Aug 28

Top 10 Horse Breeds

Today, there exist a wide range of horses distinguished by their builds, speed, nature and many other features. The top 10 breeds of these creatures are:

White Arabian Horse

White Arabian Horse

1. Arabian Horse: Originally bred in Middle East, this breed of horses has features that can easily be distinguished. With a dish face, arched neck, large and wide eyes, curved ears, high carried tail and broad forehead, one can easily recognize horses of this breed. Considered to be one of the oldest breed in the world, Arabian horses are quite versatile and are best known for their competitive spirit and alertness. With the help of their strong bone structure, speed and agility, these horse types are best known for their participation in endurance riding and other equestrian activities. Arabian horses can be found in many countries other than Middle East such as Australia, South America, the United States and Canada, continental Europe and the United Kingdom.

American Quarter Horse

American Quarter Horse

2. Quarter Horse: Known for its versatility, Quarter horses are one of the oldest recognized breeds in America. With a stocky build and short height, broad chest and tough attitude, these horses are known to excel in every discipline from equestrian activities to rough trekking or being a helping hand on ranch. High spirited yet obedient, the horses of this breed are perfect performers and partners.

Paint Horse in Pasture

Paint Horse in Pasture

3. Paint Horse: With their unique combination of colors on their coats, this breed of horses is best known for their athletic abilities, willing attitude and intelligence. They have a distinctive body type with a stocky build, broad chest and well muscled hindquarters that helps them to perform various activities like ranch work, racing, riding, rodeo and so on. Their coat patterns always show a combination of white and dark colors. They are mainly of three types: Tobiano, Overo and Tovero.

American Miniature Horse Foal

American Miniature Horse Foal

4. Miniature Horse: Horses of this breed, as the name suggests, have a height usually less than 34 to 38 inches. With various patterns of coat and colors and friendly behavior, these horses are often kept as pets. However, no matter what their size is, this breed has all the natural horse behavior and are often trained for many competitive events such as horse shows. With average life span of 25 to 35 years, miniature horses are quite hardy than their taller counterparts.

Thoroughbred Horse

Thoroughbred Horse

5. Thoroughbred Horse: The breed best known for racing and jumping was first developed in England. With their slim body structure, broad chest, fine-boned legs with small hooves and short backs, the horses of this breed can easily take long and easy strides. These high spirited types known for their agility and speed exist in millions today.

Appaloosa Horse

Appaloosa Horse

6. Appaloosa Horse: Colorful coat patterns, striped hooves and mottled skin are the basic features that help to distinguish horses of this breed from others. Originated in America, it is one of its most popular breeds. Although best known for its western riding disciplines, its versatility allows it to represent various other equestrian activities.

Morgan Horse

Morgan Horse

7. Morgan Horse: Morgan is a refined breed with a distinctively compact body, strong legs and great strength and agility. With such features, the horses of this breed are best known for their versatility and perform various activities of English and Western disciplines. Known to be easy keepers, they generally have bay, black or chestnut as their coat colors.

Palomino Tennessee Walker

Palomino Tennessee Walker

8. Tennessee Walking Horse: Horses of this breed are known for their smooth and distinctive gait and willing attitude. Originated in the Southern United States, Tennessee Walking Horses are popular as both show horses as well as trail riding in both English and Western discipline. With their calm disposition, long neck and straight head, this breed has two categories namely flat shod and performance distinguished by their leg action.

Welsh Pony

Welsh Pony

9. Welsh Pony and Cob: This horse breed displays distinct features of both pony and cob types. With amazing stamina and intelligence along with well refined bone structure, these horses are well built for several equestrian competitive activities such as trekking, trail riding, pleasure riding, showing and jumping and others.

Andalusia Horse

Andalusia Horse

10. Andalusia Horse: Strongly built stature, compact body and long and thick mane and tail, this breed is quite elegant and known for their athletic ability and great stamina. Mostly found with gray coat color, these horses are highly preferred by the breeders.

This is only the basic information on the top 10 breeds of horses. Each person has their own preferred breed of horse, and this may lead you to your favorite.

 

I hail from a small place called Chantilly where I have grown up hearing about horse racing. Since childhood this game has been of immense interest mainly due to the exposure through my family who also takes interest in the same. Keeping myself updated about various events and race horses around the world, I love to read and share the same.

Article Source: EzineArticles.com

Aug 24

Basic Horse Care

Horses are amazingly beautiful and sensitive creatures. Horses require not only understanding and patience to have a horse as a pet, they also require a whole lot of care.

Horses are amazingly beautiful and sensitive creatures. Horses require not only understanding and patience to have a horse as a pet, they also require a whole lot of care.

Horses are amazingly beautiful and sensitive creatures. Horses require not only understanding and patience to have a horse as a pet, they also require a whole lot of care.

Herd Mentality:

Observe horses in the herd system, each horse’s welfare in the wild depends upon an instinctive submission to the discipline of the herd. The instinct is for immediate action. To the horse, action is survival. When horses live in an herd environment, they often take turns sleeping and standing guard for any predators. When the leader of the herd signals danger they take flight.

Learning respect and ascending to authority starts on the first day of life for the foals, there is a distinct pecking order in herds of horses.

It is important to keep a quiet profile around horses. Horses naturally do not like unnecessary noise because in the wild their survival depends on detection of predators with their hearing. Extraneous noise interferes with this predator detection. This predator detection is tightly coupled with a horse’s flight reflex. Due to these survival genetics, horses have a physiological wiring in their brains that predisposes them to prefer quietness and to become bothered by unnecessary noise. Many horses can get startled easily from abrupt noises and this could result in injury to the horse, the rider, or people around the horse. Talk to your horse in a quiet, reassuring voice.

Relationship With Horses:

A horse will love you if, first and foremost, you treat it fairly, and secondly, if you allow yourself to develop a relationship with it in the same way you would a human partner. There are too many who will look after the horse’s material needs but put nothing back into the partnership itself. The horse born in captivity will identify with an alternative provider and companion, resulting in a healthy relationship from the beginning. A healthy relationship with your horse requires: trust, coupled with respect, fondness with compliance, and a desire to please.

Check Your Horse:

Examine your horse every day and especially prior to riding the horse. Carefully examine the horse’s legs and back for any unusual heat or lumps. Make sure that the horse’s eyes are alert and not glazy. Listen for any excessive noise or gurgling sounds coming from your horse’s stomach. Catching problems before they become serious is critical to keeping a show horse sound and alive.

Exercise caution and discretion when around stallions and mares when they are in heat. They are dealing with hormones on an order of magnitude that you probably can not comprehend. Stallions typically bite and some may be easily triggered into violent behavior.

Grooming Horses:

Keep your horse clean. Keep your horse’s entire coat free from dirt, mud, sand, and sweat. Brush your horse every day. Pick out your horse’s feet every day. Wash out any sweat residue from the saddle pad or girth every day. Wash out any dirt or sand residue, as from the riding arena, on your horses legs every day. A number of different problems can result if a horse’s coat is not kept clean.

Barn Care:

Keep your horse’s stall clean. Make sure that your horse’s stall is cleaned every day. Be sure that any wetness is removed with the manure. Replace the removed bedding with fresh, clean, dry bedding. Water should be dumped from buckets every day without exception. Unhealthy dirt and bacteria can build up in a bucket if it is not cleaned on a daily basis. Clean water is essential to maintaining a healthy horse. Make sure your horse always has clean, fresh water available.

Training A Horse:

The intelligence of the horse increases rapidly with education. An intelligent trainer can make an intelligent horse. A kind but firm trainer will result in a disciplined but pleasing horse.

Horse Feed:

Feed your horse(s) at the same times every day. A horse may get upset and colic or injure themselves by kicking the stall or pawing, if not fed when feeding is expected. You should not make radical changes in a horse’s feed program. If you must make a change in the feed program, make the change gradually. Drastic changes in a horse’s feed program can cause the horse to colic and in some cases, may die. Your horse’s stomach is a highly sensitive bio-reactor that maintains a delicate balance of the organisms that digest food in your horse’s digestive track.

Visitors should not feed a horse that you do not own without the owner’s permission; no carrots, no apples, no treats, nothing. The horse could potentially, get sick if they have an allergy or sickness.

Pay attention to everything that goes into your horse; that means all feed, all hay, all water, all treats, all supplements, all pills, and all shots. This knowledge could save your horse’s life in an emergency situation. Post this information on your horse’s stall door so that it is available to a vet if you are not around in an emergency. Make sure that your horse gets high-quality feed and hay. Your horse’s health and soundness depends on the nutrition that you provide for them. Take good care of your horse. A rider without a horse is no rider at all.

Vet Care:

Make sure that you have a good equine veterinarian. A good vet will save you money in the long run and may save your horse’s life some day. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Make sure your horse has all the vaccinations that are normal for your geographical location. All horses should be on a good worming program to control intestinal parasites. A horse should be wormed by a vet at least twice a year.

Horse Flies:

In the summer spray your horse trailer down with fly spray about 10 minutes before you load the horses. The flies should leave, and your horses will be without those pesky flies!

Cooling Horses:

Never spray a hot, sweaty horse with cold water immediately after working the horse. This can cause muscle spasms and binding, or shock that can lead to death. Wait until the horse is breathing regularly, and use warm water if it is available. If a horse has heat shock, consult your vet and the vet may instruct you to cold hose the horse, even if still hot and sweaty. Never put a horse in a stall or confined area while sweaty or while they are still breathing heavily. This can result in shock and/or colic that can lead to death. Walk the horse until the horse is cooled out and the breathing is normal.

Shoeing:

Horses’ hooves generally grow approximately 1 cm in a month, and take nearly a year to grow from the coronet band to the ground. Horse’s hooves need to be trimmed regularly (about every 6-8 weeks). Shoeing a horse does not hurt them. If you were to grow out your finger nail, you could put an earring/pin through it without causing discomfort; however, if you pushed the pin through the part of your nail that is attached to the soft tissue of your finger, it would hurt. When horse shoes are nailed in, they are nailed at an angle so which the horse doesn’t feel it.

Make sure that you have a good farrier, especially if you show your horse over jumps. The concussion from landing from jumps amplifies any problems in a horse’s shoeing. If a horse gets sore feet or legs from bad angles or bad shoeing, the horse can not just take his shoes off, sit back on a couch, and rub their feet, or find another pair of shoes like you can. Bad shoeing can result in your horse becoming lame due to a number of problems including: bowed tendons, popped splints, or shoulder/back soreness or spasms. Bad shoeing can ruin a good horse, so don’t be penny-wise and pound-foolish where shoeing is concerned. A laid-up horse is far more expensive to maintain than a good farrier. And remember not all horses need to have shoes, only if they are competing, walking on hard/rocky surfaces, or have hoof problems.

Sleeping:

Horses do lay down to sleep, but only if they feel completely comfortable in their environment. It is not enough to provide a dry stable, food and water. Horses will often sleep standing up by locking their knees. Horses are one of the few animals that can put one half of their body asleep while the other half is wide awake. Emotionally and mentally, all horses need to feel they have and be comfortable in their own space!

To fully enjoy a horse’s finer qualities you must treat them with both kindness and quality care. In the end, a happy horse will mean a nicer ride and a happier rider.

 

Rob Daniels has been an equestrian rider for 25 years. He has studied various disciplines additional articles are available at: Riding Stable – www.riding-stable.com and Horse Stall www.horse-stall.net.

Aug 24

Horses In My Back Yard

Feeding ponies

Feeding ponies

HORSE LOVERS: During my thirty years of selling rural land, I have frequently found that folks want some acreage so that they can own and ride horses. They LOVE horses in their own mind but have little if any of the real knowledge or experience necessary to raise one or more horses. Far too often, they have knowledge based on little more than an idyllic dream and that dream based for the most part on romantic novels and movies. This article will give you some basic information which may save you and a horse some bad or even terrible experiences.

HOW MANY ACRES?: If you do want horses; a good rule of thumb in good pasture areas is 3 to 5 acres of pasture per horse, and ideally another acre or two of paddock per horse. The wise Equestrian will thus plan about 6 to 10 acres per horse they want to keep in the purchase of land. The paddocks are smaller fenced pasture areas close to the barn used for training, saddling up your horse or getting a new horse acclimated to his new home.

The risk of injury to animals increases where horses are overcrowded, and competition for food, water and space may lead to fighting. You must provide an adequate number of paddocks or yards to permit incompatible animals to be segregated. The number of horses and their grouping in each paddock or yard must be appropriate for their compatibility and for the ground conditions, taking into account the climatic conditions pertaining at the time.

You also need room for the house, barn, hay storage, tack building and a loafing shed for them to get under when the weather is not quite acceptable to them. In any yard or shelter, each horse must have adequate room to lie down, stand up and turn around. There should be a clean, dry area for the horse to lie down, the surface of which protects the horse from abrasions and capped elbows and hocks. Paddocks which expose horses to items of machinery, equipment or rubbish (especially wire) likely to cause serious injury must not be used.

FENCING: There are numerous types of fencing that are designed for horses. Board fences are deadly dangerous if not constantly maintained. The horses can break a board and end up impaled on it. Wire, especially barbed wire can entangle your horse’s leg or neck and seriously injure him or worse. There are several kinds of fences made for horse pasture. Barbed wire and narrow gauge (2.5 mm) high-tensile steel wire, because of their cutting, non-stretching and nonbreaking properties, can cause severe injury to horses. They should be avoided when constructing fences for horses, as should internal fence-stays or posts, which are a common cause of injury.

Fences should be readily visible to horses and properly maintained. The ideal fence for premises designed mainly for horses is the synthetic, strong, flexible, post-and-rail type, with rails treated or painted with nontoxic preparations. A popular alternative, which also provides a good visual barrier, is a single top rail attached to a conventional post-and-wire fence. I like the Australian Sheep Wire fence as it has a grid that is very small at the bottom and larger at the top. The small grid size at the bottom prevents the horse from stepping through the fence and getting tangled. I also like a charged electric wire just above the highly visible top rail to “convince” the horse to not lean over that top rail to get grass on the other side. Such leaning by such a strong and heavy animal is a major cause of fence breakage. There must be no sharp objects projecting inwards.

Your large animal Veterinarian or Horse feed and tack store can help you find the right fencing and an installer that knows what he’s doing. Ideally your pasture will have fence corners rounded on a large radius to prevent your horse from injury if he is cornered by another horse or is just running with exuberance and misjudges the distance to the corner. I have occasionally seen a horse on a tether chain or rope, as some people do a dog. Tethering is a practice which has a high risk of injury to horses. It is not recommended and should be used only when other forms of grazing or containment are unavailable and when close supervision of the horse can be maintained. Only placid horses and those adequately trained to accept the practice should be tethered.

FORGET WHAT YOU LEARNED FROM NOVELS OR HOLLYWOOD: Contrary to all the horse stories and films, your horse will not respond to you the same way a dog or cat will. He will respond and perform best when his owner is consistent and has a routine. Forget all those stories about Flicka and Black Beauty; it only happens in the movies.

Horses do have personality but you must remember that they are very big and strong and you cannot make them do anything unless you have convinced them and then they choose to do it. Proper ground manners are a must and the rider must know how to ride. Take some lessons if you are a first time owner. Horses do not like you to hang onto the reins for balance. Learn how to balance yourself in the saddle and to gently guide the horse with the reins. There is no faster way to make a horse “sour” than to pull on his mouth roughly. Learn the horse language; the way to communicate to your horse is through the balance of your body, your seated position, the position of your feet and legs and lastly the position of your hands.

STABLING: He does not enjoy being locked in a stall every night. He would much prefer the open fields and the starry nights! A three sided shed (preferably with the open side to the southwest) will due just fine. Horses do need protection from the sun and rain. Horse blankets/rugs make us feel better; nature however, has equipped him just dandy with a real fur coat. Those horses that are unlucky enough to be put in a stall every night could probably use a rug unless the barn is REALLY COZY. But, when it is 30 degrees or lower and it is blowing and wet, he does appreciate a stall to eat his grain and hay. And it will save you a lot of cleanup in your paddocks.

PASTURE: Plant a pasture with a mixture of proper grass seeds. Check with the local Agricultural Substation or horse feed supply store for the seed mix. Build several paddocks to keep your horses in for short times, so that you can rotate the pastures and periodically give each one a rest to replenish the height of it’s grasses.

Horses are poor utilizers of pasture, compared to cattle or sheep. Most horse pastures contain a large proportion of weeds and “roughs” where horses are the only grazers. Horses will not eat pasture that is contaminated with horse dung. This usually causes the contaminated area to become larger and the grazing area smaller. The pasture growing round the dung patches is usually lush and looks to be the best feed, while the patches in between will look overgrazed.

Where possible, horses should be grazed in conjunction with cattle or sheep. In addition to helping calm the horses; the other species will clean up the “roughs” while also reducing the worm contamination on pasture. Although harrowing can also be useful to spread the dung around, in moist conditions and when the grass is long it may spread worm eggs, making a larger area of the paddock infected. Where no cattle or other grazers are available, it is essential to remove the manure or spread it around regularly during dry periods, when the sun and ultraviolet rays will tend to destroy eggs and larvae.

Your horses will leave some big manure piles around the pasture and especially in the corners. Spread the horse manure out on the pasture with a drag harrow and rake out the pasture corners to break it up in smaller pieces; it helps to keep the fly larvae in the manure from hatching out and bothering your horses.

You will need a manure spreader to spread the manure you shovel out of your loafing sheds and stalls. Your horses will eat a lot of the grass in your pasture — but you will still have to mow the pastures periodically and you will need to use a weed-eater under and along all the fences. You will need to keep a check out for any plants of the nightshade family as they are poisonous to your steeds.

Grazing animals deplete soil nutrients progressively, which in turn leads to poor pasture quality and growth rate. This should be regularly monitored by soil and pasture analysis. Pasture should be top dressed with fertilizers to replace identified nutrient deficiencies. Check with your State Agricultural Agent (each state has an Agricultural College and Agents attached) to learn to identify soil nutrient needs and to show you how to destroy noxious plants properly. Make certain that there is always plenty of clean fresh water in the pasture and that the water trough is kept dutifully clean!

VACCINATIONS: Your horses require annual booster shots for Rabies, Tetanus, Flu Rhino and Encephalitis, and Potomac Horse Fever. Check with your local Large Animal Veterinarian and maintain a proper schedule of immunizations and regular checkups. Horses also require quarterly worming to keep the intestinal parasites below the danger level.

FARRIER SERVICES: Horses in the wild got along just fine without a Farrier. They ran and romped over vast expanses, were chased by predators and often ran long distances as a herd. But now that they are kept and ridden mostly on soft sandy soil or grasslands — the hooves need trimming every six to eight weeks. AND, yes some horses do need horseshoes of steel, rubber or some other material. You will be able to tell if your horse need shoeing; if he does he will walk very “tender-footed” and may have cracks and breakage in his hooves. The way he walks, stands and carries himself in general will tip you off to his Farrier needs.

INTENTION: Your intention is of great importance! Horses can feel a fly on their back and they can feel your intent; when you really mean business. They learn in a hurry who they have to respect and who they can play around with — DON’T be fooled! Set yourself up to win his respect and keep it. Don’t ask him to do anything that you suspect will be an argument unless you have the time to make certain that he does it. Be firm. Being firm does not mean beating your horse; it does mean that sometimes you might have to put a chain a little too snugly across his nose to lead him if he walks too fast and gets ahead of you at lead.

TRUST: It is so important that your horse trust you. Please don’t abuse him by hitting or kicking him. Trust is necessary for him when you want him to cross a ditch or a fence or take him to water or take him to ride with other horses. Trust is built by day to day consistent care and treatment of your horse; and by not putting him into situations that hurt him or scare him badly.

EQUINE DENTIST: Horses need dentists too! At least once a year, some horses require to have the equine dentist “float” his teeth. This removes sharp edges so that he can chew his food properly and be comfortable with the bit.

GROOMING: Horses love to be brushed and bathed. Spend lots of quality time with your horse when you first get him and each time before and after you ride him with gentle loving hands and lots of brush grooming. Pick the stones and dirt from his feet before and after a ride to keep him from getting bruised feet. Check him for ticks after any ride in the woods or tall grass — especially in warm weather. Keep all your tack clean and the leather saddle-soaped and lightly oiled. Wash your saddle blanket after each use and rinse his bit well too. He doesn’t like a hard, dirty blanket on his back or a crusty bit in his mouth. Keep your brushes clean too, rinse, wash and pull the hair out of them periodically.

NUTRITION: Nutrition is a powerful factor in the life of a horse, just as it is our own. Often a problem horse can just be suffering from some nutritional deficiency. Often a horse that is “cribbing” that is chewing on his stall or on the fence has a nutritional deficiency. This should be handled quickly as the swallowed wood splinters have obvious danger to your horse. Horses need vitamins, roughage of course, minerals, protein, oils, carbohydrates, enzymes and trace elements in their diets to be at their best in health, behavior and attitude… and sometimes even if they are getting the correct food they may not be digesting it to get the proper use of the nutrients… just like us.

Horse Hair Analysis is a very useful tool to find the realistic needs of your horse. The hair is a long term record of the horse’s nutritional health and the analysis will tell the most accurate story as to what your particular horse needs… or what he is getting too much of — especially if he is ingesting some sort of toxic substance.

TRAILERS and TRAILERING: For most people learning to trailer your horse is mandatory. If you are fortunate to purchase a place far out in the rural un-populated areas, especially if you purchase property on a long dirt road or network of such roads — you may be able to do a lot of riding without trailering. You will still likely want to have a trailer eventually, so that you can take your horse to a trainer, pick up another horse, or take your horse to join a friend for a ride.

There are several types of trailers; they are of many sizes from small to huge. Some of them even have owners quarters or a groomsman’s room adjacent to the horse section. There are the horse carrying motor home style vehicles too. For highway speeds and to go any distance, it is best to use a large towing pickup truck specialized for such use. The best are the dual tired big pickup trucks called Duelies. You then get a big sturdy support hitch mounted in the pickup bed and the trailer has a long hitch stalk that projects into the truck bed. This type, called a goose neck trailer with a 5th wheel hitch, will give you excellent stability and a shortened turn radius. It is also virtually impossible to have a trailer disconnect from the truck — which is a worry with pull-behind trailers.

Before you take your horse for a first trailer ride; you should ride in the back of the trailer, while someone else drives the truck, so that you can experience the cornering and braking calamities that the horse will experience. Some folks put leg wraps on their horses when trailering to help protect the horse more from accidental braking, cornering, or bumping. After you have ridden in the moving trailer yourself, take a few practice runs with you and the horse — so you can see what the horse is experiencing as a driver drives, turns and brakes. And it would be a good idea to next have someone else ride with your horse while you drive. One of my friends had a good technique; she put a long stem wine glass on the dash of her truck and filled it with water. She then learned to drive without spilling the water or turning over the glass. Personally I think it is a great technique to practice.

You also need to keep the trailer clean, especially keeping it free of hay dust and dirt. Remember when the trailer is underway and if the vent windows are open, whatever hay and dirt there is inside will start whirling around in the trailer. Keep everything well tied down inside too; falling, and swinging articles in the trailer can spook your horse and cause him to jump and hurt himself.

Service the trailer at least once a year. Check the brakes, tires, tire pressure and all hitch welds and bolts carefully. Make certain that the floor is solid. Practice driving, backing and turning. Practice using the mirrors. Mirror use is difficult to learn and of utmost importance. With proper mirror use however, you can easily back your trailer into a space only a few inches larger than it is.

WHO IS THE BOSS?: If you don’t watch out — your horse will TRAIN YOU, for instance… I knew this lady who trailered her horse to various lessons and rides… but he knew he did not have to get into the trailer until the third attempt each time. First she would lead him to the trailer, he would stop and she would pet and coo to him. The second time she would coax him a little more with carrots and baby talk. When that, of course, didn’t work either (he liked that sweet talk and especially the carrots) she would try the third method. By now she was a little tired and frustrated with him, she wanted to go home or get on with the lessons; so she spoke firmly, put the chain across his nose, tightened it a bit, and… he’d get right on. But he always knew that he didn’t have to get on until the third technique — besides he would miss his carrots and sweet talk if he got on the first time!

Here’s another one. Some horses raise their head and clamp their teeth and will not accept the bit. I have seen people strike the horse about the face or swing the bridle and hit him — this only teaches him that the bridle is a mean, scary piece of equipment and that he’d better raise his head up out of your reach for his own protection. The solution to bit shyness takes a while; it will take a little patience, some sweet talk and some sweet syrup on your fingers. Play around with his mouth with your fingers and let him wear the bit awhile when he is in his stall to eat and drink. Put it on him sometimes while you are grooming him too. Make sure that the bit is adjusted correctly for tightness in his mouth and that it is the right size and style. And especially be certain that when you ride him that you are not always holding tension on the reins, using them when you should be only giving body language directions, sawing them back and forth from left to right or in any way being rough on his mouth.

MOUNTING YOUR HORSE: Training your horse to stand still as a statue while you mount is a MUST! If your horse likes to walk about while you try to mount up — have someone hold him while you get up and properly placed in the saddle. Once you are mounted — sit well in the saddle with an erect posture, take a deep and cleansing breath and sink into your saddle with poise and assurance before you start off with him. Take time frequently with just you and him; when no one is around, mount him inside the pasture or paddock fence and just stand there in the saddle with him for several minutes. Then after quite some time, ask him to walk. Of course you will need to spend the time needed to train him to stand quiet and still while you are on him. And you must each learn the particulars of how to open the pasture gate while you are in the saddle.

RETURNING FROM A RIDE: There is always the temptation on your horses part, to run back to the barn at the end of a ride. He will be tempted to trot instead of walk; canter instead of trot; or run instead of canter. Be careful or you will be allowing him to learn or to think you are teaching him to run home. If you persist in this permissiveness you may eventually have a runaway horse each time his head turns toward home.

When you do return home; come down to a walk well away from the barn and let him cool down well as you near the barn. If you are cantering in and he wants to go faster, break down the gait to a trot and if needed down to a walk even if a long way from the barn. If he won’t walk calmly but wants to jig and go sideways or tries breaking into a faster gait — you need to spend some time in the paddocks and school him to walk and trot when you tell him too. If you still have trouble; get help from an outside equestrian or a trainer.

BUYING YOUR HORSE: When buying a horse be aware that what you see during the purchasing meeting with the horse — is what you will have when you take him home. He is most likely on his best behavior at the barns and paddocks where he lives, so when you remove him to take him to your place you are likely to get worse behavior not better. Unless you are a very experience rider with some good horse sense, you should purchase an older, settled horse for a first mount and then as you improve get a younger more spirited one.

Look at the teeth to detect age and condition of the horse. Horse newspapers have lots of ads and some advice. There are auctions for horses too; once you find out about them you can get on the mailing list and visit a few before you buy. Classified ads are a very good sources of horses for sale.

When you go to look at a horse to purchase; take along an honest and reputable person to help you with that purchase. A good saddle horse should cost you from $2,500 to $5,000. A trained horse can cost much more but may well be worth the cost. Specialty horses of course — Arabians and Thoroughbreds for instance can cost more than a nice home or in some cases more than a nice shopping center. You don’t always get what you pay for… but you can count on paying for what you get.

Watch for conformation (shape and bodily proportion) in the horse; which can be learned from books and then there is Attitude — this is the same as for humans. If the horse has a bad attitude it’s hardly worth owning at any cost. The horse should be checked perhaps even x-rayed by a Veterinarian. This is called Vetting a horse; done in a pre-purchase exam. This usually costs about $300 to $500. A lot of lameness can’t be seen with the eye and will only show up with strenuous training, or during work or competition — just when you can’t afford it. ===
Happy Trails and best wishes to a lot of good horsin’ around for all you readers who want horses. Horses can bring out the best and the worst of a person and give you endless hours of pleasure, exercise and frustration. But most horse owners and lovers wouldn’t have it any other way.

TALLY HO!

Copyright 2004 by Jody Hudson

Email MrJodyHudson@earthlink.net

Jody Hudson, Realtor specializing in horse properties and being around horse farms, since 1972 and much more. Many years of being around an being in business to help people with horses.

Article Source: EzineArticles.com

Aug 24

Handling Horses With Confidence – Stop Fearing and Start Enjoying Your Horse

man with horsesQuiet Confidence

There is one tool that any person needs to have in order to successfully work with horses. It is a tool that is of more importance than any other tool that you may possess. You cannot buy this tool at a feed store or order it online. It is a tool that will make all other tools of the trade more useful. And without it all other tools useless. That tool is confidence. A sort of fearlessness in the face of an animal that could very easily hurt you at best, and kill you at worst.

A horse by nature does not really communicate its wishes through verbal commands. They do on occasion let you know what they are about to do by whinnying or neighing, but for the most part they speak to each other through body language. I want to address the fact that when you step into their world your body language will do the speaking for you. You need to learn what they are saying and be able to anticipate what they are about to do. The more fluent you become in speaking their language the easier and safer your horse experiences will become.

A horse is a prey animal. It survives through picking up on the slightest signals around it. It is also a great reader of things unseen. They have a sixth sense of sorts, filtering in information from between the lines, as well as directly. When you venture into their space they are picking up on so much more than what you are doing. They can sense what you are feeling. They have a sponge like ability to absorb what you are feeling especially anxiety. It is very important to remember that when you are feeling nervous or anxious so is your horse. This signals to your horse that they need to be ready to flee because danger is around.

Unfortunately they do not understand that to a person who lacks confidence they are often the danger that is around. So whenever you are going to interact with your horse or any horses for that matter, you need to really be aware of the feelings you are projecting onto them. You need a quiet confidence, a sense of relaxed energy, that will allow them to remain calm in your presence. And over time you will develop this quiet confidence more and more.

What do I mean by quiet confidence? Well quiet confidence comes from a sense that you truly know that everything around you is alright and that you are in control of the situation. It speaks of a true leadership state of mind. That is what a horse is looking for, a true leader. If you want to have a natural leadership role with your horse, this is the key, quiet confidence. When you see people yelling and screaming at their horses teetering on the edge of abusing them into doing what they want, they are reacting out of fear or anger. Fear and anger do not make for good leadership qualities. Horses understand that when you are out of control you can not control them.

Before you can have control of your horse, you must be able to control yourself. The horse knows this and you should learn it before going any further. Focus on understanding that with a horse fear is a sign of weakness or danger. Weak people do not lead horses, weak people get pushed around by horses. When a horse senses fear it also can become nervous and ready to flee for safety. When a horse does not respond to something you want it to do and it makes you angry you need to take a mental timeout. Horses do not lead through anger. Horses lead in one way and one way only – quiet confidence.

Confidence is not something you can just get either. It is learned, built upon, and grows. It takes time to get the confidence you need to be a true leader in all situations.

The whole idea of natural horsemanship has taken off to a great extent in recent years. It has helped put some of the archaic and outdated training techniques to rest and for this I am thankful. Just like any new idea that comes along, it has been over marketed and milked for every single penny it can produce. People have slapped the “natural horsemanship” label on everything from books to gear in order to sell it more quickly. I am not a natural horsewoman. I am just a woman who seeks to have a very balanced and productive relationship with my horse. In fact if I wanted to be a natural horsewoman I don’t think I would ever place my rump in a saddle. My horses would be left running free on open ranges and I would never subject them to the training, fences, trailers, and shows I so often do. Everything humans do for the most part with and too their horses is unnatural. Calling it natural doesn’t make it that way.

Whatever I can do to learn more, I will. And whenever I can help teach someone else something that will aid them in developing a deeper relationship with their horse, I will.

I hope by the end of this book you will have learned something and moved forward in the understanding that a horse is not just a beast. They are very intelligent, very perceptive, very able creatures that I feel every human can call their partner.

The relationship you have with your horse is much like the relationship you share with people in your lives. To have a successful relationship of any kind it must be a working relationship. It must continually be growing and as it grows it will strengthen itself naturally. It must also be a balanced relationship. The start to having a balanced relationship with your horse is to understand that a horse is a horse and not a human being. That is the beginning to having a fulfilling experience that makes both parties happy.

Human beings have this inner need to humanize animals and other “things” that inhabit our lives. We assume that animals think and react like people through spoken words. I have heard many people referring to their horses as if the horse was just another human. I want you to understand that a horse speaks a different language, feels different emotions, and is very non human.

I think the world may be a better place if people were a little more like horses and a little less like people. And that is the key here, be more like a horse instead of forcing the horse to be more like a human.

The biggest mistake most people make with their horses is to “love” them too much. It isn’t hard to love a horse. It is really easy in fact to develop a very deep emotional attachment to it. I want you to love your horse. I want you to love your horse so much that you make unselfish decisions when it comes to their development. Spoiling a horse in the name of love only benefits the owners own need to feel loved by the horse. But horses do not “love” people in the sense than humans love one another. Yes they can become very attached to their human companions. They become bonded in a way that resembles human love. But it is not the same. When you truly love your horse you will understand that you must make every effort possible to bring forth a well mannered and obedient animal.

Chances are that you will not own your horse for the entirety of its life. Things change so rapidly in our lifetimes. People lose jobs, they need to relocate, get new jobs, have children, become physically unable to care for their horses. Many things can happen that will result in you needing to find a new home for your horse. A horse that is well mannered, submissive, and obedient will go on to have a long and well-lived life.

It is horses that have been spoiled in the name of love that develop the multitude of undesirable behaviors that will dwindle their chances at finding a good home. And even worse your beloved friend could end up at a stock sale being shipped to Canada or Mexico to have their lives ended in a cruel and unimaginable way.

It is a sad but truthful reality that as the economy has dwindled in recent years we find far too many horses left in a state of homelessness. Many people who loved their horses have had to make the ultimate decision on the welfare of their animals and surrender them to others so that they can be cared for adequately. There are so many horses and not enough quality places for them to live right now. Many horses have ended up in the hands of horse traders, or less than perfect living arrangements. Only the good horse who is useful to man will find a place in this world to live a nice quality life. Horses that have issues are often the first to be sent off to the sale.

So if you truly love your horse, you will be a strong leader. Leading your horse in a way that will produce a balanced animal will insure him a place in the human world for many years to come. I ask you to put aside your own needs and consider your horses long term needs. Spoiling your horse will not gain you anything other than a lot of problems or worse injuries.

I want you to understand what I mean by spoiling. Anything you do with your horse needs to have a few simple boundaries. You need to maintain a space around you. You can envision a bubble of sorts – it expands out about 1 or 2 feet around you – this space is yours and the horse is not to enter it. (When we look at the lead mare behavior in the next chapter you will learn more about why this is so important)
You can pet your horse, in fact I feel touching your horse all over his body is an excellent way of gentling him/her. You can offer your horse treats on occasion as long as it is done in moderation and at the correct time. People tend to think that because a horse comes rushing over to the fence to see them, somehow they have created a special connection with their horse. The horse will always come running to the fence if it is given treats for showing up. They come running to see the treat not you.

I want to show you that the horse can come running from a true bond to you, not because he is bribed into behavior. You need to remember that everything you do should be done in moderation which will end in balance.

Balance is not something only needed in the saddle. Balance must exist in every aspect of horsemanship. Imagine a scale if you will on the left hand side you see the opposite of spoiling, you see neglect and abuse. It is easier to picture this end of the spectrum in your mind. On the left we have the abusive owner who try’s to beat submission into his animal and neglects to even care for its basic needs of food, shelter and water. Now look to the right hand side of the spectrum and you will see the polar opposite of the bad side. You see the owner who allows the horse to dominate and dictate to him/her what is going to happen. On this side the owner pops in every once in awhile with sugary treats and over indulges the animal. Soon the horse is nipping at his owners’ pockets and dragging him around by the lead rope or worse kicking them out of disrespect or being uncontrollable in some other way. You need to be somewhere directly in the middle of this scale. You need to maintain balanced and fair treatment of your horse through quiet confidence.

A horse is a simple animal. You can show your horse “love” by giving him/her proper nutrition and as much clean drinking water as they can drink. You can show love by feeding him grain twice a day, giving him a good supply of hay, and a nice pasture to graze upon. You can show them love by keeping their stall clean, and keeping their bodies clean through proper grooming. You can show them love by providing proper veterinarian care and keeping them pest free. You can show them love by scratching under their chin or in any other place they can’t normally reach. This is a horses happy place, being cared for and being provided for. This type of love will benefit your horse for many years to come and will produce a pleasant animal to work and play with.

The key is to find balance, where both parties are happy and content with the partnership. If the horse isn’t happy you are too far to the left. If you are not happy you have drifted too far to the right. If you stay in the middle everyone will be content.

It is human, not horse beliefs, that dictate that we must buy affection. I told you earlier to think more like the horse. They don’t care if you are spending lots of money on new halters and bridles. They don’t care that you took a loan out to have a better horse trailer than your neighbor. The true connection that will bond you tightly to your horse doesn’t cost anything but time. Humans somehow try to make up for not enough time spent by placing a monetary band-aid on the shortcoming. You cannot buy your way to control. You must put in the effort and the time needed to make the connection and the connection can only be made through confident leadership.

In the horse world there are two types of social roles, a leader and a follower. If you take a look out in your own field you will see that there is only one true main leader and the rest filter in behind them. Number 2 horse will follow number 1 but she will also lead number 3. Number 3 follows number 1 & 2 but leads number 4. There are no two number 2 ranking horses, it is a single file line that leads all the way down to the lowest member of the society. They all bow down to number 1 and number 1 submits to no one. Your job is to study number 1 and learn about how she leads with quiet confidence.

Confidence is something that comes from the inside and extends out into our physical being. It is a feeling of collected self awareness. You feel powerful therefore you are. Maybe you are fortunate and are a naturally confident person, then your task is going to be easier. Be sure that your confidence is not actually arrogance. Arrogance is actually the lack of true confidence. It comes from feeling inadequate and trying to over compensate by puffing oneself up. Horses can call this bluff easily. Arrogance and horses will add up to injury or worse death.

The horse will look for a confident leader. You need to stand with confidence, move with confidence, breath with confidence. You need to personify confidence. I want you to stand up tall and move like a mountain around horses. In your mind you ball up all of that strong energy and you move right through them instead of wavering around them. If they are in your way, you make them move out of your way.

Time will prove to you as you apply this simple state of mind that the horse will respond naturally to you and move as you will them too. You must be very clear and focused in your thinking as to exactly what you want them to do and then apply just enough energy to make it come true.

There will be times when you may face a horse that has more confidence than you. In these instances you will need to make sound judgments on how you proceed. Training an animal with more confidence than you can be dangerous.

Ask yourself if this horse is really more confident, or is he more afraid? Are his actions based on dominance or fear? You need to study this horse and see if you can learn something from it. Remember horses are our teachers and they have mimicked their way to where they are. Study his/her confidence and then do just that, mimic their behavior, but always be safe.

I want you to really develop this confidence around horses. Become consciously aware of what you are projecting at the horse. Be aware of what you are feeling before you go through the gate. Be diligent in your pursuit of this quiet confidence.

You can spend thousands of dollars attending a seminar or clinic on horse training to learn how to train horses. You can go out and spend hundreds of dollars on new training aids or even thousands on a new round pen to do your training in. All of it will be money wasted if you don’t have the confidence to lead the horse. You cannot fake it. You cannot buy it. You must develop it. It is free except for the time you spend building it. It is invaluable.

There are many horse owners who have a fearful relationship with their own horses. Being fearful is the main mistake people make with ther horses. Being even the slightest bit nervous around a horse will put you in the subordinate seat. You will not get results in your training. You will have a very flat and unsatisfying relationship if you base it on fear.

I want to suggest to those that are afraid, even in the slightest, of their own horse that they go out and buy a whip. You may never even need to use it. It is more a tool to help you feel safe and more confident. Get out your lunge whip if you want. Carry it in your hand when dealing with your horse. I am not asking you to use it, I am asking you to carry it. Sometimes the security of knowing you have it will give your confidence the boost it needs to start conversing successfully with your horse. If a horse respects a lifeless stick that only weighs ounces because it can produce a slight sting on his rear, imagine how much more respect you alone could have with the horse. Carry your whip in hand until you feel safe in leaving it behind. It is merely an aid to help you start to understand that horses are not as big and bad as some people believe them to be.

Before long you will understand just how powerful you can be and just how submissive a horse can be. You will also find that this new confidence will filter out into the rest of your life. You will walk a little straighter and be bolder in what you do. You learn to be more aware of the feelings you are projecting. Confidence will attract the horses attention just like it does a humans.

Remember confidence is not bullying. Think back to when you were in school and there were bullies. Usually a bully was just puffing himself up and acting aggressively towards others because he was afraid. A horse can tell when he is being bullied and it will not have the lasting effect that confidence will. You can bully a horse sometimes but bullying will only get you so far.

I have seen lots of horse bullies and none of them were horses. They have all been humans trying to put on a show of strength. And that is all it is, a show. The horse knows the difference between bullying and confidence. Bullying comes from inner fear, confidence comes from inner strength. A horse will follow strength, he will flee from fear. And keep in mind that if he can’t flee from the fear, he can as a last resort, act out in protective aggression. Bullying a horse is a good way to get hurt or killed.

I don’t want you to fear your horse. Sometimes it is easy to fear an animal that has so much power and so much strength. His size alone can easily make him dangerous but for the most part a horse is a docile and timid creature.

He is also submissive and willing to be a part of man’s world. If he weren’t he would simply jump over the fence we have built to contain him or bust through the barn door and set himself free. He doesn’t use his strength in the same manner a human being would. He will if faced with a life threatening situation, but for the most part he is docile and timid.

That’s not to say it is a guarantee that your horse will never assert itself over you physically. He can and chances are he will, but it will be in more subtle ways than stomping you to death. Horses often “test” you to see if you are paying attention. Subtle invasions of your role as leader can add up to a mutiny, so be aware of what the horse is saying to you at all times.

Try to replace fear with respect. Respect the fact that he is large and you should proceed with educated caution when handling him. Do not irritate a horse or tease it. Do not provoke him to prove a point to other humans. In fact leave all your desires to impress people with your horse skills at home. Concentrate on you and him and the relationship you truly want to share.

Use common sense. Do not stand behind a horse and taunt it to kick you to prove it won’t. You may get unlucky one day and try this with the wrong horse. Show respect, not fear. After you start to have a “safe” track record your confidence will naturally grow and replace the fears you once had.

This article is an excerpt from the book H.E.R.D Human Equine Relationship Development by author Tamara Svencer

Learn the secrets of equine communication through body language. End problem behavior and have more of a natural balanced relationship with your horse today! Tamara Svencer is the author of H.E.R.D Human Equine Relationship Development visit [http://www.herdbound.net] to learn more! FREE E-Book for visiting!

Article Source: EzineArticles.com

Aug 24

Dealing With and Preventing Spoiled Horses

Foal learning lessons.

Foal learning lessons.

Spoiled Rotten

Most people have experienced a child throwing a temper tantrum at one time or another. Often we see these little tyrannical episodes when the child is out shopping with their parents. The child wants something that the parent refuses to supply and the child reacts with an emotional explosion. Children are not born with patience and understanding, those are learned virtues. When a child erupts into a fit over not getting his way, we as the bystander, often think to ourselves “well if that was my child I would fix that problem A.S.A.P”. We are often mind boggled by the fact that the child’s parents do little to regain their control and are mortified when we see them give in to what the child wants just to pacify him.

I feel the same way when I see a horse throwing a temper tantrum. A horse can become spoiled rotten by it’s owners very easily. The saddest part of the situation is the owner does it in the name of love with good intentions at heart.

By “spoiling” your horse you are only setting him up for bad behavior development. I talked earlier in the book about how humans try to make a horse think and feel like a human. We assume that they abide by the same rules of affection. We think we must be loving on them constantly and feeding them treats to prove to them how much we care.

I have even heard people making up excuses for their horses bad behavior like a mother would for her child, “Oh he is having a bad day, he isn’t normally like this”. Horses don’t have bad days. That is one of the great things about horses, how dependable they are regardless of outside influences. A horse may move a little slower in the heat, but if you make him go faster he will. I horse will just as easily trod through the snow in minus zero conditions, than run through a meadow in spring. They are very steadfast and dependable by nature.

When you see an outburst from a horse, it isn’t because he is having a bad day, it’s because he has become spoiled in some way, shape or form.

There is one exception to this rule, a horse that is suffering some sort of pain. I have made the mistake of saddling my horse and forgetting to make sure her mane wasn’t under the pad. She became very agitated during the ride. Twitching her tail, not paying attention, acting as if she was irritated and cranky. I stopped and checked everything out but found no reason for her discomfort. I kept feeling her twitch her muscles in her withers as if she was getting rid of flies, so I thought maybe a horsefly was biting at her. When I looked down I saw her mane was pulled tightly back under the saddle pad and with every step it yanked at it more. She was reacting to pain. As soon as I fixed the problem, she went right back to her normal dependable self.

If a horse who normally is well behaved starts to take a fit, check for physical discomfort first. Maybe the cinch is pinching him, there is a burr in the saddle pad, or a horsefly is biting him.

If a horse has a habit of throwing fits then there is a chance he has been spoiled and needs to be corrected and placed back into a state of submissive follower. A horse that is in a submissive state of mind will not throw a fit. He can’t, it is impossible. Only a horse who feels he is in control and boss will throw a fit or try to dominate a human being with bad behavior. A spoiled horse is a pushy horse. He will try to push his owner around, just like the bossy child. He try’s to make his owner do what he wants by throwing little fits.

Spoiling a horse is the leading cause of behavior issues. Signs a horse is spoiled…

Pushy Attitude

In a pushy horses mind it is fine to crowd its owner, pull him around, drag him even if he wants too. He can be in the owners space, even knock him down if he doesn’t move out of the way. It is OK to bite his owner when the owner doesn’t follow his lead or takes to long in complying with his wishes. He expects a treat regardless of what he does, he wants one just for showing up. If you don’t give it to him, he will stick his nose in your pocket and take it. In his mind he is the boss.

Aggressive Attitude

The pushy horse will mature into the aggressive horse, it is only a matter of time. Soon he is biting, charging, and kicking anyone who stands in the way of what he wants. If he doesn’t want to be handled he throws a fit, he is completely out of control. Usually there is a submissive person running around telling him to be a good boy and mommy will get him some apples.

Human beings just can’t understand that a horse does not reap one good reward from over indulgence. It is all bad. It is the worst thing you can do to a horse. You must try to find balance.

Sometimes we do it ourselves, sometimes it was done before the horse becomes ours. It doesn’t matter who did it, it has to end right now. If you have been spoiling your horse, just stop it and learn a new way to reward him that will result in positive effects you will both enjoy.

Rule # 1: Never let the horse come into your space unless he does so with a submissive attitude.

Rule #2: Never accept any attempt to dominate you in any way.

Even the slightest infraction of this rule needs to be corrected immediately.

Rule # 3: Never use food as his sole reward for good behavior

Mix it up with body pats, and ada boys.

Rule #4: Never give the reward before he deserves it.

That constitutes bribery. Bribery doesn’t work for you, it works for the horse. A horse learns quickly that by not doing what you want him too he gets a treat. Think about that for a minute. If the horse doesn’t want to follow you on the lead rope and you give him a reward hoping he will move, he takes it as he refuses to do it and gets a reward. He will not get the reward and then say “wow she is so nice I should do what she wants.”

Rule#5: Be aware of how you physically interact with him.

Body language is the only language a horse speaks. Be confident and show control in your physical demeanor. If you are shaky, nervous, or show submission he will hear what you are saying loud and clear. He will instantly seize the opportunity to be leader of the two man herd. He won’t feel bad about it in the slightest either. He is just doing what horses do.

I spend a lot of time with my horses every day. I am around them for the better part of any given day. I do so because I want to maintain my status as leader and I love them. I am constantly practicing these five rules and they have paid off for me personally and the are paying off for my horses too.

Human affection is natural for us as humans. Love for a human is shown through affectionate acts. We express our love between humans by giving gifts to one another. So it is only natural we want to do the same with the animals that we love. But truly it isn’t received the same way humans would accept our affection. It only confuses them and makes them feel as if they are in control. They don’t understand we do it because we love them, they take our “love” and understand it as “submission” and it can destroy your relationship with your horse, and the horses ability to be well mannered and obedient.

The Importance of Body Language

Imagine that you were to spend 24 hours a day, seven days a week for 5 years living in a herd. Imagine that you could not speak but had to totally rely on your body to convey what you wanted. You had to learn what others wanted from you in order to avoid being kicked or bitten. Imagine that for a minute. Think about how you would adapt and be able to interpret the slightest movement of the horses around you. This is exactly how your horse has been trained first, by horses in the herd.

I can see when a person is fearful or even nervous when handling their horse. Fear is written literally all over their face. It is in the way they stand nervously out and to the side. It is in the way they hold their arms in a defensive manner. If I can see it, trust me the horses can see it too. They have spent their entire life learning the skill of conversing in body language. When a horse is nervous in the presence of another horse it signals submission. A submissive horse or person cannot lead.

You MUST lead or you will have to follow. If you follow you will be pushed around, bitten, kicked, and treated far less respectful than if you were the leader.

This article is an excerpt from the book H.E.R.D Human Equine Relationship Development written by author Tamara Svencer

Learn the secrets of equine communication through body language. End problem behavior and have more of a natural balanced relationship with your horse today! Tamara Svencer is the author of H.E.R.D Human Equine Relationship Development visit [http://www.herdbound.net] to learn more! FREE E-Book for visiting!

Aug 24

Buying The Right Horse

Shetland ponies

Shetland ponies

Nothing you do will be more important than purchasing the right horse if you are truly interested in developing your horsemanship skills. It is the single most important decision you will be making and probably one of the most expensive. So take some educated considerations before you start out on this fundamental task.

And it will be a task. You need to look at a lot of horses before settling on one so get ready for some serious leg work, lots of driving, and unfortunately lots of disappointment.

But before you grab the paper and start making the phone calls lets talk about what you need versus what you want.

We can start out by finding a breed that suits us best, and then refine our wishes amongst the breed. Lets look at what a breed means. The horse was a basic animal of survival. He needed to survive, and thus he was equipped with a body and markings that allowed him to survive more easily. His coat blended into his environment, his nostrils were shaped to allow him to breath most efficiently in his environment, and so forth. He was built solely for survival.

Then man entered his world and we started fooling with the genetics a bit. We started refining the breeding to produce animals for aesthetic and pleasure purposes. We started breeding for mass and muscle like in the drafts we now see. We bred for entertainment purposes and that is how we have brought forth all the variations in the species of the equine.

We now have spotted ones, red ones, black ones, tall ones, little ones, shaggy ones, sleek ones and aside from the physical appearance of the animal, we have also bred them for temperament and use. And our breeding programs have been so successful you can pick out an entire breed that best suits your needs.

That is not to say every Arabian is a certain way, or every Quarter Horse is a certain way, but they do have a certain quality that makes them more apt to act, look, and behave a certain way. We did that. We have engineered each breed to meet a certain use. Now within that breed each horse may have a different personality and temperament based on its own individuality and experiences.

Do a lot of research and find a couple breeds that interest you most and would fit your level of experience and own needs. Lets say you have aspirations of becoming a barrel racer, you would look more to the Quarter Horse than to the Clydesdale. You are going to need a horse with a certain physical size, shape, and ability to perform the task at hand.

If you are looking for a riding horse for pleasure riding alone, then maybe a Tennessee Walking Horse would make a good partner. Learn the breeds and find the breed that best suits your needs.

It is funny how people will research the purchase of a dog longer than they do the purchase of a horse sometimes. Research those breeds, buy and read books, see what horses tend to be popular in the areas you are interested in most.

After you pick a breed stick to it. I am such a sucker when it comes to animals. I may have my mind set on one thing until I look into the big brown eyes of the exact opposite thing. Or worse I feel an animal is being neglected or abused and that I need to somehow rescue it. For me reason used to fly straight out the window. But unfortunately I have learned the hard way and it has often ended up costing me lots of money. With horses mistakes always cost you lots of money.

So shop with your head first and then use your heart. Make rational not emotional decisions even though this may be hard, in the end you will be happy you did.

After you look at the breeds and make up your mind, buy the paper or go online. Start making some prospect picks based on the price. If you only have 1000.00 to spend, rule out the 5000.00 horses. If maybe you are fortunate and find some 500.00 prospects well then maybe you will get lucky and come out with a little spending cash for hay.

You at this point really need to have an honest evaluation of your own skills. Be honest because if you are not honest with yourself here, you are going to really regret it later. Pride may keep you from admitting that you are not the greatest rider in the world as of yet. It may be tempting to outclass your abilities and this will only end in a disaster or even worse a pasture ornament you have no fun at all with but still have to feed. Be completely honest about what level of rider you are. Beginner, intermediate, or advanced.

In the age of the Internet there are sites that show ads for horses in your area that you can filter out by distance, price, etc. You can even see full color photos of the animals so you can get a rough idea of what you are interested in. Many of these sites also have a sliding scale to depict the horses temperament. The more gentle the horse the better for the beginner, only an advanced rider should even ponder owning a horse that scores poorly in temperament. This can be a deadly mistake for a novice.

This would be a good time to talk about age in horses because lots of great horses are overlooked because of their ages. The recent research that has helped us all be more aware of the nutritional needs of horses has helped them to live longer, healthier lives. Just like people horses are living longer due to better nutrition and health care. It is not uncommon to see a horse that is in their late twenties even thirties still competing and doing well despite their age.

But the greatest benefit these older horses have for the beginner is that most of the things that would spook a young horse have been totally desensitized out of the older horse. She has usually been around the block a time or two and will be a quiet calm horse for someone who needs that to build up their riding confidence.

Thats not to say that you have to buy an older horse. There are exceptional 8 year olds and even younger, but it is usually much safer for the beginner to stick with horses that are up in their teens and twenties even. There are exceptions to this rule as well. Sometimes a horse won’t be broken until they are 12 or even later. I find this absolutely absurd to wait that long, but it still happens, and this is the same situation as buying a green broke 3 year old. This horse would be best left to an advanced rider.

Look through the ads, read them and start picking out some horses that sound compatible with your needs, are in line with your price range, and are suitable for your experience level. And please if this is for a beginner don’t pass up a horse just because it says he/she is 18. As long as they are sound it really doesn’t matter the age.

Then start making some phone calls. Do this in a relaxed manner the same way you would call about something else for sale in the paper. Even though you may be rather excited about it, stay calm and don’t sound so eager. There are many reputable people selling horses. Sometimes it is individuals that need to find a new home for a horse they no longer can afford or are looking to replace the horse they have with a more advanced horse. But unfortunately horse trading still is very active and you never know who is on the other end of the line.

Here are some good questions to ask on the phone before driving out to a farm to look at the horse.

1. How old is the horse?

We just talked about this, and you need to make a wise decision on the ability of the horse versus the ability of your rider.

2. Who currently is riding the horse and how often do they ride?

This is important because if a horse has been sitting in a pasture for a year or too and no one is handling it, there will be a lot of refresher training going on.

3. Has the horse ever received professional training?

This will let you know what the people actually know about the history of a horse. History is important, and if a certain trainer has worked with the horse ask who it was and give that person a call. If they remember working with the horse they can provide some really valuable insight on the animals behavior

4. Is the horse current on its vaccinations?

If it doesn’t have its tetanus and rabies shots at least, it is going to cost you money off the bat with the vet. These little added expenses can soon add up. Keep track of anything you will have to spend when you get the horse home and tack that onto the asking price.

5. Does it do well with the farrier and are its feet currently trimmed?

If a horse is a nightmare for a farrier it can be hard to find one that will deal with it on a regular basis. And again if the shoes are not current, there will be additional money to consider when the horse comes home. If a person cares for their horses feet on a regular schedule it also lessens the risk that the hooves develop issues from not being trimmed (broken edges, cracks, etc all come from unshod feet)

6. Has the horse ever had an injury to its legs or any other part of its body that the owner knows of?

Old injuries can lead to a lifetime of treatment and they can also throw off the horses confirmation so severely they lead to future problems.

7. Has the horse ever offered to bite or kick at a human?

This is a really important question and you can only hope to get an honest answer. A horse that bites or kicks should never be considered for a beginner or a child. Biting and kicking are all signs that the horse feels superior to humans. Now it could be the current owner is just really submissive to this particular horse, but still, biting and kicking are something I would pass on. There are so many wonderful horses that need homes, try to pick one with the least problems to start off with.

8. Where in the pecking order does the horse exist?

If a horse is a very dominant horse you could have problems controlling it. If it is really low on the totem pole you may have to deal with self confidence and fear issues. Both can be as dangerous as the other. For instance a horse that is the lowest member of a herd is often hard to catch because she is so used to running away from more dominant animals, she will instinctively flee instead of deal with a possible conflict. It is annoying to have a horse running away from you all the time.

9. Does the horse have any vices like cribbing? Cribbing and other vices can not only cost you a lot of money in the long run due to damaged property they can be detrimental to the physical well being of the horse.

10. What do they currently feed the horse?

This is a HUGE question and listen closely to the answer. Proper nutrition is the basis of good health. A horse that is not fed correctly can have issues with it’s eyes, kidneys, stomachs, and hooves. Just like a human, health is determined by getting the proper nutrition to feed our bodies. Horses that have been underfed or are sustained on a low grade food can have a multitude of ill effects that will in the long run cost you a lot of money to correct. The horse should be getting grain twice a day and as much hay as it can eat, or the equivalent of nice pasture that it can graze as much as it wishes. If you get a skinny horse trust me it takes a lot of time to put the weight back on. Skinny horses often have really dry, brittle hooves with cracks, that can take a while to correct. The eyes may have suffered from malnutrition too. I do not tolerate anyone’s excuse for having a skinny horse. There is only one explanation in most cases and that is it is underfed. If you can’t feed your horse you shouldn’t own one.

11. How many hands is the horse?

This is just to allow you to understand if this particular horse is the right size in proportion to the rider. You don’t want a horse that is too big or too small. You want it to be just right.

12. Has the horse been shown or competed in events that you are interested in?

If you have any desire to compete with the horse you want one that has already been exposed to the show/rodeo atmosphere. There are lots of things going on there that a horse who hasn’t experienced it could consider frightening. If you are an experienced showman then you could consider show training a prospect. If not than try to find a horse with experience already.

13. Has the horse had regular vet care?

This is also important. Without health a horse just like a human has nothing. Having seen a vet on a regular basis will help to catch any health issue the horse may have, like heart murmurs or kidney stones. You will also want to have the animal checked by your vet, so make sure they feel comfortable with that idea before purchase. If the object to that, then that is a good sign something is wrong that they are not telling you about.

14. Does the horse trailer load easily?

Trailering injuries are quite common in horses that find this task difficult. But one of the reasons you need to ask this is because you will need to move the animal from their farm to yours in the chance that you buy it. If it is a bear to load, maybe arrangements can be made to have them move it to your farm where you can start working with it loading. Trailer loading a horse can be difficult for some people, it is great when a horse has no issues with it all.

15. What is the horses temperament like?

Hopefully you get an honest answer. People have gone through great lengths in the past to push off a high spirited horse as a gentle horse. They will even go so far as starving a horse down so that it is too weak to act up, which is one of the reasons to stay clear of underweight animals. (once the weight gets back on you may have a firecracker instead of a dud) Sometimes they have even drugged the animal with tranquilizers in order to quickly unload it on unsuspecting buyers. A little trick here is that in the case of a male you can tell because his penis will hang loose and low and will not retract back into his sheath if he has been drugged.

16. How long have they owned the horse and what do they know about its past?

A horse that has belonged to the same person for a long period of time should come with some history. This horse will have not only a behavioral history the owner can tell you about, but a medical and training history as well. If they haven’t had the horse for long, try to probe them for past owner information, and anything else they can tell you about where the horse has come from. A good owner will know these things. A horse trader will have no clue about where the animal has been.

17. Why are they getting rid of the horse?

This is an important question. If they have just told you they recently got the horse then why would they be unloading it so soon? I understand things happen in life. Perhaps the man has lost his job and can no longer afford it. Maybe they are needing to move and won’t have the land they need to keep horses. Medical issues can also dictate the sale of horses. Maybe an injury to the back or something else like a terminal illness makes the sale necessary. Maybe a beginner has decided to move up to an intermediate horse but can only afford to keep one horse so the beginner horse must be sold to make room for the new intermediate one. But if they tell you something like it just isn’t working out, then a red flag pops up. Don’t get stuck with another persons problem. This horse could have behavioral issues or even worse health issues. It is not unheard of for a horse that is near death to be sold dirt cheap and pushed off the farm in order to not have to deal with it’s impending burial. In the horse buying business it is truly “buyer beware”.

Feel free to make up as many questions as you would like and ask away. Hopefully you will be dealing with good honest people, sometimes you won’t. You will have to trust your own judgments in cases where you feel people are being less than honest.

One of the questions you didn’t see me ask was what does the horse look like. Some people ask this first. The appearance of the animal is less important than the temperament of the animal and the soundness of its body. That goes back to the human way of thinking about things. If you get lucky and you get a horse that is perfect looking and is on your skill level and has no health concerns then you will indeed be just that “lucky”. This is not the norm. I would rather deal with a less than perfect looking horse who has a great attitude and temperament than one that looks great but is dangerously dominant.

The only time you should consider buying a horse based on looks would be for show competitions such as halter classes. But even then a good looking horse has to behave itself in the arena or it will find itself and its handler disqualified quickly.

After you have a list of horses you feel meet your criteria, then it is time to start visiting them. This can be an exciting time, when you love horses it is always fun to go and be around new ones. But please do not let your emotions get the best of you. Keep in mind that a sensible decision will pay off in the long run.

Buying a horse that is well suited to you and your needs will enable horse ownership to be a joy. Trust me you will know if you make a mistake shortly after you get the animal home. Then you will be the one in search of a new home for the horse because of trying to get what you want instead of what you need.

When meeting new horses you will be meeting new people. Keep your eyes and your ears open. Any discrepancies in stories should signal that you can’t trust everything they are telling you. And going with the old saying “believe none of what you hear and only half of what you see” can prove priceless when horse shopping.

Make them ride the horse for you. If they are afraid to do so, make sure you bring someone along who is advanced in riding that will ride the horse. With someone else in the saddle you will be able to observe the horse from the ground. This will let you see if he is lame or has any other physical issues. If you are in search of a riding horse then make sure you see it ridden. After someone else rides it, then you need to ride it yourself.

Do not buy a riding horse you personally have not ridden. If you are afraid to ride the horse in it’s current environment where it feels comfortable, you will not grow any braver when you get home. In fact the horses behavior will probably head south for about two weeks until it settles in to its new home.

The other big mistake people make is buying a horse because they feel sorry for it after seeing where it lives. Horses sometimes do end up in deplorable situations and this is a sad fact. If you venture out to a farm and feel that the horse is being neglected you sometimes feel like you need to “save” it. Do not buy a horse solely because you feel bad for it. If by chance that particular horse is one you would buy regardless of it’s current situation then buying it may be an option. But do not buy it on the grounds that you need to rescue it if it falls short of your expectations. What you can do is turn the owners into the authorities if you feel the animals life is being threatened due to neglect. That is the only way you can “help” that horse.

I hope I have been able to help you in providing you with a starting ground on buying a horse. There are so many dishonest people selling horses. It is like buying a car. If you don’t know anything about the mechanics of a car you need to take along a buddy who does. Some people are more motivated by money than ethics. You need to educate yourself as much as possible and never be afraid to ask more experienced friends to ride along.

I recently purchased a horse from a friend who was thankfully honest enough to show me she had a slight inward curve to her hoof heels in the front. He didn’t know how to correct it and didn’t even know if it could be corrected. I called a very reputable farrier to come and take a look at the hooves before I bought the horse. I had to pay for his services of course. The $40.00 I spent on his consultation was worth the piece of mind it gave me when I wrote a larger more substantial check for the animal later.

The same goes for the vet, if you want to have the animal checked out by the vet, pay the farm call and examination fee before buying the animal. It is worth the piece of mind that it gives and it can also protect you from making a very costly mistake. Horses have ailments you can’t see so easily like a limp, sometimes it is inside, like a heart murmur.

Always get a bill of sale. It doesn’t matter if it is a friend or a stranger. Get a bill of sale. You will need this when registering the ownership with some breed registries. It doesn’t have to be elaborate. Put that paperwork with all your other important papers.

The “Kid Safe” Horse

Sellers will often advertise a horse as being kid safe. This term is widely overused. I wanted to include some information about this, because as a mother, I know the concern people have for the temperament of the horse their child is riding.

It is important to keep in mind that the word child can be a relative term. There are children who have no riding experience and then there are children who can out ride even seasoned adults. So when someone tells you that their child rides the horse without problems, you need to ask the skill level of the child.

Also keep in mind that no horse is “child safe”. A horse can act out, or become uncontrollable in an instant. I have been told that the most dangerous horse is the gentle one, because you become so relaxed around it you often forget that it can be very dangerous.

Trust the phrase “child safe” loosely. You need to be the judge of the horses character yourself. It is best to use the rule that your child needs to be “horse safe” before ever trusting him/her to control a horse by themselves. If they are truly “horse safe” they will be able to handle most any situation that could occur, on an old gentle horse, or even on a younger more spirited horse. Teach your children proper safety skills when dealing with any horse and they will be better prepared for all horses. Not just ones people label as “child safe”.

This is an excerpt from the book H.E.R.D Human Equine Relationship Development by Author Tamara Svencer

Learn the secrets of equine communication through body language. End problem behavior and have more of a natural balanced relationship with your horse today! Tamara Svencer is the author of H.E.R.D Human Equine Relationship Development visit [http://www.herdbound.net] to learn more! FREE E-Book for visiting!

Dec 31

Where To Ride Your Horse

horse ridingYou’ve saddled up your horse for a relaxing day in the saddle when you suddenly realize that you have no idea where to ride him outside of that same little paddock. Are there any more exciting options? Actually, there are plenty of great places to ride your horse, especially if he doesn’t mind taking a ride in the horse trailer first.   The best place to ride a horse is on the local trails. However, you don’t want to just pick a trail and start riding. If the trail isn’t marked as a horse trail, you could come across people on bikes, motorcycles or even four wheelers. This could turn a pleasant afternoon in the park into a terrifying experience for you and your horse.

While riding on a horse trail doesn’t guarantee that you won’t come across an inconsiderate person who has ignored the signs and is tearing down the trail on his bike, it certainly lowers the likelihood of this happening. If you really enjoy riding on the local trails, you may want to consider competing in endurance competitions with your horse. These competitions are like one long trail ride.

If there aren’t any trails nearby, you can still find places to ride. You may want to try approaching the owner of a large parcel of land to see if he or she will allow you to ride. However, be sure you have permission, as nothing ruins a ride faster than having the police escort you off of private property because you were trespassing.

Unfortunately, if you live in a city, there are probably few spots nearby where you can ride your horse. Look for a large riding stable with an indoor ring so that you can exercise your horse on a regular basis. This way, you’ll both be able to handle waiting until you can make a trip to a more rural area.

Another great place to ride your horse is at a horse friendly campground or resort. As more and more open spaces become developed, these campgrounds and resorts are becoming more popular. Riders literally take their horses on vacation with them and enjoy a week or so of riding in beautiful surroundings.

Of course, you can also ride your horse in competitions. If formal competitions aren’t your style, find groups that compete for fun, instead of for points. Many college students compete in informal shows and will even borrow horses from friends to compete.

Finally, if you like being in the spotlight and you have an outgoing, steady horse, then you may want to try riding your horse in parades. You will have to ask riding groups in your area if they participate in local parades, since few parade organizers are interested in trying to coordinate ten or twenty separate horse and rider teams when they already have so many other groups to keep track of. If being in parades is fun, you may want to look into riding in a drill team. However, you should be aware that drill teams work long hours to develop a precise, complicated routine.

Dec 31

The Importance of Formal Lessons

horse riding 2Riding a horse looks so simple that you shouldn’t need formal lessons, right? Actually, while it may be easy to fall off a horse, staying on is a bit trickier. Staying on and looking good is even harder. Few people can manage all of the intricacies of horseback riding without lessons.

One of the worst things you can do if you want to show horses is to try to teach yourself to ride. Without even realizing it, you may be sitting on your horse the wrong way, holding the reins wrong or using poor posture. By the time you decide to take formal lessons, these behaviors may be so ingrained that you won’t be able to learn the correct way to ride a horse without taking many hours of remedial training. Even worse, you may have an experience that puts you off horseback riding forever, such as being knocked off a runaway horse by a low hanging tree branch or having a horse buck you off, just because you don’t know what to do when different situations occur.

If you can’t afford formal lessons, you may be considering taking lessons from a friend or neighbor. If you do take lessons from someone who doesn’t have a lot of teaching experience, you may learn how to control your horse and you will learn a bit more than you would if you tried to teach yourself. However, if you are serious about competing, taking lessons from someone who doesn’t have teaching experience is almost as bad as not taking lessons at all. This is because these people may be able to teach you how to ride for fun, but they may not be able to spot the little things that you are doing wrong that count in the show ring.

When you take formal lessons, your instructor may spend what seems like forever on the most boring exercises, like learning to use the reins to turn your horse or posting without using stirrups, when all you want to learn is how to ride like the wind. However, all of these seemingly endless drills are the stepping stones that enable you to become a skilled and graceful rider.

Even if you don’t take lessons to learn basic horseback riding, you should not try more advanced skills, like jumping, without taking formal lessons. Jumping is dangerous even for skilled riders and people with plenty of experience can have fluke accidents when they are jumping. Make sure you listen closely to what your instructor has to say and be sure that you don’t try jumping outside of class until you are truly ready to do so.

If you enjoy learning to perfect the way you ride your horse and you like competing in events, you may want to take even more lessons. Dressage is a complicated and intricate form of horseback riding that requires a great deal of professional training for both the horse and rider. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with learning to ride so you can spend a long summer day riding through the woods, either.

 

Dec 31

Tacking Up and Mounting Up – Getting Ready to Ride a Horse

horse riding 2So, it’s time for your very first horseback ride and you just can’t wait to jump on that horse’s back so you can gallop off into the sunset. However, before you ride off on your horse, you will need to tack him up and then you will need to figure out how to actually get up there.

When you tack up a horse, you should start by fastening his halter to the crossties before you do anything else. Once he is properly secured to the crossties, it is time to move on to the next step, using your body brush and your hoof pick. Lift up each foot and clean it to be sure that there are no pebbles lodged in the hoof. Then, brush your horse’s back and sides to be sure that there is no dirt on his body. Once the horse is wearing a saddle blanket and saddle, even a little dirt can create sores on his back. These two simple grooming steps are extremely important, since they help you make sure that your horse is comfortable while you are riding him. After all, an unhappy or uncomfortable horse is not a safe horse.

Now, you are ready to tack up your horse. You should start with the saddle, since it is easiest to tack up a horse when he is still fastened to the crossties. Walk up to your horse from the left side with the saddle pad in your hands. Don’t move too fast. You don’t want to startle him. Place the saddle pad on his back so that the front of the pad is touching his withers, which is the spot between the horse’s neck and shoulders. Be sure the pad is even. If you need to adjust the pad, lift it up to move it instead of sliding it around, since sliding it can make your horse’s hair clump up.

Next, pick up the saddle, being sure that the stirrups are not able to flop around. Place the saddle on the horse’s back so that it is positioned in the hollow space right behind his withers. If your girth is already fastened to the right side of the saddle, reach under the horse’s belly and pull the girth across to connect it to the left side of the saddle. If the girth isn’t on the saddle, walk around the front of your horse to his right side and attach the girth to the right side of the saddle. Then walk back around the front of your horse to his left side to finish fastening the girth. You should make sure that it is not twisted up and you should be careful to pull it tight enough to keep the saddle in place. Don’t forget to adjust your stirrups to the proper length.

Once the saddle is in place, it is time to put the bridle on your horse. Before you approach your horse with the bridle, you should unbuckle the noseband and throatlatch. Next, you should unfasten the halter and put it around your horse’s neck to keep him in place while you bridle him. Lift the bridle’s reins over the horse’s head. Then, stand beside your horse’s head, looking in the same direction that he is looking. Hold the bit with your left hand and the headstall with your right hand and slide the headstall into place behind your horse’s ears. Now, press the bit into the horse’s mouth, without knocking it against his teeth. Slide the headstall the rest of the way back so that the bit is resting in the right spot. Buckle the bridle’s noseband and throatlatch. Don’t forget to unfasten the halter.   Finally, it is time to mount your horse. Stand on his left side facing his back. Grasp some of his mane and the reins loosely in your left hand and hold the stirrup in place with your right hand. Slide your left foot into the stirrup and place your right hand on the saddle’s back or cantle. Push off with your right leg and swing into the saddle, being careful not to kick your horse as you slide your leg across his body. Position your right foot in the stirrup. Now, you are ready to ride your horse.

Dec 31

Staying Alert – How to Avoid Potential Dangers When You are Riding Your Horse

horse ridingRiding a horse can be one of the most wonderful experiences that a person can have. However, no matter how long you’ve been riding, you need to be aware of what’s going on around you and you should always stay alert. After all, you never know what is coming around the corner that could be dangerous or frightening to your horse.

One of the most important things you should do when you are riding your horse is to hold the reins properly. If your horse is suddenly startled, you will be able to react quickly to get him under control before he panics and bolts. Never loop the reins around the saddle horn, no matter how placid and docile your horse is. Even the quietest, most boring horse in the world has the ability to run off with the bit between his teeth if he is scared enough.

Next, be sure that you are sitting on the horse properly. Leave your feet in the stirrups and don’t try stunts like standing on your horse’s back without having someone nearby who knows how to train stunt riders. If you want to ride sidesaddle, be sure you have the proper saddle.

Another thing you should do is to take a quick look around unfamiliar areas before you start your ride. This way, you will know in advance that there is a clothesline full of clothes flapping in the wind close to one section of the trail, while a fallen tree is blocking another section. If you came across either of these things without any prior knowledge, they could really present a problem.

Of course, even if you have all of the right equipment and you are doing everything properly, there are occasions where riding a horse just is a bad idea. If your horse is frightened of thunder and there is a storm brewing, stay home. If he shies at the sight of every piece of trash or debris you come across and it is a breezy day, you may want to put off your ride until the air is still.

If you can’t avoid a bad situation and your horse starts to shy at the sight of a piece of paper blowing in the breeze, a bird fluttering, or some other equally harmless thing, you can sometimes minimize his reaction by acting quickly. Stop the horse and speak to him in a clear, calm voice to let him know that he doesn’t have to be afraid. If he balks, command him to back up instead of trying to force him forward. Get him under control and then attempt to show him that the object that has startled him is no big deal.

Finally, if you haven’t been able to exercise your horse for awhile and he is overly frisky, you may want to help him burn off some of that excess energy before you get on his back. A calm horse is much less likely to shy or bolt than one that is practically bouncing off the walls. Instead of riding your horse, get out the longe line and have him trot or canter around the paddock for fifteen or twenty minutes. Once he has settled down, you can take him for a much safer and more enjoyable ride.