Its been several weeks since the last time I have posted about her. Reagan is now 8 months old and weighed 492 lbs on October 16, 2017. We also have been able to obtain a height stick and she’s been at 12.1 hands.
The more time I have had with Reagan, the more I can see her personality. She is smart, gentle, bratty, sweet, and so much more. When put with others she always tries to be social. She loves going up to other horses and saying hello. We've now come to a better understanding of respect between the two of us so it doesn't feel like she's trying to run me over and I am not always nagging at her. I've been told she can be a little snot when it comes to feeding time though. She also tolerates me when I'm doing things around her. When brushing her mane and tail, she puts her ears back but doesn't fuss more than that. Even though we have not been working on desensitizing in a while, I can pick up where I left off and she still does well.
We have changed her workout routine so she gets out of the stall 5 days a week. When we did this, we noticed a decrease in her weight. She had lost a total of 10 lbs in 1 week. After, as a class we calculated the average amount of feed the weanlings should be getting and since increased the feed to that amount.
Recently we’ve noticed that the weanlings have been dragging their feet to and from workouts. Collectively, we brought it to the attention of our teacher. We suggested to have a day just to let them run and play and be babies. Finally he agreed so every other day we switch off between different groups of which babies get to play and which ones get to work.
For us it is fun to watch them play. They will run as a group make a hard stop and run to the other corner. We’ve also enjoyed that since we’ve worked with them enough, that after playing they still listen to us and lead nicely when getting put back.
Reagan has made huge progress when leading. She doesn’t try to run circles around me or try to take off. She’s quiet and walks nicely beside me. She’s also been really nice to catch. As soon as I open the stall door she’s waiting right there and doesn’t move until I ask her to come out of the stall.
Until next time!
So an update with Reagan. Within a week or so she has already gained 23 lbs since being out on the new feed. My teacher doesn’t want us to round pen them too much so they don’t learn to just run away. For the past two weeks we’ve been putting them on the Hot walker for excersize. They are also being worked every day now. I have been continuing to desensitize her when I get the chance. I will attach a photo of her below.
So with that I will attach a research paper I did on the history of the Percheron breed:
Percherons are known as one of the bigger equine breeds. These gentle creatures can stand between 15 to 19 hands and weigh around 2600 lbs. One of the many reasons that they are bred is for their good temperament. While being so big these horses are known to be smart, hardworking, as well as powerful. They are known for their big muscling in their legs making them look tough. Despite their size, they tend to have good conformation. When looking at the conformation, people look for a round hip, visible muscling throughout the body, wide chest, long croup, and have balance. The coloring of these horses originally was
predominantly grey and white. Today we have a range of colors such as grey, white, black, sorrel, bay, roans, as well as other coat colors. When looking at the Percheron, the most defining features are the neck, eye, forehead, and face shape. While they will have some markings, too much
white is considered undesirable. The difference between the mares and stallions is that the mares will have a more feminine look to their face than the stallions. Due to the way they carry their head with character, some think this is a clear tie to their Arabian lines.
The first original lines of the Percheron is still unclear, but their breed is known to be tied back to Le Perche, France. In the 17th century the breed was widely known in Europe. During this time horses were used for pulling carts and coaches. By the 19th century the breed was altered for war. A horse by the name of Jean LeBlanc was the first horse foaled after this alteration and the Percheron line now ties back to him. When the breed was first started they were mainly white and grey so that knights could see the horses in the dark. That way they could easily find the right kind of horse to pull. By the 19th century, the breed was being transported to the U.S. These horses became popular in the U.S. as well because farmers could use them on the farms and they can be used on the streets. By 1876 the Percheron Association was created and so was the first stud book for this breed. During WWII, the tractor was invented making the need for horses to diminish. By the renaissance the breed grew because they became useful for working in the snow where tractors would fail. After this Percherons were famous for hayrides, sleighs, and parades. Today these horses compete in fields like this such as hitching.
Since they are like draft horses, they have the similar characteristics and health. One of the weaknesses of this breed is that they are susceptible to the glycogen synthase 1 form of Polysaccharide Storage Myopathy. They are known to conduct scratches due to their feathers when it gets soaked and caked in soil during the wet season. The horses will experience muscles stiffness and weakness. One of their many strengths is that they are very versatile. Percherons have more agility than most draft horses. They can be trained to do anything from pulling carts to jumping. Due to their big nature, they can pull heavy loads and work long hours. They can adjust to different environments and conditions. To most people these giants are known as easy keepers and do not have a lot of health risks.
This information was found at www.percheronhorse.org/
This week was the first full week of working with the weanlings. Since they were born at the university they've had some human contact since birth. Within a week we've been working on getting them used to being haltered, working on desensitizing, and leading.
The horse I am working with is a 7 month old red roan filly named Reagan. She has a lot of energy which seems to make her pretty stubborn. I am still learning and figuring out her personality. With only a week I can see how much she trusts me.
Day 1: We separated the babies from each other. Reagan was not very happy with this. She was more focused on what the other horses were doing. Since Reagan was also not used to a halter she would toss her head. One of the first things we worked on is giving into pressure. This is important to try to make the training as blackand white as possible when they are just learning. If we release the pressure too late, just right, or too soon can make all the difference. As soon as she moves towards me when I pull on the lead is the moment I need to release. Other students were able to get their horses to start understanding the concept of leading. Sadly we weren't one of those people. This was the first day that I worked on getting her used to being touched everywhere.
Day 2: After not having a few days of class the babies were a little riled up. Al lot was changing in such a short time. Reagan was moved from the pasture to an invidual stall. At the same time her feed was changed and she was starting training. Getting her halter on was the easy part, leading her away from the stalls and to the out door arena was another story. She was doing circles around me and stalling out on our way over to the outdoor arena. I let her do this because she was going in the direction that I wanted her to. She also started to push against me to rub on me and just when we are walking. (This is not the correct way to do it). I was nervous about trying to control her because I want her to listen and be respectful, but at the same time I don't want to be too aggressive with her yet. With the help of my teacher I was able to understand and find the balance of what I should be doing. This day we worked on getting her used to the rope. I would swing it in circles beside me until she would relax and then I would stop. This also is based on the pressure/release method. When she relaxed from the pressure I was putting on her I would stop as a release. Reagan picked up on this quickly because by then end I was able to swing the rope over her and have the rope touch her legs without any drama.
Day 3: This day she was a lot better at leading but both of us has somethings to work on. She has become more comfortable with me haltering her and rubbing her down. On this day we worked on just starting round-penning. We learned about where we should stand, how we should hold the whip, and the difference between asking and commanding. The point of doing this was to gain their respect by getting them to move their feet. In the wild horses show dominance by how one horse is able to move the others around through body language. We also continued to rub her down to get her comfortable.
Day 4: Since the weather wasn't the best the teacher has us put the babies in the hot walker to keep up their conditioning. To get from the stall to the hot walker was the most calm walk we've taken so far. She respected my space and when she started to get in my bubble I would let her know. She wasn't trying to race past me either which was good. She was a little timid getting through the gate for her section in the hot walker but once inside she was fine. My smart a** filly figured out how to sneak under the barriers separating her between the horse in front of her. Luckily the colt didn't like her being their and started kicking her. I think from then she decided not to try it again. We separated her again and watched the babies interactions with the walker and their paces. (Some lazier than others). After 15 minutes we weighted them on a scale to monitor their progress and growth through the semester. Reagan weighs 464 lbs at 7 months of age.
Check back next weekend to read about the progress we are making as a team in class.
So this week my summer session is about to end. In a few weeks begins the real fun. I am so excited to start getting into my classes that are focused on my major.
This semester I am taking a class where I am assigned a foal that was born early this year to begin its training. I have done a little bit of training here and there but this time I will start with something brand new. With this class I will have a more constructive way of teaching and it will be more consistent than what I have done in the past.
Due to this, I am excited and nervous. With the little experience I have with actual training, I don't want to mess up. I do understand that there is a growth period with training, but I want to be one of those people who are just a natural at it. Training horses has been my dream since as far as I can remember and this class will truly tell me if I am cut out for it.
I am also going to mention that next this upcoming semester I will be taking a class called animal genetics and breeding. This class is going to be an interesting direction for me. I never thought I would be taking a breeding class. As mentioned before I have always been interested in the training side. This class will take me behind the scenes of what goes on in the breeding side.
I'll keep you guys updated on my classes and the progress I've been making. Wish me luck! Muah!
Progress... how do we really measure how one progresses. Is it based on a new skill we learn? Is it based on mastering a skill? Is it a tiny success? Is it a big success? Or is it based on if others notice a difference?
In my eyes, progress is the baby steps we take towards a goal. This could be from a tiny change or a monumental one. When training horses we have to notice the slight changes they make and consider them as progress. For example when teaching a horse to cross over the first sign of progress would be the horse shifting its weight. Same for people; while in training for any activity we have to reward ourselves for the tiny steps we make rather than waiting to reward ourselves for the end result. While riding, our progress can be as small as keeping our heels down or not trying to control the horse with our hands as much.
While taking my Equine Assisted Therapy class at Utah State, I have come to notice this in kids with special needs. For them, their progress is a huge deal while to others it may not be something as big. One of the kids I was working with didn't seem to want to interact with the horse as much. After a while, he felt comfortable enough to brush the horse a couple of times. Later we were able to assist him in leading the horse around the arena through different obstacles. While brushing a horse may not seem like progress to most people, for him it was. People who have disabilities can only handle so much stimulation at a time. Sometimes even touching and looking at the horse at the same time can be too much. This is why I think it would be valuable to everyone to figure out their own definition of progress.
For me I have to realize the small steps before the accomplishment. If I don't, then I start to feel discouraged. Like most people I like seeing the end result. But if I take the time to realize the small acts of progress the result will be that much more grand.
First off let me start by answering one question... What is equestrian vaulting? The answer is simple. Equestrian vaulting is a combination of dance and gymnastics on the back of a moving horse. This is one of the safest equestrian sports out there. With different elements, vaulting can be used as different therapy techniques. The basic ridding seat can help a rider with core strength and balance while doing the most basic skill. The mill is when the rider turns around in a full 360 while sitting of the horse. This skill will also help with balance as well as flexibility. These moves as well as others are important to develop motor skills, understanding instructions, and learning control.
For people who lack certain skills, vaulting can be essential to their routine. Equestrian vaulting is similar to therapeutic riding, the difference is that with vaulting riders have more freedom. In vaulting, riders can get sidewalkers for assistance just like in therapeutic riding. While being on the horse, riders understand how to do their moves with the movement of the horse and also learn spatial awareness while being on the horse. It also allows riders to move at their own pace so their skills can develop without getting overwhelmed. Riders form bonds with their horses and they learn to trust these big animals. With vaulting, the riders aren't the ones controlling the horses making it easier to focus on their own tasks. There are a few clubs in the American Vaulting Association who are made up of adults and kids with special needs. They don't let their disabilities stop them and they compete in AVA competitions. They put their hearts into the sport, and it shows that they have a good time.
For me vaulting was more of emotional therapy. With the stress from school, social life, and expectations I often found myself constantly overwhelmed. When I vaulted I was able to set challenges for myself and when I reached them I was relieved. By vaulting I could forget about the world around me and focus on what the horse and I were trying to accomplish during practice. I would look forward to practices where I can get my "aromatherapy" of horse smell and focus on the task at hand.
Therapy comes in many forms. Equestrian vaulting is one of the few that can be personalized to meet a wide variety of needs. While the challenges vary per rider the feeling of accomplishment and the relief from the therapy is a feeling that everyone can relate to. Vaulting is unique in the way that there are a wide variety of organizations. To find a competitive vaulting club near you visit https://www.americanvaulting.org/findclub/ .
Functional Electrical Stimulation, taking the world by storm. Physical therapy for humans is nothing new. In the equine industry, the world of therapy has advanced since the 1940’s. Linda McGonagle, a physical therapist and a veterinary technician, stated in an article “The field has been around since the 1940s. It's been developing in the U.K. for 30 to 40 years; in the U.S., physical therapists have been working in the animal field for more than twenty years” (Bryant). Physical therapy for animals has become a combination of human physical therapy and veterinary techniques. The goal of physical therapy is to renew function that has been lost in the body. With the advancement of technology in today’s medical field, a new form of therapy is using electrical stimulants. One of the most common forms is Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES).
“Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES) has been used extensively over several decades as an effective means to reduce or reverse muscle atrophy and to obtain some functional recovery by rehabilitation strategies for spinal cord injury patients,1-5 including those paraplegics with permanent and complete denervation of the legs (complete Conus and Cauda Equina Syndrome).6-23 The benefits of this technology are being expanded into other areas, and FES has been recently utilized for injury rehabilitation and performance enhancement in horses.24-27” [Ravara].
FES targets deep muscle and tissue to cause strong contractions meant for reducing pain. In a study done by Sheila Schils, she found that FES is proven to be beneficial and safe in the long –term. The Equine treated during the study showed signs of improvement from the treatments and remaining calm during the treatments. It's like a spa day! Vets will often recommend FES to patients who had muscle atrophy, muscle inflammation, scar tissue, and weak muscle or tendons. “The goal is to produce a smooth contraction and relaxation of both superficial and deep muscle groups that mimic a ‘real’ muscle contraction and relaxation cycle (hence producing “functional” movement), which helps damaged sensory nerve and muscle fibers heal, returning the muscle to a healthy state” (Oke).
FES has become more popular in the sport horse industry. With the amount of pressure the equines endure while training and competing they work down their tendons and muscles faster. After an injury, equines can experience muscle tightness and atrophy because when a horse is injured the natural electrical stimulation is disrupted. The three most common types of injuries in performance horses are in the suspensory ligament, the stifle, and sacroiliac damages. During performance or training an equine can create microtears (small rips) on the suspensory ligament which can lead to poor blood flow, inflammation, and strain. The stifle joint is made up of multiple structures where the injuries result from direct trauma. Most dressage and jumping equines will suffer sacroiliac damage in their lower back, causing signs of being “stiffed backed”. There are multiple theories that can help reduce the pain and inflammation. FES has become more popular because it is portable. This means that injuries can be treated at the competition and is comfortable for the equine during a stressful situation. “Many of the injuries encountered in athletic horses are the result of repetitive strain/overuse or speed” (Guelph). Racehorses are prone to ligament injures due to the amount of speed and force their ligaments endure with running at high speeds. It is important to keep updated on these injuries before they get to the point of having to put the equine down. In a study conducted by Cecilia Lönnell, Lars Roepstorff, Elin Hernlund, Caroline Schöön and Agneta Egenvall in the book: “Performance Diagnosis and Purchase Examination of Elite Sport Horses”; they found that injuries are often varied between rider and training conditions. The more the equine is pushed to work the higher the risk of injuries. FES is designed to promote blood flow and simulate the cells within the injury to regenerate the tissue. With time and treatment, the equines can return to training.
FES uses a microprocessor-controlled device to generate electrical impulses to the surface electrodes. These electrodes are placed on pads that sends electrical waves and then is placed on the area where the injury is. The electrodes come in a gel form making it easy to apply. Simulation of the electrodes are measured in volts to produce muscle contractions. The intensity is increased or decreased due to the severity on the injury. After the electrodes are placed on the equine and the microprocessor places the FES will begin to send electrical waves until the machine reads that there is a functional muscle reaction. When the FES machine is set for a higher intensity it is targeting the deeper muscles. With the signals being closer to the natural charges of the body it allows the treatment to be comfortable for the equine. By using the stimulation on different trigger points, it helps repair the sensory and motor responses of the equine. FES has assorted styles, in which can be applied to the equine. One way is by using a giant pad that covers most the lower back targeting those muscles. There is also a smaller pad that can be wrapped around the leg targeting the ligaments. FES is unique in the way it can be combined with acupuncture needles for electroacupuncture therapy. The treatment is one of the few that is modified specifically to each individual equine muscle. The practitioner needs to understand how the electrotherapy works to understand when it is and is not working and when the equine is uncomfortable.
Because FES is still a new part to equine therapy it isn’t a common treatment yet. There have been multiple case studies done with the FES treatment. The majority of them have resulted in recovery within a short time period. As stated earlier, FES targets inflammation, pain, muscle spasms, as well as other symptoms. By sending electrical waves deep to the muscles and tissues so increase stimulation leading to repair. FES is one that while being treated the equine can relax, eat, and drink as long as they don’t move too much while being treated. With performance equines under a lot of stress and training they are more prone to injury. Because of this their injuries have to be monitored and treated with therapy. FES can help the regrowth of the damaged tissues allowing the equine to return to training or to choose a new career path. FES is part of a wide variety of therapeutic treatment and this was one that is becoming well known in the equine industry.
Sorry this was a long post. This was research that I did for a class and I'd thought I should share it because it has been a topic of discussion. I hope you enjoy it!
• Schils, Shelia. Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES) in Equine Rehabilitation: Initial Observations (n.d.): n. pag. Web.
• Oke, Stacey. "Equine Functional Electronic Stimulation (FES)." TheHorse.com. N.p., n.d. Web.
• Ravara, Barbara et al. “Functional Electrical Stimulation as a Safe and Effective Treatment for Equine Epaxial Muscle Spasms: Clinical Evaluations and Histochemical Morphometry of Mitochondria in Muscle Biopsies.” European Journal of Translational Myology 25.2 (2015): 4910. PMC. Web.
• Bryant, Jennifer O. "Equine Physical Therapy." TheHorse.com. N.p., n.d. Web.
• Lindner, Arno. “Performance Diagnosis and Purchase Examination of Elite Sport Horses.” Web.
• Guelph, Equine. "Developing the Sport Horse: Common Injuries." TheHorse.com. N.p., n.d. Web.
Sorry I haven't been posting in while, with school I haven't had a chance to update. Today my mother sent me an article that showed what proper training and teamwork between horse and trainers can make a difference in a bad situation.
Here's what happened, during a show the Budweiser Clydesdale team was consisted of 8 horses attached to a wagon. While performing a series of difficult tasks, there was a shocking surprise. One of the clydesdales slipped causing two others to fall and get stuck under the equipment! Instead of what you might expect (the horses freaking out and others getting injured) the unexpected happens. The horses stop dead in there place and remain calm while the trainers race to rescue the stuck horses. It was amazing to see how good training of these horses lead to an amazing result.
After about 5 minutes the trainers were able to help the horses without any injuries. When training an animal you develop a bond. In this situation it took a lot of trust between horse and trainer. I hope that when I am able to train horses I can develop the same bond.
Here is the article with the video of what happend that was sent to me: http://thepublishable.com/watch-the-budweiser-clydesdale-trips-during-performance/
Online games can portray a sense of real life, but how real is it really? A popular game on Facebook called Farmville gives players a chance to take care of their own farm and become farmers in a way. Players don’t need to know anything about farming to play or even become successful in this game. Unlike real life, there are no chances of bad weather, no chances of animals dying, no chances of crops dying, and no chances of going bankrupt. When I played the game I had left multiple crops un-watered and animals unfed. Both the crops and the animals did not die. In the game players don’t have to worry about roll cropping because the soil never loses its nutrients. Each time you level up in the game you can earn power ups like more money or more supplies for the farm giving the game an unrealistic feel.
On the other hand there are a lot of aspects that are based on real life. The appearance of the farm is what you would expect. There is a small amount of land, a few animals, and a few plots for crops. Thee farm in this game is more based on growing crops to feed animals than a dairy farm or a meat farm. Unlike what you actually might see, the game has a “market stand” right in front of the farm while farmers now sell most of their products to the government that end up in our grocery stores. A common theme that I kept coming across was managing my inventory. As a farmer, one has to make a plan of what they have, how long the choice will take, and what type of farmer they want to be. This game seemed real because when you grew crops they weren’t ready to be harvested right away. Some crops took longer than others. Players were expected to plant the crops, water the crops, and harvest them. I kept making the mistake of “putting all my eggs in one basket”. Whenever I had plenty of supplies I would use them up right away to try to get tasks done faster but then I would be stuck until the crops were ready to be harvested or wait to have enough water. I am a very impatient person, so this was the hardest part for me. Just like in real life, there was always things to do. After you accomplish a set of goals in the game there were always more right around the corner. In real life, a farmer doesn’t get a day off. The farmer has to always work to feed the animals and sell the crops to make money. I enjoyed how the game offered many different ways of earning money like you would in real life. From the animals you can gain products like milk and eggs and from the crops you can sell them as is or make pastries to sell. Players act like farmers in the sense of making choices of what to use what products for. In the game you are the only one working. If there are a lot that needs to get done, you can hire help for money. This is true in the real world. Farmers will do the work all themselves but the moment it gets too much they will hire help they can afford. With more experience you got in the game, you then had the option to expand the farm. At the end of the day while not every game is going to be reality, I think that Farmville has a lot of aspects that resemble real life farming.
I decided to analyze the painting by Paulus Potter that was painted in 1647. It is part of the Mauritshuis collection in the Netherlands. The painting is titled The Bull or Young Bull because the younger bull in the center demands a lot of the attention. Paulus Potter designed the oil painting on a canvas to be life size. At first glance my eyes immediately went to the rancher who is keeping watch over his personal animals. He is the odd one out because he is the only human in the picture. The younger bull is followed by the rest of the animals lined up to the left of him. There is an older, larger bull at the feet of the first. Next to it are a mother sheep and her baby lamb. Last, standing next to the rancher is the ram. None of the animals close to the front of the picture seem to be the same age or gender. The painter wanted to focus on these few, animals compared to the other animals in the painting, because each animal has a specific meaning. After investigating farther into the meaning, I discovered that the bull was a symbol of prosperity for the Dutch and showed up in many of their paintings during this time period. I can only assume the reason why the cow represented prosperity was because ranchers with more cows tended to have more money. Ranchers would make their money by selling the cattle they had. Younger cows would be worth more because they had more potential. In the background, we can see the rancher’s field littered with other ranch animals. If all the animals in the picture belong to the man we can assume he is a wealthier farm owner. Throughout this course we have seen that most people have a different understanding of what farmers do and that there are many different levels of farming. People automatically go to the Hollywood version of a farmer who are poor and uneducated. In one of the chapters we read there are jokes that support this idea while people who have experienced the life of a farmer know that it is hard work. This painting represents the life of a rich farmer by highlighting the outcome of his hard work and his bright future with the young bull.
"Mauritshuis." Mauritshuis | Artstor. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Nov. 2016.
"The Young Bull." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 20 Nov. 2016.