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The Bad Wolf Ranch

The Bad Wolf Ranch We are a private, non-discipline specific barn located in Bethel, Ohio offering Beginner and intermediate friendly lessons in the saddle and on the ground, training, and emotional healing sessions with horses.

Operating as usual

Ethel is getting a bit more in my pocket 🤣
11/18/2022

Ethel is getting a bit more in my pocket 🤣

SHE’S SO FLUFFY!!! Ok… Ok… She arrived safe and sound thanks to Zikkos Horse Transport! V***n walked off the trailer cal...
11/15/2022

SHE’S SO FLUFFY!!! Ok… Ok… She arrived safe and sound thanks to Zikkos Horse Transport! V***n walked off the trailer calmly for such a long trip! She calmed down over a week and has settled in so well! I really can’t believe how calm she is. I haven’t seen her explode or take off yet! I have seen her lay down and sleep, eat, look for treats in pockets, eat some more, drink water, annoy Bubbles, etc.

Oh, yes, we have decided to pair her with Bubbles! I originally was thinking Freja because Freja was a good role model for Corran, but Freja has been going through some emotional growth. Also, I was thinking about who I wanted V***n to be like. Babies learn so much from the horses around them. If I had to pick a horse for V***n to grow up to be like, it would be Bubbles.

Bubbles is not quite convinced of the idea. I actually think Bubbles is harboring quite a bit of suppressed tension & emotions. She never lays down, and she has this emotional wall up with people and horses - like she is reluctant to emotionally invest. It will be interesting to see how their relationship develops. Bubbles isn’t overreactive and doesn’t chase. She warns, will bite and kick if she isn’t heard.

I have started conditioning V***n to the clicker already. It’s a handy thing to have. It has already come in handy to keep her out of our space when she is excited for her grain :)

Read it on the website:
https://www.thebadwolfranch.com/blog/vixen-is-here

Nice write up. I find myself flirting between R+ and otherwise, but I keep cycling back to it and learning more with eac...
11/13/2022

Nice write up. I find myself flirting between R+ and otherwise, but I keep cycling back to it and learning more with each pass ❤️

I want to debunk the myth that using food rewards is bribery and reframe bribery to reciprocity.

Food rewards are just that, rewards. Being compensated for your efforts is all something we enjoy, right?We don’t think twice about using food to train our dogs, so what’s the hold up in the horse world?

Ego. I’ve found we are stuck in a world of at times barbaric tradition. Where we feel our relationships with horses should be that they innately want to be with us. But, here’s the but, they have to get something out of this relationship because it’s a two way street.

Safety, acknowledgment, kindness, compassion. You can do these things without food, of course, but the science of positive reinforcement works in the brain, it changes negative feelings into positive ones. It also is fun, engaging, and takes far less time then teaching horses to avoid something aversive. Instead they want to learn!

Taking this path also helps you dive into a holistic viewpoint, as the environment, nutrition, and body all come into play, to use positive reinforcement in a way that isn’t bribery, it’s based on choice and learning.

In school I really struggled to focus because I wasn’t interested in the content and when I tried to focus nothing was ever reinforcing enough. I was fidgety and unfocused and at times punished for my inability to maintain focus. If I had used positive reinforcement on myself, this could have been a game changer, to help me build duration in learning (in my opinion) impractical subjects.

The best skill I’ve learned using R+ is a perspective shift when you look at something in the lens of factual evidence, then I can’t deny that I needed to reevaluate my relationships with all life, not just horses. Knowledge is power, if you make the steps to change your own behavior.

Positive reinforcement isn’t the end all be all of everything in horsemanship, but it’s a fantastic start to understand your horse and your own trigger points.

🐎

If it’s going to be cold I like there to be snow! Not very much, but it still was quite nice!
11/12/2022

If it’s going to be cold I like there to be snow! Not very much, but it still was quite nice!

I have met plenty of elitists in the horse realm. That doesn’t exist here. Come as you are 🖤
11/11/2022

I have met plenty of elitists in the horse realm. That doesn’t exist here. Come as you are 🖤

Inclusivity - the dressage world is desperate for it

I don’t care what breed of horse you show up with, I don’t care what gear you have, as long as it fits. Hell, even if it doesn’t fit, come on out and I’ll help you. I don’t even care if you don’t know what dressage is- Come as you are, and with an open mind.

I can remember being at a dressage clinic with a top name, after paying my $300 for a 45 minute lesson, only to be sneered at for my quarter horse and cheap breeches. I read the comments in dressage groups and see endless criticism of those learning or who don’t know.

It’s time for an overhaul of the sport, to change our attitudes to be inclusive of those without money and without education : where else is someone supposed to start but from the bottom?

If you believe in your craft, and you believe in dressage, you know it’s value for all horse breeds and all people.
So come as you are, and don’t listen to those who would nitpick you to death for every detail you get wrong.
I believe in the discipline, and believe in outlasting it’s rude and exclusive culture.

My phone wasn’t quite able to capture the beauty of the late morning today, but I tried anyways. Hope you all are having...
11/10/2022

My phone wasn’t quite able to capture the beauty of the late morning today, but I tried anyways. Hope you all are having a wonderful day!

I did not know this!
11/10/2022

I did not know this!

Japan is home to the biggest track in the world by capacity: the Tokyo Racecourse, which can accommodate a whopping 223,000 guests. It also held the world record for the largest HD video screen from 2007 to 2009, with dimensions of 8,000 square feet. During the 2021 Breeders’ Cup at Del Mar Racetrack, Japanese based horses saw major success, winning both the Distaff (Marche Lorraine) and the Filly & Mare Turf (Loves Only You).

Japan also hosts a unique style of horse race, called ban’ei racing. In ban'ei, jockeys stand on sleds pulled by draft horses as they go over ramps covered in sand. Ban’ei horses can be twice as big as their thoroughbred counterparts, and jockeys often stop their steeds mid-race to let them rest. The sport originates from the island of Hokkaido, where farmers would test the ability of horses through pulling competitions. These informal competitions from the late Meiji era were first organized into professional races in the 1950s. Today, ban’ei is only active in Obihiro, Hokkaido, where it is considered a key part of the city’s culture.

Photo: Michiyoshi Kokubo

Let’s play a game. In each photo, guess which horse is the oldest… 💚🤣🤣🤣💚
11/08/2022

Let’s play a game. In each photo, guess which horse is the oldest… 💚🤣🤣🤣💚

What a beautiful write up about a misunderstood (and often misused) tool.
11/07/2022

What a beautiful write up about a misunderstood (and often misused) tool.

One thing I do—and have always done—whenever one of my horses leaves me, is to then take his, or her, bridle and lovingly clean it. This is not usually a time for tears but rather, to sit in meditation, to feel this one lasting link between me and a beloved horse and to give thanks.

A lot of people do not realize, looking at all those pictures of Cody happily at work, that he was a spade bit horse. It was a secret that I shared with few people and then, only those whom I trusted.

In almost every picture on Keystone, with occasional exceptions, Cody was packing one of several old spades in my collection. Oh, what a misunderstood thing the spade bit is, along with the horses and people who use them! As such, I’ve not been forthcoming about what this fine horse wore in his day-to-day work. Always afraid of causing unnecessary drama or controversy, I’ve kept very quiet about the old iron that Cody carried in his mouth.

“If I had to use a boat anchor to stop my horse, I wouldn’t ride him!” is just one comment that has forever burned itself upon my brain, after I’d unbridled my good horse at a local parade.

I vowed to never again set myself, or Cody, up for such committed misunderstanding. From then on, I tacked and untacked my horse in secrecy. With time comes healing, however, and I no longer fear other peoples’ censure. In many ways, I am proud to do my part in honouring this traditional ‘bit of knowledge’ in western horsemanship, one that is always in danger of going the way of the dodo bird.

People who decry these bits have no idea of the hours—rather, the years—that go into navigating the largely uncharted territory from starting in the bosal, to wearing the two-rein, to the bridle you see here. There is no known shortcut because to do so always comes out in the poor performance of the horse.

Why have the long-term goal of using such a bit, then? Why not stay for life in the snaffle? It’s a personal challenge, a way of striving always to do better, similar to aiming for advanced agility training in your dog… when ‘come’, ‘sit’ and ‘stay’ might be all a nice dog really needs to get by. As the horse advances in the bridle, he will need less and less input from the rider to do his job with all the acquired poise of a trained dancer.

Training such a horse has a very different mindset than our more modern one, of making the baby superstar. Rather than be a good young 'prospect', most spade bit horses are still peaking in their late teens and twenties.

A spade bit horse needs neither holding in, nor any pushing on. He carries his own balance at all times. This, alone, should tell us that to ride such a horse will be a beautiful experience. While Cody—like all horses brought to the point of correctly carrying a spade—actually cared little about what he was ridden in, he did have his favourites.

There was one, in particular, that made the old horse a little more contented, a little more dialed in, a little more lightly confident in front of me. It was this bit, made by the master Raphael (Filo) Gutierrez in California, in the 1920s. Cody did not hear the dismay in peoples’ voices when they questioned the mouthpiece. No, this was his outfit, a secret between his rider and her good bridle horse.

That said, Cody has been the only one of my horses to have carried this particular bit with such aplomb. Even amongst spades, this is an unforgiving one. With the old Gutierrez, there is zero room for error. It takes a certain horse with the sheer working knowledge, mental yielding, physical mouth shape and a disciplined rider to wear it comfortably. A horse who shines while working in this bit simply has no fear or questions left about his job.

I am aware that in my lifetime, I may never again have a horse who will wear this bridle.

In churchlike silence, I condition the leather of the old silver headstall. Its classic one-ear styling was a good one for Cody, a horse who over the course of his long life, absolutely loathed anyone touching his left ear. He would permit me to slip his off-side ear into the headstall and quickly pull the left side back, letting his ear pop out the front without any unbearable messing about. This one thing was the only spot of discord in our long relationship and it was a hill that my great horse was prepared to die upon. I let Cody have his little victory, for in every other aspect, he was fully on board with letting me believe that I was the boss. I smile wryly, only now realizing this and finally, putting it into words.

The silverwork gets a quick buffing, leaving all the dark patina in the old engraving. I pick a small fleck of green from the roller in the mouthpiece, knowing that I’ll never again do this small ordinary thing for Cody. When all is at it should be and my heart feels newly at peace, I push the lid onto the tin of leather cream and fold up my rags.

I will carry this old bridle and hang it in a place of honour in my tack room, where the spirit of Cody’s memory can swirl about with all the other ghosts that live there.

Each bridle, set of rawhide reins, or old saddle, brings to mind the wonderful horses who carried them. What beautiful—if sometimes flawed—characters these horses were, with their wise eyes and the souls of warriors. Many of the headstalls and bits have been worn by untold numbers of horses, going far back beyond the span of my lifetime. Realizing this, that my new heartbreak is but a blip in the circle of life, consoles me. I know that these treasures will wait on their hooks, until they will be used on somebody’s top horse, if not mine, once more.

Comforted, resolved to remember my time with Cody with nothing but gratitude, I turn out the tack room light and pull closed the door.

Still working on building connection with this girl. I’ve pushed plenty of horses too far, too fast. As part of my amend...
11/06/2022

Still working on building connection with this girl. I’ve pushed plenty of horses too far, too fast. As part of my amends and gratitude to those horses, I continue to apply what they’ve shown me.

I have been behind on posting updates!!! Over the weekend this handsome guy joined us! Meet Roanoke! (This one is not mi...
11/02/2022

I have been behind on posting updates!!! Over the weekend this handsome guy joined us! Meet Roanoke!

(This one is not mine, promise 🤣)

V***n joined us lastnight! Welcome little one 💚
11/02/2022

V***n joined us lastnight! Welcome little one 💚

What a sunrise this morning 🖤
10/30/2022

What a sunrise this morning 🖤

The sunrise from this morning. So colorful and beautiful. 🖤👻
10/28/2022

The sunrise from this morning. So colorful and beautiful. 🖤👻

Why yes Ari! I do see that sunset! 🤣🖤
10/26/2022

Why yes Ari! I do see that sunset! 🤣🖤

Corrán is ready for the cooler weather with her Snuggie! 🤣💚
10/26/2022

Corrán is ready for the cooler weather with her Snuggie! 🤣💚

Something nice about a freshly dragged indoor! 🙏👻
10/25/2022

Something nice about a freshly dragged indoor! 🙏👻

10/25/2022

Our most important task as a trainer/educator of our horse is to develop their confidence as a learner.

This goes for human students as much as horse students, really.

Learning can't happen without the internal confidence to explore, to try, to search for an answer.

❤️🐉
__________
Veritas Saddles * Flexible Fit Equestrian USA * Romfh Equestrian Apparel * LM Boots
__________

Visit www.TimingYourAids.com for a FREE video to help you communicate more clearly with your horse!

Hope your week is off to a good start! We are appreciating this warmer weather! I am hoping to do a last trim on my hors...
10/25/2022

Hope your week is off to a good start! We are appreciating this warmer weather! I am hoping to do a last trim on my horses before the farrier comes Thursday! What’s on your agenda today?

10/23/2022

If it stung, if it made you mad, if it hurt you, you need to think about it

Don’t let your subconscious react before you sit with it

Why did it get to you?

The information could be right, it could be wrong. But what I want to know when I’m upset is- why? Am I taking it personally because it’s something I’m insecure about? Is it reasonable that I feel attacked or is it triggering something deeper - something that may have nothing to do with the original statement at all.

It doesn’t mean the statement that triggered you is good or bad- it simply means there is something there worth investigating.

So pause
And reflect

Then make your decisions

Observing their relationships form is pretty cool.
10/22/2022

Observing their relationships form is pretty cool.

Lovely explanation.
10/22/2022

Lovely explanation.

Lateral flexion is not a party trick- the thing you are not trying to do is just do a physical exercise.

This is the most common mistake I see people make when working on laterally flexing their horses.

I see a lot of horses that seem to have learned that once they bring their head around they will get the pressure released and once it is bent around it looks a bit like a sideways jack in the box and just springs back to straight where their thoughts have remained.

Lateral flexion is a physical and mental exercise. I am looking for the horse to mentally be in the same place as they are physically, so when I am asking for lateral flexion, the exercise is not complete (therefore no release of pressure) until I get an indication that their thoughts are also wherever their head is turned to. This means they are mentally present, and if this foundational step is going to be used as a tool to resolve anxiety (such as bending to a stop), this part needs to work really well.

Teaching this initially, I’ll release for the mental change no matter what the physical is doing.

Ethel is settling right in! She seems ready to start doing more. I’ve been sick so haven’t been able to spend as much ti...
10/21/2022

Ethel is settling right in! She seems ready to start doing more. I’ve been sick so haven’t been able to spend as much time with her as I’d like. 🖤

Curious about everything, this one 💚
10/21/2022

Curious about everything, this one 💚

10/20/2022

Being gentle with a horse does not mean letting the horse push you around and place you in danger. Horses need to have ground manners. They need to stand reliably for the farrier and the veterinarian. They need to stand quietly while you are mounting or dismounting. They need to let you groom them, bridle them, saddle them without dancing around.

It is not that the horse is allowed free rein. Teaching basic manners, though, is a lot different from routinely smacking a horse around, yanking on the bit with rough hands, grinding on the horse in schooling sessions, or cranking the horse into draw reins or other leverage devices.

Part of being well trained is that the horse respects human boundaries, but the good trainers use only as much pressure as needed to create respect and only in situations that to do otherwise allows dangerous behavior.

I admit to not knowing much about this page or person, but I do like this write up. Good perspective that reflects how i...
10/20/2022

I admit to not knowing much about this page or person, but I do like this write up. Good perspective that reflects how important our intent and inner picture are to our horses!

PREY OR PREDATOR?

Something that I heard many times over many years is the importance of the prey/predator relationship between humans and horses. It seems when the subject of horse behaviour comes up one of the first things that come to a lot of minds is the notion that the relationship between humans and horses is dominated by the relationship between a prey animal (horse) and a predator (human). This view seems to have shaped the approach to horse training of many people.

I can’t recall ever hearing or reading Tom Dorrance, Ray Hunt, Harry Whitney, etc talk about the relationship between people and horses in terms of a prey/predator relationship. I don’t think these really good horse people ever thought of it in those terms and never gave it any importance. But since the early days of Parelli Natural Horsemanship, the idea that a horse’s concern about humans comes from a natural fear of predator species has gained popularity. I guess it is a testament to Pat’s influence in the popular horse world – whether good or bad. After Pat started espousing this idea other people got on the bandwagon and added weight to the topic. To my knowledge, there is no substantive work to show that horses view predator species as friends or foes. It is just a theory and not much more.

There is no doubt horses exhibit fear or worry to all types of new experiences, but to claim that it is because something can be categorized as prey or predator seems to me to be far-fetched and alien to how horses actually see the world.

I certainly don’t believe that the reason horses and people don’t always get along has anything to do with the idea that the human is a predator species and the horse is a prey-type species. Horses are often scared of kangaroos, ostriches, wombats, sheep, and deer yet these are not predatory species. They are herbivores. They do not hunt. They are just like horses, yet many horses are naturally fearful of them.

Likewise, many horses are not afraid of predators. I have never owned a horse that showed fear of my dogs. Even horses that are worried by people can be okay with dogs. Zebra (another prey equine species) can be grazing very relaxed even when lions are roaming around the herd. They only become afraid when the lions go into hunting mode. They are not afraid of lions, they are afraid of lions hunting.

The behaviour of a horse towards a human is not shaped by the fact that we eat meat. It’s shaped by the fact that sometimes we present ourselves to horses in a way that makes them feel fearful for their safety. Our energy, lack of clarity, and our intent is what makes them alarmed. A horse can feel the same way about a sheep even though sheep do not eat meat and are not natural predators (hunters). But a sheep can act aggressively towards a horse and make the horse fearful. I had a ram that would attack the horses and they became very wary of it. At feeding time that ram could move any of the horses away from their food without fuss.

I want to get across the idea that just because we have the physical characteristics of a predatory does not explain why our horses may be wary of us. I know a trainer who use to tell people not to look a horse in the eye because it would be interpreted as threatening. Another trainer would turn away from a horse to encourage “join up” with him in a round pen because he said to face squarely to a horse was to challenge him. This is all nonsense in my opinion.

It’s not what you do; it’s the way you do it. Horses don’t care if a human is a predator species. But they do care if we act like a predator. They judge us by our intent and not the way our eyes are set into our heads. They don’t see predators, they see predatory behaviour.

Photo: Who’s the predator now sucker?

Bubbles is all set for Halloween!!!! Who wants to paint on her bones for Halloween? 🖤👻🖤 Open to other costume ideas for ...
10/20/2022

Bubbles is all set for Halloween!!!! Who wants to paint on her bones for Halloween? 🖤👻🖤 Open to other costume ideas for her 🤣

Ethel is settling in well. Rode her ba****ck and she was so good 🖤👻
10/19/2022

Ethel is settling in well. Rode her ba****ck and she was so good 🖤👻

These two and I went to a client/friends place to help rearrange some things and hang out a little bit! Thanks for havin...
10/19/2022

These two and I went to a client/friends place to help rearrange some things and hang out a little bit! Thanks for having us over and letting my kids run around your place while I sneezed a lot (thanks allergies 🤣)

A beautiful sunrise the other morning 🖤
10/19/2022

A beautiful sunrise the other morning 🖤

Appomattox hung out while we had a lesson this morning! Good boy! ❤️
10/16/2022

Appomattox hung out while we had a lesson this morning! Good boy! ❤️

How my husband gets s**t done 🤣
10/12/2022

How my husband gets s**t done 🤣

Beautiful morning! Hope everyone has a wonderful day!
10/11/2022

Beautiful morning! Hope everyone has a wonderful day!

This is part of training.
10/11/2022

This is part of training.

We are so excited to welcome Ethel (previously named Annie) to our herd! She is a 10 year old appaloosa mare who was pre...
10/09/2022

We are so excited to welcome Ethel (previously named Annie) to our herd! She is a 10 year old appaloosa mare who was previously used in a therapy program for veterans!

I saw Annie posted for sale on Facebook. I have a history with the name Annie. To say it quickly, my first mare I owned was Annie. Freja was previously named Annie. Bubbles was also an Annie. And now, this girl makes Annie #4 who has entered my life! I made a post on social media looking for name suggestions as we were quite stumped. I shared that she is an old soul who is kinda and tolerant. We received lots of creative and interesting responses. We were pretty well set on Buttercup (since we already have a Bubbles, Powderpuff Girl reference!) Then my former College Physics Professor offered up his Grandma’s name, Ethel, as a possibility, along with his caption, “That was my grandmother’s name and there’s a million things I’d like to have learned from her.” There it was. I felt it in my gut. Ethel!

She also totally reminds me of an appaloosa I grew up watching/riding named Geraldine. This mare was so interesting. A little oddly built, but solid in and mind and body. It was like she had a donkey’s butt. My trainer always thought there was some donkey in her blood (although he admitted it’d be very rare as the ability for mules to reproduce is nearly impossible.)

Ethel is settling in slowly, but surely. I have been loving on her, hanging out with her, taking her on walks as she is willing, and conditioning her to the clicker. As long as she shows willingness we will be working with her this week and hope to start using her for riding lessons in the near future!!!

Read it on the website:
https://www.thebadwolfranch.com/blog/introducing-ethel

The new girl is warming up and relaxing! She’s so sweet. I really like her and feel so grateful we are her next stop in ...
10/09/2022

The new girl is warming up and relaxing! She’s so sweet. I really like her and feel so grateful we are her next stop in life 🖤👻

Also, I broke the leg warmers out today and wore them with my apocalypse boots I refuse to give up 🤣 no apologies ☠️

What a cool lesson with Kayla and Ari this morning!!! Ari didn’t want to come in, and Kayla was very patient and caught ...
10/08/2022

What a cool lesson with Kayla and Ari this morning!!! Ari didn’t want to come in, and Kayla was very patient and caught her horse. By the end of our ground work we had lots of relaxation and licking and chewing. Good job ladies! 👻

Address

3379 Patterson Road
Bethel, OH
45106

Telephone

+1 513-509-6046

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