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Our Newsletter

2013 Pet Peeves

Warm Up Pens

At many expos I attend, I see people longeing horses in the warm-up arena. Not only is this discourteous to the competitors that are trying to get ready for their next class and now have half the arena cut off to them, but it is also highly dangerous. Longeing horses in an arena with riders mounted and riding at will is a recipe for disaster—I’ve personally witnessed horses spook, riders come off, near-collisions and one actual collision which resulted in the death of a rider. This is especially important at a horse show where everyone is focused on themselves and very distracted—that’s why many large horse shows prohibit the longeing of horses in the warm-up arena and enforce it onsite. Warm-up pens are scary enough as it is, don’t add the complication of a horse running on a long lead, crowding the space in the arena  and careening into oncoming traffic.

Julie Goodnight, CHA Spokesperson and Master Clinician

Use Tack the Way It Was Meant to Be Used


I am a clinician for CHA and an Instructor of standard and therapeutic riding. An important topic, and a part of risk management, is using equipment how it was designed. Western stirrups have hobbles to prevent a leg from slipping through. Please use them. Also most English and dressage pads have keepers for the girth and billets. These keepers prevent the saddle pads from shifting, or even worse slipping out the back, flying off and then spooking the horse! Dressage girths have keepers to keep the long girth straps tucked neatly against the horse. Please tuck your girth straps in! Nothing worse than seeing a beautiful pair in a show with the girth straps flapping, and hitting the horse’s elbows. All these can become safety issues, and are a part of your tack checks and your risk management.

Cheryl L. West, CHA Master Riding Instructor

Pet Peeves Around the Barn & Solutions to Solve Them

Conscientiously Bridle & Unbridle

My students know that my 100% biggest pet peeve is when people hit the horses’ teeth with the bit when bridling or unbridling in a hurry. I tell my students to go slower than they think they should, which usually eliminates the problem. Nothing is worse than watching someone ride for four hours then rip the bridle down the horses face in two seconds. I wish everyone had been taught to respect your horse by taking the time.

Blaine Rankin, CHA Certified Instructor

Technology Faux-Pauxs


1) Texting while round penning a green horse.
2) Texting while warming up/cooling down before/after a ride.
3) Taking many pictures of other students/horses/children around the facility and posting them on Facebook and other social media without permission.

Jennifer Payne, CHA Certified Instructor

Hand Feeding


We love feeding our horses treats! We love the connection of feeding them by hand. But does our horse really care how they get their treat? I have found when feeding horses by hand it encourages them to seek your body with their mouth, aka it encourages biting. When my horses are no longer hand fed, their mouthy behavior desists, thus providing a safer environment for horse handlers and riders and a happier horse. If our horse is never encouraged to bring their mouth to our body, there is less need to discipline mouthy behavior. I recommend doing yourself, your horse, and anyone handling your horse a favor and share treats in your horse’s bucket, rather than from your hand. They love the treat, not where it comes from. Enjoy!

Trisha Williams, CHA Facebook Friend

Pet Peeves Around the Barn & Solutions to Solve Them

Use Your Natural Aids in the Right Order Please

When people turn and walk their horse off from a stand still using the reins only. To walk a horse off and turn, leg/seat cues should be applied first to let the horse know you are going somewhere, THEN add the rein to turn. When it is done out of order, it takes the pivot out of a trained horse and irritates a green/unfinished horse.

Jennifer Willey, CHA Clinician

Large Equipment Needs to be Seen


Barns located on larger farms tend to have other equipment parked for farm use. The most dangerous thing I’ve seen is a large metal drag (used to work ground) made of movable metal links. This drag was parked in grass and the grass was so tall the linked metal could barely be seen. An unknowing horse with or without a rider could be seriously injured. This drag and other dangerous equipment should not be parked near stalls or grooming stands or left out in the arena.

Susan Smith Eberhardt, CHA FaceBook Fan

Put Tack Away Correctly

Mine is a personal pet peeve but I hate when someone uses my tack and then puts it away wrong. I know I’m fussy about the way it’s put up, but it’s mine, you borrowed it, take care of it! The worst is one neighbor who leaves the cinch and latigo to drag on the ground, then I get to clean the stickers off and put it up right.

Renee Homelvig Osier, CHA FaceBook Friend

Please Don’t Disrespect


I would have to say disrespect. Disrespect from other riders/boarders etc. All horse people do things differently, but we all need to respect others opinions. And if you believe a fellow horse person is in danger, approach them in a respectful manner and try to make suggestions for a solution.

Emma Ashley, CHA FaceBook Friend