Monday, 20 February 2017

Smoke signals: Shoeing a young horse and lessons learned

Having made great progress on the previous two shoeing visits, our ever-patient farrier faced a challenge on his third. Baz was clearly not in the mood for being shod on this particular occasion,  but with coaxing and skill, Baz went away with shiny new shoes.  Here are some helpful tips and lessons I've learned from our experience.

  • Firstly, ensure your young horse is familiar with the place where you have him shod. Baz is not stabled on the main yard where he's shod. Therefore, bringing him on to the main stable yard just for the farrier meant that Baz was already wound up before the shoeing process had begun. Now, I regularly lead him round to the place where he is shod to increase his confidence in that location. I apply TTouches when he's there so that he learns to associate the main yard with pleasant events. Stroking his forelegs with a schooling whip from elbows to feet helps to ground him and invokes calmness in him and me!
  • In addition, I lead Baz round to the main yard to watch other horses being shod so he's regularly exposed to the sights, sounds and smells of shoeing without the stress of experiencing it for himself. It seems to be the smoke, or perhaps the smell of burning hoof, or both, that worries him the most. Hopefully, the calmness of the other horses being shod will rub off on Baz. 
  • Other suggestions include standing him in a position where the smoke swirls away from him rather than towards him, or to apply a calming essential oil, such as lavender, around his headcollar to mask the smell of burning hoof.
  • Our farrier always gently taps Baz's foot with his hammer before nailing the shoes on so he gets used to the sound and feel of having his shoes fitted -  a brilliant way of reducing the risk of him panicking and causing injury to himself or the farrier/handler.
  • I plan to give Baz an oral sedative before he's shod next time to minimise any anxiety building and to create a positive experience that we can then build on.
  • Finally, cold shoeing remains an option if we cannot overcome the stress associated with the smoke and smells of hot shoeing.
With perseverance and training, I'm sure Baz will become an easier horse for our ever-tolerant farrier to handle.

What challenges have you faced when your young horse has been shod, and how have you overcome them? Please send your comments.

Kathryn White is owner and director of Cathean Ltd Medical and  Copy Writing Services. She is a published medical, copy and equestrian writer with a passion for creating compelling text in
collaboration with her clients. Her customers include pharmaceutical, healthcare and equestrian businesses across the world.

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Part 1: What are you doing today to create a better version of yourself?

Over the past few years I have had the privilege of working with some brilliant coaches. The one common theme I've learned from all of them is that we create our own reality through our thoughts and mindset. In other words, we generate our own luck in life as well as the challenges we meet along the way. The power of our mind is truly incredible. Leadership coach, Dawn Bentley, shares her thoughts on how we can help ourselves when we get 'stuck' in old habits and repetitive patterns of behaviour. This will then enable us to build the life we really want.

Have you settled for less?

  •  Do you find that you are not getting what you want?
  • Are you feeling limited or stuck in some way?
  • Do you find that you are repeating patterns of behaviour, or phrases, or ways of thinking that get in your way?
  • Have you settled for less?

If the answer to any of these questions is yes then I’ll bet you are living your life according to old patterns of thinking and conditioned ways of being to run your life. But, it doesn’t have to be this way. You can get whatever you want if you are prepared to make changes to the way you think and perceive the world around you

Why do we get stuck? 
Being stuck, or thinking that you can’t do or have what you want, is normal. We all have limiting thoughts about our abilities and it happens when we attach ourselves to the past or the future. Often it’s due to an unconscious decision we have made in the past, and more often than not it’s driven by emotion rather than logic. We make choices thinking that having a certain belief will help us get what we want or keep us safe. Being stuck is a mental state whichbecomes a habit because it’s driven by a deep-rooted belief. Your brain drives your thoughts and your behaviour. When you are stuck in old patterns, the body responds automatically. When you are on ‘automatic pilot’, your habitual patterns play out so life seems repetitive.

Rising above your conditioned way of being: The first step to change is self-awareness. Start by becoming an observer of yourself. It’s very easy to be critical of things that you do, particularly when it’s a habit you want to change. Additionally, being critical is more likely to close down your thinking. So, you want to open up your thinking, be curious, and ask yourself questions such as:

  • How did I create this habit in the first place?
  • What is it about this situation that is causing me to behave in this way?
  •  How do I actually feel right now?
  • What one thing can I do to begin to change?

Once you start to break an old pattern, you can start to learn new ways to operate and build more positive, enabling habits.

Practise is the key: The thing that got you into this stuck state was practise. You took on thoughts, beliefs and actions, and repeated them until they became automatic. Therefore, it makes sense that a new practice will help you to become unstuck. 
To find the practice that is right for you, you need to be clear about what you want. For some people this can be the real challenge. As a coach, when I first ask this question, I often hear ‘I don’t know’. The second most common response I receive is people telling me what they don’t want. For example, if I’m working with someone who wants to be more confident, they’ll tell me they don’t want to be nervous, or they don’t want to forget what they are wanting to say, or they don’t want to stutter over their words. But, this focuses your brain on what already happens – your old practice - your aim is to train your brain to focus on what you really want to get a crystal clear picture in your mind. Be as specific as you can, so think about what you will do, how you will look, what you will say to yourself - and write all this down.

Be consistent in your practise. 
Remember you are creating new habits that will help you live the life you want. Consider where you are going to practise, with who, and in what situations. Then practise.

A word of advice: Be patient! You are re-wiring your brain which has been doing things in a certain way for many years. Start small and build on it. Praise yourself for small successes. Focus on what is working and adjust what isn’t. Think about the first time you got on a bike, or drove a car. You started by practising some of the basic actions and had support. You made mistakes along the way but through hours of practise you became competent. The same rules apply here, so be kind to yourself and find someone who will cheer you on as you make small steps to living the life you want.

In Part 2, Kathryn will share her own experiences of how working with Dawn and other coaches helped her become 'unstuck' in her own behaviours.

Dawn Bentley is an executive coach working with leaders who are open minded and want to continue to learn and grow. She believes everyone has hidden potential and can achieve whatever they want with the right level of support, challenge and encouragement. If you’re ready to take the next step on your leadership journey give set up a discovery call or find out more by visiting her website.

Kathryn White is owner and director of Cathean Ltd Medical and  Copy Writing Services. She is a published medical, copy and equestrian writer with a passion for creating compelling text in collaboration with her clients. Her customers include pharmaceutical, healthcare and equestrian businesses across the world.