Riding Club Points as of August 5th, 2017

Fun Horse Show
Photo courtesy of Lola Cichocki

We had another fun, friendly show here today at White Rose Equestrian. Thank you to everyone who came out to help and compete.

I am so pleased with all our riders and the progress they have made over the summer while competing. Showing is an opportunity for them to put into practice what they learn in weekly lessons. It also gives them the freedom to explore their riding abilities and grow as equestrians in ways that lessons alone could never do.

The riding club points for this show are as follows:

Rider POINTS POSITION
 Macy Schott / White Rose Fandango  58.0  1
 Libby Schott / White Rose Desert Wind  44.0  2
 Riley Hughes / White Rose Sweet Seirra  40.0  3
 Isabel Mejia / White Rose Rubydoo  39.5  4
 Maddie Rominger / White Rose Moonfire  36.5  5
 Deana Poteat / White Rose Rubydoo  34.0  6

After today's show, we have a change in the overall leaderboard. Everyone still has time to catch up at our Fall Fun Show on October 28th, 2017.

The overall championship riding club points so far are as follows:

Rider POINTS POSITION
 Macy Schott / White Rose Fandango  173.0  1
 Libby Schott / White Rose Desert Wind  163.0  2
 Riley Hughes / White Rose Sweet Sierra  162.0  3
 Maddie Rominger / White Rose Moonfire  156.0  4
 Allison Guidi / DF Sergio  65.5  5
 Alida Leidy / Maddie  51.5  6

Our Fall Fun show will also have a costume class so start thinking about how you are going to dress up your horse.

 

Why I Host Horse Shows

18221981_10155530340448974_2094783583415863576_nHere at White Rose Equestrian, we host several fun, friendly horse shows a year. Our riders look forward to showing off their skills and winning ribbons. But there is much more to it than that. Our emphasis is on learning and improving and our motto is, "The most important thing about showing is having fun!"

Most of our students are beginner to intermediate riders. They ride once a week and do not own their own horses. They don't have an opportunity to travel to shows.

I know what that feels like.

I was bitten by the horse riding bug many years ago. I can't remember a time when I wasn't obsessed with horses. I read every horse book I could get my hands on, tied a rope to the handlebars of my bicycle and pretended they were reins, and dreamed of owning my own horse one day. But, we weren't well off. We lived in a small apartment above a store with a yard the size of a pocket handkerchief and I knew I wouldn't be getting a horse anytime soon.

I was lucky enough to start riding lessons when I was eleven and used my weekly allowance to pay for them. I would ride the bus there early Saturday morning and stay all day. I did anything and everything the riding school owner asked of me just to be around the horses. And if I was lucky, I could ride William, my favorite, out to his field at the end of the day.

Once a year we would visit Ilkley for the day and sometimes there would be a horse show/gymkhana being held. I was so envious of those girls with their spotless ponies, fancy show clothes, and opportunities I thought I would never have.

My passion continued as I got older and eventually, as an adult, I bought my first horse. Finally, I had the chance to show. I participated, mainly, in jumpers but also did some cross country and dressage events. I also ran a small equestrian facility, Laneside Stables. At Laneside Stables we gave riding lessons, operated a pony club, manufactured show jumps, and ran small horse shows.

Life happened and I ended up in America and that brings us to present day and White Rose Equestrian. We have only been at our location for six months but we hit the ground running and have no intention of slowing down. We have many upgrades and improvements planned but our facility already had all the basics in place for us to grow and expand what we offer.

20170715_090822adj
A fun horse show at White Rose Equestrian

One of the first things I was determined to do was to host some fun shows. They are hard work and take a great deal of time and effort to organize and pull together but they are so worthwhile. I get so much satisfaction when I see the riders improve and become more independent with each show we host.

There is no pressure on anyone to win, just to learn and have fun.

So why do I host horse shows? I do it because at heart I am still the same horse-mad little girl I always was. The one who never got to show as a child. The one who wanted for a pony more than anything in the world. I host horse shows so that kids can experience opportunities I never had. They are making memories. When they are all grown up they will be able to say, "I used to ride when I was younger. I even went to a few horse shows."

Come and join in the fun with us!

Riding Club Points as of July 15th, 2017

libby sqWe had another successful Fun Show here today at White Rose Equestrian. We are very grateful to everyone who comes out to support us. We have a wonderful barn family. Everyone is helpful and supportive of each other and we welcome horses and rider from other barns in the area.

We would like to give a big thank you to all our helpers and volunteers. We could not do this without you.

The riding club points for this show are as follows:

Rider POINTS POSITION
 Maddie Rominger / White Rose Moonfire  48.0  1
 Macy Schott / White Rose Fandango  42.0  2
 Libby Schott / White Rose Desert Wind  41.0  3
 Carlee Goff / White Rose Rubydoo  39.0  4
 Riley Hughes / White Rose Sweet Sierra  38.0  5
 Allison Guidi / DF Sergio  36.5  6

I see progress with each show we have. Our riders are learning to become more independent and confident.

The overall championship riding club points so far are as follows:

Rider POINTS POSITION
 Riley Hughes / White Rose Sweet Sierra  122.0  1
 Maddie Rominger / White Rose Moonfire  119.5  2
 Libby Schott / White Rose Desert Wind  119.0  3
 Macy Schott / White Rose Fandango  115.0  4
 Allison Guidi / DF Sergio  65.5  5
 Alida Leidy / Maddie  51.5  6

Our next Fun Show will be August 5th, come and join the fun.

 

Riding Club Points as of June 25th, 2017

Riding Club PointsWe have now had two very successful Fun Horse Shows here at White Rose Equestrian. All our riders, parents, helpers, and friends did a great job and made the show a memorable success. Our emphasis is on learning and having fun and our competitors take it very seriously. We are happy to welcome riders and horses from other barns and look forward to making new friends at future shows.

We are very grateful to everyone who comes out to help. It takes a lot of time, preparation, and manpower to put on a horse show. If you would like to volunteer please let us know.

The championship riding club points, so far.

Rider POINTS POSITION
 Riley Hughes / White Rose Sweet Sierra  84.0  1
 Libby Schott / White Rose Desert Wind  78.0  2
 Macy Schott / White Rose Fandango  73.0  3
 Maddie Rominger / White Rose Moonfire  71.5  4
 Alida Leidy / Maddie  51.5  5
 Mekah Leidy / Oragon  42.0  6

Championship Riding Club Points are recognized at our end of season party. The date and location is yet to be decided.

Six Non-Riding Exercises to Improve your Seat in the Saddle

As a rider, you are always looking for ways to improve your seat and use the subtle changes in your balance and pressure to affect your horse. Many improvements come from riding regularly with an experienced trainer but you can also improve your balance, coordination, and flexibility when you aren't in the saddle.

Six Easy and Quick Exercises to Improve your Seat

1. Calf Extensions

The problem - How many times have you been told to, 'put your heels down'? Even experienced riders can overlook this very fundamental rule of riding. Forcing your heels down is not the answer as this causes tension in your legs and knees that will inadvertently transfer to your seat and cause your horse to tighten up his back and lose impulsion.

Improve your seat - calf extensions
Calf Extensions

The solution - Your whole leg needs to be relaxed and flexible while riding. To stretch the calf muscles stand on the edge of a step with just the balls of your feet on the step, facing upward. Very gently bounce your body weight a few times to stretch the muscles in your calves. You could build this into a daily workout or do it for a few seconds every now and then when you go upstairs.


The results
- When your hips, knees, and ankles are relaxed and your calf muscles sufficiently flexible, your heels with naturally hang down slightly lower than your toes. This will allow you to maintain a soft seat and stretch your entire leg, wrapping it softly around the barrel of your horse.

2. Ab Curls

The problem - I'm sure your trainer uses the term, 'use your core'. A strong but subtle core is invaluable for slowing and re-balancing your horse. If your core muscles are weak that can result in you feeling heavy and unbalanced to your horse which in turn makes him reluctant to move forward freely.

Improve your seat with ab curls
Ab Curls

The solution - Using a yoga mat, rug, or carpet, lay flat on the floor. Raise your knees slightly and part your feet. Place your hands behind your head with your palms upright. Contract your ab muscles and slowly raise your upper body until your shoulder blades are no longer touching the mat. To start with you will probably only be able to do a few but with regularity and practice, you will improve your core strength and gradually be able to add more repetitions.


The results
 - A strong core will help to make you a stronger more confident rider. You will have more control over your position and balance resulting in a safer and more effective seat.

3. Squats

The problem - Even though we are told to ride with a soft relaxed leg, we still need to be able to count on our leg muscles to respond within a nanosecond whenever we need them. Weak leg muscles make our leg aids ineffective and also cause unbalance in our seat and upper body.

Improve your seat with squats
Squats

The solution - Stand with your legs slightly apart. Keeping your back straight and your body weight over your feet, slowly bend your knees. You can hold onto the back of a chair if you need support. Go down as far as you feel comfortable. The ultimate goal is to get all the way down into a squatting position but this will come with practice.


The results
 - The extra strength in your legs will allow you to sit quietly but give you the ability to use your leg aid efficiently and effectively.

4. Lunges

The problem - Weak leg muscles make it difficult to apply sufficient pressure with your leg aids. Squats, as described above, will help but do not cover all your leg muscles.

improve your seat - lunges
Lunges

The solution - Lunges exercise the muscles that squats miss. Keep your upper body straight with your shoulders relaxed, tighten your core and step forward with one leg. Lower your hips until both knees are bent. Bring your back leg forward and repeat by stepping with the opposite leg.


The results
 - Well-muscled legs will make it easier to apply leg aids without compromising your seat.

5. Bicep and Triceps Curls

The problem - Although most of your hand aids should be subtle you still need to have strength in your arms otherwise your horse could take advantage of you and lean on the bit making him heavy in your hands and on the forehand.

Improve your seat - bicep curls
Bicep Curls
Improve your seat - tricep curls
Tricep Curls

The solution - Bicep Curl - Stand with your upper body straight and a weight in each hand at arm's length. Bend your elbows and bring the weights up toward your shoulders. Hold them in position for a couple of seconds before slowly lowering them down again. Tricep Curls - Hold a weight in both hands and lift it above your head. Allow your hands to drop down behind your head until your arms are nearly straight. Bend your elbows allowing the weight to drop further down. Straighten your arms again and repeat.

The results - Strong, well-toned arms will make many chores around the barn easier but the will also help with upper-body strength and coordination. This will result in a stronger more confident seat.

6. Shoulder stretches

The problem - Another term that trainers like to use is, 'put your shoulders back'. Unless you walk a catwalk for a living I'm pretty sure you don't walk around with your shoulders back and chest extended. Hunched shoulders, while riding, cause you to tip forward, resulting in your upper body being out of balance with the horse.

Improve your seat - shoulder stretches
Shoulder Stretches

The solution - Stand in a doorway. Raise your arms out to the sides. Bend your elbows with your palms facing forward. Place the palms of your hands on the door frame and lean slightly forward putting gentle pressure onto your hands. You should feel a stretch in your chest muscles.

The results - Relaxed shoulder and an open chest result in a solid upper body position and more pleasing overall appearance. They also help to maintain a level, balanced posture.

All exercise routines take repetition and determination to implement but once in place will become part of your normal everyday habits.

 Consult a doctor before implementing any changes in your exercise routine.

Follow our every move and keep up-to-date with tips, advice, and events, etc.

Facebook White Rose Equestrian Contact Us Twitter White Rose Equestrian Contact Us Google+ White Rose Equestrian Contact Us YouTube White Rose Equestrian Contact Us

Things Non-horsey People Have Said to Me

Non-horsey commentsI don't claim to know anything about football (American Football to my British readers) and have been known to ask questions when watching a game. It doesn't happen often as I would rather watch paint dry but that's another story altogether. One thing I would never do is comment or give my opinion or try to look like an expert on the subject but I'm sure I've asked a dumb question every now and then.

Here are some things non-horsey people have said to me over the years. I know this will resonate with my horsey friends.

  1. What do you do for exercise? - Because the horse does all the work you know and mucking stalls takes no effort at all.
  2. There's a dead horse in your field. - Yup, they lie down sometimes.
  3. Doesn't it hurt when he nails the shoe to his foot?
  4. You still take lessons? I thought you knew how to ride.
  5. I used to ride as a child so I won't need many lessons.
  6. Ewww he just pooped!
  7. Doesn't it hurt them when you kick them with your legs?
  8. What am I supposed to hold onto? - When I take away the reins for a lunge lesson.
  9. Why is there white stuff coming out of his mouth?
  10. Wow, that's expensive. - When I tell a non-horsey person how much I charge for board but don't explain all the other expenses like insurance, feed, hay, shavings, electricity, repairs, labor, and so on and so on…
  11. Have you ever fallen off?
  12. You have to feed them Christmas Day also?
  13. I don't mind getting up early, I'm usually awake by 9 a.m.
  14. Do you rent out your horses?
  15. I used to have a dog when I was a kid so I know how to look after a horse. - Yes, I did actually have someone say that to me.
  16. What are you feeding him, I thought they just ate apples and sugar cubes?
  17. How does the horse get out of the stall to use the bathroom?
  18. What's that mark on his leg is he injured? - The chestnut. I can't count how many time I've been asked this.
  19. Have you ever eaten horse meat?
  20. Why do you need a saddle?
  21. I once rode a cowboy horse. - I think they meant western horse.
  22. How long does it take a pony to grow into a horse?
  23. Aww, that's a cute foal. - Referring to a mini.
  24. Just pull on the reins. - Advice from a parent to a child who was learning to ride a 20-meter circle.
  25. Why are those horses wearing blindfolds in the field?
  26. You can't include horse riding as exercise. - This wasn't said to me but to the parent of one of my riders by the P.E. coach at her daughter's school. I told her to tell him to come and take a lesson so he could see how wrong he was. A P.E. coach of all people???

This blog isn't intended to offend non-horsey people. It's just light-hearted observations shared with other horsey friends. Feel free to add any comments and questions you have encountered over the years.

Follow our every move and keep up-to-date with tips, advice, and events, etc.

Facebook White Rose Equestrian Contact Us Twitter White Rose Equestrian Contact Us Google+ White Rose Equestrian Contact Us YouTube White Rose Equestrian Contact Us

The Things I've learned from Running a Lesson and Boarding Barn

This time last year, May 1st 2015, my husband and I rented a beautiful 125 acre property in Iron Station, just outside Charlotte North Carolina and officially launched White Rose Equestrian Center.

The property came with a 16 stall barn, indoor arena, outdoor arena, many secure fenced areas, and acres of amazing trails. It's a beautiful, unique piece of land and represented my 'field of dreams'. I knew it would be hard work but I also knew I could do it. I have loved the challenge, the fresh air, and of course the horses but it also came with a fair share of stress, sleepless nights, and 13 hour days.

White Rose Fandango at Tryon International Equestrian CenterThe decision to take the barn was scary and one I didn't rush into. I crunched the numbers every which way I could and stepped outside my comfort zone but knew it was something I just had to do. There were highs and lows. Getting a 70 at my first rated show with White Rose Fandango (Annie) was one of the highs. The biggest low was telling my riders that I wasn't going to renew the lease.

Renting isn't for us. We want to run a quality operation and expect things to be up to a certain standard and it's difficult putting money into a property that we will never own. So things are on hold for a while.

It's been a great adventure and we very much appreciate everyone who came along with us.

Here are the things, in no particular order, that I learned over the last 12 months while running a lesson and boarding barn.

  1. Staying in bed until 6:30 a.m. feels like a sleep in
  2. Going to bed after 9:30 p.m. is staying up late
  3. Some horses are crazy
  4. Some horse owners are crazy
  5. Horses can pee twice as much as they drink
  6. It never rains when you want it to
  7. Horses that like each other can, for no apparent reason, suddenly not like each other
  8. Male horses shouldn't be gelded until they've learned to poop in a corner
  9. Winter sucks
  10. I would be rich if I were paid every time I said, "Put your heels down"
  11. I would be rich if I were paid every time I changed the feed chart
  12. Bailing twine, duct tape, and WD40 are a barn girl's best friend
  13. You can't please everyone but it didn't stop me trying
  14. Working outside beats working inside
  15. Looking after a large lesson and boarding barn leaves little time to ride
  16. Tractor driving is fun
  17. Zero-turn driving is scary
  18. Luke Bryan and Blake Shelton are great company when you're mucking stalls
  19. It's great to be up before the dickeries
  20. It's easy to get attached to horses even if they don't belong to you
  21. No-kink hoses don't exist
  22. Working 7 days a week makes it difficult to know what day it is
  23. You can not teach your own children… anything!
  24. Black coffee is better than no coffee
  25. Cold coffee is better than no coffee
  26. Any coffee is better than no coffee
  27. Barn chores produce awesome muscles affectionately known as poop muscles
  28. Growing up in a barn is great for kids of all ages
  29. Fresh shavings smell wonderful
  30. It's harder than you would think to get onto the People of Wal-Mart page
  31. The bite of a horse fly hurts, really hurts!
  32. You never stop learning
  33. I get as much pleasure when my riders do well as I do when I win a blue ribbon
  34. What people do is more telling about them than what they say they will do
  35. Barn swallows (and sandy colored cats) are a great desensitizing tool for horses riding in the indoor
  36. A 33 year old golf cart makes a great barn vehicleGolf Cart at White Rose Equestrian Center
  37. Some people are magnets to anything that bites, stings, stomps, or kicks
  38. Paperwork takes up way more time than you would expect
  39. Eating fast food at 9pm is sometimes the only way to not starve
  40. Good help is hard to come by. I am very grateful to those who were always there for me!!! You know who you are.
  41. The most expensive clothes you own are your show clothes
  42. There are never enough hours in the day
  43. Barn germs don't count
  44. A farmer's tan is a must-have summer fashion accessory
  45. Walking over 140,000 steps in a week is easy-peasy
  46. Hat hair is the only hair style anyone needs
  47. Thank goodness for baseball caps
  48. None of this would have been possible without the help and support of my wonderful husband
  49. It takes a village
  50. It's good to take chances

So as we move onto the next chapter in our lives I would like to thank our boarders, riders, helpers, and volunteers. The last 12 months have been some of the most trying, exciting, funny, tiring, exuberating, rewarding, and challenging of my life. I wouldn't have missed it for the world. And as Dr. Seuss would say, "Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened."

Stay tuned.

3 Comments

Correctly Handling Horses

Precaution and common sense should be the key elements whenever you are approaching and handling horses. They are living creatures with a mind and will of their own and should be treated with a firm yet respectful hand. Care should always be taken when handling horses in order to keep you, other people, and the horse safe, and to prevent accidents. Consistency also helps the horse to understand his role in the relationship and behave appropriately.

Even though horses have been domesticate for many years they still rely on their natural instincts to stay safe. If they feel threatened they will try to run away or, if cornered, can kick or bite to protect themselves. Whenever you are around horses you should be calm, move slowly, and speak softly. Loud or sudden movements or noise could startle them. Different surroundings or experiences can also cause a horse to become nervous. If this happens pat and stroke him gently and speak calmly to him.

Whenever possible, approach a horse towards his shoulder rather than straight towards his face or from behind. Due to the placement of the horse's eyes on the side of his head he has good all around vision but does have a blind spot directly in front and behind. Let him know that you mean him no harm by walking slowly and talking to him in gentle tones. If he will let you, stroke his neck or shoulder rather than his face or nose.

If he is tied up and must be approached from behind, let him know you are there by talking to him before you approach. Although he can see behind him, due to the position of his eyes on the sides of his face, he does have a blind spot directly behind his rump. NEVER approach a horse directly from behind without first talking to him as he might be snoozing. If he is startled by you he could kick out in defense. Once he hears you and turns his head and can see you it is usually safe to approach him. Be vigilant and calm at all times.

Some Basic Rule For Correctly Handing Horses

  • do not run, shout, or make loud noises around horses
  • remember that some things that we take for granted might seem scary to a horse if he hasn't encountered them before. These can be anything from dogs, chickens, and other unfamiliar animals to balls, children's toys, or items blowing in the wind etc.
  • pay attention to where your horse puts his feet. He might accidentally step on your foot and not even realize. You should ALWAYS wear strong, sturdy footwear at the barn and never approach a horse in sandals, flip-flops, or bare feet.
  • avoid being around the rear of a horse unless you are working on him i.e. grooming, picking out feet, applying a tail bandage, etc. If you have to be behind a horse use caution and keep one hand on him at all times. If he moves quickly you will not only see this movement but also feel it and be able to act accordingly.
  • always have BOTH feet on the ground at all times (sometime this rule may have to be broken if you are braiding the mane of a tall horse, more about that later). Do not sit or kneel on the ground near a horse as that would make it too difficult to get out of harms way should the need arise.
  • do not take food into a field full of horses even if you have a horse who is difficult to catch. If you are surrounded by a group of horses all trying get to the food you are in a very dangerous position.
  • when you are handling horses around other people you need to also be aware of their actions and behavior too. Politely show them how to behave and act in order to keep everyone safe.

How to Catch a Horse

Some horses are easier to catch than others and some are almost impossible. For the purpose of this explanation we will assume that the horse is reasonably easy to catch. (We will cover in a later blog series how to retrain a horse that is difficult to catch). One way to avoid ending up with a horse that is difficult to catch is to ensure that you catch your horse for reasons other than work. Catch him, from time to time,  just to groom him or give him a treat and he will be far more likely to come to you in the field.

How to catch a horse
Safely catching a horse and bringing him in from the field.

Enter the field calmly but with purpose. Walk towards your horse's shoulder, rather than his face or hindquarters, and call his name softly. Make sure that he has seen you, then walk up and slip the lead rope around his neck. Pat him gently on the neck or shoulder. With the lead rope still around his neck, carefully put on his halter (see next paragraph). Lead him out of the field making sure to avoid any of the other horses that are in there with him. If there are horses gathered around the gate area use a stern but quite voice and, if necessary, hand gestures to make them move. Do not lead a horse through a group of other horses as this would put you in a dangerous position. Open the gate wide enough for both of you to get through safely but not wide enough that any other horses could escape. You might want to take someone with you to hold the gate until you feel comfortable doing this alone.

How to Put on A Halter

If a horse is loose in a stall or a field you will need to catch him and put on his halter. To halter a horse stand close to his left shoulder, facing forward. Loosely loop the lead rope around his neck near his ears to keep him still. Some halters have a buckle and some have a clasp therefore fitting them will be slightly different depending on which kind you are using.

Using a Halter With a Buckle

Standing near the horse's left shoulder and facing forwards, hold the halter buckle in your left hand and the crown-piece (strap) in your right hand. Reach under his neck with your right hand and guide his nose carefully into the noseband. Pass the crown-piece over the top of his poll and attach it to the buckle on his left cheek.

Using a Halter With a Clasp

Standing near the horse's left shoulder and facing forwards, make sure the clasp is open on the halter. Guide his nose into the noseband and gently lift the crown-piece over his ears, one at a time. Reach under his chin for the clasp and attach it to the ring on the left side of his cheek.

How to Lead and Turn a Horse at Walk and Trot Up In Hand

You should always use a halter and lead rope to lead a horse unless he is bridled. Never lead him by holding onto the halter. If something goes wrong and you let go he could run off and endanger himself or others or he could drag you off balance causing you injury.

A horse should be accustomed to being led from either side but the most accepted way to lead a horse is from the left (near side). The lead rope should be attached to the center 'O' ring under the horse's jaw. Hold the lead rope, in your right hand, close to the ring but DO NOT put your hand on the ring or your finger through it. Hold the remaining lead rope folded in your left hand. DO NOT wrap any of the lead rope around any parts of your body.

Ask your horse to walk on by standing near his left shoulder facing the direction you wish to go. Say 'walk on' and start to move. Most horses will oblige and start to walk. If he does not walk do not be tempted to get ahead of him or start pulling on his head. Carry a crop in your left hand and, reaching back behind you, tap him gently on this flanks. If you don't have a crop with you, you can use the loose end of the lead rope. You should continue to look ahead and remain next to his shoulder. Once he starts to walk make sure that your right arm is outstretch so as to keep him at arm's length preventing him from stepping on you by accident.

To turn a horse you are leading, whenever possible, turn him away from you. Steady him  by putting a little pressure on the halter by pulling very slightly on the lead rope. Move your right arm further away from you and move him to the right. Stay at his shoulder. By turning him this way he is more likely to stay in balance than if you pulled him towards you. He is also less likely to step on you as he turns.

To make him trot do the same as you did to make him walk. Stay next to his shoulder, say 'trot on' and start to jog. If he does not move into the trot use the crop behind your back with a gentle tap on his flanks. The lead rope should be slack enough to allow him to carry the weight of his head naturally but not so slack that he, or you, might get your legs caught up in it.

Leading and trotting a horse up in hand, along with standing a horse up (see next section) is usually done without a saddle for either a veterinary inspection, for someone considering buying the horse, or for a judge at a show. The horse should be able to move freely and confidently but not hurried or unbalanced. If you need to lead a horse in an unfamiliar setting it would be best to put him in a bridle, instead of a halter, which would give you more control. It is usual to walk a horse away from the person inspecting it and then directly back towards them. They should move out of your way allowing you to pass  by them. They will then usually ask you to do the same in trot.

How to Stand a Horse Up Correctly

The term standing a horse up simply means he is standing still, looking attentive, and showing his confirmation to the best advantage. He should stand square. This means his front legs and back legs should be next to each other with his weight evenly distributed between all four legs. If he isn't standing squarely move him forwards slightly and stop again until he is. You should stand in front of him facing his head so that you don't obstruct the view of the person looking at him. If he is wearing a halter place one hand on each side of the noseband with the end of the lead rope in your left hand. If he is bridled hold one rein in each hand near to the bit. Raise your elbows slightly so that he doesn't try to nibble your wrists.

How to Hold a Reasonably Quiet Horse for Treatment, Shoeing, or Clipping

No matter how often your horse has been tied and expected to remain in one place there may come a time when you have to hold him for some reason. Whatever the reason, the most important thing is that you and the horse are both secure and safe.

Holding a Horse for Treatment

If your horse needs to be treated by a vet, the best thing to do is to listen carefully and follow their instructions. However, you know your horse and you might want to suggest that they treat him either in the stable or out of the stable depending on whichever he prefers. If you think he might be difficult to control it would be best to put him in a bridle instead of a halter. Do not tie him up. If you are using a halter and lead rope you could thread the lead rope through the Equi-Ping™ or breakable string but do not tie it, not even with a quick release knot. Your horse will probably think he is tied up but it still gives you the freedom to act should a difficult situation arise. Stand on the same side as the vet, unless they tell you otherwise. Do not, however, get in their way. When the vet has finished the treatment listen carefully to their instructions and be sure to follow them exactly. If they are complicated, write them down.

Holding a Horse for Shoeing

The same as above would apply but it will not always be possible to stand on the same side as the farrier as you might get in his way. If necessary, stand facing the horse as you would when standing him up.

Holding a Horse for Clipping

The same as above. Listen to the person doing the clipping and do as they ask.

How to Tie a Horse Up

The best way to secure a horse is either with a halter and lead rope or with a halter and cross ties. NEVER tie a horse up with a bridle. It is an expensive piece of tack to replace if broken. It can also result in a broken jaw of you tie up to the bit and the horse pulls away suddenly.

Tying Up to a Single Securing Ring

The lead rope should be fastened to the 'O' ring at the back of the noseband. Always use a quick release knot and NEVER tie directly onto the securing ring but instead use an Equi-Ping™ or breakable string (bailing twine works well for this). Although the reason for tying up the horse is to secure him in one place, it is very dangerous if he tries to break free and cannot. He could seriously injure himself in any struggle that might ensue. It is better for him to break loose.

Unless the horse is very trustworthy only tie him up in a stable or other enclosed place. Never tie him to an unsafe object such as a loose fence or thin branch on a tree. The securing ring should be placed high enough so that he cannot get his legs caught over the lead rope. Never tie him to a hay net. (Do not tie the hay net to the breakable string, it should be tied directly to the securing ring). If the horse tends to chew the lead rope either soak it in an unpalatable (but not poisonous) substance or use a chain. If you use a chain the breakable string should be between the chain and the halter not on the securing ring. You wouldn't want your horse to break loose and drag a chain along with him.

Cross-Tying

Cross-tying is very popular in America and is a means of tying a horse with two lead ropes or chains rather than just one. The horse is positioned between two walls or strong posts about 6 ½ feet apart, with the ropes or chains fastened to the Ds on each side of the halter. In barns where this kind of tying up is common practice the cross-ties are permanent fixtures. They should always have some kind of Tie Safe™ or quick release mechanism attached to them. Do not use them if they don't. They are often used in grooming or wash stalls as they do not allow the horse to move as much thereby giving you more control. They should always be used if you are transporting on horse in a double trailer without the center partition.

How to Turn a Horse Out in a Field

When you are ready to turn your horse out into the field lead him there in either a halter or bridle. Usher away any horses that might be standing at the gate. Open the gate wide enough for you both to pass through safely. Make sure you close and latch the gate behind you. Walk him a little way into the field and turn around to face the gate. By doing this he will have to turn around before he can run into the field to join the other horses. If you let him go while he is facing into the field he could run over you by mistake in his haste to join his friends. If there is more than one of you turning horses out, make sure you all let go of them at the same time. If not you could be dragged along if your horse tries to run off before you have let him go.

Whenever you are around or handling horses safety is of the utmost importance. By following the rules above you should be able to enjoy your time at the barn and around horses and ponies.

Previous Blog - Identifying Horses
Next Blog - Grooming a Horse

The content of this blog is copyrighted © and my not be reproduced in print or electronically without the written permission of White Rose Equestrian Center. It may be shared socially if linked back to this website. For more information contact us.

2 Comments

Identifying Horses

Horses and ponies come in all shapes and sizes and characteristics can vary enormously. Horses are identified not only by sex but also size (height), colors and markings, age, breed, temperament, and sometimes body style or suitability for a certain job.

A typical description could sound like - Quiet 15.2 h.h. Tb, bay mare. Four white socks, 10 years old, never raced, working on second level dressage movements. Along with a photograph and a short video, the above description tells you just about all you need to know about the horse. Below is a breakdown of the different descriptions and what they mean.

Sex

Of course a horse is either a male or female but there are also other distinctions within those categories as follows:

  • Foal - general term for a young horse, male or female
  • Yearling - a young horse of either gender between the age of one and two
  • Filly - a female horse under four years of age
  • Colt - a male horse under four years of age if he hasn't been gelded
  • Mare - a female horse over the age of four
  • Maiden Mare - a mare who has never been bred
  • Barren Mare - a mare who is not able to become pregnant for health or age reasons or has had at least one foal but isn't currently able to conceive
  • Gelding - a male horse who has been castrated
  • Stallion - a male, intact, horse (one who has not been castrated)
  • Sire - a male horse who has produced offspring
  • Dam - a female horse who has produced offspring

Size

A horse is measured to the highest point of the withers, on level ground, with a measuring stick. They are measured in 'hands' which equates to four inches. A pony is generally considered to measure up to 14.2 h.h. (hands high) and a horse 14.3 h.h. and taller. The exception to this rule are miniature horses. They are equines that measure less than 24 - 38 inches (depending on breed) but retain the physical characteristics of a horse. They are considered horses by their respective registries.

For some disciplines it is important to be able to prove the size of your horse with a measurement card. More information about this can be found on the United State Equestrian Federation website.

Colors

Horses' colors and markings vary enormously and don't always fall into one particular category. The following list identifies the most common descriptions:

  • Albino - white hair with pink skin
  • Appaloosa - although an appaloosa is technically a breed they are easily recognized by the markings of spots on some or all of their body. The variations are numerous. You can find more information on the Appaloosa Horse Club page.
  • Bay - brown with black points (points are generally described at lower leg, forelock, mane, and tail). Bays can be bright (almost chestnut), dark (almost black), and light.
  • Black - black with black points
  • Brown - brown with brown points
  • Buckskin - various shades of coat that resembles tanned deerskin. They can look similar to duns but do not have a dorsal stripe.
  • Chestnut - ginger or reddish all over with either the same colored mane and tail or a flaxen (light blonde) mane and tail. They can be liver chestnut (dark almost bay colored) or bright chestnut (bright ginger). A chestnut horse can also be referred to as a sorrel.
  • Dun - golden or mouse colored with a dark mane and tail. They have a list or dorsal stripe down their back. A grullo dun has tan/grey hairs with dark points.
  • Grey - either white or white and black hairs mixed
    • Iron Grey - mostly black
    • Light Grey - mostly white
    • Flea Bitten Grey - dark hairs in tufts
    • Dappled Grey - mottled markings
  • Paint - in America the Paint horse is a breed rather than a color which combines the characteristics of a Western stock horse with markings of white and dark colors. In the United Kingdom colored horses are described as:
    • Piebald - white and black
    • Skewbald - white and brown
  • Palomino - golden with a white or flaxen mane and tail
  • Cremello - a pale creamy color with pink skin, not to be confused with an albino
Chestnut mare with stripe, snip, and white pastern
Chestnut mare with stripe, snip, and white pastern

There are wide variations within each of these categories and horses can change color throughout their lives. If a horse is none of the above it is described as odd colored although I have yet to come across a horse that can't be squeezed into one or more of the above categories.

Markings

Face

  • Blaze - broad white mark between the eyes and down the face
  • Flesh Marks - pink marks
  • Star - white mark on the forehead
  • Stripe - a thin white mark down the face
  • Snip - white mark near the nostril area
  • White Face - a blaze covering one or more eye

Eyes

  • Wall Eye - a white or blue eye

Leg

  • Ermine Marks - dark marks on white
  • Sock - white above the fetlock but below the knee or hock
  • Stocking - white to above the knee or hock
  • White Pastern - white on pastern but not over the fetlock
  • Whorl - a circle of hair

Age

Generally speaking a horse's age is calculated on January 1st from the year of its birth. Therefore a horse that was born on May 2nd of 2012 would be classed as a three year old on January 1st 2015 even though it hadn't reached it's birth date yet. Also see the descriptions of sex above in the this chapter for terminology to describe horses at various stages in their life.

Breed

There are so many different breeds of horses it would take up a whole section to write about them all. I will list the most popular breeds along with their characteristics.

  • Arabian - has a distinct dished face, high head and tail carriage and ranges is size from 14.1 - 15.1 h.h. They can, but don't always, have a hot temperament. Suitable for endurance riding, showing in hand and under saddle, and many other equestrian fields.
  • Andalusian - also known as the Pure Spanish Horse the breed originates from the Iberian Peninsular. They are strongly built yet elegant with long, thick manes and tails. They excel at dressage, showing, driving, and jumping. See pictures of White Rose Fandango our Andalusian.
  • Appaloosa - best known for their varied spotted markings their body types and sizes vary greatly ranging from 14 - 16 h.h. They are regularly used in both Western and English disciplines. See pictures of Sierra our appaloosa.
  • Belgian - a draught horse and one of the strongest of the heavy breeds it stands, on average, between 16.2 - 17 h.h. but can grow taller. They are normally light chestnut with a flaxen mane and tail. Generally used for pulling heavy weights but can also do well in the show ring and for pleasure riding.
  • Clydesdale - a draught horse named after the Clydesdale region of Scotland. They are energetic, well mannered, and showy and used for pulling heavy loads. The most well known are the Budweiser Clydesdales.
  • Friesian - originating from the Netherlands they are a light draught horse. They are nimble and elegant and normally stand around 15.3 h.h. but can range from 14.2 - 17 h.h. and more. Recognized for their shiny black coat, thick mane and tail and feathered legs they can be used for driving but also do well in other equestrian disciplines under saddle.
  • Lippizana - originating from the Andalusian horse the breed was developed in Austria and is synonymous with the Spanish Riding School of Vienna. They are famous for performing 'airs above the ground' and an excellent choice as a dressage horse at any level.
  • Morgan - one of the earliest breeds to be developed in the United States they were originally used as coach horses for harness racing. It's a compact, refined breed usually bay, black, or chestnut and versatile enough for most English and Western disciplines.
  • Mustang - free roaming horses in the west of North America they are direct descendants of the horses brought over by the Spanish. They are small and compact and very hardy. They usually range from 13 - 16 h.h. and do well in any number of English and Western disciplines. A mustang bred in the wild will have an identifying freeze brand on the left side of the neck. See pictures of Jellybean our mustang.
  • Paint - developed by breeding Quarter Horses, colored horses, and Thoroughbreds the Paint Horse is the fastest growing breed in North America. Their markings are white and any other color of the equine spectrum. They are generally considered to be Western horses but also do well in just about any equine discipline. They are especially good trail horses. See pictures of Moon our paint.
  • Percheron - an agile, powerful draught horse that originates from western France. They are usually grey or black and range from 16.2 to 17.3 h.h. They can be used for driving, fox hunting, and show jumping.
  • Quarter Horse - named for its ability to outrun other breeds over a distance of a quarter of a mile it's the most popular breed in the United States and the largest breed registry in the world. They are generally placid in nature and stocky in build and suitable for most Western discipline but also used in English equitation and driving.
  • Saddlebred - descended from riding horses and including breeds such as Thoroughbreds and Morgans they were used by officers during the American Civil War. Averaging between 15 - 16 h.h. they are spirited but have a gentle temperament. They are well known for their high-stepping action in the show ring but also do well in other English disciplines.
  • Shetland - a pony breed originating from the Shetland Isles off the coast of Scotland they range from 7 h.h. (28 inches) to 11.2 h.h. (46 inches). They are stocky and sturdy with a thick coat. They are used for driving and ridden by small children. American Shetlands tend to be more refined than their Scottish cousins.
  • Shire - a large draught horse ranging from 16 - 17 h.h. and over. They are very strong and capable of pulling heavy weights. They are used to draw carts and some breweries in the United Kingdom still use them to deliver supplies to public houses.
  • Tennessee Walking Horse - a gaited horse known for its flashy four-beat running walk. It has a calm temperament and popular as a riding horse both on trails and in the show ring.
  • Thoroughbred - a hot-bloodied horse known for speed and high spirit they are most often used as race horses. They also do well in combined training, show jumping, polo, and fox hunting.
  • Warmblood - a medium-weight horse descended from draughts whose bloodlines were influenced by the introduction of hot bloods (Arabians and thoroughbreds). They were originally bred in Europe and, depending on the country of origin, can be a Trekehner, Hanoverian, Holsteiner, Selle Français, Oldenburg, etc. Unlike most other breeds they do not have a closed stud book (the Trekehner is an exception) which means they allow breeding with other similar populations which promotes performance of the breed in general. They make excellent sport horses and perform well in show jumping and dressage.

Sport Horse - although not actually a breed in itself the term sport horse is used more frequently these days. It can be a variety of breeds suitable for eventing, dressage, show jumping, or hunt seat.

If I have missed off your favorite breed and would like me to add it please let me know and I'll add it.

Previous Blog - Stable Management Knowledge and Care of Horses (overview of the blog series)

Next Blog - Correctly Handling Horses

 

The content of this blog is copyrighted © and my not be reproduced in print or electronically without the written permission of White Rose Equestrian Center. It may be shared socially if linked back to this website. For more information contact us.

1 Comment

Stable Management Knowledge and Care of Horses

This blog series will set out the requirements and a study guide for anyone interested in learning more about the care of horses. It loosely follows the syllabus for the British Horse Society Assistant Instructor (BHS AI) examination and is the basic requirements needed for anyone considering caring for their own horse. The language has been Americanized for the current audience.

The British Horse Society is a world renowned organization dedicated to the well being of all equines, and those who care for them. They provide welfare services for horses and advice for owners. Their campaigning and lobbying for major equestrian issues on behalf of both horses and riders brings about changes in procedures and laws, and enhances the lives all those involved in the horse community world wide. They also offer the world's leading equestrian qualifications and approval systems.

The sections are broken down as follows:

  • Identifying Horses
  • Correctly Handling Horses
  • Grooming a Horse
  • Basic Horse Equipment and Use
  • Tacking-up, Removing, and Maintaining Tack
  • Braiding, Clipping, and Trimming Horses
  • Shoeing and Hoof Care
  • Watering, Feeding, and Fittening Horses
  • The Care Of Stabled and Grass Kept Horses
  • Fitting Tack and Equipment and the Care of a Horse in Competition
  • Horse Health, Anatomy, and Physiology
  • How to Lunge a Fit Horse for Exercise
  • Fitting and Evaluation Specialized Tack and Equipment
  • Conformation and 'Way of Going'
  • Managing an Equestrian Business
Cooling off on at warm day.
Cooling off on a warm day.

White Rose Equestrian Center in the Lake Norman area of Charlotte, NC offers stable management classes suitable for anyone interested in learning about or furthering their education regarding the care, health, and well being of horses. These classes can also be tailored to home school groups. For more information and costs please contact us or give us a call 704-559-9122.

Next Blog - Identifying Horses

 

The content of this blog is copyrighted © and my not be reproduced in print or electronically without the written permission of White Rose Equestrian Center. It may be shared socially if linked back to this website. For more information contact us.