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Free Equine Courses at CAFRE: Health, Nutrition and Behaviour

Well my favourites for providing free equine courses are at it once again!  A recent tweet from one of the equine industry trainers alerted me to this fact.  CAFRE have upcoming free courses in equine health, equine nutrition and also equine behaviour. Ready to sign up? 🙂

Perhaps you’d like further details:

  1. Clinical equine nutrition – running from April 12, enrol by April 5th!
  2. Introduction to Equine Health – May 24th, register by May 17th
  3. Managing Equine Health – July 5th, enrol by June 28th
  4. Equine Behaviour and Welfare – August 16th starting date, enrol by August 9th
Free Equine Courses - what Topic would Interest you?

Free Equine Courses – what Topic would Interest you?

Free Equine Courses at CAFRE

All of the free equine courses are run online over a four week period. I have undertaken many CAFRE courses online and the layout is generally the same.

You’re provided with some interesting and informative PowerPoints that often have a voiceover on them. Learning objectives are outlined, discussed and summarised. For each topic there is a test that you have three chances at completing. The idea is to gain the best score you possibly can.

For everyone who undertakes all of the tests successfully, you are issued an electronic certificate.  This is to indicate that you undertook the course. Perhaps you’re looking to increase your knowledge and also gain some horse related certificates. Or maybe you want a refresher course. Perhaps, you’re looking to connect with other horse people who are also interested in these topics.

Whatever the reason, these courses are great to undertake! You have access to the materials and can do them in your own time, as long as you complete the tests by the specified date. For someone who is raising two young children, I have found I could dedicate enough time to complete the courses before the end date. And I’ve always learned something!

Strides to Success, Equine Assisted Learning

Recently Blair McKissock, the Director of Education for Strides to Success was profiled on Equus Education. I wanted to take a closer look at this horse educational organisation. Strides to Success have a simple motto:

The Logo for Strides to Success, an Equine Assisted Learning Non-Profit Organisation

The Logo for Strides to Success, an Equine Assisted Learning Non-Profit Organisation

“Learning. Leading. Living.”

A non-profit organisation, Strides to Success is a facility that is accredited through PATH. This facility works as a resource for many: families, individuals, organisations schools and mental health professionals.

It provides information for anyone who is seeking to utilise authentic learning experiences.  There is a focus on character development and leadership qualities.

Strides to Success, Equine Assisted Learning

I love that horses can be used to help with this! Set in the United States, Strides creates custom programs for those in need. The sessions incorporate equine assisted learning. There is also the option for workshops to be held at their facilities and for online learning.

If you’re interested in the events they offer, then there is a page for this on their website. Perhaps you love this idea and want to help it move forward, then you can donate.

If you’re in the United States and interested in pursuing an equine assisted learning career, then it may be worth looking into Strides. Maybe you’re close enough to volunteer your time and also your enthusiasm. Or perhaps you can inquire of their skills and knowledge to gain ideas for your future horse career. There are often people who have gone before you in the horse industry that can make your career journey that little bit easier. Make the effort to reach out, connect and also learn all you can! It will only benefit you.

“For many young girls, having a horse of their own ranks high on the scale of importance, right up there with breathing.” ― Kim Meeder

The Ultimate Equine Image Site

Have you considered the idea of stock photo sites? Or more specifically, a stock photo site that focuses on horses? I believe this could work as a horse related career. And why? Because there are many markets out there where an equine image needs to be bought and utilised:

  • For horse blogs and articles
  • On horse book covers
  • Horse photos for educational resources
  • On logos for horse businesses
  • Horse images for screen savers and desktop backgrounds

An Equine Image Platform

Going that one step further, I believe that there is room for an equine image platform. What would be offered on this? Images for the abovementioned points. But on top of this, there could be access to a certain number or type of images for a monthly fee.

People can also gain access to tools that can help them to develop images. For example, they could download an image for their next horse book cover. Then they could use tools offered online to add in a title, author’s name and other book details. They could even add other images or effects to the photo, ultimately creating their book cover online.

Would you Utilise an Equine Image you could Personalise Online?

Would you Utilise an Equine Image you could Personalise Online?

The same could be said for magazine covers and Pinterest images for a blog post or website page. It would also be possible to create horse logos for a business.

The general idea is that this platform provides the horse images and the capability to turn these photos into a graphic for professional use. There are many horse businesses out there with an online presence. Having one place they could go online to find appropriate photos and generate graphics could be something they’re willing to pay a monthly fee for.

On a side note, you could also encourage photographers to submit stock that could be sold at a flat rate and they receive a commission. You earn and they earn. Another equine passive income streams possibility!

The Further Adventures of the $700 Pony by Ellen Broadhurst

This is one story that I am sorry to say has taken me so long to read! It is a hilarious read told from the point of view of the $700 Pony’s owner.

The Further Adventures of the $700 Pony by Ellen Broadhurst

The Further Adventures of the $700 Pony by Ellen Broadhurst

In the Further Adventures of the $700 Pony, we are introduced to a husband and wife pair early one morning as their dream property is being worked on. The couple have two children under the age of five, an awful lot of chickens, ‘Psycho-mutt’ – a lab-cross canine and a $700 Pony who is often referred to as Herself.

In time the $700 Pony is relocated to their slice of heaven after the issue of confinement is solved. This in itself is a rather amusing story as the $700 Pony’s owner determines appropriate fencing to confine two children under five and at other times a pony. When you consider that the fencing can be electrified, does it cause concern for you, too?

The reader is quickly introduced to how the $700 Pony came to be and the grand plans for her riding career. Of course, this requires travel, which is a lot of fun with a directionally challenged owner –

‘Basically, I’m one of those people who still has difficulty with the “left” and “right”, let alone east, west, south and whatever the last one is.’

Introduce in time a second horse – or rather, pony – for the non interested children, and things increase in amusement. There are tales of failed showing, eventually successfully loading up a fat, Houdini pony into a trailer, and a town parade on Halloween with said Houdini pony, affectionately know as the Wee Spotted.

The Further Adventures of the $700 Pony is a very amusing tale. It focuses on farm life with a family of four and their exploits whilst owning and caring for animals. There are a lot of amusing tangents.  The story teller takes the reader on many a round about trip through her train of thought. This is a great read for those who love horses, can relate to horse owning and caring problems.  It is also good for those who just plain want a laugh.

Author: Ellen Broadhurst
Fiction – adult
In My Library? As an eBook.
Want it? Get it now on Amazon.

Profile On: Blair McKissock, Director of Education at Strides to Success

Blair McKissock was kind enough to answer some questions about her work with Strides to Success.

Strides to Success Logo

Strides to Success Logo

How much of your day/week is related to horses?
60+ hours of what I do every week is related to horses. This includes direct service with clients, the marketing and training program coordination, proctoring online coursework and facilitating training programs.

What is it exactly that you do?
I am the director of education for Strides to Success in Indiana. My job is to implement and coordinate special programs.  I write the programs up to be published as curricula and resources for the industry, and facilitate the HorseWork Education training program.  I also coordinate the online courses, provide direct service in equine assisted learning and therapy.

In this field of work, is it possible to be a full time professional and earning a liveable income?
Yes!! If you create a diverse stream of income.  Also, collaborate with other organizations in your area, do your homework on the program planning process to accurately match your programs to the needs in your community.  And if you are passionate enough to persevere through the hard stuff.

What are the general steps taken to be employed in such a role?
Certification through a credible program, experience and skill with both horses and humans, good partnership with a barn or barn of your own, desire to never stop learning!

Favourite horse memory?
There are so many it’s hard to choose.  This one in particular was the foundation for the Equiyo-yoga on horseback book so is it special to me.

I had been working with a client with multiple sclerosis.  She would get on her horse and proceed to canter lap after lap. She was very high energy but would never talk about her diminishing ability to maintain balance and her decrease in strength as the disease progresses.

Every lesson it would take her a long time to mellow out and encourage the horse to walk. You could tell that the horse was clearly reflecting the excess energy and whirlwind that must have been in the rider’s head. One day we spent time focusing on breath work and talking about her situation before she even got on.

After she mounted we moved through some basic yogic breathing and posture work so she could feel the horse move under her. She began to talk about her fear related to her decline. As she talked, the horse took a huge breath and immediately the horse calmly walked. Once she acknowledged that she kept herself busy so she intentionally didn’t notice or pay attention to what was going on in her body, things changed between her and the horse. It was amazing to see!

A Workshop at Strides to Success

A Workshop at Strides to Success

Future goals?
My goal is to continue doing what I am doing but take it to the next level. My professional goal is to continue supporting the industry through committee work with professional organizations.  The aim is to develop guidelines so that as we move forward, we will be on the right track to protect the integrity of what we do.  This will help keep both clients and horses safe.

I also want to create more curriculum and resources that have been on the back burner for a while.  As well as take this work and teach more on a regular basis at the University level to help establish academic programs for training and certification.

Currently I teach online courses through Strides to Success including an online therapeutic riding apprentice course.  I want to expand those to make continuing education as affordable and accessible as possible. My hope is that things are set up for the next generation of equine professionals to take the reins and go further than we have dreamed of.

Best thing about your sport/profession?
The best thing is that it is just the beginning. We are learning more and more every day about how interaction between horses and humans can be so beneficial to both. There is so much more to learn and explore.  And lots of opportunity for people to jump into this industry and help blaze trails! This can also present quite a challenge to people who are just starting out and are trying to figure out how to get the training and experience they need to do the work safely and effectively.

Every person who hangs a shingle and facilitates equine assisted learning and therapy as their profession represents the entire industry. Since we are growing and becoming recognized, that means we are under ever greater scrutiny.  Therefore we need to take our ethical and professional responsibilities seriously.

There is very little oversight or accreditation within our industry currently. There are organizations beginning to go through that process and things will change. But it is highly recommended to new professionals that they do their homework on those they get training through. There is a great resource on the website on equine assisted learning competencies and guidelines. These can be a great benchmark to compare the content and outcomes of a training you are considering before you invest money.

Debbie Anderson, the executive director of Strides to Success and I spent years working with PATH International.  This was alongside a fabulous team of industry experts to develop those and hope they become a resource for the industry moving forward.


Equine Podcasts as a Business Tool

Recently I attended a friend’s wedding and got talking to the husband of one of the bridesmaids. He made reference to a podcast host and hosting network that he and a mate currently provided – New Pod World Order. This was done at a fee to those who wanted to be able to create a podcasting channel.  In time I got to thinking – equine podcasts!

There are equine channels on YouTube and horse related radio stations. Websites and blogs are numerous. So why not a podcast that relates to horses?

This is another topic that is only limited to your imagination and knowledge. Equine podcasts could build up a large following over time. How great to be able to tune into a particular horse trainer or someone else who is known in a certain field relating to horses? Racing, breeding, nutrition; the list goes on.

Equine Podcasts - Would you Listen?

Equine Podcasts – Would you Listen?

Equine Podcasts

What I love about the idea of a podcast is that you can download the audio file and listen to it later, or again! Perhaps you have a particular horse professional whose knowledge you’re really benefiting from. How great to be able to download their audio files and listen to them in your car or on your iPod later! Perhaps you can even listen to the audio just before you work with or ride your horse. In this way, the information is fresh in your mind for you to implement. Great!

Some people learn better from hearing, rather than reading. And if your eyes don’t like the idea of sitting in front of a computer screen for too long, then equine podcasts may be just for you! Horse information in audio form can be just as beneficial as the written form.

So how can this be turned into an income earner? If you’re providing valuable information, you could charge a fee for the files. People could pay to download the files, or they could pay a monthly subscription fee and have access to any/all files that you record.

Another option is to offer your audio for free, but to promote products within your podcasts. As people gain interest, they can check out these products on your site and purchase them.  An example of a horse related podcasting setup is Strides for Success. Why not check them out?

One Frosty Christmas by Laura Hesse

I was rapt to recently receive a free copy of One Frosty Christmas by Laura Hesse. You can get an electronic copy free, too over at InstaFreebie.

Young Hannah Storey is struggling to come to grips with a move to a new town. She’s a survivor of a car accident and the nightmares haunt her still. She lost her grandmother in the accident. On top of this, she lost half of her leg.

One Frosty Christmas by Laura Hesse

One Frosty Christmas by Laura Hesse

Although she is an amputee, this didn’t bother Hannah. She has a supportive family and caring friends. But the move to River Bend finds her the victim of bullying. Determined not to cry, she works hard to ignore the taunts from local bully Penny Paddington.

River Bend doesn’t boast much that is appealing. Hannah is lonely and bored. There aren’t malls to go shopping. The local kids don’t embrace her.

In the cold winter months, Hannah finds her attention drawn to another outcast. An emaciated, angry looking grey pony she has nicknamed Mr. Frost lives in a paddock that is on her bus stop. Each day as she goes to and from school, Hannah sees the dejected pony.

In time, a plan forms to feed him and to rescue him from the neglect of his angry owner, Ole Man Levy. Hannah focuses first on gaining the pony’s trust. It’s hard to acknowledge that even if she manages this, she doesn’t have a clue of where to keep the pony – or how to look after him.

Hannah is pleased to find herself with an unexpected accomplice. But even as her new friend helps to feed Mr. Frost, Hannah knows she still needs to learn about horse care. A solution comes in a local riding school that offers therapeutic lessons for disabled people.

Johnny Joe, Hannah’s friend from school may also be able to solve the housing problem for Mr. Frost. As plans are made to rescue the pony, Hannah questions if they will indeed succeed. When Penny Paddington gets involved, Hannah doesn’t see how they can proceed. Can they trust the girl? Or is it all a set up?

One Frosty Christmas is a delightful read for young readers that looks at the life of a neglected pony as well as a young girl recovering from the loss of her grandmother.  Hannah’s character is strong and honest, whilst Johnny Joe helps to throw in some horse knowledge in the story. The end result is a delightful tale that brings the local community together. Worth the read.

Author: Laura Hesse
Fiction – children
In My Library? As an eBook.
Want it? Get it now on Amazon.

Clockers – Keeping Time at the Racetrack

Recently reading a novel by Alex Brown, I was made aware of another job at the racetrack. Although I know that horse races are timed and records set and broken, I was ignorant to one group of people. These people are known as clockers. They work at the racetrack to clock and make record of the time in which a horse runs in its morning workouts.

These official timings are recorded and published in the Racing Form, apparently. This information is utilised for handicapping.

It states in an article on clockers as a job:

“Clockers must keep an accurate record of the fractional and final times for each workout taking place on the track. A copy of the official clocker report (including horse, trainer, distance, fractional times, and final time) must be provided to the racing stewards and racing secretary each day.
All workouts must then be published for review by the handicapping public in the track program and Daily Racing Form.”

Clockers – Timing Horses as a Job

For those who may consider this as a potential horse career, there are a few things to note. One, early mornings are a given. Many start work at 5am to be able to catch the times of the first horses training. Two, the job also requires commitment 6 – 7 days a week. It does however, leave afternoons free to pursue a second job or other interests.

Clockers are Responsible for Timing Horses in their Workouts

Clockers are Responsible for Timing Horses in their Workouts

A search online reveals that no particular qualification is required to be a clocker. However, a high school certificate is encouraged. The individual also needs to be able to multitask and pay attention to detail. For those who want to pursue working in the racing industry in a different role, being a clocker may be of interest.

Profile On: Elena Bajona, Equine Behaviourist and Therapist

Equine behaviourist and therapist Elena Bajona was kind enough to answer some questions about what she does at Animantia. Her answers can be found below.

How much of your day/week is related to horses?
I am dedicated to horses 24/7

Elena Bajona, Equine Behaviourist and Therapist

Elena Bajona, Equine Behaviourist and Therapist

What is it exactly that you do?

  1. Experienced Equine Manager – Charming and friendly with excellent management skills and very good understanding of the variables in the horse breeding industry.
  2. Equine applied behaviorist & therapist – Specialized in equine welfare, in cognitive behavioral therapies and massages for horses.
  3. Talented trainer with extensive experience in the horse industry and multiple residences abroad.

In this field of work, is it possible to be a full time professional and earning a liveable income?
In Italy is very difficult, that is why I want to relocate.

What are the general steps taken to be employed in such a role?
Have excellent experience.  Be honest, love animals and have a lot of compassion.

Favourite horse memory?
My first horse I saved who passed away a few days ago. She has filled my life with huge emotional moments.

Future goals?
Work for a high – end professional breeding center, stud, training center, horse rescue center. I am willing to relocate because in Italy the Horse Industry is decreasing each year and nowadays my experience and expertise are more sought-after and appreciated outside of Italy. Furthermore I would like to put my expertise into the hands of people who can appreciate my expertise including my total respect for the nature of the horse.

Best thing about your sport/profession?
I am feeling satisfied and happy when I know I can use my expertise to help horses and people.

“A horse which stops dead just before a jump and thus propels its rider into a graceful arc provides a splendid excuse for general merriment.” ― Philip, Duke of Edinburgh

Gourmet Horse Treats Recipe Cookbook by Lisa Travens

The concept of Gourmet Horse Treats Recipe Cookbook: 40 Horse-Approved Homemade Treats is great.  Author Lisa Travens explores various home made recipes for horses. Recipes include snacks that are suitable for young, developing horses. There are also ones for older horses that may have issues chewing and more delicate digestive systems.

Gourmet Horse Treats Recipe Cookbook by Lisa Travens

Gourmet Horse Treats Recipe Cookbook by Lisa Travens

There are also treats that are high in energy, while others focus more on roughage. Common ingredients include items that are known to be suitable for horses.  These include oats, lucerne (alfalfa), carrots, apples and molasses. Some ingredients suggested were questionable to me, including peanut butter and pumpkin.

The introductory chapter that covers the digestive system helps to show that the author is serious about giving appropriate feedstuffs to horses – in the appropriate amounts. I would have liked to see that the author had a degree or some such qualification relating to horses and science, or particularly nutrition. I’m not sure I’m comfortable taking recipe advice from someone who is solely going on what their horse has ‘enjoyed’ eating.

On top of this, it is an assumption that it has been enjoyed, because it was eaten. There was a lot of anthropomorphising in the book which I wasn’t so keen with. An example is comments relating to things that horses appreciate – I don’t know that I feel they can appreciate things. This is just a personal belief, however and not something wrong with the usefulness of the book.

The author did a good job of indicating how long to cook things for, but sometimes forgot to indicate at what temperature. And in all cases, the unit of measurement (which I assume to be Fahrenheit) was excluded. This would be beneficial particularly to people that utilise Celsius.

The book overall was made up of an interesting collection of recipes. The main ingredients were common, making it easy to make most of the recipes. The titles of the recipes were also fun and catchy. For those wanting some unique treats for their horses, Gourmet Horse Treats Recipe Cookbook may be of interest.

Author: Lisa Travens
Non Fiction – anyone
In My Library? As an eBook.
Want it? Get it now on Amazon.

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