Horse Tips & Equine Health

Horse Tips from Tim McGaffic & Ginny Elder - The Nature of Natural

Here's How Ocala is proud to partner with Tim McGaffic and Ginny Elder, who will be offering weekly horse tips every Friday.
For more information, please visit their site at

Knowing how the horse learns and views the world becomes useful for us as teachers. We certainly become more effective and probably more compassionate! Best wishes from Tim McGaffic and Ginny Chase Elder.

Seminole Feed Chart

We've included a copy of Seminole Feed's information chart for reference. You can visit their site at for more information.

Dealing with Natural Disasters

Given the current state of affairs, Here's How Ocala, Ginny and Tim wanted to share some tips for dealing with natural disasters. Click on each image below to enlarge.

April 2018 Horse Tips

Last month we talked about evaluating the horse to check out the horse’s readiness to be ridden. This month let’s look at the rider.

Mount and check your breathing. Is it deep and regular or are you holding your breath?
Is there weight on both seat bones or is it difficult to feel one of them?
Are you seat bones in the deepest part of the saddle and not braced back up on the cantle?
Your hips bones are over your seat bones not in front of or behind
Your lower back is relaxed
Your upper body is over your hips, not leaning forward or back
Your shoulder, hip and heel are aligned in a straight line
Your shoulders are back and not rounded forward
Your chest (sternum) feels like it’s being pulled out by a string not collapsed inward
Your shoulders are level and you’re not leaning laterally one way or the other
You can barely see the toe of your boot when you glance down…not your whole foot and none of your lower leg
You have even reins with even contact
You have equal weight in the stirrups

...create your own check list that you can review for yourself while yourre riding.

When you identify one glaring aspect of your self you want to correct move it to the top of your list.

Where am I in the saddle. This will improve your riding immensely if you just think about it as you ride. This is true whether it's a trail ride, gathering cattle or a training session in the arena.

March 2018 Horse Tips

This month we'll explore the Rider's Checklist! Every pilot has a check list for his airplane before he takes off. Like a pilot the rider should have a check list for riding that includes both the horse and rider's readiness to ride! The Rider's Checklist starts with evaluating the horse.

Can you approach him rather clumsily and he isn't afraid?

Does he feel soft on the lead rope? Not all stiff and bracey?

Can you easily flex him laterally and bend his head and neck from side to side?
Can you bend him and then move his hindquarters over with the inside hind stepping up and under?

Can you perform all ground work exercises easily and without resistance?

February 2018 Horse Tips

There are many types of pressures. Pressure causes a horse to search for a way out.

The release is his reward and reinforces his behavior at the moment the release occurs. Timing is everything.

Build trust, remove fear and build understanding in the horse.

- Create a detailed plan
- Prepare yourself according to the plan
- The approach you take will signify intention
- Give the horse every chance to succeed and only ask for what you are reasonably sure you will get
- Ride or work the brace
- Work only one part at a time
- Diagnose resistance
- Lateral flexion is control and you absolutely need it
- Soft and Supple will indicate willingness and understanding
- Soak time for you and your horse
- Create and maintain boundaries at all times for safety

January 2018 Horse Tips

When you stop and give him a rub or a pet we call this soak time. It lets the horse have some time to think about what just took place and let it soak in. So often the horse seems to decide well that wasn't so bad and is much better when you start back up.

You can give your horse this time with a little petting or without and but just let him "soak" for a while.

Each situation is a little bit unique (as they all are) but a little soak and pet time will do wonders for what you are trying to accomplish. In addition, this is a great way to build TRUST!

This should be considered in your training plan. This means that you, being the leader of the team, set the boundary or distance between you two. This bubble needs to be respected by him at all times unless you invite him in. You can move into his space but not he into yours without a proper "ask" on his part and an affirmative response on yours.

The groundwork is the foundation for creating what the boundaries give you which is Response and Respect.

When you ask… you get a response and that response is respectful of you, your space and is done with a good attitude and a willing mind. As the leader you should also bring a good attitude and a willing mind to the dance as well.

Here's How Ocala proudly supports
Tim McGaffic's "The Nature of Natural"

The Nature of Natural is based on the idea that through science and knowledge we can experience a better understanding and alliance between humans and horses. The lack of insight into a horse’s nature can be a great cause of anxiety in horses when they are being trained, as well as a source of frustration for riders and trainers.

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OcalaBred Nutrition & Video Series

The Collective Resource for All Things Equestrian, including a video series on horse health & Nutrition.

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Previous Equine Health Alerts

Horse Owners: Beware Creeping Indigo - Nov 2016

Click the button above to read more about the Creeping Indigo threat in the South Florida area.

Horse Owners: Beware Creeping Indigo - Sept 2015

Click the button above to view a PDF of the newspaper clipping from September 10, 2015 in the Ocala StarBanner.