Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Gentle horses work hard to help those with special needs

BY LU ANN FRANKLIN
Times Correspondent | Tuesday, December 30, 2008 |

Strings of colored lights twinkled throughout the stable. In front of each stall, a small evergreen tree awaited decorations, and a chorus of voices sang Christmas carols to the horses housed in the stalls.

Children lined up to get designs painted on their cheeks, and guests nibbled on cookies. As strong winds blew outside, hot chocolate helped chase the wintry chill away inside the Hobart stable.

The Fifth Annual Deck the Stalls two weeks ago sponsored by Exceptional Equestrians Unlimited brought together dozens of children and adults who have a loving connection with the horses donated and specially trained to work with riders with special needs.

Currently finishing its 29th year, EEU provides educational and therapeutic riding instruction for people with special needs. Volunteers run the nonprofit charity, which depends on fund-raisers and donations from individuals, businesses and service organizations.

Some volunteers care for the horses and the stable, while others train the horses or raise money for the group.

The program began in Valparaiso in 1979 and moved to the stable at 5307B 61st Ave. in Hobart six years ago. EEU is a member of North American Riding for the Handicapped Inc. and is an affiliate agency of United Way of Porter County.

At the Christmas-themed event, Danielle Lowe of Munster greeted her favorite horse, Shade, a 20-something-year-old American Quarter Horse. Lowe, a 14-year-old Munster High School freshman with cerebral palsy, began taking horseback-riding lessons in August.

Danielle's physical therapist at St. Margaret Mercy in Dyer recommended the program.

"Her posture is better, and her leg muscles have strengthened," says Danielle's mother, Ly Lowe.

"It's been a great thing."

Monica Gutierrez also has seen major benefits from horseback riding, says her mother, Maria Gutierrez. The 7-year-old from East Chicago now is able to stretch out more because of her riding lessons.

Diagnosed with a rare metabolic disorder, Monica receives physical, occupational and speech therapy. But one of her favorite activities is horseback riding.

"She loves it," Gutierrez said of the program. "She's made big progress. She's listening more."

EEU has touched many lives during its years of operations, says Laura Rochester of Valparaiso, who serves as volunteer secretary and is on the board of directors.

Those taking lessons range in age from 4 to those in their 50s, and have a wide range of special needs, including Down Syndrome, cerebral palsy and autism.

"We offer lessons from April through October, which cost $240 for eight weeks plus a $50 registration fee. It all goes to help take care of the horses, to lease the stable and all the utilities," Rochester says.

Mounting platforms, safety headgear and stirrups and adaptive equipment allow those with physical and mental disabilities to get on the horses and ride.

"They're taught how to ride and how to stop the horse," Rochester says.

"For those who can't speak, we teach them to tap the horse's withers. Parents are always amazed how well their children do on the horses. Their bodies are more flexible when they're moving with the horse."

In addition, riders benefit from a sense of accomplishment, Rochester says.

"We do exercises to stretch their bodies and different games," she says. "There are a lot of smiles and joys."

Only gentle, quiet horses are accepted into the EEU program, Rochester says. Most are older horses in their 20s and 30s, like Daisy, a 33-year-old Appaloosa.

However, Harley, a 9-year-old red roan-colored American Quarter Horse recently joined the herd.

"Normally we wouldn't accept a young horse, but Harley has a 'good mind.' He can get distracted, but he's gentle," Rochester says.

"Different horses do different things for each child."

The horses go through rigorous training to prepare for carrying riders with special needs and the volunteer walkers who accompany them.

"They have to be willing to have people around them," she says. Rochester says it takes a lot to keep the program going. All donations directly benefit the horses and riders.

Recent fund-raisers for EEU, including a Ride-A-Thon and chili cook-off with silent auction, netted the organization $9,500, says Rondi Wightman of Porter, president of EEU. Wal-Mart and Best Buy also each donated $1,000.

Even with declining economic times, EEU continues to provide a special service for its exceptional riders, Rochester says.

"Somehow, God always provides," she says.

FYI: To donate to Exceptional Equestrians Unlimited or for more information, eeu1tripod.com or (219) 945-0726.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Do You Show Your Horse Love in The Winter?

Horseback Riding

Let us say winter is here and you're warm and cozy by the fireplace, drinking hot chocolate and reading a good book. Maybe you are enjoying some soothing music while ensconced in your favorite pajamas; all wrapped up comfortably in your soft blanket while the snow falls lightly outside.

What about your horse? Is your horse in a clean, warm stall in the barn, with fresh hay and clean water, protected from the elements? Did you remember his horse blanket? It's not as though he can waltz over to his little closet and take it out of the drawer! Your precious investment is depending on you to remember the particulars of his care.
A cold horse in winter is a pitiful thing indeed. If you decide to buy a horse, even if it is just for the sake of saying you own one, please take the time to provide proper care and housing, medical attention, and the right equipment. Part of that equipment and proper care involves the horse blanket.

A horse blanket is particularly needed in the cold, hard elements of the winter season. The horse has no way of actually saying, "Hey, could you hand me that blanket, please?" It is a living, breathing creation and is counting on the master of the estate to give it what it needs to survive.

The horse blankets need not be elaborate, expensive pieces of valuable art. They simply need to be functional for the animal. The function here is to hold in the animal's body heat in the winter. Of course, they are also used as cushioning underneath the saddles among other things. Which, by the way, is also needed in the winter and the blanket helps the horse stay warmer while being ridden outside.

Miniature horses have their own furry horse blankets in the winter. Even though all horses have thicker hair in the winter, the minis look woolly! They sometimes enjoy running in the snow just for fun! One type of miniature horse is the Falabella, which are said to be survivors of the Ice Age. They must have been an extremely tough breed of animal to survive the harsh winters from that period of time.

Maybe you are wondering if the horses of the Ice Age needed blankets. While I'm sure plenty survived without them, horses being gentled and tamed by mankind have also been bred somewhat spoiled or weakened, if you will. I suppose you could compare it to a dog that has been kept inside with the central heat since a pup. If you put the dog outside in the yard in the harsh winter, it will struggle against the cold. Besides, just because a horse survived the Ice Age doesn't mean he should be forced to endure the winter without a horse blanket now. Humans survived living in caves with no electricity or modern amenities, but now we've spoiled and pampered ourselves and most would have a hard time surviving harsh conditions of nature. So, care for your horse with the love and tenderness that is deserved.

Article Written By J. Foley

Friday, December 26, 2008

Winter horseback riding classes offered at Lord Stirling Stable, Basking Ridge

by Somerset Reporter
Friday December 26, 2008, 10:25 AM

BASKING RIDGE -- The Somerset County Park Commission announces that openings are still available for winter horseback riding classes at Lord Stirling Stable, located at 256 South Maple Ave.

Lessons are offered to juniors (ages 9-17) and adults, and will accommodate the absolute beginner through more advanced levels with jumping experience. The 10-week winter session begins the week of Jan. 5.

All classes will take place in the spacious indoor arena; a climate-controlled viewing area is open to friends and family members who may wish to observe.


Adults above the Beginner 1 level have the option of riding once a week for the full 10-week session or for the first or last five weeks. All junior classes meet once a week for 10 weeks. The schedule of classes is available online and in the stable office.
Riders who have previous experience and can post the trot, but have not ridden at Lord Stirling Stable, must be evaluated prior to registration to be placed in the appropriate level. Please call the stable office to schedule a convenient testing appointment.
The 10-week, one-hour program rates for Somerset County residents are $240 for the first flat (non-jumping) class and $220 for each additional family member.
For out of county residents the rates for flat classes are $360 and $340 for each additional family member.
The five-week one hour flat class rates are $120 for Somerset County residents and $180 for out of county residents. Jumping classes and 90-minute lessons for selected classes are offered at an additional fee.
Payment is due at registration and is payable by cash, check, MasterCard, American Express, Visa or Discover. New students who live in Somerset County must show a driver's license, Motor Vehicle ID card or local tax form as proof of residency.
For additional information please call the stable office, which is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., at (908) 766-5955 or NJ Relay at 711 for individuals with hearing impairment.
Information on this and other events of the Somerset County Park Commission can be found at www.somersetcountyparks.org.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Hilltop Stables named best riding place

Bonnie Heater Signal staff


Until recently one of the best kept secrets on post was the Fort Gordon Hilltop Riding Stables.

According to Kate Kluna, an employee at the stables, stable managers were notified Dec. 15 by "Columbia County Magazine" that they were selected for an award for being the best place to ride a horse in Augusta. The publication publishes annually the "Top 100 Best Places in Augusta to visit."

Hilltop Stables which is located off North Range Road at 16th Avenue offers more than 250 acres of trails for horseback riders.

It's considered a basic beginner barn, according to Kluna. "We offer lessons for beginners to advance riders," she explained. "Presently we have 13 government horses and 6 ponies available to ride. We also board horses," she said.

"We now have 15 boarders. In addition, we offer hay rides, pony rides and organized trail rides for groups too.

Both the public as well as military members and their Families are welcome.The hourly riding rate for military members in the rank of E-5 or below is $23, E-6 and above $25; and civilians $30.The stables are open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. Trail rides are available, if you call and make a reservation, at 11 a.m. Wednesday through Friday. Guided trail rides are conducted four times a day on Saturdays and Sundays.

To make a reservation or to learn more information about what is available at Hilltop Riding Stables call (706) 791-4864.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Still thorny: Mexican tradition or animal cruelty?


Horseback Riding

Still thorny: Mexican tradition or animal cruelty?

Dec 15, 2008
By Michael Moore

A debate over proposed new restrictions on rodeo events in Santa Clara County has developed a three-way faceoff among county officials, animal rights activists and Mexican rodeo participants.

Numerous county officials, including Supervisor Don Gage, have supported a new animal cruelty ordinance that would ban the practice of "steer tailing" at local rodeos, which they say is particularly brutal compared to other submission techniques used on farm animals at American rodeos.

Those opposed to the ban say that steer tailing is an essential aspect of Mexican-American rodeos, or charreadas, and singling it out among other rodeo events is discriminatory.

And animal activists support the ban, but say it doesn't go far enough in eliminating the cruelty that is generally characteristic of rodeos and circuses, which are also a subject of the ordinance.

For nearly a year the draft ordinance has bounced around among various county agencies and public hearings. At the November meeting of the Housing, Land Use, Environment and Transportation Committee, Director of Agriculture and Environmental Management Greg Van Wassenhove reiterated county administrators' support for the current draft.

Van Wassenhove said the ordinance will likely be back in front of the board of supervisors at a January 2009 meeting, possibly for a vote, but the issue is not yet officially scheduled.

Although only one aspect of the possible ordinance has proved contentious, its purpose is to address the treatment of animals at rodeos and circuses. Supplementing state laws regulating the events, the ordinance would require a veterinarian to be present at all circuses and rodeos, clean water to be available to participating animals, and would ban the "horse tripping" event which is already prohibited by state law.

The decision to include the ban on steer tailing is based on a study conducted by staff members of the HLUET Committee, Animal Advisory Commission, and the board of supervisors, Van Wassenhove said. He and these staff members have attended American rodeos throughout the year, and watched videos of Mexican rodeos depicting steer tailing. No Mexican rodeos that would be subject to the new ordinance occurred in unincorporated areas of Santa Clara County during the study period, he said.

Steer tailing, known as colas at Mexican rodeos, consists of a cowboy, or charro, riding on horseback and pulling up beside a cow running loose in the arena, grabbing its tail and wrapping it around the charro's stirrup, causing the animal to flip onto the ground.

Colas are unique to Mexican rodeos, causing charro advocates to question why the county hasn't considered banning American rodeo practices that many animal rights activists say are equally inhumane.

Toby De La Torre, president of the Federation of Charros, USA, said the county's view is based on race discrimination. He said colas is an essential part of Mexican rodeos, and there have been no reports of animal abuse at these events in California.

"We are just carrying on the traditions and the sport that our ancestors have taught us," said De La Torre. "(The county) wants to pit the American rodeo versus the Mexican rodeo." He noted that charreadas are not supported by the corporate sponsors that promote American rodeos, and thus as widely recognized as a mainstream sport, and this lack of influence may be contributing to the county's stance.

"We are the weak link of the rodeo," said De La Torre. "We don't have as much money and we're not everybody's favorite."

Animal rights activists say that steer tailing is inhumane and should be banned, but so should calf roping and steer wrestling, which are performed frequently at American rodeos.

Eric Mills, a coordinator for Action for Animals in Oakland, said, "I would ban all of it," referring to any rodeo event that could cause injury to animals. He said he has videos of steers getting their tails ripped off in charreadas, and calves getting their legs broken at American rodeos.

Van Wassenhove explained that steer tailing is more likely to injure an animal than the other two events because in steer tailing the cowboy is essentially above the target animal on horseback. In calf roping and steer wrestling, the cowboy pursues the animal on the ground.

"There's more potential for injury in free falling than being wrestled down by a cowboy," said Van Wassenhove.

It is uncertain how much the ordinance, if the board of supervisors approves it, would affect South County. The Rancho Grande arena in Morgan Hill holds bull-riding events during the summers, and many of the participants are from South County. But there were no rodeo events that charged a paid admission and included steer tailing anywhere in the county in 2008, and Van Wassenhove said the law would only apply to rodeos and circuses that charge admission.

Nevertheless, De La Torre, whose office is in southern California, is worried that the ban could cause a snowball effect throughout the state. "The animal rights activists could go to other counties and say 'Look, (steer tailing) is banned here.' They could turn it around and say, 'If you pass the banning of steer tailing, you have to ban calf roping and steer wrestling."

Michael Moore
Michael Moore covers county and law enforcement issues for the Morgan Hill Times. Reach him at (408) 779-4106, ext. 202, or mmoore@morganhilltimes.com.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Equestrian Clothing: Body Or Back Protectors

Horseback Riding


Equestrian Clothing: Body Or Back Protectors By J. Foley

The most important role of equestrian clothing is for protection. Although horses can be trained they can be unpredictable when provoked. Riders are vulnerable while riding and handling horses, especially for beginners. They may seem to be friendly but they can easily gallop or kick someone when not handled correctly. Apart from riding hats, a body protector is also important equestrian clothing.



Apart from protecting your head any rider should also protect their body. Against a powerful kick of horse, any human can get thrown away like a dummy. Falls can not just injure your head but also break your spine. Riders can also suffer from other internal injuries during a bad fall.



Equestrian protection



Horses are prized in equestrianism but riders are important too. The rider's ability to handle the horse also has a big impact on their performance. Fortunately there is clothing that can protect them from injury.



Body or back protectors are garments that protect the rider's chest and back. We all know that your spine is also as important as our skull. Our spine contains the spinal vertebrae which are composed of our body's nerves from head to foot. Any injury to the spine can paralyze the rider. Our chest on the other hand contains vital organs.



It's a vest type of clothing that is filled with foam. They are worn over the top of the rider's clothes. They can also be worn under the jacket. Its good protection for the rider in case they fall during a ride or get kicked by the horse while handling them.



Injuries from a fall cannot be completely avoided but their impact can be reduced. Wearing body or back protectors will provide preventive measure against possible injuries while the rider is with the horse.



The protector is divided into two: the front and the back. They are held together by Velcro fittings on each side and over the shoulder. The protector should be fastened securely and should not move while riding. At first they may seem uncomfortable but the foam moulds to adapt to the rider's body shape and contour.



All protectors should abide by safety standards. Riders should buy new and original ones for guaranteed protection.



There are three different types of protectors:



Level 1: The black label. It's only appropriate for licensed jockeys. It has the lowest level of protection.



Level 2: The brown label. It provides medium protection. It's appropriate for general riding with low risks. This does not include riding on hard surfaces such as roads. Jumping over obstacles and riding young excitable horses are excluded.



Level 3: The purple label. It offers the highest level of protection when riding horses. This includes normal and competitive horse riding. It's also used when handling horses.



Like riding hats body protectors should be replaced after three to four years. Second hand body protectors are not advisable since their foam padding have already been used. Other body protectors have additional attachments such as shoulder pads.



Although body protectors come in different sizes many manufacturers offer custom fitted ones. This provides ample adjustment for maximum comfort for the rider. Some may like it snuggly fit while others prefer it loose.



No matter what your preferences are prevention is still better than cure. Coupled with riding hat body protectors are also important pieces of an equestrian's clothing.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Equestrian Helmet

Horseback Riding

The Equestrian Helmet By J. Foley

Equestrian helmets may not be the biggest fashion sensation today, but there are some stories behind them. The distinctive style of the helmet, kept even in these days of modern materials and cutting-edge design, still reflects the tradition of conservatism proliferated by the early English riding headdress.

Unlike their predecessors, however, equestrian helmets of today serve a purpose beyond making people look good: safety. Not many people realize this, but competitive horse riding is a sport that can be fraught with danger. This is the reason why helmets of today are designed and standardized to make sure that a rider does not suffer serious cranial injuries when riding.

The helmet itself has an outer layer of plastic, which resists impact and prevents injuries in case of a fall. However, some helmets are designed with a cloth covering the shiny plastic in order to make the helmet look more attractive.

The brim of the helmet is designed to protect the eyes of the rider form the harsh glare of the sun. It also makes the helmet more attractive in terms of design. However, the brim is not made of the same materials as the "shell" of the helmet. Rather, it is designed to crumple during a fall. This makes the helmet safer in event a rider lands on the brim.

The inside of the helmet is designed with both comfort and safety in mind. Added padding makes sure that the helmet takes the brunt of the impact in case of a fall. The design is also very sport-specific: one of the reasons why an equestrian helmet is easily recognizable.

The design of the helmet makes sure that the whole head is protected. This is unlike bicycle or skating helmets, which focus the protection in the front and back of the head. It is also designed with the comfort of the rider in mind, with ventilation and positioning factored into the overall aesthetics.

There are many variations on the equestrian helmet based on the competition. Horseracing jockeys, for instance, wear helmets that are brimless and covered with a cloth matching the color scheme of their uniforms. Traditionalists frown upon the spreading use of brilliant colored helmets, but more and more people find the colors black, brown and gray boring.

There are also some varieties of equestrian helmets today that have been adapted to more "western" designs. These helmets, however, are yet to be embraced by riders in rodeos (where they are obviously more needed).

Standardization varies form country to country. However, a rider who joins a competition must have a standard helmet or that rider will not be allowed to compete. People who have performed a "conformity assessment" judge whether the helmet is up to standard

The conformity assessment is a series of tests that show how safe the helmet is. Some assessments involve various tests that simulate a rider falling from a horse and even getting kicked by a horse in the head.

Today, the equestrian helmet is not yet required for riders. However, they are becoming common practice. In fact, riding instructors today are required by insurance companies to make their students wear riding helmets in order to get an insurance policy. Some people may feel that equestrian helmets are uncomfortable and hot, but you should always remember that these helmets keep you safe.

Article Written By J. Foley

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Equestrian Supplies: The Horse Grooming Kit

Horseback Riding

Equestrian Supplies: The Horse Grooming Kit By J. Foley

Apart from the horses clothing equestrians should also take care of their horses. After all, the performance of the horse has a major impact on the scores. No matter what sports the horse is going to participate he must be well prepared before the event. This entails not just proper but also grooming. Riders are not the only ones who should look their best but also the horse. There are many supplies out there for the horse. Riders have a wide array of choices for their horses.

One of the most important of these supplies is the grooming kit. This is an essential kit when grooming and preparing the horse. With it riders will be able to maintain their horse's coat in good condition. This will also be a good time for them to check for any injuries, scratches and bruises on the horse. Grooming will also massage the horse and promote circulation.

Horse care

The grooming kit is made up of different combs and brushes to keep the horse clean. Each of these combs and brushes has a different purpose when cleaning the horse.

These are some of the basic brushes and combs in a grooming kit:

Dandy brush
These brushes are used to remove dirt on the surface of your horse's coat. They are used in the less sensitive parts of the horse. This brush has long bristles.

Body Brush
These brushes can be either hard or soft depending on your need. They have leather back. It is used to remove grease and dusts from you're horse' coat. They can be used in the sensitive areas of your horse's body.

Metal curry comb
This is not used on the horse but is rather used to clean the body brush when grooming. It removes dust and dirt from the brush so that you can use it again on the horse.

Rubber Curry Comb
They remove mud and loose hair from the mane and tail of your horse.

Water Brush
You are going to use water when washing or dampening your horse's coat. This brush is used when applying water on your horse.

Mane comb
As the name suggests these are combs used on the main and tail of your horse. They come in plastic and metal. There are variations of these combs for different purposes. Short metal combs are used for pulling manes. Other special combs are used to cut the mane thinner.

Hoof pick
They are used for removing dirt and stones that are packed into your horse's hooves. Dirt and stones usually collect on the underside of your horse's hooves when you go riding or when he's out there in the field. The hoof pick can be easily lost under your grooming kit so it's advisable to type in a baline twine.

Cotton Sponge
Used for cleaning the eyes, nose and wounds of your horse.

Sweat scraper
Wipe away sweat from the horse or excessive water when washing.

Stale rubber
Used for doing the finishing touches on the horse. They are used for polishing the coat of the horse. Stake rubber or linen cloth can be used.

Grooming kit box
Last but not the least, is the kit box. It can be any container or bag with ample storage for the brushes. You can also use a canvas bag with a drawstring.

Article Written By J. Foley

Monday, September 01, 2008

Equestrian Products: Horse Blankets

Horseback Riding

Equestrian Products: Horse Blankets By J. Foley

Equestrians engage into highly competitive sports. Although horse back riding is mostly reserved for the rich, people of all ages can try it. It takes a lot of work and discipline to be able to train a horse. It also takes a lot of patience to ride them. Equestrian sports have been included in the Olympics. Although the rider is as equally important as its horse, the chances of winning in the competition do not lie on them. Like racing cars it's important that horses are in their maximum health.

There are many products out there that could help the horse. They are available online. One of the most important products is the horse blanket. They can also be called rugs or sheets.

Does my horse need a blanket?

Horse blankets are important to protect horses from nature's elements. Like us they also need to be protected from the rain, cold, wind and heat from the sun. Horses that are left without blankets during the season have more chances of getting ill.

There are different types of horse blankets, rugs or sheets. Their use will depend on what your horse needs.

Coolers and anti-sweat rugs
As the name suggests they prevent the horse from getting chills when they cool down after exercise. These rugs are breathable with mesh. The size of the mesh can very depending on the horse. Fine mesh helps to keep off flies.

Fly sheet or rug
This protects the horse from insects and flies during summer when they are grazing. The sheet is also available with additional attachments such as neck covers, bonnets and fly masks. These additional products provide complete protection from the horse.

Summer sheet
It's a variation of the horse which is much lighter. They are used to protect horses from dusts and flies during summer. They can also be used as travel rugs.

Under blankets or liners
They are placed on the horse as a protection from friction from stable rugs. They are placed underneath stable rugs. They come in different materials. The traditional under blanket is made of wool. Modern under blankets are made of lightweight materials and are considered as under rugs.

Stable rugs
They are used to protect the horse from the cold during winter while being stabled. They come in varying, colors, thickness and weights. Different thickness and weights offer varying degrees of warmth. They are also breathable which enables the horse's sweat to evaporate. Under blanket can also be placed underneath the stable rug to add warmth. This is usually needed when the horse is stabled day and night.
Turnout rug

They are used to keep the horses clean when they are out in the field. They ca also provide warmth during the winter. Turnout rugs should be long enough to cover the horse's belly. The front should also have a good overlap. These rugs usually have pleats on the shoulders to enable movement. These rugs also come in different thickness and weights. Turnout rugs vary from light weight with no filling for the summer, and heavy weight with filling for the winter.

No matter which rug you use it's important to keep your horse well protected. Like a well oiled machine they perform best when taken cared off. Horses are not like cars that can be repaired again and again. A horse's health is as vital as the rider's.

Article Written By J. Foley

Monday, August 11, 2008

How to Buy the Proper Equestrian Boots

Horseback Riding

How to Buy the Proper Equestrian Boots By J. Foley

Why do you think is it important to consider the proper tips in purchasing the equestrian boots to be used with or without any horseback riding competition? Do you think you can get on with a long ride without the proper equestrian boots? Read on and find out the necessity of choosing the appropriate equestrian apparel such as the boots for someone like you whose passion is all about horse-related stuff.

What are equestrian boots?

Equestrian boots are likewise termed as horseback riding boots. They are the footwear that you are required to use whenever you are going for a ride with your horse. The definition itself practically sounds too simple but of course there is a special reason as to why you must wear these. The general idea is that these boots are capable of keeping you safe and comfortable even as you take heavy and rugged terrains. You must understand that your horseback riding adventures are sure to engage several other difficulties and challenges, much more, accidents. If you are not wearing the proper footwear, then you just can't imagine what may happen to you should untoward incidents arise.

What are the different equestrian boots?

Did you know that there are several types and styles of equestrian boots? Surely, there are. They are like clothes which have various categories depending on what trend is hot and in for everyone. The same goes with these boots. Historically speaking, the equestrian boots were supposedly made out of higher heels which were geared towards the prevention of foot slipping. Now, today's versions of these boots come with low heels. But of course, some cowboy boots still have the same higher heels.

Now that you have known that there are different styles of the equestrian boots, how should you know which boots must you prefer for your rides? It is simple. Just take note of the following circumstances regarding the boots styles.

Some riding boots are for show riding while there are those which are meant for pleasure riding. Taller boots, those which are tailored just a little below the knees are mainly designated for the use in the field, for hunting, and for dressing.

For some dressing apparel instances, there is a standard set for that. The main point that you must look into is the capacity of your horse to handle its rider.

Some policemen likewise wear the same style of riding boots because these give them their desired comfort while mounting and getting off their motorcycles.

The field boots, or those riding boots which are characterized by ankle lacing design, are primarily effective to use for short length stirrups such as when doing show jumping, event jumping, and fox hunting. The usual colors are brown and black. The hunt boots, on the other hand, come with a top cuff. Male riders often use the hunt boot, which is very traditional in appearance. On the other hand, the dress boots bear no ankle lacing and they appear stiffer as compared with the regular riding boots. This kind of boots is designed to be knee-high in order to prevent any injury. Fox hunters and event riders typically wear this type.

Other types are the Paddock boots which may be used for daily rides and the cowboy or western boots which are both made of leather or synthetic materials and cost thousands of dollars or so.

Equestrian boots have been around for a long time and they continuously evolve in terms of style and design.

Article Written By J. Foley

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Equestrian Apparel – Combining Function and Style

Horseback Riding

Equestrian Apparel – Combining Function and Style By J. Foley

f you are into serious riding or you just want to have the equestrian look, then equestrian apparel is for you.

In choosing what clothing to use, the criteria are functionality and style. The rider must feel both elegant and comfortable at the same time. It is also important that the fabrics used are both light and hard-wearing at the same time.

To start of, choose a cool fabric that allows ease of movement. The more common kinds of fabric used for equestrian clothing is cotton and Lycra.

Choose also a fabric that acts as a moisture wick. This type of fabric works well in both hot and cold temperatures. During hot months, the fabric keeps you cool by allowing you to sweat. In cold months the fabric keeps you warm by moving sweat away from your body, keeping your skin dry. Since moisture does not penetrate the fabric weave, it evaporates quickly, causing the fabric to dry quickly as well.

As an added bonus, you can choose fabrics and fabric weaves that reduce moisture absorption, repel UV rays and insects.

What are the pieces of clothing that make up equestrian apparel? The basic piece is a shirt, usually made of cotton or wool crepe, and is usually white. Then you can add a waistcoat or vest to match.

For the lower body, breeches and jodhpurs are the more popular pieces. While others prefer full-seat riding breeches, there are still others who like jeans and jodhpurs. Make sure that the piece fits well. Also, choose one that can protect you from heavy rains and winds.

While tall riding boots look perfect for shows and competitions, short boots with trouser socks are a wise alternative during training or ordinary days.

To complete the look is a riding jacket. Choose one made of luxurious fabrics like tweed. Take note of details like silk lining or double satin piping, buttons and trims.

Do not forget your riding gloves.

As for the head gear, choose one that fits perfectly. The usual piece is a helmet, although there are others who like to wear black top hats. Helmets have now incorporated easy-fit systems, so it is safe to use. Some riders like to customize their helmets by putting decals or crystals.

What are the trends and forecasts in equestrian apparel? As for the colors, the trend is softer, more subtle pastel tones of blue, green, pink and purple. The same goes for show breeches. Light tans are also in for breeches, although white continues to be popular. Show coats and dressage coats can be in any color, although the trend is towards darker navys and black instead of the more common light shades of brown and khaki. You can also see stripes and patterns in the coats instead of the plain, solid-colored ones.

As for accessories, you will see glittery accessories like stock pins and jewelry. Swarovski crystals in belt buckles, spurs, helmets and everything else are also becoming popular.

Tall leather boots with zippers are the more popular footwear for shows. Back zippers make the boots easy to take off. For those who are into serious training, half chaps and paddock boots are still in because of their durability.

Equestrian apparel is all about fashion and ease. With the many styles and designs available, finding one that suits you perfectly should be no problem at all.

Article Written By J. Foley

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Horse Walker as Equestrian Equipment

Horseback Riding

Horse Walker as Equestrian Equipment By J. Foley

There are many people who show their fondness to their pets. Even so, a lot others fancy taking care of a horse for a pet. Ranches are common in various countries. Horses are most of the times used not only as favored pets but are treated for industrial and at times for commercial uses as well. As people search for some formal training with regards to rearing horses, they seek to become full fledged equestrians. Part of the training includes getting to know the appropriate equestrian equipment. Among of which are the horse walker and the horse tack.

Horse Walker for Equestrian Exercises

For a person who is definitely serious in getting on with bringing up horses and then its stabling, you must know how important the horse walkers can become. What benefits can be derived out of the horse walker? For one, the horse walker is a recognized equestrian equipment to saving time when exercising or practicing your horses and in the attempt to have them cool down after a long day's ride. Among the rest of the uses of a horse walker is for halter breaking and the other is for nursing back the health of the animal should any illness has occurred. The everyday use of a horse walker is certain to make the horse stronger and then more physically able. Furthermore, the utilization of a horse walker before any ride starts up would mean that the animal would be able to focus at the task that is at hand as soon as it is taken out of the stable and get to be tacked up.

The Varieties of Horse Walkers

There are several kinds of horse walkers to choose from but the common denominator among them is that they have the same features. Many of these horse walker types are capable of handling four up to six horses at a given time. Likewise, there are horse walkers which are put up for sale in the market and are able to cater to all numbers of animals to be taken out for a ride.

The common models of the horse walkers include the flatly packed and readily assembled ones right there on the site. However, for some other specifications, there are those which may be bought along with roofs and fencing. Various controls and speeds are also included in the features. The horse walkers involve the forward and reverse motions too.

On the other hand, the higher end models of the horse walkers permit the taking off of the pressure from all parts of the body of the horse which are too prone to injury. Moreover, this equestrian equipment stops it from bucking especially in relatively open fields. When the animal gets any wound, it is important that it fully heals. With this equestrian equipment, such is possible. Be certain that the equestrian equipment has enough space that would allow the animal to relax especially during long rides.

Safety must be a top priority as always. Inquire on the safety precautions that come together with the purchase. You may also seek the help of the experts in horse rearing because they are knowledgeable enough in the field. Before you purchase any horse walker, be sure that it would work well both for you as the handler and for your horse.

Article Written By J. Foley

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Equestrians: More than Just Horse Riders

Horseback Riding

Equestrians: More than Just Horse Riders By J. Foley

Horses have played a vital role in the history of mankind. They have served several purposes from transportation to heavy cavalry. Nowadays due to the development of technology horses are no longer used anymore. They can be mostly found working for humans in ranches, farms, circuses and driving carriages for amusement rides. Although horses are not as vital as they were back in the days the tradition of riding them did not falter. Equestrians were regarded as nobles in Rome who are members of the cavalry. Nowadays they are riders who participate in a number of equestrian sports.

Equestrians in this day and age are more known for equestrianism. It refers to the ability to ride and drive horses. This definition does not just include the use of horses for recreational activities and sports but also for working and practical uses. Contrary what most people would think the term refers to other skills not just riding them for equestrian sports.

Equestrians before

Horses were used in variety of purposes. They were both used in war and peaceful pursuits. They were used from transportation, agriculture and warfare. In Rome Equestrians were regarded as elite. Horses were expensive at that time so owning one meant that you were rich and does not need to do manual labor. They were members of a social upper class in Rome. This class was most often referred to as knights. They were both a military and a political group because horsemen received financial compensation from the government.

As Rome expanded it relied on its allies for cavalry. There were no use from equestrians and they lost their military functions. They did not engage in war anymore but their titles still remain and indicate nobility. The equestrians were rich and governed the provinces. At that time senators were equal to equestrians.

The senators dominated the magistrate offices but were forbidden to operate business and gain commercial income. The equestrians on the other hand continued to invest in marketing and tax farming companies. Conflicts arose between the two of them. Equestrians made as much money as they can while senators notice rebellions due to overtaxing. During civil wars the two elite collaborated and their orders were defined as reforms were done.

Equestrians today

There are popularly known for participating in equestrian sports during Olympics. Like before horse back riding is reserved for the rich. Even today horses are still expensive and prized.

Equestrian events include dressage, show jumping and eventing. Equestrians should be able to make the horse carry out natural movements on request while running loose during competitive dressage. It is also referred to as "Horse Ballet". Its goal is to develop a horses' athletic ability and its initiative to perform to maximize its potential.
Show jumping is a timed even where equestrians are required to jump over a series of obstacles with the fewest mistakes. Riders and their horses should be able to go through the obstacle with the least knocked over portions of obstacles.

Eventing is the combination of dressage and show jumping. The horse and the rider have to go through a series of fixed obstacles such as stone walls, water, logs banks, ditches with the fastest time possible.

Although the role of equestrians has changed through the centuries it still holds that aura of nobility that it once enjoyed in medieval times.

Article Written By J. Foley

Friday, June 20, 2008

Healthy Foods for Healthy Horses

Horseback Riding

Healthy Foods for Healthy Horses 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

Monday, May 19, 2008

Your Horse And Skin conditions

Horseback Riding

Your Horse and Skin conditions By J. Foley

Ringworm
This is a contagious fungal infection of the skin that spreads by direct and indirect contact,
so infected horses should be isolated wherever possible, strict hygiene measures should be
adopted and veterinary advice sought. Infection shows initially as tufts of raised hair, which
eventually fall off, leaving weeping lesions.
Often circular in shape, these lesions may vary in size and density, and usually occur around
the head, neck, saddle and girth regions. The horse’s immediate environment also
becomes infected, so bedding material should be destroyed and the stable, plus all tack,
and equipment should be washed thoroughly with a fungicidal disinfectant.

Rainscald
Rainscald is a skin infection caused by a softening of the skin following persistent saturation.
This can occur in horses that have a weakened immunity or are already in poor condition and
lack the natural grease in their coat to keep warm and dry. It can also occur when leaking or
non-breathable turnout rugs are used, when there is poor air circulation under the rug and
when the horse’s back is constantly getting wet with moisture from rain or sweat.
An affected horse may show patchy hair loss along the back and quarters. The hair can
become matted, and the skin may develop sores and weeping lesions. To prevent a horse
from getting rainscald, ensure that it always has access to shelter from the field and that rugs
are of a correct type for the conditions and maintained accordingly.
Mudfever
This is a skin condition usually associated with
wet and muddy conditions. The skin of the legs
and the stomach become inflamed and scaly
and, in severe cases, the horse may develop a
high temperature or fever. The infection is caused
by bacteria that enters the waterlogged skin and
causes scabs to form, sealing in the infection.
Always ensure that the legs are cleaned well
after work or time in the field. Either wash off and
then ensure that the legs are properly dried or
leave the mud to dry and then brush it off with
a soft brush. If the horse has clipped legs, it is
a good idea to apply a barrier cream to prevent
the skin from becoming water logged.
Cracked heels
These are caused by the same conditions as
mud fever. It is advisable to keep the legs and
stomach as clean and dry as possible, and
applying a protective cream might also help.
Extra care is needed when dealing with heels
because they are close to the ground and
therefore more susceptible to becoming
waterlogged. Always ensure that legs are
cleaned well after work or time in the field.
Sweet itch
Sweet itch is an inflammation of the skin as a result of an allergic reaction, which is also
called Summer Seasonal Recurrent Dermatitis (SSRD). It is caused by a biting midge
called Culicoides, and the itching is caused by an allergic reaction to the saliva of the
female midge. In most cases the horse will become itchy along the back, especially around
the mane and tail. In extreme cases, the horse can rub itself raw trying to relieve the itching.
Susceptible horses usually develop the condition for the first time as youngsters and, once
it has occurred, the horse will continue to suffer from it (although environmental conditions
play a large part in whether a horse will show signs or not).
Control of sweet itch
Apply an insect repellent regularly, but be careful that the horse does not develop a reaction.
The skin of a horse with sweet itch is usually sensitive and repellents are not suitable if the
skin is sore or broken. Veterinary advice should be sought.
Midges are most active at dawn and dusk, and on mild, humid and still days, so keeping the
horse in the stable or under shelter during this time will help to minimise biting
Midges are attracted to areas of decomposing vegetation found in woodland and near
to water. It is therefore better to graze affected horses in drier, open areas.
4
Special sweet itch rugs can be bought that cover the horse from poll to tail to stop the
midges getting access to the skin and to protect from rubbing. These can be useful as they
can be worn in or out of the stable.

Article Written By J. Foley

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Hormones and Drugs for Stallions

Horseback Riding

Hormones and Drugs for Stallions By J. Foley

Knowing what to give your stallions when it comes to hormones and drugs is very important. You are going to want to know several things before you get started dealing with your stallions and hormones or other drugs, so you should be talking to a vet or another horse expert to see what they have to say about these things before you start. Hormones and other drugs can be very useful, but also unnatural and dangerous, so consider your options carefully.

First of all, it is important for you to think about what are good hormones and other drugs, and what are bad. If you are considering using hormones and drugs so that your horses are stronger or faster for racing or working, you should know that this is very dangerous to do and is going to have the potential of making your horse sick or even killing your horse. Also, if you are involved in horse racing, giving your horse drugs of any kind is usually illegal anyway.

However, there are good hormones and drugs that you might consider giving your stallion for many different reasons other than simply making them faster and stronger.

First, there are hormones and drugs that you can give your horses that will help them to replace something in their body that they aren’t getting from what you are feeding them. If you know that your feed has some kind of deficiency, you are going to want to consider giving them hormones or drugs to replace these. Talk to your vet first, to determine what is good for your horse, and if you can, you should change your food before you give your animals drugs to replace things. These types of hormones work in the same way that many supplements for humans work.

Also, you might sometimes need to give your stallion’s hormones or other drugs in order to keep them healthy. This should always be at the discretion of your vet, and you have to make sure that you understand why your horse is being given these drugs.

If your horse has a condition that requires you give him hormones or other drugs on a regular basis, you might want to learn how to do this yourself so that you can do it without a vet trip. Make sure that your vet shows you the proper technique, and be sure that you know exactly what you are doing before you do it.

Article Written By J. Foley

Monday, April 07, 2008

Horse Skin Diseases

Horseback Riding

Horse Skin Diseases By J. Foley

Horses are great animals to have around, and if you have had them for many years you have probably learned a thing or two about what it means to truly allow an animal into your heart. Horses make great companions for many reasons – you will be able to be happy with a horse for a long time, as long as you take care of your horse and are able to see it through many different points in his life. Most of the time, you are going to be doing general horse care, and this is very important because you need to be able to take care of your horse and make sure that he is happy. However, sometimes you are going to have to do extra things to make sure that your horse is living the kind of life that he is meant to live, and this might mean doing extra work as well.

Taking care of your horse’s skin is very important because there are a few common horse skin diseases that he might get without you even noticing. Most of these don’t appear to be very harmful at first, but if you leave them untreated you might find that they are going to be worse for your horse than you could ever imagine.

Most of the horse skin diseases are going to become apparent through the way that your horse’s skin looks. You should be able to see them most of the time in the form of a rash or flakiness, and it is very important that you pay attention to these things right away because if you don’t treat them you could end up with more problems in the long run.

The best way to prevent all of the horse skin diseases from damaging your horse is to make sure that he is properly groomed and taken care of. This is something that you need to do each and every day, whether you ride him or not, and it is something that you have to get done even if you aren’t going to be available. Make sure that you are getting someone to do this often if you aren’t home.

Most of the common horse skin diseases are caused by excessive heat or excessive moisture, and by not being properly groomed. That said, the best thing that you can do to prevent them from happening is to take care of your horse in the way that you know is the best way possible.

Article Writtenn By J. Foley

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Your Horse's Shoes

Horseback Riding

Your Horse's Shoes By J. Foley

A horse’s shoe is something that is, of course, put onto their feet. The process doesn’t hurt the horse, because the shoes are attached to the hooves of the horses, and in this manner it doesn’t cause the horse any pain because the horse’s hooves don’t have feeling. They are kind of like our fingernails. The shoes are attached to the hooves, and then they act as the bottoms of the feet.

It is important that you realize just how vital a horse’s shoes are to their lives. In today’s day and age, there is a lot of stuff that can make a horse sick or injured, and a lot of it is going to be found where they are walking. No matter what surface they are walking on, there is going to be germs and other things that can get into their feet and cause them sickness. Also, no matter what your horse is doing for you, they are going to be working hard, and this might cause an un shoed horse to have a cracked hoof or another foot injury.

You should know that if your horse gets a foot injury or an illness in their foot, your likelihood of saving them is not good. Foot injuries are very bad for horses, and if they are too badly injured they are going to have to be put down. Because of this, it is very important that you take all of the precautions necessary to make sure that your horse has the proper shoes and that they are well taken care of.

If you are interested in learning more about your horse’s shoes, you need to be sure that you are contacted someone who can help you out. This is not something that you should be thinking you can take care of on your own, because a horse’s shoe is the best defense that he has against dying young. Because of how important shoes are to a horse’s health, it is never something you should attempt on your own. Be sure that you are finding a vet and someone who can help you with your horse’s shoes, and be sure that you know as much as you can about horse’s health before you get a horse. Remember to have your horse’s feet cared for often, and you will find that you horse will live a longer and happier life in general.

Solve Your Horse's Bad Habits With These Horse Whispering Training Techniques

Article Written By J. Foley

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Your Horse And Parasites

Horseback Riding

Your Horse And Parasites By J. Foley

When you own animals, your main responsibility is to make sure that they are healthy and that their lives are full of joy and happiness, and not sorrow and pain. One of the things that will allow you to do this with any animal is to make sure that you are providing them with a safe and comfortable place that is clean and free of germs to live their lives. With your horse, there is no exception to the rule. It is often hard for horses to get sick if they are properly taken care of, but if you find yourself or your horse with a dirty stall or a living quarters that is not up to snuff, you might find that parasites are abound, and when it comes to your horse, parasites are not good at all.

When you have a horse, you know that he is naturally strong, and usually won’t have any complaints for you. As long as he has a safe and warm place to live in the cold months, and shelter from the heat in the hot months, and as long as you provide him with food and water that is clean and safe, he’ll be able to be your companion and work for you for years and years. Horses can be very loyal and they can be great animals to keep, as long as you do it right.

However, if you aren’t providing your horse with a clean living space, you are going to find that your horse might have a problem with parasites. This is something that can be very real, and can be very dangerous for your horse. You have to be sure that you aren’t giving your horse any chances to get parasites, which is why it is so important to keep your horse’s living quarters clean and free of debris.

The most common parasites are going to happen when your horse is living in a place that is dirty or not cleaned regularly. These parasites are going to live in the feces of your horse, and if your horse steps in them, he will be able to bring them right back into his body. Also, if your horse’s stall is dirty and not taken care of, this is a breeding ground for parasites, and they will have a chance to attack your horse. If your horse gets parasites, you’ll need to talk to your vet about the best way to help your horse before they get really sick.
Solve Your Horse's Bad Habits With These Horse Whispering Training Techniques

Article Written By J. Foley

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Your Horse(s) and the West Nile Threat

Horseback Riding

Your Horse(s) and the West Nile Threat By J. Foley

West Nile Virus is a very real danger for most mammals, including humans. If you have a horse, you could be at even more risk, since farm animals are very susceptible to this disease. In most cases, the West Nile virus is transmitted through mosquito bites, and in many cases, this disease is fatal. As your horse’s caregiver, it is your responsibility to protect your horse from the West Nile virus and to treat your horse is he or she becomes infected. Remember, owning a horse is a huge responsibility. Horses are just like children—they often cannot care for themselves, so it is your job to provide your horse with everything he or she needs, including treatment when sick.

First, consider vaccinating your horse to prevent West Nile virus. The vaccination for this disease was released in 2003 and can really protect horses, especially those at a high risk for contracting West Nile virus. There are some downfalls as well, however, such as the cost. By talking to your vet, you can learn how often your horse will need the shot and how much it will cost. If you have insurance for your horse, these costs may be covered.

Killing the mosquitoes found in your neighborhood is also a crucial way to protect your horse from developing West Nile virus. To do this without introducing harmful chemicals into the environment, discourage mosquitoes from breeding in the first place. Remove trash and other places where standing water is a problem, and talk to your vet about natural mosquito repellents. Fans also help to deter the mosquito population, and at the very least, don’t turn on lights in the bard or stables after the sun has gone down when possible.

Remember to protect yourself as well. Humans can also get the West Nile virus, and so if you take care of your horse, it is crucial to recognize this danger. Wearing long clothing and using bug spray, especially in the evening, can prevent mosquitoes from biting. You can also put up screens in the doors to the barn if the problem is very bad.

Mosquitoes are most active dusk to dawn, and so your horse will have less of a chance of being bitten if you stay inside during the evening and night. Although a night ride may be fun, if the mosquito population in your area is high, it is best to stay indoors. If you are unsure about how to prevent mosquito bites and your horse seems to have an abundance of them, talk to you vet. Keeping your horse safe should be a number one priority.
Solve Your Horses Bad Habits With These Horse Whisperer Training Techniques.

Article Written By J. Foley

Friday, February 01, 2008

Caring For Your Pony During The Winter

Horseback Riding

Caring For Your Pony During the Winter By J. Foley

Most horse owners have started out the same way... loving and caring for ponies. Former pony owners look back on their pony owning years and a distant far away expression comes over their faces. It is nearly impossible for a horse owner not to have a pony story, some good some not so good.

For the most parts ponies are tough. They seldom seem to be struck low by the illnesses and maladies that seem to strike their larger equine counterparts. Their toughness is one of the reasons that ponies are so often a good match for children.

Pony owners who live in northern climates that keep their ponies outside during the frosty winter months have to do a few things to make sure their ponies stay sound and healthy.

Snow can be dangerous. Each time a pony takes a step on the the snow they start to gather snow in the bottom of their hooves. Each time the pony takes a step the snow becomes harder pack until the pony is forced to walk on rounded balls of ice. Not only is walking treacherous on the ice balls, if the pony missteps or slips they can strain or twist their
legs, either on of the injuries could create a lameness that can plaque the pony for months. Smearing petroleum jelly on the bottoms of the ponies hooves every couple of days can prevent the snow from gathering on the ponies hooves.

Regular dental work is as important to ponies and horses as it is to their human caretakers. If you notice that your pony is suddenly loosing a great deal of weight have your veterinarian take a look at their teeth. If your veterinarian notices any sharp edges on your ponies teeth make sure the teeth are floated. Going into the winter months it is especially important to make sure that your ponies teeth are in good shape.

Make sure your pony has plenty of access to good fresh water. If you don't have water heater for your buckets plan on breaking the ice several times a day.

Ponies who are kept outside must have access to shelter. It doesn't have to be anything fancy, a simple three sided lean-to facing away from the wind is enough. The most dangerous condition is if the weather is both wet and cold.

Although many people tend to take the cold blustery winter months off, preferring to stay inside to riding. That doesn't mean that there is anything wrong with riding during the winter, riding through snowdrifts can be almost as good for conditioning as riding in a deep sand arena. If you choose to work your pony it is important to make sure its dry and free of sweat before you put it out in the field. A heavy dense winter coat can sometimes make this difficult. Some pony owners opt to body clip (remove all the long winter hair). Ponies that have been body clipped can not be turned loose in the elements without some form of protection. Pony owners who decide to keep a body clipped pony outside should use a warm turnout rug to protect the pony from the elements.

If you are a pony owner who uses a turnout blanket make sure the blanket is well fitted and clean. Check underneath the blanket for rubbing and chaffing on a daily basis.

Article Written By J. Foley

Monday, January 07, 2008

Alternative Medical Care for your Horse

Horseback Riding

Alternative Medical Care for your Horse By J. Foley

If you are looking to keep your horse happy and healthy, you might be looking into several different types of horse care. There are plenty of alternative medical care faculties besides for the normal, run of the mill vet. You might be considering several of these other therapies for your horse, for whatever reason. If you are interested in these, it is usually best to ask your vet what they feel about them, and then be sure to do some research. Usually the alternative medical care is given in cases where the horse’s life is not at stake because this is a situation in which the alternative care is helping your horse to have a better life, and not necessarily trying to save its life. There are some situations in which you might want to explore alternative care if your horse has been in an accident and your vet has said the best thing to do is to put the horse down. However, the most popular alternative care is care that you wouldn’t normally associate with horse care.

Like humans, horses have muscles that work very hard. In recent times, a movement has begun where people have gotten trained in animal massage and acupuncture. The idea is that these things can help human muscles in a variety of ways, so it might be a good idea to try them out on animals as well. You might find that with both of these your horse is generally more happy, because they are often helping your horse with things that your horse might not even know are wrong, and things that you might not be able to tell bug your horse or cause it discomfort.

With these therapies, it is important that you contact someone who has been trained in them, and someone who can do this very well, and who has done it for many other animals. This is a relatively new area, so you want to make sure that you are getting the best of the best, and that you aren’t running into problems by having someone who is not professional at what they do.

In other situations, ones that are more serious, a decision to explore alternative therapies is something that should be made between you and your family and your vet. There are alternative therapies that might help your animal if your vet has said there is no hope because of injury or sickness, but you always have to keep your animal’s best interest at heart and make sure that they aren’t going to suffer needlessly.

Article Written By J. Foley