BY DEBORAH JANE NICHOLAS They don’t hate or love us either. They merely tolerate us because they have no choice. This is the equine version of Stockholm Syndrome. Those horses that can no longer cope with pain, fear or confusion will react in a way that earns them the label ‘dangerous’. Unfortunately it is always viewed as the horse’s fault and his bad character. Usually … Continue reading Horses Don’t Really Like Us
BY DEBORAH JANE NICHOLAS I understand the reasons why people stable their horses, especially over winter. I have done it myself. It’s actually very convenient to roll up to the yard and have a horse all ready to tack up. It saves time on hiking out to the paddock, washing muddy legs and slipping off filthy rugs. Grooming can be completed relatively quickly also, especially … Continue reading Stabling
BY DEBORAH JANE NICHOLAS Horses must be more popular with equestrians because they are intelligent, elegant, and for the most part, we think we understand them. If you don’t own a horse, then I can bet you know someone that does. Therefore this specific equine is at least familiar to all of us. Whereas if I was to ask 10 people what they know about … Continue reading Wallace the Great
BY DEBORAH JANE NICHOLAS We have all seen the large containers on yards containing a murky black liquid ready for soaking hay overnight, and we have all seen owners spraying filled hay-nets with the hose pipe for 30 seconds. So in the management of laminitis, polysaccharide storage myopathy, hyperkalemic periodic paralysis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, which is the correct method? Neither. Recent research has … Continue reading Soaking Hay Works?
BY DEBORAH JANE NICHOLAS The Strike Everyone will accept that horses kick, and most assume the back legs of the horse are the most dangerous area of the animal. Yet the front legs are equally as lethal, the power and destructive forces of a strike can inflict deep tissue wounds and shatter bones. A strike, striking and striking out are all terms associated with the … Continue reading Peaceniks or Killers? Part II
BY DEBORAH JANE NICHOLAS Part 1 – In this series I aim to cover all the weaponry horses have in their rather formidable arsenal. While predators may be seen as well-equipped killing machines, this particular prey animal is more than capable of inflicting serious and at times fatal injuries. If you love horses, then undoubtedly you will find this image beautiful. Perhaps it will invoke feelings … Continue reading Peaceniks or Killers?
BY DEBORAH JANE NICHOLAS When strolling through the undulating landscape of Dorset recently, one particular right of way cut its way through a very large paddock. I entertained myself by trying to guess the types of horses that had been there. The field had been poached over winter, because even in May the grass looked decimated and was littered with discarded spoilt hay. This now … Continue reading Paddock Size Matters
BY DEBORAH JANE NICHOLAS We have all seen the videos in which a rider falls while show-jumping, and the horse continues to jump the fences. Most of the video comments have a very positive outlook on such an event. Most people will agree it’s because the horse loves jumping and has been trained well. The more ignorant comments will suggest that the horse is attempting … Continue reading Why Do Horses Jump Rider-less?
BY DEBORAH JANE NICHOLAS #11 Buy a horse you already know Many riders go on to become horse owners after sharing or loaning a horse. However I am not talking about loaning with a view to buy here, as that is something very different. But a rider that has been financially contributing to the upkeep of someone else’s horse for some time, without the sole intention of … Continue reading Horse Buying Guide Part IV
BY DEBORAH JANE NICHOLAS #8 Try out the horse yourself When one particular family with limited horse knowledge asked for my help to try out a horse for their daughter, I was happy to oblige. On riding the animal in the arena I achieved three good paces before taking it for a hack through a wood. Even when jumping a fallen tree, the horse behaved … Continue reading Horse Buying Guide Part III
BY DEBORAH JANE NICHOLAS #5 Do not overlook the veteran horse Do not be deterred from buying a horse that is over 12, 15, 18 or even 20 years old. If the animal is fit there is no reason why such an age should matter. A 20 year old horse will hunt, show-jump, hack or even compete in dressage for example. Horse care has come … Continue reading Horse Buying Guide Part II
BY DEBORAH JANE NICHOLAS There appear to be various contraptions readily available to buy these days in which it seems evident that the designer of the product either had no love for horses, or was ignorant of their welfare. Moreover it appears the buyer of such contraptions willingly shares the same mindset of the manufacturer. There are a few things that cause me to grimace … Continue reading Grazing Muzzles Cause Misery
BY DEBORAH JANE NICHOLAS Hard hats must be worn when riding, poo must be picked up immediately, no smoking on the premises, dogs must be kept on leads, children under 12 years of age must have adult supervision. While there may be a few more, I won’t bore you with the rest. These are the do’s and don’ts we see written on the large sign as we … Continue reading The Yard Sign Plague
BY DEBORAH JANE NICHOLAS No one wakes up feeling motivated . People may wake up feeling an urgency or an excitement for what the day may hold. But motivation is not an instinct, it doesn’t spontaneously materialise if you eat well, drink plenty of water and sleep a solid 7 hours a night. In fact there are people (or have been) that survive eating junk … Continue reading Equitation Motivation
BY DEBORAH JANE NICHOLAS This was the subject of a conversation I had many years ago with a woman in her 30’s. She was very typical of a person that rode in their teens but gave up for all the usual reasons such as university, getting married, having a career and raising a family. Some of us do all that yet still keep horses, those … Continue reading Is Riding Dangerous?
BY DEBORAH JANE NICHOLAS I have read several articles recently regarding bombproofing and many of them offer some handy tips and tricks. Most of them provide information on what many of us would do anyway in terms of schooling with a plastic bag, or tying one to the arena fence. But what I would like to add is something all of the articles left out, … Continue reading Sniffing For Confidence
BY DEBORAH JANE NICHOLAS The main argument surrounding this subject always seems to be centred around protecting the back of the horse. My main argument to you, Dear Reader, is if you do not know how to mount correctly then using a block will not protect the back of your horse either. If a rider is completing a mount in a fluid motion and in … Continue reading Mounting Block?
BY DEBORAH JANE NICHOLAS Open the gate, open the gate!!!! No-one stopped in their tracks, conversations were not interrupted, tea drinking did not cease mid-sip either. By now everyone was accustomed to Screaming Sue and her daily routine of turning out her horse. Sue’s somewhat unconventional method of taking Bargy Boris (BB) to pasture always started in the stable, albeit with less volume, but still … Continue reading Screaming Sue
BY DEBORAH JANE NICHOLAS (If you are an Arsenal supporter then you’re in the wrong place unless you want to read an article about horses). I am just going to come out and say it. Spurs should only be used if you are a very, VERY good rider. If a rider does not have the skills, knowledge or patience to re-educate a horse with desensitised … Continue reading Why I Hate Spurs
BY DEBORAH JANE NICHOLAS I had a moment of confuzzlement recently. Reading equine body language does not come from watching several horse videos or from owning horses for many years. It comes from watching domestic and wild horses in person, online, studying images and experiencing a million moments on yards and observing how humans respond to horses, and vice versa. It takes all those things, … Continue reading Learn From Children