2006 Cherry Hill www.horsekeeping.com
Ask Cherry -
Notes with Foot Notes
I receive so many excellent Ask Cherry
questions each month that in order to answer as many as I can this month, I am
going to give concise "Cliff Notes" answers with suggested resources
for further reading.
I have a 15 year
old quarter horse gelding. I have tried about every technique in trying to stop
him while I ride him fast. I mean he will eventually stop but it takes him a while
to respond to the bit. So I was wondering what would be the best option for me,
to get my horses mouth back? Obed
When we ask a horse to stop we are
asking him to flex vertically and compact (collect) his body. His whole body has
to compact, hindquarters coming underneath the barrel, forehand elevating slightly
but flexing vertically, all with a softening. When a horse is asked to stop by
the bit alone, the horse will eventually learn to brace against the bit and become
harder and harder to stop. His mouth also become harder and harder, more resistant
to signals from the bit. The key to vertical flexion and collection is lateral
flexion. That means you have to reclaim your horse's mouth and body through a
series of lateral exercises, such as bending, circles, turns and lateral work.
Then when you do ask for a stop, do so with all of your aids (your legs, seat,
mind and upper body) not just the reins. To read about many exercises to help
you develop better stops, refer to 101
For more on this
topic, read the article on Collection
at the Round Up page.
Best of luck and have a great ride,
I have been told never to feed our horses by
hand (apples, carrots, treats,etc.). I've been told that it is dangerous and will
changes the dominate role (horse above man or woman). Also, never pet a horse
on the nose for the same reason. Is there any truth to this? Thank you, DG
I prefer to not feed treats by hand
for safety reasons and behavior issues. When a horse reaches for a treat in your
hand, he can't see your hand or the treat. He could easily take your glove, finger
or other part of your hand by mistake. That's why as a very young child I was
always told "flat palm" when feeding treats. Well, I know of people
who have had their fingers accidentally nipped off when feeding by hand so I do
not recommend it whether you use a flat palm or not. Also, if you hand feed, then
almost any time you have your hands near your horse's head, for haltering, bridling,
etc., the horse will anticipate the possibility of a treat, so can nuzzle or nip.
Not good. Horses can become extremely pushy when it comes to treats or feed of
any type. To see more about this topic and also when and how to safely use treats,
see the DVD 101
A horse's nose
is a very sensitive tactile portion of the body and is not the most appropriate
place to pet a horse. I rub the forehead or scratch the wither area instead. Although
we are not exactly like horses, imagine how you would like it if your friend greeted
you by placing his hand on your nose.........you can read about a horse's senses,
communication and behavior in How
to Think Like a Horse.
One Horse in a Slant Load
I have a two-horse
slant trailer with a movable divider. If I'm carrying only one horse, I assumed
I should put her at the front of the trailer and then lock the divider in place.
Is that wrong? Should I instead lock the divider in place (dividing the trailer
into two sections) and then put her in the back end, closer to the door, and leave
the front section empty? If so, why? Laura
When carrying one horse in a slant load, load the horse
in the front stall, lock the center divider and leave the rear stall empty. This
results in the weight of the horse being up front toward the hitch and towing
vehicle which results in a more balanced load. If you were to leave the front
stall empty and load the horse in the rear stall empty, it would imbalance the
trailer to the rear which would, in essence, lift up the front of the trailer
and cause trailer sway and instability. This is sometimes referred to as the "tail
wagging the dog" because the trailer would likely sway from side to side
and result in instability of the towing vehicle. For more on trailer safety, read
Your Horse or Equipping
Your Horse Farm.
for How Long?
I have a 6 month old colt and
I don't know how long to wean him for. A friend of mine said to wean them for
two weeks by just putting him in the stall, of course with food and water. But
I have another friend who says it takes much longer, almost a year, and you do
it by separating the colt and dam completely. I'm only 13 and don't have much
experience with horses, so what should I do? Lisa
It is best if the foal is housed and pastured separately
from the dam until the foal is at least one year old. And even then, you should
keep an eye on the foal to be sure he doesn't try to nurse again. If the mare
has another foal and is producing milk for the new foal, and you put the yearling
in with the mare and foal, it would not surprise me to hear that the yearling
might start drinking milk again !! So the best routine is complete separation
for at least a year.
Best of luck,
I'm sure by the volume of mail you get, my
question most likely won't be answered. But I had to try. I'm a 47 year old woman
with a 12 year old Arab/Saddlebred mare. I've only had her since November. The
previous owner kept her sedated so her problems were not discovered until I got
her home. The horse is terribly anxiety ridden, buddy/person sour, and absolutely
hates to be left alone. After an unsuccessful attempt at training, I stopped and
have spent the past 6 months doing pretty much nothing but ground work. We've
worked out about 80% of her issues, but still have a few left to tackle. Jigging/Prancing
on the trail is one, but I've found excellent info on your website to help me
Here's my problem that I can't find an answer
to. I've been riding my horse for a few months now..mostly just walking (she's
gaited so it's taken time to adjust to her gaits). In the arena, she responds
to everything beautifully. But when we go for a ranch ride, she refuses to pass
the last barn before the gate leading out, and refuses to pass past her tie rack
(on the opposite side of the ranch). She will only turn left, I can't get her
to turn right, and
refuses to go forward. I've tried dismounting and walking
her past these points, and she does so with no trouble. But under saddle, she
just won't go. I'm a little afraid to correct too much because I'm weary she'll
rear (which she's never done before while I've been on her.
two places on the ranch, both refusing to ride past. Have you any articles you
can stir me to that might give me something to work with? She's been a total project
horse and I'm so very proud of all her accomplishments in the past 9 months, but
this one has me stumped. It may just be that I'm too timid to work her through
it, but I just wanted to ask. Thanks, Ms. Hill! Lisa
Thanks for the great letter. It sounds like you are a
conscientious horseowner trying to do the right thing. And you may have already
answered your own question when you say you don't want to confront your horse
and that you may be too timid, although I might say that you are not projecting
enough confidence to your horse which she needs from you. We all want to be safe
and avoid confrontation but when a horse says "NO", it is a form of
balking which, if left unchecked, can leak into other currently problem-free areas.
So, to nip this in the bud you can try these techniques. First, make an actual
lesson out of leading her back and forth past and near these two problem areas.
I know you said if you dismount she will do it, but now, do it with all kinds
of variations, distractions, turning this way and that, getting closer, farther
away and so on. Make this THE lesson for the day (forget the ride).
this until you have absolutely NO DOUBT that she will walk and turn, stop, perhaps
back and do any ground work exercise in these trouble areas. Then, after such
a successful in-hand session, have a very capable assistant lead her past the
trouble spots as your ride (or if you feed more capable to lead, you could lead
her while someone else rides). Be sure you have "follow through", in
other words, your mind and body have to project "Forward". You are currently
probably projecting hesitation which undermines her confidence. To gain more insight
on what makes your horse tick, I'd suggest you read How
to Think Like a Horse.
Best of luck,
Hi Cherry, Where can I find grooming
gloves, suitable for use on the face? I've searched the internet and find rubber
mitts but these don't seem supple enough to use on the face and legs. I appreciate
any reference to a where I can purchase the type of glove shown in your book page
Handling & Grooming).
Many thanks, Carla
Ah, my favorite all around
barn gloves ! I have several types. One type is cotton with the rubber bumps and
they are actually garden gloves - the bumps help gardeners grip their tools. They
are often made of a cotton or cotton blend and have colorful patterns. They are
great for summer barn work and wash up well. I bought my last batch at a farm
store but I've seen them at many of the large discount department stores - look
in the garden section.
For the winter version, I like a little
heavier knit glove with the rubber bumps. Recently I've found these in two places.
One is in the gloves section of a large building supply store - they are work
gloves as they help workmen grip their tools. Another places is in a dollar store,
sold as inexpensive driving gloves, they help grip the steering wheel !
grooming gloves here: Grooming
Gloves for Horses.
Acreage Turnout Area
would make a horse more content - 1 hour turn-out on grass or all-day turn-out
in a dirt area? PLEASE HELP! I am trying to choose the best quality of life for
the animals on my small acreage. I live on one acre and have 2 miniature horses
and one 14.2 horse. Each horse has their own paddock with shelter (the horse has
900 sq. Ft., the minis each have approx. 500 sq. Ft.). I am learning to ride so,
as yet, I do not ride the horse more than once per week (in a neighbor's sand
arena) and the mini's are not exercised in any formal manner. My pasture/turn-out
area is only 60' x 100' (6,000 sq. .ft.). I could not maintain grass on such a
small area if I allowed the horses lengthy turn-outs together, and I felt as though
they would be happier with more freedom and companionship, so I allowed the pasture
space to become a dirt lot. Now, I'm doubting my decision.
Please tell me what would make my horses more content and happy - having a very
short (one hour) daily turn-out where they can graze in the company of other horses
OR being allowed all day turn-out with others but no REAL grazing, only foraging
grass hay that I have set out on the dirt? (I will always plan on feeding grass
hay year round, only relying on the pasture area as a boredom breaker.)
one of your books (How
to Think Like A Horse) you noted that both domestic and wild horses
only spend 2 hours per day interacting socially. This leads me to think maybe
they'd do o.k. With less turn- out. Also, is there a grass that is better suited
to small, over- grazed areas? I live in Colorado and was going to plant brome.
you so much, Jennifer
for the great letter. As a fellow Coloradoan, I empathize with your situation.
Have you read the second edition of Horsekeeping
on a Small Acreage?
There is so much food for thought
in that book for you in terms of facility design, management and horse care that
is tailored to your small acreage situation. Without seeing your situation specifically,
I'd say that having a grassy turnout area would be better for several reasons.
First for that one hour turn out with a bit of grazing. Second for keeping down
the dust. Third, a cleaner place to feed grass hay (you will have to feed grass
hay during turnout some months of the year). And finally for neighborly relations.
A nice grass lot is more pleasing to most neighbors than a dirt lot.
might work great but that is a very broad family and I encourage pasture mixes
anyway because when one species might falter, another might thrive. To find out
specifically what mix you should seed with, I'd suggest contacting your local
extension agent and ask him or her for a recommendation for a trample and drought
resistant pasture mix.
Read the article from the Round Up page
Areas for more information.
Best of luck,