Evidence-Based Horsemanship moves forward

Great news for those interested in Evidence-Based Horsemanship:

Horseman Martin Black and neuroscientist Dr. Steve Peters have a DVD in the works and a May seminar planned.

The DVD will be an introduction to concepts articulated in the book, Evidence-Based Horsemanship, published in 2012. Producer Emily Kitching, president of Eclectic Horseman, said it will be out this spring.

The production “will give people a deeper understanding of horsemanship,” said Kitching, who has overseen articles and DVDs by fnkyhorseheadsome of the world’s finest horsemen and women.

“This DVD will validate what good horsemen and women know to be true, but haven’t known why it’s true,” said Kitching. “It demystifies things without taking anything away from the horse.”

Black, who traveled to Colorado to work on the project with Kitching and Peters, said making the film is a bit like mining: “There’s a lot of material. We’re sorting through it to find the precious minerals,” he said.

Added Peters, “We felt strongly that we wanted to capture these concepts in actual footage to allow our audience to better visualize the concepts from the book.”

The upcoming three-day seminar will be held in Sherwood, Oregon (just outside Portland), May 31-June 2. It starts with a free Friday evening session and follows with chock-full days on Saturday and Sunday. Total cost is $250. For more information, click here.

Thanks for your vote!

Over the years, NickerNews and BestHorsePractices have attracted an incredibly vibrant community of like-minded readers. esma1

  • You are curious, life-long learners with a passion for doing what’s best by your horse.
  • You are positive and enthusiastic.
  • You motivate me.

Thanks to you, both sites have advanced to the finals of the Equestrian Social Media Awards. NickerNews returns to the Best Blog finals; BestHorsePractices enters the finals for Best Newcomer.

Again, Thank You for your continued support.

pIf you haven’t already, check out this video.

Or head over to the ESMAs to vote. Simply click here, then scroll to Numbers 13 and 14. You will see us there.
To celebrate the nominations, we have great giveaways on both facebook pages. You can enter by commenting on facebook’s NickerNews and BestHorsePractices pages.

This Colt Starting recipe has better ingredients

The Road to the Horse has become one of the most popular horse training events in the world. It offers spectWANTED_POSTER2-1ators flashy performances along with shopping experiences in the horse-rich community of Lexington, Kentucky.

But what does it offer the horse?

More and more horsemen and women believe the event is detrimental to the horse, giving it a frenzied, dumbed-down start they’d never wish on their own colts.

Dean Voigt doesn’t mince words about RTTH:

“It’s quite appalling what they’re doing to the horses,” said Voigt.

He’s offering a healthy and refreshing alternative with “Become a Horseman, Colt Starting Symposium” in Reno, Nevada. The event features Dan James, Jason Patrick, and Glenn Stewart from April 4-6. There is no competition, so clinicians can offer what’s best for the horses without judges weighing in on their performance.

1Read interview with Dan James.

In the mornings, the horsemen will work with mustangs.

Afternoons feature young ranch horses.

Each clinician will work with an apprentice, too, so the audience can see and hear the men guide less experienced riders.

“I want that interaction, so people can see the little things that need to be done,” said Voigt.

The symposium will be emceed by the popular RFD-TV host, Rick Lamb, and features daily Questions and Answer sessions. Check out details here.

Looking back, looking ahead

2013 was a heckuva year for NickerNews and BestHorsePractices.

header_home_02It started last winter with a bang. Two bangs, actually.

The first came with NickerNews’ nomination for Best Blog in the Equestrian Social Media Awards. The ESMAs featured an international field with most bloggers commercially backed. We advanced as finalists, were thrilled to compete, and excited that our supportive fans brought attention to NickerNews on a global stage.

The second bang came with the debut of BestHorsePractices. The new site offers reviews of research as well as goods and services. We call out those using sketchy science or bhp logononsensical practices. BHP applauds those using sense and science to improve the lives of horses. Popular articles included features on blanketing, rider weight, Lyme disease, acupuncture, feel, and the NAS study on mustang policy.

But as the saying goes: There’s nothing more certain than change.

After five years of free newsletters, this year, we’re moving to paid subscriptions. For the price of a sandwich, you can continue to enjoy all NickerNews and BestHorsePractices has to offer, including popular stories like our interview series with Unbranded, trail riding adventures, and training reports and links to newsworthy topics.

Subscribe now.

westChange occurred on a personal level, too.

I continued a westward trek that started with a 2011 idea, followed by a 2012 move from Maine to Iowa. Steve Peters and I moved with my sons, horses, dogs, and cat to Utah where we now live next to public wilderness land.

Thanks again for your fantastic, continued support.

Happy trails and stay in touch. I love hearing from you. Click here to contact.

First Trail Ride, Part II

The first trail ride with the mule proceeded after she gave me a few bucks and raced towards trees and our fence. (Thank you, trees and fence for stopping us.)
Read Part I.
j 1Steve and Comet were crucial riding partners. They rode ahead and blocked Jolene from bolting. And they gave her a reason for riding away from home.
I tried to relax, giving Jolene plenty of slack in the rein as we moved down the path. She lowered her head and loosened into our pace (a fast walk with some trotting).
Occasionally, I’d ask her to turn by bumping her with one rein. This made her tense, but she complied.
What I realized immediately was her unwillingness to bend her head and completely stop. Too much rein would speed her up, not slow her down.

All that vital lateral flexion discussed in the Bolting article?

All that ground and round pen work?

Forget about it.

Still, I wasn’t going to get into a big fight or do anything to make this first outing anything but a good time. With this mule, at this stage, a good time was my highest priority.  We’d work out kinks on subsequent rides.

Indeed, horsewoman Kyla Pollard provided some excellent pointers for the brace-y horse:

  • If you pick up a feel, like the one feel that you would like her to respond to and she doesn’t feel back to you i.e. a brace, hold that brace and bump her lightly, getting more and more annoying. Increase the level of discomfort in phases so she appreciates that first feel you offered her. Be sure NOT to put slack back in the rein when you are bumping. It must be associated with that brace.
  • Get way out to the side, turn your thumb down and with the rein in your closed hand. Use your triceps, not your biceps. Think: Out and high to tip that nose.
  • Remember: they don’t know how to push, brace, or pull until the human shows them. If she gives to the ‘bumps,’ throw slack into that line so she hunts that soft feel up.
  • Think steel hand in velvet glove on that rein. Don’t let it slip out, but, definitely release on the slightest try and throw slack right back at her if she comes off that feel.
  • Remember, pick up a feel. If there is a brace, bump, bump, bump until she is so uncomfortable and gets off of it.

Next, ponying gives Jolene an alternative lesson in bending and feel.


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