Posts Tagged ‘grass’

Mindfulness

May 17, 2012

The teacher taught. Judy and Tanjil.

By Judy Oldmeadow, Owner & Master Horsewoman, Samaria Creek Morgan Horses

The word mindfulness conjures pictures of Buddhist monks and serious meditation classes; a total contrast to my busy life.

I rush through my days practising mindlessness; arriving at destinations without remembering the journey.

I look in my diary to see what I did two days ago and can’t remember what I had for dinner last night; or if I enjoyed it.

This morning I received a reminder from copywriter friend Paul Hassing; almost two months had lapsed since I’d promised him a post for this blog.

It was his second reminder; the last one said I was still getting good visitor traffic on Good Morgans, even though it was almost a year since I’d posted.

I enjoy reading Paul’s blog. Tuesday’s post said he didn’t call a client after submitting a quote for fear of hassling them. I usually don’t comment on blogs for fear of ridicule (though I did add my two cents to this one).

Communicating with horses is simpler; they’re always mindful, never judgemental.

I visit my horses daily and use them for my Understanding Horses workshops to teach communication and mindfulness.

Recently, I was the student.

Fifteen-year-old mare Tanjil is the respected leader of 26 female horses: yearlings, two-year-olds, mares with foals at foot and retired brood mares.

They roam large bush paddocks and I don’t tie them up when I brush and handle them.

Tanjil had some rain scald (a condition caused by warm weather after rain) on her rump. I was using a plastic brush to remove the scabs and loose hair.

As I started brushing I was aware of:

  • Three mares nearby.
  • Tanjil’s foal butting her other side to get a drink.
  • Her expression, to see if I was hurting her.

I picked at crusty skin, allowing my mind to drift to:

  • A broken fence.
  • A complaining friend.
  • Unpaid accounts.

Before long, I wasn’t carefully grooming a beloved horse: I was scraping the BBQ …

BAM!

I was lying on the grass with four horses staring down at me.

Mindfulness returned as I stared into Tanjil’s kind eyes.

She could have kicked and broken my leg or bitten a chunk from my arm when I hurt her.

Instead, she knocked me over with a quick push of her hock.

I stood and checked for injuries … fortunately only my pride was bruised.

As I tactfully approached Tanjil to finish cleaning her, she curled her head around to me as if to say, ‘I’m glad you’re paying attention now.’

Half an hour in the paddock taught me about focus, trust, forgiveness and compassion.

I wonder if it’s possible for humans to practice the honest, non-judgemental communication of horses.

How many boundaries must we set?

How often must we be thrown to the ground

before we become

mindful?

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Horse Birthdays: Amanda’s Response

December 3, 2009

For good manners and even tempers, you just can’t beat the herd!

I just read the post on horse birthdays and I can’t agree more.

I’m going through exactly what Paul describes with my thoroughbred, who’s only seven years old.

I’ve had him since he was three and a half. I go on his actual birth date, which I researched through Racing NSW’s website.

Though he’d only been in three races, the damage was already done.

Unfortunately, I didn’t realise this at the time.

It has been absolutely heartbreaking. And very costly.

What I’ve gone through (and what many others experience when they buy a thoroughbred off the track) wouldn’t happen if these beautiful animals were given a more natural start to life.

I see such huge differences in health and behaviour between my thoroughbred and my two-year-old (actual age) part-Morgans who’ve grown up in a much more natural environment in a herd.

Amazingly, my filly has taught my thoroughbred how to keep all his manure in one spot!

He never did this before we put him in the paddock with her. He’d just go all over the place, making grazing more difficult (as horses, like humans, don’t eat where they poo).

Now he goes in specific places, which frees up the rest of the paddock for grazing.

I never thought a horse could learn that at an older age, as it’s something foals learn when they’re young – and only then if given enough time to learn it from the mares!

I’ve been enjoying the Good Morgans blog and visit it daily to see what’s been published. I love reading all the different articles.

Keep up the great work!

Amanda Gallen.

Magnesium & Horses. What’s The Deal?

November 23, 2009

Visitors often joke about me drugging our horses because they’re so calm.

By Judy Oldmeadow, Owner & Master Horsewoman, Samaria Creek Morgan Horses

An old breeder once told me, ‘I’ve been to places with one or two quiet horses, but never one where the whole herd is quiet and friendly!’

We have over 40 horses. And when a new one arrives with insecure behaviour, it becomes calm and tractable in a very short time – sometimes only days.

Owners visiting their horses after several months often don’t recognise them and make comments like, ‘She’s standing taller’, He’s moving more smoothly’ and recently of an older brood mare, ‘She looks proud and happy’.

I used to attribute this to my training methods. As I’ve matured, however, I’ve noticed how much our living environment, natural pasture and wonderful water contribute to calm, peaceful horses with sound feet, bones and joints.

Magnesium is often called the ‘nerve mineral’. It regulates nerve fibres, controls the central nervous system and helps with muscle and glandular function.

Horses deficient in this element can show nervousness, wariness, excitability and muscle tremors. This gives magnesium its reputation for having a calming influence on equines.

Horses have a limited ability to store magnesium. Problems arising from deficiency usually manifest quickly.

Magnesium deficiency is becoming widespread in Australia. It’s more readily inhibited than calcium by artificial fertilisers. It’s also made inert in the body by the sodium fluoride in some water supplies.

A study of magnesium uptake in horses was conducted by six veterinarians at the Department of Veterinary Biosciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, at Ohio State University.

It found the magnesium requirement of a typical horse was at 13 mg / kg of body weight per day. Horses growing, lactating or working use more (a lot of magnesium can be lost in sweat).

Opinions vary widely on magnesium supplements. It naturally depends in part on whether the soils on which a horse is grazing are deficient in the element. Such deficiency will be reflected in the grass grown.

In general, a horse gets 60-100% of its daily magnesium needs through a normal forage diet.

Deficiencies are most likely in spring (during periods of strong grass growth) and winter on pastures in milder areas (where grass is being pushed along with fertiliser).

Grass in both circumstances is likely to be low in magnesium, sodium and soluble carbohydrates, and high in nitrogen and potassium.

This is a double whammy: high potassium levels can slow the absorption of what little magnesium there is, while sodium (low in these situations) helps uptake.

Mechanisms affecting magnesium uptake in a horse are complex and not always diet related. Deficiency may just as likely be due to too much dietary potassium inhibiting uptake.

Nor is potassium the only potential player in this tricky equation. The presence and proportions of dietary calcium, phosphorous and fats also impact a horse’s ability to use the magnesium in its diet.

A deficient horse is likely to have a poor tolerance for work. Its muscles tie up quite quickly.

Magnesium even plays an important part in reducing equine obesity, and can lessen the risk of laminitis in animals prone to it during periods of strong spring grass growth.

Next time you’re looking for someone to care for your horse, make sure magnesium is on your list of ‘tough questions’.

Click here for a copy of our water report, which includes magnesium.

Foal Play

November 14, 2009
Foal Play

Nothing can prepare a city dweller for the exhilaration of time with a foal.

When a foal steps out of your story-book imagination and into your arms, the effect is profound.

The look, feel and smell of this beautiful creature completely intoxicates your senses.

And when another foal joins in and they take turns nuzzling you, the feeling of connectedness with nature is unbelievable.

The mares don’t let everyone play with their babies: only the pure of heart. They can see right through you and they’ll violently defend against any perceived threat.

This makes it all the more amazing when they’re content to stand off and watch you romp in the grass with their offspring. Fabulous!