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Our Newsletter

November 2001


Tricks Of The Trade



Dressage letters are frequently used for arena markers and are useful in group control, regardless of whether your students ride dressage or another discipline. The letters give a road map to your arena and allow you to communicate clear direction to students. But what happens if you teach very young children, or people with learning disabilities such as dyslexia? Instead of using letters, try using colors like green, red, yellow, etc. Some people will find it easier to ride to a color than to a letter and besides, it really brightens up the arena!

Laura Brown,
Sparta NJ






Sweeping the barn aisle is a necessary evil if you want your barn to look neat and clean, but it is a time consuming, back breaking and filthy proposition. Try using a standard lawn leaf blower instead of a broom! It makes the job fast and easy and you will quickly pay for the cost of the blower with the labor that you'll save. The first few times you use the blowers, the horses may be put off a little by the noise, but they will quickly adapt and soon not even notice.

Terry Jones, 
Lebanon OH





In hot and humid climates, excessive hosing of horses to keep them cool and clean will often lead to a fungus on their back. Try using Gold Bond Powder (buy the generic, it is much cheaper) sprinkled on the back under the saddle blankets and under the cinch. The powder will keep the horse fungus free but make sure the horse is groomed thoroughly the next morning so that the powder does not cake up on the horse's back.

Polly Barger, 
Ashland City TN








Snaffle bits, although commonly used are often misunderstood. Snaffles are "direct pressure" bits, meaning the rein is attached directly opposite the mouthpiece, so that a pull on the rein gives a direct and equal pressure to the corner of the horse's mouth. A common misconception is that the joint in the mouthpiece is what makes it a snaffle. While it is true that most snaffles have jointed mouthpieces, it is not the joint that makes it a snaffle. For example, a very commonly used Western bit is the "Tom Thumb," a/k/a western snaffle or shanked snaffle and it is not a snaffle at all. Because the reins attach below the mouth piece on the shank of the bit, pressure is not put directly on the corners of the mouth but on the tongue, chin and poll and leverage is created by the shanks. Although this bit is commonly thought to be mild, because of the joint in the mouthpiece, it is actually quite severe and often leads to a gaping mouth since the joint pushes up into the palate of the horse's mouth when pressure is applied to both reins.

Julie Goodnight