Posts Tagged ‘training’

A young girl’s dream come true

December 12, 2012
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Pure joy … wrapped in learning.

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

Last month I spent the weekend with Janine, a psychologist, and her nine-year-old daughter Kaitlyn.*

I’d thought I was too tired to teach yet another horse-crazy girl.

But then I saw a longing in Kaitlyn’s face that I’d felt at her age.

And so I gave her what I would’ve loved to have had in my youth:

  1. An old horse to pretend was my own.
  2. An obstacle playground.
  3. Some boundary setting.
  4. Safety hints.
  5. Freedom to experiment and explore.

The old brood mare Kaitlyn played with had never been pampered before she came to me. Her delight was as great as the girl’s – as you can see in this photo album.

It made me cry.

Soon after arriving home, Janine wrote to me:

‘Dear Jude,

If I didn’t know how important our connection with horses was, I may have considered never returning to your wonderful farm!

Kaitlyn spent the entire trip home behaving like a devastated lovesick teenager. Life was never going to be the same without her one true love.

OMG Jude! She bawled for 2.5 hours. Anyone would’ve thought I was taking her back to a life of deprivation!

At two, Kaitlyn wanted to be a vet. Since age five, she has wanted to own a horse farm.

Now she imagines every detail will be ‘the same as Judy’s farm’.

She sits at my laptop watching the slide show of images over and over in a beautifully mesmerised state.

I’m working with her to hold her happy, exciting dream so it actually comes to pass.

Now you are in her heart as much as the horses, Jude. Her relationship with you is just as powerful.

You are a gift to us, Jude. I want you to know we’ll ‘repay’ you by giving our horses all our care, love, understanding and unconditional acceptance … while educating and fostering insights in others.

Take care of you, Jude.

And thank you.

Janine.’

How about that?!

I don’t feel so tired now …

Enough said!

🙂

* Real people, new names.

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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?

Torn

March 12, 2011
You scratch my back …

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

They stood frozen at opposite ends of a lead rope: a dangerous mix of fear, inexperience and doubt.

Betsy, a six-year-old, barely handled Morgan mare and Jane, an early-40s career woman finally living her dream of owning a horse.

Both parties were stiff with indecision, connected by a thread and waiting for a leader.

I leaned against the roundyard fence with Anya (the other participant in my Horse Communication and Confidence class) and noticed how the three loose horses also stood quietly and watched.

I softly advised Jane to:

  • Step as far away as the rope allowed without pulling.
  • Stand  with her shoulder facing Betsy’s.
  • Focus on breathing from her core.

Betsy had arrived two weeks ago in an open cattle truck with two other mares and a foal. She was wild-eyed and jumpy, only touched by humans when in a cattle race.

Her three experiences were freeze branding as a youngster, a recent pregnancy test and herding into the truck for delivery.

These human interactions, though not cruel, gave her little choice or reason to trust. Over several sessions, however, Betsy had let me approach and halter her. But she was still wary.

Three horses and two humans watched expectantly. Jane steadied her breathing. Betsy sighed and licked her lips (a horse’s sign of relaxation) and turned towards her.

Jane walked in a circle with Betsy quietly following. Both looked elegant and confident; a team where learning flowed both ways.

Later that day, Jane also handled her recently purchased fifteen-month-old Morgan gelding with greater confidence and willingness to experiment.

Anya, an experienced horsewoman still reeling from the recent loss of her teenage daughter through cystic fibrosis, had started the session saying she didn’t want to handle the horses and only wanted to watch.

She said her head was so full she was afraid of how the horses would respond. But in the afterglow of Jane’s success I handed her Betsy’s lead rope.

After a moment’s hesitation, Anya took it and tentatively walked towards Betsy. Betsy’s ears flicked back, forward and sideways (signs of confusion in a horse).

Anya paused, took a deep breath and started rubbing Betsy’s shoulder.

Again the three young horses watched quietly as Anya worked her way around Betsy, quietly sobbing and seeming to sense where Betsy wanted to be rubbed.

After putting the horses away, we sat in the paddock and chatted about what we’d learnt.

Anya said she’d approached Betsy carefully because she was afraid her bubbling emotions would frighten her.

She said she was so relieved at Betsy’s non-judgemental acceptance that she didn’t want to lead her or boss her around; she just wanted to reward her for being there.

We unanimously decided to:

  1. Spend more time with those we trust.
  2. Let someone else carry the load occasionally.
  3. Have more massages!

Breeding and raising Morgan horses and spending hours in their company has changed my life.

My herd has almost 40 individuals, from foals at foot to grand matriarchs.

I started my Life Horses teaching program to use their empathetic nature and share the comfort and insights I receive from them daily.

Life Horses.

Life Forces

A philosophy of learning from the herd. 🙂

Bo’s Story

March 3, 2010

Bo, Nimrod and Jude: Three Happy Campers! Photo by Judy McEachern.

By Bo Lou Nolten, Casual Trainee, Samaria Creek Morgan Horses 

The day I met Judy I will never forget. It was one of the most thrilling things ever, because  I’d heard a lot about her, mostly: ‘She’s a crazy horse lady!’ which made me want to meet her ASAP. 

Anyway, the day I got there I totally understood what Simone meant; the way she worked with the horses could move you to tears.

Looking at how she understood the feel of the horses was just amazing. 

I sat there taking picture after picture. After all that, Judy drove us to the foals. I thought we were just looking, not touching, but I was mistaken.

These little foals came galloping, so we sat down and they came up to us wanting scratches and they eventually lay down with us. 

The next morning, I disappeared for almost four hours. Yep, I had fallen asleep in the foal paddock with three foals lying on me! I felt so at home.

Seeing all this was so different to the traditional English training I’d experienced and I loved it. 

Who would’ve thought a horse could pick you? I ended up buying Beamer (a foal) because of it.

From the moment I saw him, I fell in love with him. He has these four amazing white stockings, along with a chocolate chestnut coat and a very proportioned white blaze on his head.

His breeding is Morgan and Arab: a perfect combination! 

Later in the day, I headed to the round yard where Simone was watching Judy and Nimrod showing off. I quickly sat down in front of the crowd and continued snapping photos.

After Judy was done, she rode to the corner of the round yard to where I was sitting and said, ‘You jealous?’ 

I glanced at Judy and tried to stay very calm whilst I blurted out ‘Yes! VERY!!!’ So she sent me to go get my helmet. I was so nervous; I was going to ride a handsome stallion! Judy quickly announced that I was going to ride him. 

I had the worst butterflies ever! I started off with a walk, then a trot, then a canter. I almost started crying, because his movement is so smooth and it feels like you’re floating. 

Some jumps were set up and they got higher and higher each time we went over. Nimrod had a jump I wouldn’t forget.

That night I dreamt about him all night! 

My experience at Samaria Creek Morgan Farm was one I will always remember. I took away what I had learnt so far and used it in my riding disciplines. 

I want to learn everything there is to learn from Judy, because one day I’d like to achieve the same things as her and keep her way of working with horses going, and combine it with my disciplines as well. 

I’d like to end this by saying if you haven’t stayed at Judy’s farm, you are missing out big time. 

Horses help you a lot more than you think! 

Pets Blogs

The Round & The Square

January 21, 2010

Good. Better. Best. We do the work,
Nature does the rest!

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

What Horses Eat

Horses have a long gut and are relaxed and content when it’s uniformly full. Nature designed them to eat large amounts of various pasture and herbage.

Given the choice, they browse on sticks, leaves, berries and seeds – as well as grass and weeds.

Wild horses roam large areas to obtain food. At the mercy of climate and predators (including man) they often die of starvation or thirst.

Making Hay

Our farm is ideally suited to horses’ feed, exercise and herd companionship needs. Cutting our own hay lets us add necessary dry feed when it’s not available in their paddocks.

I believe round bales are best suited for supplementary feeding. This lets horses choose when to eat to keep their gut comfortable and still graze for variety.

When horses are fed extra hay as segments of small square bales, they wait hours at the fence for their human to deliver it – thus missing the exercise and extra nutrients of grazing.

Ad lib round bale feeding reduces competitive fighting (and resulting injuries) when hay is delivered to a herd once or twice a day.

We aim to improve on nature with the environment we provide for our horses. Cutting round bales for paddock supplement and small square bales for convenience enables this.

When we sell a horse, their new owners can take some small square bales home to help prevent the gut upsets often caused by a new feed regime.

Learning

Miles and I attended a six-week Sustainable Whole Farm Planning course in July 2007 at the Department of Sustainability & Environment.

Topics included land classification, soils, water, fire safety, pastures and a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis.

Our project focused on hay. We chose a seven hectare paddock and aimed to bale enough hay for two years’ use and to sell the rest to cover the cost of cutting.

Strengths

  • Sheltered paddock with easy access for weed and pest control.
  • Variety of pasture suitable for horses.
  • Suitable soil type.

Weaknesses

  • Weeds.
  • Native animal pests.

Opportunities

  • Low cost, weed-free hay that’s ideal for our horses.
  • Free, natural reseeding from cutting every second year.
  • Superior young horses with sound feet, joints and bones.
  • Fewer injuries and illness.
  • Improved paddock condition via rotational grazing and understocking paddocks.

Threats

  • Fire.
  • Low rainfall.

Dreams into Action

We concentrated our weed and pest control efforts on this paddock and capitalised our strengths via rotational grazing (heavy in winter, conservative in summer).

In November 2007, we cut enough round bales for two years. Our excess top-quality hay fetched a premium price and we had the added advantage of a fire-safe paddock over summer.

After two years, we only had two round bales left and had to buy 150 square bales for horses in yards or on outings.

Our paddock improved after a year of good rain and controlled grazing. In October 2009, we cut 100 large round and 240 small square bales! 🙂

Our SWOT analysis helped us achieve our goals. We look forward to continuing to give our horses optimum conditions.

🙂

Running Bare (Part 1 of 2)

November 25, 2009

Our horses enjoy the diet, room, terrain & company they need for healthy barefooting.

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

Barefooting is hotly debated issue. Barefooters even differ among themselves. In this article and the next, I’ll explain the ins and outs of running bare.

Twelve years ago I held kid’s horse-riding holidays on my farm at Booroolite in the Delatite Valley.

I usually had 10-20 animals, from ponies to Stockhorses, in my care. Most were shod and worked hard during the school holidays, with time off in between.

Common shoe-related problems included cracked hooves, horses that tripped and were irritable and having to replace lost shoes between farrier visits.

My extraordinary farrier, Andrew Bowe, has a science degree and an enquiring, perfectionist nature.

When he started talking barefoot, I was first attracted by the cost saving. Over time, however, Andy’s passion convinced me of the benefits to my horses.

Within a year, all my horses were sound and happy, with no lameness and not a shoe in sight.

I swore never to shoe a horse again.

Andrew Bowe: NOT your average farrier!

This got me researching horse breeds and choosing Morgans for their exceptional feet (along with all their other virtues).

Breeding sound barefoot horses takes more than just ditching shoes. They need room to roam, varied terrain, a balanced diet, company and regular trimming.

Our horses are trimmed about every six weeks and our foals have their first trim before weaning.

Andy, his wife Nicky and the trimmers they train look at each horse as an individual and trim according to its work and living conditions.

I like how they work with nature, not against it.

We now host regular training days for Equine Podiotherapy Diploma students. Even our weanlings take part.

One of our training days for Equine Podiotherapy Diploma students.

Last year Andy used Nimrod (our stallion) for his barefoot trim demonstration at Equitana. He’ll do likewise next year.

In my next article, I’ll look at the arguments for and against barefooting by borrowing from Andy’s excellent website at www.barehoofcare.com


Pets Blogs

Now We Have a Shop!

November 20, 2009

A wide range of horsie stuff AND some fab books on empowering women.

An exciting day. We’ve just loaded Jude’s 20 favourite books into our very own shop.

Now you can see the key reads that helped shape Judy into the fine, strong (horse)woman she is today.

These titles have been read, used and highly recommended by her.

Just click the pic or this link to check out the range. And watch out for the CDs, DVDs and other beaut stuff that we’ll add to our shop down the track.


Pets Blogs

Experience & Passion

November 13, 2009
Kristy And Jude

Kristy, our keen apprentice, learns from Judy, our master trainer.

What’s the use of knowing Morgans inside and out if you can’t pass on your wisdom?

We firmly believe in training young people for our future and that of the horse breeding industry.

To this end, we’ve taken on Kristy for a year. She’ll learn every facet of our business and become a valuable member of our team.

Kristy is a very fast learner and a lovely person. The horses absolutely love her and we’re very proud to have her in our farm family.

Pets Blogs