Handy Hints for Horse Lovers
I love using EFT (tapping) with horses. Here's an example of how it can work for you:
had great success with connecting with horses and calming them with EFT. A recent session went above and beyond just a one-on-one
I was in a pasture trying to catch a horse I’ll call “Slick” who
has anxiety issues, and with whom I’ve been working with tapping. He had a pasture buddy horse, “Mr. Gray,”
who kept herding him away from me. Horses often pair up together according to herd status, and the higher status horse will
use his head and body to make the other horse move, herding him where he wants him to go. Mr. Gray did not want me near Slick
with the halter, and it didn’t’ take too many minutes of trudging around after them to realize this wasn’t
going to work.
I decided to change my goal of taking Slick out of the pasture, and simply tap
on him there in the field and possibly put a halter on him. When both horses were finally standing still, with Mr. Gray on
the other side of Slick, I quietly approached Slick and began to tap gently on his chest. Slick didn’t react much but
I saw Mr. Gray’s head drop. He began licking and chewing with his mouth, which is the horse equivalent of yawning, a
sign of relaxation.
I reached under Slick’s head and tapped on Mr. Gray’s chest too.
Everyone was still standing calmly, so I slipped the halter on Slick and started off toward the gate, a football field away.
Not only did Slick follow willingly, but Mr. Gray came right along.
Since I didn’t have
time to take Slick out of the field and over to the pen where I normally do tapping. I decided to just walk him up to the
gate and there, remove the halter. This would at least reinforce him for willingly coming with me in the future. I wasn’t
too sure how Mr. Gray would respond as we neared the gate, though.
At one point, Slick stopped.
Some horses will respond to a tug on the lead rope, but this triggers Slick’s anxiety and mistrust of humans. Mr. Gray,
who was a bit ahead of us, circled back and started to make the “herding” move. Concerned that he’d overdo
it and Slick would pull the rope out of my hand and run off, I intervened and tapped again on both Slick and Mr. Gray. We
As we neared the gate, Slick planted his feet and refused to go closer. Normally if
I change directions, circle him, and get his feet moving again, we can then walk the rest of the way to the gate. Not today,
Slick was stuck in place.
I tapped on him, then turned to Mr. Gray and said out loud, “Look,
I just want to get Slick to the gate and then we’re done.” Without hesitation he lowered his head and bumped Slick
gently in the shoulder to move him on. We walked to the gate, I removed the halter, and thanked both horses politely for their
This serves as a good reminder of how energy work radiates out to others and can
align us in purpose.
Larry M. De Young of Coastal Horseback Adventures teaches us how to overcome fear of riding on the beach!
We started Coastal Horseback Adventures, LLC (www.coastalhorseback.com)
after we conducted a series of wildly successful beach “clinics” on the California coast. In
this clinic a group of experienced guides on very savvy trail horses helped riders attain their lifelong goal of riding on
the beach. The beach we use is in Half Moon Bay California and features a moderately steep decline onto a beach with pounding
surf. The surf is first heard rather than seen, as the horses traverse the bluff toward the beach entrance.
The naïve horse finds itself between a vertical bluff to the East and large waves to the West.
Many riders find that when they attempt the beach entrance alone their horses have little if any interest
in making the descent. We overcome the horse’s fear by introducing the guest rider and horse to their
new “herd” during a trail ride above the beach. The herd instinct of the guest’s horse
quickly kicks in and they want to go where their herd goes. This is the easy part.
More challenging is overcoming the rider’s
fear. This fear has two major causes: Fear of physical harm and fear of failure. Often riders exhibit both
(Who amongst us hasn’t?). There are many verbal and nonverbal tip-offs to this fear.
We will leave the nonverbal tip-offs to the experts. Here is a list of verbal tip-offs we often
My horse was abused by its last owner.
My horse is a rescue horse.
think I will just hand walk him through the clinic.
He hasn’t been out for the last 3 months.
I know he
seems calm, but he can blow up at any moment.
She doesn’t like water.
good around other horses.
I can feel that he wants to buck.
We often hear several of these from a single rider. We give these
riders a lot of credit for coming to the beach in the first place. More importantly, every one of us has
been in their shoes at one time or another We have learned that these are the riders who are going to be
over the moon at the day’s end; the greater their fear, the happier they are after what we refer to as a successful
Of course the largest contribution to alleviating
fear in the rider comes from the experienced horses calming the guest’s horses. A calm horse calms
the rider. On the other hand, a fearful rider can unsettle a horse so we need to deal with both issues.
One of our riders told us that he was 60 years old and had no interest in falling. He
said he would not “cowboy up.” We told him that this was just the attitude we wanted, and in
fact tell all our guests at the beginning that they can stop at any time, and if we think the situation is unsafe we will
be the ones to ask them to stop. To date neither a guest nor a guide has requested a stop.
also explain that the ride has a number of stages, and we do not proceed to the next stage until we and the guests think they
are ready. During the occasional sticking point we reinforce general principles of horsemanship. Often,
all we need to do is to remind the rider to look where they want to go. Some riders need to be reminded
to breath. One of our fearful guests already knew this and was singing a Broadway song at the top of her
lungs as we went down the ramp. We thought that was great and it worked!
A technique that seems to be underutilized by many of our guests is the
one rein turn. This can be especially challenging for a rider who is most comfortable neck reining.
When their horse is turning its head to escape, we instruct the rider to reach down and pull on the opposite rein to
get the horse facing in the direction wanted. Occasionally we need to instruct riders to release pressure
because the horse is seriously considering doing what is asked of it. All this is important, but our greatest
tool is simply telling the rider that they and their horse can and will get past a balk. So far they all
have. What about our guest who did not want to cowboy up? He proclaimed as he rode down
the ramp that “the man from Snowy River has nothing on me”.
neat thing is that it rarely takes more than 30 minutes to beach. After that time the riders gets to bask
in their achievement and ride down the beautiful beach. To reinforce their success we often ask riders
to ride up the ramp alone, turn their horse around and come down by themselves. We want the rider to know
that they can indeed “beach” by themselves and to gain the confidence to keep expanding their enjoyment of trail
Coastal Horseback Adventures was formed to more widely offer the
opportunity for riders to push the envelope of their trail riding in a safe and supportive environment. We
have added a day of riding in the Redwoods to our package. During this excursion, riders will get to do
water crossings and wooden bridge crossing in a pristine Redwood Forest.
Life coach and rider Anke Johnson shares her approach to creating and managing change in your life
Building a Solid Foundation for Change
In following the teachings
of Walter Zettl, Pat Parelli or Mark Rashid, you'll find they all have different techniques for working with horses, but they
all agree on one thing: Without a proper foundation, your horse won't progress to his true potential and be able to maintain
performance-whether it's on the trail or in the arena.
If you've been away from horses for a few years, don't
spend as much time as you'd like with your horses, or find that the time you do spend with them is full of thoughts involving
everything except them, you'll find that, just like building a foundation in your horse's training is vital, building a foundation
for your relationship with these amazing animals is equally as important.
Your foundation is really about getting
to know more about who you are and working with your strengths and your values. In this article, I'll cover the basics of
a foundation and how to get started in making a permanent change toward making your horse a priority in your life.
To begin building your foundation, you need to recognize what's important
to you, to figure out your "why" or what drives you. Do a self-assessment to determine how you see horses fitting
in your life. Determining your driver will help you set priorities and help you to refocus if you veer off your path.
The second step toward building a solid foundation is to determine
your main goal. Where do you want to eventually end up? Imagine what you'd like to be doing with horses, say, one year from
now, and paint a picture for yourself. Now you have something to reach for.
To get to your end goal, you'll have many smaller goals along the way, sort of like the grains of sand in
concrete mix. You can't pour the concrete for a solid foundation without every grain of sand! So focusing one small goal for
this week, you can lay out your road map.
A lot of people lose focus
here and return to the "old" way of doing things; they quickly take action with little preparation, inviting frustration,
anxiety and failure. Completing each step along your road map, however, will ensure a solid foundation for change.
Creating a roadmap is a unique process for each individual.
First, determine your end
goal, what do you want to ultimately wish to achieve? Then look at the tools, budget and timeline that you have. Be realistic
here as many a great plan has been foiled by being unrealistic about one or all of these factors. Finally fill in the small
steps that it will take to get you to your ultimate goal.
If you find you're frustrated because
you're not progressing along your road map, ask yourself what part of your foundation may be missing. It's possible you've
missed a step. Signs that your foundation may have holes in it include procrastination, frustration and excuses, relapse,
losing focus, and attaining your goals but not maintaining them to make a permanent change or new habit.
Once you can
relate to the importance of a solid foundation, you can begin to build your own foundation for a positive future with horses.
This is a condensed version of Anke's three-part series on creating change in your life. For
the full Part I article, as well as Parts II and III, click here.
Anke Johnson began coaching others more than 20 years ago. She's a certified Professional
Health Coach, certified fitness trainer, certified Nutritional Consultant and Reiki Master Practitioner. As a lifelong rider,
Anke understands how the challenges of horsemanship and the challenges of life interweave. With Anke's help, equestrians and
busy career people gain the self-knowledge, confidence and body awareness they need to get them closer to that perfect ride,
in and out of the saddle. Learn more about her business, Natural Solutions by Anke, at www.naturalsolutionsbyanke.com or 608-467-0008.
9 Quick Tips to Catch A Horse
Nanette Levin, horsewoman and creator
of the Horse Sense and Cents SeriesTM, has much wisdom to share about horsekeeping and riding. I found her recent blog post on 9 tips to catch your horse, and
on training your horse to be caught, very useful. Nanette has a lot of experience working with and starting youngster, and
can give you great advice on how to start them out right so you don't have to fix problems later. She's given me permission
to re-print her horse-catching tips here, in an abbreviated form. Here's the full blog post with her additional great advice
and explanation of each tip.
1. Keep to a routine with training, feeding,
turn-out and handling.
2. Have a young horse that's started asserting himself with a refusal to come in at night (or
in the morning during bug season)? Call his bluff and leave him out - alone (with plenty of food and water, of course.)
3. Are you dealing with a horse that's aggressive with the herd and now tries to control you by refusing to be caught? Send
her away (this works particularly well when you've given hay to the herd) and don't let her near the other horses. Soon she's
begging to come to you.
4. Call horses by name. This works well too if you're trying to cull a particular horse out of
the pasture and seek to avoid a group charge to the gate.
5. Use the lead mare to help direct the herd.
horse? Grab another to lead them home.
7. Call on the herd to correct bad behavior. Often, it's easier to let horses
school or guide a bad actor.
8. Reward your horse for coming to you. (Note, Nanette suggests several ways to do this
other than with grain or treats.)
9. Make training fun for the horse so he wants to be engaged.
for sharing your experience!
Recycle Show Ribbons
Those bright shiny show ribbons-so earnestly coveted when we're in the ring, so admired
when we bring them home...and so useless after enough time has passed.
What do we do with them? Sure, there are talented sewers who can turn them into quilts, pillows and wall-hangings for you.
But many of us don't have room for those items, or have lots more ribbons than we need for a keepsake project.
Here are three ideas for recycling/reusing ribbons. If you have ideas to add, please send them along!
Find creative ways to reuse ribbons. Here's my story. My daughter amassed scores of ribbons during her riding
days, of all colors of the rainbow. We still have two walls' full hanging in her former bedroom, and many more stored in boxes
and bags. I was telling a friend who's not a rider about this "storage problem" and she had a brainstorm.
My friend taught musical theater to kids in the Middle and Far East through an international arts outreach program
called American Voices' YES Academy (Youth Excellence on Stage). She immediately said, I'll take them to Thailand! When I
looked at her funny, she explained that they always take a craft project for the kids to do in addition to learning to sing,
dance and put on a show. Her next stop was Thailand, to do the YES Academy program with Thai kids in partnership with Rangsit
Carole's idea was to give the Thai children the ribbons to decorate, to be worn with their name
tags. I privately wondered if these kids would really want to decorate ribbons covered with foreign writing and graphics of
horses, but I immediately gave her a bag full--she's pretty savvy when it comes to keeping kids involved and entertained,
and besides, my goal was to get these ribbons out of my house! She assured me the kids could cover up the horse logos, show
names and placings printed on the streamers with the craft items she would bring, and she was sure they'd love it.
This week I got pictures of the results. Carole's email said, "The ribbons were a BIG hit!!! and the kids loved all
the gold printing on them, so as you'll see in the pix, most of them didn't cover any of it up." Check out the pictures
below to see the YES Academy kids with their re-purposed decorated ribbons. And I got a kick out of thinking of those prizes
won through one child's hard work so many years ago, now becoming prized souvenirs of a very different sort of show experience
for children on the other side of the world.
2) Donate them to a therapeutic riding center.
NARHA is the national association of programs
offering equine assisted equine assisted activity and therapy. Their website lists therapeutic riding centers that would appreciate
donations of ribbons in good condition, to be used in their programs. These programs can use all the support they can get,
and you'll know your ribbons are helping people experience therapy through horses. Click here and scroll to the bottom of
the page for the list: http://www.narha.org/donation/Support%20NARHA.asp
3) Recycle them at the show. If you're on a show committee or belong to a club or committee
of your breed or discipline association, consider making ribbons re-usable for future shows by not printing dates on them.
At one of the shows I went to this spring, the organizers announced that anyone who didn't want their ribbons could leave
them at the show office to be used next year. It is a terrific idea, especially when many local shows are struggling to survive
Do you have creative ways to re-use or recycle show ribbons? Please send them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
, and I'll post them here as well as circulate ideas in a newsletter.