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Best Horse Practices Podcast

Apr 5, 2023

This is Episode 24 of Season 3 and in it, Jec interviews Daniel Dauphin of Dauphin Horsemanship. He was also a 2022 Best Horse Practices Summit presenter. It’s a great conversation, in part, because in their work Jec and Daniel are not seeing the same clients or the same horses. At all. Jec is in California and works with dressage and endurance riders. Daniel is in Louisiana and his students are mostly Western riders. 

They talk about pain – what it means to the horse and what it means to the horse owner. As it happens, I’ve written about pain and thought a lot about how we interpret or fail to interpret representations of pain in our animals. For generations, I feel like many owners did a pretty good job of ignoring signs of pain in their horses. Now, especially in quarters dominated by women, the trend is toward being overattentive around pain. Injections, supplements, even blankets and body massage appointments are all efforts to limit or avoid possible pain for our beloved equines. We can be guilty of killing horses with overcare, overkindness – that is, treating them with things when what they really need is movement and a herd, forage, and more movement. Both Daniel and Jec cite examples of horses’ problems being solved with more movement.

Motion is lotion.

We will link to several articles on Horse Head and Best Horse Practices. There’s an article on the grimace scale, an attempt by a team of international researchers to delineate pain through facial expressions. And there is an article about components of pain for us humans – like anticipation, distraction, and how pain becomes chronic.

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I imagine that you have reactions around this interview and the points Jec and Daniel hit upon and I would be happy to hear them.

It just so happens that I have been thinking a lot about how different people, with different backgrounds, effect change for horses. Daniel brought up the legislation around soring and how, because of the crafted language, it had the potential to bring into question every aspect of horse keeping – right down to whether or not we should be riding.

This spring, here in Colorado, we had a state legislative effort around horse slaughter. You might be thinking – horse slaughter is bad, any legislation around horse slaughter is a good thing. But I read the legislation. It was absurd and had the potential, I think, to have the opposite impact that the authors intended. More suffering, instead of less.

Consider the horse Daniel inherited as a total loss, after spending years isolated and in a stall. And how his stiffles healed with turnout. I was thinking about this on my drive to town, during which I drive past a horse, who has been wearing a blanket the entire winter. That horse has had a blanket on since November, in zero degrees and on this day, 50 degrees and sunny. Its human, I’m sure, feels she’s doing good. But I don’t know. I felt really bad for this horse.

Certainly, I think, we need to acquire and use as much knowledge around horse behavior, horse anatomy, horse physiology to take care of them well. But we also need be extra mindful of killing them with kindness. Overfeeding, overindulging, and basically replacing their simple needs with our more complicated, material, and immediate-gratification oriented mindsets.

Read more about the Care Continuum. 

Read Dr. Sheryl King's articel on Care.

Big thanks to Redmond Equine and Pharm Aloe – for generously sponsoring our podcast. Check out Pharm Aloe’s aloe pellets and Redmond’s Rock on a Rope. We think you’ll love ‘em.

We want to introduce Bobo’s Bars to our show. Bobo’s are oat bars with simple ingredients – chocolate chip, apple, coconut, dark chocolate, sea salt and almond, and my favorite, peach. Use the code BestHorseVIP to get 20 percent off your first order. Just head to here and drop in that code.

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Also, don’t forget that Redmond Equine is sending a complimentary syringe of Daily Gold Stress Relief to everyone who drops a tip in our donation jar. Pretty cool and a $15 value. Also, everyone who donates is automatically entered to win our monthly Patagonia Workwear giveaway. We give away two items – jackets, shirts, vests, pants – every month to folk who engage with our podcast. If you get something of value from our podcast, please consider making a donation. We sure would appreciate it. 

That’s it. Another episode in the can and out of the barn. Thanks for listening, y’all!