Benefits of Supplementing Horses with Vitamin E

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Vitamin E serves as a powerful antioxidant to maintain many normal body functions of the horse. The vitamin is important to many areas of the horse’s body, including the eyes, neuromuscular system and reproductive tract. Of course, there are likely many other ways that it serves the body that haven’t yet been determined! Do you know if your horse is consuming enough vitamin E?

Where Horses Get Vitamin E

Horses consume adequate amounts of vitamin E in their diet so long as they have access to fresh green grass a majority of the year. Grass is a great source of vitamin E (and omega-3’s, too!) when grazed on, but levels quickly decrease after cutting. This means that hay, especially when stored for longer periods of time, can be a poor source of vitamin E for the horse.

 

How Necessary is Vitamin E?

Horses do not necessarily require vitamin E on a daily basis, all year long. Horses store vitamin E in the liver, and can draw upon those stores for the months where they face inadequate resources, such as during winter. Some say an adult horse with previous dietary intake of adequate amounts of vitamin E can go approximately 18 months without consuming any of the vitamin before problems become noticeable. Note that this does not look at when deficiency symptoms may be unnoticeable! 

Of course, there are many horses that are not so lucky as to always have access to green grass even for part of the year. Whether or not a horse shows clinical signs related to a vitamin E deficiency relates to a variety of things. Factors that can lead to signs of deficiency include the age when the deficiency developed, how long the horse was deficient, genetics, and other components of the diet.

How Much the Horse Needs

The National Research Council recommends horses consume 1-2 IU of vitamin E per kilogram of body weight per day, which is around 1,000-2,000 IU per day for a 1,100 pound horse. A proper diagnosis of a vitamin E-related problem is made with a combination of vitamin E access, clinical signs, muscle biopsy results, as well as eliminating other diseases with similar signs. A normal vitamin E level for a horse is considered to be greater than 2 μg/ml.

Older horses have an increased need for antioxidants such as vitamin E. A study with predominantly older horses found that the bacterial killing capacity of monocytes and neutrophils (types of white blood cells) increased in the vitamin E-supplemented horses, but more research is needed in this area!

When to Add Vitamin E to Your Horse’s Diet

Unless your horse has access to fresh green pasture a majority of the year, incorporating a vitamin E supplement in their daily diet is a great way to ensure your horse does not develop a deficiency. According to UC Davis, alpha-tocopherol is the most biologically available and well researched isoform of vitamin E. Be careful where you source your vitamin E however, as there is a big difference between natural and synthetic.

If your horse has already developed a serious deficiency in vitamin E, you will want to consult with your veterinarian about adding a water dispersible form while also testing serum levels periodically. These are the most effective, but also the most expensive. Natural-source, powdered alpha-tocopheryl acetate requires over a month to increase levels to the normal range for the deficient horse. Adding a healthy amount of vitamin E to your horse’s diet proactively is the easiest way to combat deficiencies.

Safely Supplementing

The National Research Council has set the upper safe diet concentration at 20 IU/kg of body weight, which is about 10,000 IU per day for a 1100 lb horse. Above this level, blood clotting and impaired bone mineralization have been reported. As mentioned previously, the low end of their recommendation is 1,000-2,000 IU per day for a 1,100 pound horse. Horses will receive some vitamin E from hay and any grazing they are able to do in addition to supplementation.

Omega grandE is a natural source supplement that provides 1,500 IU of Vitamin E per serving. Intended as a daily supplement and designed to keep your horse within the safe limits, it has a base of ground flaxseed and plain dried beet pulp which make the D-alpha-tocopheryl acetate highly palatable to horses. Feeding Omega grandE daily can fill the gap in vitamin E intake for horses without grass pasture, or your older equines who need some extra care.

Where did the Passion Come From?

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By Joe Camp

I care for our horses with a passion. And the passion came from a horse. Because I allowed it to come from a horse. I allowed my very first horse to choose me. To tell me that he trusted me to be his leader. Of his own free will. Not the other way around. It was his choice. And when it happened everything changed. For me, and my horse. He was no longer my horse. I wasn’t his owner. The first line of the movie Hidalgo said it right. Cash was now my little brother. And I promised him that day that I would love him and he would have the best life I could possibly give him. And I meant it.

No stone would be left unturned because I now cared deeply about this horse and I would be searching everywhere to discover how I could make his life better. Not how I could make my life better. My life would get better when his did.

That was 17 years and eleven horses ago. And everything Kathleen and I have learned is covered in this new book, Love Your Horse First. Because it’s important that we all get it right. That we all care. That we all take the time to have little brothers.

Still, how do they decide, on their own, to trust you?

No ropes. No halters. And I never give them a reason to not trust

It took us a few of those early years to get our diets aligned with Omega Fields, but when we did we dove in all the way. Including Omega Fields Planning the diet of our horses to mimic as closely as possible what the horses would be doing for themselves if they were living in the wild which, again, is the foundation of their genetic structure. They would not be eating sugar from a bag, or grass loaded with chemical fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides and the like. Which is why we truly love Omega Fields Horseshine. These folks really care about your horses. Every domestic horse on the planet needs Omega 3 supplementation because no one, not horse or human, can manufacture their own Omega 3s.

A horse in the wild will get his Omega 3 needs from the many varied kinds of fresh native grasses that have never been exposed to chemical fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, and never been GMO’d. Domestic pastures virtually always come up short because they have been heavily exposed to some or all of the above. Grass hay loses its Omega 3s when it’s cut and dried. So every domestic horse needs supplementation. Even more so if your horse is experiencing dry scaly itchy skin, dull coat, joint pain/inflammation, poor hoof growth, allergies, or pregnancy, which is a condition associated with Omega-3 deficiency because the foal’s fast-growing brain, eye, and organ cells use up all available Omega-3s from the mare. All of our horses get Omega Fields Horseshine every day.

And they live without lockup, in the pasture and in an open barn, around the clock, in pastures with lots of choices so they can balance themselves, build their immune systems, and be stress free. Never in stalls. Between Omega Fields and their pastures they have access to all the minerals they would be getting in the wild on lands where no human has plowed, planted, and pillaged.

Positive Reinforcement

We are big time advocates of positive reinforcement. As opposed to negative reinforcement. Negative reinforcement is doing something uncomfortable for the horse until he does whatever we’d like for him to do. Then the pressure is released and we’re supposed to call it a reward. Frankly, I don’t believe any horse on the planet spends his time hoping that someone will apply pressure to him so that he can get a “reward” from the release of that pressure.

Positive reinforcement would be something that the horse considers… well, positive. Good. Desired. Even fun.

Whoa! Hold on there. Have we stumbled onto something that actually teaches the horse, and the horse enjoys it, thinks it’s fun?

Yes, we did.

I tell them all: You do something I like and I’ll do something you like.

Seems fair.

Enter the use of treats. Only for training, mind you. Never without purpose. Never just because I love my horse. Always quid pro quo.

We train with treats and use a lot of them. So I’ve read a lot of labels. Most of them are scary. I’ve been searching a long time for a treat that is actually good for my horses. A treat that isn’t loaded with sugar or molasses, or grains that turn to sugar when metabolized, or soy, or hydrogenated vegetable fats or oils.

Which is why I’m so excited that we’ve finally found this treat from Omega Fields. Their Low-Sugar-Low-Starch Nibbler is the singular best treat on the market as far as I’m concerned. It is the only treat I have found that uses 99.9% pure Non-GMO stabilized ground fortified flax. That’s .9% higher than required for human food grade.

Nobody else does this.

Apple Nibblers in hand

Surprising Benefits of Omega Horseshine Supplement

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Omega Horseshine with Scoop
Omega Horseshine with Scoop

Omega 3 fatty acids have become a buzzword in the health and nutrition industry for many years now, crossing over into the horse industry with the same vigor. Feeding flax as a source of Omega 3’s to horses has been a known solution for improving skin & coat, but the quality and processing of that flax results in a wide range of results. Fortunately, Omega Horseshine® has been providing a reliable source of high quality flax for horses for over 30 years, with consistent results that continue to surprise horse owners every day. 

Omega 3 Basics: Skin & Coat

Problems with sweet itch, dull coat, dry itchy skin, poor hoof growth, cracking/splitting hooves, allergies, etc. may be attributed to an Omega-3 deficiency in the horse’s body. The stabilized ground flax used in Omega Horseshine® is very high in Omega-3 essential fatty acids, as flax is the richest source of Omega-3 in the plant world.

Over 25 years ago, our company developed what is now proprietary stabilization technology to provides a stable, fortified flaxseed composition as a rich safe source of Omega-3 in the diet. Our stabilization process is all natural, nothing is added, no chemicals used, the ground flax is kosher certified. Here are a few testimonials from customers over the years!

The most surprising result of feeding Ricci the flaxseed supplement was his coat. Just three weeks after incorporating it into his diet, he was body clipped. Being a black bay, he was normally a mousy brown after body clipping. Instead, this time, he presented a deep brown with black highlights and an amazingly shiny coat after I had removed his thick winter fur.

Both my trainer and I were impressed by the health of Ricci’s skin and coat. The transformation continued into the spring and summer months when he developed dapples for the first time ever. Despite eating a smaller amount of grain, he was still able to maintain his body condition and build a stronger topline with increased work over the summer months. Ricci also stayed dark and shiny, even when he was turned out in the sun; in previous years, he sunbleached quickly regardless of wearing a UV-protective flysheet.”

– Jennifer Roberts-Keating from The Cheshire Horse

Cheshire Horse

“I’ve had my mare Remington on Omega Horseshine since I adopted her a year & a half ago. I have tried other supplements with past horses, and nothing even comes close to what you guys offer. I am constantly blown away with how shiny & healthy her coat is, and how strong her hooves are.”

– Chelsie

“All my horse’s are on your product and are thriving because of it, thank you for developing such a good product. I have convinced many friends and all my clients have put their horses on it… I have been using Omega Horseshine for over 10 years and will never take my horses off of it. Thank you for this wonderful product.”

– Donna Wilke, of WilkeEquestrian

Omega Horseshine for Performance

Omega 3 is necessary for cell membrane integrity. Cell membrane integrity can be compromised by excess acidity at the cell levels and by too high levels of inflammatory fatty acids like Omega-6 from feeds and grains, and trans fats from senior feeds, and animal fat products. Inflammation is a common cause of pain and discomfort in all living things, especially for the joints of our hard working equine partners. Omega-3 is considered a powerful anti-inflammatory — so joint pain can be alleviated by supplementing with Omega Horseshine®. We hear so many stories about horses improving in areas of performance, whether due to a reduction in pain caused by inflammation or other benefit. 

“We have had our Stallion, DTs Dual Turbo Cat on the Horseshine since a yearling. Turbo as we call him is a 5 yr old Sorrel stallion, out of a High Brow Cat Stud By a Smart Little Lena mare. With in his 1st year of running (as a 4 year old). Turbo qualified in just 2 runs for the IBRA (International Barrel Racing Association) Nationals Finals in Murfreesboro TN September 2018. He is currently on track to qualify for NBHA (National Barrel Horse Association) Worlds for 2019!

One of the best things we love about Horseshine is the fact the horses will lick it up right out of your hand! Never have had a picky eater turn their nose up!”

– Trisha Dommer, DT Performance Horses

“My show mare, Smart Lena Playboy (barn name Jackie Lovey), injured herself when she was 18 months old which resulted in minor arthritis in her shoulders. When I started to supplement her grain with Horseshine, within a week, I began to notice her movement was more fluid and her performance showed marked improvement.”

– Pamela Barker

“I had a horse w/ chronic inflammation in her back leg and front knee. Anything I tried didn’t work… Magnetic boots, DMSO, linaments, supps and then I took her off all the supps and added 4oz of Horseshine to her morning grain product and w/in 3 months the inflammation was gone!!! I could not be happier w/this product…”

– LiLaBeth

“All horses are athletes in their own discipline. The soreness happens so often that it is always the first thing I look for when a horse is not performing as well as they should, whether its my own horse or a client’s. Keeping your horse in working shape along with the proper nutrition can help eliminate these nagging problems. I have noticed a big improvement in not only how my horses look but their overall athletic performance since I’ve been feeding Omega Fields Horseshine Complete.”

– John Samsill, read more >

Ground Flax to Prevent Sand Colic

The premium, stabilized, ground, fortified flax seed used in Omega Horseshine®, Omega Antioxidant and Omega Horseshine® COMPLETE contains a high mucilage (soluble fiber) content that swells and takes on a gel-like consistency, helping prevent sand colic and impaction. Flax mucilage traps and suspends sand, carrying it out. The flax also acts to buffer excess acid and aids in the stabilization and modulation of blood glucose. You can actually discontinue feeding psyllium if you supplement with Omega Horseshine® everyday!

“One of our horses, Shotgun, is a Welsh pony cross. He is in his mid to upper 20s. He was struggling a couple years ago with issues regarding sand in his gut. He had several mild colic episodes and the vet said that if we didn’t get it under control, we could lose him. So, I put him on Omega HorseShine and he never had any issues with sand again.”

– Becky VanDamme

“Being a military family, we move frequently and so does my horse. Transitioning from lush pastures in North Carolina to the sandy desert in Nevada I was able to rest easy knowing that he was on a consistent diet containing Omega Fields Omega Horseshine. I didn’t worry as much about the change in nutrients from pasture to hay nor the increase in chance of sand colic. He never skipped a beat and for the past three years while other horses at our boarding facility have colicked or needed additional sand clearing supplements he’s never had an issue. Horseshine has given me peace of mind knowing I’ve got a balanced Omega-3 supplement…”

– Danielle L. & Blue

“My horses will even eat Omega Horseshine alone without any feed mixed in, so it is definitely palatable. Believe it or not, sweet itch is no longer a problem, his feet look great, he keeps his weight on less feed, I don’t have to use any de-sanding products, and the uncontrollable proud flesh caused by an injury that happened in may 2007 on his left back heel is starting to shrink and I am able to debris it daily with out a topical. I started my 2 horses in September on 1 cup each, and it is the middle of October and I still have at least half a 20# bag left. Omega Horseshine lasts a long time. Thank you so much for making such a great product, with results beginning at 1 week. This is a product that every horse owner should at least try, but I can’t imagine anyone not being satisfied with the results.”

– Melissa J. Martin

Omega Horseshine®

Ready to get your horse on Omega Horseshine? Available in 4.5lb, 20lb, or 45lb bags. The powerful nutrients in Omega Horseshine® are locked in and guaranteed stable for 18 months with no signs of rancidity or loss of nutritional value. Still, it is always best if stored in a cool, dry place!

Omega Horseshine 3 sizes bags

For Beginners Only

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HerdLifestyle1200 copy_R

By: Joe Camp

Welcome to the wonderful world of horses. This can be one of the most exciting, rewarding experiences of your life, or one of the most frustrating, scary, even worst experiences in your life. And believe it or not the way it turns out is all up to you.

Why is it for beginners only?

Because you have the opportunity to change the world.

Seriously. You are not bogged down in practices that make no sense, either logically or scientifically. You have the opportunity to meet the horse as a being with feelings and needs before he becomes little more than a tool. Which will most likely cause you to start asking what’s in it for the horse, not just what’s in it for you. And others will follow you. And together you can change the world.

We began our journey of discovery with horses just a few short years ago. I was 68. It seems like yesterday. One day we had no horses and no clue. The next day we had three horses… and no clue. Today, after a great deal of study and research, we have finally chipped away at our cluelessness, but we are still learning every single day. We now have eight horses and we enjoy amazing relationships with all of them. They live out 24/7, are healthy, happy and come whenever they’re called by name. They wear no shoes and have none of the diseases, ills, or behavior vices that plague so many horses today. Their diets consist of what they are genetically designed to eat. We play and work with our herd completely at liberty, almost never resorting to the use of halters and lead ropes. And never bits in the mouth.

For several years I have been saying that getting your relationship right with your horse is the first and single most important piece of the puzzle because when the relationship is right everything else changes. Everything!

But now I’ve come to believe that my relationship first philosophy is not entirely correct. Because even before relationship should come three very important items. I have asked hundreds of horse owners what should come first? Before anything? And not once has anyone ever said… knowledge. Can you believe it? I can, because we were no different in the beginning. I can’t even imagine what we were thinking. Oh, we were asking questions about stalls, and diet, and halters and saddles. But not once did it ever occur to us to gather knowledge about the beasts themselves. What makes them tick? What makes them who they are? What is stress to them? Why are they wearing these metal shoes nailed to their feet? What they are seeking in a relationship? And why? And not once did it occur to us that the answers to such questions could have huge impact on the health and happiness of our new horses and on our relationship and how hard they would try for us. It took us a year and a half to get there. Please don’t make that mistake.

The second thing that should come before relationship is lifestyle. When you gather the knowledge mentioned above you will learn that every horse on the planet is genetically the same. That the horse has evolved for millions and millions of years out in the American west before spreading across the planet, carrying those genetics with him. Genetics that are diametrically opposed to the way most horses are kept and cared for, which causes immense amounts of physical and emotional stress and, in turn, medical, emotional and behavior problems, many of them serious. Do the homework. Get the truthful answers. Or just come meet our herd of eight who have none of these issues. Then you decide and plan for the lifestyle your new horses will live. As with knowledge, your decisions on lifestyle will have major impact on the health and happiness of your horses, and the relationships you have with them.

The third thing is diet. Planning the diet of your new horses to, again, mimic as closely as possible what the horses would be doing for themselves if they were living in the wild which, again, is the foundation of their genetic structure. They would not be eating sugar from a bag, or grass loaded with chemical fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides and the like. Which is why we truly love Omega Fields. These folks really care about your horses. Every domestic horse on the planet needs Omega 3 supplementation because no one, not horse or human, can manufacture their own Omega 3s. A horse in the wild will get his Omega 3 needs from the many varied kinds of fresh native grasses that have never been exposed to chemical fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, and never been GMO’d. Domestic pastures virtually always come up short because they have been heavily exposed to some or all of the above. Grass hay loses its Omega 3s when it’s cut and dried. So every domestic horse needs supplementation. Even more so if your horse is experiencing dry scaly itchy skin, dull coat, joint pain/inflammation, poor hoof growth, allergies, or pregnancy, which is a condition associated with Omega-3 deficiency because the foal’s fast-growing brain, eye, and organ cells use up all available Omega-3s from the mare. All of ours get Omega Fields Horseshine every day.

And they live out around the clock, in pastures with lots of choices so they can balance themselves, build their immune systems, and be stress free. Between Omega Fields and their pastures they have access to all the minerals they would be getting in the wild on lands where no human has plowed, planted, and pillaged.

Now, at last, back to Relationship First… or, uhh… fourth.

Leadership is not relationship. Partnership is not relationship.

“Respect” is not relationship.

Relationship does not ease along slowly, getting better and better. It either is or it isn’t.

Relationship with a horse is not based upon love, and snuggles, and hugs and kisses.

It’s based upon trust. Not so much yours, although that is important. But more important is your horse’s trust… of you. Of his own free will. His choice. You cannot force him to trust you. You cannot ride him into trust. You cannot ground-work him into trust. You cannot talk him into it. You have to prove it to him. Or rather, let him prove it to himself.

Why is it this way? Because your horse is a prey animal, a flight animal. Genetically built over millions and millions of years to react first and ask questions later. The most important thing in his life is his survival, thus his safety. Fear ranks over trust. Big time. But this system works for an animal whose only defense is to flee, to run. If it hadn’t worked we would’ve never known the horse. He would be extinct. And odds are your new horse will be coming to you with very different human experiences than you plan to give him, all buried in his psyche, the good, the bad, and the ugly. None of which a horse ever forgets. And because of the way the majority of horses are kept, cared for, and trained, it’s relatively safe to say that former owners somewhere along the line have triggered a few fear responses and he will need time and motivation to realize that he’s now in a different situation, that you are different from anyone he has ever met; that he can start with a clean slate, so to speak.

There are those who might tell you that wild and “domestic” horses no longer have the same genetics. That we’ve bred the wild horse genetics right out of the “domestic” horse. But science tells us that would be impossible. That, unequivocally, it would take a minimum of 5000 years, probably closer to 10,000, to even begin to change the base genetics of any species, including the horse. Yes, the horse that you place in your back yard will be genetically precisely the same as the horse that evolved in the wilds of the American west, and those still living there. Nothing has changed.

Yet one of the first and foremost things a lot of folks set out to teach beginners is to get your horse’s “respect” so that you will be safe. So that your horse won’t hurt you. At first blush that’s a reasonably sane concept. But where there is no relationship of trust, whether these teaching folks choose to tell you this or not, there is always an element of domination involved in an attempt to obtain a “show of respect” from an untrusting fearful horse. Not necessarily physical domination, but, at the very least, mental domination of the horse.

To anyone who doubts this I say throw away your halter and lead rope and then attempt to teach that lesson in “respect” to an untrusting, fearful horse. When you are in relationship, when your horse trusts you, when he has made that decision on his own, you don’t need the halter and lead rope to teach. And respect is a natural byproduct of that trust. Our herd has proven that.

A horse can (and will) freak out over what Pat Parelli calls a sabre-toothed butterfly. Or a rabbit darting across the trail, a plastic bag blowing in the wind, or anything he has never seen before. So rather than gain his trust right from the beginning, so that he knows beyond doubt that you would never lead him into any situation that would be dangerous for him, these teachers would have you force domination over him to get his “respect,” which might make him obey out of fear, but will never cause him to trust you. To be in true relationship with you.

Horses’ memories are forever. Literally. I could’ve been away from my Cash for five years and come back and he would’ve remembered my every word, every gesture, every request, and every behavior. The same is true with all our horses. So, as Doctor Robert Miller says, you are always teaching the horse. Whether it’s something good, or something bad. My philosophy is to never ever do anything with a horse that could possibly evoke a fear response. Fear of me is not something I want in any horse’s memory bank.

But know this: when the horse chooses to trust you, of his own free will, everything changes. Seriously, everything. He will become a willing partner who will never stop trying for you. We have eight proofs of this wandering our pastures. Our entire herd. And you can too.

But because it is the nature of the herd for every horse to find his place on the dominance ladder, and because who moves who is what determines dominance in the herd, leadership in the herd. And as soon as you have the relationship set you must then prove your leadership by controlling the movement of your horse. Move your butt this way, now that way. Back up. Come forward. The first thing I do is teach a new horse to back up. This is not one of their favorite things to do so once you have it, anytime you believe your horse might be testing your leadership simply back your horse across the paddock and that will remind him who moves who.

You are here at the beginning. With a clean plate. You, therefore, have the opportunity to start with none of the baggage of “tradition.” Let him get to know the good you, the leader in you, the you he has chosen to trust. Completely. By his choice. Of his own free will. The you he feels will care for him and keep him safe. Then he will never stop trying for you.

The experience with our mustang Saffron was a near perfect example. She had no former owners, other than the Bureau of Land Management, which is another story, and when she came to us I could not touch her nor could I stand in her presence. I had to be sitting for her to remain anywhere near. It took 35 days of No Agenda Time, and a lot of patience and willpower on our part to completely ignore her for those 35 days. She would eat hay relatively close to us and every once in a while would explore a bit, perhaps ask for a sniff, which I would return, but she was just exploring. She had not yet decided if we could be trusted.

And when every fiber of my body wanted to believe that this was the moment, I would turn back to the conversation with Kathleen. Finally on that 35th day  (which happened to be my birthday) she made her decision and it was as if she had flipped a light switch. She decided we had given her no reason not to trust. She decided she was in. All in.

She was all over me, blowing in my ear, napping on my shoulder, and letting me rub and scratch her everywhere. Butt, belly, ears, feet, wherever. And her trust and willingness has never wavered.

But Saffy isn’t really the norm. Usually every horse of every beginner has experienced other humans before you. Because, in the beginning, we all want a horse that has been ridden, is calm, well-behaved, safe. Not at all a bad check list… but there can be more under the surface. Kathleen’s Skeeter fits that list exactly. But we were far enough into our journey when Skeeter came along that we asked a lot of questions. Like why is he so calm, so well-behaved, so safe? Those questions were partially answered by the more than one hundred scars in his sides from the misuse of spurs. He was eighteen years old, and on the best information we could uncover he had lived his entire lifetime in a stall. He had never been allowed to live like horses are genetically designed to live. At eighteen, he had long passed the point of merely fearing the way he was going to be treated by the next humans in his life. He was assuming it would be the same as it had always been, so he was trying to short-circuit the fear by saying: See what a nice horse I can be. How calm and compliant. I’m such a good boy. Please pretty please don’t use those spurs on me. Don’t hit me. I’ll be good. I promise.

Which made it relatively easy to do a traditional Monty Roberts Join Up. He wanted desperately to be able trust someone.

When we put him out on our steep hillside with the rest of the herd he just stood there agape for the better part of two days, having no clue what to do. It took a while for his genetics to bubble up to the surface but soon, for the first time in his life, he was a horse, not a machine, no longer a motorcycle. He gave Kathleen his trust, and taught her how to lose her fears and ride like a pro.

Too many horses that I hear about with beginners have been treated harshly by previous humans, even abused. They trust no one. And they act like they never will. Not a good matchup for a beginner. So choose your new horses carefully. But if you will just make the commitment to get the relationship right first, before anything, to give even the previously abused horse time to wipe his “human” slate clean, to gather his trust by his own free choice, even this horse can become your partner, your little brother. But you cannot do it halfway. You must put this step before anything else. Before riding, or groundwork, or anything.

There are numerous ways to effect relationship and even more personalities teaching them. Some work better than others. Monty Roberts can gather a horse’s trust in less than thirty minutes. I’ve seen him accomplish amazing results in very short times. The best place to learn from Monty is his Equus Online University. We have used Join Up with several of our horses, including Cash (Chapter Two: The Soul of a Horse). But I chose not to use Join Up with a wild mustang like our Saffron (for why please see Born Wild). No Agenda Time takes a lot longer but I think it’s more certain for a horse who was born in the wild. And it’s easy, and I’m lazy. With our Mouse I sort of made it up as we went along. She had told me that she trusted me almost right from the beginning. But Joe, how did you know, for absolutely sure, that you had her trust? Well, for starters, it had taken six strong men to get her into a trailer to travel from Iowa to Monty Roberts’ Flag is Up Farm where we would meet her and, within days, she would take her first walk with me into a trailer without so much as a blink. What Monty calls Join Up comes in many forms. I’ve seen all sorts of approaches that work just fine. The key element is that whatever you do, the horse must make the decision to trust of his own free will, his own choice, without encouragement or pressure from you or anyone. And you must be paying enough attention to recognize it when it comes. More importantly, you must not jump the gun just because you want so much for it to be so. Saffron reached out several times for that nose sniff during those 35 days. I sniffed back but understood that she was just exploring. There was nothing in that desire to sniff that said I’m ready to trust you forever. She was working her way in the right direction, but only building through baby steps. I made no attempt to engage her in any way and merely continued my conversations with Kathleen. In other words I was leaving it completely up to her. Rather than make a mistake I made no move whatsoever until she almost literally grabbed me by the shoulders and screeched Okay, already!!! I’m in!!!

God and Mother Nature have done a terrific job of creating these magnificent creatures and even though most of ours are called domestic horses, their genetics are precisely the same as our horses who came from the wild, those still living in the wild, and those who lived in the wild thousands of years ago. This is a very important piece of the puzzle. And make no mistake, it is a puzzle, full of things you need to know, not later, but now. At the beginning of your journey (or perhaps the reboot of your journey). Before you start changing lives for the better or worse. The whole story of our journey (to date) is told in two books The Soul of a Horse – Life Lessons from the Herd and its sequel Born Wild. And what a story it is as we stumble and bumble our way through the learning process so that hopefully you won’t have to. If you haven’t read them both already these two books should be required reading before you go further because with that reading, I believe, will come not just knowledge but the passion and the excitement to cause you to commit to starting your journey with horses the way it should begin, to follow these steps without waiver so that your relationship and experience will be with loving, happy and healthy horses who are willing partners and who never stop trying for you.

Please, please stop and take the time to do this, to read these books first, and then to take these steps, one at a time, resisting all urges to jump ahead, or jump around, or jump on the horse’s back until it’s time. It is so important to the ultimate outcome. And the happiness of your horses… and yourself.

I’ve found that two of the most exciting, extraor­dinary things you can do with your life is to realize your dreams, and to help others do the same. It not only breeds happi­ness and a feeling of enrich­ment, it tends to make the world a better place. And why else are we here, but to leave things a little better than we found them?

My fondest hope is that you might find yourself in­spired and equipped to strike out against the odds; to adven­ture into un­charted waters with pas­sion, honesty and integri­ty; and to leave the world a better place for the effort. These works, then, would truly be my most treasured achieve­ments.

Hallie Hanssen Wins First Chance 2023 American Qualifier to Secure Spot in Semi Finals

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hallie hanssen 2023 American Qualifier_2

Omega Fields spokesperson, Hallie Hanssen and MS French WallaWalla posted a 15.562 on The Patriot Leaderboard to win the First Chance American Qualifier in Fort Worth, Texas. Hallie secured her spot in the 2023 The American Semi Finals and won $2210.00 for the win.

Hallie supplements Walla with Omega Horseshine, Proventum and Omega Nibblers.

Omega Fields Spokespeople Successful at Kinder Cup

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Omega Fields spokesperson, Kelsey Treharne and RDC SeisShotsOfFame winning 8th in the average, placing in the slot race and making the Breeders Challenge Finals. Kelsey and & CID Highwind winning 5th in the average this past weekend at the Kinder Cup.

“I recommend Omega Fields because i believe their products are made for the horse. My horses look better, feel better and perform better on Omega Fields. I have fed a bunch of different products through the years and omega fields is hands down the best and the results are obvious. My horses look amazing!

I Love my Omega Fields Omega Horseshine and Proventum probiotic treats. My horses get these daily.” – Kelsey Treharne

Learn more about Kelsey Treharne

Omega Fields spokesperson, Hallie Hanssen and Liar Liar Sox On Fire placing 9th in the first go of the Kinder Cup futurity and qualifying for the $1,000,000 The Breeders Challenge Futurity Finals.

“We can’t imagine our program without Omega Fields products (Proventum and Omega Horseshine).“We have been feeding Omega Fields – Omega Horseshine for almost a decade! It’s a staple for all of our performance horses. It keeps them looking and feeling their best.” ~ Hallie Hanssen

Learn more about Hallie Hanssen

Learn more about Omega Horseshine

Learn more about Proventum –

No Agenda Time ( Join Up Without a Round Pen)

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by Joe Camp

This is Saffron. Affectionately Saffy. One of our mustangs who came to us right out of the wild. And now is one of the sweetest horses on the planet. How did that happen? Read on:

You might remember that, for me, the most important element in Monty Roberts’ Join Up is that the choice to join up, to trust, belongs to the horse. It is not forced by the human. And when the horse makes that choice freely, of its own free will, everything changes. No-Agenda Time takes longer than Monty’s Join Up (which usually works for him in 30 to 40 minutes). Our No Agenda experiment with our mustang Saffron took 35 days, but when it happened everything changed, like a flash, right before our eyes. Everything! As if she had just flicked a switch.

When we adopted her she had never willingly touched or been touched by any human. She would eat hay near my feet so long as I was sitting down, but if I stood up she was gone. And if I dared to attempt to touch her she was gone. And she came to us pregnant with a baby conceived in the wild.

Before we picked her up we had already decided to do absolutely nothing with her until, by her own choice, she had accepted us. Until she had told us very clearly that she trusted us. We began No Agenda Time on her second evening here. We chose No Agenda Time because I believe that the more fearful the horse, or the more abused the horse has been in the past, and/or the less experienced the owners (us), the better it is to have less contact and thereby less chance to make a mistake. Also I’m lazy and No Agenda Time is definitely the lazy person’s Join Up.

Had we introduced our first mustang, Noelle, to No Agenda Time right at the beginning and made no moves to attempt anything with her that could even possibly evoke a fear response until well after she had, of her own free will, committed to trust us, I believe things would’ve been very different with her. But No Agenda Time had not entered our imagination at that time. And I made mistakes with her that caused fear, lots of it, and cost us years.

What we didn’t know then is that every fear of human is caused by a human. The current human, or some past human. Somewhere. At some time. And therefore can be associated with all humans. (See Born Wild – Chapter 29).

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to meet a horse who had never seen a human before? Never been roped and jerked and pulled around by one. Never been physically forced to do things it didn’t want to do. Or was afraid to do. Never been frightened out of its wits by a human. Or chased by screeching men on other horses. Or poked, kicked, and whipped. Or electric shocked into submission.

Kelly Marks wondered.

And she set out to find such a horse.

What she found in Namibia were wild horses who had no reason to believe they should be afraid of the humans they encountered because they had never encountered one. And as long as Kelly and her team never once did anything that even approached causing the horses to be afraid, they were never afraid. Never reactive. Kelly could rub them anywhere, even in their ears. And teach them. And ride them! (See the documentary: http://vimeo.com/33062665)

That is simply the best lesson ever! Do not ever do anything that could cause your horse to be afraid of you.

Unfortunately we didn’t understand this when our Noelle arrived. Still she taught us a huge lesson. She taught us about No Agenda Time. We just didn’t realize it at the moment.

Without the history with Noelle, exactly as it happened, Saffron would never have experienced No Agenda Time. Nor would she be where she is today.

Firestorm was born three days after Saffron arrived and we were already doing No Agenda Time. Every evening we sat in folding chairs in the paddock with mama and her new baby… and completely ignored mama. There was always a great deal of contact and imprinting going on with the baby, but no contact with mama at all. We placed hay close to our chairs and Saffron would munch it with very few apparent worries.

I believe that No Agenda Time is best accomplished sitting down, for several reasons. You are less threatening seated than you are when standing. Staying seated naturally restricts your mobility, thus your activity. The less you move around, the less threatening you are. And the less mobile you are the better the chance that you will not look at the horse, or attempt to touch the horse.

Obviously the horse must be at liberty. A lead line compromises her free will to choose. And No Agenda Time should be with only one horse at a time (unless it’s a mama and baby 🙂

Placing good hay nearby, hay that the horse really likes, causes the horse to draw closer than she might otherwise do, and the closer she is with nothing bad happening, the more she will relax and begin to believe that you are a safe haven. We do not use alfalfa in our regular feeding regimen because, in quantity, it is not good for any horse. But they love it and it’s different than their regular grass hay so we use it in small quantities for occasional treats, like a condiment, or as an enticement in an emergency when we need a horse to move somewhere quickly, and we use it in No Agenda Time.

With Saffron we started the alfalfa placed maybe six feet away from us. When she got comfortable with that we’d creep it closer, to maybe five feet away. Then over time we’d move it even closer until it was eventually only a couple of feet away. All the while completely ignoring her, showing her no interest and making no contact whatsoever. She grew more and more comfortable.

No Agenda Time can be accomplished with only one person and a good book, maybe ear buds and some good music, or maybe doing homework… but I definitely prefer it with two people in conversation. That seems to emphasize the fact that the horse is being ignored. Left out. It’s one thing to be buried in a book and quite another to be chatting, laughing, and not even trying to include the horse, and I believe at some level that resonates. It might sound weird but I believe the horse reaches a point of wanting to be included. And, too, Kathleen and I are our own best friends and we really enjoy being down in the paddock with a couple of small jelly jars of wine catching up on each others’ day.

No Agenda Time proved to be one of the very best things that could’ve happened to our relationship with Saffron. On various occasions, she reached up and sniffed both of my knees… and my gloves… and more than once asked for a breath exchange.

I sniffed back but understood that she was just exploring. It’s important to know that there was nothing in that desire to sniff that said I’m ready to trust you forever. She had not yet made that choice. She was working her way in the right direction, but only building through baby steps. I made no attempt to engage her in any way and merely continued my conversation with Kathleen. In other words I was leaving it completely up to her. Rather than make a mistake I chose to make no move whatsoever until she almost literally grabbed me by the shoulders and screeched Okay, already!!! I’m in!!!

In other words, please do not jump the gun. Make your horse say it loud and clear.

There was a time, not too long ago, when I could not have resisted trying to push the envelope. Reaching out, trying to touch her. Forcing myself on her. But I sat on my hands, figuratively speaking. Because the moment of Join Up had not yet occurred.

It wasn’t easy.

And that very special surprise on the evening of my birthday. Day #35.

We settled into our chairs in the paddock in front of the barn for our ritual No Agenda Time. Baby Stormy, now one day shy of a month old, came right up for a rub and a sniff and promptly dropped onto Kathleen’s feet for a nap. That, too, was becoming ritual. Miss Saffron was munching hay near our feet, appearing even less concerned than usual about being close to us.

I was doing my best to ignore her, which, remember, is what No Agenda Time is all about. But every once in a while, when she would get really close, I’d use that as an excuse to break the rule.

“She wants me to touch her,” I might plead. “I can feel it.”

“You know the rules,” Kathleen would say.

Two fingers onto her cheek for little more than a second was the best I had ever done. Only once. If pressed, she would walk away. If I stood up she would walk away.

We hadn’t been sitting long on this birthday evening when there was a crunch behind me on the pea gravel covering the paddock. A close crunch. I glanced up at Kathleen.

“Is she close?”

Kathleen’s eyes were widening. She nodded.

“Very.”

My heart was skipping beats. I wanted so to turn and see. Kathleen was easing her iPhone out of its holster. And suddenly there was this marvelous tickle. Whiskers on my neck. And a warm breath in my ear. Then a rub, cheek to cheek so to speak.

I was frozen in place for a long moment. I didn’t want to blow it. Finally I couldn’t resist. I turned slowly… and kissed her on the nose. Then reached around and scratched the off side of her face.

“Hello Miss Saffron,” I said softly. “Welcome home.”

She blinked. And blew me a long slow breath. I returned it. Kathleen’s phone camera was clicking away. “Happy birthday,” she said. “I told her it was today.”

My hand began to sneak up her face to the top of her head, sliding over to scratch the base of her ear. A thumb slid inside and rubbed and rubbed. Miss Saffron purred.

I didn’t know what to think. The best progress I had ever had with any of our horses was incremental. A little at a time. Even now, four years after Noelle came to us, I could barely touch her ears. And only then on some days. I wondered if I should attempt to stand up. My hand slid down her neck, rubbing and scratching as it went. I felt like a school kid on my first date, trying to sneak my hand onto her shoulder.

I scratched back up her neck and eased into a standing position as I went. Saffy took no notice. Suddenly I hit a sweet spot and she responded in ecstasy, stretching, reaching for the sky.

Yes please! More, more!

I scratched all the way down her back to her tail bone, slid down her hip, and underneath to her tummy and her belly button, then back forward, and down her front leg to her hoof. I was tempted to lift it, but probably chose wisely not to. This was enough for the moment. Leave it all positive.

Dropping back into the chair I turned to Kathleen with my mouth gaping open. Saffy rested her chin on my shoulder and actually dozed off.

“I’ve never seen anything like this,” I said. “A few moments ago I couldn’t touch her. And suddenly… like she just flipped a switch… she’s in.’”

All in,” Kathleen grinned. “Like I said. Happy birthday.”

That’s the day we discovered with Miss Saffron that negative marks on a slate from previous humans can be erased. Wiped clean. It just takes time. We allowed Saffron to take the time that she needed to clean her own slate and when she was done, like the wild horses Kelly Marks found in Namibia, she was able to experience trust without fear.

Which is why we spent that 35 days doing absolutely nothing with Miss Saffron except to feed her, and be available. And, for 32 of those days, be sweet and loving to her new baby.

Kathleen had managed to internalize the fine points of keeping her adrenaline down at a moment when, no matter how trusting Saffron had become, this was going to be a first-ever time for that scary horse-eating halter to slide onto her head. That fact alone is enough to send human adrenaline soaring, which in turn will send horses flying. Kathleen knew that, but was able to keep her herself calm, and Saffron’s trust in place. She slipped the line through the loop but didn’t actually tie it, snugging it up for a few moments before slipping the halter off and letting Saffron help herself to a few munchies. Then the entire drill was repeated for good measure. And by now dark was completely upon us, so no photos.

“That was awesome!” I exclaimed. “Simply extraordinarily awesome!”

“The most amazing part of it,” she said, “was that you didn’t open your mouth for more than fifteen minutes. Never said a word!”

“I was dumbstruck,” I smiled. “You were amazing.”

She was very calm and relaxed about the entire thing. Until the next morning when she finally exploded with a grand “Eeeee Hawwww!” And did a little dance around the kitchen. How many people get to be the first human on the planet to successfully halter a mustang fresh from the wild.

The next morning – when there was plenty of light thank you very much – she walked right up to Saffy, slipped the halter over her face….

Then, with Kathleen available to shoot, it was my turn. To begin leading Saffron with a loose line. She showed no resistance to the halter and lead rope. No bad memories. And I was mentally set to never allow that rope to get tight, to become restrictive, to make her feel trapped or confined. I thought about Chapter 22 of The Soul of a Horse. Cash had gotten his lead rope wrapped around a hitching post and felt suddenly confined. He freaked out and yanked the entire hitching post out of the ground. From that moment, he could never be tied without freaking out. The ultimate solution was Clinton Anderson’s Aussie Tie Ring which allows the lead rope to slide through the ring, telling the horse that he can get immediate relief from the pressure of being tied. With the ring, Cash quickly began to realize that he wasn’t actually tightly confined and he would relax. We’ve never tied any other way since.

And that would be the procedure for Saffy on this day. The first time I put tension on the line, she wanted to back away from the pressure. I merely let the rope slide through my hands until she stopped, which was almost immediately. Then I held an ever so slightly taut line asking her to take a step forward.

I gave her a treat, much praise and rubbing, and removed the halter. This is how I wanted to leave it. With her thinking about following that loose line, even in and out of circles. My teeth were clenched down tightly on the enormous EeeeHawww trying to escape. This was, after all, a pair of all-time firsts. The first time this wild mustang had ever taken forward steps on a halter and lead rope… and the first time ever that I had been on the other end of such first steps (except for our two babies). It felt spectacular. But I walked off as calmly as I could, trying to act as if this was just the way things were supposed to be.

And guess what? She came right with me as though she was still being lead. Making me wonder why we were messing with that silly lead rope anyway :).

Then I became the first human ever on this mustang’s back… and was it was totally a non-event.

I’m still all smiles and giggles. As much as I preach about it, it’s still amazing to witness first-hand what trust and relationship can accomplish.

And when the horse makes that choice freely, of its own free will, everything changes. No-Agenda Time takes longer than Monty’s Join Up (which usually works for him in 30 to 40 minutes). Our No Agenda experiment with our mustang Saffron took 35 days, but when it happened everything changed, like a flash, right before our eyes. Everything! As if she had just flicked a switch.

When we adopted her she had never willingly touched or been touched by any human. She would eat hay near my feet so long as I was sitting down, but if I stood up she was gone. And if I dared to attempt to touch her she was gone. And she came to us pregnant with a baby conceived in the wild.

Before we picked her up we had already decided to do absolutely nothing with her until, by her own choice, she had accepted us. Until she had told us very clearly that she trusted us. We began No Agenda Time on her second evening here. We chose No Agenda Time because I believe that the more fearful the horse, or the more abused the horse has been in the past, and/or the less experienced the owners (us), the better it is to have less contact and thereby less chance to make a mistake. Also I’m lazy and No Agenda Time is definitely the lazy person’s Join Up.

Had we introduced our first mustang, Noelle, to No Agenda Time right at the beginning and made no moves to attempt anything with her that could even possibly evoke a fear response until well after she had, of her own free will, committed to trust us, I believe things would’ve been very different with her. But No Agenda Time had not entered our imagination at that time. And I made mistakes with her that caused fear, lots of it, and cost us years.

What we didn’t know then is that every fear of human is caused by a human. The current human, or some past human. Somewhere. At some time. And therefore can be associated with all humans. (See Born Wild – Chapter 29).

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to meet a horse who had never seen a human before? Never been roped and jerked and pulled around by one. Never been physically forced to do things it didn’t want to do. Or was afraid to do. Never been frightened out of its wits by a human. Or chased by screeching men on other horses. Or poked, kicked, and whipped. Or electric shocked into submission.

Kelly Marks wondered.

And she set out to find such a horse.

What she found in Namibia were wild horses who had no reason to believe they should be afraid of the humans they encountered because they had never encountered one. And as long as Kelly and her team never once did anything that even approached causing the horses to be afraid, they were never afraid. Never reactive. Kelly could rub them anywhere, even in their ears. And teach them. And ride them! (See the documentary: http://vimeo.com/33062665)

That is simply the best lesson ever! Do not ever do anything that could cause your horse to be afraid of you.

Unfortunately we didn’t understand this when our Noelle arrived. Still she taught us a huge lesson. She taught us about No Agenda Time. We just didn’t realize it at the moment.

Without the history with Noelle, exactly as it happened, Saffron would never have experienced No Agenda Time. Nor would she be where she is today.

Firestorm was born three days after Saffron arrived and we were already doing No Agenda Time. Every evening we sat in folding chairs in the paddock with mama and her new baby… and completely ignored mama. There was always a great deal of contact and imprinting going on with the baby, but no contact with mama at all. We placed hay close to our chairs and Saffron would munch it with very few apparent worries.

I believe that No Agenda Time is best accomplished sitting down, for several reasons. You are less threatening seated than you are when standing. Staying seated naturally restricts your mobility, thus your activity. The less you move around, the less threatening you are. And the less mobile you are the better the chance that you will not look at the horse, or attempt to touch the horse.

Obviously the horse must be at liberty. A lead line compromises her free will to choose. And No Agenda Time should be with only one horse at a time (unless it’s a mama and baby 🙂

Placing good hay nearby, hay that the horse really likes, causes the horse to draw closer than she might otherwise do, and the closer she is with nothing bad happening, the more she will relax and begin to believe that you are a safe haven. We do not use alfalfa in our regular feeding regimen because, in quantity, it is not good for any horse. But they love it and it’s different than their regular grass hay so we use it in small quantities for occasional treats, like a condiment, or as an enticement in an emergency when we need a horse to move somewhere quickly, and we use it in No Agenda Time.

With Saffron we started the alfalfa placed maybe six feet away from us. When she got comfortable with that we’d creep it closer, to maybe five feet away. Then over time we’d move it even closer until it was eventually only a couple of feet away. All the while completely ignoring her, showing her no interest and making no contact whatsoever. She grew more and more comfortable.

No Agenda Time can be accomplished with only one person and a good book, maybe ear buds and some good music, or maybe doing homework… but I definitely prefer it with two people in conversation. That seems to emphasize the fact that the horse is being ignored. Left out. It’s one thing to be buried in a book and quite another to be chatting, laughing, and not even trying to include the horse, and I believe at some level that resonates. It might sound weird but I believe the horse reaches a point of wanting to be included. And, too, Kathleen and I are our own best friends and we really enjoy being down in the paddock with a couple of small jelly jars of wine catching up on each others’ day.

No Agenda Time proved to be one of the very best things that could’ve happened to our relationship with Saffron. On various occasions, she reached up and sniffed both of my knees… and my gloves… and more than once asked for a breath exchange.

I sniffed back but understood that she was just exploring. It’s important to know that there was nothing in that desire to sniff that said I’m ready to trust you forever. She had not yet made that choice. She was working her way in the right direction, but only building through baby steps. I made no attempt to engage her in any way and merely continued my conversation with Kathleen. In other words I was leaving it completely up to her. Rather than make a mistake I chose to make no move whatsoever until she almost literally grabbed me by the shoulders and screeched Okay, already!!! I’m in!!!

In other words, please do not jump the gun. Make your horse say it loud and clear.

There was a time, not too long ago, when I could not have resisted trying to push the envelope. Reaching out, trying to touch her. Forcing myself on her. But I sat on my hands, figuratively speaking. Because the moment of Join Up had not yet occurred.

It wasn’t easy.

And that very special surprise on the evening of my birthday. Day #35.

We settled into our chairs in the paddock in front of the barn for our ritual No Agenda Time. Baby Stormy, now one day shy of a month old, came right up for a rub and a sniff and promptly dropped onto Kathleen’s feet for a nap. That, too, was becoming ritual. Miss Saffron was munching hay near our feet, appearing even less concerned than usual about being close to us.

I was doing my best to ignore her, which, remember, is what No Agenda Time is all about. But every once in a while, when she would get really close, I’d use that as an excuse to break the rule.

“She wants me to touch her,” I might plead. “I can feel it.”

“You know the rules,” Kathleen would say.

Two fingers onto her cheek for little more than a second was the best I had ever done. Only once. If pressed, she would walk away. If I stood up she would walk away.

We hadn’t been sitting long on this birthday evening when there was a crunch behind me on the pea gravel covering the paddock. A close crunch. I glanced up at Kathleen.

“Is she close?”

Kathleen’s eyes were widening. She nodded.

“Very.”

My heart was skipping beats. I wanted so to turn and see. Kathleen was easing her iPhone out of its holster. And suddenly there was this marvelous tickle. Whiskers on my neck. And a warm breath in my ear. Then a rub, cheek to cheek so to speak.

I was frozen in place for a long moment. I didn’t want to blow it. Finally I couldn’t resist. I turned slowly… and kissed her on the nose. Then reached around and scratched the off side of her face.

“Hello Miss Saffron,” I said softly. “Welcome home.”

She blinked. And blew me a long slow breath. I returned it. Kathleen’s phone camera was clicking away. “Happy birthday,” she said. “I told her it was today.”

My hand began to sneak up her face to the top of her head, sliding over to scratch the base of her ear. A thumb slid inside and rubbed and rubbed. Miss Saffron purred.

I didn’t know what to think. The best progress I had ever had with any of our horses was incremental. A little at a time. Even now, four years after Noelle came to us, I could barely touch her ears. And only then on some days. I wondered if I should attempt to stand up. My hand slid down her neck, rubbing and scratching as it went. I felt like a school kid on my first date, trying to sneak my hand onto her shoulder.

I scratched back up her neck and eased into a standing position as I went. Saffy took no notice. Suddenly I hit a sweet spot and she responded in ecstasy, stretching, reaching for the sky.

Yes please! More, more!

I scratched all the way down her back to her tail bone, slid down her hip, and underneath to her tummy and her belly button, then back forward, and down her front leg to her hoof. I was tempted to lift it, but probably chose wisely not to. This was enough for the moment. Leave it all positive.

Dropping back into the chair I turned to Kathleen with my mouth gaping open. Saffy rested her chin on my shoulder and actually dozed off.

“I’ve never seen anything like this,” I said. “A few moments ago I couldn’t touch her. And suddenly… like she just flipped a switch… she’s in.’”

All in,” Kathleen grinned. “Like I said. Happy birthday.”

That’s the day we discovered with Miss Saffron that negative marks on a slate from previous humans can be erased. Wiped clean. It just takes time. We allowed Saffron to take the time that she needed to clean her own slate and when she was done, like the wild horses Kelly Marks found in Namibia, she was able to experience trust without fear.

Which is why we spent that 35 days doing absolutely nothing with Miss Saffron except to feed her, and be available. And, for 32 of those days, be sweet and loving to her new baby.

Kathleen had managed to internalize the fine points of keeping her adrenaline down at a moment when, no matter how trusting Saffron had become, this was going to be a first-ever time for that scary horse-eating halter to slide onto her head. That fact alone is enough to send human adrenaline soaring, which in turn will send horses flying. Kathleen knew that, but was able to keep her herself calm, and Saffron’s trust in place. She slipped the line through the loop but didn’t actually tie it, snugging it up for a few moments before slipping the halter off and letting Saffron help herself to a few munchies. Then the entire drill was repeated for good measure. And by now dark was completely upon us, so no photos.

“That was awesome!” I exclaimed. “Simply extraordinarily awesome!”

“The most amazing part of it,” she said, “was that you didn’t open your mouth for more than fifteen minutes. Never said a word!”

“I was dumbstruck,” I smiled. “You were amazing.”

She was very calm and relaxed about the entire thing. Until the next morning when she finally exploded with a grand “Eeeee Hawwww!” And did a little dance around the kitchen. How many people get to be the first human on the planet to successfully halter a mustang fresh from the wild.

The next morning – when there was plenty of light thank you very much – she walked right up to Saffy, slipped the halter over her face….

Then, with Kathleen available to shoot, it was my turn. To begin leading Saffron with a loose line. She showed no resistance to the halter and lead rope. No bad memories. And I was mentally set to never allow that rope to get tight, to become restrictive, to make her feel trapped or confined. I thought about Chapter 22 of The Soul of a Horse. Cash had gotten his lead rope wrapped around a hitching post and felt suddenly confined. He freaked out and yanked the entire hitching post out of the ground. From that moment, he could never be tied without freaking out. The ultimate solution was Clinton Anderson’s Aussie Tie Ring which allows the lead rope to slide through the ring, telling the horse that he can get immediate relief from the pressure of being tied. With the ring, Cash quickly began to realize that he wasn’t actually tightly confined and he would relax. We’ve never tied any other way since.

And that would be the procedure for Saffy on this day. The first time I put tension on the line, she wanted to back away from the pressure. I merely let the rope slide through my hands until she stopped, which was almost immediately. Then I held an ever so slightly taut line asking her to take a step forward.

I gave her a treat, much praise and rubbing, and removed the halter. This is how I wanted to leave it. With her thinking about following that loose line, even in and out of circles. My teeth were clenched down tightly on the enormous EeeeHawww trying to escape. This was, after all, a pair of all-time firsts. The first time this wild mustang had ever taken forward steps on a halter and lead rope… and the first time ever that I had been on the other end of such first steps (except for our two babies). It felt spectacular. But I walked off as calmly as I could, trying to act as if this was just the way things were supposed to be.

And guess what? She came right with me as though she was still being lead. Making me wonder why we were messing with that silly lead rope anyway :).

Then I became the first human ever on this mustang’s back… and was it was totally a non-event.

I’m still all smiles and giggles. As much as I preach about it, it’s still amazing to witness first-hand what trust and relationship can accomplish.

Omega Fields Hallie Hanssen and Trik Or Treat win 6th in the 2nd go of The Richest Dinosaur and American Qualifier 2022 Futurity!

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Omega Fields Hallie Hanssen and Trik Or Treat by The Kandyman out of Frenchies Cash Cutie clocking a 14.902 winning 6th last weekend in the second go of  The Richest Dinosaur and American Qualifier 2022 Futurity! She finished 11th overall in the open out of 620 head.

“We have been feeding Omega Fields – Omega Horseshine for almost a decade! It’s a staple for all of our performance horses. It keeps them looking and feeling their best.” ~ Hallie Hanssen

Omega Fields Instagram New Year Giveaway

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*THE NEW YEAR GIVEAWAY* We’re saying goodbye to 2021 and hello to 2022 with 3 great prizes! There will be 3 winners – the Grand Prize will include 2 bags of Omega Nibblers PLUS 1 pick of our new Omega Fields Merch. Two more winners will receive 3 bags of Omega Nibblers. All Omega Nibblers will be our original Blackstrap Molasses flavor! 🍪

ʜᴏᴡ ᴛᴏ ᴇɴᴛᴇʀ:
1. Follow @omegafields
2. Comment one of your new year goals with your horse
3. Tag a friend 
4. Share this post to your story and tag @omegafields

This giveaway is open until  January 3rd, 2022. To win, you must be located in the United States 🇺🇸. This contest is not sponsored, endorsed, administered by, or associated with Instagram.