Monday, January 8, 2018

What To Do With Horses When You Have a Sore Bum

Thank you all for your condolences regarding Irish, our goat, and for well wishes since my fall on ice. Day 5 post-fall, and I'm still sore in my tailbone.  Riding a horse certainly didn't make it any better.  But I haven't given up working with my horses--I just have to be creative.

Here's my list I'm titling--


1. Practice standing ground tied while getting saddled or stand tied solid. (yesterday)

2. Driving in both bridle and halter.

3. Taking Long Walks together--today, in the fog.

4. Playing Simon Says. I choose how far I want her away from me, then I take one step, ask her to take one step.  If she takes two, I back her one, if I walk a step backward, she should walk a step backward.

5. The Catch and Release Game. I've told you about this before.  Walk up to all the horses, one at a time, halter them, then release them. Yesterday, my daughter went out to catch her horse, Cowgirl, and she ran from her over and over.  I asked to take the lead rope and halter, and I took one step toward Cowgirl, and she turned and walked RIGHT to me.  My daughter looked shocked.  I told her it's very simple.  I play catch and release every day.  Horses really aren't that complicated.  Play this game and you will be able to halter your horse anytime, anywhere.

6. Grooming--picking up feet, etc.
7. Trailer practice.
8. At Liberty heeding work.
9. Practice on the line transitioning to different gaits (I'm not doing that in the slick snow we have.)
10. Set up trail obstacles--tarps, poles, mazes/labyrinths, tires, etc.


The ice has been bad, and I've ordered myself some yaktrax, but I was more worried about the horses.  I had a hard time sleeping one night thinking how I could reduce the danger in their turnout.  

The idea I came up with--spreading their wasted hay over their walking paths.

My helpers.

I must say, it worked awesome!

The horses started walking along the grass paths immediately. 

Necessity is the mother of invention.


  1. Good idea with the hay paths. We do it too and it does help. I can't think of anything else to do on the ground except maybe play clicker game training with them. I do it with cones and they seem to like it to relieve the boredom and it involves treats. Which are always a plus in their book. But I think you have it covered pretty well.

    1. I guess I’m late on this one! It appears everyone uses hay for traction. It does work well, and they’re not tempted to eat their waste hay. I’ve asked my husband to spread it with the tractor in the future because the urine and manure soaked through my gloves. It’s messy stuff.

      I’ve never done clicker training, but I’ve read a lot about it. Sounds fun!

  2. I've done that with the hay before- it works well. I've also used shavings. I hate ice.

    1. I considered shavings, but didn’t want to waste them if I didn’t have to. If the hay hadn’t worked though, I was prepared to use them.

  3. When we raced on the wet coast, we always had a problem with water (trickling or solid, it was a problem). We had to order hogfuel by the truckload for turnouts (kind of like shavings). Out here where ice is the norm for, like 9 months of the year, we often have a trail of soiled bedding strewn on the well polished trails. We also spread some out on the snow... yes, things get dirtier, but the horses will lay down on that whereas they will not lay down on bare snow. They are also coming in nightly, of course, where they can get good rest. We are coming to the abrupt end of a 3 day heat wave - the blankets came off and the horses got in some good, snowy (cleaning) rolls to get all the itchy spots! Padre & I even took time for a ride! But Mother Nature hates this place and the temps are dropping by the hour... by this afternoon it will be -30*C again. *sigh* Blankets are going back on at luchtime.

    1. That is so cold!! How do you survive? Hogfuel--have not heard of it. So, soiled bedding and wasted hay seems to be quite popular with all of us who live in the tundra.

  4. I have used waste hay pretty much every winter for trails- I call 'em poop trails :0)
    Looks like you have a pretty good list of non riding projects going, that should keep you busy! Another one could be stretches for the horses, like using treats to get them bending to each side, holding them as far back as you can, and even between their legs and back towards their belly. Another thing is doing the Masterson Method bladder meridian technique; here is a link

    1. Thank you! That is actually a great reminder of what I should be doing with Leah.

      Poop trails...pee trails...I think we're all on the same page. Hey, it works!


Please feel welcome to join our discussion by telling us about your own thoughts and experiences.