Pet Peeves Around the Barn & Solutions to Solve Them
Any strap that is long, loose, or flapping is a red flag. It might indicate the strap is not tightened properly or it may get hung up in clothing, other equipment, a fence, or brush. Loose straps or flaps may come undone or get tangled causing a bigger problem. A common example is a fitted halter where the crown piece is not tucked in the bottom half of the buckle. Keepers on English bridles that have stretched and no longer hold should be repaired or replaced. The safest choice is to always tuck those straps in. A few seconds may help prevent trouble later. - Ann Streett-Joslin – CHA Clinic Staff - Dolores, Colorado
Always Close All Gates
It’s easy to leave a gate open when you are taking horses out of a corral or pasture, but take the extra 30 seconds to close the gate. It’s hard on the hinges, gate post, and the gate to swing or sag. It shows carelessness in your handling practices, and the next time you might be coming through another gate to the enclosure. Also take the time to fix gates that sag or do not swing freely or have loose hardware. When you have a horse in hand, it’s a distraction to struggle with a gate that is hard to open and close. - Ann Streett-Joslin – CHA Clinic Staff - Dolores, Colorado
Tack and Horses in the Right Places Please
I’m tired of people leaving their stuff laying around in the grooming areas at our barn. They leave brushes, hoof picks, etc on the floor which is a safety hazard for horses and humans. Just put everything away and be polite to others. It protects your equipment and prevents injuries. Also don’t like when people leave their horse without tying them. If something spooks them, they could plow us down in the alley way. Always cross tie your horse or ask someone to hold them. Even a wonderfully behaved horse can be startled and can hurt themselves or others. - Susan Gentner Kirkland – CHA FaceBook Fan
Attack of the Hay Strings!
Baling twine and baling string left on the floor in the hay storage area as they could accidentally be fed to horses and cause colic and much worse. - Amy L Yachimski – CHA FaceBook Fan
No Chicken Little Please!
Chickens in the barn! I chase them out, but they keep coming back in. I guess chickens aren’t as trainable as a horse. - Karen Dilger – CHA FaceBook Fan
No Crossties in Barn Aisle
I never liked crossties in the barn aisle. I have seen too many people try to lead their horse under the crosstie of the crosstied horse without undoing the tie. The worst accident I saw was when someone who had saddled their horse tried to sneak past a crosstied horse without undoing the tie and the saddle horn caught on the tie. Problem solved by taking the crossties out of the aisle and putting them into dedicated grooming stalls. That way people could still crosstie to groom and saddle, but the aisle remained clear. - Ingrid Poissant – CHA Certified Instructor
Don’t Eat the Grass
Letting horses graze while they are being ridden slows down the entire trail ride and is unsafe. A grazing horse is thinking about food instead of paying attention to the rider on his back. Riders should be instructed to pull their horses’ heads up if they reach down to take a bite of grass while on the trail or encourage the horse forward. - April Leonard, Cazenovia College intern
That is Too Long
People leaving too much slack in horses’ lead lines when tying them to a rail. When horses are tied with lead lines that are very slack, they might get one of their legs stuck over the lead line. This could result in spooking horses and serious injury. To keep this from happening, lead lines should always be tied at the height of the horse’s withers tightly enough so that the horse cannot step over it or touch his head to the ground. - April Leonard, Cazenovia College intern
Back Sore No More!
Since I teach exclusively in the clinic format-- working with 15 horses and riders at a time that I have usually never seen before and likely won’t see again-- we work all day in the arena, which is more riding than most horses are used to. I see a lot of signs of back soreness when riders are mounting and when they are just standing. Most riders are totally oblivious to their horses’ soreness, and worse, they often admonish the horse when he tries to tell them. Riders should be taught to be more aware of their horses, particularly as it relates to back soreness and particularly if you are riding more than normal. From the time you groom your horse, to putting on the saddle, to mounting, you should be sensitive to your horse’s response. And for goodness sake, don’t slam down on your horse’s back when you mount! - Julie Goodnight, CHA Spokesperson and Master Clinician
Your Horse is Not a Couch!
Although horses are strong and well-built to carry the weight of the rider when moving, standing still is another story. In certain situations, you will find yourself standing still and sitting on your horse for an extended period and this can be very uncomfortable for your horse and a frequent cause of back soreness. Whenever possible and the situation dictates, you should dismount and stand next to your horse to relieve the static pressure on his back if you are going to be standing still for a long period. Of course, mounting and dismounting can be hard on his back too, so unless you are handy at mounting (or use a mounting block) this may not be better for your horse. Try to limit the amount of time you stand still sitting on your horse and practice mounting by stepping up onto a tall mounting block, so that you get better at it for your horse’s comfort. - Julie Goodnight, CHA Master Clinician