Horseback Riding

How AQHA Is Governed

February 1, 2016

AQHA members can change the course of the Association.

By Camille Graupman, AQHA Publications intern

AQHA is an organization that works for our members. Each spring, AQHA holds a convention to review AQHA rules and policies.

AQHA is an organization that works for our members. Each spring, AQHA holds a convention to review AQHA rules and policies.

In just a matter of weeks, the South Point Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas will host the 2016 AQHA Convention March 11-14. While this is an exciting weekend filled with everything from year-end awards to Hall of Fame inductions, it’s also a time for Association-related business discussions.

Convention is a chance for members to get involved with the organization. AQHA is truly a member-run organization, and the convention is the perfect place to see that testament played out. Read the rest of this entry »

A Trail Rider’s Top 10 Resolutions

January 25, 2016

Wherever your trail-riding adventures take you, completing a milestone on the trail comes with a sense of accomplishment for you and your horse.

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Hit the trails with your horse in 2016! Journal photo

By Camille Graupman, AQHA digital communications intern

There’s nothing like the feeling of freedom and partnership while riding a horse through an open flat land, the historic valleys of a majestic canyon or the meandering trails of a hardwood forest.

We’ve compiled a list of trail-rider resolutions to spice up your trail-riding endeavors this year. Including everything from testing your trail-riding skills to how to get involved in preserving the trails you love, this list is sure to offer up some out-of-the-box ideas to excite your time on the trails.

Read the rest of this entry »

Finding the Perfect Fit

January 18, 2016

Horseback riding tip: Accurate horse-blanket fit is important for your horse’s comfort, warmth and movement.

From AQHA Corporate Partner SmartPak

When horseback riding, everyone knows your saddle needs to fit; but what about your horse blankets? Here’s how to make sure you’re wrapping your horses in well fitted blankets and giving them a big hug (and not a big rub)!

Photo Courtesy of Blankets 101- SmartPak Blog

Photo Courtesy of Blankets 101- SmartPak Blog

How to evaluate fit

A well-fitting blanket will keep your horse warm, cozy, and comfortable, but an ill-fitting blanket can restrict movement, cause rubs, shift, or get tangled. To ensure your horse’s new blanket is just right, test the fit by watching him walk and graze in it. These natural movements will highlight flaws in the fit. Be sure to evaluate the fit in these three key areas: the shoulders, the withers, and the length at the side.

A. Shoulders
The top of the front closure should line up with the point of your horse’s shoulder, and
the neckline should lie smoothly above his shoulder without pulling.

B. Withers
A blanket that’s pulled tight across your horse’s withers is a recipe for rubs. You should be able to slide one hand between the blanket and your horse’s withers.
Read the rest of this entry »

Clipping for Beginners

January 4, 2016

Get started clipping your horse with these top-notch tips from Dana Boyd-Miller.

Clipping doesn’t have to be a challenge.

Dana Boyd-Miller has been a professional in the horse industry for more than 25 years. With a long list of equine specialties, she is highly sought after for her talent as a master body clipper, and she works on some of the country’s best show ponies, hunters and jumpers. Read the rest of this entry »

Winterize the “Green” Way

December 7, 2015

Horseback riding isn’t the only thing you need to do this winter! Check out the top 10 environmentally friendly winterization tips for your barn.

Are your horses ready for winter? Journal photo

From Laurie Cerny for Green Horsekeeping Guide

“Taking care of what you have as a horse owner goes a long way toward being green,” says Laurie Cerny, editor and publisher of Green Horsekeeping Guide.  “Anytime you have to replace something, either from damage done by a horse or because of negligent maintenance, it not only costs you money, it also costs the environment.” Read the rest of this entry »

A Close Call

November 16, 2015

Prevent an accident by installing your trailer hitch properly.

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Properly functioning trailer hitches are crucial to keeping your horses safe when on the road.

By Brittania Cassiday, The American Quarter Horse Journal intern

Headed home to Ohio from a show in Oklahoma, Fred and Sue Mazzarini had been on the road for almost 500 miles when they decided to pull off at a truck stop in St. Louis to switch drivers. Read the rest of this entry »

The Healing Power of Horses

November 2, 2015

One woman’s horse gave her hope in a time of despair.

Pamela Higginbotham and Skipas Gold Star

Pamela Higginbotham and Skipas Gold Star

From America’s Horse

Pamela Higginbotham of Meadville, Mississippi, bought Skipas Gold Star in 2003, shortly after the death of her father. The yearling filly was in poor body condition when Pamela purchased her, but she poured her time and love into the mare, doing hours of groundwork each day.

“I needed this mare, because my dad had died,” Pamela says. “I had a rough time. It was the first death in the family, and we were very close.

“Then my mom got breast cancer, and my husband, Derrell, fell and shattered several bones in his leg. Three days later, my little sister, who had taken my dad’s death pretty hard, overdosed.” Read the rest of this entry »

Horseback-Riding Footwear

October 19, 2015

Justin Boots are handcrafted to meet equestrians’ needs.

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Handcrafted boots from Justin Boots’ AQHA Lifestyle Collection are essential for the active horseback rider. Journal photo

From AQHA Corporate Partner Justin Boots

Since the establishment of Justin Boots in 1879, the leading western footwear brand has remained committed to its roots of handcrafting authentic boots in the United States. Justin Boots are each handcrafted by skilled bootmakers, who put in many hours and take more than 100 steps to make each pair. Each boot is made from the finest leathers and materials for supreme quality and character. The bootmakers at Justin Boots are dedicated to making sure the boots are not only great-looking, but comfortable and fit to their purpose. Read the rest of this entry »

Everyone Starts Somewhere

October 5, 2015

Our Facebook fans explain how they got involved with horses.

Check out these great stories of how AQHA fans got their start with horses. Journal photo

Check out these great stories of how AQHA fans got their start with horses. Journal photo

Compiled by Nicki Csenge, AQHA Online Communications and Publications intern

Whether you’re an AQHA World Champion or a trail ride enthusiast, your life with horses started with that first encounter. We asked our Facebook fans to tell us the story of how they got involved with horses, and here’s what they had to say:

“When I was 11, my mom sent me to a horse camp. She was a single mom, and I think that part of the reason she sent me was to get a week to herself! Little did she know what she started. Within a year, we owned one horse, and within another year, she bought herself her first horse (at age 47!). I’ve never looked back from there. Riding was what kept my mom and I close through those tough teenage years. Thank heavens Mom sent me to camp! I love my AQHA gelding!” – Caddie Dufurrena Read the rest of this entry »

The Right Fit

September 21, 2015

Make sure your horse’s halter fits correctly.

Your horses halter should fit just right Photo courtesy of Heidi Melocco

Your horse’s halter should fit just right – not too tight and not too loose. Photo courtesy of Heidi Melocco

From AQHA Professional Horsewoman and Certified Horsemanship Association trainer Julie Goodnight

Is your horse’s halter too snug or too loose? Does it hang down around his nose or squeeze his face, rubbing the hair away? Do you fit a rope halter the same as a web halter? How do you know if your horse’s halter fits or what size halter he should wear? These are all legitimate questions, and it is important to have a halter that fits your horse just right for his comfort and his safety. Read the rest of this entry »

Cultivating Confidence for Horseback Riding, Part 2

September 7, 2015

Learn how to help an unsure horse find fearlessness with these tips from Clinton Anderson.

Using the "circle-turn, circle-turn" exercise, a nervous horse can gain confidence to walk into water. Photo courtesy of Downunder Horsemanship

Using the “circle-turn, circle-turn” exercise, a nervous horse can gain confidence to walk into water. Photo courtesy of Downunder Horsemanship

By Clinton Anderson with Holly Clanahan in America’s Horse

Editor’s Note: This is the second of a two-part series on increasing confidence. Here, learn how experienced riders can help unconfident horses. Last week, Clinton offered tips for riders who need a confidence boost.

A lot of horses have a lack of confidence, especially outside the arena. But many of us want to enjoy our horses on the trails, so it’s important to help them over their fears. Read the rest of this entry »

Cultivating Confidence For Horseback Riding, Part 1

August 24, 2015

How riders can find sureness and certainty in the saddle.

Feeling like you dont have complete control of your horse can affect a riders confidence

Feeling like you don’t have complete control of your horse can affect a rider’s confidence. Build confidence and control with these simple exercises. Photo courtesy of Downunder Horsemanship

By Clinton Anderson with Holly Clanahan

All the time, people approach me and say, “Clinton, I’m scared when I ride. I have a lack of confidence.”

Sometimes, that’s because of an accident that damaged both their body and their confidence. Or sometimes, the people rode as children but then stepped away from horses to pursue careers and families. Now, when they returned to horses 30 years later, they aren’t as athletic and they know they’ll hit the ground a lot harder if they fall. The confidence they had as children has disappeared. Read the rest of this entry »