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Train Your Own Horse with Stacy Westfall

Aug 28, 2019

When we become very familiar with a term, it can sometimes lose meaning. When I talk about a horse having a lack of forward motion or needing more forward motion what I'm actually talking about is the horses first response without resistance.

Symptoms of not having forward motion would be a sluggish walk and a sluggish upward transition from walk to trot or from trot to lope. It can also manifest itself in the horse refusing to cross mud or being hesitant to load in the trailer. It can even be not going over a tarp, entering an arena, or not leading down a trail. 

This episode is all about forward motion with definitions and examples. Then I talk about how learning something hard can make things easier. In my segment with Dr. Monty, we mention the unmentionables.  

Show Notes:

[03:03] An example is a horse not walking into an arena. This is why it's important to teach a horse to lope over a tarp. This helps overcome the resistance of doing something that might be a little bit uncomfortable. 

[04:04] I also got an email about a horse backing up when not appropriate.

[06:23] When we took our horses trail riding, they would go through the mud and the stream. These horses had learned true forward motion. 

[09:07] The horses trusted the work done in the arena, so they were confident to move forward on the trail.

[10:03] I want my horses to be purposeful and thoughtful, but still apply forward motion.

[11:06] Another example is horses that won't enter an arena. These fast horses didn't understand forward motion. 

[12:17] Hot horses don't truly understand leg pressure and forward motion, because they don't practice it very often. 

[15:22] When you avoid making contact and pressure on the reins, the horse doesn't get a chance to learn higher level thinking. There's no place for a horse to work on balancing their body if you don't work on collection with them.

[19:06] A horse that isn't allowed to learn might lean against the rider's leg and not be truly forward. 

[21:53] Collection is taught through connection with the reins and the legs of the rider. 

[23:19] Teaching forward motion isn't complicated. 

[29:07] When a rider becomes willing to make a connection with the reins, he can move forward under pressure with the horse. 

[31:11] Your horse can learn to go forward and become better for it. 

[32:36] You can teach a horse to become confident and overcome pressure. Teaching a horse to handle pressure might seem hard, but it makes their life easier in the end.

[33:52] Sheath and udder cleaning is our mystery subject with Dr. Monty. 

[35:04] Moisture buildup can lead to infection. These areas need to be cleaned to prevent infection. 

[36:54] Over cleaning can also cause irritation. You can use too many soaps and cleaners. 

[37:23] Dr. Monty doesn't recommend using soap regularly. He recommends a product called Excalibur. 

[38:01] It's not a bad idea to have a professional help with this or at least have an exam to see what is needed. 


Links and Resources:

Episode 38: Rewarding Physical and Mental Changes in Your Horse


Tennessee Equine Hospital



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