In this episode, Jec talks with Robin Foster, a certified applied animal behaviorist and a professor at the University of Puget Sound in Washington State. Next week, Jec interviews BHPS presenter Martin Nielsen.
Foster cites an interesting study on grooming by Lea Lansade, a researcher in France.
There is a broad range of grooming concerns among us. Myself, I put almost no effort into grooming. I might brush where the saddle goes. Or instead, I might run my hand over that area. I check my horeses’ feet and pick out any pebble that might have wedged into the frog area. Sometimes I might spray them with bug spray. But mostly I saddle up and go.
I have seen that grooming, especially when it’s done after trailering somewhere and before a ride, has the effect of getting a horse pretty antsy.
There are a lot of things we humans do, from even before we collect them in the paddock to when we ultimately ride that amounts to what Warwick Schiller would call 13 Rabbits. Check out his Best Horse Practices Summit presentation on that here.
Fellow BHPS presenter, Amy Skinner, calls it trigger stacking. It’s the piling on of stressors that sometimes results in a bit of a cluster.
Lucerne Farms is a forage company based in northern Maine. Lucerne has an array of products, with timothy or alfalfa or timothy and alfalfa, with a touch of molasses, or not, for feeding your horses. Feeding forage is wwaayy better than feeding grain. That’s research-supported.
A little interview review:
Yay for ground tying. And yes, don’t trim those whiskers (which by the way are known as vibrissae and as Jec mentioned, are individual nerve conductors which send information to the brain about things like the texture and condition of what they come in contact with). Read more here.
And yes, if the haltering or taking out of the paddock or tying are things that stress the horse, then perhaps do something that will help your horse relax instead of forging ahead. Remember, the forging ahead is itself a human construct that horses don’t necessarily relate to.
There are a lot of things to consider when we interact with equines. The balance between being mindful of our impact on them and then actually getting stuff done – riding and what not, is something we waver over all the time. It’s good to hear folks articulate the variables and maybe this’ll spur some conversations.
We would like to thank Redmond Equine, Kate’s Real Food and Patagonia WorkWear for their continuing support. Please follow these brands and buy their stuff as they support us and what we’re doing. This month, we’re giving away a Patagonia WorkWear item to two lucky listeners. Check it out here.
Thanks for listening y’all!