What's New: What’s New

  • MULE CROSSING: Understanding the Use of Cruppers and Breeching

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    By Meredith Hodges

    The purpose of tack and equipment has always been to give man leverage against the equine’s resistance during training, but I believe that the equine is “talking” with his resistance and this is a cue to find another alternative to achieve harmony when something isn’t working. There is an ongoing discussion about the use of cruppers and breeching when riding mules and donkeys, and even some horses. The purpose of both is to keep the saddle from sliding forward when the equine is in motion, whether he is tracking on flat ground or going up and down hills. Inappropriate use of both devices could give the equine problems. Whether or not to use a crupper or breeching is not an either/or decision. My equines taught me that in order to make an educated decision about which to use, one needs to take into account the anatomy of the equine and the effect that each has on his body in motion during different activities.

    Good conformation is important in allowing the equine to perform to the best of his ability, but the tack we use has an effect on the equine’s movement in spite of his shape. In order to obtain freedom of movement, the elements of the equine’s anatomy must be allowed to move freely through every joint of his body. Energy and blood circulation finds open tracks throughout the body and when unobstructed, will run freely from the core of the body to the extremities in a healthy equine. Core and bulk muscles that are developed symmetrically support the skeletal frame, the cartilage and ligaments that surround the joints, and the tendons that tie the skeletal frame together. All work to support the proper internal organ functions and when the equine in good posture with symmetrical strength, they are unobstructed.

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  • Update on Economic Impact Study

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    The following is from the American Horse Council:

    Update on the Economic Impact Study

    The American Horse Council Foundation (AHCF) would like to provide the industry with an update to its eagerly anticipated Economic Impact Study results.

    The AHC would like to thank all of our study contributors for first and foremost their generosity to helping us complete this important project. As many will recall, the survey was disseminated in June 2017 with initial deadline of August 1, 2017. After several weeks of data collection, the deadline was extended to September 4, 2017. The decision to extend the delay has consequently shifted the overall delivery schedule of the final report.  To ensure as comprehensive and thorough study as possible, the team also collected tax returns, past economic studies and industry surveys, and other data sources.

    The AHCF is anticipating an initial release of key points from the data around the end of November/beginning of December. A formal “unveiling” to announce the final results will be held on Capitol Hill with members of the Horse Caucus, which will most likely take place in January due to the holiday congressional break. Several other venues are being considered across the US to provide briefings.

    Fourteen states received breakout reports- California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin- of which the reports for each respective state will be finalized by the end of January/beginning of February. Each will receive an advance preview and insights into the results for their state as well.

    As with past studies, copies will be available for purchase on the AHC’s website in January 2018.

    If you have any questions, please contact the AHC atinfo@horsecouncil.org or 202-296-4031.
    Read on AHC Website

  • 1 Stallion lost, Another one Saved – 10+ more lives on the line – URGENT HELP NEEDED FOR THOSE 10+

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    The following is from Chilly Pepper – Miracle Mustang:

    THE STALLION ABOVE IS SAFE AND ON THE WAY TO CHILLY PEPPER – MIRACLE MUSTANG!

    THANK YOU to each and every one of you who donated, sent prayers or shared our mission. It is an impossible task but because of your amazing hearts so many lives have been saved. (Proper thank you’s will be coming but it has been non-stop babies and rescue. Thank you for being patient.)

    11 More Lives were saved this last week. Sadly, upon arrival to pickup the horses we were told the Stallion had shipped. As tears slid down my face I wondered how it could hurt so badly to lose a horse you had never met. But the pain was real, and so was the overwhelm.

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  • WATCH: the choice

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    The following is from the American Wild Horse Campaign:

    Our team just produced a new web video to lay out the real choice for management of our wild horses and burros…. The choice between humane birth control and what the Bureau of Land Management has requested. Watch it now and then donate to help us promote it on Facebook and YouTube around Capitol Hill.

    Our opponents have been spreading lies: that there are too many horses on the range, that they’re starving, and that we have no choice but to round them up and kill them. Wrong. Wrong. And wrong.

    Wild horses only roam on a small percentage of protected public land. They are not starving. There aren’t too many of them. To make sure it stays that way, the best long-term management strategy is humane birth control — a policy recommended by the National Academy of Sciences.

    The U.S. Senate vote on this issue has been delayed again for at least another week. That gives us time to push out this video and keep up the pressure on Capitol Hill. It lays out the contrast in clear terms: horse slaughter is barbaric and costly. 80% of Americans oppose it.

    Every lawmaker should watch this and oppose any killing of our healthy wild horses and burros. Help us make sure that they do. 

    Please watch this video now and then donate $25, $50, or $100 to help us promote it on Capitol Hill and sustain this critically important fight. 

    Thank you for standing with us and our wild horses and burros. 

    Suzanne Roy

    Donate

  • MULE CROSSING: Mule Conformation

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    By Meredith Hodges

    As in any breeding program, when breeding jacks to mares to obtain mules, there are many variables to be taken into consideration that are basic and pertain to both the jack and the mare. However, there are some variables that are particular to each.

    The ideal mule should have a head that is slightly longer than that of a horse, but proportionate to the size of the mule’s body. The features should be prominent and give an overall pleasant appearance. The ears should have length and be nicely shaped, and the eyes should be large, soft and kind, reflecting the mule’s health and intelligence. The forehead should be broad, tapering to a small and delicate muzzle, with a shallow mouth and well-aligned teeth, and the nostrils should be wide to allow for adequate respiration while working. Both the mare and the jack are responsible for the shaping of these characteristics, but the jack has primary responsibility where the length of the ear and the mass of bone are concerned. A jack with a longer ear will, more often than not, throw a longer ear to the mule, while the shape of the ear is determined primarily by the mare. The attractive or unattractive head of the jack can emerge in the resulting mule, so be sure to carefully consider the head on the jack to be used for breeding to produce an attractive head on your mule offspring. Standard-sized jacks and Large Standard jacks most often have a more refined head, while the head of a Mammoth jack may be less refined and possess thicker bone, particularly around the eyes and jaw line. In the case of saddle mule production, massive bone on an otherwise attractive head can be very unattractive, so using the smaller jacks would be better for a more refined look in your saddle mule (which is also true for the rest of the mule’s body).

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  • Three fights at once

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    The following is from the American Wild Horse Campaign:

    While we press the U.S. Senate to reject BLM’s request for slaughter and sue the BLM for illegal roundups, we have a third fight on our hands:

    Next week, the National BLM Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board meets for the first time since its outrageous vote last November to recommend that the BLM kill tens of thousands of innocent wild horses and burros.

    Our team will be there. But we need you to submit public comments to this committee now — so they know the American people reject their sham recommendation.

    Tell them now — send an email to: whbadvisoryboard@blm.gov.

    Please keep your comments respectful, but make it clear where you stand. Consider these points:

    • 80% of Americans oppose killing our wild horses and burros and support protecting them on our public lands.
    • The vote to slaughter mustangs is unconscionable and completely unjustified in light of the cost-effective, scientifically recommended PZP birth control vaccine, which can be used to humanely manage wild horse populations on the range.
    • This board is supposed to represent stakeholders that include the public, science, wild horse advocacy, environmental and wildlife concerns. It’s time for them to stop doing the bidding of the special interest livestock lobby, which is making tens of millions of dollars off the BLM’s mustang roundup program.

    We need to be heard because the Advisory Board members certainly aren’t speaking out on our behalf. The board ignored the overwhelming will of the American people AND the recommendations of the nation’s premier scientific body — the National Academy of Sciences — by voting to slaughter our American wild horses and burros. Only one member of this Advisory Board – our friend and colleague Ginger Kathrens, Executive Director of The Cloud Foundation – voted no.

    It’s time to let this board know that Americans will not stand for their disregard of the public will and the welfare of our iconic wild horses and burros.

    Email your comments right now to: whbadvisoryboard@blm.gov.

    Thanks for standing with us and our wild horses and burros,

    Suzanne Roy

    Donate

  • UHC Roundup – October 2017

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    The following is from UHC:

    The UHC Roundup

    OCTOBER 2017
    The UHC Roundup is an online publication that compiles news articles and events related to unwanted horses. It highlights UHC member programs and success stories spanning all breeds, disciplines, and regions.

    If you wish to  share your story of unwanted horses becoming wanted again, contact the UHC atafurst@horsecouncil.org.

    UHC NEWS

    UHC’s Operation Gelding Receives Grant From AAEP Foundation

    The American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) Foundation has awarded the Unwanted Horse Coalition (UHC) a grant of $10,000 to support its Operation Gelding program. This marks the AAEP’s 7th year of support for the program.

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  • We won’t stop

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    The following is from the American Wild Horse Campaign:

    Not only is BLM pushing Congress for permission to slaughter America’s mustangs, it’s blatantly violating the law rounding them up right now in Wyoming

    We’re not backing down. Even as we push the U.S. Senate to stop slaughter, we’re fighting the feds’ illegal actions to destroy mustangs. Last week, we won two critical lawsuits to stop the Forest Service from shrinking wild horse habitat in California and the BLM from destroying an Idaho mustang herd by sterilizing every horse in it.

    And, last Friday, we filed suit in U.S. District Court Wyoming to stop the BLM from illegally rounding up hundreds more wild horses than authorized by pretending young horses born this year don’t count.

    We’re not going to let them get away with it, but we need your help.

    We’re winning, but these lawsuits are expensive. They’re draining our funds and our staff resources.

    Can you donate right now to help our legal and campaign teams stand up to the BLM?

    As the BLM prepares for a possible pro-slaughter policy, the roundups are increasing and intensifying. Alarmingly, the agency is sending captured mustangs to private feedlots in Idaho and Utah where they may never be seen again. Our latest lawsuit challenges that too.

    Our nation’s beautiful, majestic wild horses and burros deserve our protection, not helicopters rounding them up, shipping them out of public view to private holding pens, and putting every one of these innocent animals at risk of being brutally killed or slaughtered.

    Together, we’ll stop them. Please donate now.

    Thank you,

    Suzanne

    Donate

  • TONIGHT’S EMERGENCY CALL – 24 Hours to SAVE 11 ORPHAN BABIES & 2 Adults from SLAUGHTER

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    The following is from Chilly Pepper – Miracle Mustang:

    THE EMERGENCIES JUST KEEP COMING. About an hour ago I got the call, and it was even shorter notice than normal. We have 24 hours for Matt to get to Yakima and save 11 orphans and a mare & stallion.

    Our budget is completely tapped, but we have to try. I don’t want to be the one who says “no, we can’t get them, send them to slaughter”.

    It will cost roughly $3250 to save them, get the blood work for the Coggins test, the Health Certificate and the brand inspection. (The average cost is usually about $250 per horse including transporting them to NV). But this does NOT include any money for hay, grain or milk for the little ones.

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  • What’s your reason?

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    The following is from the American Wild Horse Campaign:

    I wanted to let you know that the Senate action on whether to legalize wild horse and burro killing has been delayed another week. (Congress is on recess this week for Columbus Day.) The earliest that it will be considered is October 17

    This is great news, because it means we still have time to get those videos in to Congress! So please read Grace’s email below about our new video tool, which lets you easily record your own video on your phone or computer — and it will be automatically sent to your representatives and Senators. Please record now and tell Congress: no killing of America’s wild horses!

    www.americanwildhorsecampaign.org/record

    Thanks for standing up for our wild horses and burros.

    -Suzanne

    Today, we’re launching a new effort to convince Congress to maintain the longstanding prohibition on the destruction and slaughter of healthy wild horses and burros. We’ve called. We’ve emailed. Now, let’s send a personal video message about why we’re fighting to protect these national icons.

    With our new video tool you can easily record a short video that will be sent directly to your members of Congress. I just recorded mine — watch it now and then record your own.

    We know you’ll have plenty to say but a few points we hope you’ll include:

    • Congress must maintain the longstanding prohibition on destroying healthy wild horses and burros and oppose any effort that would open the door to slaughter.
    • 80% of Americans oppose the slaughter of America’s wild horses.
    • The PZP birth control vaccine is a scientifically-proven, low-cost alternative that can used to humanely manage wild populations and maintain their wild free-romaning behaviors.

    So record your own video now. It’s really easy. It’ll take just a few minutes of your time. And it will help us cut through the clutter in Washington and be heard on this critical issue.

    For the horses,

    Grace Kuhn

     

    Donate

  • MULE CROSSING: Learning to Ride a Balanced Seat

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    By Meredith Hodges

    My philosophy is based on the principle that I am not, in fact, “training” donkeys and mules. Rather, I am cultivating relationships and establishing a lifestyle with them by assigning meaning to my body language that they can understand, while I learn what they are trying to indicate to me with their body language.

    In the same way that my own level of understanding changes and grows over time, I believe that my animals’ understanding grows, too. In the beginning, the emotional needs of a young mule or any equine are different from those of an older animal. The young animal needs to overcome many instincts that would protect him in the wild, but are inappropriate in a domestic situation. In a domestic situation, the focus must be on developing friendship and confidence in the young equine, while establishing my own dominance in a non-threatening manner. This is accomplished through the use of a great deal of positive reinforcement early on, including gentle touches, a reassuring voice and lots of rewards for good behavior. Expressions of disapproval should be kept to a minimum and the negative reinforcement for bad behavior should be clear, concise and limited.

    As your young equine grows and matures, he will realize that you do not wish to harm him. Next, he will develop a rather pushy attitude in an attempt to assert his own dominance (much like teenagers do with their parents), because he is now confident that this behavior is acceptable. When this occurs, reevaluate your reward system and save excessive praise for the new exercises as he learns them. Note, however, that a gentle push with his nose might only be a “request” for an additional reward and a polite “request” is quite acceptable in building a good relationship and good communication with your equine. Allow the learned behavior to be treated as the norm, and praise it more passively, yet still in an appreciative manner. This is the concept, from an emotional standpoint, of the delicate balance of give and take in a relationship. As in any good relationship, you must remain polite and considerate of your horse, mule or donkey. After all, “You can catch more flies with sugar than you can with vinegar.”

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  • Adoptable Pics, Big News, and Save the Dates!

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    The following is from All About Equine Animal Rescue:

    Thank You!

    We cannot thank you enough for all of your support and generosity throughout the year. Thanks to you, we are making a difference for horses and humans every day!

    AAE thanks YOU, and all of the horses thank YOU!!

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    Be sure to read to the end.

    You will see photos of a lot of adoptables needing homes.

    You will read about some big news, horse updates, AAE needs to share, some important upcoming dates to add to your calendars, and more.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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  • 2018 Horse Industry Directory

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    The following is from the American Horse Council:

    AHC’s 2018 Horse Industry Directory in Production

    The American Horse Council (AHC) is in the process of updating its annual Horse Industry Directory. Continuing in 2018, the AHC will be offering the Directory in an interactive online format, complete with active advertising, website and social media links, email addresses, and search ability.

    The Horse Industry Directory contains over 1,200 listings that include breed registries, trail organizations, show and sport organizations, racing organizations, equine veterinary schools, equine research organizations, equine welfare organizations, equine publications, and state sources of information such as state department of agriculture, state trail organizations, and state veterinarians. No other publication provides this depth of resources and contact information for the equine industry!

    Advertising opportunities are now available, and information can be found on the AHC website, or by contacting Ashley Furst at afurst@horsecouncil.org. Advertising in the annual Directory is a great way for your equine business or product to be seen in front of every segment of the industry; over 1,000 Individuals and 150 Organizations representing every segment of the industry receive this Directory.

    Although the Directory will primarily be offered in an online format, we will be printing a VERY limited amount of hard copies. If you are interested in receiving a hard copy of the 2018 Directory, please fill out the order form here. All hard copy requests must be received no later than November 3, 2017.

    Read on AHC Website

     

  • GOP, Equine Industry Canter Toward Tax Reform

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    The following is from the American Horse Council:

    GOP, Equine Industry Canter Toward Tax Reform

    The equine industry and its partners in the agriculture and small business sectors continue to engage Congress and the Administration on key elements of the GOP’s “unified framework for tax reform,” released on September 27.  While the framework outlines broad themes for reform, AHC and its partners are focusing efforts on repeal of the estate tax, also known as the “death tax,” as a pillar for a 21st century tax code.  Below are summaries of tactics used to move the legislative process forward, and highlights from conversations with congressional and administration officials.

    Congress Hears from Small Business, Agriculture
    On September 12 – two weeks prior to release of the GOP framework – AHC joined nearly 150 small business groups in a coalition letter to congressional leadership urging full repeal of the estate tax.  When the government imposes estate taxes on an equine operation, surviving family partners may be forced to sell equipment and other assets to save the family business.  Signatories represent a cross-section of American business, including builders and contractors, grocers, truckers and cattlemen.  Advocates emphasized the fact that repeal of the estate tax would not only cost the treasury relatively little revenue in the short term, but ultimately increase tax revenues by $145 billion over a ten year period.  Underscoring minimal, short-term impacts on the federal budget is crucial to moving tax reform through the budget reconciliation process, which requires Congress to demonstrate that the new and improved tax code will ultimately achieve deficit reduction.

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  • What’s your reason?

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    The following is from the American Wild Horse Campaign:

    Today, we’re launching a new effort to convince Congress to maintain the longstanding prohibition on the destruction and slaughter of healthy wild horses and burros. We’ve called. We’ve emailed. Now, let’s send a personal video message about why we’re fighting to protect these national icons.

    With our new video tool you can easily record a short video that will be sent directly to your members of Congress. I just recorded mine — watch it now and then record your own.

    We know you’ll have plenty to say but a few points we hope you’ll include:

    • Congress must maintain the longstanding prohibition on destroying healthy wild horses and burros and oppose any effort that would open the door to slaughter.
    • 80% of Americans oppose the slaughter of America’s wild horses.
    • The PZP birth control vaccine is a scientifically-proven, low-cost alternative that can used to humanely manage wild populations and maintain their wild free-romaning behaviors.

    So record your own video now. It’s really easy. It’ll take just a few minutes of your time. And it will help us cut through the clutter in Washington and be heard on this critical issue.

    For the horses,

    Grace Kuhn

    Donate

  • Guest Worker Visa Reform Gains Momentum

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    The following is from the American Horse Council:

    Guest Worker Visa Reform Gains Momentum, Tell Congress to Finish the Job!

    Status update:

    On September 15, the House of Representatives passed a $1.2 trillion funding bill for Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 that will serve as a benchmark for negotiations with the Senate on a final package.  Congress must negotiate a final bill by December 8, when the current continuing resolution (CR) to fund federal programs at FY2017 levels will expire.  While the equine industry and its allies have taken an important first step by inserting some H-2B visa reform measures within the text of the current House spending bill (such as wage-survey flexibility), the fight to insert broader visa cap relief in a final spending bill continues.

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  • URGENT – ORPHAN BABIES NEED HELP ASAP – PLEASE! Chilly Pepper Update

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    The following is from Chilly Pepper – Miracle Mustang:

    The Chilly Pepper family is sending prayers for Las Vegas, and all the loved ones who are affected by this tragedy.

    However, we are in an emergent type of situation here at home. Gypsum and Hope are hanging in there, and are extremely tired of all the shots (twice a day each) and the meds they are receiving.

    Hope’s pneumonia seems to be breaking up and she has not had a fever for the last few days. Gypsum is still struggling and we need to take both of them to the vet by tomorrow for further testing.

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  • A week away

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    The following is from the American Wild Horse Campaign:

    We’re a week away from critical votes. The Senate Interior Appropriations Subcommittee is expected to mark up its spending bill next week, with full committee votes the week after. Since the House lifted the longstanding prohibition on the destruction of healthy wild horses and burros in its spending bill, it’s critical that the Senate maintain these protections. These votes will likely determine what the final budget language is — and the lives of tens of thousands of wild horses literally hang in the balance.

    When we meet with Senate offices and ask them what makes a difference, they always tell us to keep up the calls and emails. They REALLY matter. Our opponents have the money and power but we have the people. Keep it up.

    Click here to call AND email your U.S. Senators right now.

    Tell them: Maintain longstanding prohibitions on the destruction of healthy wild horses. Oppose any spending bill that would allow for the killing or sale for slaughter of healthy wild horses.

    The roundup underway right now in Wyoming is a stark reminder of how important these votes are. Images of wild horses chased relentlessly by helicopter, driven into barbed wire, captured, and separated from their families are heartbreaking. Even worse is the thought that every one of the nearly 2,000 wild horses captured could be killed if the Congress does not reject the BLM’s request to destroy them and sell them for brutal slaughter.

    We can’t let them win.

    Keep calling,

    Grace Kuhn

    P.S. Thanks to your help, our TV ad ran throughout the weekend in Alaska telling Senator Murkowski: #NoHorseSlaughter. Donate now to help us run more ads in more markets.

    Donate

  • MULE CROSSING: Leverage Versus Abuse

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    By Meredith Hodges

    “Leverage” equipment refers to any restraining device or substance that is used to get an equine’s attention and obtain compliance, but many leverage practices often have the reverse effect and have the potential to cause distress and pain. This includes harsh bits, chain leads, twitches, hobbles, stocks and even medications. There are times when our equines can really be a handful, so having a little leverage when needed can be a good thing. However, deciding which equipment to use and learning how to use leverage without it becoming abusive can be a bit daunting. There are so many different types of tack, equipment and restraints that it becomes difficult to determine which would be best to use on your equine to correct a particular problem, or if you really need to use anything at all. It may only be a case of needing to be clearer in your approach, in which case, leverage equipment may not be needed. It is important to make an informed decision when using any leverage equipment to be sure that what you are using is helpful and not abusive.

    One very common behavioral problem that seems to identify the need for more leverage is the mule that bolts and runs when on the lead rope. This seems like an obvious disobedience to the handler, and the first thing that comes to mind is to use a lead shank with a chain to gain control of the mule. Normal use for a lead shank is during a showmanship class at a show and it should rarely be used in training unless the equine will be shown at halter and/or showmanship. And then, training with the lead shank should be done only after the animal is following well through all required movements while in his halter and on a lead rope.

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  • What’s New? Roll: “Happiness is a Fanny Pack Full of Oats!”

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    Roll is standing quietly as he usually does while I was speaking to a tour group with the gate wide open, but this was not always the case with him. He used to hide behind Rock and snort at me when he first arrived with Rock in December of 2010.

    Behavior Modification is a reward system of training that requires that the trainer has the ability to distinguish between good and bad behaviors, to reward them promptly and appropriately…and, to do it politely with respect for the animal. The oats are a reward that is both safe and enjoyable for equines, and is something that they will continue to work for.

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