How can horses sleep standing up?

Don’t you wish you could sleep standing up sometimes?! All you’d need to pull it off is a pair of dark sunglasses, and of course no snoring!

Horses sleep standing up because they are prey animals and rely on flight to keep them alive. This means the horses greatest defense is to run if faced with a dangerous situation. This has worked and kept them alive throughout the centuries. They live on a “run now, look later” philosophy yet everyone must rest sometime. Horses catch their “z’s” in two types of ways. One, is the “cat nap” per day, where you see them standing, weight shifted off one hind leg, head low and ears lopped. My favorite term for this expression is “airplane ears” because the ears go almost straight out to the side on some horses and it’s too adorable not to notice! They are relaxed and “recharging their batteries” while still not allowing themselves to be vulnerable.

Horses can sleep standing up because they are designed with legs that don’t fatigue over long periods of time standing up. With that being said here’s the question:

Q: do horses have muscles below their knee and hock (hind leg knee)?

A: the answer, is no! Only tendons! Isn’t that crazy?! But that design helps their legs to not grow tired over long rides or standing all day. Muscles require more blood flow, more energy than tendons. Not having muscles the leg can support the casual sleeping horse with ease!

Horses do, however, need three hours of deep sleep a day to fully rest. Usually you’ll see them asleep with a pasture mate standing guard for safety. This is a wild horse safety behavior that even domestic horses demonstrate today. With the horse standing guard over their highly vulnerable friend, they can alert the sleeping herd mate of anything questionable. Once one is rested they take turns and the guard horse gets to nap now, normally in the early afternoon in the sun after breakfast. It’s truly the most peaceful behavior to witness.

Next time your horse sleeps in your company just know he feels very safe and that’s the best gift you can give him.

Fun fact!

Yawning.

We all know how contagious yawning is. Just reading this right now you’re fighting back the urge to yawn. It’s ok I’ll give you a minute because, I too, am at the mercy of this funny reaction!

Alright now we are ready! So, why do horses yawn? They are not actually tired. They are releasing endorphins after built up stress from an event or training. This means they are relaxing and decompressing. Yawning also helps them if they aren’t getting enough oxygen just like us it’s an subconscious reaction in order to bring oxygen levels up. So don’t worry, yawning is a good thing!

Horse history fun fact!

Alright, we’ve all bridled our horse and forgot to buckle our throat latch but didn’t notice until we were already on our horse, or maybe that’s just me? Years ago, when I still bounced when I fell off, no I didn’t get off of my horse that’s too much effort right? So I stood up in my stirrups, leaned as far forward as I possibly could to reach the dangling pieces. Meanwhile the saddle horn is snuggly nestled into my abdomen and my horse thinks this is a great time to drop his head to eat… really I’m not kidding! About this time I turn into a lawn dart and off I go bridle and all. It was at that moment, as I was looking up at my horse seemingly laughing at my failed attempt to not end up on the ground there I was despite it all. Moral of the story is if the throat latch was fastened, the bridle would’t have come off and neither would I.

The throat latch on the bridle was designed back in the day when horses were part of the infantry. Horses were used to gain an upper hand in battles. Our opponents out smarted us when they would rip off the horses bridles so the soldiers had no other choice but to get down off their horse due to lack of control and fight fairly. This is when the throat latch was designed. It’s sole purpose is to keep the bridle on the horses face no matter what. It’s also the name of the part of the horse that it goes around! Right behind the jaw of the horse and beginning of the throat is referred to as the throat latch as well! Now you can’t forget… you’re welcome.

So now, many years later I demonstrated how fully functioning this tiny strap on the bridle is and how important it’s purpose is, still to this day!

The art of growing that long, thick tail is easier than you think!

We all love a long, thick tail on a horse but how? Three simple steps!

1). Feeding a proper diet and supplementing BIOTIN helps aid in hair and hoof health.

*fun fact! Did you know that Biotin helps strengthen hair? Horses hooves are made of compressed hair! That’s why biotin helps hooves grow and become healthier too!

2). Keep the tail clean before braiding and wrapping. This will reduce breakage and matted hair.

3). Wrap with vet wrap. Why vet wrap and not a tail bag? Well, in a tail bag there’s a lot of air which dries out the tail. Horses also tend to pull the bags off over time you’ll find them in their stalls usually pooped on (we’ve all been there! Then we have a moment of silence for that once vibrantly colored, pretty bag that’s now all shades of green…). But instead, with vet wrap the wrap keeps it clean and dry but not allowing so much air to dry it out so the tail can grow to it’s full potential!

– be careful to NEVER WRAP THE TAIL BONE! If you wrap the tailbone you can cut off circulation and the tail will fall off!

This is how it’s done, wash the tail, let it dry for an hour or two, braid it, then bring the e d of the tail up through the top of the braid as if to fold it. Then start wrapping with vet wrap of your chosen color. The trick of this whole method is to secure the wrap so it stays on! How? Well, many miss this vital step so listen carefully. Once you’ve wrapped the tail and the bottom of the tail thoroughly so it’s in a little sock per-say, take the wrap, open the same hole you put the bottom of the tail through at the top of the braid and thread your vet wrap through that then continue wrapping the tail until you run out of wrap. Squeeze it all together with your hands to make sure the wrap is not going anywhere and boom! You’ve done it! Don’t feel bad if it looks funny or akward you’ll get the hang of it the more you do it. Now leave it in for two months at a time then repeat! I personally cut about two inches off the tail ends every time I take it out to do a new wrap to ensure no split ends and full healthy tail. If you stay now you’ll be very pleased with your masterpiece come spring!

Western dressage is just square dancing for horses!

Dressage basics are often taught while using and English bridle and western saddle. Just because your in a western saddle doesn’t mean the maneuvers are any different. You’re just schooling. Relax and enjoy the ride! It’s fun to think about it as a square dance performance. There’s a series of well executed steps and maneuvers which are also memorized in a pattern or sequence. These basics such as two- tracking, shoulder in and shoulder out, stopping at a halt while all four feet are square, meaning in line with the parallel leg. This shows balance and control. If you watch a horse and rider going through their pattern it’s as if they are dancing! Riding the pattern feels as if you’re communicating completely by mental telepathy! The feeling of being in sync with a horse 10x your size is unmatched! All horses can benefit from dressage basics to help gain better body control and balance. It’s a workout for both horse and rider so be ready! “I could have missed the pain but I would have missed the dance”- Garth Brooks

Some of my transformations over the years

I obtain all my horses through word of mouth. I never shop for horses they find their way to me. I specialize in rehabilitation with diet and fitness plans to achieve the highest level of health in a short time. There’s also training transformations. I often get horses people give up on, deem dangerous or have severe PTSD or depression. We work through these issues, find the cause of the problem and work together towards achieving their happiness. Horses can’t fully recover physically if they aren’t 100% mentally These photos are a mixture client owned horses and personal horses. Once my personal projects are rehabbed I help them find their forever homes. All these horses are living happy lives now.

Build a relationship not a dictatorship

With horses, at a young age, they learn teamwork, the value of family and looking out for each other is vital to their survival. Every aspect and member of the herd plays a key role in the safety of the herd as a whole. Training should be no different. Learn to first communicate with them as if they are a new found friend from another country whom of which you don’t speak the same language. Learn to listen, learn to see, be open to their culture and over time you’ll come to adapt to their ways and someday won’t be foreign any longer. With horses this same approach leads to success! They study us more than we study them. We are distracted by bills and money and our to do list, yet horses are not. They are more focussed then we are. They already know what we are about before we ever touch them. Just because one person can achieve a certain outcome from an animal doesn’t mean everyone can. Let me put it this way, if you see a happy married couple enjoying a nice dinner you would be crazy to think you could interrupt and take his wife thinking she would treat you the same she does to her husband right? So why do we expect any differently from a horse after we purchase it? The horse has no idea it’s been sold. Money isn’t a factor in a horses world. All it sees is that his herd dynamic has changed so now he will study you to see where you stand in the pecking order as does he. You are back to square one. It’s now time for you to build your very own relationship with this horse as if you never saw it in harmony with the trainer or previous owner. This is the biggest issue I see in the horse world. “Patience, understanding and a sense of humor” go a long way. “All good things come to those who wait”. And it will just have faith!

Hard work pays off!

In 2016-2018 I was sponsored by Horse Guard. I had the privilege of having a plethora of specialized products to better care for my clients horses, personal horses and most importantly my rescues! We are thankful for the generosity of this locally owned and operated company out of Redmond OR. Without them I couldn’t have helped the many horses I did the the fullest of my abilities. If you haven’t checked them out I highly suggest it! Horses love the products and they work wonders! Thank you Horse Guard!

Horse Guard the winning ingredient!

Ground work is more than elementary!

Did you know you can fully train a horse without ever throwing a leg over?! It’s true! Just takes more time and patience than most people want to invest. I’ve done it a few times and once you do put a leg over its amazing how responsive and untainted the horse is! Did you know most of our “issues” with horses are rider error and made in the saddle?! Therefore if you learn to better understand the horse from the ground at all stages of training you become a better partner and teacher to your horse. Take the time to “see the Forrest for the trees” instead of rushing into the saddle too soon. Your horse will thank you!