Do You Make This Timing Mistake When Riding Your Horse?

Timing is everything. Aids don’t have to be strong to be effective.

Horse Listening

Have you ever given your horse an aid and got nothing in return? 

Perhaps your horse simply didn’t respond? You did it again, and nothing resulted even the second time.

Perhaps your horse gave you an unwanted response – did he pin his ears, scramble forward or even throw out a little buck or kick?

Most of us would then repeat the aid, and expect the horse to “learn” the correct response, because after all, it is the horse that needs to understand what we are doing, and not the other way around! 

If you ever find yourself in a vicious cycle with the horse not improving and possibly deteriorating in response, there could be one other variable that you might not have considered – the TIMING of the aid.

The timing of the aid has to do with everything – time it wrong, and you might as well be doing nothing…

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Good information to keep handy.


HappyHorseHealthyPlanet_Vital Signs Cover

Every horse owner should be aware of these before there is an emergency and you have your vet on the other end of the line.

Remember that every horse is different so know what is normal for each horse in your barn. 

Check these vital signs when your horse is at rest.


99.5-101.5 degrees Fahrenheit (37.5 to 38.5 degrees Celsius)

Thermometers designed for use with livestock have a ring on the top. This ring can be attached to a string and a clip attached to the opposite end of the string. The clip can be clipped to the horse’s tail when you take the horse’s temperature.


Respiratory Rate:

12-20 Breaths per Minute

Respiration can be taken by watching the horse’s chest move in and out (an inhale and exhale isone breath)or feeling the air come out of the nostrils.

Pulse:   30-40 Beats per Minute

Having a…

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9 Things You Need to Know if You Want to Ride Horses

Some good advice on getting started!

Horse Listening

pick me

You might have liked horses all your life.

Or you might have had an awakening not too long ago that is urging you to explore horseback riding for the first time.

You can’t tear your eyes away from the sight of glowing coats and rippling muscles.

You get excited every time you drive by horses in a field.

Contrary to your friends, you even like the smell of a barn!

And now, you know you are ready to take the first steps on the long road of becoming an equestrian. You’ve booked riding lessons at a local barn and you are convinced that you are ready to tackle the learning curve that lays ahead. Before you begin, here are nine tips to smooth the way into your new adventures!

1. Be prepared to be a beginner – for a long time!

Once you step into that stirrup for the first…

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10 Tips for Getting Water Into Your Horse

These are good tips, especially this time of year with pipes and buckets freezing. Dehydration is just as much of a concern in the winter as the summer, even though horses may not be in consistent work and aren’t sweating.


Happy Horse Healthy Tips

 After the fear of injury, the number one thing horse owners tell me that they worry about with their horse is making sure they are drinking enough water.

It’s a valid concern when you think about how important water is to equine well-being.  Horses can go 25 days without food but only 5 days without water before it begins to affect their health.

In horses, water facilitates digestion and helps the absorption of nutrients. Water is an essential factor in breaking down the food a horse ingests.  It is also regulates equine body temperature.

Horses ingest water and loose water throughout the day.  Fluid exits the horse via feces, urine, sweat and water vapor in exhaled air.  Dehydration occurs when loss of fluids exceeds fluid intake from food and water.


Horse feces

Every horse owner should be aware of the consequences of dehydration in horses.  Lack of water can contribute to…

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A Resolution for Horse H-E-A-L-T-H

Reblogging this so I’ll remember to read it later.


HappyHorseHealthyPlanet_2014 HEALTH

Your Resolution for the Year of the Horse

2014 is the year of the horse in the Chinese calendar.  According to the Chinese zodiac the spirit of the horse is recognized by the Chinese people as an attitude for making efforts to improve themselves.  This sign is energetic, bright, warm-hearted, intelligent and able. Sounds like a horse to me!

It is our job as horse owners to keep these energetic, bright, warm-hearted, intelligent and able animals healthy.  How do you determine if your horse is in good health?  What are some of the ways to assure that your horse stays healthy?  This article will look at these very questions in an easy to remember format; the letters of the word HEALTHY.

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The Spiral Of Training

Dressage Different

training scaleIf you have been in the dressage world for any period of time, you have probably heard of the Pyramid of Training, also called the Training Scale. It is a staple of dressage instruction world wide and posters of this pyramid hang on hundreds of tack room walls. There are many wonderful aspects to this pyramid, but even so, every time I looked at it, I felt one eyebrow climbing up my forehead. There was something wrong about the structure of the pyramid, I felt. When training a horse, I always imagined the shape of training to be more of a circle, or better yet, a spiral.

It was not until I heard Axel Steiner lecturing and he echoed what had been bouncing around in my mind for quite some time, that I finally decided to take pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard).

You see, when training a horse…

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Long Term Or Short Term, aka “Why The Rush?”

Mike Plumb was something like 48 when he rode for the gold-medal winning Olympic team in 1984. So, yeah! Also, I like the idea that “mastery” in riding is a “continuum” not a “finite goal” because this sport IS different in that our partners (the horses) are sentient beings, not inanimate equipment, and no two horses are exactly the same.

How Good Riders Get Good

There are definitely sports that are youth sports, gymnastics being an obvious example. Many sports that cause heavy wear and tear on knees, shoulders, and various joints see few athletes lasting very deeply into their thirties, and a forty year old professional football player is called “the old man.”

Horseback riding definitely has the potential to be a wear and tear sport, but that`s from falls and wrecks, not from the inherent stresses that accompany daily riding. With luck, a rider who is, say, 12, should be looking at a riding life that can easily continue for the next forty to fifty years, and not only last for decades, but also have the prospect of being an elite riding career for many of those years.

There is a tendency for younger riders not to think in these longer range terms, but to have the misconception that if they fail to reach some…

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Top 10 Ways to Reward Your Horse

Horse Listening

As riders, we need to look for any excuse to celebrate our horse’s achievements. Good riders are forever thankful for their equine’s efforts as they push further stronger deeper and reach new heights. A happy horse is a willing partner, and many horses will give everything they have if they feel your acknowledgement and generosity of spirit.

Don’t fool yourself.

Your horse knows exactly how you’re feeling during the ride. They can “mind read” (more like body read) and know precisely when you are frustrated, upset, angry (?) and conversely, when you are relaxed, forgiving, joyful and ecstatic. We all know that positive reinforcement is as powerful a way to communicate as any other, and likely more appreciated by your four-legged friend.

Rewarding your horse doesn’t have to be done on the ground with a treat in hand. In fact, encouragement received under saddle is more immediate and fulfilling…

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The Barn Rat Route

I’ve been a barn rat since I was 11 years old. On the weekends and during the summers, my parents would drop me off in the morning and pick me up at the end of the day. Before I got a horse of my own, I would beg to ride any horses that needed exercise, and I got to experience a good variety of school horses. Some were saints, others not so much, but I learned more on the tricky ones because if you didn’t ride them correctly, they wouldn’t do what you wanted.

I took a 12-year hiatus from all things horses once I was married to have kids and attempt to be normal. But a year or so ago, thanks to one of my old trainers taking pity on me and inviting me to go out to his place and ride,  I went back into barn rat mode. At least while the kids are in school and nobody needs me.

How Good Riders Get Good

Unlike their furry grey namesakes, these barn rats come in various shapes, ages and sizes, the most common being girls between the ages of about ten or eleven to somewhere in the mid to late teens. They are reasonably easy to identify in their native habitat, which is any variant of horse barn.

Barn rats are the horse crazy kids who don`t want to be anywhere else. Not the mall, not the fast food joint, not even(sometimes) the Junior Prom, if there`s a horse show the next day.

Some barn rats get paid, but many trade work for the chance just to be in the general vicinity of horses. The parents of barn rats can`t be the obsessive kind who drag their kids from piano lessons to French lessons to figure skating lessons to soccer practice, because implicit in the definition of “barn rat” is is that they spend most…

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