Equitation and Horsemanship Class Patterns

Here are a few small tips that might give you a bit of an edge in your next horsemanship class or equitation class at a horse show:

Remember equitation and horsemanship are not 100% judged on the pattern. Keep your head up, shoulders back, and try not to give your horse verbal cues if you can avoid it..

When the class starts, you’ll either all be called in and expected to stand in lineup as everyone does their pattern, or called in one at a time. Either way, when your turn is up, walk in or walk up from lineup to the first cone. Do not let other people in the class lineup crowd you away from starting straight on the first cone. Once you get to that cone, don’t immediately start your pattern. STOP and look at the judge and wait for them to cue you to begin your equitation pattern.

Perform your horsemanship pattern, and after you finish, halt, look over at the judge, and wait for them to dismiss you before walking back to lineup.

Most judges will offer the opportunity for class entrants to ask any questions about the pattern before you start. Take advantage of this to clarify any questions you may have about the pattern. Simply asking the judge to explain in his or her words how she would like the pattern performed is an acceptable question.

Many times the horse show judge will ask for a volunteer to go first. If you are confident about the equitation pattern, do it! It tells the judge you’re confident in yourself and your abilities and will help you stand out of the crowd.

If you have trouble with small circles, go big. A judge would rather see a balanced horse with an even gait do a large circle than a horse get unbalanced and break gait doing a smaller one. As long as you follow the cones as illustrated in the pattern, you’re not going off pattern.

When you are in horsemanship lineup before or after your run, you are NOT excused from the judges eye. It can be a long wait and it’s fine to let your horse relax, but you should not slouch or comment on anyone else’s performance or anything unprofessional. The judge can and will judge your performance in lineup.

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Cross Tie Training for a Horse

The Cross Tying is a method of tying frequently used in the United States and in most riding discipline types. In cross timing, instead of being tied by one rope, a horse is secured by one rope on either side of their halter, attaching to rings on either side of the horse, usually in an aisle between horse stalls. Cross tying is frequently used to prevent horses from turning around or moving excessively when being groomed or tacked up.

Training a Horse to Cross Tie

Training a horse to cross tie is a basic skill all horses should have. To train a horse to cross tie, a horse should first know how to be tied in the traditional method of single tying. The horse should know to yield to pressure. When training a horse to cross tie attach the cross ties to the horse loosely, without attaching the lead rope. Stand holding the lead rope with plenty of slack and under close supervision, allow the horse realize it is constricted on both sides and is prevented from moving too far in either direction. Some horses may feel claustrophobic so keep the crossties loose at first and the lead rope securely connected to help reassure the horse. Gradually, work with the horse to understand the boundaries of only stepping one or two steps forward or backward before being blocked by the tie. This training may need to be repeated over a longer period of time, but as long as you stand near your horse and use safety ties to cross tie is your horse, cross tie training should go relatively uneventfully.

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Halter on Neck when Bridling a Horse

When tackin gup a horse, one of the most critical points is removing the halter to put on the bridle. because of the inherent nature of needing the head free for bridling, this is the most precarious moment of tacking up. Without a halter or bridle fully on, the rider has little to no control over the horse’s head, and thus body, if the horse chooses to move.

To minimize some of the danger during these few moments, the best method is to unbuckle the halter while it is still tied, slip it off the horse’s nose, and buckle it around the horse’s neck. A panicing horse can easily slip out of this sort of confinement, but it is sufficient for the few minutes required for bridling.

The same method can be used when untacking your horse. Before removing the bridle, buckle the horse’s halter around your horses neck, then remove the bridle, then slip the halter into place around the horse’s nose.

riding with the halter under the bridle is a common practice of many trail riders but may not be the safest method. Halters are bulky and designed to move around on the horse’s face. The bridle, however, is a much more specifically designed piece of equipment that should not be hindered by a bulky contrapsion slipping around underneath it. Additionally, the halter under or over the bridle may catch on the bridle and may inadvertantly send signals to the horse through the bit, or may create resistance blocking the reins from working correctly with the bit.

 Foam Around Horse's Mouth

White Foal Halter

Are you looking for a white foal halter for your foal? White foal halters look stunning on black or dark bay horse foals. White horse halters are preferred for Baroque breeds such as Friesians and young Lipizzans as well as draft breeds such as Rercherons. White foal halters can be difficult to find or expensive to buy for horses and foals. White leather horse halters must be painted not dyed, which contributes to their not lasting long. If you are looking for an economical alternative to a white leather foal halter, consider a white nylon foal halter. Our white nylon foal halters are available in a breakaway style, to keep your foal safe. The advantage nylon white foal halters is that these halters are machine washable and less expensive to use on a growing foal. The white foal halters are made with super-soft white nylon webbing, which is actually much softer than new leather. Our white foal and horse halters are available in all sizes from suckling and weanling to draft and extra-large draft sizes.

Photo of the Bottom of a Horse Hoof

This photo shows the underside of a horse’s hoof. Horses hooves are generally very tough but even the slightest injury to the hoof wall (outer rim), white line (line just inside the rim), sole large flat part, or frog (v shaped part at the back of the hoof) can be painful and dangerous to the horse. The horse is designed to distribute weight evenly through their four hooves and a hoof that cannot bear weight puts a dangerously large amount of weight on the other hooves. In this photo you can see portions of the sole flaking off. This is a part of the natural exfoliation of the hoof and nothing to worry about.

The mare in this photo was suffering from an abcess which had not yet surfaced. Abcesses in horse hooves are tiny infections, pockets of puss, which can be very painful but will eventually work their way to the surface and drain.

 Parts of a Western Saddle: Pommel

Static in Horse Tails and Coats

This photo shows the results of static buildup in the tail of a horse on full pasture turnout. Sometimes static electricity can build up in the manes, tails or forelocks of horses during especially dry weather, during weather changes, or when a storm is rolling in. Static electricity in their hair, coat, and tails is nothing to be alarmed about, but if you desire a neater mane you can use a dry sheet (such as bounce, downy, or a store brand) and brush it over the hair that is staticy. Usually this treatment will remove the static electricity from the mane or tail temporarily and allow the hair to tame and lay flat.

An excellent way to prevent static buildup in horse tails is by braiding and bagging the tail. This also helps a tail grow long and stay clean. See our article section for more information on making and attaching your own tail bags.

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clean horse stall

This photo shows a clean horse stall. Cleaning a horse stall is a very task, and not nearly as dirty as many people expect. To clean a horse stall you just need a few basic tools: a wheelbarrow or large bucket, and a stall fork. (you can get a stall fork at any farm store. Pitchforks and regular shovels can work, but will take much more time and/or waste large amounts of stall bedding)

Begin by removing the horse from the stall, if possible. First remove the visible piles of horse manure to your bucket or wheelbarrow. Then clean the stall by raking the surface of the stall bedding looking for manure which may have been covered up. Sift out any additional manure you find.

The nest step in cleaning a horse stall is exploring for wet spots caused by urine. Bedding is designed to absorb moisture so look for a dense, wet section of bedding. Scoop all bedding into your bucket or wheelbarrow.

After you’ve picked all waste out of the horse stall, haul away the dirty stall bedding to an out of the way location, and if you have removed a siginificant amount of bedding, be sure to add an equal amount of bedding back to the stall. Before you finish cleaning a horse stall, fluff the existing bedding and even out any piles or holes the horse has created and slightly bank the sides of the stall to help keep your horse from laying down too close to the wall.

 How to Attach Stirrup Leathers to an English Saddle

Build a Rack to Display Horse Show Ribbons

One of the simplest ways to build a rack to display horse show ribbons requires no building skills at all! One the cutest ways to display horse show ribbons is by using a vintage windo shutter. Vintage window shutters make excellent racks for displaying horse show ribbons and you don’t have to build them at all! Simply add picture frame hanging hardware to the back of the shutter/display rack, stick the hooks of your horse show ribbons into the slats of the vintage window shutter, and you’ll have an adorable horse show ribbon rack with no work at all!

Why Do Horses Sleep Standing Up?

Have you ever wondered why horses sleep standing up instead of laying down like other animals? Well, that myth is only half true. It is true that horses CAN sleep standing up, but to really sleep deeply a horse actually does need to lay down.

In the wild, horses are prey animals. Horses are able to sleep standing up because if a predator was to attack a herd of horses, the horses would lose precious escape time scrambling to their feet. A horse off it’s feet is more vulnerable to attack.

But horses do lay down on their sides to sleep for periods of time, usually at night. In horse herds, even domesticated herds, one horse almost always remains standing while the others lay down and sleep, and this position is alternated through the night.

So why do horses sleep standing up? The short answer is that horses sleep standing up so they can run away faster if attacked.