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CHERRY HILL'S HORSEKEEPING NEWSLETTER

June 2000

Your Horse Barn - DVD
Horsekeeping
on a Small Acreage
Horse Housing
How To Think
Like A Horse
  Stablekeeping
Your Horse Barn DVD
Horsekeeping On A Small Acreage
Horse Housing
How to Think Like A Horse by Cherry Hill
Stablekeeping

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  2000 Cherry Hill   Copyright Information

This newsletter is a personal letter from me to you,
a fellow horse owner and enthusiast.

My goal is to send you interesting stories and helpful seasonal tips for your
horse care, training, and riding.


It's a Boy!  Meet Sherlock...   Sassy was right on schedule, giving birth to a vigorous, darling and precocious bay colt that I have named Sherlock, after my very favorite detective as played by the late Jeremy Brett.  Sherlock is confident, clever, and investigative. He is an excellent student.  Be sure to check in on his progress at Sherlock's page

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IN THIS NEWSLETTER:

Imprinting or Early Handling?
Maturity and Learning in the Foal
Nibbling
Comments on Clinicians
Moving everything over to
www.horsekeeping.com
New Search Tool
New Radio Program
New Postings on the Roundup Page
Book News and Reviews
Cherry Receives Awards!!
Our Recent Magazine Articles
Coming Attractions
 

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Imprinting or Early Handling?

One of the most frequent questions I am asked is whether I imprint my foals.  Academically, the answer is no.  That's because the definition of imprinting  I use is as follows:

"The first type of learning that a foal experiences is imprinting. This is the process of dam and species bonding that takes place during the first few hours after birth. The odors of the placental fluids and the sounds exchanged between foal and dam confirm innate behaviors in the foal. Human interference can cause long-lasting disorientation in the foal. Some youngsters inadvertently imprinted with human smells and sounds have trouble locating their dam, or worse yet, experience difficulty relating to their species in general."

So, when a foal is born at my place, besides making sure all is going well with the birthing, the only time I handle the foal the first night is to quickly slip into the stall to dip its navel in iodine, give it an enema, and perhaps, give it a dose of E.Coli Antibody orally.  (I also am on standby to tie up the mare's afterbirth if necessary.) For the mare's sake, as well as the foal's, I like to give them plenty of privacy and time to remain laying down, establish their bond, and begin their routines.

More than one vet has told me that they think handling the foal extensively at an hour of age can interfere with the mare expelling her placental tissues.  And some foal's legs are wobbly or have deviations that excessive handling might stress or harm.  I'd rather postpone handling until the foal is one or two days old and then provide "regular" handling.  I think that "regular" is the key here.   Most vets say they DO appreciate foals that have early handling as it makes them much easier to deal with.  Poor handling, overhandling, or handling too early can make the foal pretty pushy and disrespectful of people - their natural reflexes are so flooded with tactile stimuli that they can become tuned out or dull.  A foal can become resentful of too much early handling and his natural curiosity and friendliness could be replaced by avoidance behavior.  And, if a foal is handled improperly, he can learn the wrong lessons.

 

Maturity and Learning in the Foal 

"The foal is born with needs equivalent to a human infant's: it is preoccupied with hunger, thirst, sleep, and comfort. However, within hours of birth, the foal has the physical ability and mechanical skills of a two-year-old human. Twenty-four hours after birth the foal is able to run, using legs that are 90% of the length of an adult horse's. Coupled with keen instincts, this physical advantage has helped the young horse survive over the millennia. Sometimes this physical strength and vigor is expressed too exuberantly and foals over-stress themselves, especially when they are turned out following extended confinement. In spite of their apparent vigor, foals are fragile, both mentally and physically, and need close contact and security from their dam.

The suckling foal is characteristically inquisitive yet timid; fractious yet vulnerable; feisty yet fearful. Although it is advantageous to handle the youngster before he gets unwieldy, it is best to make the sessions short, firm, fair, and to the point."

So my foal handling program is systematic early handling.  You should only move on when the foal is ready to progress but you shouldn't dwell on a particular stage if the foal is ready to learn something new.  It goes something like this:

 

Day 1:    Iodine navel, give enema

Day 2:    Catch and hold with one arm around chest and one around rump, with no pressure unless foal is trying to leave. When foal stands still, there should be no pressure from your arms.  The foal is learning to accept restraint without fighting and to stand still on his own.  Foal will have a strong suckle reflex at this time, so you need to discourage nibbling.  Frequent, short lessons are best.

Day 3:    Can also start some of this on day 2: head, leg and body handling.  I like to over-ride some of the foal's reflexes such as head flipping when poll or bridge of nose is touched, head shaking when ears or mouth are handled, kicking when rump is pressed, and overall fidgeting when topline is stroked from poll to tail.  Handle all legs from the barrel all the way to the hoof.  Handle belly, girth area, flank, and lift tail and touch anus.  Frequent short (maybe 5 minutes) lessons throughout the day.

Day 4:    Can also start some of this on day 3: halter and unhalter to get foal used to the object coming up in his line of vision from front and sides.  Just put the halter on and take it off.  Do not attach a lead rope at this time.

Day 5:    Attach a lead and use it as a combination lead rope, chest rope and butt rope to teach the foal to lead.  Two sessions per day.  Include lifting each leg so you can look at the bottom of the hoof.

Day 6:    With a helper leading the dam, remove the foal's butt rope and lead the foal behind the dam using only the halter and lead rope in a normal fashion.  (You might need to go back to the butt rope a few times for review.)

Day 7:    Lead the foal with only the halter with the dam confined nearby.

This concludes what I call "early handling".  Now the foal's training progresses into an overall ground training program which over the next months includes in-hand maneuvers, obstacles, tying, and trailer loading.

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Nibbling

Nibbling starts out as a reflex in the foal.  Reflexes are automatic, unconscious responses to a certain stimuli.  Natural selection favored horses who had a high self-preservation aptitude.  Part of this included finding milk early.  The suckling reflex is a strong instinct that the foal uses to find and secure the teat, thereby obtaining nutrition.  Often the dam stimulates the newborn foal to suckle by nibbling the foal along the back or on the rump or nipping his hind legs.  This tends to make him extend his neck and use his mouth to search for food.  When you first start handling a foal, often he will try to nibble you.  When he is newborn and has no teeth, you might think this is cute or sweet - it is more like nuzzling.  However, the earlier you make the distinction with the foal that nibbling or nuzzling is not acceptable with humans, the less likely he will be to develop the habit of biting.  Use a low level bump with your elbow or nudge, not making a big deal about it, but be consistent. EVERY time the foal nuzzles you, discourage him quickly.  If you  have a horse that bites, read the article on Biting on the Horse Information Roundup.

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Comments on Clinicians

I've had the opportunity to visit the clinics of three popular national trainers since my last newsletter. Check the Traveling Clinician page for a list of clinicians' websites.

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Moving everything over to www.horsekeeping.com

We are in the process of moving everything from webaccess.net/~cherryhillbooks.net over to our new site www.horsekeeping.com so be sure to change your book marks accordingly.  It will be several weeks yet before we have all the article pages moved over to the new site, but most of the main pages have been moved there already.  If you have any trouble loading any page or if you get an error message that a page is not available, would you please send a quick note with details to - thanks!

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New Search Tool

To make it even easier for you to find information on specific topics, we have installed Pico Search on both the home page and the Horse Information Roundup.  Now you can easily type in a specific subject and you will get a list of articles and books that deal with that subject.  Let us know how you like it - write .

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New Postings on the Roundup Page

Navicular Syndrome

Age to Start Riding

Arena Footing

Becoming a Trainer

Standing Still for Mounting

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Book News and Reviews

Longeing and Long Lining including kudos from the Colorado Authors League

Trailering Your Horse : Horse Illustrated, April 2000 and Chronicle of the Horse, March 31, 2000

101 Horsemanship and Equitation Patterns, Colorado Authors' League Top Hand Award; Western Horseman review, April 2000; The Western Horse review, February 2000


Maximum Hoof Power Has been re-released in paperback!!  We are happy to announce our new association with Trafalgar Square Publishing for this book.

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Cherry Receives Awards!!

Top Hand Award

I was pleased to receive the 1999 Top Hand Award for Specialty Writing from the Colorado Authors' League for my book 101 Horsemanship and Equitation Patterns, A Western and English Ringside Guide for Practice and Show, Storey Books, 1999. Illustrations are by my husband, Richard Klimesh.  To read more about the award, see this Press Release.

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Expert of the Month

I volunteer my services to answer questions in the horse categories on Expert Central and recently received an award from them.  Here's what they wrote:

 

"Congratulations!  You have been selected as Expert of the Month in the Recreation & Outdoor category for the month of March.  You will receive a cash award as a token of our appreciation for your hard work and you will be posted on our winners board.

We based our decision on the number of questions you answered within the category, your rating and user recommendations.

Thank you for your participation on ExpertCentral.com. We truly appreciate your contributions.

If you have questions on other topics, perhaps you can find some help on Expert Central.

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Our Recent Magazine Articles

Here's a roundup of the most recent magazine articles by Cherry Hill and Richard Klimesh, the "Klim-Team":

 

June 2000 Western Horseman
"Make Your Barn Legal", p. 72
"Using and Caring for Saddle Blankets and Pads", p. 138

June 2000 Horse & Rider
"No More Tears", washing a horse's head, p. 31
"Build a Desert Barn", Stable Plans, p. 42
"Effective Fly Spraying Techniques", Horsekeeping Skills, p. 46

May 2000 Horse & Rider
"The Buzz on Fly Control" p. 93
Winning Ways Horsemanship Pattern, "Ride Crisp and Savvy" p. 36

April 2000 Western Horseman
"Choosing a Barn Builder" p. 54
"Keep Ol Paint in the Pink" (Senior Horse Care) p. 82
"Cinching Without Soring" p. 194

April 2000 Horse & Rider
"Field Wash Your Blankets" p.32
"Stable Details: Make a Creep-Feeding Area"

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Coming Attractions 

My training philosophies, foal in-hand training, catching a horse, and tips on buying and selling horses.

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Cherry Hill doesn't do endorsements!

    I don't accept payment to recommend or endorse any horse products in my articles, books or this newsletter.  I do, however, mention names of products that I am currently using and find satisfactory.  I do this to give you a starting point or help narrow the field.  Sometimes finding the right product or piece of tack is the beginning of the answer to a training or horsekeeping problem.

That's it for this month.

Keep your mind in the middle and a leg on each side.


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Be sure to check the Horse Information Roundup at
http://www.horsekeeping.com/horse-training-care-info.htm
to find information on training, horse care, grooming, health care, hoof care, facilities and more.

Browse the complete Cherry Hill Horse Book Library at http://www.horsekeeping.com
 

2007 Cherry Hill, all rights reserved.

 

 

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