I probably won't have time to post it until after teh MD Expo (Jan 20-24) but I will get some up after that.
His spine does not really "look" prominant at all- you have to sit on it (or really palpate) to realize how uch it sticks up out. However, it is not anywhere near as bad as it used to be.
At an expo last year two different body workers used him for a demo and said his hips were "out" but I can tell you they certainly are not bad- I can easily see when a horses hips are crooked and this one woman in particular tried to show me and I saw nothing. She supposedly put them back in and I did not see any difference in the slightest- I think it was all show.
When i sit on a horse I can tell you if they use thier hips and back even and that he does very well. He collects a little better to the right, but I have always collected better to the right and I am the only one who rides him, so...duh.
That said, he used to hold himself terribly tight all the time (like, when in the pasture)- head up, back hollow, legs camped out behind. He now carries himself much more relaxed, but occasionally I still see him holding some of that tension.
He is built a little bit like a walking horse- his back is very straight across and he can be extremely lateral. his walk used to be absolutely horrible, but somehow it is pretty nice now! (Go me! No clue how we fixed it though- maybe "i" have nothing to do with it!) His canter is now pretty good on the flat but if we canter a little downhill he gets lateral which is perfect if we plan on continueing in endurance this year- he can fly downhill and always puts an extra foot on the ground for balance- it is actually pretty cool!
A part of me thinks he just has big hard prominent bones, just like he has big hard prominent feet, and big hard prominant teeth.
Danee, I think I might have been the one that suggested you try riding in the rope halter back then.
One thing that popped into my mind reading your post here on your recent "halter" ride is your comment regarding head all over and your thinking it has to do with balance. My thought is that his balance issues should be the same in bridle or halter. So if head all over in halter is a balance issue and it is masked with riding in bridle, then the tension of that balance issue is likely showing itself in the mouth.
- Posted: Thu Jan 13, 2011 12:01 am
Joined: 15 Jan 2007
Location: Grantville, PA
So if head all over in halter is a balance issue and it is masked with riding in bridle, then the tension of that balance issue is likely showing itself in the mouth.
Exactly my point :-)
And, yeah, you are right - it was you that pointed out halter riding- thanks laurie!
Cabacha- well, he is usually pretty fat- not saying that means a horse's nutrition is great, but I am sure it is not a simple matter of needing more groceries. Saddle fit is always an issue- he got white hairs from a saddle pad that I thought was great There are no major pressure points- that I can effectively feel for, but more mild issues only really show up over time, so saddle fit is definitly an on going concern. Over vaccination??? Well, we do minimal vaccines since we own so darn many horses (gets expensive) but I never thought of it as a concern for gaining muscle, but it makes sense- everything is related. We also do not de-worm as often as we used to. We keep a closer eye on them and if they feel like they need it we deworm, but we no longer do it every 6 weeks just because.
I was thinking nutrition wise if he is getting what he needs for muscle. There are a lot of diet fads out there, but horses need fat, protein and the dreaded word, starch, for muscle. Not to mention, feeding anything proccessed out of a bag is like us living on MickeyD's and Mac and Cheese...
Being a mustang, he can't handle a lot of the garbage they put in those feeds anyway.
Vaccinations affect the nervous system which affects the spine. They affect the gut, which affects the immune system which affects the spine and so on. We've been vaccination free for sixteen years (50+ head of horses). No sicknesses, lameness, colic. My vet bills are under $500/year. Last year they would have been ZERO if my goofy young stallion did not pull out two baby teeth on some fencing and I had to have the vet out.
- Posted: Thu Jan 13, 2011 1:25 am
Joined: 23 Jul 2007
Location: Ft. Valley, GA
Cabacha, I absolutely do not agree with you on your last post in any way shape or form. Feed companies spend big $ on research for what is best for our horses using nutritionists who went to school to learn equine nutrition. Using high quality feed to me is a must for our horses best interests. Especially if you raise horses known for growth issues like WBs and TBs.
Not vaccinating to me is not being a responsible horse owner. You are playing Russian roulette with your horses life not vaccinating to protocal for your area. My horses are vaccinated, wormed, wear shoes, eat Triple Crown feed and have big huge muscles, even my youngsters are well grown for their age.
- Posted: Thu Jan 13, 2011 1:58 am
Joined: 01 Jan 2011
Location: Central Texas
I understand where you are coming from and glad your program works for you and your horses, I can surely respect that. I hope you can do the same. I used to vaccinate and feed bagged feed also, however after years of research and the assistance of three different holistic vets, plus help from top nutritionalists in other countries, my path has just led me in a different direction...
Plus, it is by no means the "cheap" direction! There is nothing low quality about a whole food diet; finding organic grains, seeds, kelp, enzymes, etc. is not an easy road.
- Posted: Thu Jan 13, 2011 2:09 pm
Joined: 23 Jul 2007
Location: Ft. Valley, GA
I can respect your views for your own horses, though I do not agree with them. But I do not agree giving advice based on those views to someone on a chat board, esp about vaccines. Where is the science behind your views to back them up? If you had my experience you would more than likely rethink the not vaccinating thing. I had two young horses in 04 exposed to a rabid fox. Rabies is an easily vaccinated against disease that is 100% fatal if contracted not to mention the possibilty of human exposure. Makes absolutely no sense to me to not vaccinate. Vaccines work on the immune system to ramp up the bodies reponse to disease pathogens using various vaccine technology. The body already has the ability to produce the antibodies neccessary to fight these pathogens, but it has to have exposure to the pathogens in order to have those antibodies available. With the one exception of foals via passive transfer of antibodies in colostrum from their dam. Which lasts just a short while and only includes those antibodies which the mare was exposed to either in nature or by vaccination. Vaccines give that exposure neccessary to the body to produce the antibodies. There can always be a reaction to vaccines, usually locally from the IM vaccines taken care of quite easily by premedicating with NSAIDS, just like I do with my child.
Nutrition to me is regionally specific. The nutritionist would have to know what was the forage, pasture and feed stuff available in order to know what to recommend and it varies from class to class of horses. Youngsters have different requirements than older horses, etc. The only real way to know if you are meeting your horses nutrition requirements is to have your hay and pasture tested, know what class of horse you have and balance the forage with neccessary vit/min/protein balancers.
As far as worming goes, the only way you know what/when or even if to worm for is to do a fecal analysis, other than yearly worming against bots and tapes.
- Posted: Thu Jan 13, 2011 7:34 pm
Joined: 01 Jan 2011
Location: Central Texas
I am surely not going to get into a debate here with you on this subject. It is one I know a lot about and have a lot of success with, as do my clients. There is plenty of scientific info on over vaccinating (which, BTW, I did not once say don't vaccinate, I just mentioned how vaccianting can affect the body, which there are many scientific counts on).
There is no set standard for spanish horses, which have metabolic issues. There is also no standard for mustangs, which don't have generations behind them being fed synthetic ingredients or being vaccinated. I've been the gamut over the years with feed and spoken with countless of reps /head nutritional gurus from different feed companies - and many that left because of what was happening. There are a lot of misconceptions in regards to feeding and that is thanks to marketing, as they are in the market to make money. period.
I had two yearling bit by rattlesnakes in the noses last year, blood was running down their faces and they were shocky. I treated them completely naturally. Their faces blew up over the first 24 hours. Within 2 days they were almost normal, within four days, completely normal. Not one bit of necrosis; no holes in their faces, no indents. Nothing. Even both my vets were amazed (I use both a holistic vet and a western med vet). There is no vaccination for that, so at some point you just have to deal with things.
I also did not say one thing about deworming...
I understand these subjects are hard for people to discuss, so lets not. Personally, I take the natural approach in all aspects of my horses and my life, not just my training methods. You are more than welcome to email me privately if you like. firstname.lastname@example.org
- Posted: Fri Jan 14, 2011 12:22 pm
Joined: 23 Jul 2007
Location: Ft. Valley, GA
Cabacha, you did say you were vaccination free for 16 yrs quote "We've been vaccination free for sixteen years". There are no studies that show what are the accepted titer levels that will protect our horses from the diseases that we vaccinate against. I would love to see some studies that show the harm vaccines cause horses because I certainly know of horses who have died from EE that were not vaccinated or improperly vaccinated. Know two people personally who have lost horses to EE in my area.
Rattlesnakes are not usually a problem for horses unless the swelling closes off the airways. I had one bit between front legs, fang marks 2" apart, localized swelling, treated with DMSO only and not a problem plus she was in foal at the time. I did have one bit on the nose, never seen a horse's head that big!! She was not in distress, but I sure was! Treated with steroids for swelling, she was fine in a couple of days.
"Natural" horsekeeping is a hot button for me because nothing we do to these animals is natural. Often the "natural" horse keepers that I have come across are close minded and want to paint with a broad brush and say every horse should not wear shoes, should not eat bagged feed etc, etc and to me you have to look at every horse as an individual. From Danee's description her horse has some lateral tendencies, often those horses that are gaited or tend to lateralness (seen some WBs like this as well!) are more A framed shaped than table backed and it has nothing to do with the way they are worked, fed or vaccinated it is their conformation period.
Sorry Danee to get off topic, but I have never seen or heard about vaccines causing the issues that Cabacha was describing. Feed is another issue. It sounds like you are on the right track with the bit seats for your guy if he is quieter now with his mouth after his appt with dentist! I trust my vet and she does bit seats on all of the horses she does dentals on (she uses drugs, speculum and power tools to do dentals) that wear a bit and are ridden. Dentistry has come so far from when I first got into horses and they used hand floats with gags to now the speculums and power tools, lights to see with. Still gives me the heebees to stick my hand in the horse's mouth with them in the speculum!
- Posted: Fri Jan 14, 2011 3:24 pm
Joined: 17 Oct 2007
Location: Mahopac New York
I am just going to weigh in with my DVM degree and open mind about assessing anecdotal experiences vs/ balanced with some facts as we know them ( and know that facts can change- over 30 years in practice all studies do not hold up over time....)
Deworming practices have changed in recent years- favoring less routine deworming . fecal egg counts as one method to assess need and most importantly herd/ environmental dynamics-
what is important is to find best risk/cost/ benefit to meet your horse's needs and your pocketbook
I have not seen the damage done (over time or immediate) with properly assessed vaccination protocols- there are always rare isolated cases of problems- but again- especially for the basics= Rabies, TT-EW, West nile for endemic areas- I would think of them as yearly basics that offer better protection- than risk of exposure and these are effective vaccines - Potomac, Flu-Rhino= have some issues as far as protection- so use according to your perceived risk:benefit tolerance ( I do flu-rhino once a year ( not traveling much with my horses and very little trailering in/out of their herd mates) Potomac- I am not using at this time- despite recent"outbreaks"- as efficacy of this vaccine has me skeptical of its benefits ( tho - many 'natural " horseman used it this year with the same information about the"outbreaks"( which were real but isolated)
FOrtunately personally = I have easily maintained = non insulin issue horses- and am not seeing problems with good grass hay as 1' nutrient and some packaged feeds for meals- 2x/day- I do believe that research about processing and feed utilization has kept up with meeting the demands of most horses responsibly and it is not needed for most to feed organic foods or lots of supplements if basic nutrition is solid. I do not at all agree that bagged /processed horse feeds are all ( or even most) like Mickey D's- and most if not all the ingredients are natural ingredients ( plant derived) not made in a laboratory nor garbage) I greatly appreciate that Less is More and that Nature is predominant force in any outcome - but my professional hackles are up when "all things natural" is rolled out for the answer to every problem - so I will always look to help roll the dice using best judgement with as much information as possible ( sorting out the anecdotes from the science) and common sense. From my vantage point I have many good outcomes that happen "just because" and not going to pretend we have all the answers- but IF I have intervened I am going to hope that it was beneficial or at least did no harm.
Danee- I would encourage you to be confident in your appreciation of your horse's spine issues and take the opinion of others with that in mind- I think that spine issues / hips being "out" etc are recent catch all- problem and your observations of his tension/ vs "hardness' is interesting- and just wondering if you didn't have the performance pressure that you have with him that some of this would be less an issue if not on an external timeline. good luck at the expo= hope you will have some fun things to share after your 4 days there.
_________________ Kathi H
- Posted: Sat Jan 15, 2011 1:54 am
Joined: 15 Jan 2007
Location: Grantville, PA
WOW! Okay my veiws on almost EVERYTHING are right in the middle- we vaccinate for all the big stuff once per year, we worm about four times a year unless a horse seems prone to infestation, (egg count or observation), and we use a minimal amount of a good quality, well researched grain with a maximum of the best hay and/or pasture we can find. If our horses are a good weight, have shiny coats, and good energy levels, we leave well enough alone!!
So back to the thread- I really do believe his spine is just his conformation since he does have decent muscle- his spine is just higher. But that said, I try to be open minded and take in all posiblities. Heck his teeth did not occur to me until last month and I have owned him over 2 years! I know I probably should be more estudious about saddle fit (I ride so many different horses I would drive myself nuts if I got too picky about saddle fit!) And we have had a couple horses that carried there weight so funny you couldn't decide if you should put them on a major diet or force feed them- depending on which body part you look at.
So I will take any suggestion into account- but if I check it out and think it's fine the way it is, then i am not going to change it.
I swear the world is trying to teach me something about having blanket opinions- Out of shear curiousity one day I rode him in draw reins. ( I couldn't believe I actually knew where they were!!!) The two things that always made me HATE draw reins were - A.) It makes horses short in the neck, and B.) It give riders the habit of merely cranking in the horse's head. So, just to prove me wrong, I guess, my horse was longer in his neck then ever, and, not sure why, but my hands were no longer fidgety- I guess I allowed the draw rein to do the micro managing and I simply didn't worry about it. Anyways- Rave was happy as a clam. So for anyone who is cringing (I would be if I were reading!) I only did simple basics in the draw rein- nothing where he would be unsure of his balance.
So I have been going back and forth between riding in a bit (with or without the draw rein) doing just good old solid basics, and riding in the halter, working on the things that are more physically demanding, where his balance is a little precarious. And I must say, I am seeing HUGE progress. Tonight his mouth was quieter then it has ever been, and he didn't do his mini-head-throws that have plauged us for two years (well, no where near as bad anyways!)
I do think the bit seats have been a HUGE help. But I am surprised how using a "gadged" that I despised isn't having the negative effects I always preached they have. Of course, I am still a little afraid of them! Maybe that's why its working!
Danee...you're right. I am cringing! I have nothing against some gadgets because I belive it is more about how the rider is using it. Interesting how you quieted your hands down - that probably has more to do with him being happy than anything else.
How draw reins work is to lengthen the neck (I used them a lot when I showed Arabians), however, pay close attention to the rest of the body, because usually it is a false frame. The horse tends to elongate and curl the neck but become more on the forehand and flatten the hindend - unless you are using spurs to lift the mid-section, which at that point is a false roundness anway.
The horse uses the head and neck for balance. What the hindend is doing directly affects the position of the frontend. Unless the horse is super schooled, you cannot set the head and the back will follow. If the head and neck is changing without changing the hindend first, you may be causing problems yet to come and possibly lose some good things you have.
I know you know this, just be more aware of it when you magically see the frontend look better.
My guess is you are using a broken snaffle. The proper way to ride in one of these is to keep you hands close together so any aides happen on the sides of the mouth (the lips) and the mid part of the snaffle stays quiet. Once you open your hands, the bit now works on the bars and the palette, it is a much tougher feel. Draw reins work on this point. They pull the sides of the bit down or more toward the neck (depending on how they are connected) and jack knife the snaffle into the roof of the horses mouth and press down on the bars.
The easiest way for the horse to avoid this is to overbend so the mid part of the snaffle lays along the tongue and quits jamming the palette. To be able to get that extreme angle, the neck has to elongate - which is why this method is so popular with the Arabian show folks. Unless a lot of force on the rein is used, the horse mostly drops right onto the forehand also. This is a method used with a lot of german dressage trainers with a young horse on the lunge to get them to stretch down, get onto the forehand to free up the back and get the hind legs moving deep underneath the horse. I know, I've been through it myself and can tell you the things you have to fix up later are very tough at that point.
Getting right down to it, it acts as a pulley system so you can apply more force. The force works on the jaw, which causes tenseness in the neck. Every horse I've seen in draw reins with any pressure on them, looks like a stallion when they arch their neck; however, the arch is from extreme flexion and tightening - nothing relaxed and supple about it. It forces the jaw open, but instead of dropping and softening, the horse draws the jaw up into the TMJ and stiffens. Simply do a Bing search on Draw Reins on Horses in images and see all the over flexed necks - even on horses just standing still!
It is a quick fix that most trainers use at the begining of a horses' training to set the head or loosen the back. Not something used at advanced levels.
Just some things to think about...
- Posted: Sat Jan 15, 2011 2:22 pm
Joined: 07 Feb 2010
Location: Kingston, Ontario
Out of shear curiousity one day I rode him in draw reins....
...So, just to prove me wrong, I guess, my horse was longer in his neck then ever, and, not sure why, but my hands were no longer fidgety- I guess I allowed the draw rein to do the micro managing and I simply didn't worry about it. Anyways- Rave was happy as a clam. So for anyone who is cringing (I would be if I were reading!) I only did simple basics in the draw rein- nothing where he would be unsure of his balance....
... Tonight his mouth was quieter then it has ever been, and he didn't do his mini-head-throws that have plauged us for two years (well, no where near as bad anyways!) ...
... Of course, I am still a little afraid of them! Maybe that's why its working!
I'll admit, I cringed a bit!
Not that I'm saying I don't believe you here, but the way you've worded this makes it seem like there was something else at play here;
Your hands were very careful and you were less demanding and 'nit picky' with the draw reins, and suddenly he went better? Since we can't see you guys working, could you clarify? Have you tried riding him without the draw reins in this less demanding (balance-wise) way with the same level of care to what your hands were doing (or weren't doing!) without using the extra rein, and if so how did it go?
As far as gimmicks go, I'm not totally against them. I do believe that whoever decides to use them should have a very firm grasp of bio-mechanics and a thorough knowledge of what exactly the device is doing and what the dangers of it are so they can have a plan for how they are going to use it and when they should stop. Most people don't, so most times I tell students not to use them.
As far as Rave goes, and correct me if I'm wrong, but boiling it down - he has balance issues combined with stiffness/tension, and lateral gaits, much of which can be attributed to conformation? The major downfall of draw reins (in my experience with them) is that it can create that darned rubber necked horse that is almost impossible to correct and they don't do a thing to improve balance or engage the HQ. However, using them carefully as you seem to be doing could theoretically be used to give him the spinal elasticity that you need to correct his headset so you can show him how to bascule and balance properly. Which seems to be what's happening.
Speaking of elasticity and thinking back to that debate over holistic vs. traditional treatments. Does anyone here use tissue salts (schluster salts)? I've been using them off and on for some of my animals for the past two years now, to pretty decent results. They might help a bit with what you're trying to do with Rave.
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