The motion of the horse’s feet and legs are called gaits. There are roughly two groups of gaits, the natural gait and the acquired gait. The four natural gaits are the walk, the trot, the canter and the gallop. Some people consider the cantor and the gallop as one gait. A gait performed by natural impulse and without training is called a natural gait. Gaits that require specific training and practice are acquired gaits.
Aurora and I have begun preparing for dressage competition. We are hoping that this project will also improve her condition results in our upcoming Endurance races. Hypothetically, a stronger back, a straighter ride, and better use of the hidquarters should produce an improved ride. We have started about 6 weeks ago, with 15 minutes of longing in side reins followed by dressage rides during the weekday evenings. We cannot do distance during the week because of the lack of daylight once I have completed work.
On the weekends, we have begun our conditioning rides and try to ride around 20 miles each day at a good clip. She enjoys these very much. We have been doing conditioning rides building her up over the course of the past year. Our first true endurance ride (50 miles) will take place in Arkansas next month.
Casey is working with an instructor too on improving his hip flexibility. That’s something I needed someone else to teach him, sometimes its best to let others’ do the teaching with your loved ones. I am hoping that he improves quickly so that he can better enjoy riding with me.
Devices used along with bridles:
There are a number of devices that can be added to the tack setup to be used as training tools.
Tie Downs and Standing Martingales
One such device is called a tie-down (Western) or standing martingale (English). This device is essentially a headstall and noseband with a strap that extends from the base of the noseband to a D-ring on the girth. English girths generally do not have d-rings and therefore have a strap over the girth. They may also run the strap behind a breast collar to prevent it from catching on other objects. Tie-downs have a contravecial reputation, because when used incorrectly, they are used to tie a horse’s head to a certain height. However, tie-downs (worn loosely) can be used to break bad habits such as head tossing (which depending on the sport can be dangerous to the rider). A horse that tosses his head while the rider is in jumping position may injure the rider. Tie-downs are also used in barrel racing at a medium length. Many famous barrel racers believe that the tie-down is useful in helping a horse maintain his balance at full speed.
Running martingales are also known as training forks. They are Y-shaped; ending in two rings. The reins are run through these reins. The base of the “Y” is connected to either the breastcollar or to the girth depending on he discipline. The idea is that if the horse’s head is at the correct height, there should be a straight line from the bit to the rider’s hands. If the horse raises his head beyond the desired height, there is some increased tension. This type of martingale is generally considered less severe as a rider can let go and allow the horse to move as necessary.
Primarily a lunging tool, side reins are used to help the horse get used to the idea of having reins restrictring their head. They often have a rubber doughnut that has “give” in it to simulate the rider’s hands.
One word of caution with each of these devices. They can easily be used incorrectly. Incorrect use can cause pain to the horse or even damage his mouth. Do not use these devices to cover unsteady hands. If the horse is tossing his head, there may be a reason. Check for mouth lesions, teeth issues and any other source of pain.
The best race of 2011 brought to you in HD.
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Sneaky legislation restores horse slaughter to the USDA. With Christmas, the Republican Primaries, and scandal in the air, how did this escape public scrutiny?
Located just 45 miles from Rolla, MO and nestled in the Ozark Mountains is Brushy Creek Lodge. This location sports 3 rental cabins, a rental teepee, and number of campsites. While the cabins are not fancy, they are clean and maintained. On some weekends, food is provided in the main lodge for a moderate cost. The food is mostly hard-fried with a salad bar. If you can’t eat heavy while riding, be prepared to bring your own meals.
By: Dr. Douglas Stewart
Laminitis is a common illness of the hoof and is the second most frequent cause of premature death in horses. Although it is very rare for laminitis to kill a horse directly, it often results in euthanasia for humane reasons (the horse is crippled or in permanent pain) or practical reasons (e.g. the horse is unable to continue its normal activities). In addition to the horses which are put down, many others survive but are left permanently disabled or in pain.
Wild Horse Wild Ride continues to receive rave reviews in the film festival. The film was selected as a candidate for the Gotham Independent Film Award. Audience vote narrowed down 25 moves down to 5. The top 5 are now being voted on. Vote for Wild Horse Wild Ride by clicking here.
Choosing the right vet for your horse can be a big decision. It is important to make sure you are completely happy with them and their methods. Like doctors, equestrian vets will differ in methodology and manner and you need to be able trust them and the recommendations they make.
Word of mouth is a great way to find a reputable vet in your area. Ask around at your local stables and speak to other horse owners. You may find in quite easy to put together a short list of potential vets for your horse based on the experience of others. If possible, research these veterinarians, it is likely that they will have a web site you can refer to. Call them for a chat or visit to discuss your horse’s possible registration to see what their premises are like and if you like the feel of the place.