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Training

6 Ways to Improve Your Horse's Natural Disaster Resilience

November 2018

In this article, you will find six basic principles you can incorporate into your daily interactions with your horses to help you prepare for extraordinary events and improve your horse’s natural disaster survival and resilience. Since 2010, Dr Kirrilly Thompson has been researching the ways in which animals and animal ownership impact human preparedness and responses to natural disasters. The research

6 Ethical Ways to De-Spook Your Horse

September 2018

Horses are flighty and suspicious by nature but they can also easily get used to (habituate to) things that would normally cause them fear. A thorough understanding of the behavioural science that explains the learning mechanisms which result in habituation has enabled Dr Andrew McLean from Equitation Science International, to adapt this natural process into six reliable training methods that work with all horses and make habituation faster, safer, and much more reliable. What is habituation?

Tongue Ties: Trying to See the Whole Picture

July 2018

Whenever we want to get to the bottom of a question regarding equine performance, welfare, nutrition or disease, we must consider the science. Scientists make it their lives' work to drill down on their areas of interest in an effort to answer all the questions they and their peers have in that area. The value of their work is tremendous: it guides us, shapes our understanding and, eventually, our behaviours and actions. 

Helmets: 20 (More) Reasons to Put a Lid on It

June 2018

Horse riding is dangerous. I’m not going to go into the statistics on horse-related injury and fatality because they are far from straightforward. Do you calculate injury rates per ride, per hour spent in the saddle or per jump attempt?  Suffice to say that all accidents range from annoying to tragic, and the statistics for any sport as a whole are not going to matter when an accident happens to you or someone you know. 

Bottoming Out

June 2018

In hindsight, this is what I think happened. Dante was sore. He has a long back and a lean build. At five, he’s physically immature. He is growing quickly and his saddle had become tight on his shoulders in the three months since it had last been adjusted.  His soreness corresponded to me injuring my knee (not horse-related). As we were both developing our soreness issues, I made a couple of mistakes. I can see them as mistakes in hindsight, but at the time didn’t realise I was doing the wrong thing. In fact, I thought I was doing the right thing. 

How to Fit a Bit and Bridle Correctly

March 2016

As horse owners, we have a responsibility to ensure the wellbeing of our horses. Every time you ride, your position, posture and aids have a direct impact on your horse. But, how can you successfully communicate with your horse if your tack is creating discomfort or, at worst, causing your horse severe pain? Often, we’re confronted with behavioural difficulties that can be fixed by routinely checking our tack for wear and correct fit. Does your horse lug? Do they chew the bit? Do they open the mouth or try to get the tongue over the bit? Do they tip their head?

Why Does My Horse... Put His Tongue Over the Bit?

May 2018

Sometimes, horses get their tongues over the bit. When this happens, the tongue may loll out of the mouth in a very unsightly way, and all hope of achieving a good contact or communication line with the horse’s mouth will be lost. In horse racing, it is believed a tongue over the bit will impair the horse’s airway. 

Under the Influence: The Impact of Your Leadership Style

February 2018

Research on leadership in human societies has mostly been concerned with human relations in workplaces, especially those between managers and workers. Early research focused on how to make workers more obedient, useful, productive and efficient. Some people were just thought to be better - or more natural - leaders than others.  More recently, leadership is seen as a property that emerges from the relations between individuals. Moreover, the health, safety and wellbeing of workers is valued more than ever, and leadership now comes with great responsibilities of care. 

The 'Speed Gene' in Thoroughbred Horses

December 2018

Scientists have pinpointed the genetic basis that explains why some Thoroughbred racehorses are better equipped to race over sprint distances and others over longer distances. The Irish scientists, from Trinity College Dublin and University College Dublin (UCD), have discovered the inner workings of a known 'speed gene', which directly affects skeletal muscle growth and, in turn, race distance aptitude.

Do horses get stressed when bitted for the first time?

November 2018

New research has found that introducing the bit to a young horse for the first time can be a stressful process for them. However, this stress could be difficult for most people to identify unless they are taking physiological measures,­­ because the horse may not show visible stress behaviours. Introducing the bit is, traditionally, one of the most important training procedures in a young horse’s life. The majority of our performance horses are ‘bitted’, so this process forms a key part of the foundation training for many horses.

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