Well, sometimes things take a turn that we don’t expect. It’s my turn to deal with injury and confidence problems. So many of my students, as well as so many other riders, have had injuries or struggle with lack of confidence. This year will be my attempt to mix my love of teaching and training with my own limited physical ability. Along the way, we will continue studying Baucher, as we have for a little over six years now. It has taken us on trail rides, to jumping shows, to the racetrack, oversees to study in Germany, and through many discussions with health professionals in both human and equine fields. Much is left to be learned and explored, especially when considering the rider.
To explain what happened will take a bit, so bear with me. In January 2014 I shattered my right tibial plateau in a skiing accident. This caused massive bruising in the bones and soft tissue, and intense pain that lasted for the next two months. I was unable to move my lower leg at all for the first month. I was also unable to walk on it for eight weeks. Losing my ability to walk was scary and frustrating. Learning to walk again was painful and slow. On top of all of it, I had a horse training business to run. Without the help of friends, my business and all of my horses would have fallen away, to be replaced by a new career and new hobby. It required a lot of team work and new ways of running a horse business in order to stick it out.
In March 2014, I had my first ACL reconstruction due to a torn ACL sustained during the fracture. My first return to riding was easy. I started on my older horses before progressing to some of the horses we had in training. Despite six months away from riding, an atrophied leg with poor neurological control, and some lack of confidence, I regained my old riding skills within a few days. It was exciting to be riding again.
Then, in December 2014, I rejected the ACL graft. It was like breaking the tibia all over again. I didn’t want to walk or ride at all because of the pain and instability. In January 2015, I had my second surgery to put bone grafts into the tunnels and remove the old graft. It meant yet another year of knee rehabilitation, constant pain, and limited ability to move. This is when we became active in Thoroughbred racing. We ended up learning a lot about the management of equine athletes, as well as bringing horses home from the track that summer.
In August 2015, my third ACL surgery seemed to be a success. We spent the fall working on little problems on the racehorses in the hopes that we could help them race better the next season. We ponied them to work on their fitness, which was something I could do even without being able to ride. Racing was a way to stay involved and enthused about horses. We also were accepted to compete in the Retired Racehorse Project Thoroughbred Makeover in October with Hammy and Chuckles.
This is where we get to now, May 2016. My return to riding this winter has been much tougher. My knee hurts all the time, my back hurts from compensation, my lower leg burns and itches from lingering nerve problems, and I have no confidence. My seat feels great when I am in the saddle, but my confidence does not. Our new indoor arena is unfamiliar, so I am scared to ride in it. If everything is not perfect, I would rather not ride, which is a frustrating and new experience.
To make it much more difficult, my ACL failed again. This time it stretched, but the pain and instability is there. There is nothing further to do surgically, so I am experimenting with different therapies to restore my strength, neurological control and confidence. This is where Chuckles comes into play. He is a nervous horse. He is also kind and careful, which makes him a great fit for me right now. He pays attention to where I am and makes sure to match my pace. He never walks too fast. I lean on him if the footing is slippery or uneven, and he tolerates it. It also helps that Chuckles has problems of his own. He cannot train very quickly, so we are a good fit. Chuckles and I are still going to go to Kentucky to compete, but it may only be in-hand work. My hope this next year is to show how I rehabilitate myself, Chuckles, and build up my confidence to ride again.
We will continue to discuss developments in the Baucher experiment, but we need to include the rider’s body and confidence, too.
Golden Creek Equine has been busy with both the facilities and the horses. Racing season is again upon us at Fonner Park in Grand Island, NE. Renee (Whatsallthedrama) and Geno (Geno’s Bambino) left for track and will begin training on February 14th. We expect that they will be ready to race in about a month. The other racehorses are at home working on their fitness for the Arapahoe season in Colorado and the Wyoming season in mid-summer. Our project horses are coming along well. Socks is preparing for the Colorado racing season. He is still as agreeable and easy to train as they come! Vinny is standing his first season at stud, so we are excited to see what his foals look like next spring. In the meantime, Vinny is continuing training so he can begin showing in reining in the fall or next spring. He has become a fun horse with a great personality. Dexter is lungeing over four foot fences now and jumping with a rider over three foot fences. He is working on his confidence, but the boy has beautiful form and a lot of power!
The facility is moving forward in preparation for the summer. The arena has a good base. The sand and GGT Textile additive will be installed this March. The obstacle course is also underway with the designing and layout of materials. We will post pictures of the obstacle course as construction moves forward. We are open to suggestions on obstacles, if you would like to see something specific. The water obstacle will even be ready for summer use!
Both Kate and one of her students, Michelle, have been accepted to compete at the 2016 Thoroughbred Makeover in Lexington, Kentucky. Michelle will be competing in show hunter on Cattybanker, a horse we brought home from Arapahoe. Kate is waiting to see how the horses race before deciding who to take.
This blog, however, is going to focus on trailer loading, a common and frustrating problem. We recently had difficulty loading Geno. We only had muddy or icy ground available, which limited the techniques that we could use. When faced with a difficult loading situation, the first thing to do is remember to stay calm. It is not appropriate to practice trailer loading for the first time when there are time constraints. Try to pick a time when you have several hours to dedicate to it. This helps alleviate the urgency and lower the anxiety that is present with trailer loading. Second, wrap the horses legs. This is, unfortunately, often overlooked. Many years ago, we learned this lesson on a horse that was refusing to load. When he finally did load and started to back out to finish for the day, he slipped and cut his fetlock. It took stitches and several months to heal properly. Shipping boots can be inexpensive and easy to apply. We often use bell boots on all four legs to prevent cuts to the coronet band.
Once the horse is wrapped, find the most flat and dry spot available to you. A wet or slick surface is not always avoidable, as we found with Geno, but it is much safer to work on dry surfaces. You may also want to look for a location far from obstacles, such as fences, hydrants, etc. You will want to have a treat bucket in the trailer within easy reach and a long whip, such as a buggy whip. A breakaway halter is often a good idea, as well, because a horse can easily catch the halter on a latch and panic.
The goal with trailer loading is to keep the horse quiet and work on the response to the aids. You will practice basic leading with the trailer as an obstacle. If you think about the goal of the training session as improving your horse’s response to the aids rather than actually getting the horse on the trailer, it helps reduce the frustration involved with the exercise. Practice standing on the trailer, putting a little bit of pressure on the halter, and using the whip as gently as possible to bring the horse forward. A single step or the smallest movement forward will suffice. Release the pet the horse. If the horse moves backwards, apply light pressure and touch with the whip. Follow the horse backwards until he makes a slight move forward. Release then ask again for forward motion. Continue using the lightest pressure possible to teach the horse how to come forward off the lead rope and from the whip. If the horse becomes crooked, use the whip on either side of the horse to teach him to move sideways. This will mean that you can stand at the trailer door and control the horse’s direction side to side and front to back. Remember to practice backing the horse away from the trailer, as well.
The treats can be used to reward the horse’s efforts, such as a hoof on the ramp or trailer floor. If the horse and handler remain calm, trailer loading becomes much more safe. This can be one of the most dangerous things that we teach the horses. Most horses will stall outside the trailer for several minutes to several hours then finally load. It is also common to repeat the procedure several days in a row before the horse readily loads and unloads without anxiety.
In the years of teaching horses to load, this has been the most reliable method for us. Other methods have their place and may work better for some, but this is one more to add to the tool box for the future.
Happy riding and trailering!
Happy Fall friends of Golden Creek Equine! We’ve been very busy this fall building a new indoor arena at the homestead! The arena is going to be 72 ft. by 160 ft. with GGT Textile footing. We are very excited because this will allow us to host lessons and clinics next year. We’ll continue to provide you with updates on our progress.
Hello to all! This week I would like to introduce the horses that will demonstrate Baucher’s training. We will bring in the odd horse to demonstrate specifics, but these boys are our focus. Please meet Socks, Vinny, and Dancer.
Flamboyant Socks “Socks” – 2013 Chestnut Thoroughbred Colt (Western Expression x Sara Sue)
I found Socks at the COTBA Silver Cup Yearling Auction at Arapahoe Park in Denver, CO. He was bred by Kirton Farms in Oklahoma. He was nervous, pranced the whole time, and almost flipped over as he ran backwards out of the sale ring. I had to have this colt. He has a giant, soft eye and a serious work ethic. The little guy just needed to learn about life. In the four months we have had him, he has gone on many walks around the property to learn to relax with new experiences. Now he marches into strange places with confidence and loves his workouts. He has no patience for basics and is honest about what he can do. He is a barn favorite!
Socks will race at Arapahoe this summer. Our goal is to have a successful, sound racing career and retire to stud and the dressage ring. We will see what he will do, but the colt loves to move. He is a real test for Baucher’s training on young, sensitive horses.
Vinny (registration pending) – 2012 Palomino Quarter Horse Stallion
Vinny was a surprise purchase when we were looking at yearlings at Diamond McNabb Ranch Horses. We were looking for yearling reining, cutting or roping prospects. Vin was living with their breeding stallions as a future breeding prospect. He turned once while playing with the big boys, and he also had to join the Baucher Experiment. He is short, stout, sweet, and simply to train. In only two months, Vin went from no handling to his first ride and completing all of the beginning in-hand work.
Vin will compete in cutting, reining and roping when he is ready. He is perhaps the sweetest horse on the property.
Acclaim A Dancer “Dancer” – 2001 Brown Thoroughbred Gelding
Dancer is my boy in every way. He was one of the original horses when we started the Baucher Experiment years ago. He was actually the reason for the experiment at all. I bought him in 2004 when he had just a few rides. Together, we have been across the country, competed, and performed demos for students. He knows natural horsemanship, western dressage, roping, reining, classical dressage, and he prefers Baucher. He had chronic back problems until he began elevating his head, at which point his pain vanished. Dancer is learning the advanced movements in Baucher’s training, so he needed to be included in the revived experiment.
Dancer will continue to be my personal horse. He enjoys learning new movements, especially if they involve collection.
Next post, we will start to look at conformation and the part it plays in performance and injury prevention. The boys will be good examples, along with some outside horses.
Until then, take care.
The Baucher Experiment is back! We have made a lot of progressive with the training, understanding of the mechanics and physiology, and applications for performance and rehabilitation. Many changes have been made in both life and training. First, I was married a year ago. That inevitably changed how my time is spent and provided a new perspective. Suddenly, I no longer have an infinite amount of time to spend in the barn. This requires a more efficient method of training, which is something that our original adaptation of Baucherism was not. In the past two years, we have streamlined Baucherism into an efficient, effective training program that produces performance horses quickly and safely.
Another huge change was my physical well being. I shattered my tibial plateau, fractured my femur, and have significant soft tissue damage in my right knee. This struck me as incredibly ironic because Baucher also suffered from broken legs. He broke both of his, however, whereas I lucked out breaking just one. Either way, I am not as agile as I used to be, which also required some changes in training and handling horses. The horses must learn very early and quickly not to push during leading, to be light off the bit during in-hand work, and collect so as not to jostle my seat and leg. My broken leg also required me to take a step back from working all of the horses myself and learn to teach others how to work all of the horses I have in training. As much as I do not want to repeat it, my broken leg has been one of the best things for learning to teach and train better.
Finally, the Baucher Experiment has exploded in the area due to the effectiveness of the progression. I have students on gaited horses achieving quiet trail mounts with better gaits, a show jumping team with reliable horses and seats, roping horses that are reliable out of the box, and even racehorses with improved soundness. The Baucher Experiment has taken me to the Keeneland yearling auction looking at racing prospects for owners, to the backside of Santa Anita Racetrack, and even to my own group of talented riders and horses coming up in a wide variety of disciplines and breeds. It has been a fun couple of years!
Now, the Baucher Experiment is taking horses into the jumping arena, roping arena, racetrack, and onto the trails. Watch as we follow several horses and discuss their progress. As we did previously, we will also keep you updated on the research behind the training. We have many exciting updates on proprioception, use of the aids, neurology, muscle activity, mechanics, and much more!
Welcome to Golden Creek Equine’s monthly newsletter, The Baucher Experiment! Our goal is to maximize instruction and fun, so we strive to offer a variety of services, including clinics, lessons, training, trail classes, and group retreats. As part of the clinic fee, all participants receive a training manual that explains the theory and exercises practiced during the clinic. In order to provide the best learning experience and recreation opportunities, we constantly learn and improve our skills.
Can’t come to us??? Well, we can come to you in the form of a DVD! Golden Creek Equine now has a total of 5 DVDs out! You can buy one for $25 (+ Shipping), but are only $20 (+ Shipping) if you buy more than one.
The DVDs GCE are offering are:
The Four Fundamental Exercises In-Hand
Basic Riding Exercises
Riding on the Trail
Lessons on the Trail
Riding the Gaited Horse
Contact Kate at email@example.com for more information!
Golden Creek Equine offers lessons, classes, and clinics for a variety of levels, ages, and disciplines. All instruction is based on classical principles adapted to individual goals and needs. Individual, buddy or small group lessons are a great opportunity for those wanting more intense work. The classes are geared toward riders wanting a supportive environment and the opportunity to meet new people. The chance to watch other riders work through issues also enhances learning. Several times a year, Golden Creek Equine hosts clinics featuring top trainers, as well as small clinics with our own instructors.
For more information, please email or call. Any current and potential students are welcome to audit lessons or training sessions.
Fees (effective April 15, 2013)
Lessons with Kate Moran
Individual Lessons (1 hr) $50
Buddy Lessons (1 hr) $35/rider
Out-of-town Lessons $100/hour (1 hour includes travel cost)
Lessons with School Horses (price in addition to lesson fee)
Per lesson: $25
Trail Riding Class in Chugwater (5-8 riders, 3 hours) $60/rider
10th: Kate Anderson Trail Riding Classes in Chugwater, WY
17th-18th: Kate Anderson Clinic in Eckert, CO
23rd-25th: Larry Whitesell Clinic in Cheyenne, WY
7th-8th: Kate Anderson Clinic in Cheyenne, WY
9th-13th: Youth Camp in Cheyenne, WY
14th-15th: Kate Anderson Clinic in Fort Collins, CO
18th: Youth Day Camp in Cheyenne, WY
21st: Kate Anderson Trail Riding Class in Chugwater, WY
23rd-27th: Youth Camp in Cheyenne, WY
28th-29th: Kate Anderson Clinic in Lincoln, NE
7th-11th: Youth Camp in Cheyenne, WY
12th: Kate Anderson Trail Riding Classes in Chugwater, WY
14th-18th: Youth Camp in Cheyenne, WY
30th: Youth Day Camp in Cheyenne, WY
2nd: Youth Day Camp for ages 12-14 in Cheyenne, WY
4th-8th: Youth Camp for ages 12-14 in Cheyenne, WY
9th-10th: Kate Anderson Clinic in Cheyenne, WY
11th-15th: Youth Camp for ages 15-18 in Cheyenne, WY
Please email, call or text for more information or to reserve a spot.