Tip Archive 2011

Dec 2011: Buying That "Special" Horse

Okay, so you've thought and thought again about 'that' horse... but are you really sure he/shes right for you??? This page is dedicated to helping you figure that out.

There are many places to look to find the right horse for you. Here are some ideas to get your 'creative juices' flowing: friends, local horse shows, barns/stables, internet, auctions (Be VERY, VERY careful with auctions) and humane socities. But where ever you decide to look, just remember to ask questions and if the horse you're looking at isn't right for you, don't be afraid to say No!

MYTH: "If you buy a young untrained horse for a young uneducated rider, they will 'grow' together" This is untrue in most cases... it will only lead to disappointment. The uneducated rider will get frustrated because the horse is not doing what the rider is asking, and the horse will get frustrated because he/she does not know what is being asked.

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Nov 2011: Riding Tips

This month we are adding horseback riding tips (all disciplines).

  1. The most important rule in horseback riding is.... KEEP YOUR HEELS DOWN!!!!!! Why?? Because not only does it make you more secure, but it also stops your foot from being caught in the stirrup should the horse spook.

  1. The second most important thing is.... keep your head and shoulders up and sit straight up and down or lean slightly back. This puts you in a secure position for riding. For instance, if your horse were to buck and you were leaning forward, you would find yourself on the ground.

  1. If the sport you choose to ride in requires speed for the most part (ie: eventing, games), it is best to choose nylon-backed stirrup leathers (for english saddles) as these can stand a lot of wear and tear and are almost unbreakable.

  1. If you horse is going strong on the forehand or is lazy, you might want to try leaning back a little with your shoulders behind the perpendicular. This will make your seat stronger (as long as your legs stay in the correct position) and push your horse forward into better movement. But Beware... don't overdo this as it may put strain on your horses back.

  1. DO NOT WEAR JEANS when you're riding english. Western is okay...but not english. They make you slip extremely easily..especially on a leather saddle and the seams can be very uncomfortable. Riding breeches are best because they are designed for riding.

  1. Some horses are troubled by riding through water. Having a friend ride a calm horse through while you and your horse watch will show your horse there is nothing to be afraid of, or gently leading your horse through the water if it isn't too deep can both help your horse overcome this problem.

  2. I strongly advise anyone wanting to get involved with horses to take riding lessons with an instructor. When I first started riding, I didn't have lessons and therefore adopted an incorrect seat - that was 6 years ago - I'm still working on correcting that fault. Riding instructors will teach you proper riding techniques, ground handling, etc... that will benefit you very very much!



Oct 2011: Estimating Weight (Simple Method Rivals a Scale for Most Adult Horses)

Weight determination is a necessary tool for evaluating nutritional and feed requirements, de-wormers, medicines, etc. Recently, (September 15, 2011) a group of Auburn University researchers measured the weight of 145 adult horses and used the three most popular estimation methods in order to determine which method(s) was most accurate. One method distinguished itself as being superior. This simple method is known as the point method. Two measurements are required: 1. the Heartgirth, measured at the highest point of the withers (around the chest of the animal) and 2. the Horse Length, measured from the point of the shoulder in the front, around the horse slightly upwards and to the point at the buttock. With these two measurements the standard equation is:

Estimated weight = (Heartgirth X Heartgirth X Horse Length)/330

The researchers found that this method, on average, underestimated the weight by about 38 lbs. However, commercial weight tape gave an error averaging 145 lbs. Therefore, a newer, better estimate can be obtained using a slight variation to the standard point method equation as follows:

"Better" Estimated weight = [(Heartgirth X Heartgirth X Horse Length)/330] + 38

where measurements are all in inches and the weight is determined in pounds. It is not uncommon, with good measurements, to be within 1 to 5 lbs of a scale using this variation.


Sept 2011: Watering a Stressed Horse

Having trouble getting your horse to drink water during stressful situations, such as shows and traveling? Here is a sure fire way to get them to drink. Cut up apple slices and throw them in a bucket of water. Offer this to your horse and watch them "bob" for the apples. While bobbing for the apples your horse will end up with a mouthfull of water! Sometimes my mare drinks the whole bucket by the time she has found all of the apples! -Angela with thanks to Moniteau Saddle Club