Welcome Diego!

Our horse family has grown by one! We welcome Diego to the farm. Diego (until he reveals his REAL name) is a 16 month old Friesian Percheron Paint cross.  He was raised by a small breeder in upstate New York. Her care for her horses shines through in his amazing disposition. That alone gives him a huge jump-start in our horse training program!

friesian percheron paint and appaloosa

He lay dozing his first morning here as “Uncle” Pete, the wise Appaloosa, kept watch. Diego watched me slowly approach, but remained reclining, relaxed in his trust in humans.

As I cuddled with him, I looked down:

lucky four leaf clover

I consider that four-leaf clover a good sign 🙂

Diego settled right in. He is now out with the geldings learning about life and appropriate horse behavior from the herd. He will grow strong running our rolling pastures. He’ll learn partnership with humans through natural horsemanship principles. Eventually he’ll be started with classical dressage and go on to eventing, medieval reenacting, and horse shows… with lots of trail riding thrown in!

We can’t wait to share his development… naturally!

Welcome to the Family

We have a  new member of the family!  “Diego,” as we are calling him until he tells us his permanent name, is a 16-month old Friesian Percheron Paint cross.

new friesian paint percheron cross with appaloosa

 After I greeted him, I looked down in the grass:

lucky four leaf clover

We take that as a very good sign!

Diego is out with the geldings now learning the ropes.  He will grow up in our green fields.  He’ll be started using natural horsemanship principles.  He’ll most likely enjoy the variety of dressage, eventing, trail riding, and medieval reenactments, with some horse shows thrown in.  We look forward to posting his progress!

 

 

Congratulations, New Horse Owner!

Congratulations are in order to Cappy from Albany, NY. Cappy is Zydeco Boogaloo’s proud new owner.

Boogie traveled “like a lady” to her new home. Her new name will be “Adrianna.” We can’t wait to hear updates!

Horseback Trip Cost Calculator

Nothing beats trailering to off-the-farm field trips for increasing a horse’s confidence and competencies… and nothing is more fun!

We just discovered this trip cost calculator.  How cool!  Our F350 didn’t show up in their automatic fields, but they allow you to enter your own information.

Before you hitch up your horse trailer and load your tack and your horse for a clinic, horse show, or trail ride, plug in your stats. You’ll find out how much fuel you’ll use, how much it’ll cost, and even where to find cheap gas and diesel along the way!

What’s big horsey adventures are YOU planning?  Share your plans in our comments!

A New World on Horseback

I am juiced to start the day after a phone call with Kathy. She called to touch base on today’s training sessions. Christa wanted to add Ebony to the list, to develop her canter transitions. We agreed it was too windy to practice trailer loading, which is the next hurdle to their updated goal of trail riding in new places. The last thing in the world an unconfident horse new to trailer loading needs is swinging gates and banging doors!

“This is so cool!” I exclaimed while we were plotting strategy. “Your world just keeps getting bigger and bigger!”

The Knock horsewomen have been dedicated to growing their natural horsemanship skills. Over the past few years they have built a solid foundation for enjoying their horses in limitless situations. Instead of hitting the glass ceiling of reaching a goal only to find there’s no place new to go, the Knocks realize that the world of horsemanship is infinite. Yes they can horse show… and they can trail ride, and perform dressage tests and quadrilles (drill team), and three day event and dress up for medieval reenactments, and endurance race, and play polo and polocrosse, and show jump, and team pen… the possibilities pile up!

What a great world to explore in partnership!

What have been some of YOUR a-ha moments?  What skill opened a door for you and your horse that expanded YOUR world?

Click “Comments”  below and  share with our community!

Recent Anne 340 Photos

Tonia, Gracie’s breeder, is a wonderful correspondent! These photos of Grace’s sire Anne 340 greeted me from my inbox this morning.

Tonia bred Hillie, Grace’s mom, back to Anne 340 last spring. We agree it is a wonderful cross!

anne 340 friesian stallion

Anne 340 Friesian Stallion

anne 340 friesian stallion trot

Anne 340 Trotting Loose

anne 340 frisian stallion spanish walk in hand

Anne 340 Spanish Walk In Hand

anne 340 friesian stallion spanish walk

Anne 340 Spanish Walk Bareback

Natural Horse for Sale Sites

While updating our resource of “Horse for Sale” websites over at wvhorsetrainer.com, we found a new site showcasing classified ads of naturally trained horses.

We’ve thought about hosting free classified ads for the natural horsemanship community here at Horses…Naturally! I’m always reluctant to feature anything I haven’t seen “with my own eyes,” and this includes thousands of strangers’ horses!

On the other hand, it could be a valuable resource to connect natural horsemen and women with their equine partners-to-be, and to help good horses find homes fluent in natural horsemanship.

So, dear readers, sound off! Would you like to see a corner of our site dedicated to naturally trained horses for sale? We could We love to hear your opinions!

Indian Summer- Warm Weather Natural Horse Care

Indian summer weaves its way between cold snaps here in wild, wonderful West Virginia. I welcome the warm sunshine which glows through the foliage. I can take off my winter coat, but the horses can’t.

As I wait for the wash bucket to fill to sponge off a very sweaty Bogey, I think about the challenges Indian summer presents to horses, and the ways a natural horseman can meet those needs.

Provide plenty of clean water. Even if he doesn’t appear sweaty, your horse is struggling to keep his temperature down under all that winter wool.

Make sure your horse has access to the electrolytes and minerals that he needs. Whether you use a traditional salt block or, as we prefer at Natural Horse Training Methods, free choice loose minerals, be sure your horse is provided for. If your horse is in heavy training, this may be a good time to supplement with additional electrolytes.  Beware of formulas with lots of sugar and artificial flavors and colors.

Be aware of your horse’s exertion level during work. A natural horsemanship exercise which may be easy under normal circumstances may cause more stress on a warm day to a horse with a thick winter coat. Adjust rest periods accordingly.

Rethink your routine. If heat is going to stress your horse unduly, plan on a slower workout. Practice perfecting tough exercises at walk. The precision you gain will enhance those same movements at faster gaits when the heat wave breaks.

Sponge your horse off well after a training session. Slosh him with cool water then immediately scrape him, several times over. Body heat transferred to the water will be removed when you use your sweat scraper. If you do not sweat scrape, the layer of water on the horse will have the same effect as a thermal blanket!  Sloshing and scraping over and over will help pull heat out quickly.

For a more comprehensive list of suggestions, check out our free article, Natural Horse Care in the Heat. Do you have any tips and tricks you’d like to share with our community? Sound off in the ‘Comments’ section of this blog post.

Natural horse trainers–these suggestions also apply to you! Often we get so caught up in caring for our horses that we forget our bodies need the same care and nutrition we give our horses. Drink more water than you think you need, sample some new flavors of Gatorade, and remember your sunscreen!

Family Trail Ride: Horse Dreams Come True II

The family was finally ready to live their dream of a family trail ride. I trailered the ever-dependable Lucy over to join them. While the family was tacking up, Lucy and I fully enjoyed playing in an actual ARENA. Our grassy riding area at home has lots of obstacles and natural challenges, but the consistent sand footing and an actual “rail” were a nice change.

 

Laura was ready first. we played a couple of games with bending poles and pick-up cones waiting for the others. Lucy settled right in with the strange horses to give her nicest canters ever and even show off a little in the games. At around 16.2 hands, Lucy towers over the family’s Quarter Horses. Her long and floating strides made the arena seem small.

 

Everyone assembled, made sure their breaks and steering worked, and checked their girths a final time. I hung the camera off my saddle.

 

Love, dedication and natural horsemanship laid the foundation. Autumn’s glory set the stage. Let the Dream unfold!

 

 

 

Dream come true:  ready for a family trail ride on horseback

“Ready to Ride!” The Knock family and Lucy. I’m on Lucy’s back, shooting the picture.

 

 

 

The old man in the oak, a burl in an ancient tree looks decidedly Entish

Straight from Lord of the Rings,”The Old Man in the Tree” looks like one of Tolkein’s Ents

 

 

Shed building

We pass the guys assembling a new chicken coop in the back field- and see another kind of Deere.

 

Horse supervises shed project

“Do they know what they’re doing?” June seems to ask.

 

 

 

…Now to find a husband horse for Dad!

Horse Dreams Come True

I started teaching the Knock’s several years ago.  Their dream was to trail ride as a family.  When we started, they had one young, barely broke, extremely fearful Quarter Horse.  Hardly material for group pleasure ride success!

Stormy the been-there-done-that school horse joined the family.  The flashy but fiery Tommy “followed them home” from a horse sale and left later, much better behaved but still too exuberent to trust to a family trail ride.  Saintly Molly the Mule looked to be the perfect husband horse but a vicious, aggressive tumor took her all too soon.

Through it all, Christa persevered with Ebony, the original QH filly.  Natural horsemanship techniques built her confidence and her skills in both the English and Western disciplines.  Clicker training gave her a “why” (release of pressure, “good girl” and a scritch weren’t motivation enough for her deeply introverted personality).  Christa’s horsemanship and equitation blossomed.  When we realized according to an arbitrary rule that Ebony would need to wear a curb bit and do flying lead changes (neither of which she was ready for) to show in the next Western division, we quickly taught both horse and teenager the basics of hunt seat and jumping and sent them to clean up in the English arena.

Christa and the younger Laura (matched with ever-reliable Stormy) dominated the local show circuit.  Mom Kathy tested and expanded her horsemanship with Tommy  and Molly.  Dad joined in for field trips to horse expos and Parelli Tour Stops, but “Family trail ride” lingered untouched on the goal list.

June joined the family this summer.  Not the perfect pleasure mount, but she and Kathy clicked. Extra training sessions brought her along quickly.  Most importantly, Kathy’s confidence soared.  After all this time supporting her daughters and diligently taking lessons, she had a trustworthy horse “of her own!”

At last, the stage was set for the dream to come true.