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Boo-Yaah!

I just wanted to let you all know about a great foundation out there. The Rebecca Goss “Boo-Yaah” Memorial Foundation provides financial and logistical assistance to families who have lost loved ones and are facing hardship with funeral and burial expenses.

As I spoke with Martha Goss, Rebecca’s mom, I had a really hard time keeping tears from my eyes. A good friend of mine lost her son several years ago and it changed who I was as a parent. I thought I could do enough to keep my kids safe (I’m a control-freak like that) but in reality there are many, many things outside of our control and in Martha’s case it was another driver on the highway.

The foundation is overhwlemed with requests for assistance and Martha has been writing articles and trying to get press for the foundation and very little is trickling in. I’m sure it has to do with the economy. But death, pain and loss does not stop for the economy. Can you help?

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Thanks to Alayne Renee Blickle, Program Director with Horses for Clean Water for the following information that might be of interest to you!

For 501(c)(3) equine rescue groups and sanctuaries that have been hard hit by rising hay prices, farm foreclosures and uncooperative weather, the ASPCA has a program that offers help in terms of Emergency Hay Support grants.

This year the equine-related grants have been given to groups in 40 states, including several to groups in the Pacific Northwest, totaling more than $500,000. Funds are just about gone for 2008 and the ASPCA won’t know how much they have to give away for next year until their board of directors meets in late January, but this may still be an option for some groups to pursue.

If you go to http://www.aspcapro.org and click on ASPCA grants and scroll down to the equine section you can read about the two types of equine grants, which are only for 501(c)(3) orgs.

Thanks Alayne!

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The NRHA Media Room

One of the best places to hang out, I think, is in the media room at the futurity. Now, they don’t let everyone in here, you have to be credentialed crazy enough to hack it. I’m the wimp in the room, tippy-typing away at various writing projects, no major deadline to worry about. While these guys? They are crazy…

Carol is probably the hardest working woman here – I don’t think she sleeps, I think she’s a robot. Bucky – he just never stops smiling. Todd – is funny. That’s all I’m going to say about that.

Seriously though. They produce all of the programs, press releases and paraphernalia that the crowd here at the futurity has come to expect. If you want to know what is happening and when – it comes from the media room. I think the only NRHA staff that works just as hard is in the show office.

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The Big Show

Once again I’m hanging out with the popular kids at the NRHA Futurity. In case you want to see what is going on, check out the 2008 Futurity page. There you will find a live web cam and live scoring for the events.

Tonight is the World Reining Masters.wrm_sm

The World Reining Masters is an exciting event where two riders from each country compete to see which country is going to win The Masters. Unfortunately this year two riders’ horses did not make the jog – this means they exhibited some lameness that would make them not fit to compete.

The jog is where the rider jogs the horse in front of the attending veterinarian and is ruled “fit to compete” or not. Two horses (one on Team Canada and one on Team Mexico) did not pass the jog. Now, this doesn’t mean that the horses were drop-dead lame, it means they showed some lameness. To outsiders who don’t compete in performance horse events, they may not understand that once in a while, horses are sore. The PETAs of the world might want to tell you that performance horses are abused and lame and medicated to compete – so not true.

If you watch the Olympics or Football or Hockey, you’ll see athletes compete. Sometimes those athletes are not in top form. If they made football players jog, do push-ups or pass a fitness test before each game – we’d be watching two handfuls of guys throwing a ball back and forth.

Anyway, wasn’t intending to post anything controversial, just pointing you to the Futurity page, hope you get a chance to watch tonight.

Keep your eyes out for Canadian flags – Reining Canada has its export booth open and it is the party place to be for the Masters. Watch out for a visit from “Captain Canada”! 🙂

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Being a reining horse can be a tough job. Imagine being told what to do and remaining focused for sometimes hours at a time. I’d like to think that I have focus, but I know that my mind wanders quite a bit from minute to minute. If your horse’s mind wanders, he could get corrected – so he learns to focus and pay attention.

With all this focusing, a horse sometimes needs a brain break. You and I may pick up a “brain candy” book or chill out over a beer. Or, if work is tough, we might head out to the barn for a ride. Except that’s still work for our horse, right?

I know several reining horse trainers that believe strongly that their horses need brain breaks too. Several years ago I was watching a class in Lethbridge, Alberta and I noticed a woman riding a horse that seemed uber-calm. The horse had a really mellow way of standing. Not an old horse standing with a cocked hind leg and half-asleep, but a horse that just stood calmly, watching the horses around him, but not getting to worried when they came too close. Not like some of the other horses in the pen that stiffened and cast an ear fearfully in the direction of their neighbor. (This was a warm up for a 3 year old class.)

The rider was Sharon Gates and a while later I was able to intervew her about how she kept her horses so calm. Her secret? Trail riding.

If you head over to her site, Wildwood Reining Horses, you’ll see many photos of Sharon out trail riding with her horses. Most of these are either show horses or bred to be. In fact, under the photography tab you can see photos of horses crossing rivers, jumping logs and crossing bridges.

I’ve found in the past that the first few times you take your horse out on a trail ride, they are a bit nervous. Especially the younger ones that have spent their life from stall to round pen to arena. Up here in Canada when we’re starting our two year olds it’s sometimes the middle of winter. It might be May before there’s a day that’s nice enough to head out on a trail ride without slick mud underfoot.

The first few rides are “fun”, but gradually your horse will learn to be ridden in a stress-free environment. I try not to worry about collection or form, as long as the horse doesn’t do something like ignore a request or refuse to move off my leg. For the most part I just enjoy sitting and riding.

One of the largest trail riding organizations in North America is called American Trails. It’s an association for all types of trail users from hikers to bikers to horses. They have a complete listing of trails in the US and Canada.

What do you do for your horse’s brain break?

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The reining community lost a wonderful person this week. Please take a moment to watch this video and please consider donating to breast cancer research.

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Perfectionist? Check!

I don’t know about you, but I’m kind of a perfectionist. As it turns out, my son is showing the same tendancies and just watching him fret and stress about Not Doing It Right The First Time has really shown me how damaging perfectionism can be. In my brain I know that learning takes place through mistakes.

Heck, my trainer-brain knows that to effectively train a horse you need to allow him to make a mistake so you can correct him. Constantly supporting him so he doesn’t make a mistake will make him far to dependant on your legs and hands. And it will stress him out! Horses like to know what they can do well, “oh, there’s the cue for a lead change, let me change” not “is that a lead change cue? Why’s she telling me over and over again? Why is she hanging on? I did it, didn’t I?”

April Clay with Body Mind Motion is a Psychologist who specializes in helping athletes overcome their specific blocks to success. She’s a runner and an equestrian. Recently I came across her article, Abandoning Perfection and it is very appropriate for reiners, especially rookies.

April talks about the “perfection loop” that many of us are familiar with; a constant cycle of setting goals that are too high, missing the mark, failing to recognize effort, self-criticism and an inability to view your performance objectively and trying to achieve goals by focusing MORE on your goals.

And the consequences can be tough to deal with:

The outcome of this type of thinking is pretty obvious: low self worth and sometimes even anxiety and depression. Many times learning is compromised or slow. Some people end up giving up on things they love to do because they feel they aren’t good enough to participate. There are also other casualties seldom talked about.

Your team mates are also impacted by your perfectionist approach. Often perfectionists end up applying their very high standards to others. It can result in becoming too impatient and rigid in your expectations of your team. It can also mean “over functioning” as an athlete, trying to control too many elements of your sport. Not exactly a habit that encourages a team approach, rather one that tends to result in some irritated players and coaches. In short, perfectionist behaviour ends up being exhausting for all involved.

Luckily, April has some tips for you to overcome perfectionism. Go check them out.

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