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How to correct a low head carriage

Help me get my horses head up!

One of the questions I received in my “free book” competition was how to fix a horse’s low head carriage. I deemed this the winning question because they’re definitely out there in the show pen.

Thanks and congratulations to the winner of “From Go to Whoa” for sending in your great question.

This is a topic I would really like to write about.

Head carriage is for some reason misunderstood at times and goes against the A.Q.H.A. rule book.

Working on fixing a low head carriage

Continue reading How to correct a low head carriage

Three tips to help you win in Hunter Under Saddle

Hunter Under Saddle horses should move with long, low strides reaching forward with ease and smoothness, be able to lengthen stride and cover ground with relaxed, free-flowing movement, while exhibiting correct gaits that are of the proper cadence. The quality of the movement and the consistency of the gaits is a major consideration. The head position should be slightly in front of, or on the vertical.

Three tips you might use to help you win in hunter under saddle

Continue reading Three tips to help you win in Hunter Under Saddle

Look after your horse’s hooves

Under normal conditions, a horse’s hooves should maintain a natural moisture balance. However, sometimes they can get extra dry, cracked, and brittle in cold or dry weather. In this case, it’s a good idea to help your horse’s hooves maintain an ideal moisture level by applying hoof oil. You can easily make it at home using a few simple ingredients. Apply homemade hoof oil to protect your horse’s hooves from excessive moisture or prevent them from drying out.

From Go To Whoa

Training your own horse

A$35.00

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Seven major criteria to look for in your horse

1 .Broke and Quiet

The most important quality that any ridden or halter horse should possess is the ability to be broke and quiet.

2. Soft and Smooth

A soft and smooth horse is one that hits the ground light and soft on all four feet and travels with drive and impulsion from behind with great rhythm.

3. Functionally Correct

A horse that picks up the correct gait and their leads when called for and not deviate from them throughout a class. Breaks of gait (both upward and downward) and wrong leads are evidence that a horse is not very functionally correct and is probably not a pleasure to ride. Horses that travel with their head and neck excessively low (for several strides) are also not functionally correct and should be judged accordingly.

4. Consistency and Quality

The consistency and quality is extremely important. A horse that shows consistency and quality is one who gives the appearance of being a “pleasure” to ride. These horses are expressive, natural, attractive and appear as though they are enjoying their work. They offer an overall pleasing picture when viewed on the rail and simply possess great amounts of eye appeal. The horse that is consistent in it’s quality of movement should be given credit.

5. Balance

Credit should be given to a horse that moves in a balanced, forward moving stride with a great degree of lift and flow. Likewise, a horse that is moving in an
excessively slow, unacceptably low head carriage which will cause unbalanced stride should be penalized.

Balance in a moving horse is the ability to keep itself properly positioned while in motion, thus giving an impression of stability in motion. This also
relates to stride length. The best way to visualize this is to draw an imaginary line down the center of the horse. A balanced horse at the jog and lope should take the
same length of stride forward of the line as they take behind the line. Quite often, horses will be forced to shorten their stride in an attempt to make them move at a slower pace. Most of the time (this can be seen especially at the jog), the horse will then begin to move in an unbalanced stride. Sometimes, these horses will be called lame because they are moving longer with a leg on one side of the body than they are with the other.

6. Lift and Flow

Lift is a period of suspension or an elevated carriage, and flow is to move smoothly,
easily and to be fluid.

7. Self Carriage

Self Carriage is a term that includes all three Balance, lift and flow.

Without the components of balance, lift and flow, self-carriage cannot be achieved. Balance and flow cannot be achieved without forward motion and the proper cadence. When a horse lacks forward motion or cadence, balance is sacrificed and flow is lost. This horse is not comfortable.

There is one particular problem, that can happen if the horse lacks forward motion – “low head carriage”, which will put the horse on the forehand.

Book – From Go To Whoa

Training Your Own Horse

A$35.00

Tis the season for Lice

I received a question the other night – “How do you get rid of Lice?”

Strangely, I was putting this weeks article together…about lice in our horses, how funny.

So anyway here it is…

I usually find that nearing the end of winter into spring is when I find lice appearing on horses. Believe me, it doesn’t matter how well cared for a horse is, they still get lice…some worse than others.

Lice are tiny parasitic insects that live in the hair coat of horses. Lice are species-specific, meaning that bird lice generally won’t live on people or dogs, horse lice don’t typically infect people. You’re not likely to get lice from your horse or pass them on to your cat. Lice infestations can be but are not necessarily an indication of poor care and/or poor nutrition. They can be common in stables like training stables and racing stables, where close quarters and shared equipment make the spread of lice easy. They can also be found on our horses that are turned out for the winter in the paddock, they don’t have to be stabled to pick up lice and they simply love dwelling on a hairy, rug covered horse, lice are not partial to sunlight, the darker and hairier the better for them.

Continue reading Tis the season for Lice

Conformation – The forelimb.

Be it for showing under saddle, racing, reining, or riding for pleasure, a horse needs to be put together properly; but does a horse need to be put together perfectly?

Which limb defects matter and which don’t?

Since horses’ domestication, humans have been scrutinizing equine legs in an attempt to judge which horse will perform best in a given situation. Be it for any discipline, a horse needs to be put together properly; but does a horse need to be put together perfectly? Given that some poorly conformed horses surprise us and go on to be champions begs the question: Is conformation really all that important?

What is Conformation

Conformation simply refers to the physical appearance or ‘outline’ of a horse.”

Conformation is more or less defined by the horse’s bones, muscles, associated soft tissues, and how they all fit together. If all horses were created equal and used for the same purpose, then judging conformation would be easy. Alas, this is not the case. Every classification of horse (i.e., draft, light, or pony) has a different “normal” conformation and its own set of conformation traits defined by the breed and type of work the horse is intended to do. For example, sport, stock, hunter, pleasure, race, and show horses are all types of light horses, and each has its own accepted standard of conformation.

Conformation assessment involves a fine eye, patience, and a bit of luck. The horse is usually examined with four key functional components in mind: the head and neck; the forelimbs; the barrel and the hind limbs. Ideally, the forelimbs are evaluated from the front and sides.

Forelimb Conformation

A horse’s forelimbs should match and bear weight equally. Both toes are expected to point forward, and when the horse stands square the feet should stand as wide as the limbs are at their origin (i.e., the chest). If a straight line is drawn from the point of the shoulder, it should course perfectly down the front of the limb to the middle of the foot.

Continue reading Conformation – The forelimb.

Equine Health, Five Tips For A Healthy Horse

If you own a horse, you are probably aware of the time and money needed to properly care for this amazing creature. Since horses have a longer life than do most animals, keeping them healthy can be somewhat of a challenge. Still, there are several things you can do to help ensure your horse stays healthy. Below are five tips that will help you get started down the right path.

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Strengthening your horse’s hind end

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Many horses that have soundness challenges or general “hind end weakness” I see it alot during lessons and training. The majority of these horses are in the prime years of their life. At 10-15 years old, they still have many good years ahead if we can assist them in developing better balance and strength. Conformation issues can slow some horses down, but many are able to live comfortably and carry a rider if some time is spent focussing on building up their bodies.

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Old habits die hard!

How to quick-fix a horse’s bad habits in the show pen

Anticipation

I am always on about repetition when training your horses. This is the quickest way to instill into your horse something you want to teach them – repetition! Until repetition of a certain kind backfires on you.

Nothing worse is there, you’re in the class, the announcer calls for a jog, however, it’s out of sequence to what your horse is used to, he hears the mic “assumes” it’s time to lope, suddenly your whole world collapses at your feet, your pulling the reins, he’s lifting his head and trying to lope off, did the judge see it? Most likely, yes.

This is only one scenario that could lose you a place in the lineup.

Horses are incredibly smart animals. They learn to listen to the announcer for transitions instead of to their rider’s cues. They can become anxious and want to move up into what they think is coming next!

Continue reading Old habits die hard!

Using a snaffle on a Senior Horse

Senior horse snaffle bit training…

Or any other bit for that matter!

I think the worst thing you can do once you hunt down that curb/shank bit that your horse loves and works well in is to use it on him day in, day out. When you do find that “favourite” bit the best thing you can do is to keep it for those special occasions like showday.

Lot’s of riders’ do this and it is “common sense” to them to say “Beauty! My horse loves this new bit, I can relax now and stop worrying!” Down the track though, I get calls and questions all the time wondering why their favourite bit is not working anymore. You can liken it to using the same spurs day in day out, after a time the horse starts to become dull to the feel of the spurs you use every day.

Continue reading Using a snaffle on a Senior Horse