Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Proper Equestrian Riding Techniques

Proper equestrian riding techniques vary depending upon the type of riding you are doing, whether it is English, Western, jumping, dressage, or eventing. Overall, proper equestrian riding techniques are largely a matter of correct body position, clear communication, appropriate equipment and equestrian riding apparel, and being aware of your surroundings. No one is born with the knowledge or ability to ride properly. It takes years of training and dedicated practice.
As a novice rider, you have much to learn. It is far easier to learn the proper ways first, rather than having to spend years unlearning bad habits and replacing them with proper riding techniques. That's why taking lessons for the novice rider is such a great idea.
Take Lessons from a Reputable Trainer
Regardless of the type of riding you are interested in, riding lessons are always a good idea -- especially for the novice. It is too easy to learn bad habits and put yourself in danger by simply jumping on the first available horse. This is especially true when jumping horses.
Even experienced riders must regularly rely upon basic riding techniques to maintain their safety as well as the safety of their horse. Your trainer should be able to provide you with an outside perspective. It's amazing how many times you will be absolutely positive that your heels are down when, in fact, they are not. A reputable trainer can help you to fulfill your potential as a skilled horseman or horsewoman.
Riding lessons will teach you how to tack your horse up in the proper equestrian equipment, how to tighten the girth on English saddles to prevent slipping, how to select the equestrian riding apparel that is appropriate for your style of riding, how to develop the correct body position, and the best communication methods for interacting with your horse. Riding lessons will also educate you about the common rules of riding etiquette.
Proper Body Position and Riding Etiquette
For generations, young children and adults have been admonished to keep their chin up, shoulders back, and eyes forward. All you have to do is add heels down, elbows in, and hands quiet so that you will have a superior body position for horseback riding. As a rider, your job is to maintain control over your horse without appearing to do anything. Loud cues, abrupt movements, and lost tempers are never appropriate.
In the English riding world, there are specific rules of ring etiquette in place to ensure everyone's safety. Generally, this means that everyone should be travelling in the same direction and working basically on the same skills. Slower traffic keeps to the inside of the arena while faster moving riders stay to the outer edge of the ring. A full horse length should be maintained between riders. If passing is necessary, one is expected to inform the other rider quietly and to give a wide berth. If horses are moving in both directions, the general rule of thumb is to pass -- left shoulder to left shoulder -- just as though you were driving a car. These courtesies work to prevent countless accidents and emergencies and should be followed at all times.
Use Appropriate Equestrian Riding Apparel and Equipment
Appropriate equestrian riding apparel means you are wearing an approved helmet, riding boots, a well-fitting shirt that allows enough freedom of movement, and riding breeches. Jeans are not appropriate for English riding. English saddles will rub on the seams, causing chaffing, and the material will slip and risk a fall. Loose and baggy clothing is never considered appropriate equestrian riding apparel. It can snag, bunch, and interfere with your movement that may risk injury.
English saddles will help you to maintain the correct body position for flat work and jumping, just as an event a saddle will help a rider maneuver hills, waterways, and other obstacles and help a rider to maintain their seat safely. Being lightweight and relatively flat, English saddles provide you with a greater range of motion than a heavier, bulkier Western saddle. However, they also require a strong leg to help you maintain contact and communicate with your horse. There are many varieties of English saddles available. Before buying English saddles, discuss your options with your trainer.
Every step of your training will help you to develop the skills and habits necessary to ride safely and effectively. Wearing appropriate equestrian riding apparel, finding the correct style English saddles, and working regularly with a reputable trainer will all help you to develop proper riding techniques.

Anne Coyle - EzineArticles Expert Author Anne Coyle is a writer for The Equestrian Corner. They provide high quality equestrian riding apparel and English saddles that will help you to ride safely and make the most of your time in the saddle.

Friday, 5 February 2010

Equestrian Field Management

The field is the place you want your horse to feel relaxed, natural and content and you can help him achieve this by providing them with as many of the resources they would require naturally whilst keeping them safe and secure.
Fencing should never be made up of barbed wire or any other wire that horses could get themselves, their rugs or their shoes caught on. Many suitable fences include post and rails, electric tape secured correctly, solid hedgerows and walls. They should be high enough to prevent horses from jumping over them and gateways should be secure.

There should be adequate shelter for them to use to escape the heat or wind and rain. Natural shelter from trees or high hedgerows are good for this purpose but if this is not an option for you there are many form of field shelter that can be found on the market today that will suit most people's budgets and horses needs.

Water should always be available to the horse when in the field, natural streams with access points are suitable so long as there is no risk of pollution or of the horse slipping and falling in. Water troughs and buckets are just as good but will need to be cleaned and monitored frequently to ensure a fresh supply.

If in the colder seasons there is not much grass in the field you can provide them with extra feed in the form of hay. The safest way of doing this is leaving it loose on the floor but hay nets can be attached securely to a tall driving post that can be put in the field. This will help reduce the wastage that many people are reluctant to see occur. There are obvious risks involved with this but tied high enough and secure enough can often tackle these problems.

Tammy is a avid equine rider who loves to advertise the correct ways to be treating horses. Tammy works part time for Anything Equine who specialise in electric horse fencing as well as horse tack in the UK.

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Monday, 1 February 2010

The Horse: No Animal Has Done More

No animal has done more for the advancement of humankind than the horse. That said, it's hard to imagine ever using the horse as a source of food. But of course, that's how the man-horse relationship began.

The history books contain many references to the horse as prey some 50,000 years ago, when Cro-Magnon man had to hunt for his food. Seems that no one knows for sure just when or how the horse first became a helper to man. But many have reasoned that when early Cro-Magnon man needed to move his encampments from place to place, he started using the more docile horses as pack animals. So that would mark the beginnings of horse domestication.

Historians also believe that as man progressed from hunter to farmer, he continued using horses for food but also as helpers for herding. This would have brought about the need to jump onthe horse's back and follow along behind the herd. And that would mark the beginnings of the horse as a means of transportation for humans.

Recent archeological excavations in the Ukraine unearthed horses' teeth and evidence of the first "bridle." These findings have brought the experts to conclude that the beginnings of horseback riding began with the nomadic tribes of what is now Eastern Europe, in about 4000 BC. However, riding wouldn't really catch on until long after the invention of the wheel and the preferred use of horses as draft animals.

It is believed that the horse's domestication as a draft animal began sometime between 3000 and 2000 BC. Faster than the oxen and equids that had first been used to pull wheeled vehicles,the horse soon took over and this spawned the ever-improving development of yokes, breast straps, collars, bits and bridles.

Inevitably the horse was to become a major tool of warfare. Around 1350 BC the Hittite king Suppililiuma decided to go to war against the Mitannians, bought large numbers of horses, and engaged the services of a Mitannian horsemaster named Kikkuli. After defecting from the Mitanni, Kikkuli turned the king's horses into war machines that were ridden into battle until the king's militia had totally destroyed the Mitanni.

Now the bonding of man and horse had truly begun. Still, horseback riding was not for the elite, much less the general populace. For hundreds of years, horses were bred to be warhorses. But when Xenophon wrote "The Art of Horsemanship" in around 400 BC, the time was approaching when people would ride horses for more than herding, hunting and fighting.

Although America's wild horses had been tamed by the Indians, it is said that the Spanish explorers brought the first domesticated horses to North America in 1519 AD.

By the early 1700s, Rhode Island had become America's principal horse breeding state. Horses became the primary means of transportation, soon carrying riders on their backs and pulling people and materials in wheeled vehicles across the vastness of the New World.

By the 1800s the horse was a necessity of urban and rural life. The horse helped us build cities, farm the land, fight wars and settle a continent. No animal has done more for humankind.
Source: Free Articles

Friday, 29 January 2010

Thursday, 28 January 2010

Mucking Out and Deep Littering - Equestrian Care

Mucking out is probably one of the first things that, after riding, any horse enthusiast becomes familiar with. Both processes are a form of removing excrement etc from the horses stable, shelter or barn in order to keep the horse kept in a clean and sanitary state of indoor living.

Mucking Out is the process of removing the horse's droppings and urine from the stable. The most common ways of doing this is with the use of stable tools. Some people use rubber gloves and a bucket to manually remove the droppings with their hands from the stable, leaving them the task of removing the urine. Other people use shavings forks or pitch forks (bedding dependant) to make their way through the bed removing the droppings and urine whilst banking the rest of the clean bedding up the walls in order to differentiate from clean and waste.

This form of stable cleaning leaves the horse sleeping on a completely clean bed and keeps bad smells to a minimum. There is a downside to this; you get through more bedding that you would due to the removal of large sections of urine soaked bedding each day. There is an alternative for those wanting to keep their horses on bedding.

Deep littering is mucking out, but without the removal of the urine each day. This in turn means that over time the horse developes a layer of urine soaked bedding on the base of their stable. This gives the horse a solid footing for those that can sometimes roll and scrape down to the cold hard floor. It also means that bedding costs are reduced. Having to only maintain a sensible height of the urine under fresh bedding on top, means that less is thrown away and a shallower top layer can be used. The downside to this method is the smell and urine stains that can sometimes occur. A professional should be consulted if horses have feet sensitive to wet / damp conditions as this method could exasserbate any problems they may have.

Tammy is a passionate equine rider who loves to promote the best ways to be looking after horses. Tammy works part time for who specialise in equestrian boots as well as horse riding hats and safety helmets for equestrian use in the UK.