off of it while grabbing her purse, says Jerry Kirk, the owner of the Brookdale Farms carriage company. Kirk says the ordeal is very unusual. "We've been there seven nights a week for 35 years and never had an issue with anything," Kirk says. "This is the first time that we've ever had an incident this way, and I'm not aware that there's ever been an incident like this ever before." Police arrested one suspect Sunday night, and another was arrested on Monday, allegedly while trying to sell a carriage driver's stolen cell phone at a nearby mall.




WACO, Texas (AP) — A Houston-area woman has died after being trampled by a horse while attending a barrel racing event in Central Texas. Services are scheduled Thursday in Magnolia for 62-year-old Jeanine McMinn, whose family was involved with the horse industry.

Waco police Sgt. W. Patrick Swanton says Sunday’s incident has been classified as an accident. McMinn was at the Extraco Events Center in Waco when a horse being led through a pen apparently bolted and ran over the woman. McMinn died later at a hospital.


An unwanted horse that cost its new owner just one euro (80p) has been selected to represent Ireland at an international showjumping competition.

Geraldine Graham, from Lenamore Stables in County Donegal, bought the mare from a friend who could no longer look after the animal because of its poor health.

The horse, renamed Lenamore Lucy Lou, was nursed back to fitness and is now worth tens of thousands of euros.

Later this month, the mare is due to compete in a world contest in Belgium.

Geraldine Graham with two young horses

I thought she was going to be a lunatic, and so she was. She was very difficult at the start, but she came through, with patience. She was just nervous. It was all new to her, I suppose, being handled and it took a lot of time, slowly getting used to her.”

Ms Graham bought the young horse about two years ago from a friend in County Cork, who was having difficulty caring for the mare because she had a severe allergy to midges, known as sweet itch.

The new owner said that at the time of the transaction, the animal's body was covered in sores and pus and she was "very nervous" and "really, really difficult to work with" due to her condition.

"The man said he couldn't cope any more, she was too difficult and he just didn't want to be involved, and I said 'that's great, super, I'll have her'," Ms Graham added.

"They were giving up on her and they just wanted rid of her," she told BBC Radio Foyle.

"An old friend of mine told me 'never take anything for nothing'. So, I put my hand in my pocket and I took out five pounds sterling in Cork."

Ms Graham said the man took the £5 note but gave her back five euros (£4).

"In actual fact, she cost me the difference. It was probably one euro at that time, but it was really just the gesture," she added.

Lenamore Lucy Lou was taken back to the family-run stables in Muff, County Donegal, where Ms Graham washed her repeatedly, fed her garlic and helped to rid her of the sores.

Geraldine Graham founded Lenamore Stables in 1979 and now owns more than 50 horses and ponies
Ms Graham's then 17-year-old son, Kenneth, helped to train her as an international showjumper.

She credits her son's patient and "sensitive" treatment of the anxious animal for the mare's development as a top competitor.

"I thought she was going to be a lunatic, and so she was" Kenneth Graham told BBC Radio Foyle.

"She was very difficult at the start, but she came through, with patience. She was just nervous.

"It was all new to her, I suppose, being handled and it took a lot of time, slowly getting used to her.

"She enjoys the attention now and loves being spoiled," he added.

Mr Graham, now 20, is due to ride Lenamore Lucy Lou in the competition in Belgium within weeks.

The pair will represent Ireland in the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) World Breeding Jumping Championships for Young Horses, which takes place from 17 to 21 September.

It is not the first time the horse has been abroad for international contests.

Ms Graham said at the beginning of this year's showjumping season, they took the mare to Belgium and France, where she was placed among the runners-up.

"In the lead-up to the Young Horse Championships, she only went to four of the seven qualifiers and she led the whole way," she added.

The Donegal breeder said she is still in contact with her good friend who sold her the mare, and added that the previous owner was very pleased for her, and has not offered to buy Lenamore Lucy Lou back.

"It's just one of those nice stories, and they're happy with me, because in this industry it's very difficult to buy a top horse," Ms Graham said.

"I haven't got the money and to produce one yourself, from as little as a euro, is quite phenomenal."



 Trainer Juan Vazquez killed after getting thrown from horse at Belmont Park

 A horse trainer died after an accident Friday morning at Belmont Park. (9/5/14) BELMONT - A horse trainer died after an accident Friday morning at Belmont Park. The New York Racing Association says Juan Vazquez, 39, was thrown from his horse after it tried to duck under a rail on a practice track at around 8 a.m. Vazquez was taken to North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, where he was pronounced dead less than an hour later. The NYRA says Vazquez was from Mexico and worked as a trainer and exercise rider with a 2-year-old horse named Global Warrior.







Hey Linda, Hope you’re having a great day. Thought I’d ask for your advice. Last night I had a terrible ride. Brad was just running and running and running. When walking he was almost trotting, when trotting he was almost cantering and cantering… well you get the gist. He was worse on the right as on the left I would get moments of calm. No matter how many small circles I did to make him more supple he just simply would not respond. He was overly inconsistent in my hands, one minute excessively light then the next so heavy he was heaving me forward. When putting my right leg on he was running instead of bending no matter what I did. I tried small circles, leg yield to and from the track, lots of transitions from gait to gait and also within a gait, sit trotting, rising, slowing my rising, spirals and leg yielding out of the smaller circle and even one rein stops. He was shortening his back, refusing to stretch or when he did stretch he was pushing his nose out too far and not carrying me or going into self-carriage, I haven’t a clue what to do! L He may have just had an off night but I’m reluctant to ride him tonight if he does the same thing as I don’t want him to think he can get away with it just because I don’t know how to fix it. What are your thoughts? L x


Hi Lauren,

do a number of halts follwed by rein back at the start of tonights session and then evrry time he runs. that should tune up his brakes and hopefully slow him somewhat. do only rising trot until he relaxes and stretches in rhtythm. you could also do some counter bending if he wont supple up.

lets know how he goes tonight.

Hey Linda, Thank you. For your advice. I’ll give it a whirl tonight! Damn smart horses haha well and truly out-smarted me last night! Will update you tomorrow x

Hey Linda, You are a miracle worker! Much better ride yesterday, got moments of relaxation and minimal run. The rein back really got his attention and he suddenly decided it was best respond to my half halts haha. Thank you a million times! L x







Hello Mr. O’Leary: Can you tell me if you do saddling consults? (Not for free, of course, I do understand that.) I’m in Ontario Canada and have a kind, non-complaining Tennessee Walking Horse who has collapsed a few times under saddle. Vets and saddle fitters are all contradicting each other in their assessment of what is required to correct this. Before I bought the Aussie I rode him in a gaited saddle. It seemed to fit, and didn’t cause any falls, but after a couple months he was back-sore. When I began trying other saddles the falls started. Three in about four months. I started riding in a Australian saddle in March and can't say enough about the comfort/safety of the saddle but the horse has a dry area behind the wither and his hair is ruffled under the cantle after a ride so I rode him with a very thin felt shim for the pocket behind the wither area and he collased. The horse is amiable and willing no matter what saddle he’s in. He always comes to me in the field and isn’t cinchy. Testing and x-rays were done as was regular chiropractic and a few sessions of massage therapy. The consensus was it was likely an issue with a nerve pocket behind the withers (Cranial Nerve 11?!) that would resolve with a well-fitted saddle and building a topline, but his sweat marks after a long ride made me feel that the saddle wasn't fitting well. A saddle manufacturer said the saddle was pinching his withers "very badly". This seems a bit contradictory to me(Although I’m 100% sure the saddler know more than I,) because the saddle sits very slightly cantle-high. (After a ride, he does show some hair ruffling where the back of the saddle sits.) I apologize for the novel, but I’m wondering if you’ve ever come across something like this and if so how it was it resolved? I wondered if a thicker felt pad (His current pas is .25”.) with the wither area cut out to remove all pressure might help? Possibly I should try the CorrecTOR? My saddle came with one free adjustment - But I'm not sure if that applies to making it wider. If you can find the time to review the email, any insight you could provide would be hugely appreciated. Cheers! Lian



Hi Lian

Looking at Your Photos, I can make the following oberservations

  • That is the old style traditional Australian Stock Saddle that has been used through the Ages.

  • Most of us have moved on to Half Breed Saddles. The Traditional in virtually 100% of cases, put the Rider like in a lounge chair, with the weight back on the loins of the Horse and feet forward. No independent seat. Look at the difference between one of my apprentices and my saddle.


and me

and one of my saddles to show the difference

  • The Saddle appears to be twisted, both from the rear view and the front view. The Tree needs checking.

Get a strong Man to pick the Saddle up, hold it front and rear, put the knee in the Middle of it and put 100kg of pull back and forward on it. Watch the Seat for Creases in the Leather or too much movement, signifying a broken Tree.

The other thing is that the Saddle doesn't appear to have enough clearance . I would like to see the rear on shot, with You in the saddle, to see what the saddle is doing with weight on it. Same photo, same distance.

I have just appointed a Canadian Agent. Leslie Ball, who I have CC'd here. She is going to get one of my saddles soon. She is quite close to you. Perhaps you could try it.



Thank you for the information, Mr. HP. I was concerned that something was out of whack with the saddle when I was measuring the gullet. I don’t recall seeing all the wrinkles before, and it looked lopsided. Since it won’t do any good to complain, I will give the company the benefit of the doubt and say possibly a twist /break happened when he fell on his left side this weekend. (He landed hard enough to flatten a metal endurance stirrup.) Huge safety issue, I should have been more aware of that. Thank you for pointing it out. I will stick to groundwork or moderate rides in a treeless saddle until I hear from Leslie Ball. Hope to be chatting about a new, well-fitted saddle very, VERY soon! Best Regards, Lian  Hamilton, ONTARIO.

There you go. Well done.





LISTEN TO YOUR HORSES (Lot of work still to do)


Hi John & Linda, I live in south westQuld and in January 2013 I bought Cap a 7 yo warmblood. On vet check he passed all his vet checks but the vet said he was a bit stiff in his hind legs and that he had some dermatitis. Since then I have had The vet out to Cap for lumps, bumps, patchy skin etc & then off to the Vets where they did intra dermal testing & he was diagnosed with 28 allergens including grasses and insects. Amongst this time he went from a very quiet horse to a very grumpy horse, reluctant to canter, he would fall out of the canter with his head high up in the air or he would feel like he would trip or slip with a back leg & most of this was to the right. He then became trickier to back up & this was very obviously coming off the float, where the back leg go up & then out like a spasm. ( you can fill it under saddle too). He also will drag his legs & avoid moving freely ( you would see the drag marks on the arena & on his hooves). My instructor thought I was making excuses & despite visits from x 3 different horse masseuses, there was not a diagnosis or explanation. They could see the tremors etc but couldn't find anything?! It got to the point where he refused to go forward & would slam on the breaks in trot or canter. My instructor got tougher & ----- got very unhappy which is not his way. When I rang his old owner she told me the horse hated dressage & my instructor said he would only make a level 5 hrq horse. I changed to a guy who did natural horsemanship & -- is 1000 x happier but he still continues to avoid cantering to the right & I got a vet out who said she think he may have a locking patella, but it can be tricky to diagnose. So my question is could you offer me any advice. I really like this horse ( he is one of nature's gentleman and I really enjoy working with him but I would love some guidance or ideas for management. I just want a happy pain free horse and my intuition & the evidence keeps telling me something is not right. Thank you for your time in advance. Kind regards Pam

Hi Pam. Poor both of You :(

First up, why did the Vet not tell you to refrain from buying the Horse when he found that it had the problems? Why did he not diagnose the 'Bit stiff in the Hind Legs??" Why did you then buy the Horse?....or did you go against the advice of the Vet????

Regardless of all of that however, and as another aside, I still see that Coaches don't get it. EA...are You listening????? Time and time again on my Letters which represents the Coal Face of the Industry, COACHES don't know how to NOT BLAME HORSES!!!!!

Kate, Your Horse had the problems on Day one and You have been surrounded by Imbeciles who have all taken Your money gladly and none helped the Horse. Your Horse is unsound, he has been telling the World from BEFORE YOU PURCHASED HIM and he is still doing it. He must be a Saint to not have bucked You off (called screaming)

Bite the Bullet and go to Werribee and get the full investigation. Nerve Blocks, x-Rays, the worx!!! Prior to Your Visit, do up a DVD with the PROOF of all these things. (I would appreciate a copy)

I can tell You later, of how to prepare the Horse but first, get the problem treated Kate.

Please don't think I am having a shot at You. This is on my Blog and is for the Industry to read. Horses need these Letters!!!!!!!!!!!!




Hi John & Linda,  Thanks for advice. I am happy for you to use the information ( it would have been nice to know it was going to be used first) however please de-identify all my information ( including my name, horse's name, location etc please feel free to use pseudonyms) .  I do feel unlistened to & feel I have let the horse down. The vet did not advise me against buying the horse comments were - he is a bit stiff in his hind legs & a medicated wash would fix the dermatitis.  She describes herself as an expert in sport horses.  I'll call the Vets today & see who they suggest to see.  Thanks again & I'll be in touch. 





Mr HP Received my halters n blankets. Thanks they r great. I do have a question for you. I have a 4 yr old mare i picked up a few months back. Im having trouble try to desensitize her to bags etc. ive been trying for 2 weeks now and she pulls back and carries on every time i get a bag any were near her. Ive run out of ideas short of tying the bloody shopping bag to her halter in the round yard and letting her carry on. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated. Im all out Cheers Monique


Any training that continues to allow evasion, becomes anti training and really 'learned evasion' and builds upon the 'Flight Response' of the Horse. Therefore, I remove it, either via tying the Horse up and getting double value of training or introducing leg restraints, with the same result. Incidentally, introducing leg restraints doesn't mean simply stockmans hobbles in this case either but for You, tie the Horse up. Then, go softly and fairly about the Horse, allowing it to make the decision to pull back for just being silly with a soft approach with plastic bag. USE A NECK STRAP of course and boot the Horse up well. Regards




hello I have been looking at your website, mostly about horse floats, in horror. My horse will go on the float, travels very well, when it is time to disembark, I undo him, he stands there until I ask him to back off, and then he shoots off at the speed of light, throws his head up and often belts it on his way out, sometimes he does n't bang his head, just luck when he does n't. I just don't know what to do, it does n't matter how many times I ask him to go on then off I can't slow his exit down. I have said to my husband we need to change the design so he can walk off out the front. The float is a really old Tuza, well built but I realize now what a hazard it is. Can you help me fix his unloading, I really don't know what to do, so many people have offered advice, but I'm just being given too much information. yours sincerely Julia

Hi Julie

This is a disaster of course. Having a Horse hit it's Head ONCE is a disaster, twice the end of the Earth but regularly....well the end of the Planet. For the Horses that have done this, are expecting it to happen them every time for the rest of their lives for they are expecting the pain and want to get it over as fast as possible and just swallow their medicine.

So the answer is that it MUST NEVER HAPPEN AGAIN!!!!!

For interest, it happened to my Wife's Horse on the first Float ride when she was 2.

and 5 Minutes later, the Roof of the Float was lying on the Ground next to it. That is what started my 15 Year journey towards getting proper height Floats in this Country and on that Day back then, the highest Float was 2055mm floor to under roof and many shorter. If have had success over the Years that followed and have embarrassed several Companies into raising their Heights, some went to 2170mmm 5 Years later a handful to 2200mm, then one or two to 2250mm and I now know that some of my Readers have driven demands for the Height of my Float, being 2350mm.

So You have to NOT USE THAT FLOAT AGAIN or get Hubby to cut the Roof off, raise it and weld it back on, like I did with the experimental Float back then.

However, to fix the Horse Rocketing off is easy. Go read this, get a helper and use the Jeffreys Method, stopping the Horse in it's tracks with a whip on the rump, as it ejects, let it rest, relax, reward, reload, repeat. The first time, the handler will probably stop the horse back on the dirt behind the ramp but seek to stop it half way down the ramp after a few times and then, just walking out. Regards



It's a tragic turn in a Sandusky County case involving two horses that were part of a cruelty investigation and recently became the focus of a dispute between the Humane Society and a former worker.

One of the horses died late Thursday afternoon after hitting its head while being loaded onto a trailer.




Hi John I e mailed you awhile back regarding doing “dressage” work on the trail on an endurance horse, and whether it was fair. You asked for better shots of the horse in question regarding his conformation and whether he was suited for dressage work. See attached: the two pics were taken yesterday, the day after his second 80km ride (sub 7 hours) in 2 weeks. I don’t wish to do any “real” dressage with him, other than enough to keep some correct muscling on him. However, next year he may be ridden by my 12 year old daughter who has a liking for dressage, so I would be interested to know if you think he could do a bit more with her. (If she wants to go FEI I’ll buy her something else and take my horse back!!). Please feel free to use the pics for education/discussion on your blog and Facebook if you wish – I’m a big girl, I can hack it. Regards Anna


Hi Doctor. As Quarter Horses go and asking the question about some 'English pursuits" thsi one isn't too bad, with a better than average Neck and not built on the forehand as much as most.....

You will also notice that the Horse is slightly less developed behind, so the answer is Yes, without going over the top, certainly mixing in some correct work would benefit this one. Well done on Your achievements. Too much energy You Endurance People :)





Hi John, I was wondering if I could please get some advice from you? Ive recently bought a riding pony who was fed meadow hay. I want to change him over to oaten hay, but Im getting a lot of conflicting stories about oaten hay, especially from his previous owner. I was also considering wheaten hay. Ive always used oaten for my other horse with no problems. Im so confused about what to do. Thank you Ali Sparkes

Hi Ali. I can only tell You that we have fed hundreds of Horses or more, with 100% Oaten Hay and not one has shown any effect. Secondly, Horses prefer oaten over Wheaten. Best of Luck



Thank you so much John, love your horse problems web site too by the way


DIGGING IN THE HEELS- naughty or ...........


Hi! I've just checked out your website after I saw a passing reference on Facebook & I'm actually considering cancelling all my other horse site email subscriptions, thankyou for sharing your knowledge so generously.. A year ago I got my first horse after a lifetime of wanting to do so & so I'm forever looking for reliable info on subjects as they arise. Mac is 22yr stb gelding, & over past few months I noticed him becoming pushy & bold around the yard, & digging in his heels when I tried to challenge him.. ive been doing my research & around 10 days ago I set out to become the leader of our relationship & committed to the theory of every time I interact with him to be consistent & persistent. The results from just being on ground with rope halter & lead using pressure/release, plus bit of tapping with crop or swinging lead rope are amazing, I agree that horses WANT to follow a good leader... Anyways I have lots & lots more to learn & I'd be very grateful if u would send me ur eBook on listening to your horse please? I'll be sure to let u know how it impacts us, I'm really keen to continue building trust & learning skills.. Yours Gratefully Anna


Thanks Anna. Most kind. Just remember one thing. Most in the World will not add to their training advice that You have to eliminate all of the Veterinary before embarking on such moves. Taking Your simply story here for instance, You just never know, he could be communicating something to You for they never stop doing it and the more You "Listen' the more they know to tell You./p

Just remember Anna, the Horse is 22 Years Old and the 'digging in of the Heels' just could be ringing the Bell in the Old Folks Home.......for help.







Dear Horse Problems, I just wanted some advice regarding my 16 yo Thoroughbred gelding. I've had him since 2006 and he was brilliant, rarely naughty, I could do pony club, cross country, trail rides, dressage and he was fine. I then went away to uni for 4 years and only rode him in holidays and he started to get a bit naughty (cavorting and pig rooting) which I assumed was freshness. I've been home for almost 2 years now and weather permitting have been riding regularly but sometimes he is very naughty and I also can't ride him out on trail rides as confidently because he feels like a volcano waiting to explode. I wanted some advice because today I was doing flatwork and he started off being evasive but then got in a really good frame of mind and was working beautifully, very collected and lovely rhythmic gaits. Then about 15-20mins in I was cantering and he tripped and then just exploded in a massive cavort. Usually if this happens he will calm down after and go back to working nicely but today he just stayed 'psycho'. Feeling like a volcano, doing short strides, not bending properly and just being uncooperative. So I don't know if he had hurt himself or had just had enough or what. Do horses just have off days? Just looking for some direction regarding understanding and managing this behaviour. Kind regards, Jessica

Hi Jess. First 'eliminate the Veterinary' and especially with these Horses! I have seen this before and particularly with this Horse, which as it turned out, was suffering from Sacroiliac Problems.






THE PHANTOM HORSE TRAINER....who went from Horse Training Online Pupil to all round Legend in own Lunch Box in 2 Years

Howdy, Just needed to let you know that Sarah and Rollo went for their first ride out on the trail today following Indy and I at the walk. Rollo was a good boy and thank goodness Indy was too (Indy has only been ridden twice in the last 3 months-geez someone did an excellent job of starting him)! So nice to see Rollo eventually relax and moving forward rather than freezing and tensing. At one point he was thinking about taking the lead so already his confidence has improved. Sarah did really well too and I only had to remind her a few times to give Rollo more rein. By the time we returned to the hitching rail, Rollo was the most relaxed I had ever seen him....Chiro will be checking Rollo out this week so I’ll be looking forward to hearing the outcome. If muscle/skeletal issues then that would explain his behaviour, however, if he gets the all clear then his ‘spookiness’ has to be psychological. Come to think of it, I have noticed Rollo doing some really smelly and runny poos.....could be physical.....Crikey, I’m going nuts trying to work out my own horse’s problems let alone someone else’s!!!! Who’d wannabe a vet? I did once but had second thoughts when I realised that you have to be smart and being allergic to animal hair could be least if you went crazy trying to find solutions you’d be getting paid for it!!!!! ~o-o~

Well done Girl!





Many thanks Hp and after 12 mins in am I mistaken in thinking this is a diff blog? very much improved!!! had a very sensitive stb last time I watched this and the whip approach to join up did not go well. horse shut down completely and refused to communicate further took a lot to regain trust. this more subtle approach is fantastic and shows me immediately where I went wrong last time. Ever a fan :)  








31st August, 2014

Hi Folks.. Hope You had a lovely Week and are all well.

We'd like to welcome all of the new Agistees at Gainsborough, which has Dave Garland unable to find a Yard for his new Breaker lol.

Mrs. HP has been down there twice this Week, teaching Her Pupils down that way and in particular, Jess Demczuk, who is seen here keeping one of Her 'School Horses' up to scratch.

Desperate need of Rain as we haven't had any for almost a Month. I started watering Trees Today :(





Here is a Channel 7 Today Tonight story done last Week. Have a look.



Riding out lately, has a weird flavor to it as this Paddock, mainly Scrub, has these Folk joining us for the ride and will follow for a couple of K, even picking their way through Scrub to be with us. Good training for the Boys.



One of my Pupils of late. This one c ame from Interstate and lacked Ground Manners but we moved onto an assessment of a major 'Over Bending' problem if You touch the Reins. Caused by Side Reins on the Breaker and the Owners riding Him on a Contact from Day One, jammed up in front. Next Week then, half a Lesson with Mrs. HP on this subject and half with me on continuing his Natural Horsemanship progress.


Dave Garland at Gainsborough, suggested he go buy a Standardbred to break in, for me to assess Him.......I had a better idea.

So out of pure Luck and good timing, along came this 3 Year Old Colt who is untouched and not halter broken and he was emptied out into one of our Round Pens as a present for Dave.

He had a Halter on Him on Day One so quite impressed. Horse is following People around in the Pen.........not bad........we shall see what the Week holds.




Grazing BIt

D Ring






Like all grazing animals, horses are susceptible to worm infections. The symptoms can vary from nothing at all to a dull coat, poor growth rates or weight loss, colic and occasionally death. Therefore it is very important to implement a worm control program for all horses.

Non-chemical means of worm control

An effective worm management program in horses does not just consist of worming with anthelmentics. Following are some important measures for reducing your horse's exposure to worms:

Remove manure regularly from stables/yards/paddocks
Harrow paddocks to break up manure and spell them during dry hot weather
Alternately graze paddocks with sheep or cattle
Wash the perineum of pregnant mares prior to foaling to remove infective larvae
Don’t feed horses on the ground - use a hay ring and feed bins
Remove bot eggs from your horse's coat (flea combs are good for this job)
Keep foals and weanlings separate from yearlings and older horses to minimize the foals’ exposure to ascarids and other parasites.


The use of a wormer is important. Here are some general guidelines for worming:
Age Type of management Recommended treatment
Foal - up to 6mths All First treatment 6-8wks, then every 6wks after that (with appropriate wormer)
Young horse - 6-36mths All Treat every 6-12wks depending on stocking density and wormer recommendations
Mature horse Grazing alone over large area Treat every 3-6mths
Mature horse Grazing intensively with many horses Treat every 6wks (or as recommended by wormer used)
Pregnant mare All Should be treated just before foaling to control roundworm

Strategic worming

The ideal program depends on the type, number and ages of your horses, pasture management and your geographic location. The above guidelines can be tailored to your horses by performing faecal egg counts (FEC). This measures the number of worm eggs in a manure sample and can be used to estimate the worm burden in the horse. The FEC can also tell you what species of worms are present in your horse so that the best wormer can be selected.

If you would like a tailored worming solution for your horses, please call us.


Researchers in Norway have been investigating the effect of racing on the horse's immune system. They looked at the effect of one form of strenuous exercise (racing) on the lymphocyte proliferation response.

The team, from the country's National Veterinary Institute and School of Veterinary Science in Oslo, was lead by Dr Live Nesse. "We wanted to measure the lymphocyte proliferation response between 12 and 16 hours after strenuous exercise. As far as we know this is something that has not been done before."

The researchers took blood from eight racehorses all from the same training yard. They collected samples in the morning before the horses raced, about an hour after racing and on the following morning. Samples were also collected from three horses which did not race.

They separated the lymphocytes from the other cells in the blood sample and incubated them with or without one of three different mitogens. They found a significant reduction in lymphocyte proliferation in response to all three mitogens at 12 -16 hours after racing. In contrast, the horses that had not raced showed no change in response to the lymphocyte proliferation test on consecutive mornings. Horses also showed a significant increase in white blood cell count at 12 - 16 hours after racing.

When the researchers looked at the blood cortisol concentration they found that, immediately after racing, it was significantly higher than pre-racing levels. Twelve to sixteen hours after the end of the race the cortisol concentration had fallen significantly below pre-racing levels.

It was interesting that there was no change in cortisol level on consecutive days in the horses that did not race. Dr Nesse suggests that the apparent drop in cortisol on the morning after racing was in fact due to the pre-racing levels being elevated.

It may be that the horses were already anticipating the race because of the changes in routine that occurred on race days. Horses that did not race showed no difference between pre-and post racing morning samples.

The researchers suggest that the changes in increased white cell count and reduced lymphocyte proliferation are likely to be caused by the increased cortisol level. Changes in WBC numbers and lymphocyte proliferation persisted until at least 12-16 hours despite the cortisol returning to normal.

"The combination of high-intensity exercise and physiologic stress may have caused the consistent and relatively long-lasting reduction in lymphocyte proliferation in the horses in the study" explains Dr Nesse. Whether this means that horses are more likely to develop infections immediately after racing is unknown. However, it would be wise to avoid exposing horses to unnecessary sources of infection immediately after strenuous exercise.




The interpretation of ridden horse behaviour by equestrian professionals, vets, instructors and riders, was found to differ from that suggested by physiological evidence, according to Nottingham Trent University researchers Carol Hall, Rachel Kay and Kelly Yarnell. They presented their work at the 10th International Society for Equitation Science conference,held recently in Denmark.

Ridden horse behaviour was assessed by twelve equestrian professionals (4 instructors, 4 riders and 4 veterinary surgeons) as they viewed video footage of ten horses that were ridden at walk, trot and canter in a pre-defined ridden test lasting 2-3 minutes. The horses were scored on seven performance parameters derived from the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) rules for dressage and German National Equestrian Federation scales of training (relaxation, energy, compliance, suppleness, confidence, motivation and happiness).


The scientists also analysed the video footage independently. All aspects of the behaviour of the horse were recorded including ear position and movements, tail position and movements, mouth movements and salivation, auditory signals, head and neck position and nasal angle. Horses’ nose angles (behind and in front of the vertical) and head carriage (high, neutral and low indicated by the position of the horses’ nose relative to the body) were analysed.

In general, equestrian professionals scored horses who spent most of their time with a high head carriage negatively; and those with a lower head carriage more positively. This was contrary to the physiological evidence from stress related hormones measured in saliva and eye temperature. Only the instructors associated neutral head carriage (nose in line with body) and nose angle as a positive sign. FEI guidelines state that the nose should always be in front of the vertical and the physiological data gathered in this study supports this principle. Increased awareness of, and reference to, the FEI guidelines would ensure more consistent evaluation of ridden horse behaviour occurs.



I have always held that elastic, in all forms of training, be it ridden or tying up, is anti productive to training.


 The impact of elastic inserts on rein tension Elastic has been used over the years to achieve ‘give’ and flexibility in equestrian equipment such as girths and reins. The reins provide a physical means for the delivery of signals/aids from the human to the horse. Rein design with the inclusion of elastic inserts are designed to "diffuse tension, to avoid pressure on the horse’s mouth and to avoid sustained tension on the reins". However researchers found that this design can have a substantial impact on the tensions applied particularly when making transitions during equitation. The study: "Is elastic fantastic? The impact of elastic inserts on rein tension" was conducted by Hayley Randle, PhD, Academic Lead: Quality and Research at Duchy College and Hon. President of the International Society for Equitation Science and Alison Abbey Equitation Science programme manager from Duchy College, UK. Randle and Abbey set out to determine the effect of elastic inserts in reins on first, the tension applied for normal riding and a walk to halt transition, and second, the ability to release the tension in the reins. Thirty female riders rode horses with either standard rubber or rubber reins with elastic inserts. Rein tensions were measured using a Centaur Rein Tension Gauge TM for left and right hands, with both rein types when taking up a normal riding contact and executing a walk to halt transition. The results of the study demonstrated significantly different tensions were applied by riders with the two types of rein. Lower tensions were exerted on reins with the elastic insert than with the rigid reins in the normal riding contact condition, whilst higher tensions were evident with elastic insert reins than with rigid reins in the walk to halt transition. The time taken for rein tension to return to zero following complete release by the rider was significantly greater, and less consistent, with the elastic insert reins than with the rigid reins. Since sustainable and ethical equitation relies upon the effective delivery and receipt of clear signals and timely pressure-release; rein tension and pressure-release should be used carefully and consistently in training. This study suggests that although elastic inserts in reins may result in less tension in general riding, they may alter riders’ behaviour in terms of the tension applied when executing a particular equitation task. Furthermore, elastic inserts in reins may have a deleterious effect on a rider’s ability to apply negative reinforcement accurately and therefore clarity during training. The impaired ability to simultaneously release pressure may have a negative impact on equine learning and training, and consequently equid stress and welfare. Further research is needed into the incorporation of materials such as elastics.




" One of the greatest Training assets is take Your time, stay chilled, rely upon Your knowledge base and to let Horses rest"





the 'attack Dogs' of the Net.

This Mob, did a Number on Adelinde Cornellisen, here on Facebook and so to provide a level playing Field, I say they are being nasty, probably can't ride themselves and there is no doubt that they set out to damage Her and INFLAME.

So go look at the OH SO TERRIBLE PHOTOS. and then go and watch the Test. In particular, the end of the Filming where they have searched high and low for something to "Get Her on" and showed the "Mouth Opening", the Spur touching and a couple of MINOR technical problems.

So whilst I am not a Fan of the amount she has trained Her Horse to be 'On the Bit', a left over from the Anky era, the Horse was the happiest I have seen Him and the Test was pretty dam Good. That's why she won a Medal I would submit, in front of many Judges. So little Education for the biased EquiRiderProtect.

"100% OF F.E.I. DRESSAGE HORSES OPEN THEIR MOUTHS IN TESTS"!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! but You didn't go get those photos of the Winner my Friend. The Reason for that is the Shockingly designed Double Bitting system that is crammed in the Mouths of Horses, most of who don't have Mouths that fit them.

100% of Dressage Riders can be caught via Snapshot, touching the side of their Horse with the Spur!!!!!!!!!!!!!

and 100% of Dressage Horses make small mistakes that can be highlited to promote one's own position.

and 100% of Dressage Horses can be caught on the down stroke of a Canter, in a Photo.

So on this occasion, well done Adelinde and they got up You to fire up a Storm. and it worked. Go read the Sheep who commented!!!!!

Everyone's a Journalist!!!.......hang on a is the Winner.....

ooooohhhhaaaaaa...back legs together....she can't ride!!!!!!!!!!


and the Second Horse.......


and wait a minute....Mouth Open...Ban Her.....

So go the Bitch but I wish People would have more independent judgement.







By Christa Lesté-Lasserre, MA Aug 28, 2014 Topics: Endurance Horse Industry News Print Email Favorite Share Tweet Newsletters A horse and rider struck a tree in Normandy, France, today during the endurance competition of the Alltech Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) Alltech World Equestrian Games (WEG), resulting in the horse’s death. Dorado, a 12-year-old Arabian gelding from Costa Rica, and his 37-year-old rider Claudia Romero Chacon ran head-on into a tree during the first loop of the endurance race, which took place near Sartilly. The accident occurred about 45 minutes into the ride, just 400 meters from the 14-km checkpoint, WEG representatives said. Dorado suffered a head injury and died instantly, officials said, but further details were not immediately available. A necropsy will be performed, per FEI guidelines for such situations, the organization said. A thorough investigation into the accident is underway, officials said, but WEG veterinarians could not provide further details until the investigation is further along, the FEI told The Horse. Romero Chacon, 37, was conscious when transported to a nearby hospital. She has undergone surgery for fractures and internal injuries, WEG officials stated. She is in serious but stable condition. Two other riders were also injured during today’s endurance race. Isha Judd of Uruguay fell from her horse and sustained a fracture in her right femur. Additionally, Alberto Morales Morales, also of Costa Rica, was taken to a nearby hospital for observation after complaining of neck pain at the end of the first loop. No information on the condition of their horses has been released at this time. will provide updates as additional information becomes available.




Woman and horse treated on A38 following crash between Branston and The Land Rover Discovery and horse box overturned on the A38 between Branston and Clay Mills yesterday The Land Rover Discovery and horse box overturned on the A38 between Branston and Clay Mills yesterday  A WOMAN was taken to Burton's Queen's Hospital after her car overturned yesterday afternoon. West Midlands Ambulance Service said that a 4x4 towing a horse box overturned on the A38 between Branston and Clay Mills before two o'clock. A spokesman said that a woman was taken to the accident and emergency department at Queen's Hospital after suffering a hand injury as a result of the accident. Officers from Staffordshire Police also attended and the road was closed temporarily.A spokesman told the Mail: "We received a call just before 1.40pm reporting a collision involving a 4x4 and a horse box. Both the Land Rover Discovery and the horse box overturned and an ambulance attended the scene. A horse ambulance was also called. "The road was closed at around 2.10pm so that the horse could be treated and was reopened by 4.10. We can confirm that the horse did not suffer any serious injuries." Read more at




MORRIS TWP. One of two horses that escaped from Seaton Hackney Stables on South Street was struck early Friday by a car on Route 287 and had to be euthanized by State Police. "We're beyond devastated. It will be a sad day here," said Shelly Schumacher, who operates the stables with her husband Marc. A report of two horses running loose on the highway and along the median was called in around 4:35 a.m. and troopers were enroute when one of the animals was struck in the left, northbound lane near milepost 35.1 by a motorist driving a 2003 Toyota Corolla, said Sgt. Scott Wikander of the Netcong State Police barracks. The driver was not injured but his vehicle was heavily damaged and had to be towed from the scene. The horse sustained injuries and State Police euthanized it.

The left and center lane of the highway was shut down briefly so the horse could be pulled off the travel lanes, Wikander said. Schumacher said the euthanized horse was a male named Pokey and was "a beautiful, white quarterhorse" that all young patrons of the stables start out riding. She said the second horse, a male Friesian Cross named Undee, was a wedding gift from her husband. Undee is fine, she said, but also appears to have been slightly scraped in the accident. She said that she, her husband and stable workers are trying to figure out how the pair got out of the paddock but believe they must have jumped high, triple-fencing.

 Police went to the barn early today and workers notified the Schumachers at their nearby home. Marc Schumacher was able to capture Undee with a lead, his wife said. The horses were located about a mile from the stables, Shelly Schumacher said. "The most important thing is that the driver wasn't hurt. God was looking down on that man, God bless him. The police were extremely wonderful and the horse (Pokey) didn't suffer," Shelly Schumacher said. She said she will tell parents of the riders and leave it to them to break the news of Pokey's death. "They most likely jumped the fence, triple fencing. Sometimes they get rambunctious. The two were buddies and one followed the leader," Schumacher said.





The Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration in Shelbyville is headed into its big finale this weekend. Another grand champion will be crowned. Even under ever-increasing pressure from animal rights activists, the 76-year-old show continues to draw thousands. They watch from box seats as the well-manicured horses high-step around the dirt oval under stadium lights. As the organ vamps, the horses show off their signature stride. They drop their hind quarters and take sweeping steps with their back legs while kicking out their front hooves. “It’s actually in their genetics,” says Celebration director Mike Inman. “No other breed has that, which is what separates this walking horse.” Inman says even as yearlings, the Tennessee Walking Horse will stride across a field with their knee breaking above their chest, shaking their head in cadence. In the show ring, however, the champion horses where ankle chains and platform shoes, known as “action devices.”


For years, trainers have been pushing horses well past genetics to get that eye-catching step called the “big lick.” The banned practice is described generally as “soring.” Trainers make tiny cuts on a horse’s ankles and splash diesel fuel or mustard oil on them. The pain makes the horse step even higher. The Humane Society of the United States has been trying to end soring for years, even sneaking into barns to nab undercover video. “This is an industry that has been based for over 40 years on intentional infliction of pain and cruelty to animals,” says HSUS equine director Keith Dane. “It’s so widespread in the ‘big lick’ segment of this industry, that it’s got to stop.” Soring was outlawed by Congress in the 70s, but there’s been little enforcement. The Humane Society has gotten traction with new legislation that would give more teeth to the law. Tennessee’s delegation is split on the matter, but dozens of congressmen from both sides of the aisle have signed on. Yet it’s been fought to a standstill by the industry.

‘Objective Testing’

There’s money at stake, though not huge sums. The top prize is usually around $15,000.

As Sylvester Skierkowski of Murfreesboro watches his horses go through some final paces before competition, the longtime trainer says everyone wants the title of “World Grand Champion.” He helped train one in the late 70s.

“We worked more trying to keep that son of a gun sound than we did trying to hurt him,” he says. “That’s all I know.”

Still, there have been some high-profile soring cases. Just two years ago, one hall-of-fame trainer was indicted on more than 50 counts of abuse.

“Nobody is denying that there are people that will try to game the system in any competition,” Inman says. “But the best way to make it so they can’t game the competition is through objective testing.”

So for the first time, the Celebration is using blood tests to screen for pain-killers that might be used to mask that a horse is hurting. Samples will be shipped to a thoroughbred lab in Lexington for analysis. X-ray inspections are new too. That’s to find other banned practices like shoeing horses so that every step is painful. One method is hiding half a golf ball between the platform shoe and the horse’s hoof.

Dr. Jerry Johnson chairs this new enforcement panel.

“We feel like now, with what we’re doing, that they’re really going to have to clean up their act because I think we can really get a handle on just about anything they can come up with,” Johnson says. “And believe me, they have some quite old-fashion recipes.”

tested along with a few other randomly selected entrants in each competition. Credit: Blake Farmer / WPLN The Humane Society calls the panel an 11th-hour attempt “to suggest that they are serious about reform.” Dane points out that results of the drug tests will take three weeks to get back – well after everyone’s gone home. And two years ago, the industry announced another new testing regimen that included swabbing legs for known-irritants. Few violations were found. In Shelbyville, horse owners feel like the Humane Society won’t be happy until the Celebration is shut down. Leading one of her horses to its stall, Lauren Hamilton of Cedar Grove suggests the organization should move on. “Race horses, you know, they’re falling out on the track,” she says. “Do you see these horses dying out there? That’s when I get upset.” But even among walking horse owners, there are a few voices calling for an end to the big lick. Van Barnes from Florida competes in what’s called the “flat shod” division, where there are no platform shoes or exaggerated high stepping. “They don’t have a problem getting through inspection,” she says, adding that the “big lick” should be banned. “I think for the industry to survive, you’re going to have to.” If it’s any indication, at this year’s Celebration, the number of horses competing is down at least 10 percent and so is attendance, even after ticket prices were slashed.


The vastly growing problem of horse obesity will be the subject of three coming SAC Consulting events with the first held just outside Glasgow on Friday 29 August. The Equine Obesity Workshops will tackle a number of key topics in this area including; diet, in particular how certain grass mixes can lead to weight gain, diseases associated with excess weight such as laminitis, and how to help horses maintain their weight naturally.

SAC Consulting equine expert, Gillian McKnight, who is organising the events, hopes that stable owners, as well as individual horse owners, will come along to the event to find out how to keep their horses as fit and healthy as possible.

She says: “There is an epidemic of equine obesity and associated diseases. Horses in the wild would live off sparse, poor grassland and historically they would gain weight in the summer and use the excess weight to get through hard winters. Now, of course their lifestyles are very different.

"Many horses now are kept on improved agricultural grassland specially grown to help cattle and sheep gain weight quickly and horses don't get enough exercise to burn off fat by searching for food, running from predators or playing as part of a herd. Also, they are well cared for in the winter, so they are often already overweight in the spring when they then get access to high quality grass which fattens them further.”

Obesity in horses is a huge concern as just like in humans it makes them more susceptible to certain diseases. In horses these include laminitis; a disease of the hooves which can hinder the horse’s ability to walk; equine metabolic syndrome, and Cushing’s disease which affects the pituitary gland.

There will be a number of experts in veterinary care speaking at the event including Professor Derek Knottenbelt, Chairman, British Horse Society Scotland, and Natalie Waran, Professor of Animal Welfare Education at the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies.

As well as presentations on obesity-related diseases and diet, there will also be more information on what is termed ‘equine naturalisation’. This concept is about providing horses with a more natural, healthy lifestyle by allowing foraging and more natural herd behaviours for the mental and physical well being of the horses.

Some of the talks will be available to watch at home using a live stream on the internet. Those interested in this option will be given a web address and log in details once they have registered for the event.

The event is free and lunch is provided but please book in advance by calling 01463 233 266. This event has been funded by the Scottish Government as part of the Scottish Funding Council Knowledge Transfer and Exchange Programme.



A petition to allow horses on Flintshire’s public footpaths has been launched in a desperate bid to protect the animals and their riders. The online document was created by Loz Hanson, a horse rider and owner from Buckley who says that the area’s roads are simply too dangerous for them to be on and fears that it is only a matter of time before a near-miss becomes an accident. So far the petition has been signed by more than 200 people and that number is expected to grow as more people become aware of her campaign. Loz, who takes her horses out three or four times a week, said: “We have to ride on busy or dangerous roads to exercise the horses. There are loads of public footpaths in the area which would allow me and others to be safe but they either have signs saying no horse riders allowed or styles we cannot go on.” Loz told The Flintshire Chronicle that despite the roads she uses being frequented by horses regularly (there are a several large stables nearby), she has still encountered many near-misses. She added: “I also find that if there are any dangerous moments on the roads 99% of these are caused by the car drivers not understanding simple hand signals or how to drive around a horse, many seem to think it is OK to do so on blind bends and as a result we get blamed. “From the other point of view, I know there are many car drivers (including friends and family of mine) who do not feel confident driving around horses and would prefer to support having off-road option to reduce the number of horses they encounter on the road.”

The British Horse Society’s Flintshire access officer Vera Derby is backing Loz’s petition. She says that of the 33,000km of public rights of way in Wales, only 21% is accessible for horse riders. In Flintshire, the situation is even worse with just 10% of the network open to riders. Vera said: “We don’t have many bridleways to start with and quite a lot of what we do have is unusable as you need to go along a footpath to access it which we can’t do. “In Scotland, horse riders may use all public rights of way where sensible. In England, where possible and sensible horse riders are able to use cycle tracks, but in Wales, we aren’t allowed anywhere. “Flintshire County Council have been good to us, building the Pegasus Crossing at Talacre, but the new cycle path being built from Talacre to Ffynnongroyw is only for cyclists. Why can’t it be for horses too? Can’t we share? “We very much need more space for horse riders. It is becoming increasingly dangerous on the roads and I myself have been thrown off my horse after being scared by a car. Something needs to be done.”




 JUST after dawn on a bone-cold morning in June, a knackery truck rumbled onto the ­property of the Victoria Police Mounted Branch in Attwood, on Melbourne’s northern outskirts. Four police horses were led, one by one, from their paddock towards the man with the gun. The first horse brought forward was Hear That Bell. Before his long police career he had come sixth in the 1994 Melbourne Cup at 16/1, far better odds than he faced on this day. The second horse to die was Gold Start, known as Goldie. A single shot through the forehead brought the 21-year-old down, ending his police service, along with the hopes of two young children whose family had agreed to let Goldie live out his days on their farm. Goldie’s body was winched into the truck as they led the third horse, Rubicon, forward. Considered the bravest horse in the Mounted Branch, “Rubi” had led his fellow steeds into violent protests by ­construction workers in ­Melbourne’s CBD in 2012. Rubi’s long-time carer at the branch, Tori Weir, had asked her superiors if Rubi, her favourite horse, could live his twilight years on her family property when he was retired from duty. It was not to be.

As Tori’s mother, June Weir, wrote in a letter she hand-delivered to the office of Victoria Police’s Chief Commissioner Ken Lay on June 6, four days after Rubi’s death: “The story of Rubi is heartbreaking and so far removed from public expectations.” Rubi was 17 years old, stood at 17 hands and served Victoria Police for 13 years. “He carried his rider into the thick of demonstrations, walked the streets of Melbourne on night patrols and led Prince Charles and Camilla down the Flemington straight as part of the Melbourne Cup,” she wrote. Rubi was a kind, gentle soul. When a terminally ill boy wanted to ride a police horse through the Make a Wish Foundation, it was Rubi who got the job. “His retirement… could have been ­provided in a country property with the best of everything laid on.” June Weir’s letter makes a further allegation. “It is my contention that… in the case of Rubi the final decision to shoot him was made out of malice towards my daughter Tori Weir, an unsworn member of the Mounted Branch for more than five years.” Minutes after Rubi was killed, the fourth horse, Mambo, a grumpy but gentle 25-year-old, was led forward and shot. On this day, June 2, the four retired police horses were destroyed in secret and with only a handful of people present.

Yet insiders who were familiar with the horses claim that only one of them – Hear That Bell, who had a brain disorder known as ­Cushing’s disease – was in need of euthanasia. This is disputed by Victoria Police, who maintain that all the horses were killed on veterinary advice and that there was no other option. The issue has divided the Mounted Branch, one of Victoria Police’s most high-profile and revered units. “This has never been done before,” says one still-serving insider who asked not to be named. “They have never shot horses just because they are old and especially not when there were homes for them to go to where they could grow old gracefully.” Tori Weir goes further, accusing Victoria Police of being careless and at times cruel to its 20 or so police horses who enjoy mini-celebrity status on Melbourne’s streets, conducting street patrols, keeping order and leading the Anzac Day, Melbourne Cup and Grand Final parades. “I want the people who did this to be held accountable,” says Weir, who left the branch in January. “I don’t want Rubi, Goldie or Mambo to have died in vain.

They killed four horses when I had already offered my home for Rubi and found homes for Goldie and Mambo.” Victoria Police initially declined to answer detailed questions put to it by this magazine, saying it would be inappropriate because an investigation into the shootings was under way in response to a complaint. But, perhaps realising the potential for public backlash, it later issued a detailed statement, saying that putting down the four horses “was a very difficult decision and was based on veterinary advice and extensive consultation, including with members of the Mounted Branch… Victoria Police is in the process of finalising an investigation into the euthanasia of the four horses [but] preliminary advice is that all horses were euthanased based on expert veterinary advice, lawfully [and] humanely.” Vic Pol’s sensitivity is understandable given that service animals have always held a special place in the heart of Australians. In February this year, the Australian War Memorial held an all-day commemoration of the sacrifice of animals in war. In some ways Weir is an unlikely whistleblower.

 She loved her job with the Mounted Branch when she joined as its Farm Support Officer in August 2008. Now 32, she grew up alongside horses. Raised on a property near ­Gisborne, 55km ­northwest of Melbourne, she had her first pony at the age of three and left school in Year 11 to join the stables of Olympic equestrian Mary Hanna. She was a part of the 2000 Sydney Olympics equestrian team doing groom duties for Hanna and later managed up to 40 horses for the Olympian. “I was over the moon when I got the job [at the Mounted Branch],” she says. “I remember being so excited to see police horses when I was a girl and to work with them was like a dream come true.” Weir’s job required her to work at the Mounted Branch’s 36ha property at Attwood, near Melbourne airport, which was home to the police horses when they were not on duty at the branch’s city stables in South Melbourne. She would feed the horses, give them medication, prepare them and transport those on duty to South Melbourne and back. She knew each horse intimately and kept close track of them, writing reports on their progress and wellbeing. But Weir’s personality was arguably ill-suited to the hierarchical discipline demanded by the police force. She was blunt and passionate and at times combative. Friends say she held the ­welfare of her horses above all else and was unafraid to speak frankly to her superiors, a trait that may have eventually counted against her.

 The first blow to her faith in the branch came in February 2010 with the death of the troop horse Toohey. Weir had arrived at Attwood early on a Monday morning to feed the horses. Soon after she noticed Toohey lying down in his yard. “He then proceeded to roll – stand up – and roll again… a very strong indicator of colic,” Weir wrote in a report into the incident on February 23. “Not a skerrick of hay was in the yard and his behaviour was consistent with that of a horse deprived of feed for a very long time.” Toohey had been placed in a sand yard over the weekend and Weir says she had issued written and verbal instructions saying that because Toohey had no grass to graze on he needed to be fed at least twice a day over the weekend. “I rang them and said Toohey is very ill and from what I can see there is no feed lying around – this better not be because the horse wasn’t fed all weekend.” Weir’s hunch was right. Distraught, she took Toohey to the equine veterinary centre in Werribee where they discovered that the horse had eaten its own manure and sand, and had to be put down. “I stayed with him as they did it [injected him] because I wanted him to have someone there who he knew,” says Weir. “I couldn’t believe what had just happened,

 I couldn’t believe that the Victoria Police Mounted Branch had just killed a horse by not feeding it.” Driving home that night in tears, she says she called the branch and told them, “You’ve got blood on your hands. You didn’t listen to me and you didn’t send anyone to feed Toohey.” Two weeks later, Weir wrote a formal report on the incident, ensuring that it would proceed up the chain of command. “I made a powerful enemy on that day,” Weir says. But her report produced results: automatic hay feeders were installed. Tensions came to a head in October 2012, on the eve of the Melbourne Cup, when she noticed her favourite horse, Rubi, had become lame. By this stage Weir had forged a relationship with Rubi that one insider describes as “so close that it was almost ridiculous”. Says Weir: “He was just the kindest soul I have ever known. When I walked into the stable block in South Melbourne I would scream out ‘Ruby Tuesday’ and all you could hear is ‘bang, bang, bang’ – it was him kicking the stable door with one leg with his head hanging over, neighing. I also loved him because he was the most reliable horse Vic Pol had. Whether it was riding into demonstrations or letting sick children ride him, he always did his job with no fuss.

 He honestly was my best friend.” But in October 2012, when she noticed that Rubi’s gait had worsened, a vet was called in. Rubi had already had three operations for lameness but this time the vet said it had gone too far. The vet’s report, written on October 23, states: “The drug medication is now ineffective in allowing the horse to comfortably perform his task as a troop horse. I therefore conclude that the horse should be retired from active police duties and found a lifestyle where he can comfortably exist.” But 10 days after this diagnosis, Weir says the branch overruled the vet’s decision and ordered that Rubi be included in the entourage to escort Prince Charles and Camilla down the straight at Flemington ahead of the Melbourne Cup. Weir was livid. “I said, ‘Please don’t do this, you don’t see what happens to him the next day after the painkillers have worn off.’ I threatened to call the RSPCA.” A news photo shows Rubi walking down the straight behind Charles and Camilla’s vehicle. The day after the race, Weir arrived early at work to check on Rubi. “There he was, lying down in the paddock because it was too sore for him to stand,” she recalls. “I gave him a kiss, a cuddle and painkillers.”

By this stage, Weir’s relationship with the branch was all but fractured. She says she was told, “Tori, you’re either on the bus or you are off it.” It was downhill from there. In April last year, after a period of leave, partly due to stress, Weir made a written claim to Victoria Police that she should have been paid at a higher rate for her work, a claim that further soured her relationship with the force. In June she was ­allocated a temporary position in the Vic­toria Police Dog Squad. But when she was told in November that she would have to return to the Mounted Branch, Weir wrote directly to the chief commissioner pleading not to be sent back. “I am physically and mentally exhausted from 4.5 years of battling inane decisions made by sworn members as I tried to protect the ­welfare of the horses,” she wrote. In January, Weir and the Victoria Police reached a redundancy agreement. Weir says that on her departure she reminded the branch that when the time came, Rubi would retire with her. Weir heard no more until May 14, when some police friends broke the news to her that the branch had decided that four horses would be destroyed. Weir was dumbstruck.

 The longstanding practice had been to try to find homes for the retired horses. Weir shows me extensive files detailing how she found homes for many retired horses while working with the branch, including the kindly written advice she gave their new owners. There was Lotta, who “needs sunscreen applied to her pink nose daily”, Flinders, who “prefers the right side of the float” and Defoe, who is “easy to catch, show, float and has an all-round good nature”. Insiders say police horses were destroyed only when injured or ill and even then they were ­usually put down by injection. “I knew those horses well,” says one. “I saw them only weeks before they were shot and they looked fine. Goldie was such a good little horse and while Mambo was a cranky old man he was lovely. And Tori was so in love with Rubi she would have given him the best of care. But the branch saw these old horses as a liability – they treated them as commodities, not animals.” Weir called the Mounted Branch and begged to be allowed to take Rubi and find homes for Goldie and Mambo. She says she was promised the request would be considered. Two days later, she was informed that the only horse that could possibly be found a new home was Rubi, but that Rubi was now listed to be destroyed because a previous attempt by her long-time rider to find a home had failed. Weir says she was told that if the branch’s ­principal vet Penelope “Poss” Thomson agreed, there would be no problem with her keeping Rubi. She says she immediately called Thomson and secured her agreement.

Thomson declined to comment when contacted, but Weir’s version of these events is detailed in a long email written to the branch on May 19. In an earlier email sent to the branch that same day, Weir said the vet had agreed she could keep Rubi. “As you can imagine, knowing my affections towards Rubi, I am overcome with joy to be able to give Rubi the retirement he so deserves. That said, I am more than happy to work around the Mounted Branch with whatever suits best in collecting the gorgeous boy.” The branch replied it was not in a position to advise what the final outcome would be. Four hours later, Weir wrote again advising of a disturbing exchange with the vet. “Poss said in a conversation, ‘What about Tori… she’d be a perfect home for Rubi’. Poss was advised, ‘Well, actually Tori didn’t exactly leave on good terms so she won’t be getting the horse.’ I would hate to think the reason I was overlooked in this matter was out of spite?” Weir waited and hoped that common sense would prevail. In the meantime she found a family willing to take Goldie, and her brother said he could take Mambo.

When a former ­colleague finally called her on June 2, it was not the good news she was expecting. The friend had been told that a knackery truck had arrived at Attwood and they were leading the horses to be shot. Weir frantically dialled the numbers of every branch contact she had, but each call went to voicemail. Then her friend phoned back. Tears flood her eyes as she recounts the call. “She said to me, ‘I am so sorry Tori’, and I said, ‘Have they done it? Have they done it?’ and she just said, ‘Yes’. My f..king heart was broken. Victoria Police had just put a bullet through my best friend’s head.” The next day, Weir’s mother June emailed the branch to say Tori was “inconsolable in her grief”. She added: “If a person punches a police horse they can be charged with assault. I’m not sure what the penalty for shooting one unnecessarily should be.” The response was: “Unfortunately the vet’s opinion was that this was the most ­suitable option for us to pursue.

We obtained further opinions to ensure there was no option available to us. The unanimous decision was that the nominated horses should be euthanased. Make no mistake, this was not an easy decision and it is a distressing period for us. I have held welfare discussions with the staff involved and will continue to look after them in the days to come. It is a sad day.” Three days later, on June 6, June Weir handed her letter to the chief commissioner’s office. “Your officers will put to you that there was no other option for these horses, however I hold copies of emails and discussion notes held over the 10 days prior to their shooting which provide retirement options for at least two of the four horses now dead,” she wrote. “What a disgusting and tragic end to a combined history for your four-legged members of more than 45 years.” Victoria Police disputes this. It says Rubi was “lame with navicular syndrome which he had suffered for a number of years and despite ongoing and extensive treatment he had constant foot pain”. Mambo was “lame with arthritis and was having trouble getting up in the paddock” while Gold Start “had become dangerous, unpredictable and was difficult to handle and ride.” All three were therefore unsuitable to be sent to new homes, it says. Victoria Police says shooting horses is an accepted form of euthanasia and that in this case “each horse was sedated for the procedure” and “treated with utmost respect.” Weir and the insiders who spoke on condition of anonymity maintain that Rubi, Goldie and Mambo were not in such poor health that they had to be shot.

One insider said Rubi was killed to punish Weir for her previous fights with the branch. “I have no doubt in my mind that they shot Rubi out of spite rather than have him go to Tori,” the insider said. Weir, who now has Rubi’s microchip number tattooed on her neck, says she has decided to tell her story because she doesn’t want Victoria Police to “get away” with it. In doing so, she knows she is placing herself at legal risk because going public is a likely breach of a confidentiality agreement she signed when she left the force. “I don’t care,” she says. “I want people to know they have done this. Come and get me.” She picks up an article in The Police Association Victoria Journal and reads out a paragraph. “Many retired [police] horses are taken to paddocks to live out their days eating grass,” she reads, her voice shaking with anger. “Special horses deserve very special treatment and a ­comfortable retirement.” Weir throws it down in disgust. “I ask how comfortable would they have been as they smelt the blood walking towards that truck,” she says, as tears well again in her eyes. “When Rubi’s time came I would have buried him with a Snickers bar and a kiss.”



A grieving family were further distressed when a horse pulling a relative’s hearse dropped dead mid-procession. Police and a fire crew were called at around 1.40pm yesterday to Hornchurch Road, Hornchurch, following reports that the animal had fallen sick. The firefighters from Hornchurch station left shortly later after realising they could not save the horse and officers called the RSPCA for assistance. The road was closed for nearly two hours while the organisers, Harold Wood Funeral Services, of Chippenham Road, Harold Hill, arranged for the horse to be taken away. Andy White, 46, from Dorset, said: “It was horrible. It was my wife’s grandad’s funeral and it upset us all.” The procession continued by car and despite the incident, Mr White described the company as “fantastic”. Ronnie, the deceased horse, was a middle-aged white carriage horse and was believed to be in good health, funeral director Carol Lawrence told the Recorder. She said: “We are extremely sad to report the sudden death of Ronnie, a 14-year-old horse in service on the funeral in our care [on Wednesday]. “There was no indication of any poor health and he was regularly seen by vets.” The director assured that there was no delay and the coffin was transferred from the horse-drawn cart and put in to a regular hearse that was part of the procession. She added: “The bereaved family are very sympathetic and we have been in touch with them.” Ronnie is receiving a private burial today in a field in the Essex countryside in the stables he lived in. Eddie Baptste, 29, of Arisdale Avenue, South Ockendon, witnessed the horse’s collapse. He said: “It’s always upsetting going to a funeral but when the horse falls dead it’s even more so.”





Top dressage horses stay in the stall all day except when they’re working and are fed three times each day. Right? Wrong. According to the world’s top three dressage riders, fresh off the freestyle dressage podium at the Alltech Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) World Equestrian Games (WEG), offering their horses a happy lifestyle is key to success.

 “I’m always monitoring how he feels, to make sure he’s in a good mood and feeling happy,” said German rider Helen Langehanenberg, silver medalist in the WEG freestyle dressage and Grand Prix Special competitions and gold medalist in the team dressage competition, of her horse Damon Hill NRW. “When you know him, you can easily tell what mood he’s in. It’s easy to know!” Langehanenberg said she knows her horse well because she spends so much ground time with him and has developed a real connection with him, which is critical for good performance results. “He needs lots of love and attention—and carrots!” she told The Horse. The 14-year-old Westfalian gelding goes out loose in a grass field every day unless it’s rainy, which makes for slippery terrain in their area. But Damon Hill has his personal preferences about outings: grass only, Langehanenberg said.


 “If there’s only sand then he’s just absolutely wild!” she said with a laugh. Double gold medalist and team silver medalist Charlotte Dujardin of Great Britain said it’s important to recognize the kind of wear and tear that can happen to dressage horses. She works closely with her veterinarians to be sure she’s training her mount Valegro on a physical program that respects his health and welfare and gives him some variety. “He only trains four days a week,” she said. “He’s in the water treadmill a few times a week, and otherwise he goes out hacking.” The 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding usually gets daily paddock time, except just before competitions “because of the risk of injury,” Dujardin said. But even if he’s not in a paddock, he still goes out to graze—even on competition day itself.


 Dutch rider Adelinde Cornelissen, bronze medalist in the freestyle and in the team event, said daily paddock time near other horses is a vital part of the formula for her horse Jerich Parzival N.O.P. The 17-year-old Dutch Warmblood “rides like he’s seven,” and part of that could be because of the care he receives. “It’s simple,” Cornelissen said. “I ride him in the morning, and in the afternoon he’s in the field. Every day.” Cornelissen said she’s also careful about his feeding, wanting to respect the natural equine eating rhythm as much as possible. “I feed them (Jerich Parzival and the other horses on her farm) myself,” she said. “He gets his breakfast and works, and then at 10:30 he gets food, and at 12 he gets, and at 2 he gets, and at 4 he gets, and 6 he gets … it’s pretty much all day. That keeps him happy!” Is the sorrel gelding a “happy athlete”? “Yes he is,” Cornelissen said with confidence. That rider confidence could come from knowing she’s taking care of her horses well, which can also contribute to a better horse/rider team, one leading equitation scientist said.


“From a sports psychology point of view, maintaining horse's welfare is paramount,” said Inga Wolframm, PhD, MSc, based in The Netherlands. “Studies in horse sports, by myself and other researchers, have shown that how riders perceive their horses, including their ability to perform and character traits, positively influences rider confidence. “We know from research into other sports as well as into equestrianism that confidence is an important moderator of performance,” she said. “And I think there can be no doubt that equine management and training methods greatly influences behavior. So if riders look after their horses and manage them appropriately, this will impact how they perceive their horses' ability to perform and, as a knock-on effect, improve rider confidence and, ultimately, rider performance.”






APPOLS....I lost all the Letters and answers with a Computer Glitch. is a late entry.....



Hi John and Linda Hope you are both well and getting lots of wet saddle pads. Honey and I have just successfully completed the Shahzada mini Marathon of 120 klm! I'm so pleased with her and myself. It was a dream come true. Who would have thought that nervous just broken in girl of a couple of years ago and the equally nervous rider on her would have managed that? We have come a long way and a lot of kudos goes to you and Linda for the training, teaching and example of good horsemanship. I'm of to do another 80klm in two weeks at the Snowy Zone Championships at Woodstock, and if successful we will then be yellow open book endurance horse and rider all accomplished in one season. Here's a pic of us on the home stretch.

Unreal Karyn. Wonderful achievement for You both. She is a Darling.!!



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