Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Natural Horsemanship Summer Camp 2011 - take a look at what's happened so far! One spot left for next week's camp!

We've started our first year hosting a natural horsemanship summer camp! We are off to a great start - and have pictures to share at

Campers learn about horses, horseback riding, practice skills of working and playing with horses, and campers get a chance to play at 'liberty' with horses. This camp goes beyond the typical horse camp and helps campers to have a better understanding of horses and how to interact with them.

This camp focuses on learning how to keep horses happy and motivated - riders do not use crops, spurs, or whips to force horses to perform, but instead campers learn how to play with each horse and create a partnership of understanding, trust, and respect.

Some other neat camp features - painting a picture frame with a picture of their favourite horse, having a cd of pictures ready to take home at the end of the week, and a printed photo of the camper with their favourite horse too!

It has certainly been a lot of fun and we still have one more week of camp to go in August! Learn more at

Taming a Mustang - a unique chance to work with an untouched mustang!

On Thursday July 28th, I had a unique opportunity. I received an unusual request to come tame a mustang. Cimarron is a beautiful chestnut mustang from Nevada. She was born wild and ended up being captured. She was shipped up to Canada with a couple other mustangs that were all adopted in Ontario.

Cimarron had been in Ontario for a few years but noone had tamed her. She was simply a wild pet. She had been abandoned by her original adopter, and now she is being cared for by another woman, Judi. Judi had no intention of training Cimmarron and was quite happy to have her as a pet in the field.

Judi had spent some time in the field with Cimarron and sometimes can feed her carrots by hand, but usually Cimarron would quickly take the carrot and scurry away. Things changed this spring when Cimarron's hooves started to grow a lot more than usual.

A horse's hoof grows much like a human's nail. It grows, and when it gets really long then it will chip and break off or we can cut and file it down ourselves. Cimarron's hooves typically would chip off when they got too long, but this spring the didn't. They grew out of control and now her hooves are about two or three times the length they should be, and they have curled and become misshapen to the point where Cimarron can barely walk.

Judi realized she had to do something but Cimarron wouldn't even let a human touch her - so reaching down and filing a hoof was definitely out of the question. The vet and farrier had suggested trapping the horse in a chute, tranquilizing the horse, and then working on her feet. This seemed rather tramatizing to Judi so she contacted LFEquestrian natural horsemanship services.

I was up for the challenge - I told Judi I would probably need a morning to bond enough with the horse to put a halter on her, which would be the first step. We set the date and time, and Thursday morning I showed up ready to meet Cimmaron.

When I arrived, Cimarron was standing in the run in shed. Judi had closed off the run in shed which is a large space of about 40 x50ft. It was important to have enough space that Cimarron wouldn't feel trapped when I worked with her, but not so big that she could run completely away from me. It was also nice that it was covered since it was raining outside!

Cimarron appeared to be in good health with a shiny coat and a good weight to her. Other than her overgrown and crippled hooves, she seemed like a healthy, happy horse. I started to work my magic and played join up with her.

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