April 2012



A name is a name?

Support a
good cause

Do you really listen to your horse?








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To re-name or not to re-name. Is it okay to change the names of the horses who come into your care? Sometimes? Always? Never?

Though for years I would have said “never,” now my answer is “sometimes.” If an animal has a perfectly good name and answers to that name, I think it’s a bit rude to make a change. Especially if the animal is an adult who has become accustomed to his or her name over many years.

I especially dislike when people copy animal names from popular culture or literature, particularly when it’s patently clear it was done to pump up the person’s ego. Generally I think it’s very rude to change a perfectly good horse name just to make the owner feel cool. Call me a purist, but “Black Beauty” and “Shadowfax” and “Flicka” belong to horses who, though they may be “real” only in literature and my mind’s eye, own those names.

I’m also not fond of the kind of cutesy names that, I think, diminish and demean the animal’s role as an adult member of your family or part of your business. I remember as a kid feeling sorry for the Shetlands in the carnival pony rides in part because their lives seemed pretty dull, but mostly because I was certain their “real” names weren’t “Precious,” “Fluffy,” and “Sweetiepie.” Gag!

There are cultures that believe there is power in a name. I must concur, because I certainly believe you are tempting the horse gods if you’re dumb enough to name a horse something like “Killer” or “Fireball.” I’m not even too sure about the old standby “Buck” for a buckskin. My rule of thumb: don’t name your horse anything you don’t want him to do. And if you just cant’ stop your macho self from naming your new greenie “Feisty,” well, you might just as well call him “Buckmeoffandstompmyheadforfun” and double up your life insurance.

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If one of your resolutions this year was to support a worthy organization making the world better for horses or to volunteer with a group working with horses in a way that makes the world better for people, here are two programs that need your help.

First is a Texas horse rescue, LoneStar Outreach to Place Ex-Racers (LOPE), that was hit hard by a flash flood. After taking on more than seven inches of rain the early hours of January 25, the facility lost fences, footing, tractor, tack and supplies, most of its road and that commodity more precious than gold in drought-stricken Texas hay.

LOPE founder Lynn Reardon (one of my guest authors), her family and their horses are still in borrowed quarters while the house and horse facility are being cleaned up and repaired. Please consider making a donation to help this rescue or support the organization by buying Lynn's very entertaining book that tells the story of how a horse novice ends up leaving her city job and starting a rescue.

The other worthy organization is the High Rocks Academy for girls, a non-profit that helps educate and inspire girls in a rural area of West Virginia. High Rocks does an amazing job of bringing together girls and women and encouraging them to learn, to create, to aspire and to achieve great things in their lives and their community.

A horse program based on the principles of Connected Riding has been a popular part of the summer camp that introduces the girls to the High Rocks program, which will provide them with personal and educational support through their high school years and beyond.

The New Beginnings camp will be June 13-26 this year and a large group more than 20 is expected. That means the two veteran instructors, Nancy and Laurie, will need at least one more experienced horsewoman to help teach and to keep girls and horses safe. Familiarity with the basics of Connected Riding and Connected Groundwork are helpful, but not required.

To volunteer, contact Susan Burt at High Rocks and tell her you'd like to become one of the "horse ladies."

3-day Clinic & Discovery Workshop
April 27-29, 2012
Sonoita, Arizona

If you keep working on the same issues with your horse over and over with little progress, or if you’re just not enjoying your horse or your riding experience as much as you would like to, it probably means the two of you aren’t connecting the way you could. You may be missing clues and hints he’s providing, trying to give you the feedback you need so you can adjust how you communicate with him and get better results.

When it comes to “behavioral issues” you’ll get tons of advice from friends, trainers, vets, horse magazines and websites. But if nothing you’ve tried has worked yet, this clinic could be for you!

Lynn Crozier, EQ for Equestrians - Certified Equine Assisted Leadership Facilitator and Coach and E3A Certified Corporate

Stacey Kollman, Desert Horse Equestrian Services - Horse and rider biomechanics coach, Connected Riding practitioner, equine body worker and rehabilitation specialist, certified EFEL facilitator.

Kathy Moore, Sugarfoot Jog Ranch - Natural Horsemanship trainer and E3A Certified Corporate Trainer.

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