Equestrian Voices dives deep into the emotions, lives, stories, and everything we don't talk about when it comes to life as an equestrian. Join our host, Caroli... More
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Deep Dive: Understanding Kissing Spines
Your horse is cold backed and unpredictable at the mounting block. Under saddle, he goes around inverted, and can sometimes even kick out or spook suddenly. One of your friends casually says, “Maybe he has Kissing Spines,” and your heart skips - you’ve heard of it before, and know that it’s definitely not good. Kissing Spines disease in horses has been increasingly diagnosed in recent years, and can even be a reason why some people pass on a horse during a pre purchase exam - but we know more about diagnosing, treating, and managing this condition than we ever have. In this conversation, Dr. Kara Brown helps us break down the in/outs of this disease, as well as what you should be worried about (and what you shouldn’t) if your horse is diagnosed with it. Along with listener questions, Caroline and Dr. Brown discuss: The anatomy of the back, and how it relates to Kissing Spines What we know (and don’t) about what causes this condition The grading system vets use to assess severity How to properly palpate your horse’s back The best (and most recent) diagnosis methods Surgical and non-surgical treatment options Longer-term management and strengthening methods The book referenced with regard to rehabilitation and strengthening: Activate Your Horse’s Core by Hilary Clayton and Narelle Stubbs A bit about Kara Brown, VMD, DACVSMR: Dr. Brown attended veterinary school at the University of Pennsylvania and completed specialty training (including a fellowship in Large Animal Cardiology and Ultrasound and residency in Equine Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation) at the University of Pennsylvania, New Bolton Center. She is also a diplomate of the American College of Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation and will be joining the faculty at the University of Pennsylvania in July. She has a special interest in complex poor performance in the sport horse, and has published research on varied topics within this subject.
If you’re a regular to the Equestrian Voices podcast, you know that bitting is a subject we return to time and again. This is because bits have such a dramatic impact on a horse’s happiness and performance - and it’s an area we still have so much to learn about! So we decided to come back to this topic, this time bringing together top professionals from the Hunter/Jumper, Eventing, and Dressage disciplines to discuss how their ideas about bits and bitting developed over the course of their careers, and to see if there were any common threads between disciplines that could shed some new light on how to approach bitting for our own horses. During this roundtable, our four special guests also focused on how bitting differs (and is more often the same) between different areas of our industry, as well as misconceptions/pitfalls for each specific concentration. We also talk about how education plays such a huge role in choosing bits for our equine partners, and where we might be falling short as an industry in that area. GUESTS: Liza Towell Boyd Liz Halliday-Sharp Betsy Steiner Stephanie Brown-Beamer Additional resources: [LISTEN]Bits, Behaviors and Teeth: Misconceptions About Your Horse’s Mouth [LISTEN]What’s Your Horse Trying to Tell You About His Bit? (Part 1) (Part 2) If you want to do some more exploration on your own, head to the Nueu Schule Knowledge Base (not sponsored) and nerd out on the topic of bits and bitting. Your horse will appreciate it!
(Part 2) Creating Openness and Growth in the Horse/Rider Relationship
When it comes to riding, more often than not the focus is placed on the horse - what are they doing, how are they feeling, what can we improve with them, etc. But we all know that the horse is only 50% of the equation - the other 50%? You: the rider. So why does it always feel like focusing on yourself, especially out of the saddle, is somehow selfish or irrelevant in terms of your time and effort? In the second of this two-part podcast, host Caroline Culbertson continues her conversation with Dr. Paul and Justin Haefner of Riding Far LLC to discuss the human part of the equation. Specifically, how being self-actualized and self-regulating can have a wildly positive influence on how our horses respond to us (and their environment) both on the ground and while being ridden. During this continued conversation, Caroline, Dr. Paul, and Justin also discuss: Why investing in yourself as a self actualized person is also an investment in your riding. The mix of patience and process in the horse/rider relationship. How truly powerful it can be when a trainer claims both their place and their competence in the larger industry. The way in which disintegration can exacerbate moments of fear or tension in the saddle, and how to overcome it. The Polyvagal Theory (we’re getting very technical and we love it!) and how it applies to riding. The difference between a “brilliant” horse and a horse that just doesn’t self regulate very well. How a horse’s job is more than what it does in the ring, and why that’s important to keep in mind. Why every rider has a responsibility to be aware of their ability (and their horse’s ability!) to self regulate in a given situation.
Creating Openness and Growth in the Trainer/Student Relationship (Part 1)
If you’ve ever taken a riding lesson, you know that it goes something like this: Your trainer stands in the middle of the ring giving you instructions, and you’re on the horse trying your darndest to follow those instructions precisely. It works… kinda. But bridging that gap between your trainer’s instructions and feeling/understanding can be challenging. Additionally, it can put the rider in a mindset of listening to the instructor which can, in turn, tune out the horse. So why does it continue to be pretty much the exclusive teaching method? Is there more to know when it comes to developing an effective back and forth between trainer and student? In the first of this two-part podcast, host Caroline Culbertson sits down with Paul and Justin Haefner of Riding Far LLC to discuss the many aspects of the student/trainer relationship, and how it can potentially change for the better into something more dynamic and fluid. Paul Haefner, PhD. is a licensed clinical and sport psychologist with more than 30 years of professional experience. His son Justin Haefner is a professional trainer who comes from a background in vaquero style natural horsemanship and specializes in the training and handling of young performance horses. Together, Dr. Paul and Justin help people create powerful opportunities for riders to transform their relationships with themselves and their horse in large and small ways. During this powerful conversation, Caroline and our guests discuss: The difference between knowing your subject matter and effectively teaching it. Why it's important to be aware of the many sensory inputs you experience while riding. Why understanding learning styles (and having trainers understand them, too!) can play such an important part in rider development. The gap between seeing a skill and experiencing a skill, and how to bridge it. Teaching “feel”, and why it’s critical to develop this skill sooner than later. The difference between doing something successfully and doing something well. Why the “Mean Trainer” should be a thing of the past. How trainers can think about their students seeking education outside of their barn.
Do We Need More Toughness, or More Softness? With JJ Tate
Most riders desire to develop a horse who is a happy, willing participant in whatever task or discipline they’ve set out towards. But where the training narrative used to revolve around making sure the horse knows who’s the boss, newer methods value give and take and making sure your horse is heard in the conversation. The balance of toughness vs softness in riding has never been more at the forefront of discussion. We want our horses to respect boundaries and listen to our requests (especially for safety’s sake!). We also want our horses to learn from a place of mutual respect and understanding, not fear and retribution. The line isn’t always an easy one to walk, especially when preparing a horse for a results-focused competition. To help walk us through this landscape, we talk with top International Grand Prix Dressage rider JJ Tate. JJ has been competing at the highest levels since her junior years and has vowed to herself to train without shortcuts, with integrity and principles that are aligned with how horses think, move, and learn. She runs a USDF University Accredited online program called Team Tate Academy so anyone can access her expertise regardless of where they live, and was also mentored by the great Charles de Kunffy (she shares with us some of the wisdom she’s learned from him along the way, which is particularly special). In this broader conversation, JJ and host Caroline Culbertson discuss hardness and softness in training, and why it’s possible (maybe even necessary) to have both. They also dive into: The concept of “rider merit,” and how it should be assessed beyond just the competitive accolades a rider achieves What is “horse sport” really about, and what universal qualities does it share with other sports? Riding as character growth for both horse and rider The sort of rider you need to become to have the horse volunteer for you, and why it’s something we should all strive for How science is backing up the classical methods that have always worked Why being clear with your horse is actually in the long run being kind The “Growth Mindset” and how to achieve it as a rider How methods of horse training in the EU differ from methods in the US, and how both have their strengths and weaknesses
Equestrian Voices dives deep into the emotions, lives, stories, and everything we don't talk about when it comes to life as an equestrian. Join our host, Caroline Culbertson, for vulnerable, different, and sometimes hilarious chats with riders from all backgrounds. We want to get the 'human' out of horse people. Thanks for being here.