Good Advice

HBOC-lead-in

Sensible counsel prevailed at this year’s Alberta Horse Conference, hosted each year by the Horse Industry Association of Alberta. In the April issue of Western Horse Review, we featured 44 notes of advice curated from those two days of lectures. Here are 16 more.

Billy Smith (speaking on transitions in the horse industry)

Billy Smith grew up in the western part of Texas and is the current executive director of the American Paint Horse Association (APHA). He spent eight years as a practicing journalist before accepting a teaching position at West Texas A&M. Smith later joined the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) where he served as executive director of information technology and various marketing roles for 13 years.

1. One of the chief challenges we have today in equine organizations is that information is instant. At board meetings we know significant information has gone out before the meeting even ends. We live in a world in which information moves instantly.

2. Over the last 75 years of developing equestrian organizations we’ve done a lot of things right in the marketing and grooming of our breeds. We’ve also fallen into some traps that have left us short-term gains but have seasoned the horse community with long-term challenges.

3. We ought to take a very hard look at what our cattle guys have done in their industry. We should invest in the genetic evaluation of our horses. There probably are some performance genetics out there that we can tie into in the quality of our animals. We’re exploring that in the Paint breed now. The reality is that there are genetics out there that can allow us to be much more predictable, with some of the genetic tools that are available to us.

4. No matter where you go in the horse community, the hue and cry is the same. How do we get more youth involved with horses?

Dirk Stroda.

Dirk Stroda.

Dirk Stroda (speaking on mental coaching in equine sports)

Dirk Stroda, from British Columbia, is the High Performance Mental Coach for Equine Canada. He currently coaches the Canadian Dressage, Para Dressage and the 3-Day Eventing teams on their way and at the 2016 Rio Olympic Summer Games. He has helped international athletes and national teams towards 11 Olympic Summer and Winters Games, many world championships, and PanAm Games and countless national championships.

5. I’ve coached athletes towards some major awards. And what I discovered was there was a blueprint I was able to see in highly successful people, vs. the blueprint of an average person. I thought, “there must be something there we can all learn to help our own businesses and careers, because these are principles. We can really get towards success more directly, with less struggle and be happier.”

6. There are seven principles to success: Context Vs. Content. I’m not giving you content, I’m giving you context. You create the content and I give you the framework.

7. When you change your emotions, everything changes. It’s that simple.

Dr. David Wilson.

Dr. David Wilson.

Dr. David Wilson, DVM (speaking on the laminitis vaccine)

Dr. David Wilson (Saskatchewan) is a 1980 graduate of the Western College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Saskatchewan. After completing an internship at Iowa State University and residency in large animal surgery at the University of Florida, he was on the faculty at the University of Wisconsin-Madison for 15 years. His research includes implant biomechanics, development of orthopedic disease, minimally invasive surgical techniques and equine laminitis.  

8. The fact that pretreatment with the antibiotic, virginiamycin will prevent the development of laminitis, implicates microbial involvement in the disease.

9. Australian researchers have recently confirmed an overgrowth of streptococcal species in the hindgut and ex vivo studies have confirmed that bathing the hoof tissue in Streptococcus bovis exotoxins results in dissolution of the basement membrane and separation of the hoof wall from the underlying sensitive tissues.

Dr. Camie Heleski.

Dr. Camie Heleski.

Dr. Camie Heleski (speaking on using learning theory in everyday life)

Dr. Camie Heleski is coordinator of the two-year Ag Tech Horse Management Program at Michigan State University. As well as recruiting for the program, she also teaches and advises. Dr. Heleski earned her Ph.D. from Michigan State University.

10. Operant / instrumental learning is when an animal learns to operate on its environment.

11. Signal learning or classical conditioning is the example of Pavlov’s dogs. Ring a bell, the dogs would salivate and they would get food.

12. There are fundamental key factors; consistency, predictability, contingency, appropriateness of reinforcements, and precision of cues.

Jim Anderson.

Jim Anderson.

Jim Anderson (speaking on developing the versatile horse)

Jim Anderson’s lifelong involvement with horses began with him starting colts and taking clinics with legendary trainers Tom Dorrance and Ray Hunt. As a professional trainer, Jim has lifetime earnings in excess of $200,000 in several events. He has won the Canadian Supreme Reining Futurity, the Calgary Stampede’s Cowboy Up Challenge, and the Extreme Cowboy Association World Championships. Recently the Albertan won the Road to the Horse first ever Wild Card Champion, Fan Favorite and the Colt Starting World Championship.
13. In order to gain success with our horses we must prepare the horse to learn and this is a three-step process; 1) the horse wants to focus on you and learn; 2) the horse understands pressure and looks for the release and reward; and 3) the horse joins up.

14. I use outside riding a lot! Confidence to ride alone comes from the horse taking confidence from the rider, rather than another horse. My favorite thing is riding with friends outside but then I lope away from them. Then I’ll lope back towards them, but go straight past the group.

15. How long do I work with a horse per day? About10-20 minutes of groundwork if I’m going to also ride him. It depends on how the horse is being that day – he might need more, he might need less. I can feel the horse out, if he’s not being good on the ground he probably won’t be in the saddle. I need his mind in the state of “wanting to learn.” I do think you can overdo your groundwork and the horse can became grumpy.

16. I don’t numb my horse out with any tools or cues. I want to keep that “feel” in my horse. Confidence in the horse comes from understanding, rather than by numbing due to repetition.

 

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