CategoryHow-To Articles Archives - Page 2 of 13 - Ramm Fence Equestrian Blog

Horse Training – Surprises on the Lounge Line

November 29th, 2012

So as I went to the barn, I was not very excited about working with the horses. In fact, with the last visit, just a few days ago, I had an unpleasant lounging experience (yes, it can happen to all of us),  that I could not explain.. Hootie, whom I have been working with for some time, started to get fidgety on the lounge line and ran ‘through’ my hands. To make matters worse, I was using a nylon lounge line.. with-out gloves.  Zippppp… and away he ran….. and there was the nylon burn on my hand to prove it!

Hootie, ready to work…

Prior to getting Hootie groomed and on the lounge line, I decided not to grab my gloves ~ yes, I actually thought about them (that made matters worse because I did not follow that little voice inside saying “Get your gloves before you start”). Funny how we have that ‘little voice’ that we should listen to, but  just don’t always do it.

So after grooming, Hootie and I went into the indoor arena. Lounge line snapped on his halter and we started at the ‘walk’.  The sudden explosion happened shortly after I asked him for the walk and off went Hootie..yes tail in the air, arched neck and at a full gallop and a nylon burn on my hand.. shoot, I needed those gloves! Where is the camera when you most need it? My beautiful Hootie looking like a fancy dressage ‘stallion’ (he is definitely a gelding), floating on air all the while the lounge line was dragging along side of him.

It didn’t take me long to recover my new ‘stud’ horse and we went back into the indoor and finished on a good note -both directions. But I left the barn that day feeling concerned as to what had happened. What could I have done differently? Don’t we all face that question many times along the training path with our horses?

This is what I saw as Hootie ran out of the indoor.. Oh, only his tail was straight up in the air! Cant miss seeing this run out of the barn!

So back to today…as I was saying, off to the barn I went not very excited about working with Hootie again. But once I got there I was able to talk over what happened with two other people at the barn.  In retrospect, Hootie is becoming so much more focused on what is being ask of him….and he is listening!

~As I was told, “Horses are born with their complete vocabulary right from the start.  They understand 2 very important actions in the herd – ‘Reward and reprimand’.  The alpha horse in a herd will kick, bite or charge other horses to make the point ‘back off and get away’. The reward is when the alpha horse stops the action.  We have to understand and be on their level to communicate with them so they listen to what we ask.. and not confuse them with mixed messages.  ~ Simple, right?

So when I was able to think over what I was doing with Hootie on the lounge line, I ask for exactly what he gave me. Rather than being at a 90 degree angle at his shoulder, I was behind him and rasing my hand asking for the walk, when indeed he listened to my  request which was to move away from me and with a raised hand too far back by his hip.. he took the cue and ran. I even pulled on the lounge line to try to stop him.  However, instead of giving a sharp tug telling him to ‘STOP’ (the reprimand), and then letting go to say – ‘THANK YOU’ (the reward), I ‘pulled’ and hung on too long which even helped to spur him on more.  ~What a good boy to listen to what I said! ~

Well behaved ‘Hootie!’

After I realized my mistakes, I went into the indoor and worked with Hootie based on a new set of rules. I needed to tell him what to do AND give him  correct cues.  I also made sure that I was paying complete attention to him and myself without being distracted.

We had one of the nicest times together that I can remember. The ‘repramands’ that I give have to be swift, not necessarily harsh but rather, direct and just at the right moment. The ‘reward’ also needs be given as soon as my horse gives me what I’m asking

Hootie is making progress and as he becomes better ‘tweaked’, I too must be better ‘tweaked’ in telling Hootie exactly what I want  without confusing signals. ~  So we reached a truce today.. he put his head down at the walk and I stayed at his shoulder during lounging, without having to raise my hands or fuss with the lounge line.

Such a good day at the barn. I cannot wait to go back very soon! 🙂

Have you had a similar experience with your horse? I would love to hear how you worked it all out. And let me know if the ‘reward and reprimand’ method works for you. Have a great week with your horses, I know I will!

Horse Barn Dutch Doors – The In’s and Out’s

October 18th, 2012

As I stop and think about the many barns that my horses have lived in or were stabled in, most had dutch doors!  They have a multitude of benefits for you and your horse. If your barn lacks ventilation, easy in and out access or if you need a way to let your horse enjoy an open view, dutch doors will be just the answer. Top door’s opened alone or both top and bottom doors opened, you just cannot beat the functionality!

Easy to use Dutch doors that we installed at the barn that we built.

Almost any barn can be remodeled to accommodate these useful doors. You just need to start with a strong framed opening accommodating the wood supports in your barn. Think about the base of your frame to be sure your horse can easily walk over the threshold. Additionally, you will want to consider a threshold that will keep your bedding in place so it is not in the way of your door.  Keeping bedding away from the bottom door is a key for closure without putting stress on your hinges.

The doors that you see pictured to the right are steel framed and built to order.  We choose a pre-made laser cut cross buck design. They look just like a wood painted cross-bucks with the ‘cross’ and outside frame that lays on top of the door. Our pre-ordered doors come with all hardware, which helps the building and detail process go much quicker. We had the option to choose a 3 piece frame or a welded one piece frame-which we decided on, for the ease of construction. You can choose from galvanized steel or powder-coated paint with over 30 colors to choose from to match your barn.

From having Dutch Doors in the past, I did not want to have my horses lean on them when the top door was opened. So we decided to put an inner door on the inside of the bottom frame. It saves on the wear with the bottom half of the Dutch door and horses tend to lean or rub on the inside door rather than the outside door. We made a steel mesh framed bottom door which allowed us to open the bottom half and the ventilation was superior! Small latches were installed on the outside of the barn so doors could be secured open with small eye hooks. On windy days you don’t want  your doors swinging, with any kind of  wind, and accidentally hitting you or your horse.

When horses are being shod or in the aisle of the barn and getting through is not easy, exiting out the Dutch Doors makes turn-out or riding easy.  We also opted to have an overhang along each side of the barn which helped to keep us and the  horses out of direct weather. When the doors are closed in inclement weather, they are tight and do not rattle or let the wind, rain or snow through.

Sliding Dutch Doors

Sliding Dutch Doors on the front of your barn can really make barn entrance beautiful.  A plain barn can be brought to life and given a new look as well as increase functionality. The large door way opening is unobtrusive to horses and allows access for large equipment.  You can opt to have windows at the top of your doors and allow natural light to filter into your barn.  Top windows also give the front of your barn a truly distinctive look.

If you like the look of cross buck doors and do not want a ‘double door’, you can consider adding  ‘bale doors’ to your barn They offer the ability to increase ventilation and still let your horses have a view with out having to install windows and grill work.  When installing any of your doors, be sure to think about how far apart the doors will be set, pertaining to the outside of your barn. Putting them too close will cause over lapping and you may want to consider spacing to allow the doors to be flat when completely opened.

Bale doors can be just the ‘top’ door or they come in window styles too!

Sliding Dutch Doors can be used for tack rooms, grain and hay storage areas. Because they can be used in a standard door application or as large as over head door ways, they can be used for both interior and exterior areas.  Not only can they be used with your horses, but many of us have small children (or small animals and dogs) that are can be safely kept in areas of the barn that should be off limits for safety reasons.  Being able to close just the bottom door or both, gives you so much versatility.

Take it from me, I know you will love having Dutch Doors in and outside of your barn!  I would love to hear from you and find out your thoughts and ideas about having them in your barn!

Take some time this week to enjoy your horses and your family.  I hope you enjoy every moment in your barn!

If you are interested in Dutch Doors for your barn, RAMM carries a full line of interior and exterior doors. I know you and your horses will like them! I welcome your questions. Debbie

Integrated Equine Performance Bodywork

September 21st, 2012

Going to the barn is one of the best high lights of my day. Two of my horses have been at local barn, for ‘me to get’ trained, ( I thought it would be the other way around!).  One of the people that I met there was Pat Turpening. She is one of those people that you instantly feel drawn to because of her soft spoken yet assertive actions with horses. You see, she owns a stallion that she has driven for years.

As a ‘fellow’ driver, I admire her ability to have complete control of her stallion, ‘Ultras Executive Order’ or lovingly E-Or, whether she is competing at the Kentucky Horse Park or driving around the stables. There is always a calming atmosphere around Pat and her horse.  She has accomplished a technique that opens new levels of communication and  relationships.  Pat’s account follows, and I’m sure you will be quite interested to find out more once you see how you can also ‘gain positive change in the movement of your horse and  evaluate what your horse is telling you!’

“Whether you use your horse for competition, trail riding or to simply keep the grass mowed, they can benefit from equine massage. Horses accumulate stress in key areas of the body and as this stress/tension accumulates, an owner may observe it in performance problems such as not being able to bend, sudden lead changes or changes in movement. As horse owners we are always looking for different ways to help our four legged friends perform better. Jim Masterson has developed a form of body work called The Masterson Method – Integrated Equine Performance Bodywork, by observing the horse’s responses when different levels of pressure were applied and watching for visual signs of release of tension. Through the body work technique, you learn to recognize and find and release accmulated tension in key junctions of the body that most affect performance. The process helps the horse to release tension by flying under the radar of his nervous system. Rather than massaging the muscles using force, a light touch is used. Read more »

Ride Again with Confidence

September 6th, 2012

I have seen it happen many times. A rider gets on their horse only to end up having a really rough ride – or worse – a bad fall.  It could have been someone in your family, someone that you know or even you…. no longer confident – the riding just stops.

Getting Back On The Horse

I have known several people that had some really tough falls.  And for many, the negative experience of a fall takes its toll.  Some of the ‘would be’ happy riders don’t get back on horses.  In some instances, horses and riders really are not a good match.  Finding just the right horse can put a timid rider back in the saddle quickly and successfully.  However in other instances, a person can become almost paralyzed with the thought of mounting a horse again. Read more »