65 episodes

The podcast is an enlightened place for riders and horse owners of all disciplines to learn best practices and discover ways to connect better and make progress with their horses.
We interview people who are actively engaged in improving the lives of horses and their owners through best practices, be it directly through riding or through products, research, education, policy, or facility management.

Best Horse Practices Podcast Maddy Butcher

    • Science
    • 5.0 • 66 Ratings

The podcast is an enlightened place for riders and horse owners of all disciplines to learn best practices and discover ways to connect better and make progress with their horses.
We interview people who are actively engaged in improving the lives of horses and their owners through best practices, be it directly through riding or through products, research, education, policy, or facility management.

    Maintenance Work with Amy Skinner

    Maintenance Work with Amy Skinner

    In this episode, Jec interviews Amy Skinner for a Coaches’ Corner around maintenance. It’s a funny concept to shake up a routine, right? Because routines are, by definition, repeated, standard procedures. It is such a fun discussion and I know it will have significant points and ideas for any and all.
    A little something about our last episode on calming signals. It’s been kind of bothering me. And that’s despite the fact that we got some excellent, positive feedback from it. Thank you for that!
    My struggle with the focus on calming signals is connected, I think, to all the ways in which we can supposedly connect with our horses but not actually get anything accomplished. There are A LOT of people talking about neurology and breathing and ears and trigeminal nerves and that’s fantastic. To have this information and gain better understanding of how horses think and behave is essential to optimizing their well being.
    But what are we doing with it? How are we using this information to optimize their movement, their physical and physiological well-being?
    I hear my mom’s voice ringing in my head. She trained dogs her entire adult life and rose to the national level in hunt tests with one of her black labs. She and her dogs also competed in agility and flyball. In later years, she was active with them as therapy dogs. They traveled to nursing homes, schools, libraries, and the VA hospital in Augusta, Maine. She believed a productive life, a learning life, an active life framed therefore happy lives for her dogs.
    We know for instance that in order to be well, horses need to move. And we also suspect that they get bored with their domesticity. It’s incumbent on us to get out there and do stuff with them. If they don’t have jobs, their arena time or trail ride can still be loaded with made-up challenges. How’s your gate opening and closing, for example?
    Just a few thoughts…I will be happy to hear yours.
    Our title sponsor is Lucerne Farms, producers of quality forage feeds.  And Lucerne is this fantastic company in northern Maine. And forage is chopped, packaged hay. After hay and grass, it’s pretty much the best alternative. Way wiser than grain. Check them out at Lucerne Farms.com or at your local feed story. Oh, and they will be at the Best Horse Practices Summit, too.
    We thank Skratch Labs for their support.  Skratch Labs makes drinks and energy bars and chews. They all have less sugar than most sports drinks. Oh, and their snacks are great, too. Use ‘besthorse25’ and get 25 percent off.
    We welcome back Redmond Equine and Pharm Aloe to our sponsorship family. More about both of these horse-focused American companies in upcoming episodes.
    As for this Coaches' Corner interview:
    It could be that we’re all a bunch of pot stirrers here. I really appreciated Amy’s notion that there is always always something to work on. It echoes Randy Rieman, who said, “if you’re not stretching your comfort zone, you’re shrinking it.
    This is especially relevant as we get older – 20 to 30 or 50 to 60 – and it applies equally to our physical and mental and yes spiritual or emotional elements of our well-being.
    Stay lively, folks, and keep your horses lively, too!
    We thank Kate’s Real Food and Patagonia WorkWear for their continued support. Did you know? All ya gotta do is comment or suggest a podcast topic or send us a training question here and you’ll be automatically qualified for our monthly Patagonia WorkWear giveaway.

    • 24 min
    Anna Blake, Calming Signals

    Anna Blake, Calming Signals

    In this episode, Jec interviews Anna Blake, a Colorado horsewoman with a popular blog and several volumes of her life with horses, in prose and poetry.
    The two focus on calming signals. More on that in a sec, after I mention two terrific sponsors quickly.
    Our title sponsor is Lucerne Farms, producers of quality forage feeds.  And Lucerne is this fantastic company in northern Maine. And forage is chopped, packaged hay. After hay and grass, it’s pretty much the best alternative. Way wiser than grain. Check them out at Lucerne Farms.com or at your local feed story. Oh, and they will be at the Best Horse Practices Summit, too.
    We thank Skratch Labs for their support.  Skratch Labs makes drinks and energy bars and chews. They all have less sugar and a bit more sodium than most sports drinks. If you are sweating, which I bet most of us our doing these days, you need to replace your electrolytes. Try the powered sports drinks. Pineapple is my fav. Use ‘besthorse25’ and get 25 percent off.
    So, calming signals. Call me literal and narrow-minded, but I struggle with the definition of calming signals. Does it mean that the horse is giving off signals that indicate calmness? Or is it the opposite? Or is it the human’s body language and what we’re conveying to the horse?
    Turns out Anna is borrowing the term from dog trainer Turid Rugaas. Calming signals describe “the social skills or body language that dogs use to avoid conflict, invite play, and communicate a wide range of information to other dogs."
    "Calming signals in horses are somewhat similar and include looking away, having lateral ears, yawning, stretching down, licking lips or eating in order to calm themselves. Calming cues communicate stress, and at the same time, release stress. It is modeling behavior for us; they want us to drop our stress level or aggressiveness," she writes.
    I would place this episode in the tools for the toolbox category. It’s always good to hear new thoughts on horse-human interactions. If it helps or if we can harmlessly experiment with a new idea, why not? More tools, wider perspectives is always good – unless it makes a big clutter in the toolbox. And by that I mean if we become inconsistent or if our work becomes unpredictable or difficult for our horses to understand, then it’s probably time to declutter or have a better, more honed approach. Mostly, this interview stresses the need to observe. It pays off when we are quiet and listen.
    What do you think?
    We thank Kate’s Real Food and Patagonia WorkWear for their continued support. Did you know? All ya gotta do is comment or suggest a podcast topic or send us a training question here and you’ll be automatically qualified for our monthly Patagonia WorkWear giveaway.
    Thanks for listening y’all!

    • 30 min
    On the Fence: Adult Learning

    On the Fence: Adult Learning

    In this episode, we talk about adult learning. It’s a topic suggested by Natalie in Montana and we got help bouncing it around with Liz and Chris in California.
    Natalie is working on a ranch and taking riding lessons. She sees roping calves and doctored and asks: Can I ever succeed at that level?
    As it happens, co-host Maddy Butcher was doing some adult learning with a few lessons with Katrin Silva in Santa Fe. Katrin's book, Ride with Feel: A Guide for the Rest of Us will be out soon!
    Our title sponsor is Lucerne Farms, producers of quality forage feeds.  I talked with Hannah James the other day. She helps run Lucerne and was up in Aroostock County, near their fields. Aroostock County is better known as “the county” in Maine. At over six thousand square miles, it is by far the biggest county east of the Mississippi.
    It is a very busy time of year for a forage company and Hannah had to keep it short because there was so much to do. But she let me know that Lucerne continues to be super supportive of what we’re doing here AND of what we’re doing at the Best Horse Practices Summit, the non profit education conference in Kentucky this October. So thank you, Lucerne Farms.
    We also thank Skratch Labs. If you’re sweating, you should be staying hydrated with Skratch labs powdered drinks. So much healthier than gatorade or the shady rainbow collection of colored, sweet sports drinks out there. Oh and they have drinks for after a big workout, too. Like chocolate milk, but better. Enter "besthorse25" and get 25 percent off your order.
    Also, check out our BOGO offer at Cayuse Communications. Buy any book and get a FREE copy of A Rider's Reader: Exploring Sense, Science, & Sentiment.
    Here is a great article on adult learning.
    Top points to keep in mind, as mentioned by Liz:
    Find a great mentor and stay away from yahoos. Trust your instincts around safety, money spending, etc. Realize it's going to take time. Be patient. Build your toolbox for every situation. Also, she said: keep your beginner's mind.
    Chris Ellsworth’s suggestions:
    Over time you're going to gain a bit of natural ease with what you do. It’s important not to worry about it. Worrying tends to get in the way. Get past thinking that there is only one way. Think critically. A good mentor is someone who would be happy to see you surpass their ability someday. Reg Flags: Disrespect from a trainer or having him/her teaching something that does not improve you. We thank Kate’s Real Food and Patagonia WorkWear for their continued support. Did you know? All ya gotta do is comment or suggest a podcast topic or send us a training question here and you’ll be automatically qualified for our monthly Patagonia WorkWear giveaway.

    • 25 min
    Ali Kermeen and Working Equitation

    Ali Kermeen and Working Equitation

    In this is episode, Jec chats with Ali Kermeen about working equitation. It’s a relatively new discipline that’s open to riders of all disciplines and Ali has a new book about it. Find her Working Equitation book here. 
    If you’re thinking that working equitation sounds a bit like ranch versatility, you are correct although we’re not diving into the details in this episode.
    I hope you’re curious about it. In fact, I hope you’re curious in general! Jec and I have been talking about adult learning a lot lately and you might have noticed a slight tweak in our intro, about embracing a beginner’s mind. Yep. As it happens, I’m broadcasting this week from Santa Fe, New Mexico, where I’m taking a few lessons from Katrin Silva (who has an upcoming book coming out: Ride with Feel: A Guide for the Rest of Us). I’m excited and nervous as it’s been a long time since I’ve had lessons.
    We have a question specifically about adult learning from Natalie, a listener who was raised on the East Coast but now works on a ranch in Montana. So stay tuned for that.
    Our title sponsor is Lucerne Farms, producers of quality forage feeds.  And Lucerne is this fantastic company in northern Maine. We’ll be talking more about Lucerne in upcoming episodes.
    We also thank Skratch Labs. If you’re sweating, you should be staying hydrated with Skratch labs powdered drinks. So much healthier than gatorade or the shady rainbow collection of colored, sweet sports drinks out there. Oh and they have drinks for after a big workout, too. Like chocolate milk, but better.
    We thank Kate’s Real Food and Patagonia WorkWear for their continued support. Did you know? All ya gotta do is comment or suggest a podcast topic or send us a training question here and you’ll be automatically qualified for our monthly Patagonia WorkWear giveaway.
     
     

    • 24 min
    Season 3 Premiere

    Season 3 Premiere

    Welcome to Season 3! Our show is a space for riders and horse owners of all disciplines to learn best practices and to discover ways to better connect with their horses. Plus, we like to feel safe and have fun. Fitness, of mind and body, the ability to think critically about your horse work as well as embracing a beginner’s mind are all parts of this lucky equine equation that Jec and I hold dear. We hope you do, too.
    This episode is our kick-off for Season Three. In it, Jec and I chat about what we’d like to accomplish, and we discuss some listener input.
    Before segueing to our conversation, though, I’d like to give a few shoutouts – not just to our generous sponsors, but to us!
    Did you know that Jec and I have written books? Yep. Jec has a whole, library that is focus on exercises, movement, and conditioning. I have books that I’ve written on brain science, best practices, as well as titles from Katrin Silva and Amy Skinner. Find 'em here.
    Also, I’m really digging Handful. It’s a small sports company that makes excellent bras for running, riding, and however else you’re being active. They support, literally and monetarily, women with breast cancer. And, well, the bras are great – stylish and functional.
    Skratch Labs makes drinks and energy bars and chews. They all have less sugar than most sports drinks and have more sodium. If you are sweating, which I bet most of us our these days, you need to replace your electrolytes. Try the sports drinks. Pineapple is my fav.
    Our title sponsor is Lucerne Farms, producers of quality forage feeds.  And Lucerne is this fantastic company in northern Maine. We’ll be talking more about Lucerne in upcoming episodes.
    Here is the Cliff Schadt bit that I mentioned:
    Horsemanship and humanship are so similar one to the other. I can’t expect to build a partnership with a young horse if I only go out and work with him occasionally or when I think of it. The partnership is built and cemented in the fact that I go out there almost every day and spend some sort of time with that horse, even if it’s only running a brush over his hide. Friendships are made through the investment of time and sometimes when we have so little time to give is when we make the biggest investments by giving it anyway. 
    Good horses and good friends are not made only in the good times. Good horses and good friends are made when you go through the fire together. It’s the tough moments that show you what you really have and show you what you have been investing in all along. 
    We thank Kate’s Real Food and Patagonia WorkWear for their continued support. Did you know? All ya gotta do is comment or suggest a podcast topic or send us a training question here and you’ll be automatically qualified for our monthly Patagonia WorkWear giveaway.

    • 23 min
    Season Finale - Running and Riding

    Season Finale - Running and Riding

    This episode is dedicated to a listener question from Julie in New Mexico. Her question has to do with cross training. A lot of us like to do other activities aside from riding – yoga, swimming, or, in this case, running.
    As it happens, Jec and I are both runners. So is Katrin Silva, a Best Horse Practices Summit presenter and part of the Cayuse Collaborative Clinic initiative.
    Together, we chat about cross-training in general and running specifically. We talk about the importance of core strength for riding and running. I've always felt that core strength and paying attention to the fitness of tiny little core muscles, not just those typical six pack abdominal muscles, is where a lot of us could stand to dedicate a bit more attention and time.
    We have some excellent articles from guest columnists on best horse practicesdot com  and I will link to them in our show notes.
    Also. We thank Skratch Labs for sponsoring this episode. Skratch Labs makes drinks and energy bars and chews. They all have less sugar than most sports drinks and have more sodium. If you are sweating, you need to replace your electrolytes.
    Every ingredient has a purpose. No junk. Good-tasting products that your mouth and your belly and your brain will appreciate. Check out their Summer Peach Sport Hydration drink mix and their Raspberry Energy Chews.
    See you later, Season Two! This is our 30th episode and our 60th since we started this shindig less than two years ago. We’ll be back soon for our third season.
    Our title sponsor is Lucerne Farms, producers of quality forage feeds. Lucerne is this outstanding little company in northern Maine. Forage is chopped hay, an excellent option when you can’t have your horse on pasture or when you need to add calories and nutrients to your horses’ diet.
    We also thank Redmond Equine for being part of our sponsorship family. Redmond rocks and other offerings come straight from their mine in Redmond, Utah. 
    And we welcome back Pharm Aloe. Pharm Aloe offers aloe pellets and gel and other products to support horses’ GI health, and immune system. 
    Do you consider yourself an athlete?
    Do you feel connected to your body?
    Maybe these are weird questions. But I’m truly curious about the intersection of horse work and athleticism. I’ve observed that a lot of riders don’t seem to consider themselves athletes and don’t consider riding a sport as much as a job, pastime, or recreational activity. That’s a shame, I think. When we hold our own fitness, training, conditioning, and body awareness to a higher standard, we necessarily elevate our connection to our horses and make it possible to do more, be more, connect more. It matters. Short term and long term. In the moment and over the years. Fitness and agility matter. What do you think?
    LINKS to Core Fitness articles
    Core Insight from Katrin Silva
    Developing the Intelligent Core
    Core Strength Moves with David Stickler
     
    We LOVE hearing from you. While we take a little break before our third season, send us your thoughts. Topic suggestion? Training question? Or maybe you just want to share something great or not so great that happened with you and your horse. All good. Looking forward to your emails.
    We thank Kate’s Real Food and Patagonia WorkWear for their continued support. Did you know? All ya gotta do is comment or suggest a podcast topic or send us a training question here and you’ll be automatically qualified for our monthly Patagonia WorkWear giveaway.

    • 23 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
66 Ratings

66 Ratings

Destael ,

So sensible and encouraging

Just listened to the interview with Anna Blake. Wished it were longer because the whole subject is essential. So whether it’s with horses or any other animal or even person that you want to connect with in a positive manner consider what Anna is saying. She’s terrific.

Critter Caretaker ,

Wonderful podcast!!!

I have so enjoyed listening to this podcast. It’s become my ‘go to’ as I do my barn chores. I love the variety of topics that are covered. I am a long time horse owner & have learned a lot. The brain & learning topics have really helped how I approach my project horse. Thanks ladies!!!

m60crawf ,

Requirement

Sure would be nice if folks were “required” to listen to your enjoyable and informative podcast before owning a horse.
Infinitely safer and happier horse and rider.

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