Equestrian Helmets – Not Just For Show

Very few people look stylish with an equestrian helmet on but they have a long history. The typical style of the equestrian helmet, kept even in these days of modern fabrics and cutting-edge design, still reflects the tradition of conservatism proliferated by the early English horse riding headgear. Today, all the same, the emphasis is on the wearers safety as opposed to just style. Not that many people realize this, but competitive horseback riding is a sport that can be fraught with danger. Helmets are made this way today in order to safeguard the head from serious injuries that can happen when horseback riding like falling off a horse.

The outer layer of the equestrian helmet is plastic that resists shock and helps prevent accidental injuries in the event of a fall, though cloth is sometimes used to cover the plastic and make the horse riding helmet more attractive. The top of the horse riding helmet is made to shield the horse rider’s eyes from the bright light of the sun while making it more appealing. Yet, it is designed to crumple during a fall which makes it safer in event a horse rider lands on the rim. Though of course a horse riding helmet is designed primarily to protect the horse rider in the case of an shock, comfort is also essential. Added padding helps with both aims. In addition, the styling is particular to the sport, making an horse riding helmet quite easy to make out.

Since bicycle and skating equestrian helmets put the safe-guardian on only the front and back of the head, these new equestrian helmets concentrate on total safeguarding. It is also designed with the comfort of the rider in mind, with ventilation and positioning element into the overall look. There are numerous types of horse riding helmet for various types of contest. Racing horse riding helmets, for instance, have brimless horse riding helmets that are covered in material that matches their running colors. Traditionalists frown upon the spreading use of brilliant colored varieties, but more and more people find the colors black, brown and gray boring.

Equine helmets currently available to horse riders include more “western” designs – still, these styles have yet to be fully adopted by rodeo horse riders (In places where there is an apparent need for more of them). Though the standards are different in each nation, all riders must be sure to follow safety standards and have the right equipment, like a horse riding helmet, the rider won’t be allowed to contend. The aim of a “conformity assessment” is to learn whether the equestrian helmet meets the suitable standard. The conformity assessment is a series of tests that show how secure the equestrian helmet is and some appraisals involve a number of tests that simulate a rider falling from a horse and even getting kicked in the head by it. These days, horseback riding instructors are required by insurance companies to make their students wear equestrian riding horse riding helmets in order to get an insurance policy. Equine helmets are made for safety, and despite the fact that some people feel that they are hot and uncomfortable, they should be worn.

Easy Training for Horses

If you have a horse that needs to be trained, but are not willing to spend a lot of money to have a professional trainer train your horse for you, you have the option of learning training for horses so that you can train your own horse. This is a great option for many reasons. If you are new to horses, or training for horses, there are many guides available, such as Horse Training Secrets Revealed, which will guide you through the steps to a healthy training process for you and your horse.

At times, you may feel like you are in over your head. This is especially true if you have a horse that is hard to train. Keep in mind that anybody can train a horse with the right guidance, and you are sure to do well. Horse training is quite possible even for beginners. Have patience with your horse and keep in mind that every horse learns at a different speed. There are many things that a horse must learn before you can teach it to ride. Take it one step at a time and before you know it you will be done, and able to enjoy your horse for the rest of its life.

Training a horse yourself has many benefits. When you train a horse you develop a bond with that horse for life. This bond is going to be very strong and your relationship will be strong because of it. It will be difficult at first, and very intimidating. But with time and effort you can train your horse in many ways. Whether it’s for transport, casual riding, or sporting, your horse is there for you. These beautiful animals can be trained quite easily, and you can enjoy a strong lifelong bond.

Choosing A Good Horse Rug

Although sometimes thought of as a sport for the affluent, riding and competitive equestrian competitions can be enjoyed by people of all age groups and areas in life. Hours and hours of hard work and discipline go into the coaching of a horse, and riding requires a great deal of patience. Although the rider is every bit as important as their horse, the prospects of winning in the competition do not rely on them and like racing cars it’s essential that horses are in peak health.

There are numerous products out there that could help the horse, most of which are available on the internet and one of the most essential products is the horse blanket which may also be called rugs or sheets. For protection from natural elements a horse blanket is necessary because just like us they need protection from the wind, hot and cold temperatures, and the rain. You must be sure to purchase the correct type of cover to keep your horse warm and free from sickness.

The use of coolers and anti-sweat rugs will help the horses to not get shivers when they are resting post working out. These horse rugs breath and they have different sizes of mesh which keeps off flies. A Fly sheet or rug safeguards the horse from bugs and flies during the summer months when they are grazing. The sheet is also available with extra attachments such as neck covers, hoods and fly masks which help to provide complete protection for the horse.

A summer months sheet keeps flies and dust off horses in the hot, is very light, and can be used as a travel rug. All horses when ridden, are fitted with under-blankets or liners to help lessen rubbing on their backs from the horse rider. There are different materials to choose from, which include the traditional wool under blanket, or the more modern under blanket made of a lightweight material, is often referred to as an under rug.

To keep the horse protected from the harsh winter elements use a stable rug. It not only keeps the horse warm, but is also very fashionable. They come in different colors, weights and thickness. Breathable cloths allow the horse’s sweat to evaporate even through the heaviest, thickest blankets that supply the most warmth. The under blanket can also be laid underneath the stable rug to add heat and this is usually required when the horse is stabled day and night.

Turnout rugs, or blankets, are worn to keep the horse warm and clean in the wintertime while outdoors. Turnout rugs should be lengthy to allow them to cover the belly of the horse, the ruffles on the shoulders should allow movement, and the front edge should overlap well. These rugs also come in different thickness and weights, altering from light weight with no filling for the the summer months, and heavy weight with filling for the wintertime. Choosing a good rug is essential to protect the health of your horse, which, unlike a car, can’t undergo multiple repairs or have worn parts substituted.

Best Equestrian Style Boots

What is the importance of purchasing the correct equestrian boots to wear during horse riding competitions? This piece will provide the necessary information on how to select equestrian boots and other equestrian apparel for discerning horse riders and horse enthusiasts.

Equestrian boots, also known as riding boots, are the style of footwear that are necessary when riding a horse. While it sounds plain, these is a special explanation as to why these are necessary to wear. The overall idea is that these boots are capable of keeping you safe and comfortable even as you take heavy and challenging terrains. You should be aware that your horseback riding jaunts are bound to involve trying situations and even mishaps. One can draw their own decisions on what would happen if they failed to wear the properly accredited footwear.

Equestrian boots are available in different styles and just like dress, follow common trends. Equine boots traditionally boasted higher heels in order to keep the rider’s feet in the stirrups while riding. Now, current versions of these boots come with low heels but naturally, some cowman boots still have the same higher heels. Nevertheless, the question is: What type of equine boot should I purchase?

There are boots which are used to show horse riding and also there are boots whose role is for pleasure horseback riding, and also there are boots for hunting and for dressing which are similar but there are much taller and they are just a little below the knees. While a general uniform is often required, the most essential point is the capability of your horse to work with you. Some police officers likewise wear the same style of horseback riding boots because these give them their preferred comfort while mounting and dismounting their motorcycles.

Field boots, or riding boots which are characterized by ankle lacing design, are effective for use with short length stirrups. The hunt boots, on the other hand, come with a top cuff and male riders sometimes use the hunt boot, which is very traditional in appearance. Dress boots have no ankle lacing and are firmer – they are knee-high to help prevent injuries for fox hunters and event riders. Other types are the Paddock boots which may be used for casual rides and the cowboy or western boots which are both made of leather or synthetic fabrics and cost thousands of dollars or so. Equestrian boots have a long history, and the development of their style and design is still continuing.

Basic Horse Nutrition

The idea of feeding a horse may look simple but may horse owners are clueless about the basics. There is nothing called standard, when it concerns the nutritional necessities of a horse, as it would mostly be founded on the quantum of activity, its age and body size. Grass is the primary ingredient of any horse diet. Being one of the most essential components to keep its digestive system to function optimally, forage normally means natural grass and cut hay.

The amount of food a big horse needs per day is subject on its body size, which is 2 to two point five%, so if the horse weighs a 1,000 pound the measure of everyday food needed can be calculated to twenty to twenty five pounds. Horses need good nourishment so this means high quality feed, not low quality high fiber feed (which can intervene with correct digestion). In a perfect world, your horse should eat a minimum of 1 % of his body weight in hay/grass pasture daily. In case your horse is not employed in much activity, then the right feed is only forge without any grains. On the other hand, horses which are active, or at the growing or breeding stage, need additional supplementary feeds over and above the pasture like grains or concentrate supplements. Consider it this way, foraging should offer at least one half or more of the total size of the feed eaten everyday for optimum growth and development.

The nutrient content and the quality of the pasture are crucial considerations when you are planning to give your horse a stable diet. When you are aware of this, you can easily figure out the correct amounts of nutrients that would meet his specific needs. The best source, and the least expensive one for summer feed is your pasture and, in most cases good pasture by itself can provide all the nutritional requirements your horse requires. To know the correct amount of pasture that your horse needs, use this rough guideline, which uses the weight of 1000 to 1200 pounds. This means that a mare and foal 1.75 to 2 acres – yearlings 1.5 to 2 acre and weanling 0.5 to 1 acre.

During winter the feed could be cut hay, but mind the quality. Ensure that the hay is leafy and green in colored and cut in a systematic way, free of dust, molds, weeds or stubble. There is plenty of proteins, vitamins and minerals contained in this feed. Yes, you can use alfalfa hay, but be careful about the higher protein content if you are feeding to young growing horses, as it may contain an excessive amount of calcium in relationship to phosphorus. Overdose of calcium is not recommended for growing horses; so in case you have any doubts, get the hay quality analyzed.

My new horse – King William

I feel really privileged to be able to say that a wonderful new horse has just joined our family. My coach, Claudia, had received a winning race horse from a well-known and reputable racehorse trainer. The horse had just finished his racing career at aged 8. The trainer had wanted him to go to a good home and therefore sent him to Claudia to home.
I noticed King William when he first got to the stables – he is quite striking. What is amazing is that his legs are clean, even after his years of racing. My coach had asked me to ride him so we could see what he was like. Both of us really liked him. At this point, neither of us had thought of him for me. I rode him twice more, really liked him, and Claudia and I decided he was a perfect horse for me. I thought that taking on a baby would be a fabulous project. It had been a while since I had produced a horse.
What I like about my new horse
King William is really brave. When I first walked him from the stables to the arena he didn’t need a lead. In fact, he happily walked ahead of his lead horse and into the arena. He moved forward off the leg and didn’t spook at anything in the arena when working independently.
He has a good work ethic and learns quickly. He has applied himself to his new work really well. If he loses concentration a kick or a small wiggle on a rein is enough to get it back. He learned his walk to halt transitions very quickly. After one day of insisting that he stand still after I mount, he does so happily.
He has a good conformation, moves really well and is relatively well balanced. I plan to do dressage, showing and show jumping with him. I’d love to do the complete horse at derby with him in 2 years’ time where I have to jump 1 meter, compete in dressage, show and do a free test.
He has spunk. His attitude is just seems to be “let’s go for it. I’m game for anything”.
Going forward
I’m so excited to have this wonderful opportunity to learn and grow with a fabulous young horse. I’m also really excited to be doing so under the guidance of wise and knowledgeable instructors. I’ll keep the blog going on how we bring King on and the progress we are making. At the same time, thanks to Alexandra (my daughter) for letting me keep on competing on her lovely Thoroughbred Shanghai Affair.

Tips for finding a horse riding instructor

The best way to learn or improve your riding is to go for horseback riding lessons with a certified riding instructor. But this is sometimes easier said than done. On one level riding instructors have to meet certain basic requirements such as certification. On another level, they have to be able to work well with people and horses. Most importantly – they have to work well with YOU.
I remember once going into a show jumping class. My instructor was at the gate with me. Just before I was about to start my class he said to me “Don’t stuff it up”. While some people might be horrified or demotivated at such a statement, it fired me up and I won the class. The point was – my coach had figured out what motivated me as an individual. That is what made our partnership work.
So how do you choose a horseback riding instructor? I’d look for the following:
1. The instructor must be a qualified/certified riding instructor in the discipline you want to ride and at the level you want to ride.
2. The instructor must always prioritize of safety of the rider on and off the ground. At a most basic level, you should check whether the instructor insists on equestrian safety equipment being worn in riding classes.
3. The instructor must have experience riding and teaching. The more advanced you are as a rider, the more advanced and experienced the instructor must be as a rider, teacher and even a competitor.
4. The instructor must have a passion and enthusiasm to teach, share and impart knowledge. He or she must take this seriously and be dedicated and focused in this regard. This includes:
arriving at lessons on time;
not being interrupted by telephone calls; and
answering your questions.
5. The instructor must have an ability to communicate in a manner that you understand. This includes understanding how you learn and adapting his or her teaching style to help you learn.
6. The instructor must have a love of horses and concern for their welfare. A good indicator of this is always the condition of the horses and ponies in the riding school. If they are fat and happy it’s a good sign. If they are in poor condition, have tack that is in disrepair, and are sour or stale I would regard the instructor with suspicion.
Other questions you may want to consider are:
What times is this instructor able to teach and what times am I able to ride?
Is this instructor able to attend shows with me if I need him or her to?
Will our personalities clash?
What do his or her current pupils say?
How do his or her current pupils perform at shows?
Is he or she insured?
Does he or she specialise in any specific age group e.g. children?

When your horse is scared on trails

How should we train and ride our horse when it’s scared on trails? It may spook. It may jog. It may breathe faster than usual and be looking at everything. It may be reluctant to walk past things, over things or through water. The list goes on. Either way, it’s unpleasant for us as riders as well as the horse. It’s unnecessary. And it becomes unsafe.
Here are a few hints to help you if your horse is scared on trails. See what works for you as each horse and each situation is different. I’d also advise that you don’t go on a trail if your horse is too fresh or if the weather is bad. If it’s too windy or about to rain a skittish horse will be even more skittish. It’s worth setting the conditions up so that you get the best out of your ride with your scared horse. Here goes:
1. Check it is the horse that is scared and not you
Horses pick up tension from their riders. Be sure that it is the horse that is scared and not you. (If you are scared then you need to work on your fears. Don’t worry if you are – it’s something that can be fixed).
2. Be the leader in the relationship
Ride your horse confidently – your horse looks to you for leadership and reassurance. Remember they are herd animals. Be kind and firm. Look forward, up and ahead and ride forward. Give the signal that there really is nothing to worry about. They will pick the signal up over time.
3. Pair your horse with a steady experienced horse
Ride out with another steady and stable horse that can ‘show’ your horse that going on a trail is fun. Go slowly and steadily. If you chat to the person you are with and the horses can just walk or trot along your horse will soon realise that this is just normal work.
4. Teach your horse to listen to you
Your horse must go exactly where you want him or her to go. In fact you must choose the path all the time. If you want to walk on a specific path or next to it – that must be where you go. It cannot be left up to your horse. This will build your horse’s confidence in you over time. If you want your horse to walk he must walk. Be kind and firm about it.
5. Reinforce your horse’s good behaviour
Every time your horse walks past something that may have been spooky give your horse a pat or kind word. Build their confidence all the time. ‘Bad’ behaviour should be told off. If they don’t want to walk past something don’t make a big fuss – apply more leg and ride forward with confidence. I often say “you are so and so the brave, come on”. It often works. (Maybe more for me than the horse. It helps me apply leg and ride on) They may scurry a bit, but after a while they realise they can do what I ask without a fuss. You must just differentiate between fear (which we must be sympathetic towards) and naughtiness. Fear can be lead through (i.e. our leadership is needed), naughtiness at some point must be punished.
6. Work on long-term fear in small stages
If you discover a real long-term fear or phobia e.g. walking through water/ rivers, you need to address it in small stages. This must be done by breaking it up into ‘bite size chunks’ e.g. small puddles etc. You can make it easier by doing it going towards home first and then away from home. Remember that this needs to be done over time and with sensitivity.
I think riding horses out is one of the great pleasures of riding. I ride my horses out at least once a week. By the time they get back to the yard they are stretched out and relaxed. I think it’s partly due to how I ride them – and it’s based on the tips I’ve provided above. The tips have worked for all my horses. I hope they work for you.

Your young horse’s first jump

When your young horse is competently doing pole work he is ready to do his first jump. If you are confident and give clear directions to your horse, he will manage well. And even though your first jump is tiny, you will feel as though you have jumped the moon!
Your first jump
Start off by doing your ordinary schooling and pole work. Then set up a small cross to trot over. The cross should be:
About 20 to 30 cm
Easy to knock (check the poles are loose in the cups)
Trot to the middle of the jump, look forward and over it, and ride positively. Ride the same way you had been riding during the pole work exercises. Your horse will learn and manage. Just remember:
You may need to help your horse by closing your leg or giving a canter aid at the jump only at the point of take-off;
Don’t rush your horse before the jump;
Leave your horse’s head alone before and over the fence;
Be sure your position and balance support your young horse;
Maintain your horse’s concentration and maintain control after the fence.
Placing pole for your young horse
If you want to help your young horse get to the right take off point you can use a placing pole. Put a placing pole about 2.4m in front of the cross. Trot over the placing pole and pop over the jump using the same guidelines above.
If you have any doubts what-so-ever ask a qualified horse riding instructor to help you. I always find it helps to have someone who is knowledgeable to give help and advice. Both horses and us can keep on learning. That is one of the joys of riding.
What I have been doing with King William
In the last 2 weeks I have started jumping King William my young horse off the track. Before starting jumping I had done the pole work exercises. King did his tiny cross as I described above. The first time he first hesitated a bit – but I just closed my leg and he was absolutely fine. He then started trotting over – not really jumping. On the second day I gave a stronger canter aid and he realized that he had to move his legs up or do something different. He realized he had to jump! By the third session and about the 12th jump he was giving proper little jumps and was soft through his back.
I have jumped him over the cross using the placing pole and without using the placing pole. I’ve also trotted him over a tiny brush jump and he coped very well. He still hasn’t jumped higher than 30 cm. There is no need to rush. I want him confident and happy. I also want him to start throwing the right sort of jump.
Most importantly, I still do some form of pole exercises almost every time I ride him. I’ve also started trotting a little course of four or five poles on the ground. King is getting used to working from one pole to another in a calm and even way. I’m feeling very pleased with his progress. The key thing that gets highlighted in the pole work and jumping is that it’s not poles or jumping that’s difficult or scary – it’s basic schooling that needs lots more work for the babies.

My young horse’s first show jumping show

My young horse, King William, has been learning how to jump. He has been practicing walking, trotting and cantering over poles. I’ve taken it slowly and jumped him over tiny cross poles at a trot and at a canter. When my yard had shows I schooled him in the warm up arena so that he could get used to the atmosphere. Yesterday, the day had finally arrived. I entered him in his first show jumping show!
On the day of the show he was looking everywhere. This is typical of youngsters at their first few shows. Everything is new and exciting. Having other horses whizzing past you in the warm up arena doesn’t help.
King William looking at everything in the warm up arena
King William looking at everything in the warm up arena
Because it was a training show, I made sure I got in early to minimize the number of people in the warm up arena. I did a slow calm warm up. In fact, I started off my jumping warm up by trotting over a pole on the ground.
Warming up over a pole on the ground first
Warming up over a pole on the ground first
The bell in the ring caused poor King William to leap out of his skin. His conditioning as a former race horse was to leap forward and gallop when he had heard it. We just have to retrain him. He was a bit jumpy when he got into the ring. I’m very lucky because this training show is very accommodating of young horses and riders. That’s specifically why I was so glad to have him there for his first show and why I will keep him there for his next few. They allowed him to walk and trot around the arena a few times before I was to start my round. The track was only 30 cm. Perfect for a first show. We could concentrate on a good trot, obedience, the right lines and the jumps were just something that happened in between. King didn’t even look at them. He just popped over them very confidently. Clear round. Just what I wanted. I stayed in the arena, let another horse do the course and then did it again. He did it wonderfully and felt more settled. We also had a little canter or two.
Happy in the ring
And straight to the middle of his fences in an unrushed manner
After that I stayed in the arena for a while and walked him. I wanted to teach him not to head for the gate after jumping. I did circles, leg yields and transitions. I just made sure I stayed out of the other riders’ way. By the time we left he wasn’t breaking into a trot when the crowd clapped or the bell rang. He settled very nicely, with a feeling that this is part of normal work and not something that gets adrenaline up. What had also really helped was that my instructor was there – lending invaluable advice and support