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Our Newsletter

November 2000

Certified_Horsemanship_Association_logo.jpgTricks Of The Trade



Students can learn many important riding skills through demonstrations done off the horse. To teach students the important of keeping their leg underneath them with their heels down, try this simple exercise before you mount up. Have students stand in the same position in which they would ride, with their feet slightly wider than shoulder width, knees bent, back flat and eyes forward. Ask them to find a comfortable balance and then to lift their heels and put their weight on the balls of the feet. Notice that balance becomes precarious as tension shoots up the leg. Now have them go back to being weighted in the heel and see how much easier it is. Also from this position, have them open their pelvis by sucking in at the belly button and flattening the lower back and they should be able to feel the weight sink even farther into their heels. Conversely, if they arch their back, weight goes to the balls of the feet and the precarious balance comes back. These exercises demonstrate the importance of proper leg position, weight in the heels and an open pelvis.


Hang a bucket of fresh clean water right outside the tack room for a drool bucket. As you put away bridles, dunk them in the bucket to clean the bits. You can even keep a scrub brush nearby for those particularly messy bits. Add a few drops of bleach for disinfectant if needed and be sure to clean the bucket and change the water daily. This keeps bits clean and keeps food particles from drying on the bit.



Birdbath heaters make great tank heaters for small water tanks and buckets. Available at almost any hardware store, for not too much money, these little heaters plug in and sit in the bottom of a bucket or small tank and keep ice from forming. They automatically shut off when not submersed in water and the cord is protected by a wire covering, so they are safe units to have around.



Disengagement is a fancy term bandied about a lot these days, but it has a very simple meaning. It refers to the crossing of the hind legs of the horse and since the horse's hind-end is its motor, when the hind legs are crossed, the horse is disengaged. Disengagement of the hindquarters can only happen when the horse crosses a hind leg in front of the other and the horse must have some forward impulsion to properly cross over. With no forward impulsion, he will cross behind or not cross at all. Disengagement causes submissiveness in the horse because his flight response is taken away.