So recently I was up in Wagga at Charles Sturt University for my resident school. One of the subjects I’m studying this year is equine locomotion.
One of the lecturers on the subject had recently done a study on the effectiveness of certain anti inflammatory drugs. In assessing this, she was observing horses move on a treadmill and filming this whilst also putting a sensor on their feet to determine weight carrying capacity.
A program that she used was a free motion analysis tool that you can download online. I asked if I could use this program to film my own horse and then assess his movement if he was out racing around a paddock. The answer was yes, although it wouldn’t provide as detailed or controlled information as sensors and a treadmill would.
So! For those curious about software that they can download and use for free that assesses motion, take a look at The Institution for Rehabilitation Research and Development. Enjoy!
“Stay away from a horse long enough and you’ll start tapping your fingers in the beat of a post trot.” – Author Unknown
Have you always been interested in horses?
My history is steeped in horses, from the days when my grandfather ploughed his paddocks with a work horse! I have been interested in the majestic creature since this time seeing the versatility of the horse from work, sport and pleasure.
I spent my childhood riding with friends having great adventures and on school holidays I would work at a trail riding ranch. My teenage and adult days were devoted to working cattle on horse back which lead me to working in the NT on a cattle station which was a real highlight in my life.
I later started the sport of breakaway roping which is just so much fun and rewarding.
What is it exactly that you do?
I am the owner and manager of North East Horse Rug Repairs, this is a business I created a few years ago, mainly because I could see a big void in the industry.
I found there is nothing more annoying than finding that perfect fitting rug for my horse, and then when it became damaged finding a person that could restore it back to its original fit. So I now repair rugs, make new rugs and accessories to create the perfect package.
How much of your day/week is related to horses?
I would hate to add up the hours devoted to horses, however I can tell you that my day starts with feeding, removing rugs, then off to the work shed to repair rugs, then back to the paddock to re rug, feed and if time allows have a quick ride, but having two young children has limited my time to ride.
In this field of work, is it possible to be a full time professional and earn a reliable income?
Yes it is possible to create a reliable income, however this does not come without great dedication,the horse industry is very particular and want to see quality work for their money, professional service and reliability, it is not a profession for someone who is not prepared to give 100%
What are the general steps taken to be employed in such a role?
The first thing I would advise is anyone considering going into business is that you do a small business course.
You would then need to have some knowledge of horse anatomy so you understand when cutting a pattern what to allow for, a knowledge of the use of an industrial sewing machine and lots of patience for the time unpicking and restitching repair work.
Favourite horse memory?
Although I have had many happy memories of working & riding horses I would have to say winning my first rodeo was a real buzz, and training my own rope horse.
I want to build my business into a profitable and reliable service and have the ability to work from home long term.
Best thing about your profession?
I love watching those before and after shows such as the Block and its the same when people bring rugs into me which are very damaged and then looking at them after I’ve repaired them and their back to a usable rug, it’s rewarding.
“Look back at our struggle for freedom, trace our present day’s strength to its source; and you’ll find that our pathway to glory, is strewn with the bones of the horse.” – Author unknown
So I’m researching online horse books, marketing and promotion at the moment – because I finished my book! Today I stumbled across a site that I’m surprised I haven’t found earlier due to my love of horse books!
Take a look at Horse and Rider Books. These guys are ‘the leading publishers of equestrian books and DVDs’. Their claim to fame is perhaps their first horse book Centred Riding by Sally Swift which was published in 1985. Now these publishers can boast authors such as:
- Jane Savoie (link)
- Linda Tellington-Jones
- Alois Podhajsky
If you’re in the market of writing a horse book, publishers that focus on horse books might be worth knowing! Horse and Rider Books do accept submissions for book proposals and manuscripts, check out their guidelines to see how you can submit your book in the making!
‘Never give up on something that you can’t go a day without thinking about.’ – Author Unknown
Price McNaughton is taking part in a book tour over the month of April to get her new equine novel out there. She has been kind enough to answer questions regarding writing horses as a career.
Have you always been interested in horses and when did you start out in the industry? What is it exactly that you do?
I’ve been interested in horses since I can remember. I majored in Horse Science in college and then ended up moving to Lexington and working with racehorses. After a move home to try my hand at barrel racing, I was involved in a serious riding accident.
While I still ride and hope to one day barrel race again, I began focusing on writing while healing from my accident. Now, I write mysteries and I have just finished Murder is Ugly, the first in a series featuring Jinx Delaney and her horse, Ranger.
How much of your day/week is related to horses?
When I travel and work with horses at seasonal jobs, it varies. On a day to day basis as a writer, I interact with my own horses. I guess you could say that I go from working with other people’s horses as a job to working with my own for pleasure while writing.
In this field of work, is it possible to be a full time professional and earning a liveable income?
Yes, I believe so. While I am not at that level yet and am supplementing my income with other jobs and opportunities, I can easily see this turning into my full time profession with a liveable income.
What are the general steps taken to be employed in such a role?
Read! It’s a must. Also, you must begin writing as much as possible. After you have finished your book, you will have to decide if you want to self-publish, indie-publish, or try to be traditionally published. Research each and decide which one is for you and then go from there.
Favourite horse memory?
The first time I rode my adopted American Mustang, Dillinger. I trained him myself and I was the first one on his back. Love him!
To continue writing and build my audience. I also want to turn a few of my stories/books into plays.
Best thing about your sport/profession?
Reader feedback. Hearing from a fan can make your day! Also, the flexibility to pursue anything and everything that interests me in the name of research for a book.
“When in doubt, ask a horse.”
So I’m a big diamond mesh fan when it comes to fencing. Obviously fencing is a big deal when it comes to keeping horses contained in an area. Funds permitting, I’d love a property full of diamond mesh fencing!
However, more important than aesthetics to me is fencing that is durable, safe and visible to the horse. Diamond Mesh fencing have created another product that is an “economical alternative to a timber top rail”.
This product is Equirope. Why not check it out on their site?
For any horse owners or carers, it’s always worth knowing about products and facilities that are available to you for your horse’s well being. On a career side note, perhaps you could consider such a product as an avenue to pursue with regards to horses and work.
There are always products that can be improved or invented to ease horse care and enjoyment for owners. Perhaps you’ll invent the next horse product that people are dying to buy!
For me, fencing will always be a necessity, but it’s great to see that new products such as Equirope, are being created to lower costs but keep up with horse safety.
Curious about the idea of inventing a product, perhaps you’d like to take a look at Equilume, a product that is being released this year for the horse breeding world.
“He knows when you’re happy
He knows when you’re comfortable
He knows when you’re confident
And he always knows when you have carrots.” – Author Unknown
Welcome to the April 14, 2013 edition of Equus Education.
Keith Templeton presents Q&A with Bryan Farcus on farriery and hoof care basics posted at The Farrier Guide to horseshoeing schools and employment saying, “Hi Christine, Here’s that article I was mentioning to you by email. Hope you like it! Keith”
That concludes this edition. Submit your blog article to the next edition of equus education using our carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.
So a friend has recently posted on Facebook about her excitement of having secured foaling work for the next 12 months. For those familiar with the world of breeding horses, you may be asking, ‘but how is this possible? Mares only cycle in the warmer months and are consequently bred then.’
This is possible through the joys of working both hemispheres. Because the northern and southern hemispheres run on opposite seasons, it is possible to work the breeding season in the southern hemisphere and then travel over to the northern hemisphere and work their breeding season.
Consequently, it’s possible to work the position of a foaling attendant, all year round.
What does a foaling attendant do?
- generally work nights when mares are anticipated to foal (often from 9pm – 6am)
- observe mares during the foaling process and help if necessary with the delivery
- notify vets of any issues with a mare foaling that may need immediate attention
- keep an eye on the newborn foal
- test colostrum levels on mares and immunity levels in foals
- deal with compromised foals and mares after foaling
The job in itself is an incredibly rewarding one and extremely important! Foals within their first 72 hours of life (termed neonates) are extremely vulnerable to a multitude of problems. Your foaling attendant may be the first person to pick up any issues and help to improve the foal’s health.
“It’s always been and always will be the same in the world: the horse does the work and the coachman is tipped.” – Author Unknown
So I had my boy’s feet done today by a farrier who is undertaking a course with the Australian Certificate Equine Hoofcare Practitioners.
It seems that these guys are based in Tasmania, Australia but people nationally and internationally are signing up for the course they offer.
The course is started with a 2 week intensive session, and then 9 months of self-paced study. For those interested in farriery work for their own horses, or perhaps as a career option, why not check it out!
It was evident to me today that this young woman is able to undertake farriery work and having chosen to now do so as a career, she’s keen to have her skills recognised formally by a piece of paper.
Perhaps if you’re in the same boat, it is worth looking into the courses available near you.
“No foot, no horse.” – Author unknown
Friday was such a delightfully exciting and productive day at work. (Now tell me honestly, have you ever been able to say such a thing about your work?)
Based on the content of this blog, it should be no surprise that I love horses, the horse industry and education relating to it. Perhaps that’s how I’m blessed to currently be in an equine educational role at a TAFE in Victoria.
My main tasks at this stage focus around generating or updating resources for our horse breeding courses, and getting the related information and assessment tasks online for our enrolled students to utilise. I’ve recently finished writing a learner guide regarding carry out stud and stable management duties and written a couple of assignments and quizzes that the students must complete in order to gain competency in this particular unit of their course.
It felt great to finish this all and have it live online for when the students will be starting the unit at the end of the month. I love finishing tasks before they’re due!
Another staff member who assesses students in the racing industry mentioned that a nearby thoroughbred stud was looking for someone to help with mucking out boxes. I emailed our current students to let them know in case anyone was looking for work in the nearby area. One promptly replied, wanting to know how she could chase up this available work, so I gave her contact details for that particular stud.
A young woman came in a little later, seeking out horse courses that she could undertake, as well as a job in the industry. A couple of us talked with her regarding the courses on offer at the National Centre for Equine Education and I was able to inform her of another job that is available an hour down the road at another thoroughbred stud.
Alongside this, our course coordinator called to let me know that we have a new trainee for one of our courses, and that she is working at a thoroughbred stud that I used to work at and still have close contact with the workers there. Now I’m new to traineeships, but it seems that this particular one at my old workplace could be one of the first for me to sign up and assess out in the industry.
For me, it doesn’t get much better than that for a morning’s work! I was able to:
- Complete resources in advance and have them online for current students
- Help a current student apply for a potential job
- Talk with a potential future student about course options, a possible job and her future career with horses
- Agree to take on a new task that will gain me more skills at work and allow the chance to visit those who first helped me get started in the industry
Yes, life is sweet
“A dog may be man’s best friend…But the horse wrote history.” – Author unknown
Don’t forget about the upcoming Equus Education blog carnival! On the 14th of each month I am listing blogs that have been entered by the 10th of the month for the current carnival edition.
Blog carnivals can be a great way to gain extra exposure to your blog. With this in mind, if you have written a post that relates in any way to education regarding horses, then I encourage you to submit a piece for the blog carnival!
If you miss the deadline for this month, just submit for the following!
“One man’s wrong lead is another man’s counter-canter.” – S.D. Price