June 2018 – Mid Month Update

June 2018 – Mid Month Update

Holistic Horsekeeping
How to have a healthy happy horse.


1. How Self Confident is your Horse?
2. Find Your Own Horse Harmony


1. How Self Confident is your Horse?
Martini, my new Shao Yin (Fire/Water) mare is not very self-confident. Understanding horse temperament has helped me recognize what horses will need extra help building self-confidence. Martini very much wants to please me and if she even suspects she is not doing well she gets very anxious. Her anxiety shows up as busyness in her mouth. When she is feeling good about herself and what we are doing she has a quite mouth. Anything new that I offer gets her to chomping the bit. Something as simple as teaching Martini to come up to the fence for me to get on brought on anxiety and a lot of bit chomping. So, what I am doing is focusing on what she is good at.

Martini is very solid in her basic training. Her gaits are smooth and she is forward and straight. She has a nice stop but she is not real soft. I will want to spend some time with her timing up my hands and legs so she will be able to feel back to me. Martini has been trained for barrel racing so she is pretty good at doing small circles. Thanks to the great start she got, I won’t have to work much on her form. Martini is a natural athlete and she has a good skill set for barrel racing which is what she is bred to do. Her function is good, so I just need to stay out of her way as she does her job.

So I could focus on getting Martini to soften her feel, but right now that only gets her unsettled and busy with her mouth. I tried doing the exercises to roll her hind and bring her front end but unfortunately this was weird and upsetting to her. She does not understand what I am asking and it does not help that my timing is not great to make it easy for her. So I am doing 90% of what she is good at and understands and throwing in a little bit of soft feel and bending every now and then and then going right back to what she knows. I can already see her confidence building as she realizes she is not going to get in trouble if she does not understand what I want. Mostly, I tell her how good she is and how happy I am with her.

From Martini’s point of view I am not nearly as skilled as the trainers who started her. I want her to be confident enough in herself that she won’t get too worried when I make a mistake or mess up our timing. I want her to partner with me but not depend too much on me to always be perfect. I want her to know that I am more concerned with our relationship than any training goals. Cerise, my sensitive Fire mare, taught me so much about feel. A soft feel was something I had to earn with her. I am blessed to have another horse that is also sensitive so I can continue my learning and see her self-confidence grow as we grow into our partnership.

2. Find Your Own Horse Harmony
If you haven’t discovered temperament typing and discovering your horse’s 5 element type, there’s no time like the present. You can dive into the subject a little or a lot. Here are some of the resources to help you.

Horse Harmony book
Horse Harmony: A Feeding Guide book 
Online Course
Horse Harmony Consultants
Horse Temperament website

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