Sample Class Page
The follow sample class pages are provided to give the viewers an opportunity to see what kind of information we are teaching. Two sample pages are provided as follows:
1. Equine Behavior: How Horses Learn - Managing the Horses' Mind
2. Equine Nutrition - Fats
In the next several lessons we are going to learn how the horse learns and
how the horse thinks. The years of training by force is long past. We must
learn how to think as the horse does, rather than to force the horse. We have
come to recognize today, that we cannot force a 1200 pound horse to do what
we want him to. Force works once in a while, as long as you can keep the horse
scared. If you want to be a professional trainer or want success in training
your horses, you must learn to think like the horse. In order to do this,
we must understand the horses' response to our training methods and know what
the horse is thinking about. In the next few lessons we are going to try to
explain things that we have learned from the past 40 years of combined time
training horses', studying training methods, and from teaching. I donít care
what subject it is, try teaching it to someone. You must understand the subject,
or you cannot teach it. I learn in every class I teach by observing the students
and their horses. A lot of good trainers train by reflex, but if you are going
to teach someone, you have to analyze what you do each step. I will be the
first to admit that our training methods have changed drastically over the
years. The biggest change in training methods today is that we have to figure
out a way to make training simple and step-by-step so the horses understand.
Our training methods must be so practical and easy to understand for the horse,
that it is hard for the human mind to break things down so simple. I cannot
stress enough that all training methods have to be done step-by-step, very
simple and very easy, for the horse to understand.
Before we can teach a horse anything, we must have his undivided attention. His mind must be on us and only on us. We must consider several things when we are trying to get this horses' mind. He must be relaxed, not scared and not full of excess energy.
His environment has a lot to do with his ability to be trained. Some horses are more relaxed turned out in the pasture than in a corral or stall. We turn most of our horses out during the night, and leave them in the corral through the day. If you are riding several horses, this cuts down on labor. The reason we only leave them out half a day is to help keep their mind relaxed. In our area, the grass is pretty strong, so if you leave them turned out 24 hours a day, they will get too fat and build up too much excess energy. Some horses cannot stand to be on grass, especially horses that are a little broncy or horses with too much thoroughbred in them. These horses get to feeling so good that it takes most of the training time to get their attention and leaves little time for training.
Some horses that are kept in stalls build up excess energy and want to buck or mess around, while others get cranky and don't want to do anything. We have to be able to read each horse and adjust his environment to help control his attitude. Every horse is different. This sometimes requires a trial and error method.
The second thing that affects their mind is feed. Some horses need grain to have enough energy to work, while some horses get high from grain or alfalfa. My experience has been that some horses are a lot higher on the grain that is high in protein. Grown horses do not need high protein rations, plus it is a waste of money. We will cover nutrition in detail in the Equine Nutrition class. Most horses are quieter on grass hay than on alfalfa hay. The high protein level in the alfalfa makes some horses high. We had an older barrel mare a few years ago that if you gave her even one flake of alfalfa, it would make her high. If you fed her grass and grain she was fine. We never put molasses on our grain. It is like giving kids candy and then asking them to sit still.
No matter how we manage a horse, some horses just need a lot of exercise to keep them from building up energy. There are a lot of horses that build up too much energy standing in a stall. If we have to keep a horse in a stall, we might have to lunge the horse or might have to work it in a round pen before we try to train him. We could get on and start riding it right out of the stall- but there's a good chance we will have several negative things happen: if he has been standing in the stall for several days, there's a good chance he is going to buck you off or he may just not want to pay attention. Sometimes we donít have a choice. We must keep a horse in a stall. If we are getting one ready to sell or show, he must be in the stall most of the day. We must remember to prepare these horses before we ride them to get their mind in a trainable state.
One of the hardest things about training horses is deciding if the horse is scared because he doesn't understand or if he just has too much energy and his mind is wandering. It may take a few days of working with this horse, doing groundwork and round pen work, before we can actually decide what is causing the problem. It will take a while to decide which method of feeding and management is the best method of managing this particular horse's mind.
|We must figure out a management system for each horse so the horse has a trainable mind.|
|A horse builds up a lot of energy standing in a stall. He is much better off out in the pasture or in a large corral. If that is not possible, then we must exercise him in some way to get rid of the excess energy before we try to train him.|
|Many horses have a more trainable mind if we feed them grass hay instead of alfalfa. This is to due to the fact that alfalfa is much higher in protein than grass hay.|
|Some horses are quieter kept in a corral being fed grass hay than they are turned out in the pasture. Green grass is very high in protein and makes some horses high.|
We sold a barrel horse to some people and after about six months they called and said they were having trouble with the horse not paying attention and he was really on the muscle (very tense). We had them bring the horse to our place so we could fix him. When he got there he was so fat and felt so good that he could hardly stand himself. I asked them what they had been feeding him. They said he was in a small lush pasture; had a protein tub to lick on, and that they were feeding him sweet feed with a lot of molasses that was high in protein. Everything they were feeding this horse was designed to give the horse energy. We put the horse on grass hay only. We rode him hard for a few days and after about a week the horse started to calm down. This horse's problems were totally man made.
|A few years ago, a lady brought me a 3-year-old mare. The mare had been with a trainer for a full year before she was brought to me. The lady said the mare spooked from everything and didn't know anything. She was right! She said the original trainer spent most of her training time attempting to keep the mare from bucking. The trainer was training at an indoor arena and kept the mare in a stall all of the time. Before I did anything with this mare, I studied her a little. I really thought that most of her trouble was from incorrect management, not training. The mare really wanted to be kind. I put her in an open shed with a run, so she would not build up a lot of energy from standing in a stall. To start with, we put the mare on just good grass hay. The first time I caught the mare to lead her to the barn to be saddled, her mind was everywhere but on me. So, I did some groundwork and round pen work to get her mind on me. Once I got her mind physically managed, she never tried to buck or spook. As long as her mind was on me, she was very easy to train.|
The biggest change in feeding horses in the past few years has been the
addition of fat to the diet of the performance horse. Many people believe
that fat is bad for humans, I'm not sure they have the research to prove
this fact, but that is another point.
Much of the following article was taken from an article prepared by Dr. Robert A. Mowry, Extension Horse Specialist for the North Carolina Co-Operative Extension Center. On high fat diets, horses perform longer without fatiguing, have fewer injuries, and maintain body weight with less grain intake while maximizing energy intake. Increasing the amount of fat in the diet allows us to keep the energy level of our rations high without reducing the amount of forage intake. Adding fat to the horse's diet can increase weight gain while reducing the chance of colic or founder; it may also allow lactating mares to breed back more quickly. Digestion of fat yields less internal body heat when compared to high carbohydrate or protein diets.
Most importantly, high-fat diets enable horses in high-performance situations to be more efficient and to safely meet their high energy requirements. Traditionally, this has been accomplished by increasing the concentrate portion of the diet while limiting forage intake. Forages, such as hay and pasture, are more fibrous and lower in energy than grains that are found in concentrate mixes. Under ideal management conditions, a horse should consume no less than 50 percent of their daily ration in the form of forage. Horses that are hard keepers and maintain low body fat reserves typically require greater than a 50 percent daily intake of concentrates to maintain the body weight during a high performance situation. Unfortunately, the replacing forage with high starch feeds, such as concentrates in a level higher than 50 percent of the total ration, will negatively affect the pH of the digestive tract and will decrease the activity of the digestive microbes found in the horse's cecum and large intestine. The net effect of doing this, is an increased incidence of founder and colic. Fats contain 2.25 times more energy than either carbohydrates or protein. Increasing the fat level of the diet is the easiest and safest way to increase the energy density in the diet. Higher energy levels can be maintained by feeding fewer pounds of a high fat concentrate mix compared to a concentrate mix containing the lower energy carbohydrates. Farm grains, such as corn and oats, are high in carbohydrates but fairly low in fat. High fat sources such as soybean oil, corn oil, and animal fats contains three times more energy than grains on equal volume bases. Research has indicated that adding 5 to 10 percent of fat to the total ration has maintained the body weight of horses with a 21 to 25 percent decrease in the concentrate intake.
Concentrate mixes comprised of grains without supplemental fat will contain to 2-2.5% fat.
Vegetable oils, such as soybean oil, are more palatable than processed animal fat. Rice bran is another high fat source that is both palatable and effective in horse diets. A horse can consume a concentrate mix with as much as 15 percent fat without decreasing palatability or cause digestive problems such as diarrhea; however, research reveals that a fat level of 6 to 8 percent in concentrate mixes will produce performance results similar to fat level of 10 to 20 percent and will cost considerably less. Most commercial feed companies add vegetable oils to the concentrate to produce a 5 to 8 percent fat content in their rations.
Switching horses from a carbohydrate concentrate to a high fat concentrate should be done gradually over several days. The higher fat intake may cause the horse to have a loose stool. Allow at least 21 days for the high fat diet to affect your horse's performance and improve efficiency. Traditionally, the horse owners have supplemented 1 to 2 ounces of corn oil daily to improve the hair coat. A significantly higher level of fat oil is required to affect the energy intake and enhance your horse's performance. Replacement of 10 percent of the recommended grain intake with a high-fat source will improve energy intake.
Vegetable oil sources are about three times as expensive as farm grains. I recommend feeding fat to the performance horse to increase his performance level, condition and appearance if you want him to perform above normal. If you are not looking to increase your horse's performance and condition above normal levels, do not waste your money on feeding fat. We feed rice bran to the horses that we're hauling or horses that we are getting ready to sell. We do not feed rice bran to the horses that we are just training and are not planning on showing or selling right away. This helps us reduce our feed cost.
|Fats= 1. 2.25 x as much energy per
pound as carbohydrates & protein
2. Needed for absorption of the fat soluble vitamins
3. Fats are made up of glycerol & fatty acids (saturated and unsaturated).
4. Saturated fats= come from animal fats and are 80% digestible (used very
little for horses, they become rancid and not very palatable)
5. Unsaturated fats= come from vegetable sources and are 100%
6. Vegetable sources:
a. corn oil- easy to add to grains
b. soybean oil, canola oil- not used as much as others
c. rice bran- used extensively in equine rations
|8 oz. of corn oil= the amount of energy
in 1.5 pounds of sweet feed
|Advantages of feeding fat= 1. A smaller
quantity of concentrates needed, so you
can reduce the chance of founder and colic. That is
because all of the concentrate can be digested in
the small intestine, instead of the large intestine.
|Amount to feed= 1. A grain mix can
contain up to 12% fat. If you are feeding 8-10
pounds of grain a day, then feed about one pound of fat a day.
If you add the fat, you can usually reduce the amount of grain fed.
|Rules of Thumb= 1. Roughages daily,
feed 2-3 % of the body weight (20-30 lbs/day a day for a 1,000# horse)
depending on the quality of hay &
amount of concentrates fed.
2. Concentrates daily feed .5-1.5 % of the body weight per day
(5-15 pounds per day for a 1,000 lb.)
|Performance horses= 1. Fat gives more
energy, but does not make them as nervous. 2. Fat makes their hair coat
look great. If you want to make them shine, feed corn oil or rice bran
(8 oz. to 1 pound per day).
|Broodmares= 1. Will breed back faster,
if fat is in the ration. Lactating mare's milk will have more fat in
|Growing horses=1. Fat can increase
energy without increasing the volume of
|Sandy's barrel horse that she trained and ran the last couple of years had a tendency to be a little nervous at the gate at a rodeo. Sandy had to ride her a lot around the gate to keep her quiet. It worked, but took a lot of time. This year we put her on rice bran and cut the grain mix down a little bit. She put on weight, looked better and was quieter. We have used rice bran on several horses and it has worked on all of them. I am sure we will run into some horse that it will make them nervous. But that is just the horse business. When that happens, you have to just experiment and figure out a solution for that horse.|
|Fat in the diet has many advantages to get the horse to perform and look great. The disadvantage is that it is expensive. Fat is essential to get horses to perform and grow above normal levels. If we are happy with normal growth and performance, then save a little money and don't feed fat.|