Category Archives: Personally Speaking

Exercising Versus Training

“If we are to call ourselves trainers then we carry the responsibility to move everyone to a higher status in the industry. That is how every industry on this planet survives.”

Most of the barns I travel to breed horses, and keep a trainer and several exercise riders. I am always struck by the concept of riding just for riding sake: to keep a horse in shape and not deteriorate from 23 hours in a stall and paddock.

Most exercise riders move in a constant state of riding the rail around and around. In my world we call this the loser’s loop, where riders have no goals or desire to achieve anything but exercise. Sometimes, if there are jumps or obstacles in the arena, they will move around them, but otherwise, there is not a shred of training in any of this.

My question is, what is the point? And it is the very reason every horse on my farm has a field to run freely and self-exercise as he needs to.

And every ride has a purpose.

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What Does “Winning” Mean To You?

April and 'Rainy Buck Paige', 1975

Answer from April Reeves: I have always viewed “winning” as a competitive attachment. I realized, after years of showing horses, that winning was a crap shoot that depended on judge’s opinions and politics. I now walk into “competition” as a way to simply see how my horse and I can handle stress. I have found that stress only exists as a function of fear, and so now, showing and winning and competition no longer is a necessity for me, but a chance to go out and have a different kind of “fun” with the horses. What I have found is a whole new world where life is lighter, the word “win” doesn’t need to exist, and the end result is that, oddly enough, my blue ribbon count has soared….
My true “wins” are inside of me, not external of me.

Changes to April Reeves and Horseman’s U.com

Heads up everyone! Horseman’s U.com is coming down for around 3-4 months to be completely rebuilt! New video sections and articles are being developed over the winter, including:

  • Marketing Your Stable and Equine Business
  • Equine locomotion
  • Video and instruction on developing and building an equestrian center: how Horseman’s U, the facility, will be created.

Plus, April Reeves is moving to a new farm: details to come early next year on the location. The property will boast Eventing/cross country courses, including water obstacles, banks, ditches and permanent/non-permanent fences, permanent agility course, 2 roundpens (for ponies and warmbloods), jumping arena (so you don’t have to put the jumps away all the time), large all purpose sand arena (reining/sliding), pathway around perimeter of property, other open sand/grass/mixed rings and practice areas, and the ability to ride all around the entire property in the day! We’ll host week/days/day long intensive workshops and clinics for Western and English/Jumping riders, events, free riding days for trailer-ins,  and much more!

This site will remain the same, as it serves as a valuable resource for those seeking answers. Please continue to send in your questions and April will try to answer them.

If you have any suggestions for what you would like to see/read/watch on Horseman’s U.com please let us know! Hope to see some of you at the new facility next year!

We’re keeping the location a secret for now (simply because we haven’t quite bought it yet), but once we’re in, we’ll have a contest for the ones that can guess the location. Stay tuned for details!

The Most Amazing Facebook Horse Site Ever!

I love good writers. I especially love it when they come from the horse world. They express the secret world of horses in a way that opens the window of the equine world so others too can peek in and explore.

I want to open all of you to (in my humble opinion) perhaps the best equine writer I have yet to come across: my client Beatrice Singer and her horse sanctuary “Serendipity Farm”. In the matter of months, this Facebook site has amassed 676 loyal daily friends.

If you enjoy reading about the day to day lives of horse owners, this amazing writer will captivate you in a way I have not read before. Beatrice is learning about horses at a breakneck speed since her desire not long ago to rescue horses and provide them with a home of love and compassion. Her craftsmanship of the “equine language” is poetic and will have you in hysterics or tears (especially in the recent passing of her 9 year old thoroughbred, Jay, that started her “rescue” life). In any case, many go to Facebook for their daily delivery of the writings of Beatrice, the horse “angel”.

No one I know can write from the heart like this, so I leave you with the Facebook link to Serendipity Farms, and I hope you get lost in this emotional and beautiful world as I have done. Beatrice will one day be a world caliber equine writer.

Why am I posting so much about our horse’s feeds?

I’ve had a lot of emails but since I’ve started posting about GM feeds, I have had thousands! Within 3 days of posting the GM Alfalfa issue, I had more emails and responses and downloads of the brochure than all the other posts on this blog! (I have been answering the questions as fast as I can: sorry for the “blanket” response to most but I’m getting overwhelmed with emails). I’m proud of all of you! We care for our horse from the inside out! You are paying attention!

“We care for our horse from the inside out.” April

Since everyone is listening, I will add another important post on feed. This one deals with chemicals. While our horses rarely see pesticides on our hays, it’s important to know where your hay comes from. Growing next to fields that use sprays (especially aerial spraying) means your hay crop will be contaminated.

A few years ago, I watched a farmer spraying a crop of peas. The cloud of insecticide drifted over to a horse facility and landed on 2 ponies and a quarter horse belonging to a friend of mine. In less than 6 months, the quarter horse lost weight and died. The 2 ponies lived, but one is still suffering.

The vets concluded that it could have been from vaccines. While I agree (as I don’t like vaccines), I did watch the insecticide cloud drift for 3 days in a row over to their small field. The other horses were not directly in the drift. The vets dismissed my findings.

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Please Print and Hand Out GMO Flyers To Feed Stores

Hi everyone! Seems as if the Genetically Modified Feed articles I have posted recently far exceed any of the hits to the training posts! I am glad, because it means you care about taking “beautiful care” of your horses on the inside as well as the outside!

I’d like to ask you to download the PDF files of a brochure on GE alfalfa, corn, sugar and soy, as it applies to your horse’s health, and distribute it to every place you can think of:

Feed Stores: bring them a handful and let them know you are not going to buy GM (GE, GMO) alfalfa when it’s harvested and baled at the end of this year.

Distribute it to: Tack stores – Horse organizations – Stables – Breeders – Local clubs – Horse shows and events – Friends – Put it out across the big wide web!

The most pressing issue for me are the 2011 sterility reports on humans. Within a single generation of eating GM foods, we are now seeing a proliferation of men with sterility problems ( http://scholar.google.ca/scholar?q=2011+sterility+and+gmo&hl=en&as_sdt=0&as_vis=1&oi=scholart http://www.google.ca/search?q=2011+sterility+and+gmo&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a). This is the beginning: don’t let it happen to your horses or animals.

A big thank you to everyone that’s taking this seriously. Yes, it will be an inconvenience getting non-GM alfalfa at the end of 2011, but we have time to turn it around with your help! So get these brochures downloaded and printed, and get them to your feed stores first – educate them if you can, but make sure they know you will not be buying this garbage, whose advantages are only for the profit of large corporations.

GE Alfalfa Brochure inside: Horse Industry Brochure Inside

GE Alfalfa Brochure outside:Horse Industry GE-GMO Alfalfa Brochure outside

Caution: the files are large, so if you have trouble printing kilobytes right now, this may be a long process. To start, print the outside PDF first. Then reinsert them into your printer again and print the inside. You may have to fiddle to get it right side up! If your paper jams on the second pass, let the paper sit flat for a day and it will feed better. On the outside sheet you will notice a tiny dot near the photo of the little girl feeding the horse, and another by the two horses discussing the cons of eating GE Alfalfa. Those dots are for you to find the “fold” when you are folding these brochures. This makes it real easy for you to get your brochures looking real nice. You will notice the inside fold is shorter: I planned it that way! I have to say this or else I will get hundreds of emails wondering why this doesn’t work. I have also added photos of the brochure below.

Happy printing and folding, and I’m interested to hear your stories and comments about your GE alfalfa blitz!! And as always, you can email me at: aprilreeves at shaw dot ca


Monsanto buys off Therapeutic Riding Facility

I know I may not be a popular horse person with this, but it’s time we all saw the dragon for what it is. Once again, Monsanto is buying people’s favor, one desperate industry at a time.

A therapeutic riding facility in Henry County, Tennessee, has received $2,500 as part of a program administered by the Monsanto Fund.

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