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The Savvy Station

You are searching for a new horse for trail riding and are suddenly overwhelmed with the number of terms you hear—green broke, green horse, finished horse, broke horse. What do these terms mean, and how do you know which is the right horse?
  • 4 min read

Parelli Horsemanship Equipment: Developed by a horseman, for horsemen. 

One of the most essential aspects of horse development is the timing of the release. Horses learn when we release, not when we keep adding more and more pressure. Forty years ago, Pat Parelli began changing how we approach horse training, which meant that he needed to develop tools to support the mission. 

  • 3 min read

Choosing the right equipment for your horse can be an overwhelming task. There are so many options: hackamore, bitless bridle, metal bit, curb bit, leverage bit, or bosal. What is best for the horse and rider? As with many things in the horse world, if you ask a dozen horse owners, you will get a dozen suggestions on proper equipment.

  • 4 min read

I am re-reading a book I read when I was 19 years old by Alois Podhajsky, the head of the Spanish School of Riding in Vienna. The name of the book is My Horses, My Teachers.

I remember being an enthusiastic young horseman. I wanted to become really good with horses, so good that even horses thought I was brilliant. Meanwhile, I'm reading from one of the grand masters about dressage. This piqued my interest. Even though I wasn't an English rider, I wanted to know everything about horses: how they feel, think, act, and play.

  • 4 min read
Hoof health is a good indicator of your horse’s overall health. You’ve probably heard the statement, ‘if you don’t have feet, you don’t have a horse,’ and this statement is pretty accurate. As a horse owner, there are many things you can do to reduce the chance of lameness and ensure your horses have healthy hooves.
  • 4 min read

On October 21-23, 2022, the first-ever Liberty Festival will take place at the historic Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Kentucky.

“The Liberty Festival,” explained Dr. Elizabeth James, the event organizer for the International Liberty Horse Association (ILHA), “is a celebration of all things Liberty—The discipline, the methods, the fans, the possibilities.”

For the past three years, the ILHA has hosted its Championship show every October at the Horse Park. Still, this year it has turned into an event for everyone to enjoy, from those merely interested in Liberty to those competing at the highest levels.

  • 3 min read

It’s a dream for many horse people to turn their passion for horses into a paying career. Unfortunately, the world of horse careers can feel a bit intimidating and overwhelming. With high costs and lots of competition, it is wise to research your proposed equine careers thoroughly before starting on the career path.

Here’s a list of careers in the horse industry you should consider.

  • 4 min read

I remember reading every book available about horses. I remember getting the Western Horseman every month and reading every article about training horses. I remember even purchasing a book on how to train horses for tricks. I even got a copy of Professor Barry's home study program.

I was searching, searching, searching.

Then, I ran into a real horseman. His name was Troy Henry. I was his apprentice for five years until the day he died in December 1981. I realized he had a blueprint he was trying to share with me. Start on the ground, get horses to bond, to be obedient, and to be exuberant using a short rope, then a longer rope, before moving to liberty.

  • 4 min read

Taking your horse camping is a great way to share a new adventure with your best friend. Camping allows you to travel further away and for longer periods than you could by trailering to a trail for a day. Experiencing new trails together can expand your relationship with your horse, too.

But, having a great camping experience with your horse takes preparation and planning.

  • 4 min read

Catching a horse, for a lot of horse owners, is a point of frustration. But before we go into methods, I would first suggest that we get rid of the word “catch” and we replace it with “connect and halter”. The real secret is to have your horse want to connect with you.

Remember: horses are like computers. They may never do what you want, but they always do what you tell them or eventually program them to do. Most people apply very direct-line thinking to this process, and only go out and halter their horse when it's time to ride. It doesn't take long for a horse to figure out when to use avoidance behavior.

  • 3 min read

When determining how to engage with your yearling horse, the first thing to remember is that horses are prey animals and precocial species. This means that they are full-faculty learners at birth. As soon as a foal is about a month old, they start playing with the other foals. Guess what they do: they play prey animal pecking-order games!

Most of these games are fun and friendly to see who is the fastest, who can turn the quickest—fun little things like that. But it doesn't take very long before they become good buddies and start wanting to find out “who's who in the zoo”. Once your horse is weaned, you can start to play Seven Games with your horse on the ground, both On Line and at Liberty.

  • 4 min read

Whether to leave a horse barefoot or not is a question that arises a lot, and one of my mentors, Tom Dorrance, had the perfect answer for everything: “It all depends”.

Since we're talking about feet, we must remember that the horse industry is predicated on four things: wives’ tales, mythology, bovine fecal matter, and ego. For a lot of people, their ego gets in the way, and they believe the wives’ tales and mythology they've been raised on. For example: Horses with white socks have white feet that are always softer than horses with black feet. To the contrary, I've seen horses with white feet that had hooves as tough as nails. And I've seen horses with black feet that couldn't walk across a sandy arena.
  • 4 min read