Ways to Continue to Challenge Yourself as a Rider

August 28th, 2015

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Do you sometimes feel that your progress as a rider is slowing? It’s a natural occurrence, especially since some of us spend decades of our lives learning the art of riding. We’ve come up with some great ways that you can continue to challenge yourself as a rider, even when you’re feeling unmotivated.

Make Specific Goals

Goals can be a great way to challenge yourself as a rider. Goals can be simple, like improving your sitting trot or working with your horse until he perfects his rollback. Goals can also be more ambitious, like teaching your horse to drive or learning to jump a certain height. Regardless of what your goal is, try to keep is specific so that you can clearly tell when you’ve achieved it. For instance, rather than saying that “I will become a more confident rider,” state that “I will gain the confidence to jump four feet comfortably.”

Work with a New Trainer

If you’re feeling stuck in your riding, consider working with a new trainer. A different trainer will have different insights into your riding, and may be able to help you progress in areas that you had previously struggled in. If you’re not ready to take on a new trainer, then consider going to a clinic so that you can work with a clinician short-term.

Try a New Discipline

Trying out a new discipline always makes for a great challenge. If you want to continue to develop in your riding, a new discipline will be full of challenges, but learning a second discipline will only make you a better rider in the long run.

Work with a New Horse

At times, we may outgrow our horses in terms of capability, especially if our horses have physical limitations. If this is the case, then working with a new horse can be a great way to continue to challenge yourself.

Whether you take on a new horse as a lease or a training project, or you go as far as to buy a new horse, you may find that you welcome the challenges of a new partner. A new horse means that you will have to learn just how that horse goes and responds, and will have to adjust your riding style in the process. Riding different horses is a surefire way to develop yourself as a rider.

Continuing to challenge ourselves as riders is important. It means that we will continue to improve, and helps to keep this sport that we love so much from ever feeling stagnant.

Original Source: http://blog.classic-equine.com/2015/08/ways-to-continue-to-challenge-yourself-as-a-rider/

Dealing with a Buddy Sour Horse

August 27th, 2015

beautiful blond cruzado horse outside horse ranch field

Have you ever owned a buddy sour horse? A buddy sour horse can make doing anything without his buddy difficult. Luckily, buddy sour behavior can be cured, and you can enjoy peaceful rides with your horse again.

Start Separation at Home

The first thing to do when dealing with a buddy sour horse is to start by breaking the behavior at home. Make an effort to separate the buddies by keeping them in stalls where they cannot see each other by installing stall partitions. Depending on the size of your property, try to turn the buddies out on separate sides of the barn from each other. The more that you can initiate separation, the easier the process under saddle and off of the farm will become.

Put Your Horse to Work

When it comes time to ride your buddy sour horse, the key to success is in putting your horse to work. The basic idea of your training should be to make your horse go to work whenever he frets for his buddy. When he settles down and focuses, then allow him to return to a more relaxed walk. But if he starts to misbehave and call for his buddy, demand a fast trot or lope or canter – anything to change your horse’s focus and make him really move.

This training approach will establish the fact that when he focuses on you, things are easy for your horse. But when he starts to focus on his buddy’s absence, then he has to go to work. Repetition is key in training the buddy sour horse, so be patient and expect that it will take at least a few sessions before you can see real results.

Do an Off-Property Trial Run

Once you’ve established a good training program and work ethic in your buddy sour horse at home, it will be time to test the results off of the farm. Your horse might seem content without his buddy during on-farm riding sessions, but that can drastically change when you get him to a trail ride destination or to the show grounds.

Take your horse off of the farm for a test run before you need to attend an event like a horse show. Be sure to bring along an experienced friend to help you. If your horse is attached to one buddy in particular, then bringing along another horse can help to reassure your horse. Spend some time working with your horse off of the property.

Dealing with a buddy sour horse takes time and determination. Some horses may be more difficult to train than others, so don’t be afraid to enlist the help of a horse trainer.

Original Source:  http://blog.classic-equine.com/2015/08/dealing-with-a-buddy-sour-horse/

Tips for Grooming a Grey Horse

August 26th, 2015

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If you own a grey horse, then you know how grey horses seem to be mud and dirt magnets. Unfortunately it’s impossible to hide dirt in a grey coat, so you will need to be talented in your grooming to have your grey horse looking great. These tips can help you in the challenge to keep your grey horse clean.

Spray-On Spot Removers

Whether preparing your horse for a clinic or show, or simply wanting him to look his best for a lesson, spray-on spot removers will become your best friend. There are a variety of spray-on spot removers on the market for you to choose from, but they all share the same ability to remove manure, grass, and urine stains from your grey horse’s coat.

A spot remover is ideal for cleaning up stains and dirty patches on your grey horse. You can target specific areas without having to bathe the entire horse. Spray on the liquid, wait a few minutes, and then rub a rag over the stain, lifting the dirt away. Let the area dry and brush the hair down again for a smooth finish.

Grooming Wipes

Grooming wipes are also handy for grey horse touch-ups. Grooming wipes are great for cleaning up smaller areas, especially those on your horse’s face where a spot remover may be difficult to apply. If you don’t have grooming wipes handy, then baby wipes can also be useful for small touch-up jobs.

Shampoos for Grey Coats

Baths are so important for the grey horse, since they’re one of the few opportunities that you have to get your horse truly clean. Using shampoos intended specifically for grey coats can help to bring out the shine in your horse. Whitening shampoos are often highly successful in removing any stains from grey horse coats.

When you bathe your horse, bathing heavily stained areas twice can help to get a deep clean. Legs and tails in particular may benefit from multiple washings. Just make sure that you thoroughly wash out all of the shampoo from your horse’s coat once you’re done.

Baby Powder and Corn Starch

If you’re heading into the show ring, you may need to cover up small areas which just didn’t come completely clean. Baby powder and corn starch are both useful for lower-leg touch-ups and spot cover-ups on your horse’s body. Just make sure that your show clothes are covered when you apply them – otherwise you could end up with white powder all over.

Coat Conditioner

Finally, choose a coat conditioner which actively repels dust. Finishing off your horse’s coat with a quality conditioner can help to preserve the clean appearance that you’ve worked so hard to achieve.

Grey horses are a major challenge to keep clean, but with hard work and elbow grease, it can be done.

Original Source: http://blog.classic-equine.com/2015/08/tips-for-grooming-a-grey-horse/

How to Get a Good Deal When Buying a Used Horse Trailer

August 25th, 2015

man, horses and trailer

Buying a used horse trailer is a great way to save money over what you would pay if you bought a brand new horse trailer. There are many deals on used horse trailers – you just have to know how to find them. These tips can help you to get a good deal on a used trailer.

Buy During Off-Peak Season

The prices of trailers drop when they’re not in demand, so you’re more likely to find a good deal on a trailer if you’re looking during the off-peak season. In most areas, this is the fall, when horse shows are winding down and people are preparing for the winter. If there’s less demand for used trailers, and the seller wants to move the trailer, then there’s a better chance that you’ll be able to get a good deal, especially if you can offer payment in cash.

Know the Going Rates

Before you start looking for a used trailer, familiarize yourself with the average rates for trailers in your area. If you’re looking for a particular brand or model, then do some research on what they cost in different conditions. For instance, does the price of the trailer drop dramatically once it’s reached a certain age? Understanding what prices others are asking can help you to spot a good deal when you find it.

Spread the Word That You’re Looking

Searching for a trailer is time-consuming, and there may be used trailers for sale that you miss out on entirely. Spread the word amongst your equestrian networks that you’re looking for a used trailer. Some of the best deals come along when a friend knows a friend who is selling their trailer cheaply. The more people who know that you’re looking for a trailer, the better.

Don’t Be Afraid of a Fixer-Upper

Sometimes you can find trailers which are heavily discounted because they need some work. A trailer which needs new brakes, a door replaced, or new flooring to protect your horse’s hooves will go for significantly less than a comparable trailer in ready to use condition will. If you have the resources and time to fix up a trailer, this can be a great way to get a good deal.

Negotiate

Buying a trailer is the perfect time to brush up on your negotiation skills. Much like buying a used car, you should go into the deal knowing the maximum amount that you would be willing to pay for the trailer. If you can offer prompt payment and a quick pickup, then you may have some negotiating power with sellers looking to move their trailers.

Buying a used horse trailer can require some patience, but with a little time and vigilance you should be able to find a good deal.

Original Source: http://blog.classic-equine.com/2015/08/how-to-get-a-good-deal-when-buying-a-used-horse-trailer/

Sheath Cleaning: A Necessary Chore

August 21st, 2015

Beautiful well-groomed stallion near white wooden fence

Sheath cleaning: It’s not a chore than anyone enjoys, but sheath cleaning is an important part of maintaining your male horse’s health. Here’s the information you need to know about sheath cleaning and how it relates to your horse.

Why Sheath Cleaning Is Important

When you clean your horse’s sheath, you remove excretions and buildup that he cannot remove himself. Smegma, a combination of excretions and dirt, can build up in your horse’s sheath, causing irritation. Smegma can also mix with skin cells to form a mass called a “bean.” The bean can become lodged at the head of the penis, causing discomfort if not removed.

If your horse’s sheath is not cleaned regularly, he can be at increased risk of contracting infection. A dirty sheath can be irritating and uncomfortable, and if a bean is not removed, it can continue to grow in size. Beans can interfere with your horse’s urination.

Signs Your Horse’s Sheath May Need to Be Cleaned

Most horses need to have their sheaths cleaned between every six and twelve months. Some horses need more regular cleaning. If your horse’s sheath needs to be cleaned, you may notice that he is reluctant to urinate or seems to be in pain. Some horses exhibit colic-like symptoms because of the pain of urinating being caused by a large bean. You may also notice that your horse’s sheath appears swollen.

Tips for Cleaning

When you clean your horse’s sheath, it’s important to move slowly and make sure that your horse is accepting of your touch. Be sure to stand close to his hip to minimize the force of a kick, and proceed slowly.

In some cases, you may want to call your vet to assist with sheath cleaning. Some horses are highly sensitive and will not allow their owners to touch their sheaths; in cases like this, sedation may be necessary for sheath cleaning. Additionally, some horses with particularly large beans may need to be sedated so that the bean can be completely removed.

When you clean your horse’s sheath, use a gentle sheath cleanser. Only use as much cleanser as you need – this will minimize the amount that you will have to rinse out. You can do this in a wash bay or just make sure that you have warm water at hand, and thoroughly rinse the sheath once you are finished cleaning. Leaving soap or other residue inside the sheath can cause irritation.

While sheath cleaning isn’t an enjoyable chore, it’s an important one. Cleaning your horse’s sheath regularly can help to keep him in good health.

Original Source: http://blog.classic-equine.com/2015/08/sheath-cleaning-a-necessary-chore/

Tips for Keeping a Horse Alone

August 20th, 2015

beautiful blond cruzado horse outside horse ranch field

Horses are herd animals, but sometimes, despite our best efforts, we have to keep a single horse alone. If you are housing a solo horse in your barn, you can do a variety of things to make his life alone more comfortable.

Get a Companion Animal

Just because you can’t house two horses doesn’t mean that your horse has to live entirely alone. Many horses forge great relationships with animals of other species. Goats, cats, and even pigs can make good companion animals. You might also consider housing a miniature horse, if a full-sized horse is out of the question.

Install a Mirror

Mirrors can help a horse to feel as if he isn’t alone. Some horse owners install mirrors in their trailers to help ease trailering anxiety by making the horse feel like he has a buddy. The same technique can work in your barn. Consider installing a large mirror so that it’s visible from your horse’s stall. Just make sure that the horse can’t actually reach or kick the mirror. Concealing the mirror behind the bars of the stall partition can be a good technique.

Provide Human Interaction

Good human interaction, while not a substitute for equine companionship, can help to combat boredom and keep your horse mentally stimulated. Riding and lunging your horse provide a break in routine, while even just doing groundwork and grooming your horse can give your him something new to focus on.

Use Toys to Alleviate Boredom

There are countless horse toys on the market that you can use to alleviate boredom for your horse. Some toys may be installed in your horse’s stall, while others are intended for pasture use. It may take a few tries to find the type of toy that your horse enjoys the most.

If your budget is tight, consider making your own toy out of an empty milk jug – cut some small holes in it and fill it with a few horse treats just small enough to be able to fit through the holes. Hang the milk jug in your horse’s stall and refill with treats every few days.

Maximize Turnout

Horses naturally become bored when they’re stalled, so provide your horse with as much turnout time as possible. If the barn layout allows for it, consider installing a back door in your horse’s stall so that the stall becomes a runout directly into his pasture.

Provide Forage

Horses can quickly get bored when they eat a few meals a day and have hours in between. Maximize the amount of time that your horse has forage in front of him by using a small hole hay net or other gradual feeder.

While housing a horse alone isn’t an ideal situation, you can make adjustments to make it work.

Original Source: http://blog.classic-equine.com/2015/08/tips-for-keeping-a-horse-alone/

Evacuating Your Horse in an Emergency – Are You Prepared?

August 19th, 2015

Young Caucasian woman petting horse with stable in background.

Have you ever thought about what you would do if you had to evacuate your horse in an emergency? We hope that you never have to face an evacuation, but good planning is key to evacuating your horse successfully. Here are some tips to help you get prepared.

Stock Your Trailer with a First-Aid Kit

A good First-Aid kit is an essential when you have to evacuate your horses. Luckily you can prepare your First-Aid kit ahead of time, and it’s a great item to have in your trailer whenever you travel. If you have to evacuate, you will not only want to have your First-Aid kit at the ready, you will also want to stock your trailer with hay, grain, and extra water.

Keep an Information Packet for Your Horse Ready

Chances are that you won’t have time to dig for important papers during an evacuation, so be sure to have these papers at the ready. When you evacuate your horse, you may need to be able to prove you own the horse and that the horse is up to date on his vaccinations. It’s a good idea to keep copies of your horse’s bill of sale, health certificate, and vaccination records together with current photos of your horse. Keep these documents in a waterproof bag and store them in your horse trailer.

Make Sure That a Trailer and Truck Are Always Ready

Possibly most important of all, make sure that you have access to a truck and trailer. Keep both the truck and trailer well maintained so that they are ready to go if you need them. If you ever suspect that you may have to evacuate, then make a trip to gas up the truck before hooking up the trailer so that it’s ready to go if you need it.

Be Familiar with Evacuation Routes

Familiarize yourself with standard evacuation routes ahead of time. This can help ensure that you get right on the road without delay.

Have a Plan

Most important of all, have a plan for the evacuation. Now is the time to think about how you would carry out an evacuation. What supplies would you need in your horse trailer? Which horse would you load first? How much time will you need to load up and get on the road? Knowing these details ahead of time can make the actual evacuation itself a smoother and faster process.

Hopefully you will never need to evacuate your horse in an emergency, but having a good plan in place can make your evacuation smoother and faster.

Original Source: http://blog.classic-equine.com/2015/08/evacuating-your-horse-in-an-emergency-are-you-prepared/

Finding the Balance Between Your Horse Life and Your Life Outside the Barn

August 17th, 2015

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Equestrians are notoriously busy, and sometimes our horse lives and our lives outside the barn conflict. How do you manage your outside life when you have a big show coming up, or when a horse gets sick? These tips can help you find the right balance between your busy horse life and your life outside the barn.

Assess What Your Priorities Are

Striking a balance between your barn life and your outside life will depend entirely on what your priorities are. Sit down and assess your priorities for the next month, year, and five years. Are you working toward a promotion at work? Maybe you want to bring your young horse up through the competition levels. Are you trying to attend a championship show with your horse during the next show season?

Once you understand what your priorities are, you will have a better understanding of how you should be budgeting your time. We can’t do it all, so knowing your top goals can allow you to take a step back and assess your life.

Have Discussions

Once you’ve decided what your priorities are, it’s important to have discussions with anyone whom those priorities will affect. For instance, if you’ve decided that you need to prioritize your job, then it’s time to talk with your trainer and explain that you need to attend fewer horse shows this year. Similarly, if you’re prioritizing a competition goal this year, then you will need to discuss what implications this may have in terms of taking on overtime at work.

Manage Your Time Wisely

Time management is super important when you’re balancing your two lives. Calendars and to-do lists can help to keep you focused and where you need to be. It’s also important to manage your time at the barn wisely. Check out these time-saving tips to keep your time in the barn efficient.

Remember to Say No

You will never be able to balance your barn life with your outside life if you take on too many responsibilities or commitments in either of them. If you’re going to fulfill your priorities, then you might have to turn down additional opportunities or commitments. Remember, you don’t have to do everything, so before you take on a new commitment, think about how it may alter the balance that you’re establishing in your life.

Establishing a balance between your horse life and your life outside the barn truly begins in deciding what factors are priorities in your life. From there, you can carve out the lifestyle that works best for you.

Original Source: http://blog.classic-equine.com/2015/08/finding-the-balance-between-your-horse-life-and-your-life-outside-the-barn/

Super Convenient Barn Hacks

August 14th, 2015

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Barn hacks – they’re everywhere, and they make life with horses so much easier. From cheaper alternatives to super smart moves to save time and improve the function of your barn, we’ve gathered the best barn hacks together in a single list.

Use Pool Noodles as Boot Jacks

No more buying expensive boot jacks – pool noodles work just as well. Head to the Dollar Store and pick up a pool noodle, then cut it into sections long enough to support the legs of your tall boots. Easy, cheap, and functional.

Use Rubber Mats in Paddock Entrances

There are countless uses for rubber stall mats around the barn, but one of the most helpful uses is to place rubber mats across the entrances to paddocks. These heavily-traveled areas are often the first places to get muddy, but rubber mats can help to prevent that.

Use Baby Wipes as Grooming Tools

If your grooming kit doesn’t yet contain a package of baby wipes, you’re missing out. Baby wipes are great for wiping noses and taking the dust off of your horse’s coat just before heading into the show ring. They can also help you to remove the crud buildup from inside your horse’s ears.

Keep Diapers On Hand

Diapers are a versatile tool when it comes to horse first-aid. Diapers are useful for poulticing a hoof or when applying an abscess treatment. They’re also a great way to add a little cushion to a hoof when a horse has thrown a shoe.

Attach Tennis Balls to the Ends of Cross Ties

Tired of the metal ends of your cross ties clanging against your stall doors every time you unhook your horse? Put two slits into a tennis ball so that it can slip over the metal ends and onto the cross ties. The tennis ball will hit the stall door or wall before the clip does, muffling the sound.

Reuse Dish Soap Bottles

Have you used up the last of your dish soap at home? That bottle makes a great tool for flushing out wounds with water. Just be sure to thoroughly wash out the bottle before adding it to your first-aid kit.

Use Vinegar to Remove Rust

White vinegar is an effective rust remover. Soak bits, studs, stirrup irons, and any other rusty items in vinegar for 24 hours to remove surface rust.

Put Dryer Sheets to Work

Did you know that dryer sheets can actually help to repel mice and rats? If you have trouble with rodents getting into your tack or feed rooms, cramming some dryer sheets into the crevices can help to reduce the problem. As an added bonus, rubbing a dryer sheet over your horse before removing a blanket can help to reduce the winter static electricity that we all hate.

Have you put any of these barn hacks to work in your barn? Join the conversation on Facebook and share some of your favorite barn hacks!

Original Source: http://blog.classic-equine.com/2015/08/super-convenient-barn-hacks/

Could Your Horse Be a Therapeutic Horse

August 13th, 2015

Girl Feeding her Horse

When it comes to your plans for your horse’s retirement, is donating him to a therapeutic riding program an option? Donating your horse to a therapeutic riding program may seem like an ideal option, but therapeutic riding horses need to possess a very special set of skills. Could your horse make the cut? Consider the following must-have characteristics.

Calm Temperament

Above all else, therapeutic riding horses need to be calm and patient. They cannot be highly reactive or spooky, since this would put their riders at risk. A therapeutic riding horse should be able to take strange and new situations in stride.

Soundness

It is a common misconception that therapeutic riding horses have an easy job of just walking around. That’s not true. In fact, working as a therapeutic riding horse can be physically demanding, since the horse must compensate for unbalanced riders. Some therapeutic riding horses are asked to trot or canter, and may carry riders who bounce against their backs. A therapeutic riding horse must be sound and strong enough to work in multiple lessons per week.

Tolerance

Tolerance is a major factor in any therapeutic riding horse’s job. A good therapeutic riding horse will be tolerant of all sorts of different situations, from a rider playing games off of his back to being in close quarters with other horses and humans.

Focus

A therapeutic riding horse will be confronted with conflicting stimuli, and he needs to be focused enough to pay attention at the task at hand. For instance, a horse may need to carry a rider who has little control of his body. The rider may sway back and forth or thump his legs against the horse inadvertently. A therapeutic riding horse needs to be stoic enough to ignore issues like rider imbalance, while still remaining sensitive and focused enough to recognize and obey the rider’s signals to move forward, stop, and turn.

If you wish to donate your horse to a therapeutic riding program, then find a particular program that you feel would be a good match. Give the program director a call and ask about the process of donating and evaluating a donation horse. Many riding centers have intensive evaluation and training processes for their horses. When donating your horse, make sure to find out what will happen if he doesn’t make that initial cut. You should also ask what options will be available when your horse can no longer be of service to the program.

Original Source: http://blog.classic-equine.com/2015/08/could-your-horse-be-a-therapeutic-horse/