Training Tips, Health Issues, Etc.

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Here is a good list of desensitizing materials and ideas...

This local trainer comes well recommended - 

Great "cheat sheet" from Fun-E Farm --

My first suggestion the internet.  Type in your problem in as few words as possible (try "balking horse"). A wealth of info will follow. Here is one terrific site you can try...

Horses don't learn from pressure; they learn from the release of pressure. While pressure motivates the horse to look for another answer, it is the release of pressure that teaches him that he did the right thing. That's why timing is such a crucial element in training horses. If your timing is off, you may be rewarding the horse for the wrong behavior and sending him mixed signals. Whatever the horse is doing the exact second you release the pressure is what you're rewarding him for. So if he rears and you release pressure, you've just rewarded him for rearing. If he pushes into your space and you back off, you've just rewarded him for being dominant toward you. It also works in reverse. If the horse is responding correctly, but you don't release pressure, he'll learn to ignore you. You have to be very conscious to release the pressure as soon as the horse even attempts to respond the way you want. Always reward the slightest try. The quicker you can release the pressure, the faster the horse will understand he did the right thing.

From Craig Cameron -- Teach him the way you would like someone to teach and treat you...The horses say to me "my life is just as important to me as your life is to you."  Ride with Respect.  Horses are evolved for millions of years as prey animals.  They are not afraid of predators - they are afraid of predatory behaviour.  Want to know what its like to be a prey animal?  I'll drop you in a tank of great whites and then you'll know.  ...

Training is incrementally introducing understandable lessons and allowing the horse to make the right decision.  ... You cannot demand respect.  You must earn respect.  You earn respect by never hurting the horse, and by leaving him calm and happier at the end of every training session.  ... Collection is a position that lifts his shoulder - lifts his back - shifts his weight to the hind for better balance -   a lot like a person shifting their weight from one resting foot to two solid feet under them.  It is not dramatic, and it does NOT start from the neck or over working the mouth. ..  Control should never be attempted from a shanked bit with curb strap or tie down.  That is a bit for a finished horse. Wrong use of this bit creates rigidity and LACK of control.   Control is learned from the broken, loose jaw snaffle, bending, yielding, perhaps a german martingale, reasonable treatement and lessons, always working the horse within his comfort zone.  These are my notes from the Feb. 2010 Horse World Expo. 

Another good resource -


From Horse Illustrated Magazine... 

According to J. Warren Evans in the popular animal science textbook Horses: A Guide to Selection, Care and Employment, there are six basic temperament types. He defines them as quiet, interested, nervous, extremely nervous, stubborn and treacherous. While I agree with Dr. Evans that these are the general personality types into which most horses fall, I believe most horses actually fall into more than one category due to their individuality, and that this can vary with the situation and even change over time due to differences in human handling and environmental stimulation.

Do you already have a sense of which category or combination your horse fits into at this point in his life? Here's a rundown on the temperament types and how each is best handled:

Quiet. This horse is commonly referred to as bomb-proof by owners and a packer by riding instructors for his unreactive nature. He will tolerate almost anything, from a fluttering flag to an uncoordinated rider with inexperienced hands. This type can generally be trusted to behave safely and to build the confidence of beginner riders, while a more advanced rider might consider him too dull.

When I was a college student in an equine program, most of the horses we rode were young, inexperienced and unpredictable. Once in a while, something would happen to shake the confidence of a student. That's when the unflappable Quarter Horse, Royal, would be called upon to do his stuff. This steady fellow would carry the shaken rider back to her former level of confidence. He would passably plod through any dressage test and quietly take any low fence no matter how he was brought to it. Royal was not dazzling by any stretch of the imagination, but the program director would not sell him for any price. Horses like Royal have an important role to play in developing riders, but they don't come along often. Lack of reactivity is simply not typical of the species.

Interested horses are great for riders with a little training and experience. In well-trained hands, these horses pay attention to the rider's aids but aren't upset by them. While they are aware of their environment and respond to things going on around them, it's unusual for them to react with fight-or-flight behavior. As long as this horse is handled with consideration and sensitivity, riders will seldom go wrong with this sort. Many of the horses you see collecting ribbons at local horse shows fit into this category, as they are both animated and dependable.

Nervous is the personality type truest to equine nature, and consequently many horses fit into this category. The flight response in nervous horses is well-developed. They spook easily, perhaps even bolting to escape from perceived dangers all around. They tend to carry their heads high, looking for trouble and ready to react. For a quiet and experienced rider, this horse can eventually make a very nice mount. For a tentative rider, he can be a wreck waiting to happen. Most can eventually develop some trust and a sense of security from confident yet sympathetic riders who allow them to progress in training. They require extreme patience and confident handling from the rider. You cannot rush the trust they require before they can progress.

If you can learn to work with the challenge, these horses can be worth it and wonderful to show as they tend to possess an extra brilliance in spirit and movement.

Extremely nervous horses are so reactive that virtually anything can set them off, and even changes in footing or shadows on the ground could cause fearful explosions at any time. Calm, consistent handling while slowly expanding their comfort zones will ultimately benefit them, but the road will be long and often dangerous. You must stay especially alert at all times. These horses are best left to professionals or to individuals with loads of experience and a solid foundation in equine behavior principles.

Stubborn horses tend to resent work and try to find a way out of it. When pushed, they often become irritable and balky, sometimes even exploding in temper. Trainers often encounter behavior that sets back training, requiring repetitions of lessons already learned. These horses also require riders with a lot of patience, but while the nervous horse requires a quiet hand, stubborn horses need a tactful yet firm approach.

Treacherous horses, with the notable exception of a few naturally aggressive stallions, are nearly always either a product of bad handling or benign neglect. They either haven't learned to respect humans or have learned to actively resent them. Such horses may unexpectedly attack humans by kicking, biting or stomping on them. Horses who simply lack an understanding of their place below humans on the dominance hierarchy may sometimes be reformed by the most experienced of handlers. Sadly, euthanasia is sometimes the only safe solution for savage horses. Fortunately, such horses are rare.

Many horses seem to fluctuate daily between types. My mare Duchess oscillates between the interested, nervous and stubborn personality types. Consequently, there are days when she's brilliant and very responsive. Then there are days when she seems to resent her work, prancing or grinding her teeth. I can't force her compliance, but must develop it from her willingly. Each day is another chance to bring out her best. It requires me to use my creativity and to be a gentle and tactful teacher. But this is what makes each ride unique and each day a lesson.


Louise Cox, Equine Appraiser

Home phone: 484-580-8387

Cell phone: 630-508-4388  ADOPTIONS, BOARDING, SERVICES, ETC.  Common Sense training tips..short and sweet!

Oh My!  Wonderful site full of ideas BUT THIS IS NOT AN ENDORSEMENT -- WE DON'T KNOW THIS OUTFIT --

Shipping Fever

Concerned about shipping fever or respiratory infection in horses?  Shipping fever is a blanket term used to identify respiratory infection (cough/nasal discharge/sometimes temperature) which often occurs after a long haul.  There is no vaccine for this, and it can be bacterial or viral.  Strangles is an entirely different disease.  It is a term used to describe Equine Distemper, fortunately much less common and characterized by high temperature, lymph gland involvement, lethargy and labored breathing (among other things).  The following is a web excerpt on shipping fever: 
Limit Stress When Shipping Horses
By: Bob Mowrey, Ph.D.
Extension Horse Commodity Coordinator
North Carolina Cooperative Extension

Results from several research studies in the United States and Great Britain have provided insight into the effect of transportation on the health and performance of your horse. Under ideal hauling conditions, horses can safely be hauled 400 miles or eight hours without a break.

Research indicates that trips over twelve hours in duration create the greatest stress on a horse. Dehydration, reduced immune response, respiratory infections, fatigue and reduced muscle function are typically seen as a result of stress in transported horses.

To prevent dehydration during transport, horses should be offered water every four hours. Prior to transport, feed the last concentrate mix as a mash to combat potential dehydration during long trips. Add one to two gallons of water to the concentrate mix. Let the mash sit for 10 minutes to permit expansion of the grain prior to feeding. Grain or concentrate mixes should not be provided while traveling or immediately after a trip. Hay, wetted to reduce dust, may be fed free choice during transport. Hay intake helps to retain water in the horse's gastrointestinal tract, which further combats dehydration.

Driving technique and proper maintenance of towing vehicles and trailers will reduce stress on horses. Driving at a smooth consistent rate of speed in trailers with a leaf spring suspension and low-pressure radial tires provides the smoothest ride. Reducing speed to 55 mph or lower when hauling on rough roads reduces the vibration felt on the horse's legs. Vehicles with exhaust pipes exiting out the rear of the vehicle directly at the front of the trailer deposit significantly more exhaust fumes inside the trailer and should be avoided. The inside of trailers should be cleaned on a regular basis to remove feces, urine, hay dust, and eliminate other pathogens.

Shipping fever remains one of the most frequent and severe problems resulting from transportation. It is a form of pleuropneumonia characterized by excess fluid and infection, caused by streptococcus zooepidemicus. Streptococcus bacteria are normally found in the horse's upper respiratory tract. The presence of a strong, healthy immune system prevents the movement of the bacteria into the lower respiratory tract. The transported horse's challenged immune system permits the movement of bacteria into vital airways, resulting in shipping fever. Unfortunately, since there are so many different variants of the streptococcus zooepidemicus bacteria, shipping fever vaccines are not effective. Research also indicates that dry nasal passages (that occur with moderate dehydration and an elevated head position with tips of the ears consistently higher than the withers) contribute to the development of shipping fever. Horses need to be watered frequently and be able to lower their heads to rid their nasal passages of the dust and pathogens frequently found in trailers.

Research has not shown an advantage of reduced stress in horses hauled in either a front load or slant load trailer. When shipped untied, 65% of the horses in a University of California study faced to the rear of the trailer and 35% faced forward. No horse chose to stand at a slant. Horses that are untied and permitted an option to choose their own stance direction showed less stress and recovered quicker from the trip than horses that were tied in a specific direction.

Additional research is needed to determine the ideal amount of recovery time required after long trips. Good management practices, advance training on loading, safe driving practices, and common sense will help ensure a safe ride and a healthy horse. End of article.

I was told by an experienced horse dealer indicates (not verified by writer) that B12 and B Complex (9 cc's IV 1X per week for three weeks), along with Extem on the first, third and seventh day after shipping, greatly reduce the incidence and severity of shipping fever.

Excenel is a generic equivalent for the much more expensive Naxcel, and from what I can read, it is rated as a potential preventitive for Shipping Fever in Horses.  Most treatments focus on after the fact, but this one indicates it may also prevent the issue if given before a long haul or exposure.

Strangles explained --

explained again --


Dry Cow...a product called Tomorrow...available at Daniels Supply very said to be the most effective treatment for thrush.

Wormers explained --  This site has invaluable and easy to access info on veterinary and human pharmaceuticals and their uses.

To grain, or not to grain...

he probably has an ulcer so here is a home made medicine that me and my boss ( who is a certified German vet) used on the racehorses.
go to your pharmacy and get anti- acid tablets that is made of rotecine. get tums and apple sauce.  since he is 17h and underweight grind up 6 tablets of retecine and 8 tables of tums, mix then with alittle bit of apple sauce so it makes a paste, give it to him orally 2 times a day for about 1-2 weeks. if he has an ulcer it will get rid of it. if he doesn't have an ulcer it wont effect him in any way. some ways to tell that he has an ulcer is he grinds his teeth, underweight, doesn't eat everything, diarrhea, and a dull coat.

Daniel Lapp

 Flavio  610 482 2345

 This recommended for weight gain in a poor horse -- Ulcer Ease, Sea Buc and triamino acids to buld muscle.  Its a cocktail used for endurance horses and it works. - explains various meds available for vet use in horses.