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RMM Newslettre - Month of December

In November, I lectured at the Verona Horse Fair, in Italy. It’s one of the biggest of its kind in Europe, and we saw breeds we’d never heard of before, as well as many now familiar in the U.S. Hanoverians, Friesians, and Haflingers are especially popular, as is Western horsemanship. This last surprised us, and is in it’s fledgling stage. We noted overuse of bit, spur, and whip.

The Fair itself was very colorful and a fascinating cultural experience. I spent one day discussing the science of equine behavior, and another teaching imprint training of the newborn foal. The audience was very attentive and enthusiastic, and many of them had already done their own foals to great success. Two of my books had been translated into Italian, and I signed copies until my hand cramped.

Verona Horse Fair, in Italy

Verona itself-- home of Romeo and Juliet--is beautiful. We visited the Capulet’s home, and even stepped onto the famed balcony. Meanwhile, the Roman Ampitheatre located right in the main piazza is still used regularly for events. The medieval architecture and modern Verona are intermingled, but the result is still an attractive, pleasant city.

Wishing you and your horses a safe, happy holiday season, and best wishes for 2013.

Please send any comments or suggestions to newsletter@robertmmiller.com .  Have an idea for a cartoon? Send it to cartoons@robertmmiller.com , or visit our site and store, www.rmmcartoons.com .

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Starting ‘em young

There’s a lot of controversy surrounding what age to start colts versus riding them regularly. I’m not opposed to getting on colts and plunking around; quietly teaching them to turn, back, and move forward on command. But, despite their size, a two-year-old is still a baby. Its limbs are soft and immature. Yes, exercise is important to encourage development of the limbs, but I’ve always limited exercise in two-year-olds to pasture roaming, and arena or round pen groundwork.

Every colt I’ve raised I didn’t start regular riding until they were three or four, with one exception. I started one of our mules as a two-year-old, because I assumed the hybrid’s innate hardiness would negate this. It was a mistake. I know now that mules, like Arabians, are actually slower-maturing than most horse breeds. The mule I have now (she’s 25) I didn’t start regular riding until she was four.

The futurities cause colts to be worked very hard as two-year-olds. Some survive undamaged, but most don’t. Unfortunately, futurities, once limited to race horses, today involve reining, cutting, and barrel-racing, etc.. It keeps veterinarians busy, as even a three-year-old horse is immature.

So, if you want to ride your young animals sparingly, it’s okay. But wait longer to work them hard if you want them to still be sound at 25 or 28 years of age.

Dr. Miller riding mule.


question of the month
question of the month

Have a question for Dr. Miller?
Send it to questions@robertmmiller.com.

We apologize that due to volume, we can’t guarantee Dr. Miller can respond to all emails, but we are building a more comprehensive FAQ page on our website to address your needs. All questions may be edited for clarity and space.

Q. How important is it to blanket my horse in the winter? I hear conflicting opinions.

A. Horses evolved in North America, surviving several ice ages. They’re a cold-weather species. With their normal hair coats, they don’t need winter blanketing—look at the thousands of wild mustangs that populate the continent. They thrive, even in harsh climates.

If horses are clipped, however, they need a warming layer in the form of a good blanket. Animals worked until sweaty, on the other hand should be dried out before being put out in the cold.


Mark Your Calendars!

Interested in catching one of Dr. Miller’s summer or fall lectures?

Robert M. Miller, D.V.M.
  • Feb-16-17, Medford Fairgrounds, OR: Cowboy Dressage clinic with Etian Beth-Halachmy. For details, click here.

  • Dec. 1-5, Anaheim, CA: Stop by our AAEP trade show booth adjacent Spaulding Labs!

For contact details and other dates and locations in 2012, go to www.robertmmiller.com/appearances.html.

For information on appearances and other dates and locations in 2012, Click Here

Coming in our March newsletter:

A look at half a century of imprint training.

Interested in booking Dr. Miller for a lecture, demonstration, or book signing?
Contact info@robertmmiller.com.

Please send any comments or suggestions to newsletter@robertmmiller.com

Have an idea for a cartoon?  Send it to cartoons@robertmmiller.com , or visit our site and store, www.rmmcartoons.com