What the hooves know

“One white foot, buy him; 

Two white feet, try him;

Three white feet, look well about him;

Four white feet, do without him;

Four white feet and white on his nose, take off his hide and feed him to the crows.”


Ok, psychos.  What are you doing with these horse hides anyway?  Reupholstering your dining chairs?  Why are you feeding them to the crows, are these horses so awful that their meat isn’t good enough for your dog?  

The proverb is based on the belief that light colored feet are weaker than dark colored feet.  I haven’t found that to be true, at least not with modern nutrition and hoof care. I’ve read  some studies that indicate weaker hooves might be genetic in breeds, like paints, that tend to have white legs.  But there is no evidence that supports light colored feet being weaker than dark colored feet when they are on the same horse.  

 All that being said, the color of your horse’s feet can tell you some things.  Like if your light grey horse had white socks when he was younger.

This horse is a grey with a light colored foot, and a dark colored foot.  Since grey horses are born a solid color and lighten with age, this tells us that he had a white sock above the light colored foot, but not above the dark colored foot.

This is the same horse, 16 years prior, and while it’s not the best picture of his feet, if you look hard, you will see the right front is dark.

Sometimes the color of your horse’s feet can tell you about their heritage.  Our sorrel mare, Suki, is out of a quarter horse.  But her mom isn’t telling who the fence jumping baby daddy is.  There is suspicion that he may have been an Appaloosa.  She doesn’t have any spots like an Appaloosa.  Nor does she have traits of solid colored Appaloosas, mottled skin around the mouth and genitals, and white sclera around the eyes.  But there is one final trait of a solid colored Appaloosa! Vertically striped hooves.  I introduced Suki to hosing this week and got a better look at her feet:

Maybe there is some subtle verticle striping on Suki’s feet?  I think we still ought to go with a maybe on the potential Appaloosa sire.  Something else is peculiar about her feet though, she has three white legs and four  dark feet!  It’s like she read the old rhyme and didn’t want to take any chances with white feet!  It’s very subtle, but she has a super narrow ring of red hairs on the coronary band of each foot.  Weird!

And speaking of weird, while I was thinking about writing this piece, I was checking out the feet of all the horses that came into the arena for lessons.  One was particularly interesting to me.

This foot belongs to a roan Tennessee Walker with four white legs and a bald face. But he only has three and a half white feet, so go get your horse hide elsewhere!

So next time you see your horse, knock the dirt off his feet, and see if they tell you anything.  

About the author: Ali Kermeen runs her training business, HC Equestrian, in the hills east of the Silicon Valley. She is a USDF silver medalist and L graduate.  Ali can often be found laughing at her own jokes, or tripping over her own feet.

Conformation and Posture

Corny above, Blue below

Kathy Colman Photography came to take some pictures of us for the Thoroughbred Makeover’s website.  (You can check out Blue’s profile and Corny’s profile at these links.)

To me, the brothers look very different.  But reviewing the photos, and really looking hard at them, their conformation is extremely similar.  The slight differences I see are:

  • The underside of Blue’s  neck is a bit shorter than Corny’s
  • Blue’s neck ties in a bit higher than Corny’s
  • Blue’s shoulder is more sloping than Corny’s and his front legs are set a bit more forward
  • Blue’s teeny muzzle is slightly larger than Corny’s weeny muzzle

I really had to look hard to come up with these differences, so why do these horses move very differently from one another?  The answer lies in their posture.  When we were setting Corny up for his photo, we had to work hard to get him to obtain the same stance as Blue.

Corny’s usual stance above, and his contrived stance below
I think these pictures of Corny look more dissimilar than the pictures of Corny and Blue at the beginning of the article (aside from their markings).  Posture makes a big difference!  You can see in the above picture that Corny has a slight ewe neck, you can see the bottom of his neck bulges slightly forward.  This causes his back to drop a little.  When a horse raises their neck and drops their back, that is called hollowing.  It is not the best way for a horse to bare weight, or the most efficient way for the horse to travel.

Ultimately, we don’t want our horses to travel with a hollow outline.  Proper training will teach a horse to bring his back up and stretch his neck longer.  This helps the horse rely more on his large muscles and less on his joints when traveling.  This change can help the horse stay sounder, move better, and be a more comfortable ride.  

Above Corny shows neck constriction, Below he stretches like brother Blue.  My favorite image of neck constriction is E.T.

E.T. and his neck

In the four months that Corny has been with us, we’ve been working in showing him that he doesn’t need to thrust the bottom of his neck forward and constrict it in order to move faster.  He’s starting to get it, and I am excited to see the changes he makes in his posture over the next several months.

About the Author: Ali Kermeen runs her training business in the hills above Silicon Valley.  She loves horses, movies, and raptors. Oh and her family too.  Ali is aiming to take full brothers Olympic Blue and Olympic Maize to the 2017 Thoroughbred Makeover held in October in Kentucky.

Red swirls

I’ve got a new mare in training.  Her name is Suki.  Most people pronounce her name SOO-kee.  The first time I heard that name spoken was on HBO’s True Blood, which takes place in rural Louisiana.  Folks on that show pronounce it SUH-kee, which is how I ended up pronouncing this little mare’s name the way I do.

Come to think of it, of course Vampire Bill would call his paramour “Sucky”

So names aside, the other thing I noticed upon meeting Suki is her interesting whorls.

That’s a weird place for a horse to have a giant cowlick.  She has a matching one on the other side…thank goodness.
A few years ago, my friend (and respected trainer) Amber Lydic, posted an article about hair whorls in horses.  Basically, there have been scientific studies correlating certain behaviors with the presence and location of hair whorls.  Just like the author of the article, I constantly search to disprove the theory of “whorlology” because it totally seems like pseudoscience.  However, my experience keeps proving the validity of the theory. Incidentally, the last time I asked Amber, her experience is also in line with Whorlology.

Whorlology has been studied by everyone’s favorite autistic person with a PhD, Temple Grandin.  If you don’t know who she is, HBO put out an amazing biopic about her starring Claire Danes.  Check it out.

I don’t even have HBO, but I’m thinking they should sponsor me after this post.
Suki came to me with a reputation of being dangerous.  Upon seeing her long wheat whorls, I referenced the Whorlology article right away.  I was relieved to see that they are more of a sign that she is an easy keeper, and less that she is crazy.  Nevertheless, she does seem to be very troubled.  As she sheds her winter coat, and gets more relaxed with me grooming her, I will certainly be on the lookout for more whorls.

About the author: Ali Kermeen loves all kinds of horses.  While dressage is her bread and butter, she loves learning things from as many other disciplines as she can.  She also loves to write, and does so on her smartphone in the dead of night during bouts of insomnia.

Ten commandments of eventing

I was raised as an eventer.  I didn’t have religion at home, so eventing took the place of instilling virtues in me that I’m guessing non-horse people get at church.  Those of us raised in an eventing barn are lucky enough to have had all these experiences and can take them into other facets of our lives.

Toughen up.  We rode in all weather conditions, no matter what.  Weather won’t stop an event, so don’t let it stop your ride.  Downpours?  A good time to practice riding with wet and slippery tack.  Extreme heat?  Better practice your electrolyte recipe.  Windy? A chance to practice your ability to adapt should your jump blow over on your approach.  Aww, you break your finger? Tape it to the next one and keep riding.

Your horse comes first.  We learned to care for our horse before ourselves.  Your horse didn’t sign up for any of this eventing business, performed for you, and didn’t kill you during your ride, even though he could have.  You respect him and put his needs before your own.  Doesn’t matter if you are sick from the sun, you hose your hot horse down before turning the hose on yourself.

Help each other out.  Cheer on all your stable mates at the horse shows, even if you don’t know them or don’t like them.  Did Beth forget to bring her girth to the event?  Lend her yours, even if it means you won’t get much warm up.  Did Stacy break her arm coming off of Dobbin?  Put Dobbin away, give Stacy a ride to the hospital, and add a portion of Dobbin’s care to your routine for the next six weeks. Even if Stacy is not your friend, you still help her and her horse.  

Volunteer.  Event organizers aren’t in it for the money.  Respond to their plea for jump judges. Lots of volunteers are needed to make sure you can compete, do your share to help someone else compete.  Remember to thank the volunteers for their time at the horse shows.

Learn to be thrifty.  Arrange to share a hotel room with three of your stable mates.  Make your own bandages.  Do your own braids.  Repair track instead of replacing it.  Don’t spring for shipping boots, you’ve already got standing wraps.  Add some bell boots and they are now shipping wraps too.

Here I am competing as a teen.  Check out my sweet second hand tack.  My saddle was purchased for $65,  breastplate for $3, girth cover for $1.  My second hand jacket was a man’s coat I had tailored.

Be a barn rat.  This is where your horsemanship will come from.   Watch and ask questions about what others are doing in the barn.  Not only will you learn about horses, but you will learn how to talk to people.  This is a great way to learn what you didn’t know you had to learn.

Don’t let any learning opportunity pass you by.  Attend every clinic in your area. Even if you can’t ride in the clinic, you will learn from auditing.  Go to association meetings, even if you think all the topics will be over your head.  Watch horse shows to see what more advanced riders do.  Read books, subscribe to magazines, watch videos.

Be prepared.  Train a level above your competition level.   School the cross country cost before you sign up for an event at that venue.  Take everything you own to the event.  Bring spare tack, including a spare set of shoes for your horse.  Safety check your tack regularly.  Have that first aid kit (human and horse) and tool kit ready.  Bring sunscreen and rain gear.  Plan for contingencies and don’t count on anyone else to bail you out if you weren’t prepared.

Be observant. Scan the fence line for broken rails whenever walking around.  Be in the lookout for doors, gates, and lids inadvertently left open.  Notice if one of the horse’s isn’t eating hay, or is starting to show signs of illness.  Make sure to act on what you see.  Report or fix the broken fence, close what’s been left open.  Call the trainer and owner of the affected horse and care for the horse until you are relieved.

The trainer’s word is gospel.  Do what your trainer tells you to do, she has your best interest at heart.  The trainer is like the pastor of a church with tighter clothes and worse language.  Hope that you haven’t joined a whack-a-doo cult, where the leader is trying to kill you and take your money.  If so, I hope the others in your community will help you get out.

Theses tenants are the cornerstones of developing grit, community, and resourcefulness.  At my high school graduation party my parents thanked my trainer, Sarah Vernlund, for raising me.  I had spent more Thanksgivings with Sarah than I had with my parents in the previous six years because that’s when the last event of the year was held.  I love the person that I am today because of these lessons, and as a trainer myself, my hope is to instill these values in my students as well.  If they become better riders, that’s icing on the cake.

That’s me in the black dress when I was 8 months pregnant.  Sarah Vernlund is on foot next to me.  Sarah taught my students while I was on maternity leave.

We’re speaking the same language, right?

I’ve said it before, and I will say it again, I love Australians.  In college, I was lucky enough to work at a summer camp in Nevada City.   The staff was composed of half Californians, and half foreigners from English speaking countries.  I worked in the barn (naturally) along with one or two Australians.  This is where I learned how to speak the language of Horsey Australian.  

In the camp’s barn, we spent a lot of time trying to figure out what eachother was talking about.  Some words I recognized from horse books, but I’d never heard said out loud .  Now I’m lucky enough to have a fantastic groom from Australia working for me.  Nel has been in California for a little while so she has gotten accustomed to the difference in the way we talk about horse things.  However, since I love  Australians, I find myself parroting back some of the Australian terms for things when I’m talking to her.

Nel helped me make a list of translations for horse words in Australian and Californian.  Let’s face it, I have to say Californian instead of American English because we’ve got our own dialect out here on the left coast.  Before I get to the list, I want to share some of the stumpers that I’ve encountered when talking about horses with Australians.

Numnah (AUS)= fluffy pad (CA)

This one took days for me to figure out. Australians basically pronounce this as “loosen.” Lucerne (AUS) = Alfalfa (CA)

Float boots (AUS) = Shipping boots (CA)

And then there are the different types of mounts you might ride:Clumper (AUS) = Draft Cross (CA)

Hack (AUS) = Horse (over 15h) (CA) 

Galloway (AUS) = Hony (CA). Is it a small horse or a large pony?  This distinction is for mounts between 14 and 15 hands.  It’s a mount I always seem to be in the market for, but is hard to find.

Ponies are ponies in all the world.  This mount is 14.2 hands or shorter.  Ponies are smart, they walk on bridges instead of running through water.

Here is the rest of the list that Nel and I made:

Australian Term        Californian Term 

  • bib                         bra, shoulder guard 
  • breaking in         breaking, starting
  • clumper               draft cross
  • feed bin               feed tub
  • float                      horse trailer
  • float boots          shipping boots
  • galloway              hony, large pony, small horse
  • hack                      horse
  • Head collar         halter
  • hogged mane     roached name
  • joddies                 breeches
  • jodphur boots   paddock boots
  • jump wings        standards
  • jumper                 sweatshirt
  • lucerne                alfalfa
  • long boots          tall boots
  • near side            left side
  • numnah             fluffy pad
  • off side               right side
  • paddock             pasture
  • rain scald           rain rot 
  • rake                     fork
  • roller                  surcingle
  • round yard       round pen
  • rug                      blanket
  • saddle cloth     saddle pad
  • skinny hood     sleazy
  • stable                 stall
  • stalls                  tie rack
  • stock saddle     Australian saddle 
  • tack box             track trunk
  • ute                       SUV
  • wind sucking    cribbing
  • witches hat        cone  

Baby, it’s cold outside

Yesterday’s post talked about strategies for keeping a rider warm in the winter.  Today, let’s talk about keeping our beloved equine partners warm too.

Two common issues I see with horses that come in to work on cold days are stiffness and excessive friskiness.  Both can be somewhat mitigated by some changes in routine.

For clipped horses, don’t unblanket them and make them stand still in the cold for 30 minutes while you tack up.  Groom them with their blankets still on.  Undo all the straps on your blanket before you begin this technique.  Then you can pull back the front of the blanket from the forequarters:

Brushing the forequarters of a clipped and blanketed horse

When it’s time to move on to the hindquarters, rotate the blanket so it covers the forequarters and exposes the hindquarters.
Marie brushing Pacifico’s  clipped hindquarters

The horse can be fully covered while you are applying leg wraps and cleaning hooves.

Remove the blanket for saddling, but then throw a cooler over your horse’s back. 

Buddy wearing a cooler over his saddle

Once it’s time to ride, you can undo the front of the cooler and use it to cover  your chili thighs while it acts as a quarter sheet.  Your cooler is tucked under your legs to stay in place, so be aware of it as you are doing your walk warm up.  When it’s time to trot, carefully remove the cooler.

All snuggly and ready to start my walk warm up

Consider your horse’s mouth.  Would you like to put a freezing cold piece of metal in your mouth on a cold day?

No, you wouldn’t.  So when you arrive at the barn, take your bridle to your car and put your bridle on your dashboard.  If it is sunny, the heat should warm up the bit.  If it’s not sunny, pop your hood and put your bit on the engine block.

If I’m the only one riding my horse, I store his bridle on the passenger foot well of my car and let the heater warm the bit on my way to the barn.

At the very least, try to warm the bit in your hands for a minute or so before bridling.

 Manually warming the bit is better than nothing

The last point to consider is if your horse is feeling cold.  If your horse is keeping his tail clamped between his legs, he’s probably cold.  Skip the long walk warm up, and trot right away to help him warm up his body.  When his tail comes away from his butt crack, he’s probably warm enough.  Sometimes horses jump around as an attempt to warm themselves on a cold day, much to their riders’ displeasure.

Once you are done riding, keep your horses back covered! Put a cooler on until it’s time for his blanket to go back on.  At the very least, leave his saddle pad on until his back cools down slowly.  You can still groom under the saddle pad.

Buddy is unclipped and unblanketed in the winter, as is evident from his beige coat. I keep the pad on his back after I ride to help his large muscles cool down more slowly and not get stiff.

Follow these tips to help your horse, and you, have a comfortable winter.

A day at the races: part 3

Olympic Blue and Olympic Maize are the full brothers I hope to take to the Thoroughbred  Makeover.  Their owners took me to Golden Gate Fields to watch their half brother, Nighttime Olympics, race.

Mark looks on as Nighttime Olympics finishes his race.  That’s him on the left, closest to Mark’s chin.

Nighttime Olympics didn’t finish in the money.  He drew the 10th position and never got closer than six horse widths to the rail.  Given that a huge chunk of the race was around a curve, he ended up traveling a farther distance than the other horses.

A few hours after the race we went back to Nighttime’s stall to check on him before we left.  I was surprised to see how agitated he was after seeing how friendly and playful he was before the race.

​​Nighttime Olympics in his stall a few hours after the race

I don’t know if Nighttime was agitated from the race, bummed about losing, or stressed about his upcoming trailer ride.  In any case, he got to go home to the breeding farm after the race, as is that stable’s practice.  Seems like some rest at home will do him some good.

The other thing that surprised me about my experience at the races was the prevalence of tongue ties.  I’ve really only heard about them before when reading dressage rule books in sections about forbidden equipment.  In Nighttime’s race 9 of the 10 horses had their tongues tied down with a piece of cloth.  Happilly, Nighttime was the one that didn’t have a tongue tie.

This was the horse that won this race.  I watched his tongue turn from pink to purple with each consecutive lap around the Paddock.

My new trainer friend, Matthew, said that while he personally doesn’t like to use a tongue tie, the purpose is to prevent the horse from getting his tongue over the bit.  He might have said something about it helping them breathe, though I’m not sure I heard that right since horses can’t breathe out of their mouths. Matthew said he preferred to use a figure eight noseband for a horse having trouble with his tongue.

Regarding the rest of the equipment on the horse above, most of what he’s got on is to encourage him to steer well and run in a straight line.  There are no arenas or round pens at the track.  Just the racetrack, where you have to go the same direction all the time.  It’s very different from what we see in other disciplines, but I’ve certainly seem the same sort of purple  tongue business and general discomfort at all different types of horse shows.

All in all, the folks at the track were all very nice.  There was a strong sense of community there.  Ann made a point of telling everyone we met about the Thoroughbred Makeover we are hoping to do, and everyone was excited about that.  There was a palpable love for the horses, but it had a different flavor than the type of love you see at horse shows.  It was less cuddly due to a prevalence of men working with the horses instead of women and girls.  Instead of being a partner or pet like their show horse counterparts, these racehorses seemed to be the way for a lot of people to earn a living doing something they have a passion about.  You can’t fault that, everyone should be so lucky as to work in their passion.

A day at the races: part two

Olympic Blue and Olympic Maize are the full brothers I’m hoping to take to the 2017 Thoroughbred  makeovere in Kentucky.  Their owners took me to see their half brother, Nighttime Olympics, race at Golden Gate Fields.  Yesterday’s post talked about visiting the backside stables and Turf Club.  Today, I’m going to talk about Nighttime’s race!

After our lunch in the Turf  Club , we hurried down to the track to watch the horses in Nighttime’s race get ready.

Nighttime Olympics walks to the paddock 

One thing I learned from my new trainer friend, Matthew, was that race trainers are not big into changing things.  If there horse hasn’t shown a reason to need extra tendon support, he won’t wear wraps to race.  Trainers are concerned that unfamiliar wraps will throw the horse of his game.  Oh, and the wraps are not polo wraps, but vetrap.

Nighttime Olympics in the Paddock

 Since I was with the owners, I got to stand IN the paddock!  There was a slab of brick pavers in the center of the paddock for us to stand on.  The horses moved in a circle around us.  They were all keyed up, and some even looked legit stressed out.  One horse was sucked up and kicking at the owners as he walked by.  Others were jigging, and some were sweating and lathering up.

Trainers talking outside the stalls in the paddock  

Some of the horses went into one of the stalls to get saddled, others never stopped walking and got saddled on the fly.

The jockeys appeared, and greeted the owners and their hangers on (me).

Ann and Nighttime’s jockey, Cristobal, talking before he mounted

I got a good look at Mark and Ann’s racing silks.  I think it will be fun to incorporate their colors into Blue and Corny’s show turnout.  I’m not afraid of orange.

Cristobal checks out Nighttime before he mounts

Cristobal mounts up

So all the horses continued walking while they were mounted.  Going forward I’m going to have to explain to Blue and Corny that it is never acceptable to walk while being mounted. 

After the jockeys mounted, everyone left the paddock. The horses headed off to warm up and make their way to the starting gate.  Everybody else headed to the rail to watch.

Tomorrow I will talk about Nighttime running his race, and the conclusion of my day at the races.

A day at the races: part one

Blue and Corny are the brothers I’m hoping to take to the Thoroughbred  Makeover in Kentucky. Their owners, Mark and Ann, invited me to go to the races with them!

I was excited to go!  I haven’t been a big fan of racing in the past, but I’m always very curious to see how other horsemen do things.  Over the summer I took a saddle seat lesson out of curiosity too.  I felt like an anthropologist, studying a different culture.  I figured learning about Blue and Corny’s former culture as racehorses would help me to transition them to their new culture as sport/pleasure horses.

The first thing I had to do was dress myself.  We were having lunch in the Turf  Club and there is a dress code there.  Since I had my kid, I haven’t had many occasions to go out and had very limited selections.  I ended up looking like a horse show judge… Equestrian fashion that is a bit dated, and a scarf.

Mark and Ann picked me up and off to the races we went!  We went to Golden Gate Fields.  The first place we went was to the backside stables.  We visited the Victory Rose barn where Mark and Ann’s horses live while at the track.

The backside stables

The box stalls were pretty big, and some of them had cut outs between them so the horses could touch each other.  They were all deeply bedded in straw.  Every horse had a stall guard and his door open.  Just outside the stall was a endless supply of Timothy hay hanging in a net. Many of the horses were also feed alfalfa or oat hay inside their stalls, as well as a grain formulated for racehorses.

Each stable had their own hot walker, and there were an abundance of leg wraps hung up to dry.  Many of the horses had poltice on their legs, without wraps over the top. I think the wraps were probably there before, but removed several hours before the poltice was washed off.

We visited the horse that Mark and Ann had running that day.  His name is Nighttime Olympics and he is a half brother to Corny and Blue.

Nighttime Olympics in his stall before the race

Nighttime looks very different than his brothers.  Not only is he a different color, but he is built more like a quarter horse.  Shorter neck and legs, larger hind quarters.  He did seem to have a similar personality to his brothers, friendly and playful.
After we meet with Nighttime’s assistant trainer, we headed off to the racing office.  Mark and Ann seemed to know everybody who works at GGF!  It sure was fun getting introduced to all the trainers, owners, race secretaries, and the folks who worked upstairs in the Turf Club.

After the racing office, we made our way to the track and up to the turf club.  We passed through the rougher crowd at the bottom and went up a level to where the serious betters hung out.  They have a room with a sign over it that said “Horse Wizard.” Awesome!  I know what I want to put on my next round of business cards!

We went up still another level towards the turf club.  The cement floors and escalators gave way to carpeted staircases with brass railings.  We sat down at our table overlooking the finish line.  Joining us was Kathy and Setti, they took care of Blue and Corny at the breeding  farm during and after their racing careers.  There were a couple other owner friends of Mark and Ann in the group, as well as a trainer friend named Matthew.

Matthew was a really nice guy.  We showed each other pictures of our kids, and he was happy to answer all my questions.  And oh boy, I had lots of questions!

Some of the questions I asked him were:

  • What’s that bit called?
  • What’s that bit called?
  • What do you feed your horses?
  • Do they get to do anything while they are here other than hot walk, hand walk, and work on the track?
  • Why would you enter your horse in a claiming race if you wanted to keep him?
  • Do you got to talk to the previous owners or trainers of horses you claimed?
  • Are all your bits single jointed snaffles?
  • Why are some of the horses tongues tied  down?
  • What are they tied down with? 
  • Why don’t all the horses have their legs wrapped when they race?
  • What are their legs wrapped with?
  • Is it fun to holler for your horse when he’s competing?
  • What’s the footing like?
  • Why did that winning horse get vanned off the track?

Matthew and I had a nice conversation and I learned a lot from him.  There were many more questions than the ones I had listed.  Tomorrow’s post will answer many of these questions, and talk about Nighttime’s race.

How to Hang a Bridle On a Rail

This is a small skill that makes me feel clever whenever I do it.  When working a horse in his halter, I often bring the bridle to the round pen or arena to put on later in the session.  What do I do with the bridle until I’m ready for it?  If there are no hooks handy, there are 4 options:

  1. Lay the the bridle on the ground.  It’s going to get dirty, maybe trodden on, maybe even peed on by a naughty dog.  Not a favorable option.
  2. Drape the bridle over the rail.  Inevitably the weight of the bit will slowly pull the bridle onto the ground.  
  3. Try to find a post that you can hang the bridle on.  Maybe the bridle will stay up.
  4. Use this cool method of hanging the bridle on a horizontal rail:

Hold the bridle on one side of the rail, and bring the reins onto the other side of the rail.  At the very top of the rail, thread the reins under the crown piece of the bridle, then flip them back over the top of the bridle so they are once again hanging on the opposite side of the fence than the bridle. If you want, you can pull the excess reins to the bridle side of the fence under the pole that the bridle is hung on.

The thoroughbreds are doing great, by the way.  I’ve been using this bridle hanging trick a lot lately in my sessions with them.  I thought it would be nice to share this clever trick with you.