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Emergency Situations

I guess we all hope that we won't have to deal with an emergency situation, particularly when it comes to our horses.  They can be flighty, stressed out, and seemingly illogical, particularly in the face of danger.

This week we had to evacuate 10 horses from our property, due to the threat of out of control bush fires.  We were lucky in a lot of ways;

1. We had people that could help drive trailers - one friend had a 2 horse trailer, another had a stock crate that could take 3, we had our own 2 horse, so this meant we only had to do a couple of trips each, and they were all out.

2. We had somewhere to go.  As it turned out once we made this decision, within a few hours of moving them to the new location, we were alerted that this new location was also under threat, as was a few hundred kilometres of the east coast.  Upon assessment of the property we had evacuated to, which also had 16 horses, it was deemed to be the best location we could be in, in terms of managing the horses during a fire.

3.  The majority of our horses were easy to handle, catch and load.  Do they get excited in a stressful situation - of course, they are horses.  All of them can be caught easily, and all of them load well except 2, who will load but just need a little more time due to lack of experience.  

All of our horses will also load onto any trailer (straight or angle load, step up or ramp). 

This was probably the most important part of the entire operation.  The first 2 points you could call good fortune or luck, but the 3rd, that's the result of us investing in our horse's training, from day 1.

Having horses that even non-horse people could lead, hold and load, meant that the entire process of evacuating 10 horses went quicker, kept the horses closer together which alleviated anxiety issues from being separated.   

Investing in your horse's mental health as part of their training helps to keep you, and them safe in times like these.

 Even our 2 that weren't 'straight on' loaders took maybe 10 or 15 minutes to get in the trailer confidently and smoothly.  These 2 horses were only hesitant as they have only been trailered a handful of times.  

But what helped is that both of them have done lots of trust-building training, confidence training, and solid citizenship training.

These often overlooked areas of our horse's training are a huge investment in our horse's overall mental health, which of course translates into saddle work.

As part of the foundation of my horse's training, all horses get;

Citizenship training - leading, trailering, rugging, pickup feet, and all the things that we do with our horses on a day to day basis.

Confidence training - helping our horses become 'thinking horses' and building their ability to solve problems and find solutions.  "Action not Reaction"

Trust Building - Exposing our horses to 'scary things' and building and preserving their curiosity, helps the horse build trust in humans.

All of these, of course, are reflected in our horses day to day behaviour, their riding, and of course when they are under stress.

I noticed that our horses who are usually not really worried when one gets taken away or moved etc were particularly in tune with the entire herd's location, and did get stressed when someone was moved beyond the 'safe boundary'.  This is of course because they are aware of the danger, and the way to protect the herd from danger is to 'huddle up' and get closer.  Knowing our horses psychology is also vital knowledge for us to have, so we can help to predict their behaviour.  What was particularly noticeable to me was that even though they were stressed, they did not become dangerous, or difficult to handle, they just got a little 'up' but still responded to their handlers.  This is exactly what I want to happen in my horses if they get stressed - they remain citizens enough that they can be handled.

Invest in your horses foundations - it could save your, or their lives.

I hope that everyone is safe xx


Tk xo





 
Our foundation Clinic has been rescheduled to December 14, 15 and 16!  

Due to the fires we have had to reschedule this course, and unfortunately, not everyone is able to make it, so we have had a few places become available at early bird pricing!  Here is the rego form with the old dates on it :) 
Do you have a horse that needs to be started under saddle, or would benefit from a restart?

Restarting your horse under saddle means taking everything right back to square one, and making sure that all those little areas have been completed.  We have had several horses attend this course as a restart, and they are flourishing under saddle. 
Don't forget to register for our annual Kickstart 5 day course!  The best way to start the year with your horse, and set yourselves up for a fantastic 2020!
GROUND EXERCISES ONLINE!  So!  I have converted all the Ground Exercises from our DVD to an online workshop.  It has been submitted to the online platform and is waiting for approval.  Use this link to gain access for just $14.99!  The regular price is $24.99 and the facebook price will be $19.99 so you won't get it cheaper than right here on the newsletter!

It is the footage from about 3 years ago when we filmed the DVD but has so much great information in it.  And this is a perfect way for those of you who already have the DVD to be able to access each ground exercise on your mobile or computer.
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