MK Horsemanship

MK Horsemanship A whole-horse approach focusing on trust, connection, and biomechanics.
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I love all of Feelin' Fine Equine, CERP trivia!
06/18/2024

I love all of Feelin' Fine Equine, CERP trivia!

🧠EQUINE TRIVIA ANSWER 🧠
- how long can horses go without food before it is unsafe?
ANSWER
- 4-6hrs! Horses are grazing animals and designed to eat about 22hrs a day! Horses, unlike us, produce stomach acid all the time, whether there is food in the stomach or not. So if there isn’t food to digest, the horse can develop ulcers! Ulcers can be painful and detrimental. But also, even healthy looking horses can have ulcers. 90% of horses, and 50% of foals develop ulcers. This is an extreme amount. The longer and more frequent horses go without food, these ulcers can get more severe and harder to control. Hay bags or slow feeders can be a great way to make a “meal” last longer or give your horse more access to food when they need. Also, making sure your horse eats a small amount before you work with them can prevent ulcers. This subject has been extensively researched. Changing your feeding routine is just ONE way to help prevent ulcers and keep your horses gut healthy.

This happens to all of us 😂Telling ourselves what position to be in often isn't enough. We need different proprioception...
06/17/2024

This happens to all of us 😂
Telling ourselves what position to be in often isn't enough. We need different proprioception and visual help to bring a different awareness.

I love the peacefulness of the herd in the early morning ✨️Happy Saturday and father's day weekend 🙌
06/15/2024

I love the peacefulness of the herd in the early morning ✨️
Happy Saturday and father's day weekend 🙌

Why should I do groundwork?Lately I'm noticing that groundwork is often thought of as a series of exercises that keeps u...
06/12/2024

Why should I do groundwork?

Lately I'm noticing that groundwork is often thought of as a series of exercises that keeps us from our riding goals. Because of this, people start thinking of progress as being able to complete a exercise on the list, and not so much about the purpose within the exercise.

So, if it's not about completing an exercise... what is it about??

Groundwork is about setting both you and your horse up for success. It teaches us how to communicate with our horses, and allows us to visually learn how a horse moves and responds to us, and the world. It gives our horses the skills and ability to start to move freely, breath deeply, and be in a thinking and learning mindset.

Yes, groundwork is ultimately layers of lessons that are needed to prepare a horse physically and mentally for handling and riding.... but it's not so much about getting through the exercises as it is about continually setting the horse and you up to move freely, breath deeply, think, learn, and communicate.

When we make it all about completing an exercise we lose the purpose and benefits that it should offer us.

Sometimes, ending on a positive note means putting your horse back out to pasture. We often hear that it is important to...
06/12/2024

Sometimes, ending on a positive note means putting your horse back out to pasture.
We often hear that it is important to end every session with our horses on a good note. This is usually true, but there are some exceptions.

Sometimes, we get to a point of frustration that no amount of positive qoutes muttered under our breath will pull us out of the funk.
Maybe we had a bad day or haven't been getting enough sleep. Maybe we are having a hard time at work or feeling stuck in our horsemanship skills. Whatever the reason, we have now reached a place of continual frustration.

Yesterday, I was stuck in a frustration that continued to build throughout the day. By the time it was late evening, I couldn't even chain a gate without getting frustrated. Against my better judgment, I recited another positive quote and haltered my mare for a training session.

Not very long into the session I realized that no matter how hard I tried to make the session a good one it just wasn't going to happen, so I turned my mare out, finished chores, and called it a day. After a good full night of sleep, I had a successful and fulfilling day. I got a lot done, and my mare and I had a couple of good breakthroughs.

Sometimes, the most selfless and brave thing we can do is take a break and recharge.

Finding out there can be a better and easier way to work with horses can be an emotional time for a lot of people. I see...
06/05/2024

Finding out there can be a better and easier way to work with horses can be an emotional time for a lot of people.
I see so many people kick themselves for not doing better for the horse sooner.
But if we look at our past, we will see a pretty neat pattern on how we got here.

If we look at the beginning of our journey, we might find that any information on how to get along with our horses was good information. (How could we know differently?)
After we got that information, we probably studied it and were around people who studied it too.
We probably made friends with those people and got attached to the technique and lifestyle.

Later on, as we learned, there were other techniques and different ways of doing things. we might reach out and try them, either because we now felt confident enough to try something new or because the first technique wasn't working that great.
From here, the rest is history - every road we took, every person we met, every book we read, every lesson we learned... led us to where we are right now.

They say life is a journey - the definition of journey is "the act to move from one place to another."
Go easy on yourself. You are right where you belong in this moment.

Embrace your life journey with gratitude, so that how you travel your path is more important than reaching your ultimate destination.” – Rosalene Glickman, author and entrepreneur

You can't be successful on knowledge alone.You must employ it, test it, and act with it.Having knowledge doesn't mean th...
06/04/2024

You can't be successful on knowledge alone.
You must employ it, test it, and act with it.
Having knowledge doesn't mean that everything will be easy for you. Instead it gives us puzzle pieces to create something beautiful in the end.

We all struggle. The great thing about Social media is that it gives us a place to share, interact, and learn. The diffi...
06/04/2024

We all struggle.

The great thing about Social media is that it gives us a place to share, interact, and learn.
The difficult part is that we can choose how we look on social media.

We can chose to look like we have everything going for us, we can edit photos and videos, we can write about the wins and leave out the losses. But the truth is that we all struggle.

We have all cried in the rain griping a muddy lead rope, hair sticking to our wet faces, while trying desperately to understand the damn horse in front of us.

We have all struggled to leave the warm house
Put on a gazillion layers and go out in the cold weather to work with our horses. Sometimes, maybe more than we want to admit, we stayed in that warm house.

We have all made mistakes. Some mistakes we knew better than to make, but made them anyway. Some mistakes we went into unknowingly.

We have all pulled on our horses faces. Lost our temper. Cheated because we were frustrated or tired.

We have all doubted ourselves, questioned our abilities and where we were headed.

The journey of horsemanship isn't about being flawless and perfect. It's about being brave enough to trust the process, make mistakes, and learn, grow, and teach from them.

I love summer nights and a freshly worked arena 😍What are the simple things of summer that you love?
05/31/2024

I love summer nights and a freshly worked arena 😍

What are the simple things of summer that you love?

“As it turns out, it was that very rock bottom that became the firmest foundation I had ever planted my feet on." — Mand...
05/29/2024

“As it turns out, it was that very rock bottom that became the firmest foundation I had ever planted my feet on." — Mandy Hale

I used to fear rock bottom... but I have sense learned to become excited by it because the only way out is a change I was too afraid to make.

I love this analogy from "Out of the saddle" by GaWaNi pony boy.I think its so important to know the why behind what we ...
05/26/2024

I love this analogy from "Out of the saddle" by GaWaNi pony boy.

I think its so important to know the why behind what we ask of our horses both mentally and physically, otherwise we lose the benefits of the work we do.

05/26/2024
05/25/2024
It often doesn't take much for us to lose our nerves and start to make up stories about a situation, whether its a horse...
05/23/2024

It often doesn't take much for us to lose our nerves and start to make up stories about a situation, whether its a horse that starts to whinny anxiously for his friends or a conversation that was worded badly.

By the time we get that story made up in our minds we are already responding in a way that one would respond to that exact story.
When we lose ourselves in stories we no longer have the ability to see things for the way they are or respond appropriately and positively.

We have the power to redirect, to change the ending. But it takes hard work and awareness of ourselves to achieve it 😅

How well do you know your lead rope?Do you study it every day?Can you tell when the slack is out of it?Can you feel when...
05/23/2024

How well do you know your lead rope?

Do you study it every day?

Can you tell when the slack is out of it?

Can you feel when there is a communication delay?

The lead rope is something special that we often disrespect.

It's important that we study it so we don't have a wreck.

Photo by Calysta Mundt

Can our own personal insecurities affect the way we ride and handle our horses??Definitely!Our habits and insecurities c...
05/22/2024

Can our own personal insecurities affect the way we ride and handle our horses??

Definitely!
Our habits and insecurities can be so deeply ingrained in our minds that we can't turn them on and off whenever we like.

I'm 5' 10".
As a woman, I feel pretty tall compared to a lot of people. Instead of embracing my height, I have felt pretty insecure with it and often find myself trying to fit in by hunching my shoulders and deflating inside myself a bit.

Trying to make myself appear shorter may not seem to cause big problems in my personal life... but when it comes to riding and working with horses, it definitely poses a BIG problem.

When riding and handling horses, it's important that we have open and freely moving bodies that can breathe deeply and fully. When my personal insecurity of feeling too tall kicks in, my body is no longer open, moving freely, or breathing deeply. Instead, I become smaller, my muscles contract, making me physically shorter, and I no longer take up soft space that can help a horse feel and do better.

To truly help our horses, we first must help ourselves. We need to identify and understand how our own insecurities affect us and then our horses. Our horses don't care about the things that make us insecure. Instead, they are begging us to understand those things and peel them away so that we can all move in harmony. ❤️

05/19/2024

If you wait for perfect conditions, you’ll never get anything done

Sometimes the horses are squirrely
Sometimes the kids are crying and you have to focus on your work over the noise
Sometimes the teaching isn’t “your style” and you have to put some effort in to understanding
Sometimes the weather is bad
Sometimes the price is uncomfortable

This is your life, and learning is up to you.

Are you going to sit around waiting for the clouds to open and an angel comes down and hands you a gift wrapped opportunity?
Or are you going to dig into this moment and do your best with what you have?

Learning requires dedication and some grit. Many will be called, but few will answer -
Who are you going to be when things aren’t perfect?

Do you have the skills that are nessasary to make your goal possible and fun?For some reason riding horses is seen as so...
05/17/2024

Do you have the skills that are nessasary to make your goal possible and fun?

For some reason riding horses is seen as something that everyone can and should be able to do with little education and practice.
But then we start to run into horses that are pushy, spooky, aggressive, and unsafe.

All these behaviors come from a horse that has learned these behaviors as a form of protection against an uneducated human and possibly living situation.
When we don't take the time it takes to learn how to ride well and support our horses, the horse starts to fall apart.

It's important that we learn to see the joy and fun in focusing on the fundamentals of horsemanship. Feeling safe and confident for both you and your horse is a lot more fun than pushing for something you are not and will never be ready for by skipping the fundamentals.

We have almost forgotten how strange a thing it is that so huge and powerful and intelligent an animal as a horseshould ...
05/15/2024

We have almost forgotten how strange a thing it is that so huge and powerful and intelligent an animal as a horse
should allow another, and far more feeble animal, to ride upon its back.
~Peter Gray

❤️
05/13/2024

❤️

No big deal.

Is that how you a treat a successful moment with your horse? Or maybe you see it as a fluke, a random outcome based on coincidence.


I’m all for holding myself to a high standard, for not dwelling too long on success or failure (both will come and go, that’s part of life).


But lately I’ve seen a trend where people try to berate themselves into good horsemanship.


Within this framework, you never are good enough – in terms of talent, age or character. You adopt a perpetually apologetic tone with your horse. And dwell on your limitations (we all have them), rather than feel excitement for your current gains and for the bigger ones to come with time.


When you focus on your limitations, so does your horse. When you downgrade your breakthroughs, you diminish his as well.


Our minds, emotions and bodies are entwined – this is science. The same is true for horses, only to an even larger degree. They don’t have the ability to set aside negative thoughts, to take control of their mindset and to override automatic physical reactions.


But we do.


It’s hard to have fun with your horse, if you think that you are awful at everything horsemanship related. More to the point, it’s hard for horse to enjoy his time with you if you are stuck in that mental mode.


So, as silly as this sounds – try to lighten up a little. You probably don’t suck that badly at horsemanship. And if you do, taking a more relaxed approach will help you learn faster anyway.

"Growing to serve you." While on a long road trip today, I saw a sign that said, "Growing to serve you." My first though...
05/11/2024

"Growing to serve you."

While on a long road trip today, I saw a sign that said, "Growing to serve you." My first thought was that they wanted us to know that they were growing in knowledge and ability to serve their customers the best that they could.
What they actually meant was that they were growing their ability to reach more customers by adding more locations.

But that business sign got me thinking about why I continue to study, take lessons, go to clinics, put in long days, and make learning a priority for myself.
For me, continued learning is a priority so I can better myself for the horses that I have the privilege to touch, work with, and ride.... BUT, continued learning is also a huge priority of mine so that I can continue to serve my clients and the horse world to the best of my ability.

I'm not only pushing myself to serve the horse but to serve you too. I won't be the same person from a year ago... or maybe even a week ago. I have so much to learn, and I hold myself accountable for continuing to get out there and grow.

I live by this ever since Amy Skinner Horsemanship taught me it ❤️✨️
05/10/2024

I live by this ever since Amy Skinner Horsemanship taught me it ❤️✨️

Relax, nothing is under control-

One thing I have learned as an extremely important life skill, is to let go and trust that my gut will guide me.
As a teacher who regularly gets ten snorty horses in the same space, as a caretaker of 14 horses with many behavioral issues, as a mother to two spicy daredevil children, as a human being on the planet, I have rarely found worrying and trying to control to be effective or helpful at all.

Finding the calm in the chaos- to learn to find the pause in the noise. There is something inside you that knows what to do. Your intellect can only take you so far. Your mind can be a liar and lead you astray like a siren to a ship, crashing into the rocks. The something inside will guide you through, if you let go, and wake up.

Practice, learn theory, develop skill- these things can’t be neglected. Do your due diligence, and then breathe into the chaos. I don’t mean to get in over your head on purpose, or livr a purposely chaotic life- i mean when things get hairy, as they often do, worry steals your precious energy from being able to see - breathe to quiet the worry, open your eyes, and follow the inside voice.

"We must accept finite disappointment but never lose infinite hope."~Martin Luther King
05/08/2024

"We must accept finite disappointment but never lose infinite hope."
~Martin Luther King

I find peace in knowing that perfection doesn't exist. No matter how hard I try to get it right, I will miss something i...
05/07/2024

I find peace in knowing that perfection doesn't exist. No matter how hard I try to get it right, I will miss something important that I never would have thought of or even knew existed.

By the time I start worrying and obsessing about something, I'm already as close to perfection as I'm going to be until I learn another lesson on the subject.

05/07/2024

In-hand work isn’t just good for our horse’s proprioception and muscle memory, but ours, too!

It’s a great way to practice riding back to front… stepping the hind leg into our hand.

It’s a great way to get a feel for the ‘fixed hand’ and getting shifts of balance and feet from our core, NOT our hands.

It’s a great way to get a feel for a horse who is falling or rushing. You can FEEL what Baucher describes as the ‘resistance of weight.’

It’s a great way to get a feel for the AO joint at the poll, how ‘receiving’ it is, and whether it’s braced open or closed, the ‘resistance of force,’ and you can see the domino effects of the AO on the TMJ and hyoid.

It’s a great way to be able to observe integrity in the poll and the base of the neck. We know ‘broken at 3rd’ is a problem… so is ‘broken at 7th.’

The walk ✨️The more you become aware of the way you walk, the more you will understand the importance of walking with go...
05/06/2024

The walk ✨️

The more you become aware of the way you walk, the more you will understand the importance of walking with good mobility.
It will show you what your horse might be going through and that he may unconsciously be choosing dysfunctional walking patterns.

A horse may adapt dysfunctional movement patterns from bad handling practices, an injury, or lifestyle. This can show up as being unable to do an exercise willingly or correctly and can even show up as dangerous behavior.

When we study our walk closely over different terrain or in different exercises we will probably find ourselves cheating and using less mobility in certain areas.
For example:
We might find that we stiffen a knee and throw our weight to the opposite side to keep from using its full range of motion.

If our horses are moving in dysfunctional patterns its probably unconscious.
It's up to us to become aware of dysfunction in ourselves and in our horses so that we can help change the body as a whole instead of looking at undesirable movement or behavior as disrespectful.

Quick results and solid results don't live in the same world.Quick results can fall apart as quickly as they were put to...
05/04/2024

Quick results and solid results don't live in the same world.
Quick results can fall apart as quickly as they were put together.
Solid results take dedication, time, and patience
Pick your poison...they are both difficult 🙂

My horse gets anxious out of nowhere 😬 As humans, we can easily become stuck on using how well our horses complete an ex...
05/02/2024

My horse gets anxious out of nowhere 😬

As humans, we can easily become stuck on using how well our horses complete an exercise to judge if they are mentally prepared for the next step. The problem with this is that we often overlook how the mind and body are feeling.

Yes, the horse is completing the exercises, but where is his mind and body? Are they both participating?
Is the mind thinking, interacting, and curious?
Or is it shut down and just getting through the day?

Is the body breathing deeply, moving softly with intention, soft to the touch? Are the ears softly interacting? Are eyes blinking softly?
Or is the body tight, breath held, and reacting?
Are the ears moving tight and tense? Are the eyes staring and blinking quickly? Is the body tight under your touch?

When our horses boil over out of the blue
It's often because they were simmering while we were watching their ability to complete an exercise. They boil over because the next step, task, or exercise is just too much.

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Cuba City, WI
53807

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