Slow Equals Fast With Pony Training

July 20, 2012 · Posted in Sports · Comment 

Ever had the advantage of watching a natural born horse person in total harmony with his horse do nonchalant tricks with it that you wouldn’t have imagined possible , and cause them to look so ridiculously straightforward? And ever tried out the same tricks with your own pony and made a total hash of it? You must have been pretty frustrated.

If you did anything like that, you were guilty, as so many have been, of forgetting that what seems to be perfect harmony is the results of hard coaching repeated time after time till perfection was reached. We people are regularly guilty of desiring too much too fast without going through the due process. In the case of horses and their accomplishments, we forget that each achievement is the sum total of lots of little steps that have practically become second nature as the results of repeated practice. When we curtly try out something new to our horses, we’re going to confuse the wits out of them and achieve nothing apart from total disappointment for both.

Just look at straightforward scenarios involve horse coaching. Take an instance when you’re coaching your pony to back up in between two parallel poles laid out on the ground. It may appear to be the most straightforward of tasks to you, but your pony won’t agree. You may think that all you’ve got to do is get him aligned and moving, but he isn’t going to be happy with the concept of moving thru two poles of which just one is detectable to each eye. This has a tendency to distract the horse, and they will not even permit themselves to be aligned between the poles. If they’re somehow aligned, they will try to work out what has happened by moving their rear ends to one direction. And if you come up with a way to get over that problem then the pony will keep barging into one pole or the other, instead of backing up in a straight line.

Unless you are informed on horse psychology, you will get frustrated. If you do know horses, you will appreciate that horses need to get comfortable with any new action before they can be made to do it. In this case, your pony desires to get used to a pole on each side. You can expedite the process by breaking it up into little bite-size chunks and handling them one at a time.

First, get your pony to stroll forward between the 2 poles a couple of times, so that he gets used to seeing them there and to seeing one pole with each eye. After he goes through like a shot, ramp up the coaching one notch. Get him to stop at random points while progressing between the poles. Get your pony to repeat this till it becomes 2nd nature for him. Finally, get him to take only 1 step backward. Let him take that step and ruminate on it. The stop after just one step is his reward for doing what you wanted him to. Take him thru one or two one step forward and one back cycles at various points between the two poles. Then take him back thru more than one step, even with his body out of alignment with the poles. When he is totally used to the concept of going forward and back a couple of steps (keep increasing the distance), you can walk him forward from one end of the poles to the other, and then get him to back right up. He may start dodgy, but he’s going to pick up and soon he is going to be progressing thru the poles either way like he’d been doing it all his life. Remember the old Chinese saying about a journey of one thousand miles beginning with one easy step, it is especially applicable for horses.

You can begin by teaching your horse while you are on the ground, then when that stage has been successfully mastered; you take it to a higher level by getting your pony to do it while you are astride him. Start slow and simple and soon enough you will find that your pony is setting the pace, a faster one.

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The Foundation Of A Champion Horse Is Repetition And Repetition

July 14, 2012 · Posted in Sports · Comment 

If I had received a cent for every time I repeated something to a horse, I would’ve been a millionaire by this point. I start by hammering it into a horse’s head I’m actually attempting to communicate something to him. When he has eventually got the idea that I’m really trying to let him know something, I want to tell him whatever it is that I needed to let him know such a lot of times I start sounding like a scratched LP record. This causes me to do stupid things sometimes. I train several horses at diverse steps of coaching concurrently. In itself, this is problematic, because I have track of where I am with each horse. If I’ve a particularly tough time with any pony, then it takes me a while to remember where I was with the remainder of the horses? And frequently I don’t do a good job of recollection. The plus side is, when a horse ultimately begins to get an inkling of what I’m on about, he frequently starts liking it, and then the teaching gets much easier.

My clients have all heard from me that a homo sapien breaks a set habit only after 2,000 repetitions of the ?drop the habit? Tune have been drummed into his head. A homo sapien also need nothing less than 2,000 repetitions to pick up a new habit, and ultimately, he is making a habit a comatose uncontrolled response just when it’s been drilled into him 10,000 times. When I explain this to my clients, they get it; they know what can be predicted when they give me a horse to coach. You’ve got to have a look at the opposite side of the coin, the horse’s perspective. When he first is brought to me, he doesn’t have any idea he is getting ready to attend school. He actually doesn’t even really understand what a school is. He would be astounded if he were informed that he is going to be taught lessons, and that he is anticipated to learn them well. When you look at it from this point of view, you become more understanding of horses.

The repetitions may alter with each horse: each has his own learning curve, just like human students.

You might make bar charts out of a horse’s learning curve. A horse can be bafflingly inconsistent: he is going to do good, bad, better or worse with each repetition of the same lesson. Clearly, when you initiate the lesson, he will be at his worst. Just assume that your horse’s response to repetition number 121 has been pleasing. Just when you are feeling like giving him a pat, he absolutely muffs repetition 122. Your urge to pat him with your hand all of a sudden becomes a craving to pat him with a sledgehammer. But you can’t afford to show your disappointment, so you swallow the bile and go on to repetition 123. He will potentially surprise you once more. When you have reached repetition 307, say, you’ll find that all of a sudden he’s had an ‘Eureka!’ moment. He has got the idea, you are actually teaching him something. Though the occasional glitch may continue to surface, you may just about have smooth sailing with him after that.

You will get plenty of variations due to individual pony traits, but the general pattern will be the same. Once you’ve got past the great wall round the horse’s brain, you will be able to see quicker progress. The more time you spend with the pony, the better he learns. He may even surprise you by behaving like he enjoys the lessons.

When does a horse become a good learner? 2 factors decide this point: your teaching methods and the horse’s nature. My general experience with the more difficult horses has been that it can take five days every week of classes over 3 months to succeed, but I must advise you that it is best you don’t work to fixed schedules with horses. Don’t also push your horse too far or too fast. Think repetition, and then think more repetition. Your pony at the initial stages might be wondering why it is that you are trying to show him things he just can’t do. Tenacity is going to win that battle for you.

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Transporting Your Horses

July 11, 2012 · Posted in Sports · Comment 

One of the most frustrating experiences a horse owner can have is to get into a position where he or she needs to move their pony somewhere far, but can’t do so because of the absence of a trailer or horsebox. For horse owners who have never owned a trailer, getting one can seem like a hopeless dream.

I have news for you if you are one of those exasperated pony owners. You can move your horse around without a trailer, however it calls for an innovative approach. You must also be prepared to make some compromises.

If it is a question of transporting your horse to the vet, an often unavoidable need, you may get an offer of help from someone in your yard. If nobody offers assistance, you need to ask for it, assuming that there are people with trailers, because without asking you may not get, and without getting you aren’t going to be able to take your horse to the vet. It is usually possible to show your good intentions by offering to pay for the fuel consumed and the usage. If you’re intimate with someone who owns a trailer, you can try and fit your competition dates with theirs for the same events, so your horse can hitch rides. Obviously, this suggests that you may have to sacrifice your own preferred events for the events your champion prefers. If you’re essentially really lucky, you could even convince your benefactor to take your horse to your own preferred events once in a while. Who knows, you might actually open your benefactor’s eyes to the charms of events he hasn’t participated in so far. That would indeed work to your advantage.

You need to also participate in events in your own immediate vicinity. The possibility is high that there might not be enough variety or quality of performance in your immediately area. Your options would be very limited as you would have to ride your horse to the events and still keep him fresh enough to participate. Fundamentally, you can just ‘warm up’ your pony before the event. You also need to consider that after the event he must be ridden back home, and that would further restrain the events you could take part in.

It is awfully expensive to hire a horsebox, nonetheless it will generally be worth it if the event you are attending is particularly distinguished or if your pony has exceptional possibilities of winning something. You might also see if there are more horse owners in the vicinity with whom you could split costs, assuming they will be at the same event you are. Before you complete a contract for hiring a horsebox, confirm that a driver is included in the contract. If no driver is included, and you’ve got to do the driving yourself, you have to have the correct driving qualification and adequate insurance.

Another option is to buy a horsebox jointly with some others. This is not going to be simple, as you will need to be wonderfully coordinated on who uses the horsebox. If your events coincide, there’ll be no problems, but that is a clearly doubtful likelihood. You can only enter into this type of arrangement with someone you are really intimate with, and with whom you enjoy complete mutual trust. Even then, you should execute a comprehensive contract on who pays how much for shared use, individual use, damages, repair jobs and so on. A little argument can destroy an intimate relationship, so you really have to exercise the greatest of care.

Whatever way out of your horse-box-less troubles you find, it should hopefully give you the probabilities you have been desiring for your horse. Even partial mobility is far preferable to no mobility. Each event you can attend without your own horsebox is an additional bonus. Just make absolutely sure that absence of your own horse transport does not become an impossible wall for both you and your pony.

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Four Of The Eight Perilous Horse Sins

June 25, 2012 · Posted in Family · Comment 

Unfortunately horses, like homo sapiens, can pick up some habits here and there. Here is the 1st part of 8 equine vices you have got to nip in the bud whenever you catch them.

Cribbing: When a horse cribs, it implants its upper teeth in a compact surface like the walls of its stall and after arching its neck, starts to suck air in. Obviously, this is a damaging habit as it can end up in significant damage to doors, fences and stall walls. This bad habit is no good for the pony either, as it can cause colic. The unfortunate aspect of the cribbing habit is that once the pony starts, you’ll find it practically impossible to get it to stop. You can buy collars that are tailor made for cribbing horses: these collars work in just such a way that when a horse tries cribbing, the muscles in his neck and temple are subject to the kind of pressure that makes him lose interest.

Shying: Horses often back away from something due to fear or nervousness. They can back off when they come across something they’re not conversant with and don’t trust; they may also back away if they don’t want to be touched. While nearly all horses shy at one point or the other, you undoubtedly want to avoid a horse with a pronounced shying disposition, as it can be perilous. If your pony is an inveterate shier, you can teach him with care and patience to get over his nerves and chill.

Biting: Lots of horses don’t hesitate to show their teeth, and use them at defined times, like when a girth on them is being tightened. Horses tend to nip if they don’t like something. While you shouldn’t be concerned about the occasional nip you need to try and keep it from being a habit. Horses with steady nipping bents can be dangerous to others, especially youngsters. Biting is a vice that may be set right.

Pulling Back: A pony has a tendency to pull back when he is not yet ‘broken in’ to being tied, and someone makes an attempt to tie him. This actual vice could be a dangerous prospect. A horse that’s pulling back is likely to trip and fall on his butt; even worse, he will hurt people in the vicinity. You must train your pony to become used to tying. I begin my coaching for my horses with some ground tying. A keyed up pony with a known history of negative reactions to attempts to tie him is certainly not to be used by children and novices.

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Why Count Horse Strides When Jumping

June 23, 2012 · Posted in Sports · Comment 

A question that I receive frequently from my students is: when do we start counting strides? When used right, counting strides is a really practical tool that will help you and your pony make light work of a colmbination of jumps. I indoctrinate my students to follow this rule of thumb for counting strides: do so when you come across related lines of maximum eight strides. A lot of jumper/hunter courses include several jumps of this length. Hunter courses normally are composed of a couple of related distances requiring counting. You do come across courses in large jump fields with lengthier lines that really must be counted, but they’re mostly designed for top bracket horse riders.

Jumper courses differ somewhat from hunter courses where stride counting is concerned. Jumper courses allow more creativity on the issue of the amount of strides you take with your horse. The maximum 8 rule typically applies; nevertheless jumpers can add strides or subtract them dependent on their horses’ stride spans, the event type and the class of competition. Typically , horses need to gallop in jumper speed classes, and this lengthens their strides, and thereby, reduces their number.

Judgment is subjective in hunters, and footage signs, if provided, can help determine the amount of strides needed of any pony. When a course planner shows a line to be seventy-two feet long, he intends that horses take 5 strides over that line. Judges are mindful of this and use this info to help in figuring out the standard of competitors. A horse that seems to zip down a 72′ line would always have a shorter stride than a horse that appears to ramble down. At these events, stride counting is a must as it helps you adhere to what the judge will be looking out for. You know where you stand when you do six strides in a 72′ line and fail to pin well.

There are numerous interpretations to bending lines where there is no footage posted. Where there is no footage posted in long lines, judges will undoubtedly predict that competitors may vary significantly in stride totals. The same line could see competitors totalling 9s, tens and even elevens. In unmarked long lines, judges usually don’t hold competitors to any prescribed number of strides.

The intricacy of horse riding events has grown as time goes by. Stride counting is pretty much a prerequisite in today’s arena of equine events. In this post, I have barely covered the fundamentals of stride counting. I might stress on learners that it’s necessary they get together with knowledgeable instructors to ‘walk courses’ riders develop experience from every course ridden, and soon they’re going to reach the stage where stride calculations become 2nd nature.

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Things To Consider Whilst Towing a Pony Box

June 22, 2012 · Posted in Sports · Comment 

When you are employing a horse trailer, it is obvious that you have to exercise lots of care to be sure it is safe for its occupants, for you in the towing auto and for all other drivers you come across.

You need to ensure all items on the tick list given below are checked out whenever you use your trailer:

1. Once you have loaded your horses, carry out a very close inspection. Are the stalls properly secured and the doors tightly closed and latched? Is there any object around loose that might move around and probably harm the horses? Is the trailer soundly hitched, and are the brakes and lights working ?

2. Each trailer features a heavy load limit advocated by the maker. Never exceed your trailer’s limit. If you look over your trailer fastidiously, you’ll see the maximum endorsed weight somewhere distinguished. You are risking losing control while in motion by exceeding the weight limit. Never forget that for the purpose of stableness, the car utilised for towing the trailer should always be much heavier than its trailer.

3. Before you set off, plan out the journey. Have a preferential route and as many alternative routes as practicable. Try and get information on road closures or serious congestion points and plot your route so that you can avoid them.

4. Drive fastidiously, within all speed limits and without jerkiness to relieve pointless stress on your pony passangers. Drive like you have got an open container of sulphuric acid on your dashboard, straight in front of you. Negotiate corners, sharp turners and traffic lights with care. Look forward and try and predict.

5. If you’re going a good way, split up the journey with steady breaks. Each time you take a break, carry out another extensive inspection of the hitch, your trailer and its passangers.

6. Have a Plan B just in case your towing car or the trailer breaks down. Confirm your trailer is covered in your breakdown coverage.

7. Never travel without a complete first aid kit and emergency supplies.

8. Be sensibly equipped for smaller contingencies on the road. Your kit ought to include jacks, jump wires, WD-40, strong flash-lamps, luminous safety cones, insulated duct tape, spare tires and equipment for changing tires.

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Getting Your Pony Training Facts Right

May 26, 2012 · Posted in Sports · Comment 

In terms of what you could call organized disciplines, pony training is probably one of the very oldest. The homo sapien has been using horses for ages: for war, for work and for pleasure. You may call horse riding a science or an art; as far as I’m concerned it has elements of both. Horse training has had its high crests and its low troughs. One of the highlight eras of horse training existed in the Baroque period, which stretched between the 17th and the 18th centuries. For most people, Baroque was a skilled art form.

It is my considered opinion that horse training is experiencing one of its low spells these days. There is too much importance on commerce and not enough on quality, and that has eroded both the science and the art parts of horse training.

That does not mean, though, that you won’t be able to scale extreme heights as a pony tutor.

I think that pony coaching has suffered in quality due to a lot of misunderstandings. I have lost count of the number of times I have come across folk boasting about having trained their horses to lead. It is logical to define training or teaching as actions that enable scholars to procure information they didn’t have before and to do something they were not capable of before.

Inherent instinct has a foal following its mummy blindly from the instant of its birth. To do otherwise may be to court death. The mare responds by pointing the foal toward the correct things. Have you ever spotted that all foals are really capable of walking, running and cantering practically the first day of their lives? And they also are fairly adept at stopping and backing up?

In terms of ordinary human use of horses, a new born foal will not be aware of just 3 aspects that it will have to be taught later: how to adjust to a halter; how to carry a bridle and how to put up with a saddle or harness.

What do humans generally teach horses?

We train horses to respond to commands and cues. We teach them to move at our command and to stop at our cue. The pony learns from us about responding to verbal and non-verbal commands and cues.

At this juncture, let’s get something straight: coaching can be conducted successfully just when the coach is awfully clear in his mind as regards what he is expecting to accomplish. The effectiveness of coaching can be judged not in the horse’s response to a command, but In the promptness and lack of resistance accompanying that response. If a horse takes its time to act on a command, and shows a great amount of unwillingness to respond, it has obviously not been trained well.

A coach can be said to have succeeded in his task only when his charge is programmed to respond like a robot to commands and cues with an unquestioning response that has just about become second nature.

Training can be done with lots of finesse , at the greatest heights of horse riding, an observer will see only the end results. He will not see the cues given by the rider to the horse, because they’ll be so refined and practically invisible. That sort of height is reached only with the most perfect of training methods.

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What To Consider When Buying A Western Saddle

May 21, 2012 · Posted in Sports · Comment 

Are you ready to get a brand spanking new saddle? Well, you are because you are going thru this article! The million dollar question is, what saddle type would work best for you?

Practically every saddle on sale has been made for a particularly particular use. You actually get saddles for roping, barrel racing, endurance events and a whole lot of other purposes. It is vital, of course, that you actually know the purpose for which you actually intend procuring a saddle. Is it for shows? Are you actually into barrel racing? Are you actually looking for one for easy riding around the ranch? Determining the type of saddle you actually will need is only one 3rd of your preparatory work done.

The second part of preparatory work is related to determining the correct size of saddle. The ideal saddle is the best match for both you and your horse. In contrast, the incorrect saddle can be a source of misery to you really and/or your horse.

That’s why you need to take your measurements with the greatest of care. You actually can download a size guide from any of the number of internet sites. Saddles come in countless sizes and shapes, so have a really clear idea of just what you actually need. Check if there aren’t any mistakes in the measurements.

The final 3rd of your pre-purchase preparations has to do with the kind of saddle you actually need. Some of the finest known brands, which go back a great distance into history, are Circle Y, Big Horn, Tucker and Billy Cook. These brands are deservedly popular. All of them are an American brand, and all use the very best of raw material for their saddles. They have been around for some considerable time, and have enjoyed considerable success in that period. It’s simply because they make some of the best saddles money can buy. If you are not subject to a small budget, any one of these brands is just the best choice.

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Northwest Community College Equine Studies

May 15, 2012 · Posted in Sports · Comment 

Based in Powell in Wyoming, Northwest Community College is a public community establishment offering several two year associate degree courses. One of those courses is in Equine Studies. This programme enables students to achieve a powerful base in equine science, with a perfect mix of theoretical instruction and practical participation in riding horses and in coaching and handling them. Scholars are enabled to take up constructive employment immediately on conclusion of these courses; they can alternatively select further education at other establishments.

Dependent on their set of interests, scholars can opt for either of two Associate programme options. Riding and training comprises the 1st option. Scholars are given intensive exposure to riding, coaching and handling of horses regarding the science of management of the horse industry. Scholars who pass out of this course are enabled to gain fast work in:

- Riding schools

- Training faculties

- Summer camps

- Grooming

- Rider exercising

- Boarding stables

- Wrangling.

Scholars who are not interested in an AAS degree can also enroll in an Equine Care/Basic Riding Certificate course of one year duration at Northwest Community College. This programme makes students proficient riders and well versed in quality horse care, so giving them the type of abilities that they will need to attain success in the world of equines. While on this course, scholars learn equine safety, pony health management, equine nutrition, pony behavior, correct tack fitting as well as riding with safety for both rider and horse. Graduates are empowered for employment as

- Operators of boarding stables

- Riding school aids

- Wranglers

- Guides for trail riding

- Grooms

- Sales personnel

- Sitters at breeding farms.

For those scholars who need to be involved in the sale and merchandising aspects of the equine industry, Northwest Community College also offers scholars an Equine Business Management course for scholars wishing to be concerned in marketing and merchandizing in the equine world. For this course, students aren’t required to have a horse.

Students are also able to select the degree in Management of Farrier Business. This degree imbues scholars with the skills necessary for running small firms; it also qualifies them for pro licensing by the American Farrier’s Association.

The College’s equine studies courses emphasize events, both English and Western, strongly. The programme is terribly competitive, and often accepts less than 40 students yearly. The successful candidates are put thru a course that gets them an Applied Science Associate degree in Equine Studies.

Students are prompted to have more than simple basis experience with riding, though it isn’t imperative. This program will benefit students from a 4-H or breed organisation background the most. Scholars are also advised to bring along their own horses. If this isn’t possible , arrangements are going to be made so that a horse is prepared for the scholar before their first class. There are no exceptions to the stable charges scholars are required to pay, whether they have brought their own horse or have been given one on arrival at the college. All horses except gaited ones are fine for use by students in the college’s equine studies programme. It isn’t compulsory that they be registered, but the horses should be sound of health and possess good manners, they’re expected to get along well with other horses.

Riding classes are staged at the College’s Equine Center Complex, where the stables are situated. The Complex has facilities like a heated indoor arena with a viewing studio, storage of feed, an outside arena, paddocks for turnout, a tack room and wash racks, both outside and indoor.

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Owners Need As Much Training As Their Horses

May 7, 2012 · Posted in Sports · Comment 

Most of the time, pets are procured in the interests of friendship. Some pets could be expected to perform certain obligations, like guard dogs are. Typically, though, pets are brought in as playmates for kids. The conscientious dog owner may take his pet to obedience coaching schools, so that it can learn good habits like going outside on calls of nature and eating only when ordered to do so.

Some pets like to be near their human owners at most times, like the dog. This proximity makes it simpler to educate them after you have gone thru some classes letting you know what to train your pets in and the way to do it. The feeling among pet owners appears to be that it takes one class a week over 6 or 8 weeks for training to show effect, whether in the animal owners or the pets. It also takes at least 2 coaching courses to get the pets to respond regularly to commands and perhaps 4 coaching courses to establish reasonably complete command over them. It’d be rather nieve to take your new pet to an obedience tutor and expect to get back a totally unquestioning instantly obeying animal in 6 weeks or so.

Yet, horses seem to be the exception. Folk expect miracles of their horse and the horses’ trainers. I’ve seen a lot of first-time horse owners with very little understanding of riding and even less awareness of training taking on the job of training their horses themselves. Unsurprisingly, all these people with no exceptions run into problems. Rather than getting tamed, their horse appear to become uncontrolled and pick up all kinds of unwelcome behavior patterns. When these pony owners finally give up and follow the advice of their mates to send the animals to a pro trainer, they’re expecting the trainer to reverse all the training gone wrong and get the horses to become models of perfect behavior. A good tutor can work a fair deal of sorcery with the animals, but is it truly only the animals that need the training?

Horse owners expect trainers to finish the coaching of their horses inside so many weeks or days. In all their anxiety, they ignore one major element of successful animal training: the coaching of the animal owners themselves. Good trainers can get a pony to do practically everything reasonable the owners expect, nevertheless it will all come to zilch if the owners are also not trained on what is needed from them and how to re-enforce the coaching.

A bad owner can undo a month of good professional coaching in a week.

Think about this: It takes something similar to 2000 repetitions of a command and its enforcement to get rid of a set habit and another 2000 repetitions to condition a new habit. It can take up to 10,000 repetitions to make unconscious acts of habits. Once you know this, you’d be terribly stupid indeed not to realise and accept that the owner needs training in keeping the horse trained just as much as the pony wants training in the first instance. You should also appreciate that it can take some considerable time and effort to coordinate your responses to that of your horse.

Dog owners typically appear to have no problem in committing 20 minutes or so a day to helping their dogs absorb their coaching better. Sadly, it would seem to be very tricky to get pony owners to make the same kind of commitment. One comprehensible reason is perhaps the dog can be kept indoors for the period of time necessary, but the owner has to go outside to the pony. Further, a lot of horse owners are bored by ‘basic’ training routines, which can be more complicated than getting a dog to sit or come to heel or beg.

Unless they are well experienced, horse owners usually don’t grasp quite how much success they might achieve with the right attitude and the right focus. They should learn to take it a lesson at a time, without unjustified expectations of miracles. They must begin with the fundamentals, like following without pulling away while on the lead. It is tricky to train the pony to sit, but without too much effort, it can be made to do stuff like stop and stand in the right position, release to pressure, stand when tied and lead the correct way. These lessons will establish the sort of bond between owner and horse that may later enable excellent rapport while riding or doing any other jobs together. Persistence will shortly bring about a point in time when the owner simply has no desire to stay indoors, but would prefer to be out there doing something or the other with his pony.

Horses are Heather Toms passion and she enjoys sharing her
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Feeding Horses With Hay Nets

April 19, 2012 · Posted in Family · Comment 

There had been a point in time when I felt nice looking down a barn and seeing a line of pony heads with hay nets attached, moving almost in unison as the horses peacefully chewed away. Like a lot of other people, I thought of hay nets as a cost-effective way of feeding my horses, since there is very small waste and they save on hay and bedding.

I still think so. I also thought of hay nets as extraordinarily healthy. I no longer think so. I have come across repeated information that shows that horses feeding from hay nets and hay racks ingest masses of dust and particles. Horses are best left to feed the natural way, with heads down and feeding off the ground.

Any type of dust: from natural dust, from hay, from manure or sawdust could be a major threat to the health of horses. You actually should make extremely sure your horses are spared from ingesting too much dust every day. To a point, dust cannot be avoided, particularly if you have presented your horses a roomy well-ventilated barn.

If you use fans when it is summer, take care over their locations. Fans kick up more dust when they are at floor level. Mount them up on stall frames or walls. Ensure both the fans and the wiring cannot possibly snag or trip up horses or humans. Take great care when sweeping the aisles. First dampen them a touch and then ply the broom very lightly. Don’t try and capture every speck of dust.

Avoid using leaf blowers. It gives me nightmares thinking of what a leaf blower can do. Don’t cross the divide between healthy diligence and unhealthy hysteria. After all of your efforts, some dust is bound to stay, so let it don’t be over the top.

Horses are Heather
Toms passion and she enjoys sharing her extensive knowledge through her 100s of
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A Brief Guide to Dressage

April 14, 2012 · Posted in Family · Comment 

To a lot of folk, dressage is just horse riding made up of pretty figures and manoeuvres in a little arena. Yet to think about dressage in that capacity is a disservice to the discipline and the benefits dressage offers any horse.

Dressage’s Purpose

Dressage is beneficial for every horse because it is rooted in improving a horse’s flexibleness, responsiveness, balance and strength. This is accomplished by following the core of dressage training, more generally known as the Training Pyramid or the Training Scale. This comprises a series of sixascending levels

1. Rhythm

2. Suppleness

3. Contact

4. Impulsion

5. Straightness

6. Collection

Training Scale

The training scale is straightforward to follow. The horse is always aiming at ‘collection ‘ as the final dressage goal, but will be unable to really ‘collect ‘ if the previous foundation levels aren’t ready. Collection doesn’t occur quickly, and takes years to develop, but the riders must always guide their horses according to their individual desires and not according to what they feel their horses should be accomplishing. Skipping steps in the pyramid or scale will prevent a horse from truly achieving collection.

Dressage Tests

So , what is the right way to tell if your coaching is on track? Perform a dressage test. Dressage tests are ridden in one of 2 sorts of arenas, the standard sized arena (20m x 60m) or the small arena (20m x 40m). The arenas have letters around the outside of the arena to tell the rider when to perform a movement. Riders know their tests ahead of time and can have a reader call their test or perform them from memory, though upper-level riders are not allowed to have a caller.

Dressage tests always follow the coaching scale of what a horse’s ability should be at that level. a lower-level test and an upper-level test will test a horse’s balance, but do it in a vastly different way.

Dressage is a training technique which gradually improves the horse’s overall way of going. It is a process which can easily be merged into a horse’s coaching to enhance its overall way of going and responsiveness to the rider.

Ashley Kantter is an established independent author and columnist concentrating on subjects linked with horses and equestrian matters.Harthill Stud is a horse studfarm based in Britain. Focusing on breeding eventing horses it offers a selection of eventing stallions at stud in modern facilities.

How And Why You Should Bridge Your Reins

April 12, 2012 · Posted in Sports · Comment 

One of my beginner jump students came to with a problem one day. Her horse took fences with a good deal of energy. While she was quite good at handling him, she had feeble muscles in one arm as the result of some old injury. This muscle weakness worsened as she grew tired, and preventedconsistent contact with both reins.

I thought back to my old jumper instructor. He had taught a strategy of ‘bridging the reins’ to me once during my days as a junior rider assigned to retrain a retired racehorse. He taught me so well that I bridge my reins nearly as an instinctive reaction whenever I am astride a spooky or overly strong pony with the disposition to tug over fences. Bridging the reins let me achieve consistent contact and therefore better security. The method does not require making my hands harder; it just supplies them with a backup. This allows me to maintain much better control over my horse.

When bridging your reins, hold them normally, but turn your hands just a little to get the thumbs to face each other briefly while adjusting the reins to a bridge. The rein goes thru the thumb and the finger and then across the horse’s neck to your other hand, where it in a similar way passes thru the thumb and the finger. You have now allowed for a bridge; take your hands back to their standard position and even the rains out whilst maintain the bridge.

Bridged reins give the rider better security if his pony tries pulling on the reins. Rein bridging is a strategy typically used by cross country riders; this system is also of considerable help to riders who are suffering from the unsafe practice of opening up their fingers and letting the reins slip out, and to riders who from whatever causes tend to constantly lose contact. This system permits the rider to recover contact without fuss and without restricting the horse. It is of great assistance to beginners who are just learning all about judging contact. The strategy has the extra virtue of permitting amateur riders to keep aware of the precise locations of both of their hands in relation to one another; it also helps in keeping the hands spaced right and at the right height.

Riders with an inclination to excessively fuss over their reins and horses who tend to excessively fuss over lack of consistency in contact can both benefit from this system.

You may bridge reins with a single hand and use just that hand to jump. By doing this, you avoid leaning onto the horse’s neck and you keep your balance. You are also enabled to execute independent aids like jumping with a hand out at the side. If you’d like to bridge your reins to only 1 hand, take a normal hold of the outer rein and position the interior rein on top of the outside one.

Bridging reins helps you achieve more security, especially when jumping, and also helps you use your hands to help independently.

Horses are Heather Toms passion and she enjoys sharing her
extensive knowledge through her 100s of articles with other horse lovers, like all things about circle y saddles

Using Trained Horses To Help Bring On Your Novices

March 19, 2012 · Posted in Sports · Comment 

There are two attitudes you can adopt when referring to horse training, when you have the first of these attitudes, you find coaching slow, hard and drudgery. You wouldn’t be wrong on the “slow and hard” part. If you are blessed with the second attitude, you find training tons of fun. You are moulding one of god’s most wonderful creatures to your specifications.

If you are one of those lucky ones who find coaching fun, you need to believe that you can make it even more fun if you use another pony.

You can use other horses to huge advantage if you are training horses that are still terribly young. Here’s some clarification on what I mean.

I’ve a fairly standard methodology for training foals. My first concern is to get them used to my presence. I even touch them and scratch them and groom them delicately to get them used to human touch and handling. When they are comfortable with me, I put my hat on them. I have my reasons for doing this. My hat desensitizes the foals, ears and other areas around the head. Since it’s a completely new and possibly dangerous object for foals, they have to learn how to trust me that there is no harm intended, especially since the hat impedes full vision.

This is where the other horses come in. Without them, the process would be more lengthened and involve harder work. With them, my objectives are met quicker. Since my horses all hang around in a herd, I put my hat on every one of them close to the foal I’m training. These older horses are completely indifferent to my hat, and so they show no reaction whatsoever. Every time I am taking my hat off a horse, I praise that pony fulsomely.

I achieve a big benefit by doing this. When the foal sees other horses accepting the hat without any reaction whatsoever, it understands the hat is something of no consequence at all, negative or otherwise. And when the foal hears the praise the other horses get after wearing the hat, it understands also that there has to be something excellent about wearing the hat. The natural consequence is that the foal loses fear of the hat.

I once had a definitely revealing experience with four new Morgan mares I got from Montana. They’d not been trained or handled beyond being halter broke. I had 2 adjacent paddocks, and I put the mares in one and utilized the other for training them. I don’t think I have ever had an easier time. All I had to do was bring in one of my trained mares and make a massive show of picking her feet up and cleaning them. Obviously my trained mares endured the process with total detachment. It was a piece of cake attending to the new mares after that. I was amazed when the last mare really lifted her front foot up in expectation as I approached her!

In the first stages, I had to go into their paddock and bring them out one by one for their coaching. About a week later , they were all swarming at the gate, waiting for me, as if each mare was willing for me to choose her first.

When you use a trained pony as a form of motivating factor for an untrained one, you aren’t only adding to the fun side of coaching, you’re also making it very easy for the untrained pony. You’ll be stunned how observant horses can be. I have frequently seen them learn by watching other horses. You can take advantage of this feature if you stick to one practice: praise each trained horse extravagantly for whatever demonstration it helped you give: the praise mellows the untrained horses and makes them hugely receptive.

Horses are Heather Toms passion and she enjoys sharing her
extensive knowledge through her 100s of articles with other horse lovers, like all things about tack shop

Ponies Practice New Manoeuvres Whilst In Pasture

January 26, 2012 · Posted in Sports · Comment 

Horses have similar characteristics to humans, and a few of these can be employed to beat our equestrian coaching difficulties and learning blocks.

Horse riding is a recurring cycle of care, coaching, and then application of the things taught and learned until the pony in question is solid on her cues and knows how her rider wants her to respond in every situation. Before a pony reaches that stage nonetheless , generous periods of time and effort will unavoidably be consumed. And for such equestrian sport as dressage, an equine ballet of beauteous precision, rather more time and effort and disappointment is a prerequisite. Thru the method of training, both trainer and horse can be stressful, compelling, and frustrating. There are times when the very health of a mare being trained may be put at risk—the danger coming from a trainer’s desire for her to learn. Pushing her too hard beyond her tangible learning curve at the moment would only function to stress her out and put negative pressure on her. And administering performance boosters to young horses is similarly inadvisable as too much may endanger their health in the long run.

So it’s a great thing that like us as horse riders who learn on our own, so do our horses learn in pasture when they’re left to their devices.

This may be difficult to believe at first. But to see how it happens, next time you introduce a manoeuvre to your mare, observe her while in pasture thereafter. For instance, teach her to pivot around to reverse direction. This is a very unnatural move—horses go round in a semi-circle to reverse directions at freedom. After a session trying to teach her the lesson, ensure she has a handle on the basic motions, and do not fret about the move not being perfect yet. Give her a break and let her graze for a while. Observe her as she grazes in pasture—instead of reversing direction the natural way (the half-circle) she is going to start reversing directions thru the manoeuvre you taught her. Though the movements might be clumsy as she is yet to perfect them, seeing your pony do the move on her very own is amazing in itself. And as she continues using what she is learned to reverse direction, given time she’d unavoidably get better at it. Every time you let her out onto pasture, she’ll continue using any moves you have taught her in favour of what she at first knew. And the longer she uses them, the better she gets at them.

This suggests if we use this natural behaviour of our horses we are able to teach them up to the point where they no longer display further progress, then just let them out to practice all alone. This extra step in an equestrian coaching regime means we avoid putting too much pressure or administering too many performance improving drugs while letting ourselves rest also. And better yet—horses learn best when their lessons are spaced out at a regular interval and in between lessons they practice at freedom. Their practice-method of self learning is restricted of course; don’t expect them to pull off any graceful dressage moves while in pasture.

Raising New Born Baby Ponies

January 23, 2012 · Posted in Sports · Comment 

Raising new born baby horses is a nice experience, but don’t let the excitement delude you into raising a brat. Remember that that small horse would shortly be as big as or even larger than her mom. And if you treat her the way you’d do your pet dog, you’d inevitably raise a hard-headed pain in the neck. A horse like that isn’t fit for riding, much less equestrian sport.

Baby horses are naturally not ready for horse riding or coaching for sport (though you can teach her to load or something similar). Consider what human babies do almost all of the time till they’re ready for school: they play. Let your foal horse around with other fillies and colts her age range. If you can, take some time to observe her within a herd. If she gets too rowdy, her dam or some other aged herd member would give her a horse spanking to sort her out. Not only is she learning who are playmates, also she is learning who are leaders. Clearly, though you can be a playmate occasionally it’s very wise though to set yourself up as her leader.

This means teaching her when you’re serious and establishing your leadership authority. The most effective way to do so is with reins or bridles. Without them, it’s play time. When they are on, she better not play around. It’s fine to reprimand her on your own way, just be gentler—she is a baby after all. Try early training with mom around, and finally train her away from mom to develop uniqueness and a feeling of being a separate pony away from her mom she may instead be reliant upon. In natural settings they naturally come to an age where they become self dependent. In captivity, you must guarantee this pattern is followed, because they will be together in pens and enclosures most of the time—dam and filly.

Observing the young foal as she grows would provide hints when she is of age for further stages of training. If you suspect she is , always apply lessons in moderation, and be twice as patient as you would on other horses. Don’t use lessons that are physically demanding or mentally taxing—she’s still developing her muscles and her brain. Pushing too hard on the lessons might cause irreversible damage to essential body parts of your foal.

But let’s go back for a second. Lots of folks take horse riding for an informal activity, while some owners intend for their horses to join equestrian events. Either way, most of the time a newly born foal which they will raise into maturity on their own is rare. And because of that, and because the thing can be particularly cute, first time breeders tend to treat it too loosely. As quickly as evidence of stubbornness or insubordination arise, nip it at the bud. You would not need her taking such practices to adulthood—a 900 pound stomping, kicking, biting horse that can barely be contained far less trained.

Horses are Heather
Toms’ passion and she enjoys sharing her extensive knowledge through her 100’s
of articles with other horse lovers… like all things about cheap horse rugs

Checking Your Horse’s Mouth And Teeth

January 22, 2012 · Posted in Family · Comment 

Itching to teach your mare some dressage necessities? Don’t take things too fast—don’t forget to do some basic horse care and health maintenance—like checking her mouth. Are you employing a hackamore because your mare will not permit you to touch her mouth? Did she injure her gums and now you need to treat her injuries? There will be a point that you’ll need to check her mouth. Don’t wait for an emergency to happen before you start training her to be content when you’re touching her mouth.

How does one go about coaching your pony to allow you to touch her mouth? Begin with a halter placed on your mare. Stroke her face making sure you are only touching the area where she allows you to touch. Then, gradually and with single strokes at a time, let your touches come near her mouth, making sure you move your fingers away before she reacts negatively. By rubbing her neck or by using your words, praise your pony every time she accepts your touch. When she turns her face away with your hand still touching her mouth, it implies it is too early for you to let your hand stay longer. Return to stroking the spot you started on and repeat the process , but this time remove your hands faster. When your mare is finally accepting you stroking her mouth, start letting your hand stay there a bit longer till she accepts your laying your hand on her mouth. Practice the lesson on the other side of her face also, allow breaks between each lesson, and always praise your horse for any improvement she makes.

Rub round her muzzle and try and touch her longer each time but don’t go too far as you may come off as annoying to your pony. When she’s eventually comfortable when you rub round her muzzle, you can carry on to rubbing her outer lips and in between them.

Hold her head by placing your right hand under her neck and putting your hand where the halter strap is—on her nose bridge. Rub the insides of her lips with your free hand. Then, using one finger, rub the outsides of your her gums and bars. As she grows comfortable with it, go on to rubbing the top of the bars. If she resists, return to the point at which she’s happy and try again; slower and gentler this time. Patience is the virtue by which you defeat the pride of a horse.

Horses have a spot where no teeth grow; it is between the molars and incisors and that’s the only spot where you need to place your hand when touching the insides of their mouths.

When your horse is ok with one of your fingers touching her bars, add another finger till you can get your complete hand into her mouth and she doesn’t resist. Do this exercise often after grooming—before you go on to your horse riding until she accepts it as a part of daily procedure.

Horses are Heather Toms’ passion and she
enjoys sharing her extensive knowledge through her 100’s of articles with other horse lovers… like all things about horse rugs.

The Ups and Downs of Caring for Your Treasured Ponies

January 19, 2012 · Posted in Sports · Comment 

An equestrian would know that horses are definitely hay burners and consume much of one’s budget. That is the reason why, in financial as well as other aspects, it is tough to keep and care for just one—how much more if you’re a ‘horse addict ‘ and have a herd?

Well, infrequently we allow ourselves to buy something very costly as a reward to ourselves. That may be one explanation why you would go buy yourself a top end horse, a costly and talented steed good at reigning and well-suited for dressage. So let’s say you go buy one. But then, you realize reining is not for you. So you do not really have much use for your horse’s talent while you continue to spend for her feed and work for her care. You make a decision to put out feelers for anyone that could be interested to buy her. In the meantime, you continue to feed her your own special recipe and give her bodywork but at the back of your mind you’re still thinking about selling her to someone else. Well, don’t be shocked if next time you come sit near her she’ll give you a slap on the back of your head and blow snot at you at least ten times as if to point out, “Come on, wake up. You bought me as a reward to yourself, now you want to sell me… this relationship is meant to go both-ways, I’m your dream horse and you are my dream owner.”

And when your pony does that to you, you’ll get the message even if you do not excel on animal communication classes (you’ll find animal communication resources all round the Web).

Even if your steed has a Shao Yin character (one of the five pony type characters) —one that is eager on pleasing folks, although that’s a pretty assertive message from a Shao Yin kind of horse.

But you do not have to wait for your steed to give you the snots. Think twice and remember, she was meant to be your reward and can’t be such all by herself; she wants you to transform her into your dream equine partner. If she is not as troublesome as the rest of your herd, then maybe you need a different type of training for her.

That may be a difficult task to meet, so just regard it as another opportunity for you to grow. In fact , there’s much more to being an equestrian than dreaming about dressage or horse riding, galloping, and reining all day.

Horses are Heather Toms’ passion and she
enjoys sharing her extensive knowledge through her 100’s of articles with other horse lovers… like all things about horse rugs.

Trusting Horse Instincts on Supplements and Feed

January 14, 2012 · Posted in Sports · Comment 

How are you feeding your horses? Are you force feeding a uniform feed regime to all of your horses without leaving them any freedom to choose? If that is so it’s about time you retire such a feeding practice and start trusting in a horse’s inbred senses that they might typically depend on. Many an equestrian has a stringent training regimen not only for safe and disciplined pony riding but for a sport as precise and accurate as dressage. The issue is when an equestrian’s tough training regime influences his holistic health care for his horses such that he also gets extraordinarily stringent when it comes to feeding them. Sure, he would probably know lots about pony feed, but a stud or mare has its instinct directing it—and they are often right on the money.

The best feeding regimen is something close to a properly supplemented free choice feed environment. There are headstrong steeds out there that will not take a bite of anything you require them to take. If however you let them get used to free choice feeding routine and you think that giving them liberty to choose is impacting their health negatively, then introduce supplements to their feed. What our equine mates might be truly averse to are those unpleasant shots and additional medicines we usually rush off to administer when they get out of condition.

And there arrives a point, particularly for horses undergoing equestrian coaching for such sport as dressage or physically demanding activities, that they do develop an infirmity of some form. When they do, go on and take a veterinarian’s prescription, but don’t expect your pony to gulp it down with pleasure. The first thing to do is to attempt regular treatments of anything prescribed. If in all of your earnest efforts and methods of administering it your pony seems to find a way not to take it—from leaving just the pills and eating up everything else in her feeding box to gulping it down and spitting it out as soon as you turn around—then there just might be an excellent reason why.

If you have been coaching a particular mare for a long time now, then you know she has her own temperament—but her hardheadedness isn’t caused by just a quirk in her disposition. Trust her instincts like she is doing, and you’ll see. If she signifies a certain bent to eat more of a particular feed, then let her do so. You may be shocked she gets better on her very own choice of feed even without the drugs. Or she might take the medication when she’s going through the indicators of her illness, and hates it when she isn’t. Obviously, she knows what’s helping her along when she is hurting and when it’s required.

Just as a pony trained for sport gives you the advantage of simple and pleasurable riding, you can at least afford them their right to trust their instincts.

Horses are Heather
Toms’ passion and she enjoys sharing her extensive knowledge through her 100’s
of articles with other horse lovers… like all things about cheap horse rugs

Volunteer at an Animal Sanctuary

October 23, 2011 · Posted in Family · Comment 

Horses are extremely popular animals, and there are very few young ladies that do not want a horse or pony at some point in their life. Unfortunately, more horses are being taken to animal sanctuaries and are very rarely adopted. Therefore, it provides the ideal place to volunteer and spend some time around the horses without the additional cost.

More people look at performing some form of voluntary work, and giving your time is always appreciated. Animal sanctuaries have a great deal to do in a day, and often they are understaffed with exceedingly little money. Therefore, any extra help they can receive for free is always welcomed with open arms. It is also the ideal opportunity to spend time with the horses, and learn more about them.

Teenagers often get bored especially at weekends and during the holidays; therefore, finding them something to do is vital. If they like animals and want to be a part of helping the animals in the sanctuary, volunteering is the best option. You will be amazed how committed they become and how they love the voluntary work.

Volunteering can be an immensely rewarding way to help out and give something back to the local community. You may not have the extra money to donate to the animal charities and sanctuaries; however, giving your time is just as valuable to them. They will appreciate the time and effort that you are giving to the animals.

There is always a vast array of different animals in the sanctuaries, and although dogs and cats are still the most popular animals, horses, small animals and exotic pets are becoming more typical to see. These animals will take more care, time and money to ensure that their wellbeing is maintained. Therefore, they will often need one to one care to ensure that they are healthy and well.

Spending time with the horses in the sanctuary will ensure that they are groomed, fed and given the attention that they need. Many people do not understand that even larger animals need attention, and love human company. Animals do not understand when their lives change for the worse, and it can become extremely confusing for them.

Whilst you are carrying out your voluntary work for the animal sanctuary, they will be able to concentrate on other areas. The more volunteers they have the better the sanctuary will operate, and the more animals will receive the attention. Although all of the animals will receive the correct food, water and health care, it is often the smaller things that they miss out on.

Many of the animals in the sanctuary will miss the company of humans, and this is what so many people do not have the time for. When you are, doing voluntary work you can dedicate your time to walking dogs, stroking and playing with cats or grooming horses. You can be there for all the fun things that the animals crave.

You can be as hands on as you want when you visit the animal sanctuaries, and the more that you are involved in the better. Giving your time to the animal sanctuary is valuable, and both the workers and the animals undoubtedly appreciate the effort.

For more information please see RSPCA.org.uk