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Our Newsletter

September 2007


Tricks Of The Trade




One way to teach these is through the long diagonal of the arena, changing before the corner. That way the horse has some bend in that direction to make it easy for first time riders doing simple changes to be set up for success. As they get better, have the change occur in the middle of the arena through the long diagonal instead of in the corner for a greater degree of difficulty.


Any time running martingales, training rings or training forks are used, there should always be a stopper that prevents the rein from catching on the rein-to-bit connection or snag on the bit. Without the rein stop, the bit can catch, trapping the horse's head when it is flexed all the way to the side. This can cause a big wreck and really hurt the horse's mouth. The rein stop should slide up and down the rein and could be a flap of leather, a rubber stopper (they cost less than a dollar a pair and can be found in most catalogues and good tack stores), or anything that will prevent the rings from sliding onto the bit or rein connection.





Try to avoid clipping the horse's muzzle, facial and ear hair. The muzzle hairs serve an important function by helping the horse sense and feel in an area where his vision is limited, just below his face. For instance, it may help him feel an obstruction in the grass as he grazes, sort out the different types of grass and weeds that he eats or sense an electrical fence before he touches it with his nose. The facial hairs around his eyes help him protect his eyes from branches and other hazards. The ear hair not only protects him from bugs, but also helps filter and dampen sound to his very sensitive ears; not to mention ear clipping can be highly stressful for both horse and handler. Clipping a short bridle path does not interfere with the horse's well being much and helps with ease in bridling and comfort of bridle fit and halter fit.




This is a condition in which scratches appear on the pastern due to excessive mud and moisture. It is an inflammation of the upper layer of skin caused by bacteria. Mud fever, or scratches, can be treated by trimming the hair short over affected areas and washing with an antiseptic solution such as mild betadine. Then dry thoroughly and apply a barrier cream like zinc oxide or a diaper rash ointment, to prevent access of moisture. Extreme cases may require antibiotics, bandaging and dry conditions.