Horseback Riding

Spur Basics, Part 1

June 23, 2014

In Part 1 of this two-part lesson, AQHA judge LeeAnn DeMars explains the basics of using spurs while horseback riding.

Leg and foot position are extremely important for spurs to be used correctly on your horse. Journal photo.

Leg and foot position are extremely important for spurs to be used correctly on your horse. Journal photo.

from The American Quarter Horse Journal

Learning to use spurs properly is all about feel, says AQHA judge LeeAnn DeMars. It’s the same sort of finesse that you strive to develop in your hands. With spurs, she says, “You must have that control through your leg and heel. The more you improve the feel, the less you have to move your leg.”

Spurs should never be a substitute for a bad leg. Most importantly, they should be used as a last resort. “Your cues start with your seat, follow down your leg and end with your spur,” she says, “Using your spurs should not be your first reaction.” Read the rest of this entry »

Horses and Dogs, Part 3: Training Your Horse

June 16, 2014

Teach your horse to accept a canine companion on your horseback rides.

There are several steps involved in training horses and dogs to live harmoniously, which includes teaching both species to show mutual respect. Malee Powell photo.

There are several steps involved in training horses and dogs to live harmoniously, which includes teaching both species to show mutual respect. Malee Powell photo.

From America’s Horse

Dogs and horses can be the perfect combination. And it’s so rewarding when you get to experience a horseback ride on your favorite American Quarter Horse with a canine pal by your side. That’s why we dedicated three weeks to the topic. Review Part 1 to see what you should keep in mind as you look to purchase a dog and Part 2 for dog training tips.

Now you’re ready for the next steps: stopping bad dog behaviors before they become a problem and training your horse to accept dogs. Read the rest of this entry »

Horse and Dogs, Part 2: Training Your Dog

June 9, 2014

Enlist these six tips to train your dog so he can tag along for future horseback-riding excursions

Once you pick your dog, it’s imperative that you instill the basic commands before letting him off-leash at the barn. Be prepared for inconsistency as you start training in new places. Malee Powell photo.

Once you pick your dog, it’s imperative that you instill the basic commands before letting him off-leash at the barn. Be prepared for inconsistency as you start training in new places. Malee Powell photo.

From America’s Horse

Now that you’ve picked the perfect canine companion (See Part 1), you’re ready to start the training process so your four-legged friends can live in harmony.

1. Teach your dog the basics, starting at home. AQHA Professional Horsewoman Kristina Hedrick of Purcell, Oklahoma begins training her puppies in the house, mastering basic commands such as come when called, sit, lie down, “off” (move away from something) and “out” (get out of whatever the dog is doing).Working with herding dogs, she said, “you have to remember you do not have to put a ‘go’ on them; you have to put a ‘whoa’ on them. They’re going to go (herd) instinctively. The key is putting the whoa on them.”

To help her dogs learn the “whoa,” Kristina teaches them to herd when it is appropriate by teaching “get it.”

“When we’re playing fetch with toys, when I throw the toy, I say ‘get it,’ ” she says. “That way, when you want them to go get a horse, for example a horse is down and you need help getting it up, you can say ‘get it,’ and that means ‘you’re allowed to go after it.’ ” Read the rest of this entry »

Horses and Dogs, Part 1: Finding the Right Dog

June 2, 2014

Before you set out for a horseback-riding excursion with your favorite furry friends, examine these tips for selecting the right canine companion.

Before you bring a dog into your barn, make sure you research and select the breed that will be the best fit for you and your horse’s lifestyle. Some breeds, like the Australian Shepherd pictured above, might require more grooming and exercise than others.  Malee Powell photo.

Before you bring a dog into your barn, make sure you research and select the breed that will be the best fit for you and your horse’s lifestyle. Some breeds, like the Australian Shepherd pictured above, might require more grooming and exercise than others. Malee Powell photo.

From America’s Horse

It’s a fact that horse people are animal people. If they’re furry, we love ’em. The American Quarter Horse might be our favorite, but the canine is not far behind.

However, there is an inevitable problem when we head out to feed our prey equids with our predatory canines at heel. Both species’ natural instincts can lead to frustration, fear and, worst case, fatalities. Careful planning and training on all sides can lead to harmony. In Part 1 of this three-part series, you’ll learn about the first step in building a successful horse/dog partnership: picking the right pooch.

AQHA Professional Horsewoman Kristina Hedrick of Purcell, Oklahoma, was the 1992 AQHA-Justin Rookie of the Year 30 & Under and has numerous top 10 placings at the AQHA World Show. In her spare time, she shows dogs and has worked rescuing and rehoming Australian Cattle Dogs, often called blue or red heelers. Australian Cattle Dog AKC Ch. Cool Hand Luke II, better known as “Luke,” has been her constant companion and a regular on the horse scene. Read the rest of this entry »

American Quarter Horse-Racing Basics

May 26, 2014

Get up to speed on the details of the Quarter Horse industry’s fastest event: horse racing!

American Quarter Horses can hit a top speed of 55 mph

American Quarter Horses can hit a top speed of 55 mph. Dan Dry photo.

From the American Quarter Horse Association

The fastest horse in the world, the American Quarter Horse is a specialized sprinter with a quick turn of foot. Racing at speeds up to 55 mph, Quarter Horses can cover a quarter-mile in less than 21 seconds, starting from a flat-footed standstill.

In Quarter Horse racing, the clock begins as soon as the starter pushes the button and the starter gates open. In comparison, Thoroughbreds are given a running start. Although Thoroughbreds break from the gate just like Quarter Horses, their timer doesn’t begin until they are several strides from the gate. Read the rest of this entry »

Smart Horseback Riding: The “Check-Out Drill”

May 19, 2014

Incorporate this program for tightening your horse’s girth into your pre-riding routine.

Longeing your horse and tightening his girth three separate times will allow you a chance to evaluate his mental state and comfort level before starting your ride

Longeing your horse and tightening his girth three separate times will allow you a chance to evaluate his mental state and comfort level before starting your ride. Journal photo.

From AQHA’s Fundamentals of Horsemanship

In AQHA’s Fundamentals of Horsemanship series, AQHA partnered with La Cense Montana to provide a resource that will help you get the most out of your horse experience. Today, we’ll cover the “Check-Out Drill,” an exercise for tightening your horse’s girth. The following are three objectives of this pre-horseback-riding exercise: Read the rest of this entry »

How to Use Duct Tape During Your Horseback Ride

May 12, 2014

In Part 2 of this series, read the duct-tape tales of other AQHA fans.

How can duct tape save the day Well for one you can use it to tape up your horseback riding boots Journal illustration

How can duct tape save the day? Well, for one, you can use it to tape up your horseback riding boots. Journal illustration.

From The American Quarter Horse Journal

As discovered in last week’s post, duct tape can fix nearly any problem you come across in your horseback-riding adventures.

Even our Journal readers have experienced the heroic qualities of duct tape. Check out these stories:

A Saved Headlight

“We were pulling out of the barn one night going to a horse show, and we noticed there was something wrong with the headlights on the truck,” says Cloudette Heichel of Sunbury, Ohio. “We looked down, and they were just not looking right, so we got out of the truck and saw that they had fallen down. So what do we do? Run for the duct tape. Read the rest of this entry »

50 Horseback Riding Problems Duct Tape can Fix

May 5, 2014

Whether you have a ripped hay bag or a damaged water bucket, chances are, duct tape can repair your problems in a pinch.

Duct tape might be an affordable and quick solution to the next problem you encounter during a horseback ride. Share this article on Facebook and tell us your favorite uses for duct tape. Journal photo.

Duct tape might be an affordable and quick solution to the next problem you encounter during a horseback ride. Share this article on Facebook and tell us your favorite uses for duct tape. Journal photo.

From The American Quarter Horse Journal

Duct tape has a reputation for being the solution to all problems, even horse-related ones. Nowadays, you can don duct tape of any color, pattern or animal print. But no matter how many times the color changes, there’s one thing that stays the same: Duct tape can fix (almost) all tangible problems.

So, we’ve compiled several ways you can use duct tape as an easy fix-it for your horseback-riding needs. Next week, we’ll feature more uses for the sticky tape, including some from you! Visit AQHA on Facebook and tell us how this money-saving invention has helped you or your horse throughout the years. Read the rest of this entry »

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 »