Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Keeping your Horse Safe when Riding

Horseback Riding

Keeping Your Horse Safe When Riding By J. Foley

One of the best parts about owning a horse is getting to ride it. Horses that are well trained and happy are great to ride, and for the most part horses enjoy being ridden as well. You are going to want to spend lots of time working with your horse to make sure that he understands what you want and how it feels when you ride him. You are also going to want to spend a lot of time just being with your horse, because bonding is a great way to make your rides even smoother. However, while you are riding your horse, there are several things that you are going to want to do to make sure that he stays safe and healthy so that you can continue to ride him for a long time to come.

One thing that you have to be sure of when you are riding your horse, is that you are never asking too much of him. You have to be sure that he is always comfortable doing what you ask him to do, and you have to be sure that you are comfortable with what he does. This is very important, because if you are not comfortable you are going to find that both you and your horse might be forced to take chances, and this is not going to be good for either of you. It can be very dangerous, and so you want to be sure that you never have a horse do something he isn’t comfortable with.

When you are riding your horse, you are going to want to be sure to always only use the things that are sanctioned for use with horses. Be sure that the equipment you are using is strong and isn’t going to fall apart, and make sure that you are able to attach the saddle and the other pieces to him so that you know they are done correctly and aren’t going to hurt him at all.

The last thing that you need to do when you are riding your horse to make sure that he stays safe is to always be careful where you are going, and to always watch the terrain to make sure that you aren’t doing anything that might be dangerous for your horse. You always want to be sure you aren’t leading your horse somewhere that he could hurt himself.

Article Written By J. Foley

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Helping Mother and Baby: When your Mare has a Foul

Horseback Riding

Helping Mother and Baby: When your Mare has a Foul By J. Foley

Helping a mare through pregnancy can be any extremely rewarding experience, but remember that it is also a lot of hard work. If you’ve decided to allow your mare to become pregnant, make sure that you can be responsible for this medical condition, as well as an extra life. Breeding horses is a great career if you have the time and effort.

First and foremost, mares are pregnant longer than women. In general, a mare will carry her foul for about 11 months. During this time, care and regular checkups from a vet are crucial. You may even want to find a vet specializing in this particular field. As your mare’s due date approaches, make sure to keep a watchful eye. Keep your vet’s number on hand and call whenever the horse goes into labor so that the vet can arrive to help with the birth. In some cases, a vet may not be needed, but if you are inexperienced, or if the birth takes longer than a half hour, you vet should come to help with the birth.

Cleanliness is important. You don’t have to hose out the entire barn and use a disinfectant, but make sure that you can clean bedding in a clean stall available for your mare. Also, it is important to tie up the horse’s tail so that it doesn’t get in the way. Don’t tie this too tightly, and leave it free was soon as the birth is over. Of course, after the birth, rinse the mare’s hindquarters and remove any soiled bedding, replacing it with fresh bedding.

If you see anything unusual going on with the birth, it is best to call you vet right away. Remember, a horse birth will look very different from a human birth, so before you mare goes into labor, make sure that you talk to your vet about what to expect. Afterwards, it is also important to let the mare care for the foul. Instinct will lead a mare to do the proper things for her new baby, and interfering may confuse or anger the horse. Keep your distance, and if you think something may be wrong, call the vet.

You new addition to the family should be walking and drinking milk from the mare rather quickly. Remember, this is a very tender time in both horses’ lives. Keeping them away from other animals for the first week or two may be a good idea. Afterwards, it is best to talk to your vet about the vaccinations and special food your foul may need to grow strong and healthy.

Article Written By J. Foley

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Saddles and Horse Blankets

Horseback Riding

Saddles and Horse Blankets By J. Foley

They would seem to be a team anywhere, the saddles and horse blankets. Western saddles and horse blankets are a necessary couple. Not all saddles require the use of a horse blanket. Indeed, there is also padding which could eliminate the need for the horse blanket under a saddle.

Saddles are plentiful and varied. There are all sorts of types, styles, price ranges, colors, uses, and horse blankets for saddles. The blanket is a barrier between the saddle and the horse's skin. It provides a measure of comfort to an otherwise irritating situation. One wants the horse as comfortable and cared-for as possible to get the best ride and relationship with the horse.

Saddles can say a lot about the rider. It says you either use it a lot or just a little, it says you take care of it or you neglect it, it says what you use the horse for, whether or not you are an owner who prefers your materials simple or detailed, it can even say which area you are from and how much money you choose to put into your equipment.

The horse blanket can say something about your taste. It can say whether or not you have shopped recently and bought a new blanket or whether you are using a favorite, well-worn blanket. It can say whether or not you prefer elaborate style or just the basics. It can say whether or not you care to match your colors to your other accessories. It can say where you shop if it is a certain brand or style.

Saddles and horse blankets are a must if you own a horse in a colder region of the United States. Horse blankets are the horse's jacket, if you will. If you wouldn't stay in your barn without a jacket, why would you expect your horse to?
Horse blankets and saddles don't need to be expensive to be useful. Although you want what is the best quality for your horse, you can get better deals on them if you shop around and price-check. Just remember that you get what you pay for in many cases. Cheap saddles and horse blankets may well be just that! Another point to remember is that pretty may not go hand-in-hand with practical. Saddles and blankets must meet the needs of the services you will perform with your horse. Are you buying them for the horse's comfort or for your own vanity? One may not benefit the other. Good, used saddles and blankets may be all you require. New is not necessarily a benefit, especially if you are just starting out in the horse business and are stretching your funds. You can sometimes get really good deals on used saddles as opposed to new ones. Someone may be selling them because they are getting out of the business of owning horses.

Whatever the case, the saddles and the horse blankets should compliment each other in usage and at times in image. A show horse would not get best of show if he has an old, worn saddle and blanket.

Article Written By J. Foley

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Healthy Foods for Your Horse(s)


Healthy Foods for Your Horse(s) By J. Foley

Like any animal that you own it is very important that you are providing your horse with all of the nutrition that is necessary for good growth and good development. A horse is something that you invest a great deal of time and energy in, and it is something that is going to be very loving and loyal to you. This means that you have to be sure to provide your horse with not just adequate nutrition, but excellent nutrition.

Remember that having a good horse feed is something that is important. You want to research your particular breed of horses and see what kind of diet they will do best on. Another thing to keep in mind is not only what kind of breed of horse you have, but what their lives are like. Are they racing horses, or working horses, or are they just horses that you keep as pets to ride. Do you show them, or are they simply farm horses? These are all important questions to ask, because the answers to these questions will help you figure out what the best diet is to give your horse.

After you have determined what your expectations are for your horse, and what kind of lives your horses are going to be leading, you can pick out a great feed that is going to bring out the best in them, while giving them great nutrition. There are many places to buy horse food, so you have to be sure that you have a feed dealer that you can trust that will help you make great decisions about what is best to feed your horse. Then you can be sure that you have a good supply of food.

Also, remember that depending on what your horse is doing in his life, the different seasons are going to act differently upon his body. It might become important that you switch his feed or change what you are giving him as far as amounts go, during the different seasons. This is also a question you are going to want to discuss with your vet, and make sure that you are doing what is right for your horse.

An important part of both training your horse and bonding with your horse is what you are giving him for snacks. He will come to love the snacks that you give him, as long as they taste good and are good for him. This means that you should keep a great supply of the snacks that you know your horse loves on hand, and be sure to talk to your vet about what is appropriate for your horse as well.

Article Written By J. Foley

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Healthy Horse Weight

Horseback Riding

Healthy Horse Weight By J. Foley
There are many things that you have to be concerned with when you are raising animals. In general, animals should always follow certain paths and should do certain things, and as an animal owner you have to be sure that you are watching for these things and taking steps to correct things that might be going wrong. You want to be sure that you are doing whatever you can to insure that your animal is being raised healthily, and being raised in a way that makes him into the best animal you can have. A horse is something that you have to pay close attention to, because there are so many things that could go wrong. If you haven’t been around horses, you should get some horse books and read up on them because if you don’t’ know what things to watch out for, you might not be able to tell when something is wrong.

A horse’s weight is going to be an indication of how healthy they are. There are different breeds of horses, and different sizes as well, but whenever you have a horse at your home, you should find out what their ideal weight is, and then you should make a habit of weighing your horse about once a week or so. If your horse has any change in their weight, you might be looking at some kind of problem. If a horse drops a lot of weight in a week, it is going to mean that something is wrong, and you are going to want to seek vet attention right away.

With horses, sicknesses can happen very fast, and they can get too ill to save before you even have noticed that anything is wrong. Even a small amount of weight change during a week can indicate a problem before the problem is full blown, so if you are weighing your horse on a regular basis, you’ll be able to tell if there is a problem maybe even before you would be able to tell otherwise. If you are able to weight your horse regularly, you are going to have a much better chance of catching anything that goes wrong, and in this way you could actually save your horse’s life. It is very important to have a horse scale that you can have in your barn so that you can check your horse’s weight periodically. You should weigh him more often if you think there might be a problem.

Article Written By J. Foley

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Your Horse And Colic, Why Its So Common


Your Horse And Colic, Why Its So Common By J. Foley

Horses evolved on a different diet from the one they’re expected to eat today. The manner in which horses eat and the time they spend eating has changed considerably – even a horse living on grass eats a different diet from his ancestors. Unfortunately for the domesticated horse, his intestines have not evolved to meet these changes and, as a consequence, he is susceptible to digestive upset.

A horse’s digestion involves fermentation of which a by-product is gas, which can easily distend the gut causing problems. Horses cannot vomit to get rid of toxins, or
indigestible food. The gut has a large absorptive area (needed because the animal is a herbivore) which leaves the horse susceptible to toxins being absorbed quickly.

Also, natural feeding habits mean that nature designed the horse to be on the move, grazing on the way. This is known as “trickle feeding” whereby the horse eats large quantities of low-energy food throughout the day, typically spending 16 hours a day feeding.

Today’s management of horses often indicates two feeds a day of hard feed, rationed hay and stabling for eight hours without exercise or food. This is obviously very different to the life the horse was designed to lead. This change from the natural and ideal situation means that horses can react to any added stress on their lifestyle, which is often the cause of colic.

Risk factors

• Digestive disorder such as tooth problems, worm burdens and gut damage (including
previous colic surgery)

• Poor feeding regime: soiled food, inappropriate quantities, lack of fibre and/or water, or a sudden change in diet

• Stress such as hard exercise while unfit or after eating, travelling, sudden change of routine or environment

• Poor and over-grazed pasture, especially if the soil is sandy


• A constant supply of fresh water

• Small and frequent feeds of concentrates if necessary. Only use hard feed as a supplement to the grazing and high fibre food available to the horse.

• Plan a diet consisting of high fibre content, using hay or other high fibre equivalent feeds. A ratio of at least 60 per cent hay or equivalent.

• Ensure the feed is of good quality and is not moldy, and has no hidden hazards such as baling twine/plastic

• Set a regular exercise programme, ensuring that the horse is fit for the work needed. Do not suddenly over exert your horse.

• Have a post-exercise cooling off period

• Make any changes to exercise or feed slowly

• Allow as much turn out in a paddock as possible

• Have regular dental checks as poorly chewed food increases the risk of a blockage in the intestine

• Do not overgraze pasture

• Ration lush spring grass, treating it as a change of diet to the horse

• Wherever possible, avoid your horse grazing heavily sanded pasture

• Ensure the worm control program is kept up to date as recommended by your vet

• Have a regular daily routine and make changes gradually

Helpful hints

Early detection of colic will improve the chances of a successful outcome so know your horse’s signs of good health. Be aware of temperature, pulse rate and respiratory rate.

Be especially vigilant with any horse that has a history of colic.

Article Written By J. Foley

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Some Important Tips About "The Saddle"

horseback riding

"The Saddle" By J. Foley
It is vitally important a saddle is both well-fitting and positioned correctly on the horse’s back. Fitting should be carried out by a qualified saddle fitter, although every rider should be able to position a saddle correctly for use and be able to identify signs that a saddle no longer fits and requires attention. If the horse’s shape alters, as a result of weight gain or muscle development, the fit of the saddle will need to be checked.

How to correctly position a well-fitting saddle.

• The saddle should be placed on the back, over the wither, and then slid backwards into its natural resting place.

Check that the saddle is balanced and level and not tipping
backwards or forwards.

There should be a broad-bearing surface, with the weight
distributed evenly along the horse’s back.

No part of the saddle should make contact with the spine or wither.

The gullet of the saddle should be approximately 6.5 cm wide along its full length – there should be a similar clearance between the front of the saddle and the top of the horse’s wither.

The position of the point of the saddle tree should sit behind the horse’s shoulder blade, so that it does not restrict the horse’s normal movement. The tree-arches and points should not dig into the horse’s shoulder.

• The back saddle should not sit too far along the
back (as the horse is not designed to take
weight on its lumber region) and no further
back than the start of the last rib.

• Ideally, the rider should use a mounting block,
or get a leg-up when mounting, to avoid
twisting the saddle and affecting its position or
straining the horse’s back.

When the horse is being ridden, the saddle should not move
significantly in any direction and should remain well fitting and balanced.

The girth

Girths are a vital piece of tack, attaching the saddle to the horse and helping maintain
its position. They are available in many shapes, types and sizes to suit a range of
different saddles. Essentially, a girth should be broad and smooth, fitting comfortably
around the horse’s breast. Most general purpose saddles have three girth straps and it is
correct to attach the girth to the first and third of these on each side. A correctly fastened girth should rest approximately one hand’s width behind the horse’s elbows.

Saddle cloths, numnahs and pads

Saddle cloths and numnahs are used to keep the underside of the saddle clean and to
minimise saddle slip. If they are too thick or allowed to crease up under the saddle, they
can alter the fit of an otherwise well-fitting saddle. They should not be used in an attempt to improve the fit of an ill-fitting saddle. Undue pressure can be placed on the horse’s withers and spine if a saddle cloth or numnah is not pulled up fully into the gullet. Pads are often used to alter the fit of a saddle. If such measures are necessary long-term, then the saddle clearly does not fit and a new, well-fitting replacement should be purchased.

Discover the Amazing Horse Training Secrets of a Horse Trainer Who Travelled the Country Taking On All Challenges to Train "Unbreakable" Horses and Always Winning!

Article Written By J. Foley

Thursday, September 06, 2007

When Transporting My Horse, How Can I Improve The Transporting Experience ?

horseback riding

When Transporting My Horse, How Can I Improve The Transporting Experience ? By J. Foley

In order to encourage the horse to load it is essential that the transport environment and the
experience the horse has, is properly considered from the ‘horse’s point of view’.
The interior of a trailer or horsebox should:
be light and bright, preferably with some form of natural light
be solidly built to reduce vibration and swing
be roomy – horses need to be able to develop a ‘bracing’ posture
• contain solid, well-padded partitions that are half-height and not totally enclosing, with a
rubber skirt underneath – this will allow the ‘bracing’ posture and ensure the horse does
not lose balance
have plenty of headroom and space in front of the horse so it can lower its head
• have all furniture well padded – this includes a breast-bar at the correct height and a
breeching strap
• have non-slip flooring
be as dust free as possible, with good ventilation
• have a ‘solid sounding’ ramp (covered with matting of some kind) with spaced footholds.
Make sure the ramp angle is not steep and the step up from the ground is not too

It’s essential the vehicle is driven by someone with skill and experience – horseboxes and
trailers should travel slowly, especially around corners and roundabouts. The exception is
on a motorway, but be careful of sudden braking.
Horses should:
• be in excellent physical and mental health – if the horse shows any clinical signs of
infection, or is injured, seek your vet’s advice
• be offered ‘familiar’ water, or have been previously trained to drink flavoured water as the
taste of water can vary from region to region and inhibit drinking
• be well ventilated and well hydrated throughout the journey – avoid over-wrapping the
horse in blankets
• be transported with a known companion
Horses should not:
• be transported for periods of more than two hours without a stop. They should be
checked, offered water and rested as necessary when the vehicle is not in motion,
especially if expected to perform on arrival at the destination.
• be tied too tightly – this restricts head movement and can lead to a dangerous and
stressful experience.

Here are some reasons for loading problems :

Despite ensuring the ideal travel environment and conditions for your horse it is sometimes
the case that horses refuse to load into the transport vehicle.
The main reasons for this are:
inexperience – horses are naturally fearful of dark, enclosed spaces and often find ramp
climbing difficult
• fear due to an adverse experience
• pain causing problems with loading and/or transport
• lack of confidence in the handler – the handler does not possess the necessary
knowledge to teach the horse to load
• learned ‘misbehaviour’ – if the horse learns that certain behaviour is rewarded, for
example the refusal to load leads to being left at home with friends and food, it will
continue to have that response to the vehicle
There are no quick-fix solutions to loading and travelling problems. Patience and an
individual approach is always required. If you are having difficulties with loading and
travelling your horse, it is important to seek expert advice.

Discover the Amazing Horse Training Secrets of a Horse Trainer Who Travelled the Country Taking On All Challenges to Train "Unbreakable" Horses and Always Winning!

Article Written By J. Foley

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Horseback Riding Lessons

horseback riding

Horseback Riding Lessons By J. Foley

Horseback riding lessons are a must if you’re a novice. Lessons are also available for all ages. Horseback riding lessons are a highlight with focuses on respecting the animals and riding safe. Horseback riding lessons are offered for those who do not know how to ride a horse or those wanting to perfect their style. If you've invested in a horse of your own, want to take riding lessons so that you can visit the stables and go riding with some previous experience or even if you're planning a horseback riding vacation, horseback riding lessons are a definitely a good idea, especially for the beginner or novice rider.


Riding is not just getting on a horse, also keep in mind riding double on a horse increases the risk of injury. Leather riding boots with a one inch heel is necessary, as well as long pants, with a tucked-in shirt. The types of boots you choose to wear when horseback riding can play a big part in the level of enjoyment you'll get during your ride Riding lessons can be expensive, and beginner students will spend much of their time learning about how to sit on the horse, hold the reins and put their heels down.And also keep in mind that horseback riding takes some muscle as well as brain power.

Like anything else, horseback riding is a skill that takes time to learn and for many, just to feel comfortable on the back of a several ton animal. When most people think of Texas, they think of cowboy hats, country music, and horseback riding. Most horseback riding lessons in Austin cost approximately $40/hour in a group setting and $60/hour for a private lessons. Summer horseback riding camps typically cost approximately $250-$350/week in the Austin area. If you'd like to explore the splendor of the Sierra Mountains, try horseback riding in Yosemite National Park in California. Horseback riding vacations are a great way to go if you've got a love of horses and enjoy the outdoors.

If you've got a love of horses and enjoy the outdoors, a horseback riding vacation could be a wonderful idea for your next family venture. There is an abundance of horseback riding options available to you with trails both within the United States and around the globe. If you live in the San Diego area and are interested in horseback riding, you'll be happy to know that there are several ranches close to the downtown area. Horseback riding camp is a great idea for kids who love or are interested in horses and as an alternative to a regular summer camp. Horseback riding camps are not only a way for them to get experience as a rider, but also as a means of learning about the proper care and treatment of animals, as well as a way to build their confidence.

Horseback riding lessons are very social as well as physical. Horseback riding lessons are fun for everyone. In my opinion its very important to learn and understand riding before you start paying for expensive lessons. Understand that Horseback Riding: "The Complete Beginners Guide", has been written for those with little or no experience around horses. You will be getting a complete jump-start on horseback riding lessons by studying this book. This book has been crafted to make learning horseback riding fast, easy and fun. Don't start riding lessons until AFTER you've read this book.

Article Written By J. Foley
Go Here To Checkout : Horseback Riding: The Complete Beginners Guide

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Going On Vacation ? Consider Horseback Riding

horseback riding

Take Time To Just Relax, Consider Going Horseback Riding By J. Foley

Horseback riding has been recognized by many medical professionals and therapists as a very effective physical activity for many people. Whether you are an experienced equestrian or have never set foot near a horse, horseback riding is the perfect way to access trails and remote wilderness areas. Riders and instructors help you smooth out your sitting trot while horseback riding.


Riding a horse provides a unique and often profound activity for many people. Riding, like many other therapeutic approaches, can also be considered a form of recreational therapy. Riding also affects smaller muscles and joints throughout the body as riding is an activity that requires the participation of the entire body. Riding requires attention, reasoning skills and memory. Riding incorporates a lot of information into a fairly small amount of time. Riding is both relaxing and demanding for students of all cognitive abilities, depending on the focus of the lesson. Riding helps the student interact with others and to form meaningful relationships with horses and people. Riding helps to empower people and enables them to connect on a personal level.


There is public access to horse trails in almost every part of the world; many parks, ranches, and barns offer both guided and independent trail riding. Numerous equestrian trails meander through diverse landscapes, from rugged mountain terrain to sandy beaches. Horses are allowed only on trails specifically designated for horse use. Horse riders may use designated campsites located on trails open to their use, however some backcountry campsites must be reserved in advance. Be careful when crossing swampy areas, potential slide areas, deep snow drifts, steep, slippery trails, and streams or rivers. Also be aware of Off-Highway Vehicles that may be sharing some of the trails outside of Wilderness.


Horseback riding vacations and equestrian instruction by Equitours. Equitours offers you tested and proven horseback riding vacations on six continents. Equitours has a unique advantage in organizing and understanding these tours because the owners, Bayard, Mel and Richard have their own Wyoming dude ranch where they have offered horseback riding vacations since 1971. You will find that horseback riding guides offer one-hour to all day tours as well as multi-day trips, sometimes in combination with fishing or hiking. Horseback riding vacations directory of worldwide horseback riding vacations, riding tours, riding trips and trail riding destinations. Box 1170, Millbrook, NY 12545We also offer walking and hiking vacations and tours.

Each year, our staff travels throughout the world to find only the best horseback riding vacations. We frequently visit each riding facility we represent to satisfy ourselves that our customers will enjoy a memorable horseback riding vacation. The reasons for taking a Cross Country InternationalSM horseback riding vacation are many. Whatever the reason, if you love horses, you deserve a Cross Country InternationalSM horseback riding vacation. They get to meet the local people and share their passion for horses and horseback riding with people who feel the same way. Cross Country InternationalSM training vacations are designed to help improve your horseback riding skills while having fun. Book a Cross Country InternationalSM horseback riding vacation online, or simply give us a call at (800) 828-8768, or consult with your travel agent.

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Article Written By J. Foley

Monday, May 07, 2007

The Relationship Between Man And Horse

horseback riding

The Relationship between man and horse is an enduring one. But dealing with animals is always easier and more enjoyable when you have empathy and understanding. To be able to relate to horses,you need to understand their pychology, in order to anticipate horses'reactions you have to understand how they think and why they behave in certain ways. A good understanding also builds confidence on both sides-human and equine.

When faced with a threatening situation, the horse's nature is one of flight, and therefore its perspective on life is one of vulnerability rather than attack. As humans, how we react and feel in certain situations depends on our upbrining and experience. It is the same with horses, which is why careful early handling and training are so important.

We can never expect a horse to go against its natural instincts, that is, never to be frightened or wary - but with good training we can control these instincts and show the horse, in a positive way, that a particular situation or object need not be feared.

Horses are gregarious herd animals, welcoming the company of other horses, as well as other creature companions and humans. Even domesticated stable horses establish their own 'pecking order'.

Either the stallion at the end of the row calls loudest when feed time is due or, as many top riders report, their retired star kicks the stable door demanding attention first when what it considers as 'it' rider walks into the stableyard in the morning.

It is widely known the horse responds best to praise and encouragement from its trainer or rider to overcome its natural flight instincts and not be dominated. 'Breakin-in', the term formerly associated with a youg horse's first conditioning to carry a rider, has now commonly been replaced with terms such as 'starting', which infer much less the idea of domination.

From the disabled child fearlessly enjoying the company of ponies as part of therapy to the most successful of international competitive combinations, a common bond - that of trust and empathy between rider and horse - is being developed.

The horse looks at its human contacts as part of its 'herd' in the herd hierarchy,the human rider and trainer's intellectual capacities give him or her the upper hand. This is why the man/horse relationship has worked so well for several thousand years, and humans can control an animal with many times their own strengths and power.

Riders in their early lessons will often be told 'Don't be nervous'. Although at this stage the rider should be learning from an experienced horse and therefore should be able to relax, the fact that horses need reassurance and security is something to bear in mind and cultivate from the start of a riding career.

horseback riding
Article Written By J.Foley

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Routine Health Checks For Your Horse

horseback riding

Routine Health Checks For Your Horse By J. Foley

As a matter of routine, every horse should be closely observed and checked daily for signs of
injury and ill health. Physical signs and changes in behavior should be viewed in combination,
and considered against what is normal for the individual horse concerned.
Vital signs
Heart or pulse rate, body temperature and respiration frequency (breathing) should be
observed at rest, to determine normal levels for each individual horse. Heart and breathing
rates vary depending on the age and fitness of the individual, being higher in foals and old
horses, and in those that are unfit. In addition, rates naturally increase significantly during
exercise and gradually return to normal as the horse recovers – the fitter the horse, the quicker
rates will return to normal.
Changes to the normal vital signs, observed at rest, are often key indicators of pain or illness.
Normal ranges at rest are as follows.
• Heart or pulse rate of 36 to 42 beats per minute (beats should be clear and regular in
strength and frequency)
• Temperature of approximately 38°C (slight variations are normal in response to
environmental conditions and ambient temperature)
• Respiration rate of eight to 12 breaths per minute (breaths should be quiet and regular in
both depth and frequency)

General health
Ears, eyes and nose
A healthy horse is naturally inquisitive,
alert and responsive to its environment.
Ears should be either pricked up, flicking
backwards and forwards, or when the
horse is resting, held softly forward or to
each side. Eyes should be bright and
clear with a pale pink colour to the skin.
The nose should be clean and the
breathing steady and regular at rest.
Abnormal aggression, evasion, disinterest
or lethargy may indicate that something
is wrong. A head held low or pressed into
a dark corner of the shelter or stable, with
ears clenched back, may indicate more
serious ill health or pain.
Thick nasal discharge from one or both
nostrils and congested or weeping eyes
are also indicators of ill health.
Routine care of your horse should
include regular cleansing of the eyes and
nostrils with fresh water, using separate
(clean) sponges.
Skin and coat
A horse’s skin should be supple and soft,
with a natural elasticity. The coat should be
smooth and shiny. Dry, flaky skin, a dull
coat with hairs raised or excessive grease,
can indicate an underlying health problem.
Regular grooming assists in maintaining
good coat and skin condition, and can
promote good circulation.

horseback riding
Article Written By J. Foley

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Dealing With Your Horse's "Back Problem"

horseback riding

Dealing With Your Horse's "Back Problem" By J. Foley

The term “bad back” is used to describe a range of health problems, such as muscle tension,
soreness and bruising, which may be injuries in their own right or indicators of more serious
underlying problems.
A horse should be checked regularly from head to tail for signs of tension, soreness or pain.
Signs to look out for that may indicate a back problem are as follows.
• General stiffness when moving or dragging the hind toes
• Resistance or aggravation when being saddled or the girth is tightened
• Dipping when being mounted
• Hollowing the back or resisting when ridden
• Bucking or bolting
• Stiffness to one side
• Refusal to perform usual tasks, such as cantering or jumping
• Uneven muscle development or tension
• Adverse or exaggerated reaction to touch or pressure
It is advisable to get your horse’s back checked if the animal is exhibiting any of the above
signs and also to identify or rule out any of the more probable causes.

A poorly fitting saddle and incorrect riding techniques can lead to a range of back problems in
your horse that, if untreated (and the cause not rectified), can create significant discomfort,
lasting damage and may result in subsequent poor performance. The most common ridingrelated
problems are seen in the following areas – at the top of the neck, behind the withers,
over the back, behind the saddle area and across the pelvis.
Most back problems are the results of a primary issue, for example, a badly fitting saddle.
However, the muscles and structures of the neck, back and pelvis can also be injured as a
result of an accident (such as a fall while jumping, slipping or stopping suddenly or becoming
cast in the stable). It is important for a veterinary surgeon to diagnose the problem and
recommend a course of therapy or treatment. The vet should also identify the probable cause,
in order to ensure that the condition is not aggravated and to avoid its re-occurrence.
Several therapeutic treatment options may be recommended for a horse that has been
diagnosed as having a bad back. In addition to rest, controlled exercise and removing the
original cause, the horse may benefit from a course of physical therapy from an
approved therapist. Therapies for horses are similar to those for humans, and include
physiotherapy, massage therapy, chiropractics and osteopathy.
Horses known to have suffered a back problem may also benefit from an annual check by an
approved therapist. Also, every riding horse should have the fit and balance of their saddle
checked regularly by a master saddler at least once per year.

horseback riding
Article Written By J. Foley

Friday, March 23, 2007

Regular Dental Care For Your Horse

horseback riding

Regular Dental Care For Your Horse By J. Foley

Regular dental care is essential for healthy teeth and gums, to promote normal chewing and
good digestion, and acceptance of the bit and rein contact when ridden.
A horse’s mouth contains two main types of teeth – the incisors (cutting teeth) at the front and
the molars (grinding teeth) at the back. Both types of teeth are important for normal food
intake and proper digestion. Teeth gradually erupt from the jaw, in response to wear,
throughout the animal’s life. Wear is often uneven, leading to sharp edges and hooks
developing on the molars (typically on the outside edge in the upper jaw and the inside edge
in the lower jaw). Additionally, hooks at the back of the mouth can prevent the normal chewing
movement of the jaw, which makes eating difficult.
Sharp edges and hooks can cut into the tongue and cheeks, causing considerable discomfort.
Rasping or filing of these protrusions forms an essential part of healthcare. This can be
carried out by a veterinary surgeon or a British Equine Veterinary Association (BEVA)
approved dental technician. Broken, spilt or decaying teeth may require removal, which must
be done by, or under the direction of, a veterinary surgeon.

Identifying possible dental problems
Signs of possible dental problems that may also be signs of other illness are as follows.
• Lack of appetite or reluctance to eat
• Drooling saliva – or a discharge from the mouth or nose
• Sores and swellings around the mouth
• Pain or swellings in the throat and along the jaw-line
• Foul smelling breath
• Loss of body condition
Signs of a possible dental problem when eating are as follows.
• Chewing more slowly than normal or favouring one side of the mouth
• Spilling food from the mouth or deliberately dropping (quidding) balls of partially chewed food
• Sores and swellings around the mouth
• Swellings along the jaw-line or cheeks
Signs of a possible dental problem when ridden are as follows.
• Aggression or reluctance to be bridled
• Resisting the bit
• Head shaking
• Reluctance to move forward
• Rearing or bolting
Routine professional dental care
The teeth of adult horses should receive routine professional attention at least once per year,
even where no specific signs of a problem are observed.
Young horses require more frequent dental inspections, to ensure that the adult teeth come
into wear correctly, and to confirm that the milk teeth have been shed successfully.
Older horses also require more frequent dental inspections as they are more prone to dental
problems and may suffer from loose or damaged teeth, decay or infections from impacted food.

horseback riding
Article Written By J. Foley

Monday, March 05, 2007

Games People Play

horseback riding

Games People Play
by Ron Meredith

Close up, horse shows look like serious business. They're certainly business because their economics affect an awful lot of different people in a lot of different ways. For breeders and trainers and show managers and hamburger slingers and farriers and lots of other people, horse shows are a big investment both literally and figuratively.

They're certainly serious because look at what a big thing so many people make of them in their lives. Of course winning or not can make a big difference in the value of an individual horse or the ability of a farm to sell horses or lessons or whatever they have. But winning or not can make a big difference in how a lot of people go home feeling about themselves.

Horse shows are a big ego thing. If you win you feel pretty positive about yourself and your horse. You feel like you must be doing something right and you especially like the part that someone else--the judge--thinks so, too. (Boy, that judge sure saw things right today.) If you lose, your self esteem is damaged. You wonder if you're ever going to amount to anything or why your horse is so dumb. (Boy, that judge was blind today.)

But if you stand back a ways and look at horse shows from a different perspective, you can see they're only games that people like to play with their horses. A bunch of people get together, make up some rules, and then play that game until some one of them starts to win the game all the time. So then somebody else decides they need to change the rules so more people or different people can win and they start all over again with a new set of rules. And so on.

Whether a horse or rider wins or loses at a horse show doesn't necessarily tell you anything about how well the horse is trained or the rider rides. All that can tell you is how well the horse's handler or rider knows the rules of the game--or how to work around them or how to fool a judge -and whether that horse was able to play by those rules on a given day.

A lot of people make winning at a horse show their goal. They find out the rules and then they train the horse to perform whatever specific tasks the rules require. Instead , they should make it their goal to have a horse that has a solid basic understanding of and response to methodically applied, horse-logical corridors of aid pressures. That kind of understanding can be channeled into any game the rider wants to play.

In a good training system, every new thing the horse learns should build horse-logically on what the horse already knows. The horse never has to unlearn something it has learned in order to make progress. When people use horse show rules as the basis of the things they train their horse to do, they can wind up with a "trick" horse. They've taught him to do a certain thing a certain way because that's what judges look for. Then some group of somebodies decides to change the rules a little bit one day and now the horse has to stop doing what he used to do before you can teach him the new tricks he's supposed to know.

Good training means communicating with the horse in such as way that you can control every single step the horse takes. Once you're controlling every single step, you can control a series of steps. Once you're controlling a series of steps, you can stop controlling every single one if you want, but in the beginning, you must control every single step or stride individually.

Back when I was judging a lot, I used the back up as one way of figuring out who was really in control of their horses and who was just sitting there on a horse that was programmed to do tricks. The trick horses were all programmed to take so many steps back and stop and then go forward and they knew the routine. Their riders couldn't modify the routine the horse knew or the whole thing would start to fall apart. The really good riders could get their horses to back up smoothly and quietly one step at a time in any sequence I asked them for.

When people go to horse shows and win, they love the game. When they lose, then they gripe about judges or politics or people weaseling ways around the letter of the rules, or some other excuse for why they weren't the one with the blue or the tricolor ribbons at the end of the day. Horse shows can be a negative experience. In fact, some judges judge them that way. They get a big class and place it by process of elimination. Instead of looking for the horses and riders that are doing everything right, they watch for mistakes and eliminate horses one after another until just a few are left. If you go to a horse show with winning as the only goal that will make you feel good about the day, the odds are that you are going to go home feeling like a loser.

But horse shows can be a positive experience every single time whether you bring home a handful of ribbons or not. Every class gives you an opportunity to play by the rules using the understanding you have developed with your horse about the meaning of corridors of methodically applied pressures. You have the opportunity to shape your horse's performance stride by stride. No tricks, no just hoping the right thing will happen at the right time. You'll shape the horse's performance to fit the rules but if someone changes the rules, you'll just reshape the performance. Your horse won't have to unlearn any tricks because he was never programmed for them in the first place. Every class becomes an opportunity to practice.

Good basic training prepares the horse both mentally and physically for whatever game you ultimately want to play. As the horse gets more advanced, he'll start to specialize in one particular game. But his training is such that if you decided to play a different game with him some day, you wouldn't have to go back and "unteach" anything he knows. If you make methodical, horse-logical training your goal rather than just winning ribbons, you can have a well trained horse that can play any game you want.

© 1997-2002 Meredith Manor International Equestrian Centre. All rights reserved.
Instructor and trainer Ron Meredith has refined his "horse logical" methods for communicating with equines for over 30 years as president of Meredith Manor International Equestrian Centre, an ACCET accredited equestrian educational institution.

Rt. 1 Box 66
Waverly, WV 26184

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

How To Use Smart Horse Training To Stop Your Horse From Buck

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How To Use Smart Horse Training To Stop Your Horse From Buck
By: Andy Curry

It can be enormously frightening to be on a bucking horse. If you're a novice rider, a bucking horse can almost force you to give up the "owning a horse" dream. But it doesn't have to be that way.

I've read where people who can ride a bucking horse feel they're a good rider. That may be. But it doesn't mean they're good at training. And training is what we want to do.

Preventing bucking begins when the horse is a colt. One must go to every extent in his training so he won't be inclined to buck - and that includes preventing bucking if he tries.

Naturally, that doesn't help you if your horse bucks already. Thus, if your horse bucks then the question is whether or not it is solvable. The answer is: Usually.

The first thing to do is try and figure out why he bucks. This may be done by trying to eliminate the causes.

As a for instance, one of the most common causes of bucking is that the rider punishes the horse's mouth without knowing it. Also, he may be giving the horse conflicting aids. For instance, the rider may boot his horse forward and jerk on the reins to slow him down. Then the rider jerks his head around to turn him. As the horse fights this the rider gets mad and boots him hard again.

Finally, the horse bucks. Why? Because he's absolutely frustrated.

Thus, fixing your riding habits to ones that make sense and are thoughtful for your horse will solve that problem. If you're a novice rider then riding lessons will help you immensely.

As you ride, ride relaxed. Focus on the feel of your horse. Give him the aid or signal to do what you want. Don't over exaggerate it. Give just enough signal to get him doing what you want then let it be.

If you plan to put him into a lope from a walk or trot, or vice versa, then think ahead and do it in a relaxed fluid manner. Don't surprise or startle your horse. Keep him relaxed. A relaxed horse is not going to buck.

Another solution may be changing bits. If you are using a curb bit perhaps you should try going to a snaffle. A snaffle is easier on a horse's mouth. It will still maintain contact with your horse and help him relax.

Another common time a horse bucks is when the rider asks the horse to canter or lope. A horse will sometimes buck in the canter because it's natural for him to. It could also happen if the rider signals his horse too suddenly and severely in asking for the canter.

You see, a lot of people think they have to boot their horse hard to get the canter- - and when they do, they jerk on the horse's mouth when they boot him. Or, the rider may ride with loose reins so the horse will canter and then jerk his mouth to try and slow the horse down right when he begins cantering.

I don't know if you spotted it yet but what's happening here is that the horse is getting confused. Not only that, it's also hurting the horse.

After all, put yourself in your horse's place. If you were asked to canter and the second you did you felt a painful jerk on your mouth...wouldn't you be a little upset? And if it happened every time, wouldn't you think to yourself, "I gotta get this jerk off my back - he's killin' me!"

Now let's say you don't know why your horse is bucking. Let's assume your riding habits are good and your horse bucks anyway.

Here are some helpful suggestions.

First, if your horse bucks you then it is crucial you don't stop him. If you do, he learns that if he wants to stop all he has to do is buck. Very quickly, you'll have a smart horse who knows that to stop he only has to buck.

So, instead of stopping, do this.

First, brace your arms against your body yet keep them relaxed and keep contact with your horse. While doing this, lean back and drive your horse to go forward. (Making a horse go forward is a big horse training secret to help you get your horse's cooperation and obedience.)

Because you brace your arms, it makes your horse's head go up and driving him forward makes his attempts at bucking hard enough he'll quit trying to buck. The point is the horse cannot buck when he is moving forward with energy.

The next step is you must continue moving your horse forward with energy using your seat and legs until he quits trying to buck - be sure to control his speed.

Sometimes it's necessary to hold your horse's head up to stop the bucking while moving him forward. If you need to do that then be sure not to pull his head back. Instead pull it up. You do that by extending your arms and pull up.

If you have a horse that bucks whenever he feels like it then he should be doubled. The trick is to do it on the first buck if you can. Double him then boot him out of it with energy. Then double him the other way and boot him out of it and put him in a trot and make him keep moving.

Remember the horse must slow down to buck. If you can tell your horse is slowing down and getting ready to buck then boot him forward and pick up the pace.

About the Author

Andy Curry is a nationally known horse trainer and author
of several best selling horse training and horse care books.
For information visit his website at
He is also the leading expert on Jesse Beery's horse training
methods which can be seen at


Sunday, February 18, 2007

Afraid To Buy A Horse At Public Auction?

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Afraid to buy a horse at Public Auction?
By: Dale L Anderson

Here are 5 things to do to put the odds of getting a
good horse in your favor.

Let me share a short story with you about public horse auctions and my friend Jack.

I'll show you how to buy a horse at auction so you won't get burned. Jack, an old time horse trader and I use to travel to horse auction all over the state. I'd
just watch Jack and maybe later ask my questions.

Jack was usually pretty closed mouthed, but he let me in on his secrets to buying good horses at auctions.

1 Arrive at the auction real early like 3 hours or more before the auction starts.

You want to be there as the horses arrive, so you can see who brings them and how they unload and walk to their pen.

Who brings the horse? A horse trader, private party, woman, man, kid, also how many horses did they bring? You need to
know this so you have a clue as to who you will possibly be buying from and who to talk to about the horse before you

2 If you see a horse you like the looks of, go to the horses holding pen.

Watch the horse and how he moves. If the horse is tied up in the pen this could mean trouble as the horse owner might
not want you to see the horse move. Check the horse for blemishes and soundness, make sure the legs are clean and the hooves are healthy and maintained, there should not be any limping or signs of lameness.

I do not like scars, divots or bumps on the head and neck, This shows the horse has been in a wreck of some kind, which
could mean the horse is prone to panic, I’ve been stuck with a couple of panic prone horses and they did hurt me. If you
don't know about lame horses and what to watch out for, take someone with you who does or don't bid.

Now the horse should show signs of life maybe be a little bit excited, what with all the other horses and the new surroundings, if not you could be looking at a drugged horse.

3 Talk to the person that brought the horse

you know this person because you seen them arrive. Make sure they are the owner of the horse, if not who are they? The standard stories are:

It's my neighbors horse, this often means it is my horse but I am not going to admit it to you, as I don't want to be held
accountable for the lies I'm about to tell you.

Or I'm a dealer trying to pass off this horse as a good old horse so gentle to ride, the neighbor kid rode bareback on
the road when in reality it's a dink horse that he can't sell off his trading string.

Jack use to saddle up to the person who brought the horse and softly ask; say can you tell me a little bit about your horse? ( then he SHUT UP! ). They would tell all the nice things about the horse and Jack would just look at the horse, not saying a word. After they got through the string of lies or half truths, they would start getting nervous because it was so quite they thought they had to ramble on
some more and that's when a bit more of the truth starts to show up, yeah old Barley don't buck except that one time
when he broke my collar bone opps...

4 Follow the horse from the pen to the sale ring

Jack use to walk right into the sale ring with the horse and watch it move in the ring too. The other advantage is you
can see who is bidding. The owner or someone with them may be running up the bid, you know this because you seen them
arrive right?

Now you may not be able to get in the ring but you can stand next to it so you can see the horse and the crowd too. Most
owners try too hard to get their horse to ride well in the ring which is usually too small to work a horse in anyway so you get to see how the horse responds under pressure. Watch for rearing, head tossing, humping up or crow hopping,
usually the small size of the ring prevents them from bucking.

5 If you still like the horse bid on it.

How much? Jack would only pay about $15 to $20 above killer price. How much is that? You need to snoop around before
the sale and ask the dealers or auctioneer, I've seen it range from 15 cents to 1 dollar a pound, so that could mean from $150 to $1000 for a 1000 pound riding horse.

Jack was comfortable paying that price as he would take the horse home, try them out, if there was a problem he would
run them through the next auction and not get hurt too bad, out $20 at most.

This works good if you, your wife, or kids don't fall in love with old Barley, Jack use to say if you don't send them right back to the auction. you end up with a field full of cripples and buckers.

You can get a nice horse at a rock bottom price following this method. My experience has been that I can get older
well trained horses that people are bailing out on because the kids all left home and they don't want to feed the horse
any more, or they just were flash in the pan horsemen and need the money for a quad runner.

I have also bought young unbroke horses that people do not have the skill to train, if you think you want a go at that,
make sure you have a medical plan and go for it.

I do not pay top dollar for exceptional horses at auctions because, again experience has taught me there are no
exceptional horse at these auctions, if you think there are some there, look close as there is usually a hole in them

Now put this plan into action and you will find a nice horse that you can use and even make a profit on if you so choose
at some time in the future, just do all the steps and you will get the successful results.

About the author:

Dale Anderson



Monday, January 01, 2007

The Secrets That Keeps Horses Trainable!

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The Secrets That Keeps Horses Trainable!
By: Andy Curry

As you likely know already, horses have at least 10 times our strength. If they also had our intelligence, they would probably be riding us humans. Fortunately, horses cannot reason like human beings and therefore will never have superior intelligence.

Since they don't have reasoning abilities, horse training becomes a challenge because you now have to understand how their intelligence works. You have to know what works and why to really be effective.

The biggest secret that makes it so we can train a horse is the fear of pain and/or punishment that our creator instilled in their mind. We can use that built-in fear to our advantage and teach the horse what we want him to do.

The trick is to not push the horse too far with his built-in fear. We must never abuse this knowledge because it will backfire. Once it backfires then we will have problems with the horse we're training.

How does it backfire? Let's take a novice horse owner who fulfills his dream to have horses and train them. Unless he's studied a horse's nature he will probably get into big trouble with his horse because of the delicate balance of the horse's built-in fear.

For instance, the very first lesson you must teach your horse is to have confidence in you. If your horse doesn't have confidence in you, he will neither trust you. Both are enormously important to horse training.

Think of confidence in this way. If you're a child who's just seen a scary movie on TV you probably want to sleep with Mom and Dad for the night. They'll protect you. You'll be safe with them. Hopefully, you know these things to be true because you have experienced it with your own parents.

But if you didn't feel like they'd keep you safe you wouldn't have confidence in them, would you?

A horse's thinking is similar to that. He must have confidence in you when you're working with him.

A horse can be taught confidence in different ways. I prefer to the Jesse Beery confidence lesson.

Jesse Beery, a famous horse trainer from the 1800's, uses his confidence lesson as the beginning place of training his horses. He said, "This is the most important lesson of all."

Interestingly, it's also the easiest.

How nice it is that the most important lesson is the easiest to do.

Essentially, the confidence lesson takes advantage of (but never abused) the horse's built-in fear. In a way, the fear is harnessed and carefully used to get the horse's confidence in you. It's akin to getting a child to watch a scary movie and being there to protect him or her when they get scared.

When the horse experiences the fear, you're there to save the day. You make it so he depends on you to be his superhero.

When the horse gets fearful, you have to be there to tell him everything is okay. You do that through petting him. Talking to him in a soothing manner. Using a pleasant tone of voice.

I have a friend, Gene, who loves his horses but when they don't do certain things he think they should do, he punishes them. (By punishing, I don't mean he hits or whips. A horse can feel punished just by a threatening tone of voice for example)

Anyway, I rode with a group of people one day and Gene was in our group. We came upon running water. You could call it a small river or a big creek. It was about 30 feet wide and varied in depth from a foot to three feet.

Every horse crossed the water but Gene's. Gene got so upset that his horse wouldn't cross that he began booting his horse in the ribs. That poor horse wanted to comply with Gene's request but the running water scared him. The horse was spooking.

The horse paced back and forth, occasionally sniffing the water but never crossed it. The whole time Gene's legs were wildly kicking the horse trying to get him to cross - yet the horse remained spooky.

What Gene didn't realize is the horse was fearful and needed his help. Anytime a horse is fearful of a place or a thing he should be reassured with pleasant, soothing voice sounds and/or petting him.

If you do what Gene did, you just gave your horse another thing to fear. Not only does that horse fear crossing running water, now he fears he's going to be punished for it. And it's likely that anytime the horse comes upon running water both fears will crop up and Gene will have a horse that would like to comply but his instincts are so powerful that he probably won't (unless Gene figures out what to do)

Think of it from the horse's point of view.

You're a horse that cannot reason and you're instincts are self-preservation. What keeps your self-preservation in check is the built-in fear. Fear makes you run from danger. Fear is what keeps you alive. If you don't understand something you fear it even more.

Now knowing all that, imagine you're the horse and you're standing at the edge of the river. You won't cross it because you think there's danger in it somehow. On top of that, someone is on your back, pissed off and kicking you in the ribs because you won't go forward.

Not only are you scared of the water, but now you're getting kicked in the ribs and feeling punished. You want to be obedient and go forward but your instinct is too powerful and tells you not to.

It would be like telling a scared child who just saw a scary movie that he had to sleep in his own damn room.

But what if Gene had understood his horse was scared? What if he helped his horse deal with his fear.

How would he do this?

When Gene and his horse approached the water he could have spoke to his horse in a pleasant, soothing manner. When the horse was getting scared Gene should have recognized it as fear and not as disobedience.

He could have petted his horse to reassure him all is okay. He could have talked to his horse in a pleasant manner. He could have let his horse sniff the water and check it out on his own.

Instead, the horse was now confused, scared, feeling punished, less trusting of his rider, and who knows what else.

But if Gene would've recognized the fear in his horse then he could have helped his horse overcome it. Gene lost the awesome opportunity to gain a significant amount of the horse's confidence and friendship in that river scene. Too bad too. That's a beautiful paint horse.

horseback riding

About the Author

Andy Curry is a nationally known horse trainer and author
of several best selling horse training and horse care books.
For information visit his website at
He is also the leading expert on Jesse Beery's horse training
methods which can be seen at