Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Some of my best ideas come while riding,RALOS Safety Floors is born.

The other day me and my riding buddy where out for a ride and started talking about our week and what we were up to. He mentioned that an older neighbour of his had a bad fall and seriously hurt herself. We started talking some more about the aging population and the risks of falling. Well one thing lead to another and we decided to look into it a little more and discovered a business opportunity right in front of our noses.

Hence RALOS Safety Floors was born.

RALOS Safety Floors is dedicated to reducing the occurrence of slip and fall accidents that often cause serious bodily injury. We assist a wide variety of organizations; Commercial, Industrial, Health Care and Residential facilities to comply with national safety standards and safety legislation.

With an innovative floor treatment backed by a comprehensive floor safety program we provide our customer a long lasting and affordable alternative in Slip & Fall prevention.

Our Safe Floor Treatment will improve your floors traction performance without changing the appearance or the maintenance schedule of the floors. The results are beautiful floors that comply with current safety legislation and standards.

I'm hoping that this venture will become as rewarding and interesting as Horslife has been for me.

I hope that this new business idea of mine goes to show you that if you just relax and not worry so much about your riding seat and how your horse is responding good things can come about. For me a big part of riding is relaxing and letting my mind wander, I suggest you try the same sometime. I promise you will feel more relaxed at the end of the ride and so will your horse.

Here's the shameless plug:

If you are concerned about slip and falls caused by slippery floor tiles check out the website email me or give me a call.

Enough business now let's get out for a ride




Friday, April 16, 2010

I Hope you're Riding? Now is the time to leg up your horse.

I must admit when the weather is nice the last thing I want to do is be in front of a computer writing a blog, hence the reason I haven't had a post in over 2 weeks.  The weather in Southern Ontario has been superb for riding so that's what I have been doing.
I am taking full advantage of the dry warm weather  to bring some horses back into shape.  I often get asked what I do to leg up a horse after a winter of relative little activity.  It is pretty simple and similar to the way people start getting back in shape after a winter off.  Start small and build. 
Here is what I would do to bring a trail horse back into condition.

Week 1
Monday walk 20 min trot 5 min walk 15 min
Tuesday walk 20 min trot 5 min walk 15 min

Wednesday walk 20 min trot 5 min walk 15 min

Thursday walk 20 min trot 5 min walk 15 min

Friday walk 20 min trot 5 min walk 15 min

Saturday walk 20 min trot 5 min walk 15 min

Sunday rest
Week 2
Monday walk 20 min trot 5 min walk 15 min
Tuesday walk 20 min trot 5 min walk 15 min
Wednesday walk 15 min trot 10 min walk 15 min
Thursday walk 15 min trot 10 min walk 15 min
Friday walk 15 min trot 10 min walk 15 min
Saturday walk 15 min trot 10 min walk 15 min
Sunday rest

Week 3
Monday walk 10 min trot 15 min canter 5 min walk 15 min
Tuesday walkwalk 10 min trot 15 min canter 5 min walk 15 min
Wednesday walk 10 min trot 15 min canter 5 min walk 15 min
Thursday walk 10 min trot 15 min canter 5min walk 15 min
Friday walk 10 min trot 15 min canter 5 min walk 15 min
Saturday walk 10 min trot 15 min canter 5 min walk 15 min
Sunday go for a long walk to stretch out from the week
Week 4

Monday walk 10 min trot 20 min canter 5 walk 15 min
Tuesday walkwalk 10 min trot 20 min walk 15 min
Wednesday walk 10 min trot 20 min walk 15 min
Thursday walk 10 min trot 20 min canter 5min walk 15 min
Friday walk 10 min trot 20 min canter 5 min walk 15 min
Saturday walk 10 min trot 20 min canter 5 min walk 15 min
Sunday go for a long walk with a little canter and some trotting thrown in. ( no more then 5 minutes of trotting and cantering)
This is a rough guide; play it by ear and see how your horse is doing.  I don't think there is anything wrong with a sweaty horse but be sure to cool him out properly and rest him if you think he needs it. 
Try to stick to good footing and use your good horse sense.
Good luck
Steve Wawryk

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Spring check list for horse and rider

    Finally, spring is here in Southern Ontario and we can start to ramp up our outdoor riding activities. After a long winter and not much riding you are eager to get out there and hit the trail but before you do there are a few things you need to check.

   The first thing is make sure your horse is in good health. Look for cuts, scraps, runny noses, leaky eyes and all vaccinations are up to date (UTD). You don't want to put a sick or unhealthy horse back to work if he isn't up for it. Remember start back slow, stretching, flexing, lots of walking and asking for a response: stop, back up, move of the leg, collect, etc.

  Second make sure you are in shape, hopefully you have been doing your stretches and exercises throughout the winter, if you haven't stretch before you get in the saddle and start back slow. Nothing can take the fun out of riding then waking up with sore stiff muscles from the ride the day before.

   Make sure all your tack is in good working order, I suggest taking care of repairs in the winter but give it another once over to make sure nothing is going to break or rub the wrong way.

   If you have a trailer you should have it given the once over, have bearings repacked, check the brakes, the floor and lights. There is nothing worse then having a tripped all planned and the trailer isn't in operating order when you need it.

   Plan your events now and write them in a calendar. It will be summer before you know it and campgrounds and shows will fill up quickly, decide which events you want to do and book it. I find if I wait I either miss out on the space, get too busy with other things or you just plain forget.

   Set a goal for you and your horse, maybe it is to teach him to load himself in a trailer, perfect the flying lead change or get him to ride out on his own. If you have something to work for it keeps things fresh and interesting for you and your horse and motivates you to get out and ride.

Hope to see you out on the trail.

Steve Wawryk

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Can Am All Breed Show A Great Success

I would like to thank everyone that stopped by the HorseLife booth this past weekend at the Can Am All Breed show in London Ontario.  It was great seeing a bunch of familiar faces and meeting a lot of new ones.  I would like to give a special thanks to all those who purchased some products and took in one of my seminars; without your support I could not be doing what I love and would be back at a "Real Job"; thanks.

A special congratulations to all the Wind Rider Challenge competitors, in particular to Camilla Willings who took the championship with her beautiful freestyle performance on her Paso Fino Stallion; (some great riding Camilla)
I should also mention the Winner of the Leather Bitless Bridle draw was Skye Pomainville of Timmins Ontario.
I look forward to meeting with many of you again at horse events throughout the season.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Can Am all Breed show March 19-21 Western Fairgrounds London Ontario

This isn't so much a blog today but a shameless plug.  I will be lecturing at the Can Am All Breed Show in London Ontario at the Western fairgrounds Agriplex Mar 19-21, 2010.  I will be speaking about the benefits and features of bitless and treeless riding.  So if you are interested in hearing some no nonsense, concise, unbiased, facts about this riding style; take in one of my lectures or auditorium seminars were I will be saddling and bridling a horse in a treeless saddle and bitless bridle.
Be sure to drop by the HorseLife booth G5 and enter your name in a draw for some great prizes or take advantage of some show specials on a variety of great products  (Free Candy Too!). 
The schedule of lecture times seems to be changing by the minute so check out the http://www.canamequine.ca/  schedule for times and room numbers closer to the show.  Be sure to take in a Windrider Challenge were riders compete in a multifaceted discipline competition for great prizes. First place is an Orthoflex saddle second and third prize is a horselife treeless saddle.



Steve Wawryk's lifelong love and passion for horses is what led him to pursue a career in the horse industry and helped him in creating his multifaceted company Horselife.

Drawing on his 16 years of interest and participation in a wide variety of equestrian disciplines, Steve has created a brand of tack, most notably his Horselife bitless bridles and treeless saddles. He offers clinics and seminars to small groups interested in learning more about bitless and treeless riding. Steve can answer all your questions and provide hands on instruction to help you get started riding in this exciting discipline. The Horselife "free saddle trial" program is a great way to insure that treeless riding is right for both you and your horse.

When Steve is not busy running his tack business he is writing his daily blog on all things related to horses. Want to improve your riding? Steve offers horse training and private riding lessons to people interested in learning a no nonsense safe approach to "real life riding". In a very short time Steve can have you and your horse working in harmony. In his spare time, Steve enjoys camping or traveling with his wife and two sons. On any given weekend Steve can be found playing polo, roping cattle, fox hunting or participating in some other horseback pursuit. If you ever thought about trying bitless or treeless riding be sure to take in Steve's seminar, you won't want to miss it. For more information, visit http://www.horselife.ca/
Thanks hope to see you there.

Monday, March 1, 2010

A little trick for calming an excited horse.

We have all been there, you are out at the barn ready to load your horse on the trailer or go for a ride and your horse is wired for sound. They could be fired up for any sort of reason but all you know is your horse is prancing, head held high, jumpy and showing the whites of his eyes. It is obvious your horse is nervous or scared so how do you calm him down so you can handle him in a safe calm manner. I have a trick I use to help settle a nervous horse. I am not sure where I picked this trick up; it may have been from another horseman, an article I read or the internet. I don't really know the science or magic behind this technique, (I think it works on pressure points and endorphin release) but I do know it has worked for me.

Let me explain; the first thing I do is keep calm, it is impossible to settle an animal when you are stressed so I take a couple of deep breathes and relax. When I feel the tension leave I talk to my horse in a calm cool manner in a soothing soft voice.

Once I can approach the horse I start by scratching and petting around the withers. Hopefully the horse will stand still and lower his head enough so I can rub him between the eyes. Once I have rubbed and petted on his head him I apply a little pressure to the indentations above the horse’s eyes. I use my pinkie and my thumb (like the hang loose symbol) and apply light steady pressure to this area.

At first your horse may not know what to expect and start to move around and try to raise his head, stay with it. In a very short time the horses head will begin to drop and his eye lids will grow very heavy. After 30 seconds to a minute of this the horse will become very calm and relaxed, some become so relaxed that they try to lie down and almost fall asleep. I believe this is a good practice to get into before every ride, particularly for those of you who are mounting a nervous high strung horse. What I like about this trick is it performs three purposes, one it can help settle the horse and two it forces you to calm yourself down before mounting and three helps to build the bond between you and your horse. Keep this up for a few weeks and in no time your horse will learn to look forward to it. I can hear the sceptics already and I know it sounds crazy and a little flakey but it works for me.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Part-Boarding Part 2: Taking the Plunge

So you’ve finally decided to elevate your riding from a weekly lesson to part-boarding a horse. This is a big step so you want to make sure you know exactly what you want and what to look for before taking the plunge.

Here are a few things to look for and avoid before getting into a part-boarding agreement.

Find an appropriate level of mount. Make sure the horse you are going to board is well suited to your skill level. I think it is okay to challenge yourself at this point by riding a little more horse then what you have been riding in lessons but be honest with yourself and the person whose horse you will be riding. If you are not an expert rider don’t claim to be. Have the owner ride the horse first then you ride it, this is a good way to see if the horse is what the owner claims it to be and it allows you and the owner the chance to see if everyone is well suited and happy with the match up.

Make sure the horse is sound for riding, there is nothing more frustrating then paying for a horse that is too sore to ride or is only sound for “light riding” when what you want is a horse that can giddy up. A vet check will do this or have a knowledgeable friend help you out.

Try to find a location that will allow you to do the riding you want to do. If you are interested in trail riding then look for an appropriate barn that has easy access to trails. There is no sense part boarding at a hunter jumper barn when you want to work on trails. Be sure to check that the barn hours and accessibility to arenas, sand rings and round pens are going to work with your schedule. You don’t want to part- board at a facility if you plan on riding at night and the barn closes at 8PM or you have a lot of lessons to work around.

Make sure the barn is located close enough that you can get out and ride as often as has been arranged. Be realistic are you willing to travel an hour each way to ride three days a week?

So you think you have found the appropriate horse and location now it is time to talk finances and expectations with the owner. Negotiating terms with owner is often the toughest part for some people. In my business dealings I always want both parties walking out of the agreement happy with what they got. You don’t want to feel you have been taken advantage of and you don’t want the owner to feel like you are trying to short change them. This is particularly true for a part boarding agreement, ticking off the owner is a sure fire way of ending the arrangement.

The things you will need to discuss are the available dates; can you take the horse off the property or to shows? Talk about access to tack and having friends coming out to watch. Have a clear understanding what will happen if the horse becomes lame, usually the owner takes care of vet bills. I would caution anyone who is asked to cover vet bills, medications or supplements you never know where these expenses could lead. I strongly suggest liability insurance for the part –boarder, you want to be covered if the horse you are riding accidentally kicks someone’s car or rips a gate off. Here in Ontario Canada I use the OEF (Ontario Equestrian Federation) for some of my coverage.

Finally respect the horse the owner and the facilities you are riding at. The horse community is a tight one you do not want a reputation for being a difficult or uncooperative part-boarder. Treat people and horses the way you would want to be treated and you’ll be fine.

Good luck and have fun

Steve Wawryk