Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Bring Back Basic Boarding

I have a friend who is an experienced rider with a finished horse, and she simply cannot find a suitable place to board her horse.  Her “wish list” isn’t that long or difficult…24/7 pasture turnout with a stall for bad weather, an arena with good footing, and a knowledgeable staff that can take care of her horse if he gets sick or injured.  It’s basic horse boarding, and it’s not as easy to find as you might think!

Finding a barn with 24/7 turnout isn’t easy, and turnout on pasture narrows the field (no pun intended!) even further.  But, often times when you do find it, you also find requirements to take riding lessons or to have your horse in training.  Not only is it expensive, it may be totally unnecessary and even seems a little presumptuous of your barn to decide what lessons and training you and your horse need!

We believe horses should be allowed to be horses, with 24/7 turnout and stalls only when bad weather threatens.  We will do everything we can to ensure your horse is happy and healthy.  And, we do offer lessons, training and exercise, but we’ll leave it up to you to decide what you want and when.  Basic boarding is alive and well here at Cold River!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Rider Error

I was talking to a friend recently and she pointed out how professional riders/trainers....even Olympians.... almost always take responsibility for problems they have during a show.  A horse refuses a jump, doesn't pick up a lead change or dodges a cow and the rider will say it was their fault for not setting them up properly.  For those who don’t ride horses, it seems strange to hear a competitor refrain from blaming the horse.

And, it really should be that way, regardless of whether we’re talking about high level competitors with their horse athletes, or the weekend trail rider.  I wish I could say that’s the case.  Too often, I hear a rider complain that their horse didn’t negotiate an obstacle willingly, didn't stop on their hindquarters or behaved badly. 

If we all took the approach with our horses the Olympic competitors do, how much more might we achieve?  Willingness is the result of your horse’s physical ability and confidence to perform the task you’re asking.  Getting the correct lead also requires physical ability and accuracy in your cues for it.  It’s rare that a horse’s behavior is psychologically-influenced bad behavior, and much more often fear or pain, or a combination of both.

Our approach here at Cold River is to ensure the horse is healthy and happy, recognizing that horses get sore, fatigued and even bored with their repetitive jobs.  Cross-training in the AquaTred underwater treadmill or EquiCizer tie-free hot walker freshen your horse’s mind while working a wide range of muscle groups and warding off fatigue and pain from carrying a rider.

So, the next time your horse performs less than perfectly, consider your role in both his care and training.  And, if you need help giving your horse the knowledge or physical ability to do better, keep us in mind.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Olympic Thoughts – Human vs Equine Athletes

We all watched in awe as so many amazing athletes competed for gold with the best of the best, from all over the world.  It takes more than just determination to be a top performer in a competitive sport.  It takes practice, fitness, nutrition and training, and this holds true for equine as well as human athletes.

For an equine athlete, the responsibility for all of these key ingredients falls on the owner.  The sports our horses compete in, from competitive trail to racing and jumping, all require that we make sure they are properly prepared.  Doing so not only gives them the best opportunity for success, both short- and long-term, it also reduces the chance they will be injured or in pain. 

Sometimes our best intentions aren’t enough, and life gets in the way of providing consistent exercise and fitness training for your horse.  That’s where Cold River can help!

Keep your horse fit with high-resistance, low-impact whole-body workouts in the AquaTred to build and strengthen muscles.  Riderless sessions in the EquiCizer also build fitness without human interference, allowing your horse to work his topline without the added weight, and in a much safer environment than traditional hot walkers. 

Trailer in and out the same day, or leave your horse with us for multiple daily sessions.  We will help you build a fitness program that works for you and your horse at Cold River Equine!

Stormy Dilemma - To Stall or Not to Stall?

Horses love being outside, so those of us who have that option are happy to let them enjoy the pasture or paddock as much as possible.  But, when the weather turns nasty, we’re faced with the choice of leaving them out to weather the storm, or bring them into the barn.

The biggest objection I hear to the “bring them in” option is, “but they’ll surely be killed or seriously hurt if a tornado blows down the barn.”  That’s true, but they can also be impaled by flying debris if that tornado hits when they’re outside. 

If there isn’t a tornado bearing down directly on your barn, here are some other reasons to consider bringing your horse inside…

  • rain can make for slick footing, and a slip can damage tendons & ligaments
  • lightning strikes aren’t that uncommon, and they will kill a horse
  • hail is very painful anywhere it hits a horse, and it can cause serious eye injuries
  • in a violent storm, horses can panic and run into or through fencing, resulting in serious and even life-threatening injuries
  • repeated drenching over several days is an opportunity for the “rain rot” fungus to infect your horse, causing hair loss and discomfort
At Cold River, we have permanent boarders as well as temporary equine residents for training and rehabilitation, and for owners traveling on vacation or business. We use a “bring them in” policy if we think any of these conditions might threaten their well-being.  Just one more reason you can trust Cold River with your horse!