Tuesday, September 22, 2015

The Basics of Grooming Your Horse by My Equine World

By My Equine World

Welcome to my regular space on the Complete Family, I'm just your extra-ordinary pre-teen sharing my adventures! I learn something new everyday in the world of equine and as I do I'll share them with you, from interviews with industry experts, rider fashion, health, advocacy and more on My Equine World!

A great big W.E.L.C.O.M.E to my very first blog post...Maybe you just started taking riding lessons, you're thinking about it or you just want to find out more about caring for the equine.  Today I'll be explaining what you should know about basic grooming and what you should have in your grooming kit as you start out.  Video to come!!!

Curry Comb

Curry Comb:  The purpose of the curry comb is to loosen surface dirt and hair. When you use the curry comb you want to go in a circular motion all over their body. Avoid their face and legs, these are sensitive.

Dandy Brush

Dandy Brush (Hard brush):  The Dandy brush is used for removing the loosened dirt and hair.  Use it in a sweeping motion and go in the direction of your horse's coat growth.

Finishing Brush

Finishing Brush (Soft brush):  The finishing brush is used to remove any left over hair and dirt and is used to smooth and shine your horse's coat. You can use it on your horse's face and legs as well.

Mane Brush

Mane/Tail Brush:  You can use a brush or comb on your horse's mane if he allows you to.  Begin where the mane starts and brush down.  Using the tail comb (or rake), start from the top of their tail and brush down.

Some people prefer to finger comb their horse's mane and tail to prevent damage.

Hoof Pick

Hoof pick:  A hoof pick is used for picking out any stones or dirt that can injure the horse. Remember not to go near their "frog", it looks like a triangle on the bottom of their hoof (see picture below), it can hurt your horse.

Clean your grooming tools frequently. I use an old comb to pull out any hair from the bristles, soak them in warm, soapy water and rinse.  Repeat this several times depending on how dirty your tools are.

**Important Facts I Learned**

What is the "frog"?

The "Frog" 
I asked Ms.Gayle Ecker Hon. B.A., B.Ed., M.Sc., and director of Equine Guelph more about the frog, here's what she had to say:
"The frog is a spongy "V" shaped structure on the bottom of the foot.  The frog is part of the concussion-absorbing structure on the bottom of the horse's foot and helps to protect the hoof and legs from hard landings on hard surfaces (this is known as the "concussive force" of landing).  The spongy nature of the frog helps cushion the impact, much like "gel insoles" will work in your shoes!
When cleaning out the hoof, which ideally should be done every day, you should not dig into the frog or cut it as you can cause pain or infection. It is important to gently use the hoof pick and brush to make sure the deep grooves of the hoof are clean and dry when you clean out the feet.  The farrier should visit your horse every 6-8 weeks and with the proper tools, the farrier may trim up the frog as needed but this has to be done carefully.

The frog also plays an important role in assisting with blood flow to the hoof and legs, and regular exercise is really important to the horse each day.  Keeping a horse in the stall all day standing on wet bedding can cause serious problems for the horse, so regular turnout on grassy, dry areas is really helpful.  Don't let the horse stand in mud for prolonged periods (have pasture turnout areas where the horse does not have to stand in the mud) as this can make the frog too wet and thrush and other issues can develop."  
                            - Gayle Ecker, Hon. B.A., B.Ed., M.Sc.

*Artwork supplied by Equine Guelph, with permission.*

Thank you!! Ms. Ecker from Equine Guelph for all your expertise.

Thank you!! Greenhawk Mississauga for generously supplying me with the grooming tools seen in this article. Greenhawk Mississauga is located at 5665 McLaughlin Rd, Mississauga, ON. Follow them on Instagram @greenhawkmississauga and look for them on Facebook at Greenhawk Mississauga

Thanks for reading!!

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Project-Based Learning (PBL) for Families

By Amber Chandler

        I was a teacher before I was a parent, but it wasn’t until I was a mom that I started thinking of my teaching as truly student-centered. It’s all well and good to walk into a room of 25 middle school students and want what’s best for them, but it is a whole other ball game when you are sending your child off to school, hoping that the people there are going to notice his interest and her sense of humor. You might say that since I became a parent, I started looking at children differently. I’ve come to believe from my own children, and the 150 or so kids I have a year in my 8th grade classroom, that Project-Based Learning is one of the best ways for students to learn, allowing for individuality and creativity.

            Project-Based Learning, sometimes called Problem-Based Learning, unleashes the highest level of critical thinking through hands on, student-centered, and inquiry based strategies. There are many websites that will explain the ins and outs of PBL, as it is often called. Buck Institute for Education is definitely the best I’ve found, though it can seem overwhelming. The way I explain PBL to my students is to tell them that we are going to do a project with BAM:
Burning questions. Gotta know, dying to know, really need to know, want to find out so much that you’ll stay after school, talk about it at lunch, and text about it
Authentic audiences: Share with the world, publish it online, put it in a class blog, make a movie, call the newspaper, do whatever it takes to reach over 300 people (double your class size)
Millennial skills
: Make memes, create a gif, record a song, make a video game; essentially, this means posters won’t cut it in the 21st century!
            My students love this approach, though some are overwhelmed by the daunting task ahead. However, I tell students they should become “obsessed” with what they want to know and go at finding answers like a reporter digging for details. Last year, my 8th graders read The Giver, and teams built what they considered to be a Utopia (keeping in mind that we had spent many days discussing unintended consequences and Dystopia). Read about this project here. They voted that I begin this year with this novel and project, not because I am a fabulous teacher of the nuances, but because THEY were the ones who did the learning and presenting, while I facilitated.

The reason PBL works so well in classrooms is the same reason it works for homeschoolers. As a teacher, I’m well aware of “summer slide” and what the National Summer Learning Association says about it: "A conservative estimate of lost instructional time is approximately two months or roughly 22 percent of the school year.... It's common for teachers to spend at least a month re-teaching material that students have forgotten over the summer. That month of re-teaching eliminates a month that could have been spent on teaching new information and skills." Needless to say, my own children do a project each summer to keep them on their toes.

Building a Pinata
A few years ago, when my daughter Zoey was six and my son Oliver was three, we decided that we’d capitalize on their love of Dora the Explorer and learn all about Spain and Spanish. (I didn’t think they’d understand a whole conversation about speaking Spanish in Mexico, but you might feel more ambitious depending on the child’s age) The first thing they wanted to do was build a piƱata (can you blame them?!). I used this opportunity to show my kids how to Google a topic. We used these directions, though you can’t blame them for how it turned out! They loved every minute of it—from blowing up balloons (where we talked about not smoking and lung capacity) to using a ruler to measure (in inches and centimeters) the tissue paper.

A Spanish Meal
The next adventure in “Project Spain” was to have an authentic meal. Obviously I didn’t let my small children do much, but they shredded lettuce, and helped with the dough and made apple cinnamon stuffed empanadas. I let Zoey type up the menus on the “good” computer (the one without chubby fingerprints on the screen) and even let her print in color. Oliver worked on the flag, and at three that was pretty adventurous of me! We talked lots about color and what flags are for.

I bet right about now you are thinking, hmm…, what’s so special about that? This is what homeschooling (or good parenting for that matter) looks like. You are correct. However, to gain the most impact from projects, to truly utilize all the characteristics of PBL, there must be an intentionality to the work you do as facilitator. Me personally, I was so exhausted from the entire project that our “authentic audience” was a few friends we had for dinner, which was perfectly ok because my kids were so young. However, this summer, as Zoey (now 10) tackled “Why are dinosaurs extinct?” and Oliver (now 7) “How do you make a movie?” I had to recalibrate what I should be expecting of them. As you do what you are already doing—teaching children in authentic and rewarding ways—keep going about it intentionally and with BAM in mind.

Amber Rain Chandler is a National Board Certified ELA teacher and education writer in Hamburg, NY. She leads professional development in Project-Based Learning, Danielson's Domains, and Differentiation. Follow her on Twitter @MsAmberChandler and visit her website, AmberRainChandler.com

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

The Easy and Affordable way to update your child's room

By Dale Ho
As kids grow their style evolves and their needs change for example, older kids ideally should have a dedicated space to sit and work on projects anywhere from hobbies to schoolwork.

I highly recommend kids have a hand in the redesign and decorating of their space. It's gives them a sense of accomplishment, pride and ownership. It can quickly become a learning experience. It's showing them you value their opinions too. Work together to create a space they will appreciate. Keep it light and FUN! 

But the cost to redecorate each time can quickly add up!

Benjamin Moore's Colour & Design Expert Sharon Grech offers up some quick, easy and cost effective ways to update any child's room.

Add small accessories
  • Save money on small accessories, such as throw pillows which can easily be replaced as their personal style evolves.
  • As children can be very rough on walls, don’t skimp on paint. “A high quality paint, particularly one in a higher gloss finish, will endure the wear and tear, be easier to clean and be less likely to need touch ups,” says Sharon Grech. “Benjamin Moore Natura has incredible durability and also has zero VOCs and zero emissions. This makes it a safer paint for your family and for the environment without any sacrifice to performance.”
  • Multi-functionality is key for investment pieces - look for bedding with reversible patterns, or furniture that can be refinished or has hardware that can be changed as tastes mature.
  • Don't shy away from bold tints – painting is an easy and affordable way to refresh and transition a room from childhood to adolescence.
  • “Geometric patterns are very popular in kid’s room this year – and there are so many fun ways to incorporate this fun, kid-friendly trend into their room,” says Sharon Grech. A geometric statement wall, dresser or ceiling can easily be achieved with a can of paint and stencil, and will allow for a trendy room that can be changed easily if needed.

Big ideas for kids' rooms
To help you further, here are also some links to great colour schemes for kids bedrooms:



Have fun working together to create a space they will love!

Photo credits: Benjamin Moore