The Basics Of Training Your Horse

When you bring a new horse home, it is just like a baby – needing your care and attention. And along with care your horse also needs to learn – and that is why you need to know the basics of training your horse.

Horse training, ideally, is something that you should do with the help and instructions of an expert. But even so, we are just giving you a few pointers here. These are the basic things you need to keep in mind.

  1. Horse training means you need to know what you are doing.
  2. Make sure you also know what the basics that you will need to teach your horse are.
  3. When starting the training, start with the simplest things first and graduate to more complex matters later – neck reining should be the first step in training, followed by more complex things.
  4. Make sure you are training the horse for its specific age range – not all horses will accept the same kind of training.

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Know All About Saddle Blankets Before Buying One

Just as you want to be comfortable when you’re riding your horse outside the stables, your horse also needs the comfort of a saddle blanket. This performs innumerable functions:

  • It provides comfort to both the rider and the horse.
  • It keeps you stable atop the horse –beginner level riders need saddle blanket the most.
  • It reduces the horse’s muscle fatigue and helps him to adapt to long rides across rough terrain.
  • It also absorbs the sweat– and it also compensates for the horse’s body structure.

Earlier people used blankets and clothes to serve the purpose of saddle blankets, but with the manifold saddle pads available in the market, it’s better to use proper saddle pads. But there are a few guidelines to buying saddle pads for your horse…we take you step-by-step so that you can make an informed choice when you are making your purchase.

Know the different types of saddle pads/blankets to make the best buy!

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How to Choose the Right Halter for Your Horse

Choosing the right halter is important – and you will be able to get the right halter for your horse only after you gather a bit of an insight on halters.

Halters rest against the soft sensitive part behind the horse’s ears, so if the halter is ill-fitting, the horse will feel the discomfort. And if the pressure from the halter is too much to bear, the horse is going to fight and resist it. What you need therefore is a halter that’s a perfect fit. Because a halter that fits well will not hurt the horse, in fact, the horse might not even feel it.

 Here are the halter options for you to choose from:

The better you understand the workings of halter – you will choose the right halter that much faster.

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How To Buy The Right Western/Trail Saddle

When you get a horse, and then start looking out for the right equipment, one of the main questions that you are sure to be asking is “What kind of western/trail saddle should I buy?” and quite rightly so. A saddle will be responsible for the comfort of both you as well as your horse, and of course, a saddle incorrect for the purpose can cause injury to you both as well.

So, first up, let’s take a look at…

The Basic of the Western Saddle

The Western saddle is based on the needs of cowboys who need to spend the major part of their day on horseback. They have to carry out most of their tasks on horseback. Thus, it becomes all the more an important necessity that the saddles are more comfortable, both for the rider and the horse. They also transfer the weight more evenly across the saddle, making it easier for the horse to carry you. In addition to that, Western saddles are usually built keeping specific purposes in mind, and this means that they usually have special parts built in to tackle the extra equipment better.

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Hoof Care

Pick out your horse’s feet. It is the single most important thing you can do for your horse’s hooves. Before each ride, remove any stones or small objects lodged in his feet before you add your weight to the situation, and check on the condition of his shoes after you untack him.

Each time you clean your horse’s hooves, take an extra couple of minutes after you’ve pried out any packed debris to gently clean the crevice of the frog, and scrape any remaining bits of matter off the sole with the tip of the pick. You want to be able to see the sole’s entire surface, so finish the job with a stiff brush. Some hoof picks come with the brush attached.

While handling your horse’s feet to pick them out, notice their temperature; when everything’s OK, they’ll feel very slightly warm. Take a moment to locate the digital pulse with two fingers pressed against the back of his pastern; look for the strength of the pulse under normal conditions.

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Steer The Tail, Get Control Of Your Horse

The video below is of Josh Lyons. Now, if this isn’t getting control over your horse, I don’t know what is.

This exercise can be done at a walk or even at a standstill. (Though, to begin, it’s much easier if you have movement.) When you feel comfortable, do it at a trot.

When you steer a boat, you always steer from the back end, don’t you? That’s what you’ll do here. Your horse is driven by its hindquarters; that’s the engine and where the drive comes from. To start getting control of your horse, you’ll first take control of its “engine.”

You’ll drive your horse around the arena like you’re driving a boat or playing violin. You’ll pick up one rein and just drive his tail the direction you don’t want to go. So, if you don’t want to go “over there,” then you push his tail “over there” instead and release the rein.

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Positive Horse Training Tips

Would you want to learn in an environment that is confusing and unrewarding? As it is for humans, it is very important to create an environment to teach our horses in which is open, clear and rewarding. Using Positive Horse Training concepts helps to provide this environment.

Food is very meaningful to most horses and one of the best ways to reward good behavior. Many horse owners steer away from using this type of reward as they believe their horses could develop unwanted behaviors such as barging or nipping.

When using food as a reward for teaching horses this does not happen as the horse has to ‘earn’ the reward and if unwanted behaviors are not rewarded they will not develop. As always, the timing of the reward must be very precise to prevent unwanted behaviors. Using a noise, such as a clicker, as a bridging signal to mark the behavior you want is the best way to ensure your timing is right.

Food is not a bribe, I do not feel bribed when I get my pay at the end of a month’s work, I feel like I earned it!

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Saddle Fitting

Frequently, poor saddle fit affects the gait of a Paso (or gaited horse) negatively. And this counts, that goes without saying, for all horses! If the saddle makes the horse uncomfortable the horse will try to compensate by changing its body shape, to alleviate the pressure points that cause the discomfort.

The most common saddle fit problem comes from a saddletree (the frame the saddle is built on) that bridges in the mid-section, and makes excessive contact on the four corners of the bars.

This usually results in the horse lifting its back up into the saddle to get the pressure off its shoulders and/or loins – a problem caused by a saddle tree that has bars that are too straight and/or too long.

With it’s back lifted up into the saddle, the horse can’t get its head up in its natural working position. And, consequently, the gait soon goes away. Saddles with bars that are too long also place the rider too far back on the horse’s back, tipping the rider forward, and thus shifting the rider’s weight forward, too. This makes the horse short step in the front.

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How to Find the Right Saddle

In the former post of some days ago, I elaborately talked about CHOOSING the right saddle. Especially how do you find the right saddle and other stuff for your horse loving daughters? My girls love this horse website so I want them to be happy when they finally ride a horse.

So, how do you FIND such a saddle? Well, after buying and trying a dozen other saddles, and asking the same question that you are asking, I decided the only answer was to design my saddle… a long and arduous process that has resulted in today’s Don West “Signature Series” Pleasure-Trail Saddles.

They’re made and sold by Have Saddle-Will Travel, Inc. To accomplish this, I took what I felt was the best of English, Western, Australian, Spanish, and South American Saddles, and incorporated them into one Pleasure-Trail Saddle. But the most important part is still the tree. If the tree doesn’t fit the horse’s back correctly (comfortably), none of the other issues will matter.

To tell if a tree fits properly you need not take measurements, make casts, etc. etc. In today’s saddle world, and I talked about that in my post on CHOOSING the right saddle a couple of days ago, the fact of the matter is that very few custom saddle makers make their trees. If and when they do, they are very, very expensive. Tree makers, who make a living by making trees, won’t build bars to your measurements. They guess what tree they have that comes closest to your gullet measurement. Continue Reading…

How to Choose the Right Saddle

Quite a few folks have problems with fitting a saddle to their horse. That’s in no way unique. Everywhere I travel around the country, doing my Training for Trail Riding and Saddle Fit for Trail Rider Clinics, I am encountering frustrated folks (like you) who love their horses and realize that the saddles they are using are not serving them (or their horses) well.

One thing that you have apparently already learned is that it is much easier to buy a saddle than it is to sell one. Each mistake (learning experience) is expensive…and discouraging.

Before we can look for an answer to the problem, you must know what you are looking for. Let me outline for you what I believe are the priorities, in order of their importance: First and foremost the saddle must be comfortable for your horse. Why? A comfortable horse is a happy horse, and a happy horse makes for a happy rider. By the way, I found a lot of things that can make my horses happy at the Utterly horses gift website.

At the heart of every good saddle is a good fitting tree. The saddle tree is the frame upon which the saddle is built. If it does not fit the horse properly, i.e. is comfortable, all your additional effort is wasted. When we are talking about western type saddle trees, they are usually made out of wood, covered with rawhide, plastic, or some other waterproofing material.

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