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Christine Meunier, Equine Author and Educator
Wangaratta, Victoria, Australia.

The Infinite Magic of Horses by Candida Baker

It seems to be a time for non fiction horse books for me! I recently finished reading The Infinite Magic of Horses by Candida Baker. This was a book I was gifted back in 2009 but have only now taken the time to sit down and read!  I love the cover – it’s gorgeous.

Perhaps half of the chapters within the book are written by Candida herself. The chapters may be as short as a couple of pages, or half a dozen or so pages long. Each chapter is a separate story about horses and how they have impacted someone’s life for the better. The lessons learned from each contributor in the book work together to provide a great collection of short stories for the horse enthusiast.

The Infinite Magic of Horses by Candida Baker

The Infinite Magic of Horses by Candida Baker

In between the stories, a collection of beautiful photos can be found on the pages. Many of these horse photos are also accompanied by a horse quote on the following page. This is a nice touch and breaks up the book really well.

The Infinite Magic of Horses by Candida Baker

Some of the stories are by well known horse people or trainers – such as Frank Bell – and others by humble horse owners.  The Infinite Magic of Horses book is a really interesting read with some truly touching stories. Each story explores different breeds and disciplines that can be found with horses. It even shows how the equine species has lifted people up out of depression and other threatening situations.

This was a great gift from a friend.  It is also one I am sure would be a blessing to anyone else it is purchased for.

Author – Candida Baker
Non Fiction – adult
In my library – That it is!  As a paperback.
Want it? Get it now on Amazon.

Horse Sense Business Sense

I have recently posted about the Horse Sense – Running with Mustangs program. This was the first time I was made aware of the Horse Sense Business Sense website and all that they offer. For those who are interested in Equine Assisted Practices, then this website will be of use to you, I am sure!

I first became aware of equine assisted practices through a friend who wanted to get into this field.  It was back in 2008 or so.  She was already a qualified occupational therapist and she had passion for horses.  It was her desire to somehow combine her passion with therapy to assist others.

The Horse Sense Business Sense website has been set us as an aid to professionals in various fields across Equine Assisted Learning. The Horse Sense OTC Family works to provide workshops, training, conferences, various programs and curriculums as well as a working student program.

Horse Sense Business Sense Assists Equine Assisted Learning Setups

Horse Sense Business Sense Assists Equine Assisted Learning Setups

Horse Sense Business Sense Assistance

I love this! It’s perhaps your one stop shop to learning how to get into the equine assisted learning field. Or maybe you’re ready to set up your own facility or business – why not gain resources and assistance? Perhaps you want to offer a place for working students in your local area – why not offer your property as part of their program?

As it says on their website:

“We are eager to help other Therapeutic Horsemanship, Equine Assisted Psychotherapy and Equine Assisted Learning programs make it, and make a difference, in their community.”

They also have a Horse Sense Vets-for-Vets certification that is being set up for release in 2017. This will be taught over a 12 month period, by leaders in the field of therapeutic horsemanship – how exciting!

‘Why give a horse to a man who cannot ride?’ ― George R.R. Martin

7 Step Safety System by Frank Bell

Whilst reading the Infinite Magic of Horses by Candida Baker, I read a short piece by Frank Bell. In this, he details how he came to create the 7 Step Safety System for horse riders, trainers, farriers and all other horse handlers.

It was really interesting to learn how going through a ‘traumatic’ event with a horse can cause others to stop and reflect. Upon experience this, Frank set up a system that can help any horse and handler. It allows them to establish ground work so that they are safer when working together. This is a wonderful thing!

The 7 Step Safety Program by Frank Bell Helps Horses and Humans

The 7 Step Safety Program by Frank Bell Helps Horses and Humans

For those who love the idea of residual income, you may be interested to know that he has created this training in DVD form. Once again, this is an example of creating a product once and selling it potentially many times other. You can order this from the above link to his website.

For those who are interested in Frank’s approach on horse training, it may also interest you to know that he has an accreditation program and a list of accredited instructors. For those trainers who are making an impact in the horse world, it is nice to know you can take on their training and help to impart this to others. I know the likes of Monty Roberts and Pat Parelli have done similar things.

The 7 Step  Safety System by Frank Bell

Anything we can learn about being safer when working with horses is a good thing. If it interests you, why not check out Frank’s 7 Step Safety System? You can also check out Frank’s blog, other products and recommended links.

“But there is one rule inviolably observed above all others; that is, never approach a horse in a passion; for anger never thinks of consequences, and forces us to do what we afterwards repent.” – Xenophon

Profile On: Alyssa Knee, Brunette in Breeches

Alyssa Knee has recently had a book published about her lordotic horse, Spike.  You can read a review here.  Alyssa kindly took the time to answer some questions about her life and involvement with horses.

Alyssa Knee, Brunette in Breeches

Alyssa Knee, Brunette in Breeches

How much of your day/week is related to horses?
A decent chunk of my day is related to horses, both directly and indirectly. I’m lucky in that my horse Spike is agisted just a few minutes from my house so I am out with him every day. A lot of my day is also taken up writing for my equestrian blog, Brunette in Breeches.  This details Spike’s life and our journey.

What is it exactly that you do?
I am an administrative assistant for local government during the day but I am also a writer. I’ve been writing for my blog, Brunette in Breeches, for a little over 12 months and during that time have been lucky enough to work with some major publications like Hoofbeats, Horsewyse, Horse Nation and Horse Network. I’ve also recently
released my first novel about my horse, Spike. Spike has a rare congenital condition called equine Lordosis which causes his back to have a swayed appearance, our hope is that via our blog and other equestrian related media outlets that we can educate the equine community about the condition and the effect it has on the horses who have it.

Alyssa Knee with her Lordotic Horse, Spike

Alyssa Knee with her Lordotic Horse, Spike

In this field of work, is it possible to be a full time professional and
earning a liveable income?
When I figure that out I will let you know!  Right now I am juggling a full time job and writing on the side.  Although I would love to be able to make my blog my main source of income – that is the end goal.

What are the general steps taken to be employed in such a role?
I don’t think there’s any one particular pathway to becoming an equestrian blogger. I started with little to no knowledge of blogging.  But I have learnt about how to be a blogger and what it takes to maintain a blog over the last 12 months (and I’m still learning!). My biggest piece of advice for anyone who wants to start an equestrian blog is to just throw yourself into it.

Favourite horse memory?
My favourite memory with Spike would be from the day that I got him. To get to the house we were living in at the time you had to go about a kilometre down a dirt driveway and cross an old wooden bridge over a narrow creek. The bridge was an old rickety thing. It had no side rails, there were small gaps between the planks and it creaked because most of the planks were loose.

I had asked my partner to walk Spike up the driveway while a friend and I followed behind in the car, but when they got to the bridge Spike stopped and despite all the persisting in the world he simply refused to cross. We stopped the car behind them and I got out.

I walked over and took the lead rope from my partner and stood with Spike for a few minutes. Then I gave him a rub on the face and the neck and simply spoke to him. I don’t remember exactly what I said, I’m sure it was a lot of nothing but it felt right. We must’ve stood like that for a good 10 minutes or so before I asked him if he’d cross the bridge with me. I took the first step, Spike followed and we crossed the bridge together. He didn’t hesitate, he didn’t spook, he wasn’t afraid. He just crossed, like it was nothing.  Like he just trusted that I wouldn’t ask anything of him that he couldn’t do or that would put him in danger.

Future goals?
My current professional goals are to continue growing the blog and educating the equestrian community about equine Lordosis. As far as my riding goals, I would really like to bring Spike back in to more regular work and try our hand at show jumping. He was originally bred to be a jumper.  So it’d be interesting to see whether it’s something he would enjoy or excel at.

Best thing about your sport/profession?
The best thing about the equestrian community is the people. Since I started my journey with Spike and writing for Brunette in Breeches I have been very fortunate to meet so many wonderful people who support Spike despite his differences and who regularly cheer him on via the blog and social media, even though they don’t know us in real life. It’s lovely to have that kind of support!

Spike by Alyssa Knee, a Horse with Lordosis

I was recently given the opportunity to read another horse book in time for it’s release. This one is another non fiction book – Spike by Alyssa knee. It focuses around a warmblood gelding named Spike. His owner Alyssa Knee details in the book how she came to own Spike and her challenges with managing his condition.

Spike by Alyssa Knee

Spike by Alyssa Knee

Spike suffers from lordosis, a congenital condition that affects the horse’s spine. Because of his condition, he has an extreme sway back. Consequently, fitting saddles is extremely difficult, which can greatly affect his comfort whilst being ridden.

Alyssa explains in her book Spike what challenges she has encountered as an owner of a lordotic horse. She explores too the misconceptions about the condition as well as the various professionals she has engaged to ensure the wellbeing of her horse.

Prior to reading Spike, I had heard of lordosis.  However, I wasn’t actually familiar with what it is or how it affects the horse – and the horse’s owner! This book is a good start to opening people’s eyes about a condition that greatly affects horses that have it. Alyssa is able to show how affected horses can have a normal life, in spite of needing to be managed specially with regards to fitting tack.

Alyssa highlights the research she undertook to learn about Spike’s condition, the best type of saddle to fit to him and other things she could do to help him live a normal life and ensure his welfare. She even mentions a Facebook group that has been set up for owners of lordotic horses.

I found all of these points interesting to read about.  However, I was disappointed to not have any reference points to check them out myself! This book was an insightful read that could be further improved by having a list of references for further reading at the end. The story of Spike is concluded with a list of questions and answers and some photos over the years. For those interested in reading about a horse with lordosis from the point of view of the owner, Spike is your go to book.

Author – Alyssa Knee
Non Fiction – adult
In my library – as an eBook it is.
Want it? Get it now on Amazon.

Running with Mustangs (Horse Sense Program)

In Jenifer Morrissey’s book the Partnered Pony, there is reference to a youth development program. With a focus on incarcerated youth, Running with Mustangs has been set up. Because these youth have been recognised as involved in gang activity – or at risk of becoming so – this program has been set up to try and alleviate the problem.

Running with Mustangs

This initiative is an equine assisted cognitive behavioural therapy that is used with court ordered youth. The idea is that the program utilises problem solving activities with horses. The horses in question are mustangs. Following the EAGALA philosophy, Running with Mustangs is designed to teach at risk youth necessary skills for life. This is done through interactive activities with horses.

Running with Mustangs Targets at Risk Youth

Running with Mustangs Targets at Risk Youth

Perhaps you are interested in getting such a program started!  The course curriculum can be purchased from Horse Sense Business. You can also contact the team at Horse Sense Business to organise a consultation to get started. They also provide a policies and procedures manual to assist in establishing a program with:

“all the basic processes you need in place as you seek funding opportunities, as well as providing you with the systems you need for your human resources and business sense!”

I love that the Bureau of Land Management can provide mustangs to be made use of in this initiative. And it seems government funding is available.  So I am sure this will encourage suitably qualified horse people to take on the mustangs and provide such a program to at risk youth. Running with Mustangs sounds like a wonderful initiative.  It works to engage at risk youth, involve them with horses and fix a problem.

“A horse loves freedom, and the weariest old work horse will roll on the ground or break into a lumbering gallop when he is turned loose into the open.” ― Gerald Raftery

Light Hands Equitation with Steve Halfpenny

I recently came across Steve Halfpenny’s site, Light Hands Equitation. I signed up to his email list late last year.  This was to be able to gain access to some of his resources for free. You can find details on that and many others on the Equus Education Free Horse Resources board on Pinterest. Do a search for light hands equitation, as it’s toward the end of the pins on this board.

Steve is able to make use of technology to teach people around the world, from his home in South Australia. A recent article highlighted the course that Steve offers. It stated that he had developed:

“a six week online program that showed the process from start to finish of how to develop your horsemanship using ‘Light Hands Equitation’ methods to bring on a horse in a relaxed, soft, light and sympathetic manner.”

This is now known as the Light Hands Equitation six week masterclass. There is also a monthly membership that students can make use of.  In this way they have consistent access to Steve and his teachings. For those keen to make use of this, it states in a recent article:

Light Hands Equitation Focuses on being a Sensitive Rider

Light Hands Equitation Focuses on being a Sensitive Rider

“From now until Jan 30th 2017, you can enjoy your first month’s access to Steve’s monthly membership program for just $1 using this coupon code: ONEDOLLAR.”

This is another example of being able to make use of your knowledge and skills with horses to bring in an income. With course fees and monthly memberships, it looks like it could even become a residual income earner.

Are you looking to improve your riding this year?  Then Steve’s Light Hands Equitation site may be just what you’re looking for.  Sign up today for the freebies and see what you think!

“When I hear somebody talk about a horse or cow being stupid; I figure it’s a sure sign that the animal has somehow outfoxed them” ― Tom Dorrance

The Painted Pony

I downloaded this recently on Kindle.  The Painted Pony is a short story for children by Angharad Thompson Rees. It focuses around a pony named Stargazer that is a part of a merry-go-round at a fair.

Stargazer enjoys his life as he brings joy to children as they go round and round on him at the fair. It is only when one young boy comes to visit and ride him, that the pony questions if there may be more to life. Sebastian has a gift – he can talk with Stargazer.  He talks of freedom and the beautiful wild horses of the Camargue.

The Painted Pony by Angharad Thompson Rees

The Painted Pony by Angharad Thompson Rees

Sebastian finishes his ride before Stargazer has heard all he wants to about the wild horses of the Camargue. He pleads with Sebastian to tell him more. And so the young boy promises to return when no one else is around.

True to his promise, Sebastian comes back at night when things are quiet. He tells Stargazer more about the wild horses. The pony is fascinated to hear too, that the young boy is able to talk only with those animals who desire to be free; to have a different life.

Stargazer asks the young boy how he can be free. This is when he learns an important lesson: it is through one’s own desires and actions that we are able to bring change to our circumstances.

The Painted Pony is a short story with an important moral for all readers. Although it may be aimed at kids, the theme to the story is applicable for all. It is an enjoyable read that is one of the six enchanting pony stories for children that make up Magical Adventures and Pony Tails.

Author – Angharad Thompson Rees
Fiction – children
In my library – as an eBook it is.
Want it? Get it now on Amazon.

“In riding a horse, we borrow freedom.” ― Helen Thompson





A Hoof Map for Farriers

What I found particularly interesting in Jenifer Morrissey’s book the Partnered Pony, was her reference to a hoof map for farriers. At an ELPO conference, two local veterinarians paired up with some ELPO farriers.  The farriers were able to demonstrate how their hoof map accurately locates the coffin bone.  This was with the use of a portable radiograph with the vets.

And why should this be of interest to horse owners? Knowing where the coffin bone lies, assists in trimming the hoof so that it sits at a correct angle with regards to this bone. Being able to utilise a tool to quickly identify the position of a coffin bone, makes it easier to correctly trim the hoof.

A Hoof Map for Farriers - does this Interest you?

A Hoof Map for Farriers – does this Interest you?

A Hoof Map for Farriers

Jenifer commented about this mapping tool, indicating that as someone who trims her horses’ feet, it was beneficial to know about. For those who are interested in trimming or who already look after horse’s feet, you may like to read up on this hoof map for farriers tool.

If you do a search on hoof mapping tool on the ELPO website, you will be shown a link to the 4 Step E.L.P.O Live Sole – Hoof Mapping Protocol. This page details different aspects of the hoof you need to be able to identify. Using these, it is then possible to assess the hoof and to determine where the coffin bone lies.

The above search also provides details of a two part video on basic hoof mapping and trimming. You can watch that here.

I love that there is so much still to be learned about horses. As we discover how certain issues arise with horses, we are then in a position to make changes. It’s exciting to know that passionate and informed people can develop tools to help with effective horse care.

As people develop a passion for a particular area of horses, they are able to then use this.  Along with their knowledge and skills, they can make things better for horses or easier for handlers – or both! Perhaps there is a tool or resource out there that you could develop to help further a particular aspect of the horse industry. Get to it!

The Equine Lameness Prevention Organization

Whilst reading Jenifer Morrissey’s the Partnered Pony, reference was made to the Equine Lameness Prevention Organization. Otherwise known as ELPO, this is a non-profit organization. Their mission is:

‘to provide hoof care and equine care guidelines that are based upon research and the practical experiences of successful equine care professionals from around the world.’

As it states on the Equine Lameness Prevention Organization website, they consider themselves a community.

‘Welcome to a Community that is dedicated to the treatment and prevention of lameness in horses. This social network was designed to be a place where horse owners, horse enthusiasts and equine professionals can go to get help, offer assistance to others, exchange ideas, and socialize about the health & soundness of their equine companions.’

Would you Make use of the Equine Lameness Prevention Organization?

Would you Make use of the Equine Lameness Prevention Organization?

I love this concept! How wonderful to have a place online where people can meet, discuss ideas or raise concerns. They can help each other to learn to be better stewards of the animals in their care. In particular, in the area of hoof care.

You can become a member of ELPO for a fee. The result is that you help to fund evidence based studies as well as gain access to videos, articles, blogs and discussion forums to help aid your learning.

For those interested in ELPO events, there is an event calendar on the site. This includes details on barefoot trimming courses, as well as courses in identifying lameness and gaining certification. The education page also provides some .pdf resources for those who are after some more reading!

For those who are interested in learning more about how to care for their horses feet, check out ELPO. If you’re pursuing farriery as a horse career, then be sure to look at the Equine Lameness Prevention Organization, too!

“He moved like a dancer, which is not surprising; a horse is a beautiful animal, but it is perhaps most remarkable because it moves as if it always hears music.” ― Mark Helprin

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