Let’s talk disciplines

  Let’s talk disciplines Why did you get your horse?   There are many different reasons to get a horse.   Some get horses to work on the farm to sort cows and access wooded areas.   Some purchase horses to trail ride and are good with just taking relaxing rides in the woods.   Other people purchase horses to show them.   There are several different disciplines that you can show in at horse shows.   Where I show horses, there are three disciplines that are shown.   There is the English riders, the Western riders, and the contesting riders.   English riders are also called hunt seat.   They wear tight pants called breeches, tall black boots, a white shirt and a suit jacket.   They show halter, rail work, patterns, and even jumping.   Western riders wear fancy clothes and spend lots of money on their clothes and equipment.   They show in halter, rail work, and patterns.   Another Western group is the Ranch riders who wear clothes that you would see on the ranch.   They are more the work


    Now that you have your horse and yourself ready, have you developed that trusting relationship with your horse?   So we have talked about working on the ground to test equipment, but working on the ground also helps develop that relationship with your horse.   Groundwork is essential to establishing boundaries and requiring your horse to respect your space.   When you are training your horse to lead, we think of the space around us as our bubble and the space around the horse as his bubble.   We teach the horse to respect our bubble and stay in his space.   When you are leading a horse, you initially want to start with your arm outstretched to teach the respect of space.   If the horse is in your bubble, they might step on you or push you around.   While working with the horse on the ground, you want to teach him to follow you and comply with your requests.   A halter and a lead rope are used when leading the horse.   You should never turn the horse into you but you should always


  One of the most important things a rider can wear is a helmet.   Helmet safety is essential in every sport.  They provide protection from injury in the event there is an accident or a fall.  Equestrians should follow these guidelines as well.  Wearing a helmet while riding a horse can protect the rider by reducing severity or eliminating the injury completely.  Horseback riding can be a dangerous sport and guidelines should be established to promote safety in horseback riding.  According to the University of Connecticut, “ each year approximately 70,000 people are treated in emergency rooms because of equestrian related activities,” (Riding Helmet Safety, n.d.).  Every rider knows that it is not a matter of if you will fall off, but when you will fall off.  Horses are not only large and fast, but they are decision-making animals of prey with a heightened flight response.  The decision-making instinct in the horse makes horseback riding a risky sport with the potential of unrecoverabl

My horse is ready but what about me?

  My horse is ready but what about me? So you have a horse and most of the equipment that you need to ride but are you ready?   So what you wear depends on where you are riding.   If you are trail riding then you need blue jeans, a shirt, and boots.   Jeans are thick so they protect the rider from getting saddle sore.   Riding in a saddle can cause your legs to chafe from rubbing on the saddle. It is important that you are protected when you ride.   Boots are important to protect your feet not only while riding but while on the ground.   Speaking from personal experience, boots are very important.   One year at the fair, I was giving my horse a bath and he stepped on my foot.   After fair was almost over, my mom took me to the doctor and my foot was broke in three places.   She thought that it was just sore because it was stepped on, but it was worse that sore.   I had survived the entire fair riding my horse and showing my hog with a broken foot.   Could this have been prevented?  

So you are ready to ride but how do you tell the horse what to do?

  So you are ready to ride but how do you tell the horse what to do?   Horses follow verbal commands and noises, cues from leg pressure, and by the bit that is in their mouth.   You can use word cues to tell the horse what you want him to do such as whoa to tell them to stop.   Leg pressure is used to tell the horse to turn, slow down, or speed up.   Bits provide a manual way to tell the horse what you want done.   There are several types of bits and each horse reacts differently to each bit.   Some horses need a more severe bit and others will listen to a mild bit.   The bits should not cause the horse pain, but should make the horse realize what the rider is asking.   A bit is attached to a bridle.  The bit is inserted into the horse's mouth and the bridle goes over the horse's ears.  Reins are attached to the bit and are used for controlling the horse.   The bit will apply pressure to the horse’s mouth and help him understand what the rider is asking him to do: turn, stop, g

Saddling Up

 Once  the horse is brushed and hooves are clean, you are ready to put the saddle pad on the horse.  This is to protect the horse from the saddle.  It offers additional padding so that the horse is comfortable when the rider mounts.  There are different types of saddle pads that en be purchased depending on what you plan to do with the horse.   Some saddle pads offer shoulder support to keep the saddle from causing too much pressure on the shoulder.   There are shock absorbing saddle pads that absorb some of the shock from the rider so that it is all not on the horses back.   There are fancy pads for showing and there are plain pads for trail rides.   Finding the right pad is important to the horse.   Style can be purchased in every type of pad.   Saddle pads need to fit the horse and the saddle.   The pad should cover the horse’s back and should hang out below, in front, and in back of the saddle.   This keeps the leather of the saddle from rubbing on the horse and causing sores.   In

Grooming your horse

  Once you have developed some trust with you horse, the next step is brushing the horse.  There are different brushes for different tasks.  A curry comb, is a metal device with serrated edges that is good for getting dried mud and manure off of the horse.  If the mud is really caked on the horse, a bath or spot washing with a bucket might be a better choice than the curry comb because the curry comb could pull clumps of hair out with the mud.   A soft bristle brush is used on his face.  There is a brush for his mane and tail.  It there are burrs and tangles in the mane or tail, using baby oil will help loosen up the burrs or tangles without ripping or cutting them out.   A hard bristle brush can be used on his body.  It is important to use all of these tools each time you plan to ride.  The horse must be clean of mud and manure.  If clumps of dirt are left on the horse, when the saddle is tightened, it could cause the horse pain and make sores on them.  Next you need to make sure the