Tuesday, August 28, 2012



Is your horse carrying extra weight?  Does your horse have a big crest, a big belly, larger than normal hindquarters, fat pockets on his ribs or the top of his tail?  If so it could be harmful to your horse’s health.  

Just like people overweight horses are prone to more health problems than a fit horse is.  When horses are fat they lack energy, they become more lethargic and even worse, they ban become depressed and worst of all they can founder or colic which could end their life.


Pay attention to your horse’s conformation what would you rate it?  If you can visibly see fat deposits then it's up to you to cut his calories and get his weight down.  Horses love to eat so if you put too much food in front of them they will eat until they become too full and that can lead to discomfort for your horse.

Horses are grazing animals they weren’t designed to just eat morning and night.  People began feeding twice a day for their convenience.   Most of us do not have the luxury of large spacious green fiends for our beloved horses to graze on so it’s our responsibility to feed them at least 3 times a day to ensure their gut always has food processing.

If your horse doesn’t have the option of grazing then I highly suggest giving him digestive enzymes and brewer’s yeast to aid in optimal digestion.  Dried hay does not have the natural enzymes as fresh pasture grass has, horses need enzymes to process food  our horses need for digestion, so


Exercise is a must for horses to maintain a healthy body weight for your horse.  If you do not have time to ride or lunge him then give him turnout each day so he can naturally get needed exercise by staying active throughout the day.  Horses were not meant to live in stalls all day long it's not good for their health nor their mind and spirit.

Pay attention to your horse’s disposition if he seems a bit off take note of his weight, an overweight horse will not be as frisky and carefree as a healthy weight horse is.

 All of my Friesians came to me overweight I was shocked at how obese they were!  The photos I received prior to their arrival always showed their fit, trim conformations.  Many owners do not pay attention to the fat on their horses and it was evident that my horse’s previous owners did the same.

Upon arriving to their new home I would immediately put my horses on a diet and daily exercise program.  I cut their feed and would lunge them for 15 minutes morning and night to begin with in addition to riding them 4 times a week.

I fed them high quality grass hay and supplements and showered them with love, within days I would see a new sparkle of life appear in their eyes as their magnificent spirit came alive once more.  As they each lost the excess weight they had tons more energy, were happier and were more willing to work and play with the other horses when in turnout

Just as with us when we are overweight we do not want to exercise often because the extra weight makes us tired and somewhat lethargic, believe it or not but it's no different for you horse.  Be the owner and loving human your horse craves, one that looks out for his highest good in all areas of his life.

If your horse is overweight make it a point to put him on a diet, exercise him daily and/or give him much needed turnout each day, doing so will create a happier, healthier horse.

Carol Whitaker
http:// RoyalGroveStables.com

Saturday, August 25, 2012



Ground work is essential to do to earn the trust and respect from your horse.  Free lunging is one way that is highly beneficial to earn the much needed position as the Alpha Mare role in your relationship. When you move your horse’s feet forward, backwards, left and right with your body language and by free lunging you earn the trust and respect from your horse that is essential to have from your horse.

To gain the trust and respect from your equine friend creates peace of mind for you horse.  It’s as though your horse is a child and you are the parent.  Children look to their parents for guidance, love, protection and for the daily needs to stay healthy and strong.  It is no different for your horse. 


Horses are herd animals as well as prey animals which means they require leadership to look to for guidance and protection,  There is only one true leader out of a large herd which means horses are not alpha leaders by nature, they look to others to step up to the plate.  Of course there are times when horses fight it out for supremacy; however only one triumphs as the alpha.

 There is always one leader in a herd, the alpha mare.  Stallions are also Alpha however they are always on the lookout for predators and stay on the outskirts of the herd.  The alpha mare is the mother role of the heard, being the role model and showing dominance in all that she does when enforcing her role as the Alpha Mare.

When you firmly earn the trust and respect from your horse you will have a safer, happier, healthier relationship with your equine family member & friend. Without establishing the alpha roll your horse will have no choice but to take on that position. 


To gain the alpha position with your horse you want to be the one moving your horse’s feet not the other way around.  If you notice in a wild herd of horses there is only one lead mare leading the group, and that horse gained its respect from the other horses by moving their feet.  The lead mare always eats first and drinks first and leads the herd to feeding destinations.

So it is with you, you should be the one that allows when you horse eats as well.  When feeding your horse take a crop or a dressage whip with you the first few times when establishing your role as alpha. 

As you enter your horses stall if your horse does not move back out of your space move your horses feet by waiving the whip in front of you quickly as you say "back" if your horse is submissive to you then he will willingly move back as you enter the stall.  However if he does not move then you know that he is the alpha in your relationship.  

Always make your horse get out of your space and if he does not obey you then hit him on the chest with the whip holding it like a ski pole and twisting your wrist quickly as you give him the reminder to back out of your space.   As you do walk swiftly towards him with a bit of force and tell him with authority “BACK!” and make him move his feet! 

Do not ever allow your horse to move your feet on purpose.  Horses that push their owners around with their head, or walk into their space and brush by them with a shoulder or hip is, in fact, moving their owners feet setting the grounds that they are the alpha in the relationship – which is not good!

Whenever your horse gets pushy with you MOVE his feet quickly, if he’s under saddle waive the reins in front of him and say “BACK!” he should quickly move back out of your space, and if he doesn’t do the same as explained at feeding time, smack him on the check with the end of the reins or a whip and say back. 

Once he moves back and then gives you his undivided attention allow him to walk back up towards you but do not allow him to come into your space uninvited.  Do not ever allow your horse to push you around, not even one step. 

As you practice this daily you will soon establish your role as the Alpha Mare and that is when the true magic begins….


Each morning when I feed my stallion he has to gently give me a loving nuzzle before he's allowed to eat, he also has to move back as I put his hay and grain in his stall.  Apollo is a very proud Frisian stallion and he is also alpha in the barn that is until I come in, and then he knows without question that I am then alpha of the barn.

It is a stallion's natural tendency to want to push others around horses and people around to establish his alpha status; however, Apollo is just the opposite with me, he is a loving gentle stallion each time he's with me, he literally acts more like a big black Lab than a magnificent stallion. 

Apollo looks to me for guidance, protection and leadership and that’s why we have such a special bond that is beyond description. He knows that if he even thinks about pushing me around even a little bit I will move HIS feet quickly and harshly!  So it should be with you and your horse, by establishing the alpha leadership role you will have a much happier, satisfying and safer relationship with your cherished equine friend.

Horses have the same emotions as we do.  They want to cared for, loved, adored, understood, exercised and cherished just as we do.  Horses are extremely intuitive they know all too well what you are feeling and can read your body language better than we can. 

Stand tall and proud as you train your horse and when you lead him under halter doing so you are displaying with your body language that you are indeed the alpha mare doing so you will without question earn the trust and respect that is imperative to establish with your equine companion.

Have fun with your horse and be sure to spend quality time with him to bond deeply at a spiritual level to create a deep relationship that will last a lifetime.

Happy trails! :)

~Carol Whitaker

Saturday, August 11, 2012


The Magnificent Friesian Spirit 

The Magnificent Friesian Spirit is radiant and beautiful to the very core....

Friesians are powerful horses with huge presence.  Their essence is that of nobility and grace, they are deeply rooted in the majestic energy and charismatic personality.  It's a joy to be able to share my life with my Friesian stallion, Apollo.