A note from the Editor:
Here at Cayuse Communications, we’ve been thinking about our community of horse owners and riders. How best to come together and share during this time? We’ve reached out to friends to see how they are making lemonade from lemons and coping with the strains of the pandemic.
Introducing the Cayuse Corona Community, a new recurring feature. We’re from California, New Mexico, Maine, Utah, North Carolina, Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Virginia, and Colorado. Please join us by leaving your comments below. We’ll get through this and it’ll be better if we’re together.
View all Cayuse Corona Community content here.
Concurrent with these Cayuse Corona Community pages, we will be offering weekly giveaways, including goods from Redmond Equine, Kershaw knives, Pharm Aloe Equine, Hitching Post Supply, and the Cayuse Communications library of books. Read more about that here.
Debbie Hight is a BHPS board member, horse owner, and occasional guest columnist for Cayuse Communications. She writes from her home in Maine, where she is caring for barnyard and, most recently, her 10 year-old grandson, too.
As I’ve mentioned, Roxy follows William around. Well, today he rode then got off and had her follow him. Simple enough.
But then, when they got to the end of the arena, I asked him to turn around and come back. Well, she started to go to the left and he turned abruptly to the right. She stopped and turned on her haunches to the right and followed right along with him. Neither of us could believe it. Like magic. Thrilling!
Nicole Churilla is a BHPS steering committee member and horse trainer. She wrote to me from her home in Ohio:
Lately, the stay-at-home order has started to get to my core. I’m fortunate to live on a farm with other families and therefore have not been entirely alone, but I’ve begun to sincerely miss my friends.
As the weather gets nicer and the days get longer, I can’t help but wish I was laughing around a fire or kayaking down the river with friends. It’s not that I cannot do these activities, it’s that I have chosen not to be around my friends because I know I’m not good at keeping my social distance.
I’ve been reminded recently of how much I enjoy other outdoor activities. My full time job involves horses and I adore them. My evenings are filled with horses, horse books, and horse videos. But I remember sometimes that life doesn’t always have to be horses 24/7!
Last week, we rode four-wheelers to go mushroom hunting. I grew up riding dirt bikes so four-wheelers are not my expertise, but I still love to climb on and punch the throttle (haha).
Mushroom hunting has become a new thrill for me. Searching the forest floor for something like an eternity for a tiny mushroom becomes very rewarding once the jackpot is found. I found 20 Morel mushrooms during my second hunting experience. I’m looking forward to hunting more Morels and embracing other activities that I enjoy.
Warwick Schiller is a 2020 Best Horse Practices Summit presenter and popular, international clinician with a large audience of video followers and subscribers. With the Corona virus restricting horse owner activity, he’s preparing a series of videos to highlight how now is the perfect time to develop a deeper relationship with your horses. There are, of course, no competitions to prepare for, no events to train for. Make lemonade.
I reached Warwick at home in California:
I’ve been working on all sorts of projects. Big projects that I always thought I never had time to do. I’d think about starting them, but realized I could never finish them before I’d have to leave. So, I wouldn’t start them.
We’ve done a lot of landscaping and put in raised vegetable beds.
As far as horsemanship goes, I’ve been working on new stuff and it’s been amazing.
Two words: polyvagal theory
Read more about polyvagal theory here.
Basically, my work has evolved to a whole lot less training and a whole lot more relationship-oriented work. When you have really good timing and feel, you are communicating well with horses. You can notice and acknowledge a really small thing. You can communicate in a way that makes them feel safer.
You can build up your social equity in a horse-rider connection in which the horse is kind of rewarding you for noticing his concern. The horse is saying, ‘you get me.’
More on Warwick’s thoughts on polyvagal theory work next week.
In this image, my horse, Sherlock (left) was laying flat. Yearling Chance was laying on his belly. I went and sat near them, then decided to scoot over and sit with my back up against Chance’s shoulder. I started to meditate and he then lay flat, so I lay with my head on his neck and kept meditating. I fell asleep. My son, Tyler, took the pics. It wasn’t until I woke up and went back in the house that I realized he’d taken them.
Amy Skinner is a Best Horse Practices Summit presenter and owner of Amy Skinner Horsemanship in North Carolina. We spoke as she was in her truck, heading home to her farm:
Subscribe to Amy’s YouTube channel here.
Buy her book, To Catch a Horse here.
I’m doing lots of video lessons and working with training horses at home. My refurbished arena is half done, but it keeps raining, so that makes it feel like a never-ending wait to finish up. I’ve had to haul out to a client’s arena or ride in my fields.
My internet access continually gets more difficult. It’s taken four days to upload a 12-minute video onto my YouTube channel.
My husband, Travis, is home, so it’s really fun to have help with my daughter, Josie, and the ranch chores. I’m somehow just as busy as ever.
The picture at right is of a training horse. He was brought here underweight and quite tense. I did a lot of postural rehabilitation with him and he looks and is feeling a whole lot better. Very pleased with his progress.