Horseback Riding

An Overweight Horse: No Joking Matter

April 28, 2014

AQHA Corporate Partner SmartPak offers advice for managing the “easy keeper” horse to prevent the onset of any serious problems and keep him healthy for horseback-riding excursions.

This might not be the right type of scale but its important to keep tabs on your horses weight Journal photo

This might not be the right type of scale, but it’s important to keep tabs on your horse’s weight. Journal photo.

From America’s Horse

Editor’s Note: Dr. Lydia Gray, staff veterinarian for AQHA Corporate Partner SmartPak, has teamed with America’s Horse to offer tips for keeping your horse at an ideal weight – whether he’s an easy keeper who needs help staying slim or a hard keeper who struggles to keep pounds on. In this second of a two-part series, we address weight-loss strategies for heavier horses. The 2013 March-April issue offered strategies for putting weight on the skinny minnies of the horse world. Read the digital edition of America’s Horse at www.aqha.com/americashorse.

We horse owners have our ways of laughing things off. “My horse isn’t fat, he’s fluffy.” Or, “My horse is in shape…Round is a shape.” I’ll admit that one of my own geldings has been described as just “big-boned.”

Those things sound better, after all, than the words “morbidly obese.” SmartPak veterinarian Dr. Lydia Gray says that many horse owners have on “skinny goggles,” which cause an inability to see – or a refusal to admit – that there is a problem in the pasture. But as the saying goes, you certainly can kill a horse with kindness. An overweight horse has to cope with increased stress on his heart and lungs; more strain on his hooves, joints and soft tissues; fatigue; and, in the summer months, less-efficient body cooling. As an added menace, laminitis can also rear its ugly, life-threatening head. Read the rest of this entry »

Understanding Your Horse’s Behavior

April 21, 2014

Uncover the nine categories of horse behavior so you’ll better read your horse’s body language in future horseback-riding excursions.

Knowing the different categories of horse behavior will foster a stronger ability to read horse body language

Knowing the different categories of horse behavior will foster a stronger ability to read horse body language. Journal photo.

From Junior Master Horseman

Because of the close social relationship most horsemen have with their horses, and because a horse’s behavior is usually modified during training, it’s important to understand “normal” and “abnormal” horse behavior to be a top-notch horseman.

The following nine horse-behavior categories will help you understand your horse in a deeper way: Read the rest of this entry »

AQHA History: The First President

April 14, 2014

William Barre Warren carried his passion for horseback riding into his term as AQHA president.

Before taking on the role of AQHA’s first president, William Barre Warren raised his own horses for ranching and match racing. Courtesy of the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame & Museum.

Before taking on the role of AQHA’s first president, William Barre Warren raised his own horses for ranching and match racing. Courtesy of the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame & Museum.

From the American Quarter Horse Foundation

“He had the unique ability to put present things first, to make the impossible seem likely, settle what he could and worry about the future when it arrived,” Hall of Fame member Robert Denhardt said of AQHA’s first president, W.B. Warren.

William Barre Warren was born in 1904 on the ranch his grandfather established in the 1850s. He had one abiding passion in his life – to ride a better horse than any of his South Texas neighbors.

Match racing and match roping were his hobbies, and he insisted on raising his own horses for ranching and riding. Read the rest of this entry »

Choosing Footing for Your Outdoor Arena

April 7, 2014

Kiser Arena Specialists owner Bob Kiser offers tips for crafting an all-purpose horseback-riding arena.

Its possible to create all purpose arenas but you must incorporate key arena components which include more than just footing

It’s possible to create all-purpose arenas, but you must incorporate key arena components, which include more than just footing. Journal photo.

From The American Quarter Horse Journal

Many outdoor arenas demand footing that will please a lot of people. From western pleasure to speed events, all-purpose arenas must have safe, durable footing that will hold up without being too deep or too slick.

Bob Kiser, owner of Kiser Arena Specialists, points you in the right direction for footing material you can use for just about any event.

The key components are a drainage layer, followed by a base of sandy loam and topped off with a dirt-sand mixture.

Before you dive further into Bob’s arena recommendations, here is the soil-savvy vocabulary you should know: Read the rest of this entry »

Horse Nutrition Tips

March 31, 2014

Five things you should know about how to feed your horse.

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Following the feeding directions on your horse’s feed bag will help ensure your horse receives the right amount of nutrients and calories. Photo courtesy of Nutrena.

From AQHA Corporate Partner Nutrena

Back in the day, many of us who grew up with horses had a more “traditional” view of feeding and equine nutrition. Maybe our horses were only fed a handful of feed as a treat or reward, but it wasn’t part of a solid nutrition program. Today, horse owners are more educated when it comes to feed, but it’s always good to be reminded of some of the basics. Here are five important things to know about feeding your horse:

  1. The purpose of feed. Most feeds are designed to provide a horse with the nutrients that hay or pasture alone cannot. Many people think of feed as simply providing “energy,” which many of them do. When it comes to feed, you generally get what you pay for, so very often, the less expensive feeds are designed to provide the minimum amount of nutrition. Read the rest of this entry »

Why Jamie Lee Curtis Knows What’s Good for Your Horse

March 24, 2014

Want a healthy horseback-riding partner? Prebiotics and probiotics can help your horse flourish.

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Probiotics and prebiotics aren’t included in all horse feeds, but they can have many benefits for a horse’s digestive health system. Photo courtesy of Facebook fan Gretchen Waiswilos.

From AQHA Corporate Partner Nutrena

As a spokesperson for Dannon’s Activia Yogurt, actress Jamie Lee Curtis might have some ideas on what’s good for your horse. “How’s that?” you ask. She understands the benefits of probiotics for a healthy digestive system. Although some might think prebiotics and probiotics are unnecessary in horse feed, let’s take a look at some information to help you understand why these are beneficial ingredients for your equine partner.

What Exactly Are These Microscopic Creatures?

Probiotics are microorganisms that contribute to the intestinal micro-flora balance and aid in digestion and nutrient absorption. Probiotics are also considered good bacteria and help the body fight off bad bacteria. More on this in a bit. Read the rest of this entry »

Horses in History: The Buffalo Soldiers

March 17, 2014

Learn more about these historic horsemen at the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame & Museum.

Buffalo Soldiers of the 10th Cavalry Courtesy of the National Archives

Buffalo Soldiers of the 10th Cavalry. Courtesy of the National Archives.

From America’s Horse

Some had been slaves just months before. Some had to learn job skills on the fly – learning the U.S. Army field manuals, as well as the finer points of horsemanship. They wore the same uniforms and received the same weapons as any other U.S. cavalry soldier, riding the same McClellan saddles. And they made history in the American West.

Buffalo Soldiers began writing their unique story in 1866, after the Civil War, when Congress authorized two new cavalry regiments “to be composed of colored men.” The 9th and 10th Cavalry regiments were charged with protecting settlers as they moved west and supporting the westward expansion by building the infrastructure needed for new settlements to flourish.

Their history is celebrated at the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame & Museum in the Buffalo Soldier: An American Horseman exhibit, which is open through April 30. Read the rest of this entry »

Age Is Only a Number

March 4, 2014

When might your horse need senior feed? The answer can vary.

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As horses age, their teeth might become worn, broken and chipped, and as a result, might make it hard for them to chew their feed. Journal photo.

From AQHA Corporate Partner Nutrena

For many horse owners, the answer to the age-old question (or should we say “old age” question) about when to start a senior feeding program, isn’t always the same. Some horse owners say a good approximation is 15 or 16. Others might feel the magic number is 20, while some may never switch to a senior feed. Although the calendar might say it’s time to start treating your equine partner as an elder statesman (or woman), deciding what age a horse becomes a senior varies. If you know what to look for, your horse will tell you when it’s time. Here are some telltale signs it’s time to consider switching to a senior feed. Read the rest of this entry »

Improve Your Fluidity in the Saddle

February 24, 2014

Employ these five tips to look and feel like a natural while horseback riding.

Analyzing your horseback riding position will decrease the fluidity in your seat

Analyzing your horseback riding position will decrease the fluidity in your seat. Journal photo.

By Barbra Schulte in The American Quarter Horse Journal

When I watch a beautiful rider on a horse, their hands and seat flow naturally, as if they are one with their mount. Other riders, who don’t appear so rhythmic, analyze every movement. If you’re not sure which kind of rider you are, try this test.

Crumple a piece of paper and set a trash can 15 feet away. Your objective is to toss the paper into the basket using two patterns of thought. Read the rest of this entry »

Is Your Horse Ready for Spring?

February 17, 2014

Prepare now for horseback-riding adventures later.

A 1200 pound horse requires 12  to 15 gallons of water per day in cold weather Journal photo

A 1,200-pound horse requires 12 to 15 gallons of water per day in cold weather. Journal photo.

From AQHA Corporate Partner Nutrena

Although it may be hard to believe in some parts of the country (especially this year!), spring will eventually arrive. But until then, the cold weather – particularly, below-freezing temps — require that horse owners pay careful attention to horse health. And not just for safety’s sake. A healthier horse is better prepared for the spring thaw, when both of you are eager to enjoy the weather. Here are three quick tips to help your horse to warmer days: Read the rest of this entry »

Logging Your Horseback Riding Hours

February 10, 2014

Heed these tips for staying organized and keeping track of the hours you spend in the saddle.

The Horseback Riding Program offers a way for members to keep track of their riding achievements and milestones

The Horseback Riding Program offers a way for members to keep track of their riding achievements and milestones. Journal photo.

One of the best benefits of AQHA membership is the opportunity to log your hours spent in the saddle and earn great rewards. The AQHA Horseback Riding Program is sponsored by Professional’s Choice and SmartPak and is designed to reward AQHA members for the time spent doing what they love – riding their horses. Check out the amazing rewards you can earn on a regular basis!

But how, exactly, do you log your hours and submit them? Read the rest of this entry »

Finding Time for Horseback Riding

February 3, 2014

Check out these 10 smart tips to get more time in the saddle.

Spending less time grooming your horse is one way to have more time in the saddle.

Spending less time grooming your horse is one way to have more time in the saddle. Photos from AQHA’s “Fundamentals of Horsemanship,” www.aqha.com/fundamentals

From America’s Horse

Truth is: You aren’t going find more time to ride. You haven’t overlooked the 25th hour in the day; it doesn’t exist. The only way you can increase the time you have with your horse is to decrease the time you spend doing other things. Here are some suggestions:

Blow Up Your TV
If that seems extreme, then at least learn to set your DVR, or ask a 12-year-old to do it for you. Record programs you really think you need to see and observe how you never get around to watching them because you’re riding instead.

Quit eating dinner – at least with silverware and plates
Instead of always succumbing to society’s ritual, start thinking of food simply as fuel. Read the rest of this entry »