Itís the start of pleasure riding season, when we get out on the trail, or find ourselves inspired to ride in parades or rodeos, or bareback in lakes or at the beach.  The kids are off from school, and may be spending a lot of time on horseback, as well.  Itís all a great break in routine for both horse and rider, and the exposure to different landscapes and stimuli can make for a well-rounded riding animal. But donít forget that these activities all have their inherent dangers: wildlife darting across the trail, electrical storms, slipping off while your horse is swimming, animals bolting after being spooked by waving flags or fireworks.  Take advantage of these potential hazards by preparing for them- always wear a helmet and carry a cell phone or GPS on the trail, learn basic rules for wilderness safety and first aid, and know your horseís quirks and fears.

Using techniques such as those described in my book, Understanding the Ancients secrets of the Horses Mind or or demonstrated in my video, Influencing the Horses Mind and the DVD Understanding Horses, you or your trainer should work with your horse to desensitize it to frightening stimuli.  If youíre riding an unfamiliar horse, always be prepared for a fight-or-flight response, so you can remain in control- even if youíre separated from your animal. Itís called pleasure riding for a reason, but thatís not an excuse to forget about safety.  Debby and I wish you a wonderful and safe summer season.

Please send any comments or suggestions to Have an idea for a cartoon?  Send it to, or visit our site and store,

Clinician Richard WintersRichard Winters reflects on the 2010 Light Hands Horsemanship clinic.

It was a great privilege for me to share the same arena with such great horsemen at Light Hands Horsemanship. The 100 plus guest were phenomenal! I don't recall presenting in front of a more engaged, knowledgeable, and enthusiastic group of like-minded horse lovers. It was truly an honor.

~Richard Winters

For information on the 2011 LHH, Click Here, or contact Debbie Beth-Halachmy at, or 530-346-9125


A majority of todayís pleasure horses are kept in rather confined areas, and our busy lives often do not allow us to take long rides, except perhaps on weekends. For these reasons, many horses, although basically healthy, are quite out of shape.  As a result, a lengthy ride, especially on a hot summer day, can cause them physical damage. Veterinarians see heat stroke, ďtied upĒ horses, lameness, and other problems resulting from out-of-condition animals.  There are several things you can do to minimize the chances of injury to your horse:

  • Donít allow overweight. This is easily controlled by limiting calorie consumption. Donít overfeed. Horses used only once or twice a week and who donít have large areas to roam donít need grain. Feed mostly grass hay, with perhaps 25% alfalfa for its protein and calcium content. A good all-around supplement made by a reliable company is okay, but donít overdo it.
  • Horses need access to salt all summer WHY? TO BALANCE ELECTROLYTES?, and a regular supply of fresh water.
  •  If you keep your horse barefoot, thatís fine.  But if you go on a long ride, it might be a good idea to carry along a couple of hoof boots - itís better than risking damaged feet.
  •  Use common sense.  Allow an out-of-shape horse to cool out on a hot day.  During the ride, allow him to rest up and catch his wind, as needed.  If itís really warm, dismount, and lift the saddle to make sure no saddle sores are developing.

Photos provided by Eitan and Debbie Beth-Halachmy 

Question of the Month

Have a question for Dr. Miller?
Send it to  We apologize that due to volume, we canít 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.  What can I do about those tiny flies that annoy my horseís ears as soon as the warm weather begins.

A.  When youíre not riding your horse, use a fly mask that has pouches for the ears. Before riding, apply an insect repellant to, and inside of, the ear. There are many good liquid brands on the market, such as ďTri-Tech,Ē or fly repellant ointments like ďWipe.Ē


Most horse owners know that overeating grain can cause laminitis (ďfounderĒ), a common and devastating disease of the animalís feet.

But itís not as well known that, especially in the springtime/June, eating too much new green grass is an even more common cause of laminitis. Prevent it by getting horses used to green grass very gradually, and by limiting the amount eaten. This can be accomplished in several ways:

*  Limit the number of hours in pasture
*  Put a ďgrazing muzzleĒ on the horse
*  Put the horse in pasture when his stomach is already full of hay

The sooner a case of laminitis is treated, the better the chances are to prevent permanent damage. Check pastured horses daily; if you notice any soreness in the feet, consider it an emergency.

Remove the horse from pasture, and call a veterinarian. Hours can make the difference between a prompt recovery, and permanent damage.

Photos provided by Dr. Dana Zimmel, University of Florida 


Mark Your Calendars!

Interested in catching one of Dr. Millerís lectures?
Spring and Summer Schedule:

Robert M. Miller, D.V.M.
  • July 31-August 4:  147th annual AVMA Convention, Atlanta, GA: For the first time, AVMA will include a two-day symposium on the ďArt & Science of Handling Horses.Ē All veterinary students planning to do equine practice, or practitioners who see equine patients should not miss this opportunity.  Click Here for details.

  • August 20-22:  Want a working vacation? Check out the Hawaii Horse Expo, August 20-22, on the Big Island: This annual event features workshops, presentations and exhibitions from the nationís leading clinicians and equine industry experts. For info, go to, or call organizer Nancy Jones at (808) 887-2301.

For information on appearances and other dates and locations in 2010, Click Here

Coming in our August newsletter:

A preview of Dr. Miller's new book: A Passion for Horses & Artistic Talent: An Unrecognized Connection. Go to for more information on this first-of-its-kind exploration of the link between horse lovers and creativity."

Interested in booking Dr. Miller for a lecture, demonstration, or book signing?

Click Here to view this Newsletter on your browser.







$5 off Dr. Miller's new book The Passion For Horses & Artistic Talent

Click Here and use Coupon Code ďPASSIONĒ