Re-use, recycle, reduce…

For anyone who has tried to live a more eco-friendly life, you will know that it is not easy! However, there are great businesses out there who have put together eco-friendly ranges of products to make your life easier.

The other aspect of trying to life a more eco-friendly life is changing your outlook. Re-use, recycle, reduce…the key is in the reduce. How many things that we buy do we really need? Do you need another girth? (Your horse, not you!) Or are you buying it because you want to? We live in a society that encourages consumerism, that teaches you that you need more. You don’t. Think before you buy, simply buying less means you are living a more eco-friendly life. If you have to buy, buy good products that will last and less of them. Yes, they are more expensive, but they last longer…

Re-use…if you have finished using something for its original purpose look around and think what else you can use it for. I’ve seen old feed bags remade into tote bags, and there literally hundreds of ideas for re-purposing plastic containers on the internet. Let your imagination run wild!

If you have exhausted all available uses for your item, rather than simply slinging it in the bin to go to landfill, see if you can recycle it. Lots more products can be recycled than simply what you can put in your household recycling bin. It can a bit of research, but if it is something you use regularly (like a feed supplement) it is worth working out the most eco-friendly way to dispose of the container.

Every little bit helps, nobody can be perfect, but if everyone tries to do something small, it can add up to a massive change. So remember, re-use, recycle, reduce…

My journey…part 2…

By Amy Craske

To that end, I am part of a team of volunteers from a remarkably diverse variety of backgrounds and experiences, all hoping to share that experience with the next generation. The Pony Club will initially be based online, to make it truly accessible, aiming to eventually partner with accredited Pony Club venues who share the compassionate Concordia ethos.

The website will have quizzes, games and activities to complete, and a wealth of educational material made both in-house and by some of our partner organisations such as The Equitopia Center. We are hoping to cover many of the subjects missing from the existing traditional children’s organisations, and take a much closer look at areas such as equine ethology and ideal habitats, which are often glossed over. We are also hoping to give a greater focus to areas of horsemanship that the non-competitive rider may be more interested in, and indeed for those children who choose not to ride at all.

The Club will also have a range of achievement certificates and awards, again covering a much wider area than traditional pony club groups, aiming again to make sure that there is something for everyone; higher levels for older children who want to specialise in a particular area, and simple challenges for younger children wanting to learn basic principles. The educational material we will provide will be, wherever possible and if relevant, backed up by the best available research.

Rather than follow any one particular method, we intend to be inclusive of all methods which have the pony’s best interests at heart. We most of all want to encourage children to THINK about what they are doing with their horses and ponies, to follow their consciences, and to decide for themselves which paths to follow. The website is currently under construction, and we are now beginning the mammoth task of creating the educational material to go in it – a bit daunting, especially finding the time around jobs and families, but I’m sure this is going to be an incredibly rewarding task!

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Image: by Florian van Duyn via Unsplash

Hello and welcome!

We like to help other people share their ideas and thoughts, which is why we always try and have guest bloggers, as well as our own blogs. So we are delighted to introduce Amy who will be a regular guest blogger for us here at Ethical Horse Products.

 

Hello horse fans! Nice to meet you. I’m Amy, and I’ve been riding since I was 5, had ponies since I finally nagged my non-horsey parents into submission at 13 and worked with them on and off most of my life. I’ll happily admit in my youth I was a ‘limpet’ who would get on anything, and give it a smack and a kick if it didn’t comply; when I got my own and tried to use these tactics with a horse I was also trying to build a relationship with, I started to think about the way we do things with horses a bit more critically.

I moved on to working for a couple of dealers/show producers and that solidified my unease; a lot of force, gadgets and over riding of permanently stabled, weak and overweight youngsters put me right off the horse industry. I knew I wasn’t happy with the way things were done but didn’t have the confidence or knowledge to challenge it.

I found Intelligent Horsemanship which showed me alternatives for communicating with and training our horses were out there, and encouraged me to consider things from the horse’s perspective. A few years ago I also found Ride With Your Mind and Mary Wanless, which helped me solve some long-standing problems with my riding. It has also helped me in my teaching, giving me a method to help solve some of the problems I could see but struggled to change.

I am now studying with Mary, although I am not yet an accredited teacher. I now work at a local riding school in Norfolk  a few days a week alongside Heather Cook, an accredited RWYM coach, and teach freelance which I love. To be honest I happily steal tactics and ideas from anyone who has ethics and welfare as their top priority! I especially enjoy working with people to improve or repair their relationships with their horses, and encouraging them to learn how their horses think; I also love working with people new to horses, as it is lovely to foster in other people the same love for horses I have had since the first time I saw a pony!!

Having educated myself about horse psychology and ethology, learning theory, and the natural habitats equines are adapted for, I am amazed how little of this is covered by the traditional equine educational organisations. I try to use this knowledge and experience to help people solve groundwork and handling issues, and I also do quite a lot of clipping and trimming, aiming for the horse’s experience to be as pleasant and stress-free as possible.

My true passion and goal is to encourage people to have a real sense of empathy for their horses, and perhaps by extension other humans too! I started blogging almost as a way to try and get some of the thousands of thoughts about horses and horse training that spin through my head on a daily basis into some sort of order, as much for myself as to explain myself to others. I’m hoping it will also help me find other horse geeks to discuss things with!

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Why we need good foundations

I wrote a blog a few weeks ago – “Why we need good foundations” I was touched to be contacted by a lady who said how much this had helped her when she had hit a bump during her journey with her horse. Much of what we write, we send out into the world hoping that it may help someone, but not knowing whether it actually does. So it is lovely to receive feedback from a reader.

Amy has shared her story with us here:

‘Why we need good foundations’ 

The link to this blog popped into my inbox at just the right time. I was beating myself up over the first big mistake I’ve made with my little project pony Lola, and feeling very thankful it hadn’t ended badly. I felt so stupid, and like I’d let her down. Lola is a very green seven year old, who I bought from a friend who just didn’t have time for her – she has been backed but not particularly well, or handled much in general. This meant she was showing some physical and behavioural issues. So, I have been trying to take her right back to basics and restart her, alongside treatment and exercises from an ACPAT physio. We have been a bit limited, due to me having a grass round pen – mostly doing groundwork and long reining in walk as the ground was so hard. But…I finally got another companion pony to keep her fieldmate company, so we could go out. I’d taken her out in hand, for which she was relaxed and impeccably behaved, and out long reining in the pen and round the edges of her paddock was getting really soft and responsive. So I decided with a helper to go out and long rein in the 50 or so acre pea field behind us. She was so relaxed that I got rather cocky…I decided to ask my helper to unclip her rope from her head so I could drop some trot work in a large circle, which was fabulous for about 30 seconds until she shot off, panicked and spun around, meaning the long reins had wrapped around her legs and I had to drop them, and she then disappeared into the distance!! Luckily she only went along the fence boundaries and after the longest 5 minutes of my life, including a few heart stopping moments when she headed towards a road, she calmed down and headed towards my friend who calmly clipped the rope back on. I was feeling pretty fed up when I read Lizzie’s blog, and I made me decide to reevaluate my attitude towards it; yes it was scary and worrying, but I was very lucky she was uninjured and didn’t go far, and I wanted to learn from it. So, what did it tell me? What cracks did it show up in our foundations? Well, I’d obviously asked far too much of Lola to go from the space in a round pen to a massive field and not panic; she simply didn’t know how to organise herself in that much space, or how to stay on a fairly balanced circle without the round pen walls to guide her. I also realised if only taken her out once in hand, and it was far too big a jump to long rein without the insurance of having my helper clipped on; I’d forgotten that Lola, as with many other sensitive horses I’ve worked with, struggles when being asked to cope with more than one new thing at a time. So, it’s back to repairing those foundations, doing more long reining in a secure area and more walking in hand before I venture out into a pea field again! 

 

With thanks to Amy, and if you would like to share your story with us, please email [email protected]

 

I have a dream…

By Sue Palmer

No horse wakes up in the morning and thinks “Today I’m going to be naughty. Today I’m going to be deliberately difficult.” What we see as ‘problem behaviour’ is the horse’s way of asking for help.

I have a dream that one day a sore horse’s plea for help will be listened to, understood, and acted upon.

I have a dream that one day, people will ask the right questions and search for the right answers, rather than try to extinguish a behaviour with force or violence.

I have a dream that one day, horse and rider will work together in harmony to overcome difficulties, rather than fighting each other.

There’s a saying that ‘many roads lead to Rome’, and at the Ethical Horsemanship Association (EHA) there will be others sharing your journey, no matter which road you’re taking towards improving the welfare of the horse. There are sore horses in every walk of life, from happy hacker to Olympic eventer, and their language is the same, no matter what their ‘job’ is. Every horse owner I’ve every met wants the best for their horse, whether that’s to enhance his life as a ‘field ornament’, or to compete successfully in 160km endurance rides.

At EHA we are surrounded by a network of people who share these dreams, and have similar dreams of their own. The seeds of change have been planted, and they are growing throughout the world. To continue to grow, these seeds need ongoing care and attention. For these dreams to become reality, our horses need you and I to play an active part in the revolution. We must share our passion, our knowledge, our ideas and our experiences, for the love of the horse.

I see sore horses every day, and am extremely privileged to be in a position to help them directly, but to reach more horses I need your help. This is why my team and I have founded EHA, in the belief that our shared compassion can create a better world for the horse. To lead change, you need to be the change, and our horses are reliant on you to step up to the challenge.

Click here to join today

Monthly membership option now available!

By Sue Palmer

I’m delighted to announce that you can now join the Ethical Horsemanship Association on a monthly basis! This is something we’ve been working towards since we launched in January, and now the technology is available to us 🙂 Head on over to www.ethicalhorsemanship.co.uk to find out about becoming a member and having access to a very sociable monthly ‘Study Group Live’, as well as a monthly ebook, audiobook, written lessons, and our video library with some great exclusive ‘Pilates for Horse Riders’ clips from Lucy McBride at J’Adore Pilates! All for just £9.99 a month, or sign up for the year and get 3 months free!

Click here to join today!

What’s in a name?

 

 

By Sue Palmer

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet” Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet

 

A recent discussion on the Ethical Horsemanship Association (EHA, http://www.ethicalhorsemanshipassociation.co.uk) page on FB (https://www.facebook.com/ethicalhorsemanshipassociation) got me thinking about whether or not EHA is the right name for our association, and whether we are portraying ourselves accurately. I’d be really interested in your thoughts on this – our mission is to help horses (and by default, their owners), and in order to do this, people need to understand what we’re offering at EHA. Plus, of course, what we’re offering needs to appeal to the people we reach – but that’s a separate discussion!

 

The discussion started by asking ‘What are your ethics?’.  This wasn’t a question I’d thought about before, because despite calling the association the ‘Ethical Horsemanship Association’, I hadn’t considered a set of ‘ethics’ that we follow.  Wikipedia defines ‘ethics’ as ‘a branch of philosophy that involves systematising, defending, and recommending concepts of right and wrong conduct’ (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethics).  At EHA we encourage a supportive, encouraging environment, which in itself seems in opposition to that particular definition of ‘ethics’.  It’s true though that I do believe there is ‘right’ (working towards a better understanding of the horse) and ‘wrong’ (ignoring communication from the horse), and perhaps I should expand on this and state my views, and those of co-founders Simon and Lizzie.  What do you think – would it help you to understand more about what we believe is right or wrong?

 

However, the word we’ve used in our name is ‘Ethical’.  One dictionary definition of ‘ethical’ is ‘pertaining to or dealing with morals or the principles of morality; pertaining to right and wrong in conduct’ (http://www.dictionary.com/browse/ethical).  This, to me, is exactly what we are about at EHA – discussion and ongoing learning amongst like-minded people around morals in relation to horsemanship, and around what we as individuals feel is right or wrong in our conduct in relation to our horses.  The goal of EHA is to offer a friendly, non-judgemental environment in which to have these discussions and in which to experience the ongoing learning, through acceptance that we are all on different stages of our horsemanship journey, and that everyone has something to share that is of value to others, no matter what stage of the journey they are on.

 

Another point in the discussion on the EHA FB page (https://www.facebook.com/ethicalhorsemanshipassociation) was around the word ‘horsemanship’.  The suggestion was that ‘horsemanship’ may not be the best choice of word, since I had stated earlier in the conversation that EHA did not advocate a specific training technique or method.  This person felt that ‘horsemanship’ these days generally related to training horses, and therefore our name might be confusing to the general public.  I welcome the challenge to my thought process, but again I ultimately feel that we picked the right word.  I was brought up with the ‘Manual of Horsemanship’ (as I’m sure were many of you!), and ‘Horsemanship’ there is taken to mean all aspects of caring for horses, including training.

 

I really appreciate people who are willing to stand up for what they believe, and to have a civilized debate around a subject, and I’ve found it fascinating diving more deeply into explaining who and what EHA is.  We agonised for many months over what to call the organisation, before settling on Ethical Horsemanship Association. I listened to piles of audiobooks, we scoured the equestrian press, we canvassed opinion whenever we were in the company of anyone who would discuss the subject with us, and we finally settled on EHA.  We think we’ve got it right, we feel it accurately describes what we’re offering.  What do you think?  If you’d like to take a look so you can give us more accurate feedback, you can join us for a week for free at www.ethicalhorsemanshipassociation.co.uk.  Hope to see you there 🙂

BETA 2018 – exciting times

 

By Lizzie Hopkinson

We had a brilliant time at BETA 2018 yesterday. It was such a great opportunity to catch up with some fantastic people, some old faces, some new. The range of products on offer was impressive and with some interesting developments coming onto the market, 2018 has never looked more exciting! We already stock a select range of products here, but keep an eye out for new offerings coming soon!

I reflected, as I chatted with various magazines, including Horse and Hound, Horse and Rider, and Pony Magazine, on the nature of email communication. I spend much of my day engaged in email correspondence, sometimes with people that I have met, sometimes with people I haven’t, and while the medium of email is brilliant and allows me to communicate with people across the world, nothing replaces real time face to face communication. Rather like nothing replicates the sensation of riding, and nothing comes close to the feeling that you get when everything suddenly clicks into place, and you feel truly bonded with your horse.

BETA was brilliant for me, as I got to put faces to names, and meet with people who I have communicated with via email over the year. To some extent I get the same feeling, that clicking into place, as our thoughts align with each other. Once you have had that feeling, whether on your horse while hacking, or floating through a perfect half-pass, you know it is there. It may be elusive, and you may not be able to access it again quickly, but that fleeting moment of connection helps you to understand what it is your are striving through, both in your human and equine connections…

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Do you have an equine village?

By Lizzie Hopkinson

In modern parenting writings, much is talked about the need for a village. The old saying of; “it takes a village to raise a child” is often quoted, sometimes with kindness, sometimes with a tinge of criticism of the lack of connection in the modern world. I believe, to a certain extent, that we need the same for our horses.

It is not just that the different points of views are good for our children or horses, though they certainly are. We all know that a fixed mindset can lead to further problems, when we become too entrenched in believing that our way is the only way. Other people in our village can help show us a different approach, or a different angle which can help our ability to problem solve. Added to which, opened-mindedness is a critical part of a growth mindset which leads to greater resilience. Remember the wisdom held by our elders is respected in many communities across the world.

The village is at its best in times of crisis. And it is in these times that you will feel the lack of a village most keenly. Accidents can happen, we can’t plan for them, we can’t expect them to come at a convenient time, when they suit us. Usually they come at inconvenient moments, when we are already overstretched. But while we can’t plan around them, we can put contingency plans in place.

Ask yourself this, if you suddenly ended up on crutches, who could you ask to take care of your horses? Would your partner? Your friends? Is there someone at your yard that you trust? Would your parents help you, or would your children? I know we don’t want to think about these things, that we want to believe that our lives will be perfect, but accidents happen.

The definition of an accident is: “an unfortunate incident that happens unexpectedly and unintentionally, typically resulting in damage or injury.” We can limit our chances of having an accident, by educating ourselves to be mindful around our horses. Not fetching horses in from fields in the dark without a hat, not getting on young horses on windy days without another person on the ground. There are countless ways we can be safe and sensible to limit the capacity of accidents to arise, but we can’t prevent them.

There are so many accidents that we read about, hear about, that are simply accidents. Not preventable incidents, but accidents, and for this we cannot protect ourselves. But we can with the help of a good village be reassured that should something happen, we are not alone. For this is the essence of the village, that knowledge that we are not alone, and there are people to help should the worse happen. So look around you, and make sure that you have an equine village you can count on.

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