Monday, March 31, 2008

WOW! Way to much on my Plate- Equine News

Okay really sorry for the delay in posting but we have been working really hard on the equinenetwork system and my wife picked up a couple news horses in her training arsenal so to say the least we have been really busy.

Lets see what we have to rant about.

Last week I started getting into the "full wheel barrel" as I call it. I started working on being less selfish. Lets face it sometimes we have so much to do we really don't think about helping others with their stuff, so I started on that project.

I also started looking for other equine bloggers to help promote their blogs and behold their are lot of people just like me out there (most have a lot better grammar).

But "hay" I am here just to express my love for the animals not to try and impress the socks off of anyone. And that is what I found, like minded people and I made a few friends.

It is hard in this day and age to get anyone to scratch your back without scratching theirs also. And like I said earlier I am going to try and set out and do this one project this month and see how well I do...

For me this is going to be hard, surely I will get sidetracked but I have already social bookmarked at least 20 other equine blogs and taken the time to comment.

Since you are all taking the time to work hard to keep your blogs up to date. I am going to try and commit to at least once a week. Along with my other blog on my equinenetwork.

So with that said.. here is an article that has been edited and should be close to correct..

Enjoy.. I hope :)

Basic Riding - Before Mounting

Riding Basics - Before You Get On

Most people view riding as cutting cattle, galloping over an open range or serious competition in jumping or other events. Before any of that can happen one must master the basics.

You're facing a large animal with power, big teeth and an instinct of self preservation above all else. The fear of sitting on this should be tempered with the confidence that most horses do not want to hurt people. Communicating with the animal is not the same as with another human or with a dog or other creature. The horse is "wired" uniquely. Respect him for his ability to take pieces out of an opponent, for the power that can crush a threat to his life and the speed to flee a dangerous situation - respect, don't fear. Remember that with a little understanding we can temper those tendencies for our benefit. Being fearful instead of a leader he needs means he's the leader - and many horses don't want to be! So they misbehave, someone gets hurt and the horse is blamed.

Instead approach him with the knowledge that in the wild world he was created to be food, and an appreciation that despite that he allows us to drape equipment on him and ride him! Watch your actions to keep him comfortable. So often a rider gets in the horse's way...and creates a problem where there was none.

Get on safely. Wear shoes or boots with enough of a heel that your foot doesn't slide through. Prepare yourself. These exercises will seem silly - but they will help you!

Stretch your legs out. Use a solid fence board - raise each leg individually as if you are going to step up on the fence. Brace your body and gently lean forward...don't "bounce" or lean all the way to the fence at once...this stretches the muscles in your upper leg. A few of these on each side can make a big difference.

Take a 2X4 or 4X4 board and place it on the ground in a level area. Place your toes and ball of the foot on the board, with your heels on the ground. In sets of 10 to start, then build up to 25 over a few weeks, raise yourself up, then ease back down - this stretches and strengthens the leg and, further, "teaches" the leg automatic heels down. When you get on the horse your leg is then automatically in the position to cue him with your leg, and is less likely to bounce against him when you don't intend to kick him.

On your board stand on it solidly...arms at riding position, and work up to 10 squats. Slowly lean to each side, front and back, and back up. This positions the body for automatic balance. If the horse does spook your body can more easily adapt, absorb the spook and stay in the saddle rather than on the ground. The fall from a 4X4 isn't nearly as hurtful!

Use a few solid blocks, the back of a trailer or truck or another higher area for the last exercise - ideally next to a post with a hay twine. The object is to, with your left leg, raise yourself up to the surface in one step, with minimal pull on the hay twine. While this may seem silly - that higher surface is your "stirrup" and the line is the reins - you don't want to pull on the reins (or the horse's mouth) but can grab the post (or saddle horn or mane). An old manual said a real horseman can mount a horse without the girth being on the saddle, and while that is a challenge that can be a goal with today's tall horses that sometimes isn't so easy! For those of us who are "vertically challenged" getting on a 16.2 hand horse means a patient horse, practice and sometimes a step or hill!

These exercises can be done, quickly, as a warm up before getting on each ride. They'll help you physically do the task at hand, and further help the horse to do his job.

Having a healthy horse to ride is important, but you can work on riding long before mounting up! Exercises to increase balance and leg will make it easier on both you and the horse.

Have a great ride!